Ripley's Believe It or Not!: The Riddle of Master Lu
Ripley's Believe It or Not!: The Riddle of Master Lu

* Part 1: The Story of The Riddle of Master Lu

* Part 2: Interview with the co-designer/graphic artist: Richard Hescox

* Part 3: Background of Master Lu

* Part 4: Some comments


The story

The story of Master Lu starts in Egypt 1936. The planet is on the brink of war, and the main character, Robert Ripley, has just escaped from two thugs in the Sahara desert who intended to kill him. When he arrives at his "Odditorium" with his companion Mei Chen, he discovers that his office has been ransacked by thugs who were looking for his file on the tomb of Chin Shih Huang-di, China's first emperor.

The Odditorium

The emperor's tomb has been impenetrable for centuries, and legend has it that its chief architect, a sage named Master Lu, devised many cunning traps within the tomb to prevent unwanted intruders from desecrating this sacred place and accessing its most magnificent treasure: the First Emperor's seal of office. This seal is reputed to be a powerful talisman, and could be used to unite China under a single dictator like a Hitler or Mussolini.

To unlock the tomb, Ripley will need a special "key" and he will have to decipher Master Lu's stone tablet consisting of glyphs in three different scripts, which is located in the Hall of Classics in Peiping.
So his first destination becomes Peiping, and when he has managed to enter to manage the Hall of Classics, a priest informs him that a short time ago an archeologist named Twelvetrees came to see Master Lu's tablet and that an attempt was made to steal the tablet.

He also informs him that Master Lu has traveled to an ancient city in the Andes, Easter Island and Sikkim in search of the elixir of everlasting life, studying many languages and systems of writing along the way, and on his return he created the tablet with the glyphs in three different scripts. So Ripley's mission is clear: to be able to decipher the tablet he will have to visit these places and he will have to obtain the key.

Before he start his quest, he will visit Ace of Spades castle in Danzig, as he has received a letter from Baron (Otto) Von Seltsam, who reveals that he has info about Lu's key. Unfortunately, the baron has died. But his son Albert allows Ripley to search some rooms in the castle, and he discovers the old baron's laboratory, where he kept - most - of his secrets. In this laboratory, after facing some challenges, Ripley finds a letter addressed to the baron from a professor Jorge Menendez of Lima, Peru, who writes that he has discovered the existence of four ancient South American cities. At each settlement is a ritual observatory locked by a secret combination, and each settlement contains a stele that unlocks the combination to an observatory at one of the other three cities. He also reveals that in the "Spider city" terra cotta pottery has been found that was only produced in China during the time of the First Emperor.

          Easter Island: explosion of the shed
Ripley now has all the basic information he need, and he can visit each of the other environments in any order: Easter Island with its giant statues out of volcanic rock, the pre-Inca city of Mocha Moche and the Temple of the Hidden Way in Sikkim. He can also decide to try to open the tomb in which the baron is buried first. If he manages to open the tomb, he will discover the key to Master Lu's tablet.

After surviving all events and with the necessary information in his journal, Mei and Ripley will visit Master Lu's alcove in the Hall of Classics, where they succeed in solving the Riddle of Master Lu.

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(c) All artwork copyright Sanctuary Woods
(c) Text 2020