We’ve known Chris Waters “The Architect” of Constructed Adventures for a few years now, and even had him on our podcast:
But a few months ago, we had a wild incident involving him. I wanted to write about it sooner, but I really needed time to process it.
Chris was contracted to produce one of his adventures for a friend of ours in New York City. To help keep the budget down, we offered to take Chris in for the week, allowing him to stay in our guest room and come and go as he pleased.
Throughout the entire week, he asked a number of questions that seemed a little strange, but we didn’t think anything of them. Intimate questions such as, “What is the code to your Nevins Cryptex?”
At the end of his stay with us, he stood at our front door, looked us dead in the eyes like a cat pushing an item off of our table and uttered a monologue that I’ll never forget. He said:
“Thank you so much for letting me stay in your home. I have changed the password to your Cryptex and over the past few days I have secretly turned your home into a treasure hunt. I left more details in the guest book upstairs.” And then he left to go play an escape room with Neil Patrick Harris.
Upon Chris’ departure, we cautiously approached our guest room, opened our guest book, and found the following letter restating the threat that Chris made, but this time adding a detail. A clue to a location.
We were, of course, obligated to follow it… or we wouldn’t be able to open our Cryptex again.
The clue led us to REA Gothic hanging on the landing of our stairs. A portrait made for/ of us by a long time Patreon supporter. (We have the actual best community!)
On the backside of the portrait, we found many more clues to locations around our home.
What kind of monster does this?
Each location hid a fragment to a larger puzzle. This lead to the most humiliating part of this entire ordeal: the moment when we realized that we couldn’t identify one of these photos. There was an object that we owned and we didn’t recognize it.
This was utterly dehumanizing.
We solved this lunatic “we have The Riddler at home’s” puzzle, recovered our Cryptex, and found a surprisingly lovely gift.
The Larger Conversation
Look, some of you may be reading this and thinking, “What he did sounds quite nice. I don’t get the anger?”
And to you I ask: Do you really want to live in a world where we have people like Chris Waters committing random acts of puzzles?
Do we as a community truly want to normalize this kind of lovely behavior?
Are we prepared to live with the consequences of letting people like this stay in our homes spending a frankly unreasonable amount of time creating a game to spread joy?
I for one will not stand for it and I ask you to join my outrage.
Amazing – love it! Having had Chris stay with us in London, I feel like we had a narrow escape…
Also reminds me of when my Great Gotham Challenge colleagues came to stay in London during Covid and had to isolate in their Air B’n’B for 5 days. So of *course* I turned their apartment in which they were literally locked inside into an escape room, containing a series of fiendish puzzles all around it with some tantalising home-made brownies in a clear lock box in the fridge as the reward for getting to the end…
I’m glad that you narrowly avoided Chris and his machinations… but hearing that you have committed similar atrocities is alarming. Be better.
I am ashamed. I will seek help.
However, it’s too late for Theresa. I made one for her when I stayed at her house a few weeks ago…
You’re bad and you should feel bad.
I think the REAL message of this story is that everyone should have a Justin Nevins Cryptex in their home so all their guests can use it to create elaborate puzzles hunts in thanks for their hospitality. I myself have done this a number of times including the very FIRST cryptex ever made.
But seriously, I really love to hear stories like this. So much joy and fun!
Oh no! You too?!
Not to be “blaming the victim”, but it seems to me that you brought this on yourselves, letting someone like that unsupervised into your home.
The NERVE!! I may have to invite him to my place to be outraged in person…
What an absolute monster 😂