Desperate Times

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Artwork for the quest

Desperate Times is a quest featuring Seren and is a continuation of the Elder Gods quest series following on from the player's encounter with Jas during Sliske's Endgame. It was first announced in the Month Ahead of May 2019.

Teasers for the quests were released gradually during the Song of Seren weekend from 10 to 13 May. Characters appeared on the 1st floor[UK]2nd floor[US] of Burthorpe Castle in the following order: Seren, Thok of Daemonheim, King Roald, Sir Amik Varze, Lord Daquarius, Armadyl, Brundt the Chieftain, Doric, Osman, Ichi, Zilyana, Garlandia, Moia, Azzanadra, Zanik, Icthlarin, Zarador, Glout, King Narnode, Lady Vanescula, Oneiromancer, Major Mary Rancour, and Juna.

Overview[edit | edit source]

The council[edit | edit source]

Seren (with Eluned) chathead.png
Seren explains her plan.

Talk to Seren on the 1st floor[UK]2nd floor[US] of Burthorpe Castle. She will invite you to join her council and explain her cause, stating that the elder gods see life on Gielinor as food for their unhatched children. She plans to appeal to the elder gods and show them that life is worthwhile, as she was taught to see life as worthwhile. The first elder god she seeks to impress is Bik, with the plan being to build a garden. She tasks the player with negotiating a location, task force and seed collection from the assorted council members.

For the location, speak to either Zarador to use the Feldip Hunting Grounds, Vanescula Drakan to use the swamps of Morytania, or Osman to use the northern desert. For the workforce, talk to either Moia to summon an undead force, Brundt the Chieftain to use the Fremennik, or Sir Amik Varze to use the White Knights. For the seed supplier, talk to either Azzanadra, Garlandia, or King Roald. Once a combination has been selected, confirm your choice. The council will reject the suggestion however for varying reasons, such as the Fremennik being unsuited to the proposed environments and Vanescula viewing the White Knights as an invading force. If you logout or exit to lobby, the combination selected will be reset.

After three failed combinations, Kerapac will appear and claim that Seren's plan of appeasement will fail and was proposed out of sentiment. He proposes an alternate plan, to use the elder artefacts to put the elder gods into a permanent sleep. The council will all agree with Kerapac, except for Seren. Thok will insist on joining, believing himself able to scare off the elder gods. Kerapac gives in, and instructs you and Thok to travel to the Needle, west of the Piscatoris Fishing Colony. The Phoenix Lair Teleport scroll takes you fairly close. Alternatively, fairy ring code AKQ can be used to reach the fairy ring just south of the colony or Home Teleport to the Eagles' Peak lodestone and take the row boat with Kathy Corkat.

The Needle[edit | edit source]

Kerapac and Thok at the Needle
Kerapac (Desperate Times) chathead.png

Head to the Needle and talk to Kerapac. He will say there is a power resonating from the artefact and ask if you can feel it. Pick any option. Kerapac will say he can charge the Needle, but this will cause temporal instabilities to spawn. Five instabilities will spawn, which can be closed by clicking on them. One can be found near the Needle, two can be found in the front yard of the nearby farmhouse, and the final two can be found on the 1st floor[UK]2nd floor[US] of the farmhouse. Once all five are closed, return to Kerapac. He will remark that, while the Elder Artefacts are not truly sentient, they have something resembling a consciousness, and that the mind of the Needle has refused him. He will state that he needs assistance from a powerful human mage, Charos, whose magic has affected the minds of others in the past.

Head to Charos' tomb located under McGrubor's Wood. The fastest way to get there is by home teleport to the Seers' Village lodestone or via Fairy ring ALS and head into McGrubor's Wood. You will find the hole for Charos' tomb just south of the house. Once in the tomb, investigate the coffin to get a letter from Charos, in which Charos has written that he is aware of what you are attempting and is eager to meet you. He challenges you to play one more game in order to find him: you must locate three keys hidden in three locations, each of which are alluded to by a riddle within the letter. These keys will empower his old necklace, turning it into the necklace of Charos and allowing you to remove his disguise once you find him. If you have previously destroyed the necklace, you can get another from Uri (if you've added the trinkets) in the grave under McGrubor's Wood or from May's Storage Chest if unlocked.

Keys to Charos's necklace[edit | edit source]

One of the three portals, in the Black Knights' Fortress

Caution: If you log out or enter the lobby while in a puzzle room, it will reset the current puzzle!

First key[edit | edit source]

Once there was a throne on which the emperor barely sat.
It fell beneath the soil and vanished.
But what was buried can rise again.
I see what has been buried and I see how to raise it up.

The first location is at the Varrock Dig Site, near the entrance to the Empty Throne Room. A group of three archaeologists and an examiner can be heard talking nearby. A strange portal can be found outside the entrance by Celia Diggory). Step into the portal, which will lead you to a room with a sliding puzzle in the centre and several smaller rooms containing chests located around the perimeter. (The tiles that make up the slider puzzle will not budge until at least one chest has been unlocked.)

In order to solve the sliding puzzle and obtain the key, the doors leading to rooms with chests must be unlocked by stepping on the coloured magic portals on the floor. The colour of each portal corresponds to specific doors opening, however no particular combination of portals is required so it is simplest just to try each colour of portal until the door to the room you wish to unlock has opened. Once a room containing a chest has been unlocked, the chest within must be unlocked by completing a riddle. Solving the riddle properly will allow you to obtain a four-letter code which must be entered into the combination lock interface in order to successfully unlock the chest. The exit portal will not appear until the puzzle is solved, but it is still possible to leave by teleporting out.

The following table outlines the possible riddles a player may be required to solve in order to unlock a chest:

Room contents Solution
A note on an old recipe If the amount of every ingredient in the recipe can be represented with a single Roman numeral (e.g. 1,000 grams of bacon is "M"), those numerals - in the order of their appearance in the recipe - are the code. For reference, a sheet of numerals may be found on the ground near a pillar in the middle of the room.

If not, the code is the first letter of each ingredient in the recipe, in the order of their appearance on the list (e.g. 1,052 grams of Flour, 102 grams of Chocolate dust, 56 grams of Doogle leaves, 2 Eggs = FCDE).

Four items on the ground that cannot be picked up The code is the first letter of each item (e.g. Plank, Jute fibres, Catfish and Diamond bolt = PJCD). Start with the item located the furthest away from the chest and end with the item nearest to the chest. If that does not work, reverse the order.
Coins on the ground The code is the number of coins in each pile, either starting with the furthest away pile from the chest and ending with the nearest or the other way around, represented in Roman numerals. You can right-click and examine the piles of coins to tell you how many coins are in the piles. (Do not rely on the loot interface to correctly indicate the number of coins that are in each pile!)
A plaque on the outside wall next to the room's door The code is the first letter of the location that corresponds to each Lodestone Network icon (shield) depicted in order of appearance. (e.g. Lumbridge lodestone icon.pngFalador lodestone icon.png Draynor lodestone icon.pngVarrock lodestone icon.png = Lumbridge, Falador, Draynor Village and Varrock = LFDV).
One item on the ground with a four-letter word in its name The combination is those four letters. (e.g. beer = BEER, bronze dart = DART, cake = CAKE, raw swordfish = FISH, bucket of sand = SAND)
A clean herb (e.g. clean ranarr) The combination is HERB.
A rune (e.g. air rune) The combination is RUNE.
Example of a word grid to solve sliding puzzle after unlocking all the chests

Once the chest is unlocked, it will reveal part of a word grid, which is the solution to the sliding puzzle. Unlock all of the chests to obtain the completed word grid and solve the slider puzzle. Each word is a description of the tile it represents, located within a three-by-three grid. In order to complete the slider puzzle, each tile on the ground must be located in the same position that corresponds with its location in the word grid with the camera facing north.

The puzzle is solved just as one would solve a Treasure Trails puzzle box or Dungeoneering sliding tile puzzle. If done successfully, the room will shake and you will obtain a key, which will automatically combine with the necklace as you receive it, and a magic portal leading outside will appear. If the player leaves the room before the puzzle is solved, then progress is reset and the puzzled will need to be solved again for a new solution.

Second and third keys[edit | edit source]

The other two locations are:

Four warriors stand above the water, staring out at the world.
Northwards stands a mighty home.
Ascend then to greatness.
And rest in comfort's luxurious embrace.

  • The main bedroom on the 1st floor[UK]2nd floor[US] of the Varrock Palace (the portal is hidden behind the eastern bath screen. King Roald and Sir Amik Varze will be at the table near the stairs). You may wish to leave this location for last as it is near the next stage of the quest.

We do not need, a table round.
Nor shields of glistening white.
As the night are we adorned.
In strength and power is our allegiance.

  • Some players may experience an issue where the Black Knights' Fortress portal may not be visible. Refer to the image if this happens.
Location of the portal in the Black Knights' Fortress

Solve both slider puzzle rooms as before in order to obtain the remaining two keys. After obtaining the third key, you will get a bloody clue scroll with "URIT" written repeatedly across it, the same as the one found during You Are It, and reading only the letters that are different spells out "RELDO". The player then mentions that they think they should head to the Varrock Palace Library.

Varrock Library[edit | edit source]

Return to the Varrock Palace and speak with Reldo in the library. Opt to use the newly-empowered necklace and Charos will reveal himself to you, explaining that Reldo was merely a well-placed disguise. Kerapac and Thok will join you and discuss plans on what to do with the Needle. Kerapac will commission Charos with creating a device of his own design, with which he hopes to interact with the Needle. Thok will disapprove of this approach, stating that they can cow the gods into submission instead. Charos suggests Thok go do that and Thok will leave. Charos will request three rune bars, two runite stone spirits, 10 mind runes, and 10 gleaming energy in order to build Kerapac's device. Get these items and give them to Charos: he will build his device, then instruct you to meet him at the Needle.

The device[edit | edit source]

Items needed: Equipment to fight a level 50 variant of Sliske
Gail chathead.png
The warped version of Naragun

This section contains voiceovers in the background that do not include captions. It is strongly recommended that you turn on your audio so that you do not miss them.

Charos prepares to use his device on the Needle. Before he can, however, Gail appears and attacks him and Thok. Kerapac will send you into the Needle while he fends off Gail's attempts to stop them.

The first anima puzzle, as Saradomin and Zamorak fight in Guthix's chambers

You will end up in the deepest part of Guthix's Cave. As you wander around the cave, Sliske will attack. Defeat him five times and collect the broken mask shards. Sliske spawning seems to be triggered by stepping in specific areas; make sure to explore thoroughly to make them all spawn. Once Sliske has been defeated and five shards obtained, reassemble Sliske's mask and wear it. You will imagine yourself as Sliske at the time he assassinated Guthix. While picking up the fragments, it is revealed that Guthix was aware of Sliske and told him his own death was necessary to continue his ultimate plan to create the World Guardian to protect the world from the Gods. After collecting all shards, combine the them and wear the completed Sliske's mask. Head to the end of the cave, where Guthix is, and click on him to trigger the original Guthix assassination cutscene from The World Wakes. Leaving Sliske's body, you will be transported to Naragun next. Find and harvest five memories relating to Seren, Armadyl, Zamorak, Bandos, and Saradomin. An image of the mortal Guthix will appear by the fairy ring (where a replica of the god Guthix's petrified corpse is also located) and ask that you talk to him. After talking with him, you will be transported back to his cave. In the cave, redirect the flow from Gail to the avatar of Kerapac by switching each of the Mutable Anima once. There are four switches in total, two on the top, two on the bottom. If done correctly, the light orbs will cross paths twice, once on the upper level and once on the lower level.

An avatar of Kerapac discusses his plans.

After this, you will appear in a facsimile of the Empyrean Citadel. Sliske will appear in the middle platform and begin talking about gods, presumably intended towards Jas. Head to the west into the room with Gielinor and use the agility shortcuts to make your way around the room. The beginning of the agility shortcut is in the south-east corner of the room with the smoke bombs. Interact with the window there that looks like a white fish. Make your way over the planks down the cliff and up to the fish window on the south-west side and climb inside. Climb through the obstacle near the storage crates. You can now exit the door to the north. You will go through all the rooms you did during the Missing, Presumed Death quest, but with either Kerapac or Sliske appearing and talking about their plans. Making it to the end and jumping down will instead bring the player to a new area.

Final room map, wisps in red

The player will be brought to the upper platforms of Sliske's Labyrinth, where anima will now also enter temporal rifts, which the player may enter as well to go to a different area of the room. Changing all the redirect anima to go to the avatar of Kerapac will advance the quest. There are four mutable anima to switch: one on the ground level, two on the middle level, and one on the top level.

The final room appears as the end area of the Dragonkin Laboratory, although some nodes will be coloured orange and frozen in place. To unfreeze these, players must find memory wisps (one in the room to the north-east, one in the room to the south-east where Verak Little would appear, on the stairs to the west leading to where the Black Stone Dragon would appear), and listen to Kerapac talk to his son Vicendithas about his plan to return to a place called Orthen. Once all energy is redirected to Kerapac instead of Gail, a cutscene will occur. See the image for a map of the area and the direction the animas should point in.

Kerapac gains control of the Needle.

The cutscene shows Kerapac gaining control over the Needle by stabbing it with the Staff of Armadyl (with Charos' device allowing Kerapac to retain his memories), reverting Gail into her human form Primrose. Using his newfound power over the Elder Artefact, he teleports it away and flies off towards the east, out past the ocean to prepare for the next stage of his plan.

Talk again to Charos, who is furious at being backstabbed, and Primrose, who must go see her mother. Return to Burthorpe and let the council know what happened.

Seren will be told that Kerapac had set up the World Guardian, and that using the Needle's power, Kerapac seems to have a plan that involves the sacrifice of one planet - Gielinor - in order to destroy the Elder Gods and save all the other planets permanently. Seeing as the council was betrayed, and that a third party's plan is in effect to destroy all life on the planet, Seren begins to formulate how to stop and kill Kerapac with the aid of the council and Charos.

Congratulations, quest complete!

Rewards[edit | edit source]

Desperate Times reward.png
Music unlocked

Achievements[edit | edit source]

Required for completing[edit | edit source]

Desperate Times is directly required for the following quests/miniquests:

It is therefore an indirect requirement for the following quests and miniquests:

Transcript[edit | edit source]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Credits[edit | edit source]

Update history[edit | edit source]

This information has been compiled as part of the update history project. Some updates may not be included - see here for how to help out!
  • patch 6 July 2020 (Update):
    • Fixed an issue where text was being cut off in the opening cutscene of 'Desperate Times'.
  • patch 19 August 2019 (Update):
    • Seren during Desperate Times now has the correct graphic icon.
    • Corrected two occurrences of "Kerepac" in the Desperate Times quest journal.
    • Fixed a typo within Kerapac's dialogue when speaking to him during the Desperate Times quest.
  • patch 28 May 2019 (Update):.
    • Removed an extra period at the end of the Frozen Anima examine text during the Desperate Times quest.
    • Fixed a RuneMetrics typo after a player completes the Desperate times quest.
    • Fixed a typo in the Desperate Times quest journal.
    • Fixed a typo in the Armadyl memory during the Desperate Times quest.
  • patch 20 May 2019 (Update):.
    • A cutscene during the Desperate Times quest was incorrectly altering the players Sliske's Endgame quest progress. This has now been fixed.
      • Players that have been affected by this should now find themselves in a state as close to previous as possible. Players may find they have to repeat parts of the quest that they already had previously.
      • Players that had already completed the quest will now find themselves at the start of the boss fight on a non canon quest play through.
    • Corrected the required items for the Desperate Times quest from runite bars, to rune bars in the quest journal and quest dialogue.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

Desperate Times splash title.png
  • Upon completion of the quest, the adventure's log states: "I may have accidentally helped a dragonkin take control of an elder artifact[sic] endangering all life on Gielinor. Oops."
  • The quest name is a reference to the saying "Desperate times call for desperate measures".
  • During the scene where Charos builds his device, the player has the opportunity to read The Lusty Asgarnian Maid. This is a reference to The Lusty Argonian Maid, an erotic novel in The Elder Scrolls. Should the player choose to read the book, it will turn out to actually be a book on cleaning titled The Dusty Asgarnian Maid.
  • At the Archaeology Campus portal, one of the students mentions lizardmen, which were a race originally mentioned in 2001. Although they were not initially released, a model was nevertheless created for them, but it went unused and was never released into the game. They later were reworked into the modern-day Ilujanka. They are found more as they were originally intended in Old School RuneScape: lizardman. The conversation is also a reference to a real-world conspiracy theory that believes a race of lizard people secretly controls the world's governments.
  • This quest was initially called "Charos Quest" while in development, as evidenced by the concept artwork for Charos and Thok referencing the name.
  • Examining a temporal instability after closing it produces the message "There is nothing here. No spoiler or interesting easter egg. Just a passing thought lost in the wind." instead of the regular examine text.
  • If the player asks Azzanadra for more seeds when he has already agreed to provide them, the game shows the message "Azzanadra is disappointed that you are asking him again when he's already offered you Zaros's experimental seed supplies." This is a reference to a long-running thread in the official lore forums titled "Azzanadra is dissappointed[sic]..."
  • When collecting the keys for the Necklace of Charos only the sliding puzzle needs to be completed. Opening the chests is not explicitly required.
  • If you bring the items you need with you to Charos when he sees the blueprint for the first time, he will ask you why do you carry those items around with you and the player will explain that they were guided by an external force to have these items ready for him.
  • During the section in Guthix's Cave when you re-assemble Sliske's mask, Sliske remarks that "I think you and I are destined to do this forever." This is a reference to The Dark Knight, with the Joker saying the same to Batman at the film's climax.
  • In the warped version of Naragun, it is still possible to collect the Naragi engram in Guthix's house.
  • Zarador's idea to appease the Elder Gods, "Perhaps you think we should put on a musical show? Placate these elders with song and dance?" is likely a reference to Rick and Morty, episode Get Schwifty, in which protagonists save the Earth by appeasing huge alien heads with their musical performance.
  • The portal in the Black Knight's Fortress can also be accessed on the floor above by standing on the tile directly above the portal.