If you wander around the cleared area on Jungle Island you're sure to come across this axe. Obviously the axe was used by villagers in clearing the area, but using an axe to cut down trees as thick as those on Riven would be a laborious task indeed. The Rivenese would have needed some form of saw. Since Riven has a completely different culture to ours you would expect their saws to look completely different. If you look closely you should see a small handle lying near the axe. Also hard to see is the wire which most likely connects to another handle. This wire would be highly abrasive andhandle therefore bite into the tree like a normal saw. This tool could have then been what was used to cut the bigger trees.


When you first approach the gate to enter the jungle from the cleared area you'll notice a golden beetle crawling up the post. Have a closer look and you'll see that it is one of the beetles that Gehn gets ingredients for his ink from. If you pass your hand over the beetle it will fly away, providing an important clue for later on. If you miss the clue first time around, don't worry, the beetles make multiple appearances throughout the jungle area. They will fly through your field of vision in sweeping paths, or hover around the lights at the edge of the paths.

lava pit

An example of Riven's instability can be seen on the Jungle Island. If you stop on the stairs leading up to the sentry grotto and look down and to the sides, you'll see a glowing hot lava pit. With things like this appearing on the surface it can't be too long before the whole island collapses. Note the red 'roses' surrounding the pit, which seem to thrive on the heat. The villagers pick these and take them to the Temple as offerings to the Wahrk.

birds in grotto

If, when you first enter the sentry grotto leading to the village, you come down the stairs from the cleared area, you'll see something most people don't find. As you enter, a small group of birds will be startled and fly away. It's hard to capture this moment in a screen-shot, but you can just make out one of them in this picture, highlighted next to the sentry post as it darts into the sky.

treesiconThere seems to be something not quite right about the large trees in the jungle. For some reason they have been stripped of all but the very bottom of their bark. It's very unlikely that this is the natural way that they grow, so Gehn must have stripped them for a purpose. If you look closely at the religious icons in the Gateroom on Temple Island you may see the reason for this de-barking. One of the icons shows one of the trees 'shedding' paper.

The question is, 'Why didn't Gehn just chop down the whole tree?' Perhaps the bark is a special ingredienttrees in the making of the D'ni paper, and therefore all he needs. Or perhaps he needed more wood but wanted to retain some forested area. Something to note however is that the leaves on the trees are dying and brown which probably means the trees will die soon as well. Not that Gehn cares anymore, since he is writing himself a new age with all the materials he'll need for book making.


Sitting on one of the desks in the villagers school is a strange five segmented fruit. Even though the fruit has these five segments and is strangely purple, there doesn't seem to be anything too out of the ordinary about it. You might be surprised however to find out where it grows. In the jungle you will find some rather large mushrooms. These mushrooms have some strangebowl of fruit 'appendages' growing from them. These 'appendages' are actually that very same fruit found in the school.

wahrk totem

The Wahrk Totem hidden in the forest serves two purposes. It both provides Gehn access to his 'secret' areas (ie. the lower MagLev station and the upper levels of the jungle), and it stops the villagers from finding these same areas. Due to Gehn's almost sadistic use of the Wahrk as both a symbol and a sacrificing tool, the villagers have developed a great respect and fear of the giant sea creature, so much so that they are almost petrified at the sight of either it, or it's likeness. It would be very unlikely for them to even approach this totem, let alone step into it's open mouth.

sunnersOne of the more interesting creatures to be found in Riven are the Sunners. These large sea creatures get their name from the fact that they enjoy lying on rocks and 'sunning' themselves for hours on end. When they're not warming themselves in the sun they are swimming out in the ocean or feeding. The Sunners have a curious way of gaining sustenance. They 'strain' the plankton in the water using a method called 'baleen feeding'. Many whales use this method as well.

In these animals teeth have been replaced with large structures, known as baleen plates, that hang like vertical venetian blinds from the upper jaw. The plates are frayed into bristles on their inner edges, and are used to capture the plankton on which the animals subsist. When feeding, a baleen whale swims with its mouth open in order to engulf plankton and sea water by the ton. Then, shutting its mouth and pressing its tongue against the back of the baleen bristles, the whale forces the water out of its mouth, trapping the plankton on a mat of overlapping baleen.

sunnersBecause of their size the Sunners are hunted by the villagers both for food, and for their pelts, which are made into rudimentary clothing and pouches. Because they are hunted, the Sunners are very weary of humans in particular. Unfortunately, they don't have very good eyesight, and you can therefore sneak up on an unwary one. They do have fairly sensitive hearing though and their eyes can pick up on movement, so hunters must be very quiet and very still in order to get close to one.

animal shapes

One of the biggest clues for identifying the animals in the Moiety stone puzzle, is often the one most overlooked. When you roll the small wooden 'eye' balls, they make a sound corresponding to a certain animal and give you a D'ni number so you can put them in the right order. This sound association is the most common method for solving this puzzle but there is another.
When you find one of the 'eyes', just take a few steps back and look closely. You should notice the shape of the animal that corresponds with that 'eye', with the 'eye' in the position (in most cases) where it would be on the real animal. The only exception to this is the Sunner. Cyan were clever enough to realise that if they put in the Sunner's shape then you wouldn't have to creep up on them to hear their throaty bark, which would probably weaken the puzzle.
The shape of the Webber (ie. the fish) is hidden a little better though. Since the 'eye' ball is in the middle of the village lake you can't see it from the right angle. To do so you must travel to Survey Island and go to the Wahrk Throne Room. Once there you must look in the village viewer and point it towards the village entrance cave.

sentry postEver since the Moiety started to become more bold, the villagers have needed some way to warn them of their attacks. To this end, they set up two sentry posts at either entrance to the village crater and keep them occupied at all times. The task of manning these posts is probably left up to Gehn's Guild of Maintainers, the 'elite' guard. You may be wondering how they get in and out of these little rooms on sticks. Well if you look at the post in the village you can see the door. From there they must either throw out some sort of rope ladder or simply slide down the pole (it's either that or jump :o)

village entrance mural

As you wander through the village entrance cave you may notice the mural on the wall. Although it's slightly difficult to make out, this mural depicts Gehn's horrible treatment of those that he deems have been unfaithful to his 'religion', or even those who just step-out-of-line, so to speak. In the centre is a figure meant to represent Gehn. At the bottom are two hungry Wahrks waiting to be fed with the two hapless villagers being held above. Above the figure is a five-pointed star enclosed in a circle, making a scaled down version of Gehn's symbol.


When you first enter the village through the main entrance you will surprise some of the villagers. Even though they have had fair warning from the sentry posts, there are still a few stragglers that haven't made it to their huts. You can see some villagers near the submarine and another crawling into one of the huts. The most notable however, is the little girl playing on the lower walkway. Obviously blind to the 'danger' that the other villagers perceive, it takes her mother to come down and carry her off to safety.


To gain access to most of the huts found in the village, the villagers would have to get on their hands and knees and crawl through the door in the front. There are a few exceptions however. In a couple of places the huts are built against the crater walls, some of these huts have trap doors. The villagers must climb up ladders to get to them and enter through the floor. Most likely these huts are built around recesses in the rock to give the occupants more interior room.

scopeSituated in the centre of the village's lake is a small outcropping of rock. Atop this outcropping is a small telescope like device. This device is somehow connected to Gehn's Survey Island Throne Room. From there he uses his viewing equipment to keep tabs on the villagers and ensure they aren't doing anything that he would deem 'unsuitable'. In his Book Assembly Island journal he writes on the subject, "Last week, while monitoring the situation of the villagers from the scope in my survey room, I observed one of the natives swim out to a small object that appeared to be floating, but anchored, near the entrance to the bay."
village viewerHere is a little background history on this viewer provided by Richard Watson of Cyan. "In the original design, the viewer in the centre of the lake near the village was always meant to be pointing toward you. Gehn (or one of his followers) had an eye on you the whole time... But moving that viewer in every single shot that you can see it from turned out to be a nightmare, so it wasn't done." That certainly would have been creepy!


When you climb up the ladder in the village you'll come face to face with one of the huts. If you approach that hut you'll find that the door has a knocker on it. So go ahead and knock! :o) If you knock five times (ie. the magic number), one of the occupants will open up a small peephole. After a few seconds of looking at you scornfully she'll slam it shut, never to be seen again. How rude!


You may have noticed that the villagers wear clothes :o) So of course they also have to wash them,clothes and then hang them out to dry. If, when wondering around the village, you happen to look in the right places, you'll see some of these clothes hanging on the line.

raised sub

Before you pull the lever to lower the sub why not go in and get a closer look. While it's up you can still open the hatchsubmarine and jump inside. Of course there's not a whole lot to do in it while it's up there, but you do get a nice view of the village huts.


The various 'sub-stations' in the village lake are situated in some strange holes in the water. It appears as if Gehn has created them, but this is not the case. As you should know, Riven's water has a strong aversion to heat. These 'holes' are actually caused by thermal heated gas rising from the ocean floor. Gehn has simply taken advantage of them, and if you look around the lake you will even see other holes that he hasn't used.

ovenSince there's not a whole lot of land on Riven, the villagers aren't exactly what you'd call farmers. The few 'organic' food sources that they have come from what is now left of the jungle area. The main food found there is the five segmented fruit growing on the large mushrooms. However, because of this land shortage the villagers mainly became fisherman and hunters. Unfortunately, most of the land dwelling creatures have either been hunted out, or were unable to survive in Riven's deteriorating state.
Riven's main food sources now come from the sea. The biggest of these sea creatures are the Sunners. These animals like to come out of the water to 'sun-bake'webbers on rocks, hence their name. The Sunners have become very weary of humans now and are very sensitive to movement, making them notoriously hard to catch. The piece of meat found cooking in the oven on the sub-platform is most likely Sunner meat. The other main food source the villagers get from the sea are the Webbers. These small fish can be seen hanging throughout the village along with the nets used to catch them.

school room

In order for Gehn to recreate his version of the D'ni civilisation he needs to write thousands of ages. He can't however, do it all by himself. To make the process quicker he has gone about teaching select members of the Rivenese villagers to write in D'ni for him. At first he only had a small 'guild' of villagers doing this. Now he is teaching the children while their minds are still 'malleable'.
He is cautious not to teach them enough that they can write ages themselves though, but the clever ones, or more specifically Catherine, was able to gain Gehn's trust and learn the secrets he was hiding from the rest.


The 'teachings' scribbled on the schoolroom blackboard are just another example of the propaganda Gehn uses on the villagers, only here it's being beaten into Riven's young minds.

In D'ni it says...

rehlehsh okh gehn
gehn kehnehn nahvahot
gehn komahrnehn seht
gehn kodormahdehn aytris

Which translated means...

The rules of Gehn
Gehn is our master
Gehn created us
Gehn defeated Atrus

spelling test

Just like in any school, teachers tend to give their students unexpected tests. Sitting on one of the tables in the school room is just one of these tests. This particular spelling test consisted of ten different words. If you look closely however, you'll see that one of the words is wrong and has been corrected by the teacher. It's kind of ironic to note that this particular word is actually the name of Riven's god, Gehn.

counting gameQuite often entertainment is used to teach children (and some adults :o). In Riven, a small game is used to teach the children the D'ni number symbols.
This game takes a fairly macabre form though as it's meant to be aearly render of the counting game representation of the Wahrk gallows Gehn uses to sacrifice miscreants. Also seen here is an early render of the game from Tony Davidson's Yantra 3D site.

school lightThere are many places in Riven that you can see D'ni writing. But there are also a few more places that you can't see it unless you really look. One such place is on the special lights located in the school room. These lights are highly decorated with intricate patterns and representations of Wahrks. What isn't obvious until you look closely is that there is something written on them in D'ni script as well. In an early render from the school the lights cast strong shadows from these patterns on the walls. Since these school lightshadows are a lot bigger than the patterns on the lights you can easily see the writing.

In D'ni it says...
t'gehn pahnet

Which translated means...
In Gehn we trust

wahrk gallowsThe Wahrk gallows is a very sinister device. Whenever a villager stepped out of line or in some way displeased Gehn, they would be fed to the Wahrk. The Wahrk gallows was where this 'feeding' took place. Gehn would probably command one or two of the villagers to lock the prisoner's legs into the manacles at the top of the gallows. When they were ready, Gehn, in his usual 'god' like way, would mysteriously appear on his throne above, and prepare to open the iris below. The sorry individual that was dangling by their legs would then be lowered into the jaws of the hungry Wahrk below. If Gehn was in a particularly good mood, or if the prisoner repented their 'sins', Gehn might decide not to kill them, thus proving that he could be a fair and merciful god when he chose.
wahrk gallowsWhen you finally make it over to the Wahrk gallows you had better be careful. Swimming around nearby is the mythical creature itself. As you approach the gallows along the landing you may hear the Wahrk's low mournful call as it swims by. Then as you wander onto the main part of the gallows you'll hear a loud banging sound. This noise is in fact the Wahrk banging into the gallows trying to knock you off and get itself a nice feed.


When you arrive at the top of the Wahrk gallows you'll come across a small prison cell. Look closely into the cell and you'll find that it is currently occupied. However, unlike many this cells past occupants, this man isn't about to be fed to the Wahrk. The 'prisoner' is actually a rebel maintenance man, working on the hidden door that leads to the Moiety tunnels from inside the prison. He hears you operating the gallows machinery below, and suspecting that you'll be coming up soon, pretends to be asleep. He then sneaks through the passage and escapes while you're watching the cell open. He goes on to warn the rest of the Moiety in Tay, which is why they're waiting for you in the linking cave when you arrive. He also disabled the lights in the tunnel and closed the door, in an attempt to lead you astray.

locking wheel

If you look closely at the wheel used to unlock the jail cell above the Wahrk gallows, you can see some very small D'ni writing. It's too hard to make out and translate so no-one, except maybe somebody at Cyan, knows exactly what it says. It's pretty safe to assume however that it's some sort of ominous quote made to glorify Gehn or intimidate the villagers with fear. It could even be something condemning the prisoner or stating the righteousness of Gehn's cause.

moiety water

The linking book to the Rebel age Tay is well hidden. Firstly you have to find the entrance to the Moiety's secret tunnels, and then solve a complex puzzle. This level of security was most important to the Moiety. If Gehn were ever to gain access to their age, he would most certainly kill them all. When you find the linking cave you still need to solve the puzzle before you find the book. At the end of the cave is a strange pool of water floating vertically against the wall. Behind this pool can be seen a panel with the Moiety dagger symbol on it. When you solve the puzzle the water will slowly move away from the panel which then slides up revealing the linking book. If you turn around you will find that the water has flowed along channels to the back of the room, and is now floating around the cave entrance.

burnt book

To write a safe refuge for the rebels to escape to, Catherine had to get her hands on one of Gehn's descriptive books called 'kormahn'. In a stroke of luck, a few years before hand, one of the Moiety had stolen a book from Gehn. Since, as with all of Gehn's books, it was defective Gehn had discarded it. He was unable to link to the age he had written, and so had intended to destroy the book. To do so he had thrown it in his fire-place to burn. Fortunately for the Moiety only the edges of the pages had been burnt, and it seemed mostly intact. Catherine went about modifying the age and creating a way to power the book. When all was complete, the Moiety linked to the new age. Since the Moiety were unable to steal a linking book to use in the descriptive books place, the burnt book is still being used in the linking cave from Riven.

Since a lot of the information I have put up here is based on my own interpretations, some of it may be incorrect. If you think there is a problem with anything here, please fill out this form, and send it to me. Or, if you have anything that you think I should add, also please fill out this form. Thank you.

Last update, 26-oct-1999 author:Stewart Bradford
temple island
jungle island
book assembly island
survey island
prison island
tay (rebel age)
gehn's 233rd age
misc. information
easter eggs

All Riven images and text 1996, 1997 Cyan, Inc. All rights reserved Riven Cyan, Inc.