Acererak commends thy keen awareness, so makest what thou will of this small clue,
which I award for sake of sport and fairness; I'll claim thy soul no matter what thou do.
Beyond the tormentor or through the arch, the second painted hall shall thou discover.
Shun green if thou art wise but fear not march through shroud of hue the same as midnight's cover.
In shades of blood thy cunning shall be tested, but wit alone shall not thy cause avail.
A coward or a fool shall be there be bested, for those who risk not death are doomed to fail.
In chapel hid behind a veil of pitch, a loop of magic metal thou must pay
to reach the inner sanctum of the lich, or else pass through the mist and wend thy way.
Two pits that shall be found along thy path precede a most fortuitous of falls.
These keys and those the greatest import hath, but beware trembling hands and that which mauls.
Whence thou dost find the false thou finds the true, and underfoot thy path shall onward lead.
The hall of pillars then thou must pass through, to find the throne which is both key and keyed.
The iron men with countenance of gloom hide more than meets at first the viewer's eye.
When thou hast left and left and found my tomb, the time at last shall come for thee to die.
Two stanzas in particular require a bit of explanation: first of all, "Shun green if thou art wise but fear not march through shroud of hue the same as midnight's cover" pulls double-duty as a warning against going into the green devil's mouth (you're supposed to shun green, and black is not a hue), and as the key to solving my version of the arch of mist puzzle. It always bothered me that the only real way to "solve" the "puzzle" of the arch is to randomly guess the correct sequence, or try each combination of the stones in sequence until you brute force your way to the solution. And even that relies on intuiting that you're supposed to press all three stones in a particular sequence, which is not indicated in any way that I can tell. So, for my version, I wanted the arch to give some kind of feedback. Press a stone, it turns off. Press it again, it turns on. The mist between the archway changes color depending on which stones are turned on. With all three turned off, the mist disappears and it's just a dead-end room. With one stone on, the mist is the same color as the stone. With two or more stones on, the mist turns the color you'd get when combining light of those colors. The thing is, the primary colors of light are red, green, and blue. Yellow and orange are both combinations of different amounts of red and green. Therefore, if either the yellow or orange stone is turned on, you are not shunning green, and will be taken to the forsaken prison. Only by going through the misty veil when it's of hue the same as midnight's cover (i.e. midnight blue) will you be taken to the four-armed statue.
Then there's the very next stanza, "In shades of blood thy cunning shall be tested, but wit alone shall not thy cause avail. A coward or a fool shall be there be bested, for those who risk not death are doomed to fail." Apart from "shades of blood" this is an original addition, which ties into a logic puzzle I wanted to incorporate to add some spice to the chamber of three chests. When a PC enters the chamber of three chests (either through the red sphere or the secret door out of the forsaken prison), a magic mouth spell is triggered that explains the parameters of the logic puzzle:
"One chest contains a treasure thou shall need; which one, the lying statue only knows.
But no reward shall herein come of greed; the other two hold naught but deadly foes."
So, this lets the players know that one of the chests has something they need, and the other two will release monsters if opened. Of course, the players are free to just open all three chests if they're willing to risk their lives in the fight, but it also hints that they can find a clue from "the lying statue," which refers to the three-armed statue in area 11 (though it's actually four-armed in my version). I've already expressed my consternation with the statue puzzle as-written. So, mine has all four arms attached. Three hands are open, the fourth is closed. Sacrifice three gems to the three open hands, and the fourth hand opens. Do it again, and the fourth hand closes, but doesn't crush a gem that has been placed in it. Do it a third time, the fourth hand opens again, and now the gem that had been placed there has been replaced with a gem of seeing. Same idea, clearer feedback that what the players are doing is having some kind of effect, and now the math works out correctly to boot. However, now instead of the statue's original quote about "look to the fourth to find your gain," it speaks the clue to the riddle of the three chests:
"I speak the truth but once and tell two lies. The chest of gold is full of poisonous asps.
The silver chest contains thy promised prize. Inside the silver chest a demon's trapped."
Now, this clue is a bit mean. If one assumes "I speak the truth but once and tell two lies" is not self-referential, one might be lead to believe that the gold chest has the treasure. If only one of the three statements is true, and two of the statements are about the silver chest, and contradict each other, then one of those must be the true statement and the other must be a lie. But regardless of which is which, the statement about the gold chest being full of asps would be a lie either way. This, however, is a misdirection. The first statement doesn't exclude itself, and therefore cannot be true, since if it was, the other three sentences would all be lies, but it says it only tells two. Now, one might be inclined to think this makes the statue's statement completely useless, but it does actually give some information: specifically, at least two of the statue's statements must be true. Now, you can work out the truth tables if you like, but what it comes down to is, either "the chest of gold is full of poisonous asps" and "the silver chest contains thy promised prize" or "the chest of gold is full of poisonous asps" and "inside the silver chest a demon's trapped" must be true, but there's not enough information to determine which is the case. But in either case, "the chest of gold is full of poisonous asps" must be true. So, if the players manage to work this out, they can eliminate the gold chest as a possibility. That still leaves either the silver chest or the oak chest as possibly containing the treasure. And, going back to the clue in the entry hall, we know that "wit alone shall not [the PCs'] cause avail". The only way to get the magic ring is to risk the possibility of having to face a deadly foe, which is why "those who risk not death are doomed to fail."
Finally, I re-wrote the message hidden in the collar of the gargoyle (which I replaced with a giant four-armed gargoyle from Tomb of Annihilation) to match the iambic pentameter of the other poems, so it now says:
Look low and high to find the orb of gold and sacrifice there made shan't be in vain,
for thou shall hear a tale of things untold, and to the fourth hand look to find thy gain.
This replaces the hint to "look to the fourth to find your gain" since I changed the statue's recorded message. It also removes the misleading segment about "the archway at the end and on your way you'll wend," though I moved that to be part of the fourth stanza of the poem in the entry hall. In that context, I think it's more clearly a warning rather than a hint.