How to solve the Oedipus puzzle in VtM: Swansong

Thomas Wilde
Game Skinny

Hate it when you find a puzzle-locked secret door in your shrink's office? Here's how to solve the Oedipus puzzle in VtM: Swansong.

One of the most difficult puzzles in Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong is found during Leysha's visit to the Red Salon. To find out more about her sire, Richard, and her own forgotten past, Leysha has to find a secret room in his offices, then unravel a peculiar layer of additional security by way of the Oedipus puzzle.

Like many of the trickier moments in Swansong, the problem you may have with the Oedipus-themed music box is simply figuring out what it is that you're meant to do in the first place, and how to use the handful of clues you've been given.

This guide will take you step by step through the solution. Naturally, this guide contains spoilers for Leysha's arc in Swansong, as well as for the game as a whole.

How to Solve Swansong's Oedipus Puzzle

Starting from Richard's office, the first clue is on the old computer that's been left running on the desk. Read the file, Observations on The Interpretation of Dreams (above image; click for full size), and pay close attention to the second and fourth paragraphs on the first page.

Against the advice he was given, Richard thinks you should start reading Freud with Volume 5. As such, check the hardcover volumes of Freud on the wall in his waiting room and pull them out in the following order: V, III, IV.

This reveals the next stage of security, which is the really tricky part: the Oedipus/swan puzzle. You do have everything you need to solve it, but it's hard to know where to start, which is an alarming overall trend in Swansong.

First, look at the Oedipus-themed paintings on the wall nearby, and note that they're out of order. They're arranged on the wall as #2, #4, #3, and #1. The caption on #2, "Oedipus pointing to the object of shame," is another useful clue for the puzzle's solution.

Each of the four paintings shows Oedipus pointing or looking in a specific direction. The exception is #4, which for you art history nerds, is a mirrored version of Jalabert's The Plague of Thebes. For whatever reason, at least as far as the puzzle is concerned, Antigone is the important figure in this painting, not Oedipus.

To put it more simply:

  • #1: Oedipus is pointing left
  • #2: Oedipus is pointing to the lower left.
  • #3: Oedipus is looking down.
  • #4: Antigone is looking to the lower right.

Return to the music box and arrange the four carved swans as such: ←, ⇙, ↓, ⇲ (below). This will complete the puzzle and open the door behind it.

Going through this door triggers a (clearly labeled) point of no return for the scene, so be sure you've settled all your business in the Red Salon before you go any further.

It's also worth noting that there's a lot of foreshadowing baked into this puzzle and the sequence leading up to it, especially if you've read Antigone's eponymous play. If you previously investigated Hazel's bedroom as Emem, it should also be a bright red flag that Richard's security puzzle prominently involves swans.

Either way, solving the Oedipus puzzle lets you go on to the second and final part of Leysha's scene in the Red Salon.