Waaay back when, when HB: Redeemer came out, I promised ten pounds of books to the first person to post a correct translation of the coded message from its introduction here.
No one broke it.
In 2001, I sold an annotated copy of the book at auction, including big hints about the cipher.
The buyer didn't break it.
Then he posted the hints for other codebreakers to consider. THEY didn't break it.
Finally, after a concensus seemed to emerge, I agreed to reveal all when I got my author copies of "Days of Fire", provided that no one broke the code in the interim.
Today, that book arrived.
How the Cipher Worked
The cipher was actually two overlapping ciphers. I took the base message and split it in half. The first half was encoded on (IIRC) the up and down axis of the symbols, with the second on the right-left axis. (Or maybe vice versa. Or maybe it was the 3:00 and 9:30 positions. Remember, I did this years ago.) I thought the gig was just about up when someone figured that angle out and posted it on RPG.NET. But according to that poster, the frequencies didn't work for letter frequencies in English.
Which makes sense, because the message was in French. Break the cipher and here's what you get.
AMBROSE J'AI MENÈ L'ENQUÊTE QUE TU AS DEMANDÉE STOP IL APPARAÎT QUE CETTE NOUVELLE MENACE N'EST PAS SI NOUVELLE QUE *A STOP JE CROIS QUE LES LASOMBRA EURENT DES PROBLEMES IDENTIQUES VERS LE DÉBUT DU QUATORZIEME SIECLE MAIS IL Y A PEU DE CHANCES QUE NOUS RECEVIONS UNE RÉPONSE DIRECTE DE LEUR PART STOP SI LA LÉGENDE DES CRÂNES DE VERRE HURLANTS A UN FOND DE VÉRITÉ IL POURRAIT Y AVOIR UN RAPPORT STOP JE NE SAIS PAS POURQUOI IL Y AURAIT UNE BRUSQUE RÉSURGENCE APRES DES ANNÉES DE SOMMEIL A MOINS QUE LA GÉHENNE NE SOIT VRAIMENT LA STOP DE TOUTES MANIERES D'APRES LES RAPPORTS ACTUELS NOUS SAVONS QU'ILS POSSEDENT LES POUVOIRS SUIVANTS STOP ILS MANIPULENT LES ESPRITS STOP ILS PEUVENT MANIFESTER UNE RAPIDITÉ ET UNE FORCE SURHUMAINES STOP LEURS SENS SONT SURNATURELS STOP ON LES A OBSERVES EN BOSNIE A LOS ANGELES ET AILLEURS STOP QUELLES SONT LEURS FAIBLESSES JE NE PUIS ENCORE LE DEVINER STOP DÉSOLÉE STOP SINCEREMENT MARGUERITE
Translated into English, that roughly means...
AMBROSE I HAVE MADE THE INVESTIGATIONS YOU REQUESTED STOP IT APPEARS THAT THIS NEW THREAT IS NOT REALLY ALL THAT NEW STOP I BELIEVE THE LASOMBRA HAD SIMILAR PROBLEMS AROUND THE TURN OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY BUT WE ARE UNLIKELY TO GET A STRAIGHT ANSWER OUT OF THEM STOP IF THERE IS ANYTHING TO THE LEGEND OF THE SCREAMING GLASS SKULLS THERE COULD BE A CONNECTION STOP I DO NOT KNOW WHY THERE IS SUCH A SUDDEN RESURGENCE AFTER YEARS OF DORMANCY UNLESS IT REALLY IS GEHENNA STOP IN ANY EVENT FROM THE CURRENT REPORTS WE KNOW THAT THEY POSSESS THE FOLLOWING POWERS STOP THEY CAN MANIPULATE SPIRITS STOP THEY CAN HARNESS SUPERHUMAN SPEED AND STRENGTH STOP THEY HAVE PRETERNATURALLY KEEN SENSES STOP THEY CAN PRODUCE FIRE STOP THESE HAVE BEEN OBSERVED IN BOSNIA IN LOS ANGELES AND ELSEWHERE STOP WHAT THEIR PARTICULAR WEAKNESSES ARE I CANNOT YET SPECULATE STOP SORRY STOP SINCERELY MARGUERITE
What this refers to is a bit of intra-game wonkery based on the V:tM plotline about the Kindred of the East starting to mess 'round with western-style vampires.
There it is! If you enjoyed it, take a stab at the cipher in "Days of Fire," though in that case you get the spoiler on how to decipher it three pages from the end.