This was probably my least favorite puzzle in any game I have played. I figured out I needed bronze, so I carried a bronze knife in with me. Nothing happened, so I gave up until later. Then from the forum I learned that you have to be covered in bronze. That's just no fun. If you have one bronze item, you have gotten the point of the puzzle. Having to cover yourself in bronze is just beating a dead horse.
I did the same thing, first thing I did was go in there with a bronze knife.
In my opinion: if a puzzle is so obscure (or difficult to test) that you have to go to the forums to verify your guess or find out the answer . . . it's not a puzzle that I really like. Decking yourself out in bronze is something, true, that might come to a person's head as a possibility, but it takes some time to collect all those items, and that problem eliminates this option from a gamer's possibilities . . . making the puzzle unsolvable unless you're willing to cheat (like we did).
Maybe if the 'riddle' had been more specific... .
But here's another problem, and maybe this is just me being picky about the writing, again, but: why would this guy put that sign up? Surely not to remind himself? If it's to give a clue to somebody in case he dies . . . well, it's not specific enough, and anyhow: too risky to put that plaque up there if it gives away the secret. What if somebody who isn't supposed to get it comes along? I mean, it's a good thing it was US who came along and then properly put it away at the library where he would've wanted it. Best for him: to tell somebody he trusted.
One of these would've been his sister, of course, which would've become problematic since she would've easily been able to get a hold of it, but this is also just the sort of narrative twist that people like, in a story. Maybe she knows the answer but it for some reason unable to obtain the material(s) needed to activate the teleport?
However: he surely would've had scholarly friends & contacts. Maybe the guy at the library knew him? Maybe Ruel would've told him
how to access the room?
Maybe we should've had to go to somebody like him
in order to get a hold of the secret?