The Return of Talking Time

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  #1  
Old 08-29-2011, 08:36 PM
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Default That's the Second Biggest Onion I've Ever Seen. Let's Play Beyond Zork!




1987 was a tremulous time. President Ronald Reagan's prostate surgery left a nation unsure about its future, Max Headroom challenged what was expected from our soft drinks, and Infocom--once the king of the PC gaming world--was competing against this:





How could mere words compare to such retina-explodingly realistic graphics? The future looked dim for our scrappy little company. Innovating in the way games could tell stories and the themes they could portray just wasn't cutting it. Something had to be done. Text Adventures had to step up their game.





And so, Beyond Zork. Infocom put a lot of effort into modernizing the text adventure, to make it more than just white text on a blank screen. They added an auto-map to make navigation painless. You can prioritize what information you want displayed at all times: the room description, your inventory, or your stats. That's right, Infocom added those savors of any stilted gameplay: RPG Elements. You've got your stats, light combat, random dungeons, and a gaggle of weapons and spells. This isn't your daddy's Zork (well... it is, but... you know).

Another new feature is the ability to name objects in the game. So if we find a Iron Sword we can name it something like "Brigadoon's Horrible Cleaver of Death and Doom" and the game will refer to it as such from then on. Well, almost. The game is pretty finicky about what words we can use as names. But feel free to shout out suggestions. By the end I expect to be carrying an inventory full of the worst puns.

Beyond Zork may be my favorite Zork game. It was written by Brian Moriarty, who also helmed the acclaimed Trinity, and LucasArt's Loom. It's got an unique flavor, some great imagery, and the RPG stuff does add something new to the game.





Upon booting up Beyond Zork we're offered a choice of a randomized character, a pre-made one, or the chance to make our own. Of course, we'll be doing the later.

What we need to know is if we're a dude or a lady (there's no difference in gameplay, but some interactions are different), a name for our character, and how we'll distribute the stats. Will we be a strength based fighter, a clever mage, an agile thief, a clumsy nerd? It's up to you!





We've got 60 points to distribute into six categories. So a completely average character would have 11 in each.

Endurance is our HP. As we're hurt our Endurance will drop. When it reaches 0 the game ends. This stat will slowly refill as long as we're not engaged in combat. Resting or Waiting will help speed up the regeneration.

Strength determines how hard we hit, but also how much we can carry. Some things might be unmovable, and some actions will fail unless we have a high enough strength.

Dexterity is how nimble and quick we are. With out it we'll stumble around like a vampire-infatuated schoolgirl.

Intelligence is smarts. Some creatures might be intelligible without it and almost certainly more advanced magics will be beyond our grasp.

Compassion is power of heart. It may seem like a looser's stat, but a kind disposition might open doors that brute strength or cold intelligence can't.

And finally Luck is not to be underrated. Beyond turning the RMN in our favor it will also help a lot in combat rolls. Even with the strongest magics and most expensive equipment a bit of bad luck will fall the mightiest hero.

I'll start the game proper in a few days. Until then please suggest names, genders, and builds. As always out-of-character narration will be in royal blue and text from the game will be italicized within an inch of its life.




1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

In the meantime you might want to browse The Lore and Legends of Quendor, a book that came with the game chock full of interesting facts about the fauna and flora of Quendor's Southlands. Also, this map which covers all the major locations we'll be visiting.

I'm looking forward to this one, guys. I hope you do to. These things live and die by audience participation. So join in, I promise it'll be fun.

Last edited by Loki; 08-29-2011 at 10:27 PM.
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  #2  
Old 08-29-2011, 08:50 PM
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Oh man, Beyond Zork! This is the only Zork game that I ever spent much time on, and holy crap is it ever hard. Like, I had a walkthrough and I still couldn't finish it hard (stupid last cave). I'm really looking forward to seeing this one played and illustrated, mos def. Although I must admit it is really, really weird to see the game in red and black, since it was always white text on a blue background for me when I played it in DOS. Which version are you running here, Loki?
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Old 08-29-2011, 08:55 PM
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This and Zork Zero are easily the most interesting of the text-based Zork games. Though I don't think any in the series will top Return to Zork in sheer narm appeal. Fun Fact: I used to play this game with Canon in D playing in the background (mostly because that was the free MIDI file included with early Sound Blaster clones), and thus have come to associate it with that song. Which can get just a wee bit jarring when you consider how combat factors into the game.

I hate the randomizer with a passion, as has been well-documented, so I'm suggesting a character who's got loads of luck. For the other stats... eh, whatever's convenient. It's not like you can't boost the various stats throughout the game, after all.
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:31 PM
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I'm all for maxing out luck.
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:35 PM
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I vote for full luck, and compassion as a secondary priority.
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:41 PM
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I suggest Selphie: a lucky, compassionate, dexterous adventurer without a great deal of intelligence or endurance.
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  #7  
Old 08-29-2011, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by MCBanjoMike View Post
Which version are you running here, Loki?
The classic Mac version I'm used to was a simple black on white that was slick and easy to look at. Since that version doesn't work on Intel based Macs anymore I'm running it through Zoom. There's some graphical issues. I can't customize the colors sadly and the map doesn't display quite right, but it's nothing detrimental to gameplay.
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  #8  
Old 08-29-2011, 11:39 PM
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Put it all in luck. Sex: male, name: Gladstone.
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Old 08-30-2011, 12:30 AM
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I vote for a strong lady, because I want to see what happens when you start muscling in on Deptford's territory.
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Old 08-30-2011, 01:26 AM
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We're going to max the fuck out of Compassion, and then we are going to beat this game with the power of friendship.
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Old 08-30-2011, 01:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Bongo Bill View Post
We're going to max the fuck out of Compassion, and then we are going to beat this game with the power of friendship.
Also add luck, because if we're relying on the power of friendship, I have a feeling we're going to need as much luck as we can get.
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Old 08-30-2011, 02:04 AM
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Put it all in luck. Sex: male, name: Gladstone.
This is a good idea.

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Originally Posted by Bongo Bill View Post
We're going to max the fuck out of Compassion, and then we are going to beat this game with the power of friendship.
This is also a good idea.
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Old 08-30-2011, 03:10 AM
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Everything into Luck and Compassion. Everything.
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Old 08-30-2011, 05:43 AM
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We're going to max the fuck out of Compassion, and then we are going to beat this game with the power of friendship.
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Old 08-30-2011, 09:34 AM
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We're going to max the fuck out of Compassion, and then we are going to beat this game with the power of friendship.
And luck. In fact, more luck than compassion.

Also, female and I don't quite care what name as long as it isn't a terrible pun (no, there aren't any other kind of puns)
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Old 08-30-2011, 12:11 PM
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Beyond Zork is the only Zork I ever knew existed as a young person. I had played several of the Infocom games and having the map and the naming was a really nice feature. I liked that even if you didn't know what to do, there was a lot of places you could get and more than one way to try to tackle different problems. Less frustrating than a roadblock puzzle that you can't solve b/c the adventure game logic is unfathomable and so you either die over and over or quit in frustration. With Beyond Zord, a lot of times, I'd get stuck and just go somewhere else...

Tangentially related anecdote: my 14 year old nephew told me about the ability to type "zork" into the computer in CoD: Black Ops and I was like oh cool, "you have been eaten by a Grue." He looked at me like I was crazy. I was like, its from the game... Continued blank stares... damn kids...

Seems like luck and compasion are building a head of steam... I picture some happy, friendly, drunk, irish leprechaun... there's gotta be a good name in there somewhere...
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Old 08-30-2011, 12:39 PM
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51 luck 11 endurance no other points.
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  #18  
Old 08-30-2011, 02:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taeryn View Post
Tangentially related anecdote: my 14 year old nephew told me about the ability to type "zork" into the computer in CoD: Black Ops and I was like oh cool, "you have been eaten by a Grue." He looked at me like I was crazy. I was like, its from the game... Continued blank stares... damn kids...
Not just type, but you can play the whole game. Not that anyone did, you only need to boot it up to get the achievement. That would be a hell of a thing, if Treyarch made you play all the way through Zork in a shooter just for some gamerpoints.

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51 luck 11 endurance no other points.
I've got to throw a few in Endurance if nothing else to have at least a few HP to survive. I'm not entirely sure the game is winnable without some in Strength either, there's a lot of roadblocks at the start if you don't have it, but I'm willing to try if that's what you people want.
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Old 08-31-2011, 03:58 AM
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I guess you can spend a few points in absolute necessities.
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Old 09-01-2011, 11:57 AM
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"Our doom is sealed."
Y'Gael turned away from the window overlooking the Great Sea. "The Guildmaster nears the end of his final quest," she said softly. "When he succeeds, for succeed he will, our powers shall cease to be."
The silence was unbroken for a long minute. Then a tiny voice near the door peeped, "Forever?"
"No." The old woman leaned forward on her staff. "The Age of Science will endure long; no one in this room can hope to outlive it. But our knowledge need not die with us -- if we act at once to preserve our priceless heritage."
"Wherein lies your hope, Y'Gael?" demanded a salamander in the front row. "What Magick is proof against the death of Magick itself?"
Y'Gael's dry chuckle stilled the murmur of the crowd. "You forget your own history, Gustar. Are you not author of the definitive scroll on the Coconut of Quendor?"



A tumult of amphibious croaks and squeals drowned out Gustar's retort. Y'Gael hobbled over to a table laden with mystical artifacts, selected a small stone and raised it high.
"The Coconut is our only hope," she cried, her eyes shining in the stone's violet aura. "Its seed embodies the essence of our wisdom. Its shell is impervious to the ravages of Time. We must reclaim it from the Implementors, and hide it away before its secrets are forgotten!"
The shrill voice of a newt rose above the cheering. "And who will steal this Coconut from the Implementors?" he scoffed. "You, Y'Gael?"
The violet aura faded at his words. "Not I, Orkan," replied Y'Gael, shaking the lifeless stone and replacing it with a sigh. "The fabric of Magick is unravelling. We dare not rely on its protection. Another champion must be sought; an innocent unskilled in the lore of enchantment, who cannot know the price of failure, or recognize the face of death."
Orkan's squeak was skeptical. "Suppose your champion succeeds in this hopeless quest. What will become of the Coconut?"
Y'Gael turned to face the sea once more. "It will await the coming of a better age," she replied, her voice trembling with emotion. "An age beyond Magick, beyond Science ..."
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  #21  
Old 09-01-2011, 12:18 PM
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Here's the sitch'. Something is destroying magic. It's already turned the Guild of Enchanters into a bunch of lazy lizards. The head of the guild is supposed to be fixing the problem, but he's off playing with a bunch of useless cubes. Things are looking pretty dire. The only hope now is to seal all knowledge of magic into the legendary Coconut of Quendor and await a better time. The guild has decided that this super-duper important quest shouldn't be taken by someone with great skill and wisdom. Nope, the best person suited for this job is an inexperienced nobody with literally no skill, smarts, or strength.

He's a heck of a lucky guy though.



Yup, that's us: one dapper duck peasant with no life-skills whatsoever. We've made it this far by mooching off our rich uncle and generally lucking out. Now it falls on us to give up this life of ease and little responsibility to save the very essence of magic. If we had it our way we would never get involved with anything this strenuous but, as they say, life is like a hurricane.

Not that we know any of this, the magic, the guild, the coconut. Nope, we're just an ignorant adventurer doing our thing, solving puzzles, beating up beasties. Right now we have no goals, no direction, just a desire to explore. In fact let's do just that. We should probably look around and see just where we are first.



Here's Beyond Zork's interface, innovative as heck at the time. We've got descriptions in the box up top, map to the right, action down bellow. You can click on the map to move around if you've got one of those fancy new computers with a "mouse," but it's easier just to type directions.



And here's us: all luck, a little compassion, and nothing else. The thing is, I don't know if it's even possible to beat the game with this build. We're no match for even the weakest creatures. Our path is blocked at just about every turn, but I think I can make some progress... with luck. Past that, I have no clue. Certain puzzles are dependent on strength or wisdom or whatever. There's ways to make them grow, but I don't know if there's enough to get from 1% to a passing level. I'll try my best, but I'm just letting you know that we might have to start over and re-roll.

Suffice to say, this adventure won't be no easy pony-tale or cotton-tale. No siree. (Woo-oo!)
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  #22  
Old 09-04-2011, 10:51 PM
Kahran042 Kahran042 is offline
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So, are you looking for votes? Because if you are, I'll vote to go northwest for now. If not, sorry.
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  #23  
Old 09-09-2011, 07:28 PM
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The thing is, I don't know if it's even possible to beat the game with this build. We're no match for even the weakest creatures. Our path is blocked at just about every turn, but I think I can make some progress... with luck. Past that, I have no clue. Certain puzzles are dependent on strength or wisdom or whatever. There's ways to make them grow, but I don't know if there's enough to get from 1% to a passing level. I'll try my best, but I'm just letting you know that we might have to start over and re-roll.

Suffice to say, this adventure won't be no easy pony-tale or cotton-tale. No siree. (Woo-oo!)
I'm sensing . . . . skepticism. . .. . .

Go north.

(Actually, I know nothing about this game, but the mention of a large onion intrigued me. I don't know why.)
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Old 09-11-2011, 12:21 PM
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The thing is, I don't know if it's even possible to beat the game with this build. ... I'll try my best, but I'm just letting you know that we might have to start over and re-roll.
I fired up the game here, and was able to get to the middle game using this same character. So I think it is possible. There's one notable obstacle early on, but several ways around it.

In any case, Gladstone should definitely begin by applying his three best "skills":
  • Exploring fearlessly
  • Finding useful items lying around
  • Running away
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Old 09-11-2011, 02:14 PM
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Go east, because I like being contradictory.
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  #26  
Old 09-13-2011, 01:53 PM
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Sorry this has taken so long Zork fans(?), Baby's first birthday was this week and you have no idea how much effort goes into a one-year-old's party. Also, this game. This game. You guys stuck me with the worst build. I've died at least 30 times to the easiest enemies there are. It's like if you constantly got thwarted by that first Slime. Thanks for that. But I found a way, oh, I found a way.

So won't you gird your loins and get ready for...




We began on a hilltop overlooking a sheltered bay. Our choices were down towards a scruffy looking town or northwest in-land. We'll start there.

>nw
Edge of Storms
Gray fields extend to the west as far as you can see, under a sky black with thunderclouds.
A billboard stands in a patch of weeds.



Did you know that Disney ducks are way harder to draw than they look?

>x billboard
The billboard says,

WELCOME TO THE FIELDS OF FROTZEN
Last sign for next 120 bloits.

>w
Kerblam! Forks of lightning dance across your path, and the clouds boom with laughter.

>x weeds
The weeds remind you of your garden back home.


Ah, the Fields of Frotzen, we won't be going this way for a while.



Well? Oh my God
What??

If this was The Dallas Quest we could just blow that bugle we found in J.R.'s den and be on our way. Alas, we'll just have to find another way past this thunderstorm (and rampaging cattle).

>take weed
With a modest tug, a limp weed pops out of the ground.

>x weed
A marketing nymph appears on your keyboard. "You'll find a drawing of the limp weed in your Beyond Zork package. Bye!"
She disappears with a wink.


By Beyond Zork package, the marketing nymph is referring to The Lore and Ledges of Quendor. You guys did do your homework and gave it a read, didn't you? Don't worry, I've got you covered.



Yup, what we've found here is a bit of spenseweed. If we were in danger we could try eating it for a little health boost (not that it would do us any good with our measly 5 endurance), but that would render the game unwinnable. Yes, we've got our first dick move. Beyond Zork is actually pretty good about not doing this. Most puzzles have at least two solutions, if not more. However, I can't think of another for the one that requires the spenseweed. At least, Beyond Zork isn't nearly as bad as that opening screen from Return to Zork.


That's Japanese for "Fuck you!"

Pulling the weed here makes the game unwinnable. Nevermind it's the first thing you'll think to do and that you won't know you've fucked up until you're almost at the end of the game hours and hours later. Return to Zork, you're a class act. Also, that weed keeps you from dying to death from embarrassment on stage at a comedy club. It's safe to say that Activision well and truly had no idea what they were doing.

But! We've stood here too long talking about fields and weeds. Let's get a-going. Southeast to the Hilltop and then...

>e
You amble down the hill.



Cove
Gulls circle the far end of a wharf extending east across the cove. The street is dotted with shanties bleached by years of sun and salt.

>e
Wharf
Dank, fishy smells permeate this old wharf to its very bones. Far below, you hear the slurp of oily seawater against the piers.
An old sailor is seated before an easel, dabbing color onto a canvas.




x sailor
The old sailor's ice-blue eyes glance up from his work.
A movement draws your eye to the water, where a piece of driftwood is bobbing on the waves.

>hello sailor
The old sailor chuckles softly and nods. "Thought I 'membered you. Hello, boy."


Get it!? Zork in-joke! HAW.

>x canvas
A magnificent galleon is taking shape on the canvas, soaring across the sky on planes of sparkling Magick.



Saved at 300 dpi for all your high-resolution needs. Make it your desktop background... today!

>ask sailor about canvas
"Like it? Reminds me o' the good old days."

>take canvas
"Hands off," snaps the old sailor.
The piece of driftwood is beginning to float away.


Okay, okay. We get it, game. Don't let the driftwood get away. It's surely super-important. This random junk-wood is probably the key to the final puzzle or something. That's how these text adventures work, right?

>take driftwood
The driftwood begins to float out of reach as you bend over the side of the wharf. You strain your arm lower towards the water, lower... got it!
"Found yerself a genu-ine shillelagh there, boy," remarks the artist as you shake off the seawater. "Come in handy nowadays."


Actually, it's our first weapon! A genuine irish-bashing shillelagh ("ah, but t'was all in good fun"), or "club" for easy reference. Also, the first thing we can name. Throw out your suggestions for wacky monikers because shillelagh is a bitch to spell. Speaking of names...

>name sailor "Ishmael"
Alas; the old sailor already has a Name.


Not that we every learn what it is. Sadly, most NPCs aren't down with the re-naming biz. Not all of them of course. Maybe, even someday, we'll get to name a dinosaur.

>w
Cove
Gulls circle the far end of a wharf extending east across the cove. The street is dotted with shanties bleached by years of sun and salt.

>s
Outside Pub
Harsh laughter and mouthwatering aromas waft out from under the door of a shanty on the street's west side. The words "Ye Rusty Lantern, A Publick House" appear in fading script above a real rusty lantern, dangling from a hook.


I like this puzzle. Nice and subtle, and makes you pay attention to the descriptions.

>x lantern
The rusty lantern looks much as you'd expect it to after years of hanging outdoors.

>take lantern
You take the rusty lantern off the sign.


The old lantern, here cleverly hidden in plane sight. Now we ain't afraid of no grues.

>open door
You open the front door.
The wind changes direction again.

>w
The Rusty Lantern
Loud voices and clattering dishes make this smarmy dive sound busier than it really is. Your eyes sting from the greasy smoke drifting in from the kitchen.
A group of bandits is hogging the fireplace.
A bearskin rug is lying across the floor.

>x bandits
"Who're you starin' at?" demands a very large bandit. You wisely decide to turn your attention elsewhere.

>x rug
The bearskin rug is dreadfully old and ratty.

>w
You edge towards the kitchen.
Thwack! A dagger streaks past your ear, imbedding itself deep into the wall.
"Har!" chortles a bandit.

>take dagger
You take the rusty dagger off the wall.


And here's the second weapon, the rusty old dagger, what was casually tossed at our head. Honestly, I don't know what is better, the dagger or the shillelughlug. They both kinda super ultra suck. I tend to stick with the shilllaylay because it's so exotic.

>w
Kitchen
Coils of greasy steam rise from a cauldron bubbling over a roaring hearth. The ceiling is hung with crusty pots and strips of old meat.
A closed door in the corner bears the legend, "Keepeth Out."
A skinny old cook is bustling around the kitchen.
There's a giant onion here.




>x onion
This onion is about twice the diameter of a Frobozz Magic Beachball Company beachball.


That's the second biggest on-

The cook gives the giant onion an affectionate kick. "Nice, eh? Won second place at the Borphee County Fair."
The cook's scowl changes to a malicious grin. "Listen, boy," he says. "You look like somebody who knows a great vegetable when he sees one. You want this here onion? Okay. There's an old bottle of wine lyin' around downstairs somewhere. Bring it up to me in one piece, and the giant onion's yours." He glances at the cellar door and shudders. "Simple."


We have our first quest! Find some wine, get an onion. This will prove to be the hardest thing.

>open door
You open the cellar door.




Down there are the weakest monsters in the game. They will fucking murder me. The cook was right to be afraid. I don't have a hope of a prayer of a wish of a smidgeon of a chance. Of course, anywhere else is even worse. What's a duck to do?

Next time: Death, death, and death.
Also: more death.

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  #27  
Old 09-13-2011, 03:39 PM
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First and foremost, this is the best LP.

Second and... most secondary?

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This is the best screenshot.
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  #28  
Old 09-13-2011, 04:24 PM
Kahran042 Kahran042 is offline
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Might I suggest that you call the club Ishmael?
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  #29  
Old 09-13-2011, 04:25 PM
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Soren Highwind Soren Highwind is online now
Astral Traveller
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: College University
Posts: 3,861
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kahran042 View Post
Might I suggest that you call the club Ishmael?
I second this.
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  #30  
Old 09-13-2011, 04:36 PM
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Loki Loki is offline
#deadfish2017
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 14,584
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Octopus Prime View Post
First and foremost, this is the best LP.

Second and... most secondary?



This is the best screenshot.
The best screenshots never end when it comes to The Dallas Quest.





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