The Return of Talking Time

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  #1  
Old 01-12-2009, 06:17 PM
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Default Your greatest challenge lies ahead- and downwards: Let's Play Zork!

Way back in 1976 some graduate students at MIT played Advent. They were inspired to created a game like it, not just an expansion of it as other gaming enthusiasts had done. They resolved to make a better and larger game. They set out to make a masterpiece of interactive fiction. After two years of development the game was so large that it required all of MITís computer network to run. They named their game ďZorkĒ after a nonsense word popular in the MIT computer labs. It was a sprawling and messy jumble of every idea the students had.

When the students graduated they formed a computer software company. They felt that the future of computing was in business software. In order to create the spreadsheet program they had in mind they needed something to provide starting revenue. They took Zork, cleaned it up, cut it in half, and through some clever programming created a version that could run on home computers. Zork was a huge success and all thoughts of spreadsheets were forgotten. Over the course of the next five years Infocom text adventures were the pinnacle of home gaming. And they were all just text- white words on a black screen.

ďWe stick our graphics where the sun donít shine. Youíll never see Infocomís graphics on any computer screen. Because thereís never been a computer built by man that could handle the images we produce. We draw our graphics from the limitless imagery of your imagination Ė a technology so powerful, it makes any picture thatís ever come out of a screen look like graffiti by comparison. And nobody knows how to unleash your imagination like Infocom. Through our prose, your imagination makes you part of our storiesÖ ď

Infocomís games ran from light fantasy to hard science fiction. From Lovecraftian horror to poignant political commentary. From surrealism to pulp romance. They cemented a tradition of interactive fiction that continues to this day. In this Letís Play weíll go back to where it began. Our adventure lies ahead, and downwards, into Zork.

This Letís Play will exist in two separate spaces. In character narration will be normal text while my comments on the game and its history will be in this stately blue. Inspired by Brickroadsís Rhem LP Iíll travel around the areas locating puzzles and do the general exploring but it will be up to you guys to do the hard work. If youíve played Zork before please donít ruin puzzles by shouting out the solutions before people have had a chance to solve them. And please donít do yourself a disservice by looking up a FAQ. Zork can be hard and it isnít always fair but there is great satisfaction to be had at solving the puzzles yourself. At the end of each post Iíll put a list of puzzles left unsolved and what items Iím currently lugging around. Like the Shadowgate LP there will also be a death toll and an update on our current score. I say ďourĒ because I want this is a letís play. Weíre going through this together. The more you participate the better this LP will be. With that said letís get started.



Last edited by Loki; 05-01-2018 at 09:05 AM.
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  #2  
Old 01-12-2009, 06:18 PM
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I am standing in a clearing west of a white house. Iím lost and donít know where I am. I came here looking to get rich, this being the usual reason anyone wanders from the safety of their home out into the wider world. But why here, this forest, this continent?

Two hundred and eighty two years ago king Duncanthrax the Bellicose discovered the great natural caverns that exist here in the Eastlands. Realizing that by expanding these caves he could increase the size of his kingdom tenfold he started a massive cavern-building project. By the time his great-great-grandson King Dimwit Flathead the Excessive took the throne The Great Underground Empire was as large below ground as it was above. Lord Dimwit lived up to his title and started a number of immense projects that required millions of zorkmids to come to fruition. He filled the underground with treasure and gold and Iím here to get a piece of it.

Unfortunately, at the end of his reign Dimwit angered a powerful wizard who put a curse on him and all of his descendents. This curse came to fruition sixty-five years ago when the last of Dimwitís line (Wurb Flathead) died and castle Flatheadia disappeared. Most of the entrances to the now abandoned underground were forgotten. All those riches are just ripe for the taking.

I arrived at Port Foozle this morning, picked up some provisions, and asked if anyone knew where castle Flatheadia used to be. An old fisherman pointed me in the direction of this forest where Iíve been wandering around for hours. I finally stumbled upon this house. Maybe whoever lives here can help me out.

Really though, I think Iím over my head here. Iím not too smart and Iíve got a feeling that getting rich is going to require some real wit. Iím hoping you guys will be able to help me out. Iíll describe everything I see and keep a map of the area. If you need to me to go someplace specific just tell me to and Iíll navigate there on my own. Also, I have to warn you that Iím a bit of kleptomaniac. I tend to pick up everything that isnít nailed down. Itís not stealing if no one sees you do it, right?

I picked up a couple of items in Port Foozle that should be of big help. First, I got a box of pastels made by the Frobozz Magic Pastel Company. Iíll draw pictures of each location I see and any important items I find. Documenting this adventure seems a wise course of action. Secondly, I got a Frobozz Magic Personal Crystal Company personal crystal (or PC for short). This device allows me to talk to you guys and show you my pictures. I spent the last of my zorkmids to get the advanced version will allows me to SAVE the state of things and then RESTORE myself to that state if I need to. This should come in handy as the Underground Empire is sure to be dangerous. You guys donít need to tell me when to SAVE. I can handle that on my own.

Alright! Let me look around and tell you guys exactly where I am.
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  #3  
Old 01-12-2009, 06:19 PM
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Excellent. I hope to participate in this one if I can.
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  #4  
Old 01-12-2009, 06:27 PM
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Quote:
ZORK I: The Great Underground Empire
Copyright (c) 1981, 1982, 1983 Infocom, Inc. All rights reserved.
ZORK is a registered trademark of Infocom, Inc.
Revision 88 / Serial number 840726

West of House
You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door.
There is a small mailbox here.


Oh... maybe no one lives here after allÖ letís seeÖ

Quote:
>open mailbox
Opening the small mailbox reveals a leaflet.

>read leaflet
(Taken)
"WELCOME TO ZORK!

ZORK is a game of adventure, danger, and low cunning. In it you will explore some of the most amazing territory ever seen by mortals. No computer should be without one!"
I donít understand a word this leaflet says. Iíll just put it back in the mailbox for now. If I circle around the house I can get a better look at it.

Quote:
>s
South of House
You are facing the south side of a white house. There is no door here, and all the windows are boarded.


No better luck here. All the windows are boarded up. Moving on.

Quote:
>e
Behind House
You are behind the white house. A path leads into the forest to the east. In one corner of the house there is a small window which is slightly ajar.


Aha! Looks like who ever condemned this place forgot a window. Opening it gives us access into the house and scores us ten points! (Not that I know what those areÖ)

Quote:
>w
Kitchen
You are in the kitchen of the white house. A table seems to have been used recently for the preparation of food. A passage leads to the west and a dark staircase can be seen leading upward. A dark chimney leads down and to the east is a small window which is open.
On the table is an elongated brown sack, smelling of hot peppers.
A bottle is sitting on the table.
The glass bottle contains:
A quantity of water


Iím going to go ahead and take the lunch here. Iím hoping that it hasnít been sitting around since the house was first boarded up.

Quote:
>open sack
Opening the brown sack reveals a lunch, and a clove of garlic.

>look at garlic
There's nothing special about the clove of garlic.

>look at lunch
There's nothing special about the lunch.
Iíll take ďnothing specialĒ over ďovergrown with moldĒ any day of the weak. Letís move into the living room.

Quote:
>w
Living Room
You are in the living room. There is a doorway to the east, a wooden door with strange gothic lettering to the west, which appears to be nailed shut, a trophy case, and a large oriental rug in the center of the room.
Above the trophy case hangs an elvish sword of great antiquity.
A battery-powered brass lantern is on the trophy case.


Wow! A sword and a lantern. Iíve got a feeling both of these will come in handy. I tried to take the rug but it was too heavy to lift. I didnít want it anyway because its ugly and dumb and I hate it.

Quote:
>open door
The door cannot be opened.
Maybe the strange gothic lettering will provide a clue on how to open it.

Quote:
>read door
The engravings translate to "This space intentionally left blank."
What is this? A joke? I think Iím done in here. This roomís pretty cozy. Maybe I can use it as a base of operations. If I ever have to store items Iíll come back here to do so. Back in the kitchen I have two options. Up the stairs or down the chimney. Since I want to get underground "down" seems the obvious choice.

Quote:
>d
Only Santa Claus climbs down chimneys.
Silly me. It was dumb of me even to try. I know Iím not Santa and I should have known that climbing down chimneys was reserved for him. Let me wipe this egg off my face and head upstairs.

Quote:
>u
You have moved into a dark place.
It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

>what is a grue
The grue is a sinister, lurking presence in the dark places of the earth. Its favorite diet is adventurers, but its insatiable appetite is tempered by its fear of light. No grue has ever been seen by the light of day, and few have survived its fearsome jaws to tell the tale.
Iím not afraid of no grue. Whatís the worst they can do?

Quote:
Oh, no! You have walked into the slavering fangs of a lurking grue!

**** You have died ****
Oh. Iíll just restore to before the grue ate me. In the original MIT build of Zork the danger for moving around in dark places was the chance that one might fall into a bottomless pit. This was a hold over from Advent where you were exploring a cave system and bottomless pits made sense. Falling into one in an attic really doesnít work so Dave Lebling, one of the authors of Zork, came up with the concept of a light fearing monster called a Grue (from the Dying Earth series) which quickly became a big in-joke for text adventures and was featured in many of Infocomís games.

Good thing I found that lantern in the living room.

Quote:
>turn on lantern
The brass lantern is now on.

Attic
This is the attic. The only exit is a stairway leading down.
A large coil of rope is lying in the corner.
On a table is a nasty-looking knife.
A rope and knife. Now Iím well prepared for adventure! If only I could find a way underground. Maybe I should explore some more into the forest. Now that Iíve found my way into the house I can use it as a central point to work out from. Leaving the house I circle around to the north of it.

Last edited by Loki; 05-01-2018 at 09:08 AM.
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  #5  
Old 01-12-2009, 06:29 PM
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Quote:
>n
North of House
You are facing the north side of a white house. There is no door here, and all the windows are boarded up. To the north a narrow path winds through the trees.
Not much here except a path into the woods. Letís take it.

Quote:
>n
Forest Path
This is a path winding through a dimly lit forest. The path heads north-south here. One particularly large tree with some low branches stands at the edge of the path.


Dang. That is one tall tree. But forests are full of trees. Letís see if we canít find anything a little more exciting.

Quote:
>n
Clearing
You are in a clearing, with a forest surrounding you on all sides. A path leads south.
On the ground is a pile of leaves.


Now thatís interesting. When presented with a pie of leaves thereís only one thing to do.

Quote:
>count leaves
There are 69,105 leaves here.
I feel better knowing this. This bit of flavor text became another Infocom in-joke and many of their later games feature 69,105 of something somewhere. I also chose to take some leaves because, hey, gotta take something.

Quote:
>take leaves
In disturbing the pile of leaves, a grating is revealed.
Taken.
Oh-ho! What is this? A grate in the floor of the forest. Could this be the mythical entrance to the Great Underground Empire?

Quote:
>open grate
The grating is locked.
What we need now is a key. Maybe itís somewhere else in the woods. Wandering around for a while brings me to:

Quote:
Canyon View
You are at the top of the Great Canyon on its west wall. From here there is a marvelous view of the canyon and parts of the Frigid River upstream. Across the canyon, the walls of the White Cliffs join the mighty ramparts of the Flathead Mountains to the east. Following the Canyon upstream to the north, Aragain Falls may be seen, complete with rainbow. The mighty Frigid River flows out from a great dark cavern. To the west and south can be seen an immense forest, stretching for miles around. A path leads northwest. It is possible to climb down into the canyon from here.


Beautiful. Iím not much of a climber but maybe that cave the waterís pouring from leads underground.

Quote:
>d
Rocky Ledge
You are on a ledge about halfway up the wall of the river canyon. You can see from here that the main flow from Aragain Falls twists along a passage which it is impossible for you to enter. Below you is the canyon bottom. Above you is more cliff, which appears climbable.


I really donít like being up here, guys. I hope itís worth it. It doesnít look like Iíll be able to reach that passage from here. Climbing againÖ please lord let me live.

Quote:
>d
Canyon Bottom
You are beneath the walls of the river canyon which may be climbable here. The lesser part of the runoff of Aragain Falls flows by below. To the north is a narrow path.


I guess the only choice is to head upstream.

Quote:
>n
End of Rainbow
You are on a small, rocky beach on the continuation of the Frigid River past the Falls. The beach is narrow due to the presence of the White Cliffs. The river canyon opens here and sunlight shines in from above. A rainbow crosses over the falls to the east and a narrow path continues to the southwest.


YeahÖ Iím not going to be able to climb up from here. Another dead end. Although, on the other side of the ravine I think I can see a small cave leading into the canyon wall. If only I could get acrossÖ

Exploring the forest doesnít turn up anything else so I decided to head back to the house. Dang. Iím really stuck here. There seems to be some possible entrances to the caves but either I canít reach them, unlock them, or am not Santa Claus. What to do? Help me out, guys?

Puzzles:
A locked grate.
A cave on the far side of a canyon.

Inventory:
A rope
A knife
A pile of leaves
A brass lantern
A sword
A glass bottle
The glass bottle contains:
A quantity of water
A brown sack
The brown sack contains:
A lunch
A clove of garlic

Score: Your score is 10 (total of 350 points). This gives you the rank of Beginner.

Deaths: 1 by walking into grue fang.

Last edited by Loki; 05-01-2018 at 09:11 AM.
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  #6  
Old 01-12-2009, 06:43 PM
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oh shit. this. this is win.
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  #7  
Old 01-12-2009, 06:50 PM
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It's exactly how it looked in my brain.
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  #8  
Old 01-12-2009, 07:02 PM
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You should try climbing random trees in the forest to get a better look around, or failing that to possibly hijack a passing hot air balloon.

I like how it doesn't tell you what the Lunch is. It's just a Lunch. (Probably worth 7GP.)
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  #9  
Old 01-12-2009, 07:03 PM
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I'm sorry to to everyone else who was trying, but Loki, you're now my favorite person ever.

REAL Adventurers muss up and wreck everything they can find. Take your frustrations out on that ugly-ass rug!
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  #10  
Old 01-12-2009, 07:20 PM
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Quaff the potion to identify it!

I mean, uh, can you cross the rainbow? Maybe it's made of skittles and is magically delicious!
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  #11  
Old 01-12-2009, 07:36 PM
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That rainbow is surely a rainbow bridge. I think you should CROSS RAINBOW.
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  #12  
Old 01-12-2009, 07:39 PM
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I love the crayon look to the artwork - for some reason, it just fits the writing so well. Anyway, make like a Dragon Warrior and cross the rainbow bridge!
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  #13  
Old 01-12-2009, 07:55 PM
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Ah, the memories... Also, I commend your idea on how to provide "screenshots" for a text adventure. 'Tis brilliant. And possibly brillig too,though I don't see any slithy toves gyring and gimbling in the wabe.
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  #14  
Old 01-12-2009, 08:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shivam View Post
oh shit. this. this is win.
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  #15  
Old 01-12-2009, 10:43 PM
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Oh, wow. Color me impressed!

Color? Like, with the crayons? Eh?
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  #16  
Old 01-12-2009, 11:06 PM
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How the hell am I supposed to compete with this? I don't even have any crayons! Damn it.
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  #17  
Old 01-13-2009, 12:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alixsar View Post
How the hell am I supposed to compete with this? I don't even have any crayons! Damn it.
The free version of ArtRage, I recall, includes a crayon preset.
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  #18  
Old 01-13-2009, 01:57 AM
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This Let's Play delivers.

(It also does pick-up.)
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  #19  
Old 01-13-2009, 02:43 AM
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Awesome, audience participation allows us to make this game completely unwinnable in a myriad of ways.
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  #20  
Old 01-13-2009, 04:14 AM
Merus Merus is offline
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As does playing it by yourself!
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  #21  
Old 01-13-2009, 04:55 AM
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Stab yourself with the knife.
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  #22  
Old 01-13-2009, 06:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Awesome View Post
Awesome, audience participation allows us to make this game completely unwinnable in a myriad of ways.
I only think that Zork is winnable at all because they had to stop making it at some point.

Which is terrible logic.
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  #23  
Old 01-13-2009, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OctoPrime View Post
REAL Adventurers muss up and wreck everything they can find. Take your frustrations out on that ugly-ass rug!
Yeah, this rug can go jump in a lake for all its worth! Ready yourself, rug.

Quote:
>hit rug
(with the sword)
I've known strange people, but fighting a carpet?
I guess it is rather silly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex View Post
Stab yourself with the knife.
But this suggestion isn't. If I'm dead I'll get buried and then I'll be underground. Brilliant!

Quote:
>stab self with knife
If you insist.... Poof, you're dead!

**** You have died ****
After several years no one's been by to burry me and I've decomposed into a pile of bones. RESTORING.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rai View Post
Quaff the potion to identify it!
I hear this is a handy way of identifying liquids...

Quote:
>open bottle
Opened.

>drink water
Thank you very much. I was rather thirsty (from all this talking, probably).
...though it does have it's downside. Now I have no water and one empty bottle. I'll store it in the sack for now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Merus
That rainbow is surely a rainbow bridge. I think you should CROSS RAINBOW.
I guess anything's possible. I make the long, arduous climb back down to the waterfall.

Quote:
>cross rainbow
Can you walk on water vapor?
Of course I can! Who ca... Oh. Right. Sometimes a spade is just a spade and a rainbow is just an optical and meteorological phenomenon that causes a spectrum of light to appear in the sky when the Sun shines onto droplets of moisture in the Earth's atmosphere. Just to be sure I scan the end of the rainbow for any pots of gold. There are none.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brickroad View Post
You should try climbing random trees in the forest to get a better look around, or failing that to possibly hijack a passing hot air balloon.
Well, the only tree really suitable for climbing is that tall one just north of the house. I make the climb up again, cursing Brickroad with every breath, and return to the tree. While walking back I hear something...

Quote:
>w
Forest
You hear in the distance the chirping of a song bird.
Just thought you guys would like to know. This tall tree has some low branches with with I'm able to hoist myself off the ground (not very easy to do when you're carrying a pile of leaves).

Quote:
>climb tree
Up a Tree
You are about 10 feet above the ground nestled among some large branches. The nearest branch above you is above your reach.
Beside you on the branch is a small bird's nest.
In the bird's nest is a large egg encrusted with precious jewels, apparently scavenged by a childless songbird. The egg is covered with fine gold inlay, and ornamented in lapis lazuli and mother-of-pearl. Unlike most eggs, this one is hinged and closed with a delicate looking clasp. The egg appears extremely fragile.


Ooo! An egg! I'll eggnap it but first Brickroad wanted me to take a look around. Directly to the south I can see the roof of the white house. There are some shingles missing. Farther south is more forrest until the horizon where I can make out a thin strip of blue. That must be the Great Sea and somewhere in that direction is Port Foozle. To the north and east are the gray peaks of the Flathead mountains. If the mountains weren't in the way I could probably see the marshlands of Fenshire. To the west is endless forest. Now, to that egg.

Quote:
>take egg
Taken.


And our score goes up 5 points!

Finally, some treasure. And it has a little hinge on it too. I bet something's inside. It would be foolish to open it up here so I return to the living room.

Quote:
>open egg
You have neither the tools nor the expertise.
Expertise? I know how to undo a clasp. What more expertise do I need?

Quote:
>throw egg at ground
Your rather indelicate handling of the egg has caused it some damage, although you have succeeded in opening it. There is a golden clockwork canary nestled in the egg. It seems to have recently had a bad experience. The mountings for its jewel-like eyes are empty, and its silver beak is crumpled. Through a cracked crystal window below its left wing you can see the remains of intricate machinery. It is not clear what result winding it would have, as the mainspring seems sprung.


Whoops! This seems... bad. I'll just RESTORE before I smashed the egg... Maybe more finesse is required. I bet if I'm real careful I can jimmy it open.

Quote:
>open egg with knife
The egg is now open, but the clumsiness of your attempt has seriously compromised its esthetic appeal. There is a golden clockwork canary nestled in the egg. It seems to have recently had a bad experience. The mountings for its jewel-like eyes are empty, and its silver beak is crumpled. Through a cracked crystal window below its left wing you can see the remains of intricate machinery. It is not clear what result winding it would have, as the mainspring seems sprung.
Bugger it all! RESTORING again. I guess I'll just have to wait until I level up some before I can open this egg without destroying the canary.

I'm carrying a lot of junk now so I'm going to start storing it in this room. If I need something specific I'll come back here to get it.

Puzzles:
A locked grate.
A normal rainbow.
A jeweled egg that contains a golden clockwork canary. If I try to open the egg I end up breaking the canary.

Inventory:
A rope
A broken jewel-encrusted egg
A nasty knife
A pile of leaves
A brass lantern
A sword
A brown sack
The brown sack contains:
A glass bottle
A lunch
A clove of garlic

Score: Your score is 15 (total of 350 points). This gives you the rank of Beginner.

Deaths: 2 (Grue fang, poofed myself with knife)

Last edited by Loki; 05-01-2018 at 09:13 AM.
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  #24  
Old 01-13-2009, 04:52 PM
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Octopus Prime Octopus Prime is offline
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That locked grate, is the key hole in it mechanical canary shaped?

Use the Egg on the Grate!
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  #25  
Old 01-13-2009, 04:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OctoPrime View Post
That locked grate, is the key hole in it mechanical canary shaped?

Use the Egg on the Grate!
Maybe! I'll just make the walk back to the clearing...

Quote:
>unlock grate with egg
Can you unlock a grating with a jewel-encrusted egg?

>throw egg at grate
Your rather indelicate handling of the egg has caused it some damage, although you have succeeded in opening it. There is a golden clockwork canary nestled in the egg. It seems to have recently had a bad experience. The mountings for its jewel-like eyes are empty, and its silver beak is crumpled. Through a cracked crystal window below its left wing you can see the remains of intricate machinery. It is not clear what result winding it would have, as the mainspring seems sprung.

>unlock grate with canary
(Taken)
Can you unlock a grating with a broken clockwork canary?
Apparently not. RESTORING.
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  #26  
Old 01-13-2009, 09:04 PM
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Brickroad Brickroad is offline
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Well you didn't do the balloon thing so either you're bad at following directions or you're in some crazy-ass part of the kingdom where there isn't much balloon traffic.

I have a couple more ideas:

1) What kind of dashing adventurer are you if you have no source of fire? I know your lamp is battery-powered (do they ever run out, by the way?) but is there a torch or a book of matches or a flint anywhere? If there's one thing I've learned from my years of dashing adventuring, it's that keys are often hidden under rugs and that it's impossible to move rugs but a lot of fun to burn holes in them.

2) Failing that, can you jimmy the grate open with your nasty knife or your (supposedly not nasty) sword?

3) Seems like a shame to have wasted your water. Can you get close enough to the river to re-fill your bottle? You might get thirsty again if you ever make it underground.
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  #27  
Old 01-13-2009, 09:16 PM
Merus Merus is offline
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I remember a cautionary song from a bard named Front The Lot in my youth:

"You are likely to be eaten by a grue
If this predicament seems particularly cruel
Just think whose fault it could be
Not a torch or a match in your inventory"

Therefore, I second the "look for torch or match or flint" suggestion.
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  #28  
Old 01-13-2009, 09:44 PM
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shivam shivam is offline
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you are likely to be eaten by a grue
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  #29  
Old 01-14-2009, 12:34 AM
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Red Hedgehog Red Hedgehog is offline
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I think OctoPrime was on to something with taking your frustrations out on the rug. Can you cut it? Rend it in two? What about rolling it up and shoving it in the fireplace? How about sitting on it and commanding it to rise? Ooh, or folding it into an origami crane?
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  #30  
Old 01-14-2009, 09:24 AM
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Kirin Kirin is offline
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Brick and Hedge already took my two suggestions (try to jimmy grate lock with knife, try to roll up rug), but I'm posting anyway to say that this thread is totally awesome.
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