Spelunker Play-By-Post (II)   21 comments

It’s time for a action summary!

Our hero, the unnamed adventurer, arrived at the Devils’ Delve in Kentucky. After surveying their surroundings and taking a light, tent, and knife, the adventurer hopped back in their truck and drove home.

The End.


… and in an alternate timeline …

The adventurer found a thirsty tree, and from a river outside brought in some water. After some confusion, the tree yielded an apple.

In a thoughtful mood, our adventurer decided for no apparent reason to return to the mouth of the cave and then stab themselves to death.

The End.

… and in another timeline …

Moving on further south, the adventurer found a room with cryptic characters that spelled out “THE SPIRITS OF THE FRUIT.” There was a bomb there, which the adventurer then set off, causing part of the cave to collapse, sealing themselves from civilization forever.


The End.

… and in yet another timeline …

After a brief amount of exploring, the adventurer paused for a moment to taste a bite of the apple in front of the cryptic wall. It was delicious, but no secret doors or other obvious effects revealed themselves.

Now, what do you do next?

Protocol: Just reply to this message what you want to do next. Follow along in the replies for responses!

Posted March 25, 2017 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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21 responses to “Spelunker Play-By-Post (II)

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  1. I would try to Honor the Spirits of the fruit. Drop apple.


    (or maybe ‘SLICE’?)

  4. Nothing useful happens.

    [ It occurs to you that your actions might be more productive elsewhere when there are actual spirits in the room. ]


    (I should probably actually read the previous session)

  7. How about WISH, HELP, and then S (to the River Swift Room)

  8. No useful responses you haven’t already seen.

    [ It again occurs to you that your actions might be more productive elsewhere when there are actual spirits in the room, and that the hint on the wall was a hint about something to do later, not right at that moment. ]

    You’ve already gone south, so I will redescribe that room, and you’re welcome to suggest an action that applies specifically there, just mention that you want to do X in the River Room.


    You hear swiftly running water as you enter this room, and you see a narrow, churning underground river flowing to the south.

    In order to move things along (and also because I had to deal with a crisis today and haven’t been able to post until now, sorry!) I will also show you what happens if you move west, which is a direction you hadn’t gone yet.


    There is nothing remarkable to see here. Please consult the map to decide what to do next.

  9. Looks like north is the maze room (yeesh) and west is the pit room (oof). Shall we try WEST and be ready to restart in a hurry?

  10. Yeah, I favor exploring the pit room and south lake (I’m assuming we won’t be able to get past the south lake immediately). So W, N (to get to the south lake), and assuming further progress is blocked, return to pit room (S) and try to go DOWN into the pit if possible. Pick up anything found along the way. After that, I’ll probably want to return here and go off to explore the maze, but let’s see what the room descriptions for the pit room and south lake look like first.

  11. Putting together your commands:

    You can also get water from the other river room, although you can’t go in the river.

    We already tried west from the message room (that’s the intersection) so let’s try west again:


    A small chamber with an immense stalagtite hanging from the center of the ceiling, directly over the mouth of a bottomless pit.

    We have no way of getting down the pit yet.

    To show you the maze since you mentioned it:


    Also known as the swiss cheese room. You lose your sense of direction because twisting passages are coming and going at all points of the compass.

    Finally, Dan, the messages given on successful commands are indeed minimal – you’re supposed to extrapolate from the objects in inventory or visible on the ground. The intent is for the guide to explain things, although I’ve had to check the source code to confirm things at some points.

  12. TAKE AX.

    USE BOMB in pit room to see if it sends the stalactite down into the pit to make something we can climb down.

    Then, probably, undo and USE BOMB in the frozen river.

  13. Definitely TAKE AX. It’s ok to explore whether the BOMB is useful here, but before getting rid of it permanently, I want to use it to mark rooms in the maze (we only have 6 items in the inventory other than the LIGHT right now, including the BOMB). So whether the BOMB is useful or not, I’ll want to undo and go off to explore the maze next (unless discovering the BOMB is useful also turns up a new item we can use instead).

    • Do you have a specific approach you want to use for the maze?

      • Yes, I do. It’s pretty clear by now that there’s a strong family resemblance between this game and the famous Crowther and Woods Adventure game, though I’m not sure of the exact relation. From the first room description in the maze, it’s looking similar to the “twisty passages all alike” maze in Adventure, and the same basic strategy used there should apply here – mark the rooms of the maze by dropping items in the different rooms while mapping, so you can recognize a room if you run into it again. It may be a bit challenging here, since we only seem to have six items other than the lamp.

        So my first priority is going to be to discover how to get back to the entrance from the first few rooms of the maze. I assume it’s going to be following the same basic convention as the rest of the game has so far – if there’s a direct passage from A to B, then there should normally also be a direct passage from B back to A (with a possible few exceptions that are likely to be identified to the player as one-way passages in the room text). Assuming this is true of the maze rooms, there could be three different “difficulty levels,” depending on how difficult the designer wanted to make it. “Easy” level would have the back passage use the opposite direction from how you entered the room – if you moved N to get to the room, you would move S to get back. “Medium” level would vary this, but still primarily use the four cardinal directions if the original passage did – moving N to get to a room might mean the back passage is to the E, but it wouldn’t normally be SW. “Hard” level means the exits can be in any direction, including that NSW passage I mentioned above.

        I’m going to start off by using the “Easy” assumption as a working hypothesis, and work up to the harder assumptions if the evidence pushes me that way. I’m going to use five of the items with me to mark the first five unknown rooms I encounter (though I’ll also be looking for variations in the room description that might make marking the room unnecessary). I’ll hold on to the sixth for now to help detect loops if I have to push off into the unmarked rooms.

        So since we get into the maze by going N, I’ll first drop something there (say the TENT), and then try to get back by going S. If that gets me out, great! I’ll mark that first 2-way passage, and prepare to try to find the back passage for a second room back to the TENT room. If not, I’ll mark the second room with another item (say APPLE), and see what happens when I try to go back from that. If I stumble into the TENT room again, I’ll try a different cardinal direction, still looking for the back passage out (if I don’t find it by the time I explore all 4 cardinal directions, I’ll start checking out the diagonals). My basic strategy at this point is to prioritize finding the back passage from the earliest room in the sequence of visited rooms I can find. So if the first four rooms I find are TENT, APPLE, BOMB, AX, and I find the passage from AX to APPLE, I’ll concentrate on finding the back passage from APPLE to TENT, and continue to explore for that any time I stumble into APPLE, BOMB, or AX, until I find it. If I get back to TENT, I’ll look for the back passage from that first. (Aside – does the WATER persist in a room once we drop it? Better check this out in some room before we get into the maze.)

        Once I run out of stuff to drop (keeping one back), my initial strategy upon hitting an unmarked maze room will be to keep going in the same direction for several moves, hoping to run into one of the marked rooms again. If so, I’ll note the number of moves in my map to get back to a known room, and keep exploring for back passages. If I make somewhere between 6-10 moves in the same direction without anything changing, I’ll assume I’m in a short loop of unmarked rooms of some kind. At that point, I’ll drop my last marking item, and continue moving in that same direction until I return to it to find out how big the loop is. I’ll then pick the item back up and start moving in random directions (keeping careful track of what moves I make) until I stumble across a known room. Now I can go back to the room I stepped off into the unknown from to find out just how many distinct rooms there are before I entered the loop. Let’s say I discovered that the loop was length 3, and I first marked the first loop room after 8 moves N. Now I’ll make 7 N moves, drop my marking item, and then move N three times. If I see my item, I know I’m still in the loop, one room before the room I originally marked. I’ll pick up my item, move N 1 room to the original marked room, and use the path I previously recorded to get back to known space. Next time I’ll make 6 N moves before dropping the marking item. Eventually, I’ll get to a point where I no longer find my item after 3 moves. Then I know that the item is marking the first room before I enter the loop. I’ll use my path to exit the loop, and go back and pick up my item. I now know how many distinct rooms exist before I enter the loop. I won’t be able to distinguish one unmarked room from another, but I’ll know the topology of the path leading N from my last known room.

        Once I discover the back paths from each marked room, and explore some possible cross paths between them, I’ll be ready to start moving some of those items to new unknown rooms, recognizing the old rooms by their relationship to the remaining known rooms around them as I continue to explore.

  14. Ax acquired.

    Using the bomb …


    … oh no, it appears you have sealed off your only means of exit! Maybe future archaeologists will find and study your bones.

    Going back to the maze, which was described already — how do you want to proceed? I am happy to take a “process” rather than a set command.

    [ Just to reassure those worried, it’s a very very light maze. ]

  15. Oh, and one more detail on the maze strategy: if I discover a path of some length leading through unknown rooms back to known space, I will probably start using that direction as my default move in unknown rooms. E.g., if there is a path of 5 unknown rooms leading N back to the BOMB room, I can then use this fact to distinguish those unknown rooms without further markings: the room that is 4 N moves before the BOMB room, the room that is 3 N moves before the BOMB room, etc. This will let me map the unknown rooms faster.

  16. (At some small risk of confusion if there are two rooms that both lead N to the same room.)

  17. Going to do maze navigation probably tonight (was waiting to see if anyone else wanted to chime in; there’s still time).

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