Adventure 550: Messages   4 comments

From Michael Whelan’s cover for the Stephen R. Donaldson book The Runes of the Earth. It will become relevant shortly.

So I managed to get past the ogre from last time.


The sword halts in mid-air, twirls like a dervish, and chants several bars of “Dies Irae” in a rough tenor voice. It then begins to spin like a rip-saw blade and flies directly at the ogre, who attempts to catch it without success; it strikes him full on the chest. There is a brilliant flash of light, a deafening roar and a cloud of oily grey smoke; when the smoke clears (and your eyes begin working properly again) you see that the ogre has vanished. The sword is lying on the ground, sparking and flaming. Before your eyes it softens and melts, writhes as if in pain, and shrinks rapidly until all that is left is a small silvery ring which cools rapidly.

The ring left behind is magic, and it helps with the dwarves:

There is a threatening little dwarf in the room with you!

You attack a little dwarf, but he dodges out of the way.
One nasty sharp knife is thrown at you!
A glowing disk of black fire jumps out of your magic ring and swallows the hurtling knife before it can harm you!

Past the ogre was a small set of rooms, including one leading to an “ice maze”.

David Platt’s own drawing of the ice cave map, via Rick Adams.

After great labor, I reached the “exit” but nothing happened. A magic word was required, and it’s encoded in the maze itself. (I won’t divulge more here, but feel free to speculate in the comments.)

Speaking of secret messages, two of the “dead ends” rooms from the original Adventure still are dead ends, but have new messages attached.

Dead end passage. Scratched on a rock is the message, “Stand where the statue gazes, and make use of the proper tool.”

I assume the above suggests a solution to a puzzle.

The canyon runs into a mass of boulders — dead end. Scratched on one of the boulders are the words, “Jerry Cornelius was here.”

Trivia: Jerry Cornelius was the main character of a series of books by Michael Moorcock. He has been described as an “adventurer” and an “assassin”, but … well, my best segue would be Wikipedia’s description of the first two books in the Cornelius Quartet:

The Final Programme
Jerry battles his brother Frank who has kidnapped his beloved sister Catherine. Frank dies, but Catherine is also killed. Jerry is sucked into the plans of Miss Brunner to create the perfect being by merging the bodies of Jerry and herself together. When this is done, a radiantly charismatic hermaphroditic being emerges from the machinery. All who see the new creature fall quaking to their knees. The creature itself announces that this is “a very tasty world”.
A Cure for Cancer
Jerry is solo again, existing as negative character with black skin and white hair. He moves through a landscape of destroyed English cities and occupying American armies, a metaphor for contemporary Vietnam. He runs a clandestine “transmogrification” service for people who want to cast off their old selves, flesh and all. We meet the gluttonous Bishop Beesley, and his daughter Mitzi. Eventually Jerry drives the Americans to madness, causing them to burn everything, including themselves.

So that’s a thing. While I’m fairly certain this is just an easter egg, it made me suspicious of the possibility of other pop culture references. Behold:

You are in a small, low-ceilinged room with the words “Witt Company Tool Room — Melenkurion division” carved into one of the walls. A wide corridor runs south from here.

Some Google-fu led me to discover “Melenkurion” is one of the Seven Words of Power in the still-ongoing fantasy universe of Stephen R. Donaldson (hence, the image on the top of the post). Since it’s a “word of power”, I tried it out:


Nothing happens.

Just to be clear, normally the game says “Huh??” if it doesn’t understand a word. I don’t know if that means the word is useful, but the game is pretty low on the vocabulary so I expect it works somewhere.

Posted July 25, 2017 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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4 responses to “Adventure 550: Messages

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  1. The in-game hint for the ice maze ends with this advice: “You might try using the old Yoga trick of standing on your head, and see if that helps.” (Platt’s hints are MUCH too helpful for my taste. I’ve omitted the first 70 words of the ice-maze hint.)

  2. I get it! Oy.

  3. If I ever write a geographically-situated CYOA through the Active Fiction Project, I have full intentions of baking a master keyword similarly into the node locations.

  4. Pingback: Adventure 550: The (Dis)pleasures of Magic | Renga in Blue

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