Demon’s Forge: Omnivores and Carnivores   1 comment

A brief side jaunt into history before starting on the Demon’s Forge proper:

In the book Stay Awhile and Listen, Brian Fargo discussed his early efforts to sell the game. He put one ad in Softalk that cost $2500, 50% of his budget, then would call retailers and tell them he was trying to find a copy of Demon’s Forge and asked if they had it.

They said, “No,” and I said, “Oh, I just saw it in Soft Talk. It looks good. They said, “We’ll look into it.”

Brian would then get an order from the retailer a few minutes later on his other line. Computer guerilla marketing, 1982 style.

He would go on to found Interplay one year later with Jay Patel, Troy Worrell, and Rebecca Heineman (known in those days as Bill Heineman).

(I’d show you the ad, but page 31 which supposedly has it in the Internet Archive scan is missing.)

Last time one of my frustrations was a “skinny man” who ran by but I never saw again. I tried setting out the ration as a “trap” but none of my shenanigans worked, so I broke down and looked it up: you have to FOLLOW MAN the moment you see him, and if you miss doing that you have already lost the game. Once you do that, you can find a previously hidden room:

I was right about the rations, at least: he’ll give you a rod in exchange. This immediately suggested a solution to another problem I had, which was a statue beak grabbing on my hand. One rod application later, and I had a red gem.

If you then GET GEM the game asks you to use RED as the noun instead. I suspect there are multiple gems and the game is trying the hacky way of preventing nameclash.

I then hit some dumb luck. Since I was stuck, I went through my standard list of verbs to see which ones the game understands. As a guinea pig, I used a chest (one that previously held a blanket and pillow) and ran through all the combinations: KICK CHEST, BURN CHEST, FEEL CHEST, etc. This was purely to check for error messages (the message is different when the game doesn’t know the verb at all versus the verb didn’t do anything) and was startled when MOVE CHEST revealed a previously hidden item.

I was able to toss the bag of ashes into the brazier I mentioned last time and summoned a fire elemental named Joe. (If you don’t have the red gem, the fire elemental kills you instead of becomes your friend.)

The fire elemental burned a hole in the double doors I was stuck on, revealing an assassin with a poisoned crossbow. When I attempted to attack I died. Here I needed hints again: I had done SEARCH COSTUME (the one from the start of the game) but not LOOK COSTUME, which revealed a VIAL. The vial turned out to be an anti-poison agent, so I was able to get through.

I was fortunately alert enough to try both LOOK ASSASSIN and SEARCH ASSASSIN; even though LOOK was what found the vial in the costume, SEARCH is the proper verb here (grrr) and that netted me a chime.

The elemental has a second use, of drying up the water in a well (which burns it out; alas, poor Joe).

Ringing the chime opens the door and sends the player into a “trick room”.

Fortunately not hard: you just need to GO LEFT and then GO RIGHT repeatedly until reaching the exit. (The room image above gets repeated once, so I could see someone getting tripped up and going left again, but I was following the instructions literally and kept going right until reaching a room with a sign that said STOP.)

The “carniverous” rabbit is where I’m stuck now. It follows me around and eventually bites me after a few turns. In addition to the wand and hat in the magic room I still have the costume, I’ve filled the formerly anti-poison vial with water, and I additionally have the blanket, red gem, pillow, and chime. The adjacent rooms don’t seem to have anything helpful but I haven’t done much experimentation yet.

(Since I know someone will mention it: I did try getting the rabbit to go into the hat, but haven’t had much luck with any verbs I’ve tried. I freely admit that may still be the solution and I just need to express it properly.)

Posted July 15, 2020 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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One response to “Demon’s Forge: Omnivores and Carnivores

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  1. “Joe” the fire elemental? Must be one hot cuppa.

    Oh no, it’s the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog!

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