Ferret: A Burial at Sea, But Not for Valour   48 comments

(Prior posts on Ferret here.)

The ending verges nearer: phase 8 of 9 (with an endgame attached). This post continues directly from my last one.

A moderately aggressive Data General Eclipse ad, from Computerworld. Sep 24, 1979.

Last time I was stuck on a number of issues but, as is typical for Ferret, the key was to ignore most of them. I did have guess correctly that defeating the drongoid was the future; that is, while it pushes back hard against direct violence, the fact it “toys” with items that you hand over means that you can give it something booby-trapped to get by.

-> give indigo pin to drongoid
The drongoid extends one of its many limbs and grabs the object with amazing speed. After toying with the item for a short time, it discards it with disgust.
-> hit drongoid with rod
You must understand that the drongoid is a highly developed killing machine, with an armoury of deadly tactics at its disposal. The strategy employed to remove a minor irritation (i.e. you) is both swift and deadly. A punch with the force of a flying sledgehammer is delivered to your solar-plexus, both winding you and causing acute muscle failure in your heart.
You are in urgent need of an organ donor.

In order to accomplish this, I needed to visit one more location.

I had previously used a subway to explore two new stops, and picked up a number of items, but the way it was configured was:

STOP (the weird POINT rooms with the bronze bullet)
no stop
STOP (the main office building)
STOP (the long corridor with the anti-gravity and the letter)

That is, there was one position (“no stop”) where the doors wouldn’t open. This represents an extra location. There’s a “long plank” from the main office building that you can drop in the train which then wedges the main doors open. I admit to thinking along these lines but using a “long carbon rod” instead and trying all different varieties of WEDGE as a verb; since none of my attempts were understood, I figured I was barking up the wrong tree and veered off. Based on Voltgloss’s hint I tried the plank instead, and still had to struggle a bit:

-> put plank in doors
You can’t put anything in them.
-> wedge plank
I don’t know the word ‘wedge’
-> insert plank in doors
You can’t put anything in them.
-> drop plank

Even though you just see “dropped” as a message, the plank is now wedged, and if you step outside:

There is a plank wedged between the partially open train doors.

The mystery stop contains a gun to go with the bullet:

Dark Tunnel
You are in a very poorly lit tunnel which runs in an east-west direction. At the easterly end of the tunnel is a subway train with its doors held open by a plank.
Exits: –EW ——– —
-> e
End of Dark Tunnel
You are at the end of a very poorly lit tunnel.
Exits: —W ——– —
There is a crude hand-gun here

You might think you just need to load the bullet in and go shoot the drongoid, but walking around with the gun loaded is deadly:

The gun has portrayed its origins and displayed its maker’s poor workmanship by temperamentally exploding in your hands. The bullet has entered your left foot and completely annihilated your brain (what there was of it).
You’ve just made Clint Eastwood’s day.

Of course, that means waiting until you get back to the drongoid, and then handing over the gun is deadly, but to the mutant rather than yourself.

The drongoid extends one of its many limbs and grabs the object with amazing speed. After toying with the item for a short time, it discards it with disgust.
Unfortunately, at least for the drongoid, the gun explodes as it hits the floor and ejects the bullet at a rather high velocity. After a single ricochet the bullet effects an entry, via an eye, into the drongoid’s body (if the term is applicable in this instance). Any road up, the drongoid appears to be quite dead.

This lets you get by up to the balcony, where as predicted, there is a helicopter Ferricopter waiting.

You are standing on top of a building which has a stairway leading downwards. The roof is surrounded by high walls. Standing on the middle of the roof is a helicopter. Looping over the east wall is a ladder.
Exits: –E- ——– UD
-> in
In the Helicopter
You are seated in the helicopter which appears to be of a rather simple design, possibly intended for training use only. The only obvious controls consist of a control stick, atop which, is a yellow button. The upper section of the control stick is grooved to facilitate a good purchase of the stick. Mounted in front of you are some indicators and a slot.
The speed indicator displays 0
The height indicator displays 100
The helicopter is pointing east.
The helicopter is standing on the helipad.

The slot takes the “license” hidden in the long tunnel from last time, and pushing the button causes the helicopter to take off. That’s the easy part.

The helicopter motor grumbles into life, and once the rotors have reached operational speed, the helicopter rises to hover ten feet above the helipad.

However, things become much trickier from there; this might be the worst case of guess-the-verb in the game. It was only manageable because the authors posted a verb list which included two of the commands in question getting “error” style messages.

-> twist stick clockwise
The helicopter motor rises in pitch.
-> push stick forward
The helicopter nose drops and height is lost. Constant speed is maintained.
-> twist stick counterclockwise
The helicopter motor lowers in pitch.

These exact phrasings are required; you have to specify a direction for push stick. Twisting the stick clockwise cranks up the speed, and twisting it counterclockwise brings the speed back down. As long as the helicopter is moving you can “push stick right” or “push stick left” which will rotate the direction of the helicopter by 45 degrees (for example, from E to NE).

I realized the game essentially sets you in the middle of a giant ocean and you need to find the right spot, akin to the desert with the pyramid. (I’m not sure how this accounts for the previous phases being connected all the way back to the desert by land, but I’m willing to take the simplification.)

Before starting the hunt, I needed to make sure I understood the helicopter, and came up with a circular route that let me land back where I started:

This works: when you crank from speed 1 to speed 2, the helicopter goes from moving 1-space-per-turn to moving 2-spaces-per-turn. Everything otherwise behaves as if you are on a giant coordinate grid. Here’s the commands for this particular joyride:

push button; twist stick clockwise; twist stick clockwise
push stick left; twist stick counterclockwise; push stick left;
push stick left; push stick left; push stick forward
push stick left;look;look;push stick left
look;twist stick counterclockwise;push button

You do need to cut out speed right before hovering over the pad, rather than while you are right above it, otherwise your helicopter goes too far and the landing is ignominious.

The helicopter motor reduces speed until it eventually cuts out. Meanwhile you descend gently to achieve a graceful touch-down on the water. As you’ve probably guessed, the helicopter is not a boat and is consequently not the most seaworthy of vehicles. As the helicopter sinks to the bottom of the sea you chastise yourself for your rank stupidity.
You’ve awarded yourself a burial at sea, but not for valour.

(The game still describes you as “over land” in the helicopter if you are only one position off, but you land in the ocean anyway.)

The helicopter also eventually runs out of fuel. Before fully exploring in earnest, I also experimented with the various helicopter speeds to see how far it would go. If you just leave the speed at the lowest (moving 1 space a turn) you can move a maximum of 59 spaces; cranking to 2, you can move at 76. A summary of speeds 1 to 6 is below:

1: 59 distance
2: 76 distance
3: 81 distance
4: 88 distance
5: 80 distance
6: 78 distance

This means the max speed that is definitely useful is 4, although I used 2 to go exploring, as you can see things from 2 spaces away and I didn’t want to risk missing something.

The speed indicator displays 1
The height indicator displays 110
The helicopter is pointing north.
The helicopter is flying over dry land.
Off in the distance you can see a building with a flat roof.

Instead of tediously trying all the possibilities like I did with the Desert, I wrote a program in C. This feels almost encouraged by the game, which has quite a few tools for recording and playing back turns and allows quick turnaround on testing even very long sequences. I did fortunately have one clue to work with:

While the map mentioned is missing and probably doesn’t exist in the game, the “north” and “east” being the source of errors suggests that we are traveling some distance to the north and some to the east. So I set my program to fly due east for a while, then turn northeast, then keep flying until the plane crashed. Repeat with the “for a while” being varying in length.

I finally discovered by brute force that I just needed to go northeast a little (3 squares) and going due east would arrive at a new helipad. I have the full sequence in comments here in case anyone needs it, but here let me just give the result:

You are standing on the roof of a high building which is surrounded by high walls. Standing on the middle of the roof is a helicopter. There is a hole in the roof.

Going down leads to phase 8 (Conversion).

Yeee-har! You fall a short distance and land with a splash on what appears to be a water bed. After being tossed up and down for a while you roll onto the floor and erect yourself.
Bachelor Pad
You are in a square room which has a hole in the ceiling. Beneath the hole is a bed with a mattress apparently filled with fluid. There is a stairway leading down to the west.

Phase 8 has been fun to explore and poke around in, but it’s the sort of thing that’s difficult to narrate because I haven’t accomplished anything yet.

I’ve divided it into three sections, I’ll take each one in order.

The southwest corner is a little irregular to start; the Landing/Gallery/Bachelor Pad area is closed off.

This is a narrow room which is open to the east. Running along the eastern edge of the room at about waist height is a railing. Your position commands a view of another room below, but there is no obvious way to get down to it.
Exits: N— ——– —

If you head north (slightly into the “northwest” zone I have marked pink, which I’ll talk about in a second) you’ll reach the Nursery, where there is a “rectangular box” which moves the floor around.

As you walk underneath the rectangular box it glows red and emits a cute little beep sound. The noise of masonry moving over a floor follows the beep. The noise appeared to come from the northwest.
This is a small room with a sheet of armoured glass set in one wall.
Exits: -S– ——– —

This movement has caused the entire southwest portion to open up, but closed off the northwest portion. Repeating the movement causes the areas to switch back again. Assuming we’re not talking about a red herring, it may be necessary to have something trigger from a distance when a particular map portion is sealed off.

This area is otherwise just looking like a normal house, except for a strange brass platform in the scullery…

You are in a very small room. Fixed to the east wall is a cupboard. Directly opposite the cupboard is a cavity in the wall.
Exits: NS– ——– —
-> look in cavity
It’s empty.
-> open cupboard
-> look in cupboard
Peering inside you can see:
a brass platform
-> look at platform
The small brass platform is square and fixed to the base of the cupboard with its rear edge parallel to the back of the cupboard. The platform has a shallow hemispherical groove running from its back to its front, parallel to the side of the platform.

…and a Production Room warning about Potential Shock Hazard.

Production Room
You are in a completely circular room which apparantly has an exit to the east. Rising out of the centre of the floor is the top hemisphere of an enormous glass dome which leaves only the barest amount of free floor space.
There is a sign on one of the walls.
Exits: –E- ——– —
-> read sign
The sign reads:


Potential Shock Hazard

Proceed with extreme caution when
unit operating. Static shock risk

I have not gotten anything to happen out of either. Also of note is a Lobby with a toy robot and toy truck.

This is a small square room. There is a steel door opposite the exit to the
Exits: —W ——– —
There is a toy truck here
There is a toy robot here

You can POINT TRUCK IN DIRECTION and push a green button on top to cause it to automatically drive in one direction, stopping when it can no longer travel.

The robot, on the other hand, while having an orange button, does absolutely nothing. (As this is Ferret, that might be genuinely true and not an indication we need to find the right place for the robot. But yes, we might need to find the right place for the robot.)

Trying to leave the lobby (OPEN STEEL DOOR; E) causes the door to shut fast and locks the player into the eastern portion of the map (which I have marked in green). We’ll get to that shortly, but first:

Let me return to the Nursery: if you repeat entering, you open up a passage to the west and get the full map shown above. Also, there’s a plate glass you can look through, and see a curious pattern:

-> look through glass
Through the sheet of armoured glass you can see what appears to be a very
old-fashioned child’s toy.
-> look at toy
The toy appears to be comprised of a number of lettered tiles.
-> look at tiles

        w y h
        t k a e
        f u o r
        p n i s

The pattern of the tiles seems to mimic the “matrix” on the map. Each matrix room has a lever, except for the northeast corner (which doesn’t have a tile in the grid above).

You are in a rather strange room that appears to have rather thick walls.
There is an opening in each of the ordinal walls, however the east exit is
blocked by a wall that appears to run around the outside of the room. There is
a large lever set in the middle of the floor.
Exits: NS-W ——– —
-> n
You are in a strange room that does not appear to have rather thick walls.
There are no openings in each of the ordinal walls, however there are at least
two exits not blocked by anything that runs around the outside of the room.
There is no large lever set in the middle of the floor.
Exits: -S-W ——– —

Pulling a lever does absolutely nothing. It seems (unless they are very cheeky red herrings, and yes, Ferret would go that far) they are missing power. My guess would be the whole “Production Room” setup with the danger sign is relevant, and some items in the east part of the map would help, but because the steel door closes things off, neither I (nor anyone else playing in the comments) have yet to figure out how to get back to the SW/NW map portions after entering the eastern portion. Let’s look at that area last:

This is generally simpler than the rest, as this is just a city street with a number of shops (although it should be pointed out the southwest has a fence which if made past would put the player back in the SW “house” part of the game).

Rather than naming each shop, let me give the items that you can find in them:

a photographic flashgun
a piece of fur
a beautiful ruby rod (which also flashes if you flash the flashgun)
a picnic box
a block of ice (which doesn’t melt if in the box, somehow)
a security casket with a plastic card locked inside
a perspex rod
a dirty reticule (with “a piece of linen” inside)

The rod and fur can also interact…

There is a crackle of static electricity as you rub the fur up and down the Perspex rod (Freud would also be interested in your behaviour).

…but I otherwise haven’t gotten anything useful to happen, although I suspect some kind of Science is ahead. The only other places of note are a slot at the bank (I assume you would use the plastic card on it) and a locked shop just marked “Waterloo Station”. I would guess the Station lets us board an above-ground train and make our way to Phase 9.

Sorry, that’s quite an info-dump! Hoping to get something useful to happen with all the Stuff lying around next time. I do have one more one-shot post coming but when we approach closer to the end-game I’m going to stick with Ferret until the end. I’m just hoping the endgame isn’t as long and grueling as Warp.

Posted November 16, 2022 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction, Video Games

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48 responses to “Ferret: A Burial at Sea, But Not for Valour

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  1. One quick thing that I didn’t mention is that the truck will set off the box to the north of the landing which open/closes the part south of the Gallery.

    -> push green button
    The truck rushes away and disappears out of the room.
    There is a deep rumbling from the north as a large slab of masonry moves into place and blocks the exit from the room.

    Not sure how to get anything useful out of that! I kind of want it to be set off remotely and try to be inside the matrix when it happens.

  2. Another interesting and but perhaps useless detail. The ICE to change it’s physical size as it melts as evidenced by it needed to melt for 5 turns before it will fit into the BOX. Maybe it becomes useful when it’s melted to a small enough size. It completely melts after about 20 turns. At 15 turns it doesn’t display a melt message and it’s description changes from a ‘block’ to a ‘cube’. I also wonder if the fridge might be useful for chilling something, once the ice is removed.

  3. I incidentally asked the Hivemind what we should be focused on, and they said [gb tb fubccvat].

  4. I didn’t think I’d have something to contribute to a game this complex, but, has anyone else noticed that (rot13) gur yrggref ba gur oybpxf nantenz bhg (yvar ol yvar, rira) gb “jul gnxr sbhe cvaf”

    • I think it got mentioned in the other thread but I hadn’t really thought about the phrase coherently — WHY TAKE FOUR PINS feels like it is referring to our infamous colored pins we’ve been toting around. Like they’re red herrings now? Does that also indicate the entire west side really is a red herring and there’s no way to get back?

  5. one other quick note about the helicopter, btw:

    V jnf vapbeerpg nobhg gurer orvat ab znc — gurer’f fbzrguvat univat gb qb jvgu gur ynqqre. V unira’g dhvgr svtherq bhg jung ohg V’z jbeevrq zber nobhg cunfr 8 ng gur zbzrag. Vg vf snvagyl cbffvoyr gurer vf fbzr rkgen pyhr jr’ir zvffrq ba gurer, gubhtu.

  6. I found a new place accessible from the street/shops area.

    1. Gurer’f n uvqqra rkvg va bar bs gur fubcf.
    2. Vg qbrfa’g erdhver hfvat nal vairagbel vgrzf.
    3. Vg’f n uvqqra rkvg gung tbrf qbja.
    4. Vg’f haqre bar bs gur srj vagrenpgnoyr srngherf.
    5. Tb gb gur Vpr Pernz Cneybhe naq CHFU SEVQTR.

    • great job!

      Abj noyr gb zbir nebhaq gvyrf; unira’g tbg nal hfr bhg bs gur cyngsbez guvatl lrg nygubhtu V nffhzr gur ehol ebq unf gb tb gurer

    • ok I assume some of you don’t want to work out the 15 puzzle by hand, I have the steps for you

      fgneg ng gbc ebj, 3eq pbyhza

      chyy yrire;j;j;chyy yrire;j;f;chyy yrire
      f;r;chyy yrire;r;a;chyy yrire;a;j;chyy yrire
      j;f;chyy yrire;f;f;chyy yrire;f;r;chyy yrire
      r;f;chyy yrire;f;r;chyy yrire;r;a;chyy yrire
      a;a;chyy yrire;a;j;chyy yrire;j;j;chyy yrire
      j;f;chyy yrire;f;r;chyy yrire;r;a;chyy yrire
      a;a;chyy yrire;a;r;chyy yrire;r;f;chyy yrire
      f;f;chyy yrire;f;f;chyy yrire;f;j;chyy yrire
      j;j;chyy yrire;j;a;chyy yrire;a;a;chyy yrire
      a;a;chyy yrire;a;r;chyy yrire;r;r;chyy yrire

      • For some reason I’m only getting:

        -> chyy yrire
        Gurer vf n juveevat bs snaf sbyybjrq ol n fyvtug yhepu nf gur sybbe nccrnef gb
        yvsg fyvtugyl. Gur ebbz jbooyrf oevrsyl ba vgf oynaxrg bs nve, gura fhofvqrf gb
        vgf bevtvany cbfvgvba. Gur yrire fcevatf onpx gb vgf bevtvany cbfvgvba.

        Gur gvyrf qba’g zbir.

      • 1. Jryy, vg vf nyzbfg jbexvat.
        2. Jung zrpunavfz vf vg hfvat gb yvsg guvatf? Jung zvtug fgbc gung sebz unccravat?
        3. Gur nve phfuvba vf trggvat jrvtugrq qbja.
        4. Lbh unir gb unir abguvat va lbhe vairagbel (whfg qebc rirelguvat bss ng gur ahefrel).

    • Really mad at myself for not trying this. I tried everything else.

  7. “The platform has a shallow hemispherical groove running from its back to its front, parallel to the side of the platform.”

    …what does this mean? how can a hemispherical groove be shallow? if it runs from back to front and the platform is square, doesn’t it take up the whole platform? parallel to the side of the platform? it’s probably not relevant to the solution at all, but I need at least one diagram to understand this.

  8. I’ve successfully (i) [pbzcyrgrq gur 15 chmmyr] and (ii) [npprffrq naq hfrq gur pneq va gur pnfxrg], and my ultimate reward is to reach a dead-end with a “[cvapuorpx pnfr]” that I can’t pick up and with which I haven’t figured out any useful interactions. I also noticed that the tiles in the Nursery [punatr gb n “pbzcnff” (fgvyy vanpprffvoyl oruvaq tynff) nsgre fbyivat gur 15 chmmyr].

    • Could you give a hint for the card?

      I’ve been busy having fun with something that might be unrelated:

      incbevmvat fghss jvgu gur ehol ebq

      to do so:

      whfg bcra gur phcobneq, chg gur ehol ebq va gur tebbir, chfu gur ohggba ba gur synfu, naq vg’yy sel fghss va gur pnivgl

      • one other observation on the thing I was busy with

        gur bayl guvat gung erfvfgf trggvat sevrq (bs jung V’ir sbhaq) vf gur vpr oybpx

        guvf frrzf gb or xvaq bs ohttl orpnhfr vg trgf qrfpevorq nf orvat sevrq, ohg fgnlf chg

        vs lbh jnvg sbe vg gb or na vpr phor naq gura npgvingr gur ehol ebq vg’yy trg incbevmrq abeznyyl

        the casket also gets a custom thing but it vaporizes the card too

    • argh, so close

      lbh pna svg gur pnfxrg naq gur vpr oybpx fvzhygnarbhfyl

      vs lbh sver jura vg vf fgvyy na vpr oybpx vg “phgf vagb gur gbc” ohg qbrfa’g qb rabhtu gb bcra vg

      vs lbh sver jura vg vf na vpr phor vg qbrfa’g qb rabhtu

      grfgvat jnvgvat qvssrerag nzbhagf bs gvzr ohg ab qvpr

      • You are indeed very close.

        1. Fb pybfr lbh pbhyq fnl gung lbh’ir npghnyyl fbyirq guvf jvgubhg ernyvmvat vg.
        2. Bapr lbh’ir fyvprq vagb gur gbc bs gur pnfxrg, nyy gung fgnaqf orgjrra lbh naq gur pneq vf cnefre svqqyvarff.
        3. V znantrq gb trg npprff gb gur pneq ivn GRFG PNFXRG nsgre fyvpvat vgf gbc, nygubhtu vg gbbx er-ernqvat gur bhgchg gb ernyvmr jung unccrarq.
        4. Nsgre fyvpvat gur gbc, RZCGL PNFXRG jvyy qhzc gur pneq ba gur sybbe.

    • in the meantime, figured out something with the compass

      -> jnir evat bire tynff
      Gur arrqyr fjvatf gb naq seb.

      • Ah!

        Gel “k arrqyr” orsber jnivat gur evat bire gur tynff, naq gura ntnva nsgre vg.

        Zbivat gur arrqyr punatrf fbzrguvat arneol.

      • …although, this isn’t going to be relevant under after you’ve used the card.

      • Is it just a verbal code? I was assuming the number is that cryptic line on the card and since there is no keyboard I just need to say it, but I have wasted time on passwords with this game before.

      • V guvax gur znpuvar qvrf evtug nsgre lbh chg va gur pneq, onfrq ba gur “bzvabhf penpxyvat” naq “ybhq cbc.” V pbhyqa’g trg gur znpuvar gb qb nalguvat shegure nsgre chggvat va gur pneq. OHG, chggvat va gur pneq *qbrf* unir na rssrpg.

        1. Jung qvq gur znpuvar tenag lbh orsber vg qvrq?
        2. “Frphevgl npprff tenagrq.” Creuncf gung’f gb or gnxra engure yvgrenyyl.
        3. Jurer unir lbh frra nalguvat, be nal cynpr, “Frphevgl” gurzrq?
        4. Unir lbh orra onpx gb gur Frphevgl Pbeevqbe?
        5. Gung bcrarq hc nsgre fbyivat gur 15 chmmyr?
        6. Nsgre chggvat gur pneq va gur onax znpuvar, lbh pna abj bcra gur qbbe va gur Frphevgl Pbeevqbe.

  9. gonna open this up to the floor, even to people not playing, so not using rot13

    -> examine cylinder
    The slender black cylinder fits nicely into the palm of the hand. At one end of the cylinder is a rubber pad, the other end of the cylinder appears to be transparent.

    Anyone have a theory what this thing is? You can refer to the rubber pad as a separate object but the game doesn’t understand me trying to PUT it on anything.

    • If I didn’t know this was a 40yo games, I’d think it was describing a modern LED flashlight. I’ve tried every PUSH, PRESS, etc on the pad that I can think of with no results.

      Gur bgure dhrfgvba orvat, Cvapuorpx Pnfr??

      Jung? Bayl guvat V pbhyq svaq jnf nobhg Puevfgbcure Cvapuorpx n 16gu praghel jngpuznxre jub vairagrq n oenff nyybl gung zvzvpf tbyq. Fb V jrag onpx naq ercynlrq Cunfr 8 gb trg gur tbyq xrl ohg ab qvpr. Vg’f nyfb na vqvbz sbe snxr be pbhagresrvg.

    • welp, one of the many semi-random things I tried hit paydirt

      I don’t even know how to hint this meaningfully other than “go try manipulating the cylinder at every possible unsolved Phase 8 conundrum,” so #1 below says where to use it, and #2 gives the syntax

      1. gur plyvaqre bcraf gur Jngreybb Fgngvba qbbe
      2. gur flagnk vf CBVAG PLYVAQRE NG QBBE sbyybjrq ol CERFF CNQ

  10. -> score
    Phase 9 (Navigation)
    Mode: Master
    You have scored 965 (out of 1670) points in 4124 moves.
    Rooms visited: 534. Rank achieved: Ferret Master (Class 3).
    -> mode
    You are currently in Master Mode, which entitles you to certain privileges.

    At this level you are expected to be able to find or postulate what the new
    privileges might be, given your experience with the game. For example,
    “Wouldn’t it be great if…”.

  11. So happy to say that I have made it to Phase 9 (and Master mode). I mostly enjoyed the puzzles of Phase 8 though there was some considerable parser wrestling involved (angrily staring at YOU TWO, iron ring and security casket), and I think I have probably done some parts in very suboptimal way. A bit disappointed that I did not get to build a real magnetic core memory. :D
    Brute forced a pin combination, maybe there is a smarter way but my brain was too tired to be smart at the time.
    Was there any point to the meandering tunnels part of the catacombs? I found 10 “different” rooms “in there”, but they did not seem to hide any secrets. Also, I was a bit surprised about not needing to visit the south-of-the-scullery locations.

    • The pin combo is on that torn card we found the first part of in phase 2 (it -did- turn out useful!)

      • Good to know. I had the card text paired together since way back, but my state of mind when arriving in the sanctuary made it easier to just script it than to actually think. Looking at it now I might have had to test two permutations (brown/orange switch) with the rest being very clear from the text, but I didn’t even take time to look at the text before going the brute way…

  12. folks

    my random wanderings of phase 9 and its apparent sheer size have me seriously wondering if, by completing phases 1 through 8, we have reached the *halfway point* of Ferret

    also at some point I fell down some stairs and died and was surprised to see I had somehow reached Phase 10 (Foundation) by just, well, wandering around

    • ok

      the phases apparently go up to at least 16

    • I came to the >9 phases in a very “controllable” way (but I guess it must be the same as you did), though surprisingly quickly after reaching 9. I have “prompt score” running at most times so it shows right away.

  13. Has anyone made any sense of the meaning/possibilities of Master mode yet?
    (I was almost expecting to get into an endgame where we would revisit the whole game from the beginning with harder versions of the puzzles, but no sign of that yet.)

    • “-> mode
      You are currently in Guru Mode, which might entitle you to certain privileges.
      At this level you are very much on your own now….
      Phase 17 (Illumination)
      Mode: Guru”

      • surreality intensifies

        “The Guru incants:
        80. a science fiction book had saved Darkins from starvation in the tiny”

        is this game really pulling a Cain’s Jawbone on us of all things

        I think it is

      • q for both of you (since I’m finishing my next post up before I tackle 9 in earnest) would you say the “phase” structure as a set of short stories has more or less broken down, and even though we’re up to phase 17 (!!) that the whole thing is accelerating so we’re more than 50%?

      • I think the way I’d (obliquely) answer that, preserving the “set of short stories” metaphor, is this: [bapr lbh orpbzr n Znfgre, lbh pna *fxvc* fgbevrf jvgubhg univat gb “pbzcyrgr” gurz. Ohg… nf n Theh, jr zvtug fgvyy arrq gb pbzcyrgr gurz naljnl, gb npuvrir gehr rayvtugrazrag. Bayl gvzr naq shegure nqiraghevat jvyy gryy.]

      • I agree with Voltgloss description. I couldn’t say *anything* regarding if the remaining 50-ish
        percent is “more or less” at this point, but I haven’t seen anything indicating endgame points inflation so far.
        I think the situation we are in now, which in some way makes it possible to work on several phases at the same time, is quite intriguing and I am happy to see that there is a slight indication that we might (no promise) actually get to revisit earlier gameplay in a more demanding way. Maybe maybe. Phase 17 seems a second game changer after the recent game change of phases 9-16.

      • About guru incants. (I don’t get the Cain’s Jawbone reference but I think it is some puzzle book thing?)
        I haven’t had your #80 but I have had #111 which seems to be a clue/explanation about a part of phase 16 that I haven’t thought about and referencing a piece of British popular culture from some decades back.

      • I wrote about Cain’s Jawbone here.


        Did some solving but not all the way. The linked doc is very popular still, people have been busy. I need to give an update sometime.

      • I got a mail from Ferret Authors about this. It seems the entry into Phase 17 in the way I/some have done it is a bug and premature. And that makes perfect sense. We’ll have to concentrate on remaining earlier phases until we have legitimate entry.

  14. Pingback: Ferret: Chasm of a Thousand Cuts | Renga in Blue

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