Checklist for Check and accessibility rules

I’ve been thinking about how to write the most appropriate check/accessibility rules, and thought I’d think out loud to solicit feedback. First, some background…

In many cases there would be many reasons why an action would fail; I figure the one chosen/reported should be the most objectionable reason it would fail, which I figure goes something like:

  1. logical absurdity (putting something inside itself)
  2. physical impossibility (putting the car in your pocket)
  3. propriety (acting on other people or acting on their things)
  4. futility

I also figure that attempts to implicitly take something should come as late as possible, after most other reasons the action would fail had already been considered, so assume no actions have been specified as applying to a carried thing. Everywhere it makes sense to require carrying something, a check rule does the implicit take (this is already true for putting something on, inserting something into, and eating).

I’m also assuming something is ensuring that when a noun must be a thing that it really is, and that visibility rules are appropriately taking care of visibility.

This is my expansive list of things to consider, without an attempt to list them in any priority order. (Obviously I don’t expect anything close to all of these to actually get their own rule for any given action; I’m just trying to not miss thinking about a case I should have.)

Actions applying to one thing

is the actor …

  • acting on themself
  • acting on something they’re wearing
  • acting on something they carry
  • acting on something they enclose but don’t directly hold
  • acting on another person or something worn, carried, or enclosed but not directly held by another person
  • acting on a person they’re enclosed by (e.g., the player is riding a rideable animal)
  • acting on a person they enclose (no reason the player couldn’t be a rideable animal)
  • acting on something that’s a part of one of the above categories (or a part of a part, etc.)
  • acting on something they’re inside or on top of
  • acting on a thing that encloses them but doesn’t directly hold them
  • acting on something they’re not carrying but should be
  • in a vehicle?
  • in or on something and acting on something not in or on the same thing?

is the noun…

  • provides and/or has various either/or properties… scenery, pushable between rooms, openable, open/closed, fixed in place/portable, locked/unlocked, lockable, enterable, switched on, wearable, opaque/transparent, edible, scenery, undescribed, animate, talkable (even though those two don’t aren’t exposed to I7 by default)
  • of a given kind, e.g., person, container, supporter, vehicle, door, backdrop
  • in or on something the actor isn’t also in or on

if the action would move something to a container, supporter, or person, is carrying capacity tested?
if it moves to a person who’s at carrying capacity but carries a player’s holdall, is the holdall used?
if it moves a person to a supporter or container, is it enterable?

Actions applying to two things:

  • all of the above, applied to each of the things as appropriate
  • are they the same thing, or is one a part of the other, or are they part of the same thing (considering indirect as well as direct incorporation)?
  • does one hold or enclose the other?
  • are they both people or parts thereof?

I figure actions involving a direction deserve their own category, but I’ll come back to those.

any thoughts?


It may be more sensible to think in terms of “why not”:

  1. I couldn’t decide what that even means
  2. That’s so clearly impossible that I wouldn’t try
  3. I refuse to try (or don’t want to)
  4. I tried, but failed

Implicit take would happen between 3 and 4.

Also note the related case of “I decided that means a different action, so consider that instead.” (E.g., TAKE PILL translates to EAT PILL, bypassing all checks on the Taking action.) This happens before 1, or maybe as part of 1.


This seems a sensible hierarchy to me, and I think zarf’s comments are also helpful.

this is why I consider DWIM the evil incarnate:

(the cyanide pill)


go figure…

Best regards from Italy,
dott. Piergiorgio.

This is just English, it’s not the parser’s fault. “Take” is overloaded. The only other verb I can think of is “have” - “have your tablet” or “have you had your tablet?”

Thinking about it some more, I wonder if it helps considering it in terms of the sequence of processes an actor goes through in formulating and carrying out an action.

  1. The initial idea stage - at this point the actor has the germ of an idea but hasn’t begun to consider how the action might actually be carried out or whether it’s a good idea, she is still considering whether it’s even a proposition that makes sense. ‘That didn’t even make sense!’ e.g. ‘Putting on myself didn’t even make sense!’
  2. The good idea/bad stage - here she is considering whether even attempting the action is a good idea. She might at this stage decide against it because a desirable outcome is clearly unachievable because:
    (i) under all circumstances the laws of the universe prevent it ‘That’s simply impossible!’ e.g. ‘putting on the doll’s dress is simply impossible!’
    (ii) she lacks the necessary personal abilities or attributes ‘I couldn’t possibly do that!’ e.g. ‘I couldn’t possibly get into a size 6!’; ‘I couldn’t possibly cross the ravine on that tightrope!’
    (iii) considerations of ethics/propriety exclude it ‘That just wouldn’t be right!’ e.g. ‘Stealing my sister’s dress just wouldn’t be right!’; ‘Leaving Miss Bennet naked just wouldn’t be right!’
    (iv) undesirable consequences are inevitable ‘That’s bound to end badly!’ e.g. ‘Stealing the Queen’s dress is bound to end badly!’
  3. The physical possibility stage - can I see to do this and are the necessary objects arranged in such a way that the action could be attempted. And if not, can things be implicitly so arranged as a prelude to attempting the action. ‘I couldn’t even attempt that until …’ e.g. ‘I couldn’t even attempt putting the dress on until I’m holding it’; ‘I couldn’t even attempt taking a photograph until there’s some light’
  4. The specific requirements stage - are more nuanced requirements for the action in place ‘I went to do that, but when I did…’ e.g. ‘I went to put the dress on but when I did it was plainly too small’; ‘I went to eat the toadstool, but when I did it was plainly inedible’; ‘I went to take the dresser, but when I did it was clearly fixed in place’; ‘I went to buy the dress but when I did I didn’t have enough money’;
  5. The went through with it but failed stage, ‘I tried it, but failed’ e.g. ‘I tried to put the dress on, but it didn’t fit’; ‘I tried to cross the ravine but fell from the tightrope.’