GOLMAC Plays Spellbreaker (1985) Struggle at Big Rock

Glad to have you! I think Spellbreaker is a text that benefits from multiple readings, which is a tough sell in this medium.

The main reason I ask is because the box has a reputation for being underclued to the point of unfairness. Since I’ve played the game so many times, I thought I’d fish for some new takes.

Meanwhile: the vote is tied! Anybody out there want to break the tie?

3 Likes

Time to get back at it. The new cube is the winner of the poll, so we’ll start there. As a note, I don’t really recall what goes where, and I’m enjoying the uncertainty! Here’s the current to-do list.

  • Explore the cube taken from the idol’s mouth.
  • Take the cube in the Roc’s nest.
  • Solve the mystery of the exit: “you can’t seem to force your way through it.”
  • Find a use for the box.
  • Possible puzzle: the water channel in the zipper room.
  • Figure out something to do in the Oubliette room (may be related to water channel puzzle).

Since we are just BLORPLE-ing into the unknown, we can start right where we left off in the temple.

->blorple cube
Abruptly, your surroundings shift.

Air Room
You are on a large fluffy white cloud. In fact, you are surrounded by clouds. They blow past, wind seeming to boil them around you from all sides. There is a bit of clear air to the north, momentary gaps in the clouds to the south and west, and an alarming one below you.

Another element room. There are four exits. If the pattern holds, one will be unusable. “…Wind seeming to boil them,” seems like a nice phrase. I generally prefer north when given the option, and this north is no different. Onward!

Glacier
You are in the midst of a trackless glacier in the Flathead Mountains. Snow blows around you, the wind complaining of its own discomfort. This is a desolate and dangerous place, for there are crevasses everywhere under the deceptive blanket of snow.
There is a white scroll here.

->get scroll
Taken.

->read it
The scroll reads “tinsot spell: freeze.”

A new spell! What water have we seen? The ocean? That might be a bit much. The water channels? I can’t think of anything else right now.

Back at the Air Room, we’ll try west this time.

Bazaar
This is a crowded, noisy bazaar. Directly in front of you to the east is a shop. Above its door is a sign in an unknown tongue. You can’t read it, but it is illustrated with a picture of a very ornate rug. The door beckons invitingly.

Fun! As was the custom in those days, the “crowded, noisy” part of the room isn’t substantiated in-game.

->examine crowd
I don’t know the word “crowd.”

->examine people
I don’t know the word “people.”

->examine person
I don’t know the word “person.”

Ah, well. Those were innocent days, and I’m not sure anyone thought anything of such omissions. I didn’t, anyway. Let’s check out the rug shop to the east. Oh! We have a gold coin, remember?

->e
Emporium
This is the middle of a huge emporium. Signs in a language unknown to you grace the displays. Most of the objects displayed are ornately woven rugs. There is an exit into the street to the west.
A young and earnest-looking merchant stands near a pile of carpets.

The merchant approaches you. “May I help you? We have a fine selection of carpets of all sizes and uses.” He indicates the pile of rugs and picks up two of them. “These are particularly nice,” he says. One is a beautiful blue carpet with a strange design of cubes, and the other is a scruffy red carpet that’s rather shabby and badly made.

->examine coin
This is a gold 500 zorkmid piece.

Two carpets, and our second legitimately interactive person! We didn’t look at this the other day, but it isn’t possible to talk to or YOMIN the angry guild masters at the beginning of Spellbreaker.

->yomin sneffle
Orkan of Thriff stares at you in wonderment. “Are you trying to get them even more mad at us?” He makes a gesture of cancellation before you can finish the spell.

Poor Orkan the salamander. Back to the shop. Two rugs:

->examine red
This is a cheaply made and ugly carpet. It is a garish red and looks ready to fall apart.

->examine blue
This is a carpet of unusual design. It is blue, beautifully woven and has a pattern that looks different each time you look at it. Sometimes, for example, it’s an array of cubes pointing upward, and other times it’s the same array pointing downward. There is a jaunty fringe around the outer edge.

I doubt we can buy both. I remember struggling with this early on. Perhaps this is an “all that glitters” situation, and the red carpet is the right one. It’s hard to ignore the cube design on the blue rug, though. Perhaps we can use JINDAK for more info.

->jindak
The spell trickles away to nothing. The merchant smiles. “Do you think you are the first magician to try to use lawless, thieving magic on a humble merchant?” He throws you into the street and bars the door.

Nope! Well, the cubes on the blue rug seem pretty convincing (perhaps too much so). Let’s give it a try.

->buy blue rug
(from the merchant)
“These carpets are the epitome of the weaver’s art, woven by skilled native craftsmen with pride in their work. The Flatheads themselves have carpets like these. Their worth is nearly incalculable, but because today is my aged mother’s birthday, we are offering them at an absurdly low price. A mere eight hundred zorkmids each!”

Hm. We don’t have that much. Does that mean we are buying the wrong rug? Let’s try the red one. We get the exact same response, including the 800 Zorkmid price. I suppose that, from a design perspective, it wouldn’t make sense if you could only buy the red one. We have to get the price down, or else walk away.

But this is pretty clearly a bit, isn’t it? “…My aged mother’s birthday?” Come on. Looking over our handy-dandy manual, we can see that OFFER is an implemented action.

->buy blue rug
(from the merchant)
“These carpets are the epitome of the weaver’s art, woven by skilled native craftsmen with pride in their work. The Flatheads themselves have carpets like these. Their worth is nearly incalculable, but because today is my aged mother’s birthday, we are offering them at an absurdly low price. A mere eight hundred zorkmids each!”

->offer 100
(to the merchant)
“You obviously didn’t hear me. I didn’t say we were giving them away. But my father is also hard of hearing and thus I have a warm spot in my heart for those similarly afflicted, so I will accept a pittance, as charity: seven hundred zorkmids.”

->offer 200
(to the merchant)
“My word! Let me see your teeth… No, not shark’s teeth after all. Perhaps your rapaciousness has led you astray. Down the block you may find old rags and such to make a fine floor covering for your hovel. Here you must pay what the product is worth. Six hundred, or I send you down the street.”

->offer 300
(to the merchant)
“This grows tedious. Because I am a busy man and my lunch is growing cold, I will sell you a rug below my own cost. These rugs are imported at great expense over burning deserts, steep mountains and bandit-infested plains. My own cousin, who was watching out for the family interests in the caravan, was lost bringing this very shipment here. The caravan master, in his absence, no doubt robbed us blind, as you propose to do. Done at five hundred, then!” He reaches toward you expectantly.

->give coin
(to the merchant)
“Done, then!” The merchant takes the gold coin. “I don’t know what my family will eat tonight, but they say I’m softhearted. I only want to get back to my lunch, so you’ve got a deal. You should have told me you were an expert.” He gives you a carpet. “Now go before my family sees what a fool I’ve been…”

Given the limitations of the day, this is a positively luxuriant outpouring of text. Lebling is clearly having a good time. It’s a fun puzzle, and not terribly difficult if you’ve reviewed the verb list in the manual. Of course, I wouldn’t be much of an Zork writer/critic person if the mention of the Flatheads didn’t catch my notice. Discussed in the present tense, no less! Excuse me for a moment…

Flathead Mentions After the Zork Trilogy

Enchanter:

  • Adventurer comments on Dimwit Flathead’s portrait in the gallery.
  • Enchanter examines his portrait in same.
  • ZIFMIA spell fails, the implication is that Dimwit Flathead is dead.

Sorcerer:

  • Lord Dimwit Flathead listing in the Encyclopedia.
  • In addition to its own listing, the Flathead Ocean is mentioned in the listing for Antharia.
  • An “Ernie Flathead” is named as the manager of the seemingly defunct coal mine (the troglodytes are still there, but there are no signs of human employees).

Spellbreaker:

  • Flathead Mountains.
  • Flathead Ocean.
  • Barbel of Gurth was an advisor to Lord Dimwit Flathead (from the Enchanter cards feelie).
  • The rug merchant mentions the “Flatheads” in present tense.
  • The label on the blue rug mentions a Flathead, too (more on this below).

Interesting. I assumed that all of the Flatheads died or went into hiding during the fall of the Great Underground Empire. Still, it is odd that this sentence is all we have of them. Wait. I should check Beyond Zork, too.

Beyond Zork

  • “Good King Flathead” (Christmas Carol sung by the Christmas tree monsters)
  • Flathead Ocean (sometimes substituted for “Great Sea”, the name that preceded Dimwit Flathead)

Nothing there. How odd. What? Check Zork Nemesis? We’ll keep things in the family for now. I haven’t considered what–if anything–I’ll have to say about post-Infocom games.

Back to the rug shop! It seems that the blue is the correct one, because the merchant tries give us the red one. What a trickster! Fortunately, “point” is a verb listed in the manual, too.

->point at blue carpet
“How silly of me! You wanted this one with the cubes, didn’t you?” He gives it to you.

The bazaar, the mannerisms of the merchant, and the rug itself all scream “magic carpet,” don’t they? Let’s take it outside. Now that the rug is in our possession, we can read a label affixed to its underside.

"Frobozz Magic Magic Carpet Co.

This carpet is made of all-unnatural fibers. Occupancy by more than one person is prohibited. Keep to posted speeds. Do not remove this label under penalty of law.

Abdul el-Flathead

(Printed by the Frobozz Magic Label Co.)"

Ah, it’s definitely a magic carpet, then. Abdul el-Flathead, eh? A weird touch, since the labels on furniture and carpets are not typically signed in our world. Abdul may well be the only confirmed Flathead survivor of the fall of the GUE. Then again, perhaps magic carpets resist the weatherings of time.

->sit on rug
You are now sitting on the beautiful blue carpet. At first nothing happens. Then the fringe of the carpet starts to ruffle expectantly.

Could it be as simple as…

->u
In Thick Clouds, on the beautiful blue carpet
You are in midair. Fortunately you are sitting on a magic carpet and thus are fairly safe.
Sitting on the beautiful blue carpet you see:
a label

Yes! Unfortunately, once discovered, the label is always mentioned. This is probably done to tempt the player:

->get label
As soon as the label is removed, the carpet hits an air pocket and rolls up. There is no room for you on a rolled-up carpet. You begin to fall.

You are falling towards the ground, wind whipping around you.

Oops! Let’s try that again. While the idea of flight implies the opening of many possibilities, the reality is less promising. Once we get above the clouds, there are (so far) a large number of seemingly identical rooms. Perhaps they go on forever! The only distinction between some of them is the location of the Flathead Mountains. Flying up and down the mountain range, we can find our way to the Roc’s Nest. Unfortunately, the mother roc is still there, so we still can’t get the cube. Just for the sake of completeness, we can try and land in a “trackless wilderness.”

->d
Wilderness
You are lost in a trackless wilderness. Wild creatures and wild men rule here. As soon as your carpet touches ground, you are set upon by one or the other (they are difficult to tell apart) and devoured.

****  You have died  ****

Oh, well. Since the rug is a dead end for now, let’s circle back to the water channel(s). Since we have no idea if or how the two rooms are connected, I’ll start with the location we discovered first: the ruins room. My thought is that we can shrink ourselves then look in the channel.

->liskon me
You feel very funny, sort of squashed and pushed and squeezed. Your surroundings are wavering, then growing, then wavering again. The feeling vanishes, but your surroundings are ten times their former size… or is it that you are one-tenth your former size?

->enter channel
You enter the cold, fast-flowing water. Some of your possessions have been damaged by the water.

Ruined Pipe
The pipe here is smashed from the top where a huge pillar has toppled over onto it. Cyclopean ruins are all around you. The cracks and fissures in the pipe might make it possible to climb out here. The water is fast and loud around you.

->e
The current is too strong.

->w
The water swirls down the pipe, its angle of descent increasing until it tumbles over a precipice. You are buffeted back and forth, flipping over, headfirst one second, feetfirst the next. At last, dizzy and confused, you are dashed against the rocks at the bottom of the cistern.

****  You have died  ****

That wasn’t great, exactly, but the channel is clearly an implemented room with exits. There may be something to this! Let’s head over to the Oubliette.

->liskon me
You feel very funny, sort of squashed and pushed and squeezed. Your surroundings are wavering, then growing, then wavering again. The feeling vanishes, but your surroundings are ten times their former size… or is it that you are one-tenth your former size?

->enter channel
You enter the cold, fast-flowing water. Some of your possessions have been damaged by the water.

In Channel
You are in a fast flowing stream of very cold water. Going east (against the current) would be nearly impossible. Going west is almost unavoidable.

->w
In Pipe
You are inside a small ceramic pipe nearly filled with fast-flowing cold water. The walls of the pipe are slippery and overgrown with mossy slime wherever an irregularity shields the growth from the force of the water. Going east (against the current) would be nearly impossible. Going west is almost unavoidable.

->w
In Pipe
You are inside a small ceramic pipe nearly filled with fast-flowing cold water. The walls of the pipe are slippery and overgrown with mossy slime wherever an irregularity shields the growth from the force of the water. On the north side of the pipe is such an irregularity: a large chunk has been knocked out of the pipe, and the slime and moss grows abundantly. Inside, covered with moss and slime, is something large, white, and apparently cubical. Going east (against the current) would be nearly impossible. Going west is almost unavoidable.

->get cube
Taken.

->w
Ruined Pipe
The pipe here is smashed from the top where a huge pillar has toppled over onto it. Cyclopean ruins are all around you. The cracks and fissures in the pipe might make it possible to climb out here. The water is fast and loud around you.

->out
Ruins Room
Here the main corridor opens into a vast underground space. Your light can barely illuminate a fraction of it. All around are cyclopean blocks of stone, crudely carved statues, and constructs of unimaginable purpose. Nearby the portico of a building has collapsed, and a pillar has smashed the pavement and exposed a small channel filled with swiftly rushing water. Water stains indicate that at one time the water flooded the entire area.

->examine book
This is your well-used old spell book, first given to you by Belboz years ago after your original book was lost. He would be appalled by its current ruined condition. It’s water-soaked, and the ink has run. It’s useless.

->caskly book
The spell book is returned to its original perfection.

I got a cube! That’s good. Unfortunately, I also damaged my spell book. That’s bad. I should have closed it in the zipper. Fortunately, I memorized the CASKLY spell before entering the pipe. How did I know to do that? Knowledge of future events, naturally. If I knew that the spell book would be damaged, why did I not put it in the Zipper? That’s the course of the history of Quendor, of course, which the enchanter must preserve (this is just a joke, for now).

This seems like another good stopping point. Our map has required some remediation, so that the Earth Cube’s temple and the Water Cube’s Oubliette might be connected. The sky area is going to get the Dave Lebling “maze that isn’t a maze” treatment, so let’s not even try to map it. Our current to-do list:

  • Take the cube in the Roc’s nest.
  • Solve the mystery of the exit: “you can’t seem to force your way through it.”
  • Find a use for the box.
  • Investigate uses for TINSOT (“freeze”).
  • Investigate the new cube (found in the channel).

Does the shadow still seem to be leaving cubes as bait? Or are we on our own now? Thoughts about this game world’s place in the Zork universe? What about that damnable box (only if you don’t know what it’s for)? Jimmy Maher says that Spellbreaker is “downright noble in its commitment to fairness.” Thoughts?

GOLMAC Spellbreaker Day 4.txt (37.2 KB)
Spellbreaker Day 4 for Sharing.sav (1.2 KB)

What’s next (day 5)?
  • Investigate new cube
  • Experiment with TINSOT spell

0 voters

6 Likes

While Spellbreaker is a conventional Infocom game in most respects (and I mean this as a compliment), it’s not at all conventional in its geography. The game is somehow set in every biome of the Zork world at once; whole landscapes are conveyed by single rooms, and there are bewilderingly many of these atomized places. Distance, in the conventional IF sense of how many compass moves are needed to get from A to B, has largely been abolished. So anything you’re thinking about is more or less simultaneously available, provided you’ve kept super-careful notes, and know what a burin is. (That’s really the most important clue in the feelies.)

By this point, we’ve realised, of course, that the game is going to be dominated by the cubes. They do for spatial layout what the final scenes of 2001: A Space Odyssey do for the sense of time - it’s all played out with such conviction that clearly there’s a scheme behind it, but the experience is deeply confusing all the same… I think Spellbreaker’s reputation for difficulty comes from that strangeness, because its actual puzzles are individually right-down-the-line IF of the old school.

I do think Lebling is ingenious in avoiding, for the most part, puzzles which are solved simply by pointing an obviously relevant spell at them. Also in using a minimum of extraneous objects: I’m guessing that memory and Z-machine constraints were a huge obstacle. Indeed, the fragmentation of space I’m suggesting here is partly the result of the cubes network being really too big to fit into a map appropriate for a version 3 Infocom story file; but (without spoiling anything) Lebling didn’t have the option of reducing the number of nodes in that network.

6 Likes

What happens if you offer 400 instead?

4 Likes

The contemporary player may not realize that reading the manual and accompanying content was, for many, a pre-game, post-purchase ritual. Objects and verbs that might seem obscure or even obtuse would be familiar to an 80s player. “SEARCH NEAR” in Deadline is occasionally criticized as a “guess the verb” problem, but players would have seen the command in the manual. The same is true for “point,” “offer,” and “write” in Spellbreaker.

Consideration of 2001 is productive, and it’s a connection I have never made. Eventually, time will have its role in things here, too.

Barring the cluing of a single puzzle, I feel that Spellbreaker benefits from its memory ceiling. Sometimes, writing while constrained leads to innovative tactics, as can be the case with poetic form.

A fail state! Lebling probably didn’t want to deal with making change.

->offer 400
(to the merchant)
“That does it! Out you go! Down the road to the rag-pickers, you thief!” He throws you into the street and bars the door.

Bazaar
This is a crowded, noisy bazaar. Directly in front of you to the east is a shop. Above its door is a sign in an unknown tongue. You can’t read it, but it is illustrated with a picture of a very ornate rug. The door is closed and locked.

6 Likes

Here’s a historical curiosity: a note from Lebling to Meretzky about concepts for what he refers to as “Zork 6.” The use of cubes for geography had yet to solidify. I am probably stealing a bit of my own critical thunder (future Gold Machine content), but that’s OK.

Unlike other implementors, Lebling kept readable text files with his source code. I renamed this file from “z6.compare” to “z6 compare.txt” for convenience’s sake.

z6 compare.txt (2.2 KB)

5 Likes

See, at this point in the game I assumed I already knew the purpose of the box: if you haven’t labelled the cubes, you can put them in the box to tell which is which. Once I’d named them all I ceased to care about it. But, as the audience can probably tell from the question, this isn’t its only (or even its main) use.

4 Likes

That’s valid. In my case, since I always start with reading the feelies and verb list, and since the game begins with a writing instrument in inventory, I was looking for something to write on from the jump. By the time I found the box, I had named my first two cubes. So, the idea of it being purely for cube differentiation never occurred to me. It seemed too complex and mysterious for that. More complicated than the burin the enchanter already has, anyway.

Reminds me of the Zork I Invisiclues:

Q: Is the basket on the chain useful?
A: Anything that complex in Zork I is useful.

Edit: But for all this, I never figured out the box on my own :crying_cat_face:

Edit 2: I won’t be updating this thread Monday the 23rd. I’ve gotten off schedule with my own IF game and need to buckle down. I’ll post an update tomorrow near noon CST, as usual.

3 Likes

The cube wins again! With very little fanfare, let’s give it a good BLORPLE-ing.

Changing Room
The scene here shifts and changes constantly. For example, the exit to the west is always an exit, but one moment it is an oak door, and the next a flimsy curtain of beads. The details are impossible to pin down for longer than a second or two. The eastern and northern exits are equally fluid.

We’ll have to put this one in the box and see what image we get! There should be two working exits and a third that goes nowhere. Or, more accurately, one that fails to go anywhere. I’ve already mentioned that I pick north when I’m given a choice, so it’s north again for us:

Bare Room
This is a room of smooth bare marble. It has no exits.
A compass rose lies discarded in a corner.

Before getting ahead of ourselves, I’ll write “change” on the cube, then put it in the box.

->put “change” in box
When you insert the “change” cube into the box, there is a brief burst of light, and the decorations on the box change subtly. They now depict butterflies.

Nice. Meanwhile, there’s only one apparent feature in this room:

->examine rose
Ornate arms indicating the directions grace this lovely silver compass rose. The central knob tells which arm goes with which direction. The arms are decorated with mythological scenes in finely wrought silver chased with gold.

Unfortunately, that’s all we get. “knob,” “arm,” and “silver” are all treated as synonyms for the compass rose. And “scenes” is not implemented at all. If we JINDAK, the compass rose glows.

NOTE: JINDAK only seems to work on portable objects that are NOT carried by the player. This is presumably because getting responses from each of the cubes, the burin, the box, and so forth would get distracting after a while, but I feel it clunks a bit.

Spending a few minutes trying out random verbs doesn’t accomplish anything noteworthy. If we take a look at our spell book, the only applicable spell might be MALYON. I’m not optimistic.

->malyon rose
As you complete the spell, the compass rose comes alive! It blinks, dances a little jig, and a moment later returns to normal.

Heh. OK, Lebling. I’ll stop fishing. Let’s go find the other working exit in the Changing Room. Heading west, we find ourselves in the…

Carving Room
This room is a perfectly carved, smoothed and shaped cube of black marble. There are no exits, but inset in the north wall is a carving of a compass rose.

What a remarkable coincidence! A compass rose and a compass rose-shaped inset! Let’s get a closer look.

->examine carving
This carving of a compass rose was made by a master craftsman. All the delicate filigree one might expect on a real but ornamental counterpart is here. As though that challenge was not enough, the artist set the carving deep in the stone of the wall.

While the wording is a bit awkward, this is a very nice touch. COMPARE isn’t even in the manual!

->compare inset to compass rose
The carving is a carving of the compass rose.

We should try to put the rose in the inset, naturally (saving first, as always).

->put rose in inset
The silver rose fits the carving perfectly. As it slides in, an octagonal hole appears below the carving. It is small, but large enough to squeeze through. You notice that the arm pointing north is now dull pot-metal.

OK, let’s try going north.

->n
You slide through the octagonal hole, which constricts and disappears as soon as you are through it.

Octagonal Room
This room is in the shape of an octagonal solid carved from marble. The floor and ceiling are the octagons and each wall is a rectangle. On each wall is inlaid a rune indicating a direction: the north wall has “north” carved on it, and so on. The east, northeast, southeast and southwest runes are lead, the rest are of silver.

Ugh, all of those directions in the room description are making me seasick. They’re making TRIZBORT go crazy, too. The distinction between silver and lead runes must be significant; the “north” arm of the compass rose changed from silver to lead when we inserted the rose into the inset. Maybe we can…

Wait a minute, I left the compass rose in the inset. Since there are no apparent exits anyway, let’s BLORPLE out of here. The rose is still sitting in the wall, and the north exit is still closed. Let’s take it out and put it back in. Once again, an opening appears in the north wall.

We’re back in the Octagonal Room, and this time we’ve brought the compass rose. I’ve started drawing things by hand, as it helps me visualize the space. We have an eight-sided room, and each side represents a compass direction (N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, NW). Some of the directions are silver, while others are lead. Since we know–or think we know–where the southern exit leads (back to the Carving Room), let’s experiment with that wall in particular.

->examine south rune
This is the rune for “south,” made of inlaid silver.

Meanwhile, all but one of the rose’s arms are silver. That exception is the north arm, and it changed when we put the rose into the inset (in the north wall). It seems pretty clear that we need to do something with the rose here, but the roses in the Octagonal Room are runes, not insets! There’s nothing to put the rose in.

->point rose at south rune
That sentence isn’t one I recognize.

->wave rose
Waving the compass rose has no effect.

->touch south rune
Fiddling with the south rune has no effect.

In honor of Zork III’s Royal Puzzle:

->push south wall
Pushing the south wall has no effect.

After some more thinking and fiddling:

->touch south rune with rose
As the compass rose touches the south rune, the arm of the rose labelled “south” turns dull and leaden, and an octagonal hole large enough for you to squeeze through appears in the wall below the rune.

->s
You slide through the octagonal hole, which constricts and disappears as soon as you are through it.

Carving Room
This room is a perfectly carved, smoothed and shaped cube of black marble. There are no exits, but inset in the north wall is a carving of a compass rose.

->examine rose
Ornate arms indicating the directions grace this lovely silver compass rose. The central knob tells which arm goes with which direction. The arms are decorated with mythological scenes. Oddly, some of the arms are finely wrought silver chased with gold, while some of the arms (north, south) are made of ornate lead or pot-metal chased with brass. The compass rose exactly fits the carving of a compass rose on the north wall of the room.

Ah-ha! It looks like we can touch runes with the rose, which in turn will reveal an exit. It also seems that whenever we open a path forward, the arm on the compass rose changes that direction from silver to lead. To complete our knowledge, we should try at least two more things:

  1. Touch a silver rune when the corresponding compass arm is lead.
  2. Touch a lead rune when the corresponding compass arm is silver.

->touch north rune with rose
Nothing happens.

Looks like lead on silver is out.

->touch east rune with rose
Nothing happens.

Silver on lead is out, too.

So far as lead on lead goes, we’ll have to wait and see if we get a chance to test that. It would be weird if that did anything interesting, though. For now, it seems we have enough to start mapping this area. Assumptions:

  • Walls with silver runes are potential exits.
  • Walls with lead runes are cannot become exits.
  • Because the arms on the rose change from silver to lead when opening an exit, THE ENCHANTER CAN ONLY MOVE IN A SPECIFIC DIRECTION ONE TIME before “recharging” the rose.

This isn’t bad at all. Make a few moves, update the map, BLORPLE out. Repeat. The number of directions possible can feel a bit overwhelming, but the real problem is understanding the rules, not mapping the area. In fact, this “maze” is quite small. Forgive my scrawl; the “X” marks are impassable lead runes.


(Image description: a very crude, hand-drawn map showing a grid of rooms, three high and three wide. Various markings have been made to identify available exits. The map begins at the bottom-right square and ends at the top-left.)

Here we are in the top-center room:

Octagonal Room
This room is in the shape of an octagonal solid carved from marble. The floor and ceiling are the octagons and each wall is a rectangle. On each wall is inlaid a rune indicating a direction: the north wall has “north” carved on it, and so on. The west rune is gold, the north, northeast and northwest runes are lead, the rest are of silver. On the west wall just under the rune is an octagonal hole plugged with a perfectly fitting piece of alabaster.

Gold to the west! Plugged? Honestly, I struggled more with this than I did with the map. I was probably overthinking things.

->rezrov plug
The alabaster melts away, leaving an octagonal hole leading west.

In the upper-left corner, we find our prize. A cube!

Octagonal Room
This room is in the shape of an octagonal solid carved from marble. The floor and ceiling are the octagons and each wall is a rectangle. On each wall is inlaid a rune indicating a direction: the north wall has “north” carved on it, and so on. The runes are all of lead.
A white cube is here.

Nice. This is another one of Lebling’s “maze/not maze” constructions that works really well. Instead of fighting the geography (as in Zork I’s maze), the player must figure out the logic governing the geography.

This is also a shift in the wider world of Spellbreaker, isn’t it? Most of its rooms can be linked in some way. The oubliette and the temple are connected, for instance. The sky connects the bazaar and the flathead mountains. The hermit’s hut and the ogre’s den are part of a unified zone. The Flathead Ocean is, presumably, off in the distance somewhere. It’s close to the Guild of Enchanters, at any rate.

But the “Bare Room” is, as advertised, completely empty and bereft of exits. It seems to exist solely as a place for the enchanter to find the compass rose. Likewise, the octagonal rooms only make sense as a puzzle. They are not a security system (or else they’re quite inadequate). What are we to make of this emerging inorganicism (meaning, the puzzles are not organic to the world of the game)? I think this matter relates to the question of whether or not the Shadow is still leaving cubes for us to find.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Short session today (well, for you anyway, it took me a while to figure out the map). Once again, we have a choice between the TINSOT (“freeze”) spell and a new cube!

day 5 Spellbreaker Save.sav (1.3 KB)
Spellbreaker Day 5 Transcript.txt (18.1 KB)


Image Description: a complex map of the world of Spellbreaker filled with one-way connections and other confusing elements. This map only depicts the world discovered so far.

What’s next?
  • Experiment with TINSOT (“freeze”) spell
  • Explore new cube

0 voters

4 Likes

We find out later in the game that it gets hard to distinguish multiple glowing things that are too close together, so I imagine the glow from your own body (you are, after all, a master enchanter) masks the glow of your possessions. You need to lay them out with some space in between to get any finer distinction.

3 Likes

I think the “clunk” is that the spell description is too broad. “Identify magic objects in a room” or some such thing might have worked better. The spell also doesn’t work on non-portable magic items like the compass runes, which initially confused me.

Of course, “detect magic” might have been all the space that Lebling could dedicate to the description!

2 Likes

“Detect magic” is a classical D&D spell name; players in the 1980s would recognize it immediately.

3 Likes

Heh, and so I did! But the D&D spell would have identified non-portable objects as a matter of course. At least, it would have in my campaign? I’m sure my expectations played a role in my experience of the spell in-game.

2 Likes

It still is today. :grinning:

3 Likes

Before I comment on the above, I’d like to commend you, @kamineko, on an excellent account of the game so far. I think you’ve got just the right mix of correct and incorrect commands to give a good sense of the overall difficulty of the game.

I bought Spellbreaker when it first came out back in the mid '80s. I then devoted a huge chunk of my free time over the next two months to solving it without hints. I absolutely loved the start, particularly enjoying the puzzles that opened up connections between previously isolated parts of the geography. This was Infocom at close to their very best.

And then came this puzzle. There’s nothing wrong with it per se; it’s entertaining and well implemented. And once you figure out the mechanics, it isn’t difficult. But, as you say, it’s inorganic. To me, it felt like, “Hey, I’ve got a good idea for a puzzle, so I’ll just place it in a corner over here.” Even looking at it within the context of the Shadow leaving cubes for us to find, it doesn’t quite work for me.

More examples of this type of puzzle would follow. I’m sure those who have finished the game know which ones I’m referring to, so I won’t spoil anything for those who haven’t played it yet. I’ll simply say I was disappointed that more connections between rooms didn’t open up in the latter half of the game.

Despite its flaws, this is still a wonderful game, so I’m pleased you’ve chosen it for a “Let’s Play.” Moreover, I hope you and @Draconis will continue to be inspired to do these. They’re great reading!

7 Likes

Thanks @Rax ! I’m definitely enjoying the process enough to consider future efforts. I’m enjoying the Jigsaw playthrough as well.

As you say, there are a couple of puzzles that stand out in a negative sense. It’s a valid criticism. I have a couple of ideas about them, but I’ll wait until we’ve seen all of them before commenting. In my opinion, Spellbreaker has the highest highs in the trilogy, but Enchanter is the most consistent.

I love them both, of course.

4 Likes

Sorry for the delay! I lost track of time proofreading the “Invisclues” for my work in progress. So much fun, those are. Looks like we got some great participation in the poll, and TINSOT is the winner. Let’s look over our to-do list.

  • Take the cube in the Roc’s nest.
  • Solve the mystery of the exit: “you can’t seem to force your way through it.”
  • Find a use for the box.
  • Investigate uses for TINSOT (“freeze”).
  • Investigate the new cube (found in the compass rose “maze”).

My assumption is that “freeze” means changing a liquid to a solid. It could mean something like a “freeze ray,” though GIRGOL already has that effect (on a grander scale). What liquids have we found so far? I can think of three locations:

  • Flathead Ocean
  • Ruin
  • Oubliette

We can just go in that order. I’m not expecting much out of the ocean, but there’s no harm in being thorough. I’ll memorize TINSOT twice, just in case one casting fails. Some preparation is required to avoid water damage to our inventory, so I’m going to put everything but the “water” cube away.

You step out of the room and drop precipitously into the Flathead Ocean, making a terrific splash. The “water” cube, lost in the shock of the fall, makes a smaller splash. It is a little less buoyant than you and begins to sink slowly beneath the waves.

Mid-Ocean
You are swimming in mid-ocean. Floating nearby is the “water” cube.

A large grouper swims nearby.

Looks like we’re still dropping the cube! The grouper has returned, too. I guess we could have cast a YOMIN on it, but I don’t think leaving, taking out the book, memorizing the spell, putting the book back in the zipper, and then returning would be worth it. Let’s just go with what we’ve got.

->tinsot ocean
I don’t know the word “ocean.”

->tinsot water
The water is covered with a thin film of ice.

->g
The water is covered with a thin film of ice.

Doesn’t seem very promising.

->touch ice
It’s cold.

->get ice
That would never work!

->examine ice
It looks like an icy water.

Time to go! Since we already have the “water” cube out, let’s go to the Oubliette.

Oubliette
This is an oubliette. Sheer walls rise for twenty feet above you and lean inward to a narrow opening covered with wooden planks. A small but fast-flowing channel of water runs along the bottom of the chamber between two pipes.

Maybe we’ll have better luck here. I’m all out of TINSOT, so we’ll need to get our book out of the zipper. As always, I’ll memorize it twice just in case.

->tinsot channel
There is a purple flash, and in a burst of snow and freezing spray, the water in the channel freezes. But the water flow is so hard that the outflow pipe is only partially blocked.

Partially, eh? Let’s hit it again.

->g
In a dazzling purple flash, more water freezes, forming a large icy cap over the outflow pipe in the channel. Water continues to pour in the inflow, and it spills over the edge of the channel and begins to fill the room.

The water level rises. The oubliette is one-quarter full. Some of your possessions have been damaged by the water.

Looks like the spell book is trashed again. I just saved, so let’s just see what happens. Maybe we’ll drown. Or reach the “up” exit!

->z
Time passes…

The water level rises. The oubliette is half full.

->z
Time passes…

The water level rises. The oubliette is three-quarters full.

->z
Time passes…

The oubliette is full. There is about four feet of space between the water and the roof. The water must have reached its level, because it has ceased to rise. You are splashing a tantalizing distance from the roof and trap door.

->open door
You can’t reach it.

->examine door
This is a sturdy oak trap door, but it is obviously rarely used, as it is covered with mold, cobwebs, and dirt. The trap door is closed.

Your body is becoming numb from the cold of the water.

After restoring, let’s take a look at the spell book.

My Spell Book

The tinsot spell (freeze).
The liskon spell (shrink a living thing).
The espnis spell (sleep).
The caskly spell (cause perfection).
The throck spell (cause plants to grow).
The blorple spell (explore an object’s mystic connections).
The yomin spell (mind probe).
The rezrov spell (open even locked or enchanted objects).
The frotz spell (cause something to give off light).
The gnusto spell (write a magic spell into a spell book).
The malyon spell (animate).
The jindak spell (detect magic).
The lesoch spell (gust of wind).

REZROV might open the door, but that doesn’t matter if it can’t be reached. MALYON might do the same. Then again, LESOCH hasn’t gotten a lot of mileage. Maybe we could blow it open. I’m not optimistic, but I’ll memorize all of these spells then head up again.

REZROV opened the trap door, but it’s still unreachable. However, trying to go UP provided a hint:

->rezrov door
The trap door creaks open upon rusty hinges.

->u
You still can’t quite reach the trap door opening. You can’t get enough momentum thrusting upward out of the water.

Hm. Momentum thrusting out of the water. We haven’t seen something suitable, as in a large wooden object that we could stand on…

…ah-ha! Let’s make our own platform. I wonder how many casts of the TINSOT spell this will take? Once again opening the zipper and taking the spell book, I memorize it a whopping five times.

->tinsot water
There is a purple flash, and in a burst of snow and freezing spray, the water in the channel freezes. But the water flow is so hard that the outflow pipe is only partially blocked.

->g
In a dazzling purple flash, more water freezes, forming a large icy cap over the outflow pipe in the channel. Water continues to pour in the inflow, and it spills over the edge of the channel and begins to fill the room.

The water level rises. The oubliette is one-quarter full.

->g
The purple flash freezes a small ice floe in the frigid water. It has a nice flat top.

The water level rises. The oubliette is half full.

->climb floe
You scramble onto the ice floe.

The water level rises. The oubliette is three-quarters full.

->z
Time passes…

The oubliette is full. There is about four feet of space between the water and the roof. The water must have reached its level, because it has ceased to rise. You are floating serenely on a small ice floe.

->u
Dungeon
This is a dark, dank, forgotten dungeon. It is overgrown with moss, fungus, and slime. The floor is slippery. At your feet an open trap door leads down into blackness. A corridor leads east and stairs lead up.
A white cube is here.

Excellent puzzle! It feels quite natural in the world of the game. There’s a cube here, too. Let’s explore the area before investigating it. Going up:

Guard Tower
This is the guard tower of a crumbling castle. It overlooks a mountainous landscape of tarns, tumbled rock, and twisted low trees. The vegetation is in browns, blacks, and ochres. The only real color is provided by a distant volcano which lights the lowering clouds with bright red and yellow coruscations. The only exit is down.

There is a tiny black dot silhouetted against the clouds.

“Coruscations” is such a Dave Lebling word! This is a great paragraph, getting as it does a lot done in a small space. It’s also our first informative look at the world of the game, since our flying experience was, strangely, less than evocative. I don’t think we’ve spied a volcano so far.

What could that dot in the sky be?

->examine dot
It looks like a tiny black dot silhouetted against the clouds.

There is a large object silhouetted against the clouds.

It seems to be getting bigger/closer. That’s fine. We just saved! Let’s just wait and see what happens.

There is a large bird approaching.

Sounds like our old friend Ms. Roc (it could be a Mr. Roc if male Rocs are involved parents). Might as well keep waiting.

->z
Time passes…

There is a large bird circling the tower and eyeing you suspiciously.

z
Time passes…

The bird dives for you, its talons outstretched. As it nears, you realize that rather than vulture or even condor size, the bird is nearly the size of an elephant. It closes its huge claws gently around you, squawks (nearly suffocating you with its fetid breath), and takes off towards the west.

Midair, in the roc’s talons
You are in midair. Fortunately a very large bird is carrying you, otherwise you would fall. You are above an abandoned guard tower.

Huh! What’s that roc doing all the way over here! I thought they were in the nest. We can come back to this. Let’s try going east from the Dungeon.

->e
Dungeon East End
The hall ends at a blank wall, but a cell lies to the north. There is no door on the cell.

An extremely empty room. Might as well enter.

Dungeon Cell
This was once a very luxurious cell, obviously for the imprisonment of a highborn or powerful person. Its rich hangings are now rotten rags; its furniture is smashed to kindling, except for one massive oak cabinet. The cell door has been blown away by an explosion, or perhaps a “rezrov” spell.

The mention of a “highborn” individual might be the first mention of class in the Enchanter trilogy. We don’t know what form of government followed the rule of the Flatheads (do we? correct me if I’m off base) in the Zork saga. Perhaps there is something in Beyond Zork. We do spot Wishbringer’s Princess Morningstar, but that almost feels like a separate realm, disconnected from the wider world of Quendor. In any case, we do know that enchanters of any class status can rise to power and prominence.

Excuse this outburst! What’s going on with that cabinet?

->examine cabinet
This massive cabinet fills most of one wall. It’s made of oak and looks better preserved than anything else in the room. Its lock is corroded and unusable. The massive cabinet is closed.

No guild master of the Accardi-by-the-Sea chapter of the Guild of Enchanters is going to be stumped by this one:

->rezrov cabinet
The cabinet bursts open, revealing a moldy book!

->examine book
This book has been almost completely destroyed by mold and rot. You can tell only that it was once a spell book. None of the spells are legible any longer.

This is straightforward, too. After all, we already repaired our own spell book once before.

->caskly moldy book
The book glows brightly for a moment. The mold and rot retreat as you watch. While not good as new, the book looks much better.

->examine it
This book has been almost completely destroyed by mold and rot. You can tell only that it was once a spell book. Only one spell is still readable. It says “snavig spell: shape change.”

Neat. The parameters of the spell aren’t terribly clear. The (A)D&D spell is quite powerful. Let’s experiment.

snavig me
You can’t change into yourself.

snavig book
You can’t change into the spell book.

snavig
You have to transform into something, and it has to be something nearby.

Definitely not the (A)D&D spell! Since our attempt to become the spell book (and, off camera, several other objects) was unsuccessful, I’m going to guess that we can only SNAVIG living things that are visible (in scope?). What living things have we seen?

The hermit atop the cliff.
The ogre with allergies.
The grouper swimming in the ocean.
The bats near the idol (though technically we didn’t see them).
Speaking of not seeing things: a grue?
Ah, yes. The rabbit in the meadow.
What about the amphibians in the Guild Hall?
The roc?

More than I expected! We’ll definitely save that for another day. But what about the Roc? If it isn’t in the nest…

->sit on rug
You are now sitting on the beautiful blue carpet. At first nothing happens. Then the fringe of the carpet starts to ruffle expectantly.

There is a large bird circling the tower and eyeing you suspiciously.

->u
The carpet takes to the air, rising swiftly. The huge bird stops, almost stalls, and flees goggle-eyed with surprise.

Midair, on the beautiful blue carpet
You are in midair. Fortunately, you are sitting on a magic carpet and thus are fairly safe. You are flying above an abandoned guard tower.
Sitting on the beautiful blue carpet you see:
a label

Nice. Now where to go? We know that the roc’s nest is west (and south) of the bazaar, and west of where we fall out of the sky from Packed Earth. It’s also west from the “Air Room’.” In every case, we wind up "east of a range of jagged mountains. “West” seems like a good guess. No harm in trying, as we have a recent save. If we reach the mountains, we’ll know we’ve gone too far.

In fact, going west four times places us above the roc’s nest. Let’s land.

In Roc Nest, on the beautiful blue carpet
This nest is made from skillfully woven tree trunks, small bushes, and large amounts of mud and roc guano for glue. Giant black feathers are everywhere. In the center of the nest is an egg the size of a small wagon. Nestled beneath the egg is a featureless white cube.
Sitting on the beautiful blue carpet you see:
a label

->stand
You step off the carpet.

->get rug, cube
beautiful blue carpet: Taken.
cube: Taken.

This is another excellent sequence of puzzles, this time requiring an understanding of the wider world’s geography while additionally extrapolating from past events. Quite satisfying. Difficult, fair, elegant. We can’t stand here patting our backs for too long, though.

Suddenly the egg begins to crack. You can see feathers, then a large, almost reptilian eye. The egg shatters, and a small (wagon-sized) roc chick rolls out. It eyes you hungrily.

Yikes! Time to BLORPLE out (you are keeping a BLORPLE handy for emergencies, right?). Let’s update our to-do list. Things have really opened up now, with several options to explore.

  • Cube from the Dungeon.
  • Cube from the compass rose “maze”.
  • Cube from the roc’s nest.
  • Investigate SNAVIG (“shape change”) candidates.
  • Solve the mystery of the box.
  • Solve the mystery of the impassable exits.

Some terrific puzzles today! Both the Oubliette and the Roc’s Nest are well-integrated into the setting and logic of the game’s world. Additionally, it’s remarkable the way that the “narrow” first few cubes have yielded an open environment with multiple paths to explore. I think it’s an admirable design. Since there’s a good deal to learn (in a mechanical sense), Lebling was wise to slowly introduce flexibility in choosing the path forward.

I welcome your thoughts!

spellbreaker day 6 for sharing.sav (1.5 KB)
spellbreaker day 6 transcript.txt (32.8 KB)

What next?
  • The Dungeon Cube
  • The Roc’s Nest Cube
  • The Compass Rose Cube
  • Try SNAVIG on various creatures

0 voters

6 Likes

Once again, I got distracted with my WIP. But it’s still Thursday here (CST)!

A shorter post today, as we’re taking a moment to use the SNAVIG spell in various locations across the world of Spellbreaker. I’m happy that this option won out! As a reminder, the SNAVIG spell transforms the caster into a duplicate of any nearby (visible?) creature. I’ve made a list, and I’ll go through the whole thing, productive or not. If I’ve missed one, please let me know with a reply.

  • The hermit atop the cliff.
  • The ogre with allergies.
  • The grouper swimming in the ocean.
  • The bats near the idol (though technically we didn’t see them).
  • Speaking of not seeing things: a grue?
  • Ah, yes. The rabbit in the meadow.
  • What about the amphibians in the Guild Hall?
  • The roc?

I know I said the hermit, but… I don’t think I have a way up there! I didn’t realize it was possible to trigger multiple avalanches.

->u
Cliff Top
This is the upper end of a narrow, winding path up a sheer cliff. From here you can see that any further extension of the path was destroyed by a rock slide at some relatively recent time. There are many rocks precariously balanced above you. It looks like the slightest disturbance could bring them down on you. The hermit’s hut is above.

->u
The pile of rocks looks so unsteady that attempting to climb over it could set off an avalanche.

Something you’ve done has disturbed the rocks above! Dirt and small stones are trickling down. It looks like the whole dike is about to give way!

Oh, well. Perhaps a future cube might land us there. Curse you, hermit!

Next up: the ogre!

It’s pretty disappointing. I was hoping for ogre-like strength, but the ogre killed me after a few turns.

->snavig ogre
You become just as ugly, bellicose, and sneezy as the ogre. The ogre is even less inclined to let you by.

No allergies, though:

->examine me
You are transformed into a ogre, wide awake, and in good health.

I think some of these are going to be cases where Lebling simply didn’t have space to do everything he would have liked.

->z
Time passes…

The ogre, impatient with your presence and your impudent intrusion, tramples you to a pulp.

Next: the grouper! This is going to take some prep to avoid water damage. I’ll learn SNAVIG and BLORPLE twice and hang onto the “water” cube. Everything else goes in the zipper.

->snavig grouper
You change. You can no longer carry anything. The grouper stares at you with fishy eyes like yours, twiddles fins like yours, opens a huge mouth like yours, and flicking a tail like yours, swims suspiciously around you.

Hey, wait! we dropped our inventory! Let’s chase after it before we get in a fight with the grouper.

->d
You swim downward, followed by the nervous grouper.

Ocean Floor
You are deep beneath the waves, near a small pile of rocks and broken coral that make up the nest of a grouper.
A large grouper swims nearby.
There is a zipper here (providing light).
A white cube labelled “water” is here.
The grouper nest contains:
a cube

Neat, another cube! But we can’t pick it up with our fins. I’m not sure if I should be worried about the “nervous grouper” or not. Fortunately, it leaves us alone. After a few turns, we change back.

You have become yourself again. Fortunately your gills have stored some oxygen, but you are in danger of drowning.

->get all
zipper: Taken.
the “water” cube: Taken.
grouper nest: You must have had a silliness spell cast upon you.
cube: Taken.

->u
You swim upward, desperately trying to hold your breath until you reach the surface. It’s a losing battle. You can’t hold it any longer, take a breath, and it’s pure, sweet air! You have reached the surface.

That wasn’t bad! I wouldn’t have guessed the grouper was the one, but I think the important thing is making a list and trying everything. Speaking of which: we’ve got a ton of cubes now! I’ll write “fish” on the new one just to keep track.

I think we’ll finish out this session by completing the list. It sounds like a fun little break.

Here’s what’s left:

  • The bats near the idol (though technically we didn’t see them).
  • Speaking of not seeing things: a grue?
  • Ah, yes. The rabbit in the meadow.
  • What about the amphibians in the Guild Hall?
  • The roc?

OK, bats in the temple:

->snavig bats
You can’t change into the bats.

Aw, rats. Grue?

->extinguish zipper
The magical glow fades, leaving you in the dark.

->snavig grue
You can’t see any grue here (thankfully).

It’s a customized response, at least! Perhaps we will see one eventually.

Ok, the rabbit. Off to the meadow. Dagnabbit, the bunny seems to have been a one time thing? I waited ~20 turns or so and it never appeared. A customized (though not SNAVIG-specific) response, at least.

->snavig rabbit
What rabbit? I guess he was late for something.

The amphibians? This one is a bit of a pain, We’ll have to die to get back to the Guild Hall (one of our newer cubes might take us there, but dying is fine for now. I’ll just do the grue thing. Have we seen the death/resurrection message yet? It comes complete with a shadow sighting.

You are floating in a dark, silent realm of nothingness. You don’t know how much time passes, but eventually you hear the sound of soft footsteps. A figure in a dark cloak comes near. In a voice like ashes, it speaks: “How nice to see you again. Unfortunately, I still have need of you, so this foolishness can’t be allowed. You’ll have to go back.”

You find yourself falling down a deep well of darkness, as the figure recedes into infinite distances.

Boneyard
This is a room of bones. Shoulder blades make up the floor, skulls the walls and leg bones the door frames. The west exit leads into darkness, but the doorway to the north opens onto a seemingly normal street scene.

->n
Belwit Square
This is Belwit Square. To the north is the ancient Guild Hall. A wide cobblestone street runs east and west. To the south is the storied Manse, home of the Mayors of Borphee for generations.

Out of the corner of your eye, you see the dark-cloaked figure. At first oblivious to you, it straightens up, startled and surprised, then vanishes.

“Need of us,” eh? Something to think about. Let’s find those amphibians.

->snavig toad
You can’t change into Sneffle.

->snavig frog
You can’t change into Gzornenplatz.

->snavig salamander
You can’t change into Hoobly.

->snavig newt
You can’t change into Ardis.

->snavig eft
They are hopping around so wildly it’s hard to do anything with them.

I like the effect here, but why run out of gas with “eft?” They could have just put Helistar in there someplace. It’s a fun bit, all the same. I’ll do some YOMIN casts since I’m here.

->yomin frog
You feel a strong impression of intent, careful stalking of a beetle.

->yomin toad
Sneffle is searching intently for flies.

->yomin salamander
You get a strong feeling of torpidity.

->yomin newt
You get a feeling of surprise and terror.

->yomin eft
They are hopping around so wildly it’s hard to do anything with them.

Once again, efts get the short end of the stick, but this implementation seems quite robust for a space-constrained 1985 game! I laughed at “strong feeling of torpidity.”

And now, the Roc. As a bonus, maybe I’ll wait around for the egg to hatch. We’ll see what happens! Hopefully, I can just dive bomb out of Packed Earth and hitch a ride. Nice! We get grabbled. I’ll try a mid-air SNAVIG like a boss.

The roc grips you firmly in its talons. Your attempts to cast a spell just make it hold you tighter.

Oh, that’s too bad. We’ll be there soon enough.

The roc circles over its nest, settles to the ground, and releases you.

You arrive in the roc’s nest. The baby roc, ravenous like all young birds, gobbles you down.

Oh, no! Maybe we’re locked out once we get the cube. The egg hadn’t hatched yet when we last visited.

Talk about an anticlimactic conclusion! At least it’s a death I hadn’t seen before. It feels good to have caught up with all of our spells (at least, I think we have). There’s nothing but cubes in store, so pick your fave! The game feels wide open now.

Our new to-do list is as follows:

  • Cube from the dungeon.
  • Cube from the compass rose “maze”.
  • Cube from the roc’s nest.
  • Cube from the grouper’s nest.
  • Solve the mystery of the box.
  • Solve the mystery of the impassable exits.

PS. If anyone wants the map in TRIZBORT format, I can rename to TXT and post here. Let me know.

Spellbreaker Day 7 for Sharing.sav (1.5 KB)
Spellbreaker Day 7 Transcript.txt (29.6 KB)

Which cube?
  • The Compass Rose Cube
  • The Dungeon Cube
  • The Roc’s Nest Cube
  • The Grouper’s Cube

0 voters

5 Likes

The grouper sequence was one of the few times I was completely thrown by an Infocom game, back in the day, for the sin of not being American: “grouper” is just not a word used in English English, and I didn’t at all recognise it as (I assume) a kind of shark. (Technically, there are a few sharks in UK waters, but not really.) So my initial guess was that it was some fantastical thing for grouping stuff together, which wouldn’t be entirely out of style for a Lebling puzzle.

4 Likes

Can you try “snavig roc” (or bird) from the guard tower?

1 Like