I was playing around with the general idea you proposed and wrote the following. I’m not sure if it’s exactly what you had in mind, but perhaps it will be helpful in shedding some light on the underlying issues.
[code]The Prarie is a room. The description of the Prarie is “An endless vista of tall grass sways in a gentle breeze coming down from the hills on this fine summer day.”.
The description of the player is “You’re as fine a pioneer as ever lived.”.
Some grass is in the Prarie. The grass is scenery. The description of the grass is “A soft blanket of verdant grass covers the surrounding prarie.”.
Whistling is an action applying to nothing. Understand “whistle” or “hum” as whistling.
say “As a lovely vision of Wilma Lee fills your mind, you decide to get back to work. If only you can beat that darn Willison at the whistling championships, Wilma Lee will certainly see that you’re a man who’s going places in this world.”.
A horse is a male animal. The description of horse is “[unless tamed]A mysterious stallion who seems to embody the free spirit of the prarie[otherwise]A friendly horse. He looks a lot like Seabiscuit[end if].”. Understand “stallion” or “wild horse” or “wild stallion” as horse. The printed name of a horse is “[if the horse is untamed]wild stallion[otherwise]horse[end if].”
Horse can be tamed or untamed. Horse is untamed.
After examining the horse for the first time:
say “For some reason you remember a discussion you once had with an old trapper you met up on the mountain one day. He told you that while a broken horse may make a good pack-animal, a friendly horse will reliably stand by your side forever. He added that making friends with a wild horse usually takes some persistence.”.
Petting is an action applying to one thing and requiring light. Understand “pet [something]” or “stroke [something]” as petting.
unless the noun is the horse:
say “That seems silly.” instead.
Report petting the tamed horse:
say “You give the stallion a friendly scratch behind his ear, which he seems to enjoy.”.
Report petting the horse for the first time:
say “You concentrate on projecting an aura of kindness, and after a moment the horse stands still and allows you to approach. You lightly scratch the side of his neck, and then he backs away.”.
Report petting the horse for the second time:
say “The proud animal stands still for a moment and allows you gently stroke his mane.”.
After petting the horse for the third time:
now the horse is tamed;
say “You playfully scratch the horse’s side, and then he turns his head and sniffs your hair. Apparently you’ve made a new friend.”.
Instead of touching the horse:
try petting the horse.
Limbo is an enterable container. Horse is in limbo.
When play begins:
say “You’ve come to the prarie to relax and practice your whistling–you’ve been working on a doozy of a tune in preparation for the upcoming regional whistling championships, but you’re desperately aware you need to improve your technique if you’re going to beat that rascal Bill Willison this year.”.
unless the player can see the horse:
say “You fill the prarie with an ethereal melody as you whistle.”;.
Horse Taming is a recurring scene. Horse Taming begins when the holder of Horse has been limbo for four turns and Horse is untamed.
Horse Taming ends when the location of Horse has been the Prarie for four turns and Horse is untamed.
When Horse Taming begins:
move Horse to the Prarie;
if the player can see Horse:
say “You feel a subtle vibration in the earth, and suddenly [unless the horse is tamed]a mysterious[otherwise]the wild[end if] stallion gallops into view.”.
When Horse Taming ends:
if the player can see Horse:
say “The wild stallion gallops off toward the hills.”;
move Horse to limbo.[/code]
So the horse will keep running back and forth between limbo until he is tamed, after which he will stay in the prarie with the player. The “whistling” stuff is just to give the player something to do while he’s waiting around for the horse.