Imagine a jar of grapes. What I want is this: The player is not allowed to take “the grapes”, but can take a single grape. If the player later loses the grape, she can take another, as often as she likes, without ever emptying the jar of grapes.
I don’t want to solve it by simply having 1000 grapes in the jar: I worry that that will slow the game, and in any case it’s not really what I want. I’d like to be able to have a jar of “stuff” (grapes, olives, barley grains), of which the player can take one, but not all “the stuff.”
The problems I run into are names-of-things difficulties, and controlling player’s access to things.
The Red Room is a room. The jar is a closed openable container in the Red Room. A grape is an edible thing. The collection of grapes is a thing in the jar. The can't take items out of play rule does nothing when taking a grape and the jar is open. Instead of taking the collection of grapes, say "You should probably just take a grape."
Problem: I don’t seem to have chosen the correct rule. Is there a rule governing the “You can’t see any such thing” response that I could disable, and syntax that would disable that rule only when the jar is open?
The Red Room is a room. The jar is a closed openable container in the Red Room. A grape is an edible thing. The bunch of grapes is a thing in the jar. Instead of taking the bunch of grapes: say "You take a single grape and close the jar after yourself."; now the player carries a grape; now the jar is closed. Instead of taking a grape when the jar is open: if the player carries a grape, say "You already have one"; else: say "You take a single grape and close the jar after yourself."; now the player carries a grape; now the jar is closed.
The “Instead” does not prevent the attempt at taking a grape, so the player is told “You can’t see any such thing.” Is there a way to basically say, “Instead of TRYING to take a grape…”?
Finally, in both attempts, I run into names-of-things confusion. If the player has a single grape, for example, and tries to take “the grapes”, the player is told “You already have that.”
I hope this makes sense. Let me know if I can provide more information. Feel free to ditch my attempts altogether if there is a simpler solution!