Bronze — 15 of 46

Emily Short

Release 12

Section 4 - The Black Gallery

The Black Gallery is east of the Burnt Frame. The description of the Black Gallery is "[if the number of things in the Black Gallery is less than 3]Rather bare compared with its former glory[otherwise]Lined with [neat rows] of inscrutable -- one might almost say pointless -- objects[end if]."

The inkpot is a fluid container in the Black Gallery. It is empty. Instead of examining the inkpot for the first time, say "A [very]curious object.". The description is "An inkpot of dark material. [if the inkpot is empty]Inside there remains only a red-black crust of dried ink[otherwise]It is full almost to the brim with red-black ink[end if]." Before printing the name of the examined inkpot: say "infernal ".

[The Black Gallery is a different take on the Bellroom situation. In the Bellroom, we tell the player there are a variety of objects present, but move specific ones in only as he finds out about their existence. In the Black Gallery, we put all the objects in together, hinting strongly that they are all (or almost all) red herrings, and let him pick out the one that is actually useful.

To prevent it from being too obvious which the player wants, we need the inkpot to fall at a random place in the description (not necessarily the beginning or the end); and for added fun we will a) discourage examination of every single object individually; and b) randomize the arrangement of items in the room description to make it harder to work through them in order.]

The Black Gallery contains a white apple, a stuffed boar, a preserved goat, a cane, a glass leaf, a silver buckle, a copper snake, a homunculus, a parrot perch, a green cloth swatch, a dark-colored pendant, a gold ring, a broken beam. The ring and the pendant are wearable. The apple is edible. The boar, the goat, the beam, and the perch are fixed in place. [1] Understand "swordstick" and "handle" as the cane. Before turning or pulling or opening the cane: say "You don't quite have the knack to release the sword, if indeed this is a swordstick." instead. Instead of tasting the white apple: say "You lick the flavorless skin to no effect." After eating the white apple: say "A little apprehensively, you eat the white apple -- which is to all appearances harmless, but has no flavor at all; as if this had been drained away with its color."

Instead of taking a fixed in place curious thing in the Black Gallery, say "[The noun] is too heavy for you to lift."

A thing has some text called elaboration. The elaboration of a thing is usually "quite ordinary". The elaboration of the stuffed boar is "(looking angry)". The elaboration of the white apple is "(complete with white stem and leaf)". The elaboration of the glass leaf is "(very fragile)". The elaboration of the cane is "(probably a swordstick, by the look of the handle)". The elaboration of the goat is "(in a very large jar)". The elaboration of the buckle is "(without a mate)". The elaboration of the copper snake is "(jointed)". The elaboration of the homunculus is "(pickled)". The elaboration of the perch is "(evidently much used)". The elaboration of the swatch is "(torn from a much bigger piece)". The elaboration of the pendant is "(faceted)". The elaboration of the gold ring is "(with signet, though you do not recognize the symbol)". The elaboration of the broken beam is "(charred at each end)"

When play begins:

repeat with item running through things in the Black Gallery


if the item is not the rows, now the item is curious;

if the item is not the inkpot


change the description of the item to "A [very]curious object."; [2]

end if;

end repeat.

Rule for writing a paragraph about something in the Black Gallery:

now the player is mentioned; now the rows are mentioned;

now the surroundings are mentioned;

if the Black Gallery contains at least six unmentioned things, say "There's [a random unmentioned thing in the Gallery in full] and [a random unmentioned thing in the Gallery in full]; [a random unmentioned thing in the Gallery], [a random unmentioned thing in the Gallery], [a random unmentioned thing in the Gallery]; [a list of unmentioned things in the Gallery].";

otherwise say "[The rows] have been thinned down to [the list of unmentioned things in the Gallery], thanks to your diligent action."

To say (item - a thing) in full:

say "[a item]";

if the elaboration of the item is not "quite ordinary", say " [elaboration of the item]".

To say very:

repeat with index running from 0 to the number of examined curious things


say "very ";

end repeat;

A thing can be curious or dull. A thing is usually dull.

[Of course, our careful efforts will be defeated if the player can TAKE ALL. So, in this room only, we might make "all" fail. But this produces the unsatisfactory answer to TAKE ALL: There are none at all available! which is clearly not right. So we need to adjust that also. Here we frankly cheat.]

Rule for deciding whether all includes something curious while in the Black Gallery:

it does not.

Rule for deciding whether all includes scenery:

it does not.

Rule for deciding whether all includes a fixed in place thing while taking:

it does not.

The neat rows are in the Black Gallery. [3] The description is "This place has obviously been used for storage for quite a while."

Instead of taking the neat rows: say "A discouraging prospect -- moving everything from this room is really work for about a dozen strong spirits from the contract book."

[Now the player can take objects individually, but cannot collect them all, and would have to examine them each individually to get their descriptions.]

The Armory is south of the Black Gallery. "From the looks of things, immediately above the Guard Tower. An [assortment of weapons], most of them hundreds of years old and no longer useful, are collected here, though from the gory appearance at least a few of the daggers have been sharpened and tried in the relatively recent past."

The assortment of weapons is scenery in the Armory. Understand "gun" or "musket" or "dagger" or "daggers" or "sword" or "swords" or "weapon" as the assortment. The description of the assortment is "Swords, daggers, the odd musket. Nothing that would pose much of a threat to an army of current technology, but still enough to do some damage in a hand-to-hand conflict." Instead of taking the assortment: say "You have learned that the Beast cannot be killed so directly -- though to judge by the evidence he did try here. And in general physical violence has never been much use against the castle's more spiritual powers."

Instead of attacking something: say "Time was when you thought the castle and its inhabitants could be taken down with physical violence, but you have since learned better."


[1]. Since we are just coming up with a supply of random strange objects, many of these things are objects from other games. The beam is a nod to the useless but heavy beam from Zork.

[2]. We could do this individually, but this initialization is quicker to code and easier to change on the fly.

[3]. We don't make them scenery because that would exclude them automatically from TAKE ALL.