When in Rome 1: Accounting for Taste — 18 of 31

Emily Short

Release 3

Section 5 - Scripted behavior

[Elsewhere we will experiment with more goal-seeking characters, but in this scene we have the girl follow a scripted set of behavior except when the player's actions disrupt the flow. To do this, we make a table of rules for her to follow and blank out lines one at a time as these are completed.]

Table of Scripted Actions

apology for trouble rule
attempt to get handbag rule
noticing frantic creature rule
looking around pointlessly rule
comes in peace rule
initial siren rule
violence sometimes helps rule

This is the apology for trouble rule:

now the girl is passive;

say "'I'm so sorry,' says the girl. 'I see now that it wasn't your dog at all. And it was nice of you to try to rescue me.'

'Suicidal might be more accurate.'"

This is the attempt to get handbag rule:

if the girl can see the handbag and the girl does not carry the handbag, try the girl trying taking the handbag.

Instead of the girl trying taking the handbag when the handbag is delicious and the creature has the handbag:

say "[The girl] reaches for [the handbag], but [the creature] shrieks horribly and pounds on your head and blocks off your air supply.

'May I suggest,' you whisper hoarsely, 'that getting this thing free of me might be a more immediate concern?'"

Report the girl trying taking the handbag:

say "[The girl] reacquires the handbag, looking satisfied. 'Well, at least that's taken care of.' You stare at her indignantly as small but strong fingers grip your throat." instead.

This is the noticing frantic creature rule:

say "'It's waving at me,' she says, glancing past you at the thing on your back. 'It keeps gnashing its teeth and pointing to its belly.'

'Must be ulcers,' you remark.

'You think?'

'Could you find something more to feed it, please?' you say. 'Maybe it could be lured away with snacks.'";

now the girl is passive.

This is the looking around pointlessly rule:

now the girl is passive;

say "[The girl] circles you, considering the situation. 'It's very strong,' she comments unhelpfully."

This is the comes in peace rule:

now the girl is passive;

say "'Maybe it's not hostile,' says the girl. 'Maybe it comes in peace, and its message is just misunderstood.'

'It seems to be trying to kill me,' you point out, in a hoarse voice.

'Oh, it's not trying very hard,' she says. Which is not a great consolation.

'My sergeant was of the opinion,' you say, breathing with difficulty. 'That once someone had. A gun pointed at you. It was past the time. To ask his intentions.'

She goes still. 'You were in Korea?'

'Italy,' you say. 'I'm not that young.'

She nods. 'Yes, of course. I should have guessed.'"

This is the violence sometimes helps rule:

try the girl trying attacking the creature.

This is the initial siren rule:

now the girl is passive;

say "Somewhere several hundred yards down the path there is a siren and flashing lights: the police and fire department do still exist, even if they are falling down on the job of containing mysterious [color of the creature] animals just at the moment."

Every turn during Getting handbag:

if the girl is active


repeat through the Table of Scripted Actions


follow task entry;

if the girl is passive [which will happen if she succeeds in acting]


blank out the whole row;

make no decision;

end if;

end repeat;

end if.

Every turn during Getting handbag:

if the girl is active and a portable thing (called target) is in the location


if Strangulation is happening, say "[The girl] [if a random chance of 1 in 2 succeeds]tries to pull the animal off you again, but it is causing more harm than help[otherwise]goes to the edge of the path and shouts for help, but no one hears[end if].";

otherwise try the girl trying taking the target;

end if;

now the girl is active.

Report the girl trying taking the key:

say "[The person asked] picks up the key. 'Really, I'm more afraid of a person getting this...'" instead.