As we have just seen, making something "fixed in place" will prevent it from being picked up or moved. But it remains substantial enough to be described in its own paragraph of text when the player visits its location. This can be unfortunate if it has also been described already in the body of the main description for that location. For instance, if we wrote:
The Orchard is a room. "Within this quadrille of pear trees, a single gnarled old oak remains as a memory of centuries past." The gnarled old oak tree is fixed in place in the Orchard.
This would end up describing the oak twice, once in the paragraph about the Orchard, then again in a list of things within it:
Within this quadrille of pear trees, a single gnarled old oak remains as a memory of centuries past.
You can see a gnarled old oak tree here.
We avoid this by making it "scenery" instead of "fixed in place":
The gnarled old oak tree is scenery in the Orchard.
Any thing can be scenery, and this does not bar it from playing a part in the game: it simply means that it will be immobile and that it will not be described independently of its room. Being immobile, scenery should not be used for portable objects that are meant to be left out of the room description.
If a supporter is scenery, it may still be mentioned in the room description after all, but only as part of a paragraph about other items, such as
On the teak table are a candlestick and a copy of the Financial Times.
If the player takes the candlestick and the Times, the teak table will disappear from mention. (Scenery containers do not behave in this way: their contents are assumed to be less immediately visible, and will be mentioned only if the player looks inside them.)
Disenchantment Bay 2
If we compile our last version of the cabin, we get a room where the glass case and the bench are listed separately from the room description, even though they have already been mentioned once. We can prevent this by making the already-mentioned things scenery:
The Cabin is a room. "The front of the small cabin is entirely occupied with navigational instruments, a radar display, and radios for calling back to shore. Along each side runs a bench with faded blue vinyl cushions, which can be lifted to reveal the storage space underneath. A glass case against the wall contains several fishing rods.
Scratched windows offer a view of the surrounding bay, and there is a door south to the deck. A sign taped to one wall announces the menu of tours offered by the Yakutat Charter Boat Company."
The Cabin contains a glass case. In the glass case is a collection of fishing rods. The case is closed, transparent, and openable. The case is scenery.
The bench is in the cabin. On the bench are some blue vinyl cushions. The bench is enterable and scenery. The cushions are scenery.
Generally speaking, it is a good idea to recognize the player's attempts to interact with any objects mentioned in the room description, so we should also provide
Some navigational instruments, some scratched windows, a sign, a radar display, and some radios are scenery in the cabin.
Test me with "examine instruments / x windows / x sign / x display / x radios".
The door and the view will need to be done as well, but they are special cases which we will get to shortly.
As noted, making something scenery also means that the player will be prevented from picking it up and carrying it away. This is sensible, though: if an object can be removed from the room where it first appears, we should be careful about mentioning it in the main room description; otherwise, it will continue to be described as present even when someone has carried it off.
By default, "TAKE OAK" in the example above will produce the response "That's hardly portable." This is fine under many circumstances, but also a bit generic, so we might want to override it for a specific game.
The Orchard is a room. "Within this quadrille of pear trees, a single gnarled old oak remains as a memory of centuries past." The gnarled old oak tree is scenery in the Orchard.
Instead of taking some scenery: say "You lack the hulk-like strength."
Test me with "take oak".
Here we've used an "instead" rule; we will learn more about these in the section on actions. This allows us to define our own results for taking an object.
Note: "scenery" is a property of an object (about which we will hear more later). So when we use it in rules, we can talk about "some scenery", "something that is scenery", or even "a scenery thing" -- the last one doesn't sound much like English, but is a more plausible construction with other adjectives.