The Adventure

During late 2015 I happened quite by chance into a conversation about something entirely unrelated to the overwhelming majority of what appears below. See if you can work out what it is.

Credit to @mlv for participating and saving this ‘transcript’ and to @jnm for creating the Python script to save the thread from Apologies if this page took a while to load or performs poorly on a mobile device, it’s an epic of epic proportions, this!

Buckle up, here we go!

mlv: Long day, needed sleep. Head hit pillow before 10. Didn’t actually fall asleep until after midnight. Seems that nights that I REALLY NEED the sleep are the hardest to get to sleep.


bazbt3: @mlv Though it doesn’t fit your ‘silent’ brief I was in a similar situation 2-1/2 years ago. An audiobook: Beginners Guide to Dream Interpretation by Clarissa Pinkola Estes helped a lot. No, the subject matter is almost irrelevant - soothing voice is all.


bazbt3: @mlv I can fall asleep playing Monument Valley - though it’s not silent in itself.


mlv: @bazbt3 As long as I can turn the sound off, it doesn’t matter. But that gives me an idea. Years ago, I read Orwell’s 1984. There was a section at the end that was a treatise on language. It was quite soporific.


bazbt3: @mlv Any luck with the snooze strategy?


mlv: @bazbt3 I didn’t try reading 1984… but I didn’t have much luck sleeping either. :(


bazbt3: @mlv Is there a non-zero number of electronic devices in the bedroom or are you living in the dark ages?

(Baz points at studies indicating* that electronic devices contribute to the modern loss-of-sleep phenomenon.)



mlv: @bazbt3 There are, and I’ve been trying to use them to help me get to sleep. Hasn’t been a problem in the past, but maybe I should try cutting back.


mlv: @bazbt3 Tried a couple of things differently last night. Didn’t touch phone after lying down, and kept AC off. Didn’t sleep like a baby (up every 2 hours for feedings), more like a teenager. Awesome.


bazbt3: @mlv Hmmm.. Step 94: Find a well-ventilated cave. At night, do not paint motivational scenes from daily life by firelight. ;)


awanicka: @bazbt3 Did you say cave…and firelight…and paint? I’m going to choose one for a #WedC story. Hey, it’s almost midnight. By the time I post, it will be Wednesday here. Now, to think of a scene…



bazbt3: @mlv The time here is approximately 4:45am. It is dark, save for the light from a small screen and a small amount of reflected llumination from nearby streetlights. I can see a bed, drawers, wardrobes and a laundry basket. There are 2 doors. I can go S, E?


bazbt3: @awanicka Evening Anne. :) I did. Trying to avoid the modern scourge of interrupted sleep caused by an increasing need to view screens of varying sizes 24/7. I am not succeeding, so am combining the bad with the good: #ToiletADNing then some Zzzs. @mlv


bazbt3: @awanicka My next post in sequence to Michael attempted (badly) to evoke a typical* scene from the beginning of ye olde-fashioned text adventures from late last century. That would restrict your #WedC style a bit.* @mlv

*Or maybe not. :)


awanicka: @bazbt3 @mlv My husband uses a technique he saw on tv. Count backward by threes from 300. So, 300, 297, 294… I am so bad with that doing the math keeps me awake, but it works for him. Me? I read til I’m sleepy, swallow an Ambien, asleep a few minutes.


matigo: @awanicka hmm … sounds like you need a snoring puppy. When I can’t sleep, I just listen to Nozomi who’s on the floor next to my bed. I’m out like a light within 60 seconds :)

// @bazbt3 @mlv


awanicka: @bazbt3 @mlv I understood it after taking a look at your convo thread. Very low dosage Ambien is my friend. Like lots of older folks, I wake up often during the night without it. Going to finish a book now and then snooze. Good night..


bazbt3: @matigo @awanicka @mlv Our puppy is banned from the bedroom until toilet training is completed.* An unfortunate side-effect is that the cats can no longer get in, which is why I haven’t been able to hear kitty snuffles and grooming etc. for 5 months.


bazbt3: @awanicka Night night. @mlv Morning.



awanicka: @bazbt3 @mlv Ditto.


mlv: @bazbt3 S


mlv: @awanicka A few years ago I found myself having to get up in the very early morning (like 4:30 when I have to get up at 6) to use the bathroom. It took a while before I had the sense to go back to sleep afterwards. @bazbt3


mlv: @bazbt3 @awanicka And I’ll accept the text adventure (already submitted my S). Might be fun. But I’m too sleepy to figure out just what exactly is the #WedC theme?

(Although I’ve been tempted to somehow use the Sketch themes for #WedC)


bazbt3: @mlv I go S, enter a small room, walls cold to the touch, and close the door. The floor feels warm, out-of-place with its surroundings. It is pitch black. By touch, S and W are smooth pedestals, also cold. The E wall feels unstable. I can go N, E, S, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 N


bazbt3: @mlv I go N, stumblng into the door I’d closed earlier. Fumbling around I find a knob and tug at it for a while, eventually realising I should instead push to exit. It’s very bright. There is a closed wicker basket here. I can go S, E or Open the lid.


mlv: @bazbt3 E


bazbt3: @mlv I go E, open a door and emerge onto a dank landing at the top of stairs. E, a box with an open front. It smells. S parallels the stairs & leads to a door and a turn in the passage.

In addition to the other simple commands I know I can go W, S & Down.


mlv: @bazbt3 D


bazbt3: @mlv I go D. A hard object underfoot sends me tumbling downstairs, arriving in a crumpled heap against a small round table on which a number of small objects were previously placed. There is a key, a bag & money here. I can go U, S, N (and get things.)


mlv: @bazbt3 get key, bag, money

look in bag


bazbt3: @mlv I get key, bag & money. The bag is empty. There are 2 closed doors S, 2 closed doors N. All is quiet, save for a faint snuffling from behind one of the northern doors. It smells here, though there are 2 distinct & competing aromas. I can go U, S, N.


mlv: @bazbt3 S


mlv: @bazbt3 I continue to go S


bazbt3: @mlv I wake up, though fumbling about aimlessly. Walking into a wall brings everything into sharp focus and I go S. There are 2 doors here, both closed. There is a mirror at chest/head height here. I can go E (door), S (door) or return N.

Oops! Thanks. :)

2015-09-21T13:24:32Z mlv: @bazbt3 E


bazbt3: @mlv I go E, into a small room with walls cold to the touch, & close the door. A peculiar aroma fills the air; sweet, sickly, masking something? N & S are smooth pedestals, also cold. The N pedestal has a closed door under its front edge. I can go N, S, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 W, then S (why do I always manage to find the bathroom?)


bazbt3: @mlv I go W then S, stopping at a door, nondescript aside from a faux-leaded glass window. It has the usual door-related fitments and a mat at its base. There are paintings of people on the W wall. I can go S (door) & N.


bazbt3: @mlv (You are lucky.)


mlv: @bazbt3 S


bazbt3: @mlv I go S & turn the door’s faux-brass handle. The door remains shut. Rattling the handle & hitting the glass with the flat of my hand brings a dull ache & serves only to highlight the existentially implacable nature of doors. N seems the only option.


mlv: @bazbt3 examine handle


bazbt3: @mlv I examine the handle. A lever type, it tapers down from the boss towards the opposite end, appearing to be cast from an aluminium alloy coated to mimic a brass finish. Below the handle, in a faux-brass escutcheon plate, a dark slot. I could go N.


mlv: @bazbt3 inventory


bazbt3: @mlv I take a quick inventory. I have a bag, some money and a key. N seems somehow less attractive now.


mlv: @bazbt3 insert key in slot


bazbt3: @mlv I insert the key into the slot. It slides easily. N has zero appeal now.


mlv: @bazbt3 turn key open door


bazbt3: @mlv I turn the key and am, perhaps unsurprisingly, able to open the door easily, though the hinges do creak a little. Compared to the interior gloom the brightness here is quite disorientating. I can go S (or N.)


mlv: @bazbt3 (half tempted to go N) S


bazbt3: @mlv I go S, stepping down onto the northern end of a wide, sunlit path. To it’s W side there is a tree laden with bright red berries, to its E a wooden cart with a broken wheel. Carefully closing and locking the door I retain the key. I can go N, E, S, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 S


bazbt3: @mlv I belatedly continue continuing S along the path, passing the tree & cart. The path ends abruptly at the edge of a meandering stream. Clouds quickly fill the sky to the E as the blue of the Western sky dims with the setting sun. I can go N, E, S, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 S


bazbt3: @mlv I go S, wading slowly into the stream. The wind, previously a gentle breeze, rises as the sky to the E darkens further. A pinprick of light signals the sun’s demise for another day. The bank at the far side of the stream is steep. I can go N, E, U, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 N, then E


bazbt3: @mlv I wade N back across the stream, climbing out just in time to avoid the wall of water crashing through the trees. After the deluge passes I walk E. Here on the N side of the river is a single-storey house. It is getting dark now. I can go N, E, S, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 (is “sleep until morning” a command?) N


bazbt3: @mlv Yes. I go N along a short path and find myself in front of a door similar in style to that exited recently save for a brass knocker. A candle in the open window to the W gutters wildly against the wind. It is dark & rain intensifies. I can go E, S, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 knock knocker


bazbt3: @mlv I knock the knocker. The dull thud against the door elicits no response from within so I try again, this time more more forcefully. The door creaks open just a crack. A peculiar smell creeps out between door & frame. I can go N, E, W, S.


mlv: @bazbt3 N


bazbt3: @mlv I go N, pushing against the creaking door. Slowly at first to lessen the possibility of bring heard then, when nothing stirs within, casting it aside forcefully. It crashes against the wall, dislodging a faded map. There is a door E. I can go N, E, S.


mlv: @bazbt3 get map look at map open door, go E


hutattedonmyarm: @mlv You have been eaten by a Gru.

// @bazbt3


bazbt3: @hutattedonmyarm Shhh… That comes later on. @mlv


mlv: @hutattedonmyarm Hey, no changing GM! @bazbt3


bazbt3: @mlv I get the map and look at it. It is an incomplete map of the world, fitting loosely in a frame now broken by its fall. I attempt to open the door and go E but it is locked. A voice from behind it barks “Get lost dog, I’m having a poo!” I can go N, S.


mlv: @bazbt3 N


bazbt3: @mlv I go N, stopping outside 2 unremarkable closed doors, W & N. A faint snuffling can be heard from behind one. I can go N, S, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 Listen outside W and N. Open door that doesn’t have snuffling


hutattedonmyarm: @mlv How could I resist?

// @bazbt3


bazbt3: @mlv I listen outside both doors. The W door has snuffles, the N door does not so I open that. The source of the aroma is revealed; on a roaring stove, a pot filled to the brim with bubbling broth. There is a table, a bowl, bread & spoon here. I can go S.


mlv: @hutattedonmyarm I would have done the same @bazbt3


mlv: @bazbt3 S, S (outside the house), W, N


bazbt3: @mlv I go S, S again (but not before banging on the Southern door, generating a marvellous foul-mouthed tirade from within.) I go W past the now-darkened window then N alongside the house. It is dark and the rain is falling steadily now. I can go N, S.


mlv: @bazbt3 (might be getting confused) N


bazbt3: @mlv I walk N, gingerly feeling my way through the darkness. The E wall ends abruptly, as walls tend to do. A small garden & thick hedge, intermittently illuminated by the fire from the kitchen stove, wraps around the house to the E & W. I can go N, S.


mlv: @bazbt3 (I was S of the original house, then went one E. Now I went one W, and expected to be in front of the original house (or at least the path leading to it). S, S (believe that will take me to the path, but not in the creek), then W


bazbt3: @mlv [recent] “S [from kitchen], S (outside the house) [correct], W, [across front of house] N” [& along its side] “N” [to garden edge]

[tweaks] I go S, S, [E, S] onto the stream-side path, & then W. The rain stops, a full moon rises. I can go E, S, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 W


bazbt3: @mlv Unsure of my bearings now but comforted by the moonlight I walk S then W. To the N the tree & cart, to the S the stream. The wind carries a creaking from the E and a strident voice: “I’ll loose the dog if again you visit!” I can go N E, S, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 (Yeah, the grue was having a poo. I’d say effectively I can’t go E…)



bazbt3: @mlv I walk W along the stream path until it is blocked by a rock face & turns abruptly Northwards. A rhythmic clanking can be heard here. The stream S doesn’t look particularly deep, a path on the far bank disappears into the gloom. I can go N, E, S.


bazbt3: @mlv You and toilets… :)


mlv: @bazbt3 N


bazbt3: @mlv N up the path I go, hard going at first but the gradient eventually eases. I emerge to find a wooden building, a large door set into its S wall. A path leading along the building disappears E into a thorny thicket. It is quiet here. I can go N, E, S.


mlv: @bazbt3 Go inside. N


bazbt3: @mlv I go inside then N. A workshop, wooden staves propped neatly against one wall, iron hoops against another. There is an axe here. There is a large barrel here, perched precariously on a low platform at the top of a West-pointing chute. I can go S, etc.


mlv: @bazbt3 get axe


bazbt3: @mlv I get the axe. It feels nicely-weighted; sharp at the cutting edge, satisfyingly-blunt at the hammer side. There is a large barrel here. I can go S, etc.


mlv: @bazbt3 S


bazbt3: @mlv Grrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!2!¡

/me composes self



mlv: @bazbt3 Oh, okay… go back N and hit the barrel with the axe (GMs can be soooo whiny)


bazbt3: @mlv I go S, ignoring the barrel, and find myself outside the workshop. The path East ends in a thorny thicket, South heads a pleasant downhill stroll towards the stream. The sky is clear save for the moon and stars. I am getting cold. I can go N, E, S.


bazbt3: @mlv :)

I see reason & go N, back inside, & hit the barrel with the axe. It booms with a mellifluous tone & rocks a little, moving toward the chute. A trapdoor below & to the West opens enough to allow the sound of running water through. I can go S, etc.


mlv: @bazbt3 Okay, now I go S.

Only kidding. I go W.


bazbt3: @mlv GrrrrrrOh, ok! I test the trapdoor by shifting the barrel Westwards. The mechanism creaks & the barrel falls invitingly onto its side. The smell of fish doesn’t put me off, so I cli

I drop.

I land, hard. And roll. And roll…

(time passes…)


mlv: @bazbt3 Wait… is this D&D? Do I need to roll?


bazbt3: @mlv …eventually the rolling & crashing ends, the barrel splits asunder. I climb out, battered & bruised & check my surroundings: the West bank of a S-flowing river. The stream opposite ends in a sheer drop. There are staves & hoops here. I can go W.


mlv: @bazbt3 (Oh, I climbed into it, I missed that part). I look back E. How hard would it be to go back that way?


bazbt3: @mlv Too many distractions here to answer in real-time. Ok, if you wish to roll I may not have the capacity to bring along anything but unpredictability and the removal of all logic. ;)


mlv: @bazbt3 Forget it, then. I’d hate to have to invite @eliza_bot into this thread.


bazbt3: @mlv I look E: A series of rocky waterfalls, each perhaps climbable individually, but without a rope impractical. N, the river crashes noisily down a cataract. The river picks up speed southward quickly. There are staves & hoops here. I can go W.


mlv: @bazbt3 get staves & hoops. Go W


bazbt3: @mlv I get the heavy staves & hoops then go West up a straight, muddy track. The trees close in here but not oppressively. W lies a single-span arched wooden bridge, E is the river, N & S a rutted cart track. The sky begins to lighten. I can go N, E, S, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 (if only I had a rutted cart, gazes up and eastward whistfully) cross the bridge W


bazbt3: @mlv :) I go W across the bridge, expecting a troll, but only a runs stream beneath. A path curves around to the South so I follow that up for a while until it forks S & W near the path’s crest. The West branch disappears into trees. I can go N, W, S.


mlv: @bazbt3 W (axe got to be good for something)


bazbt3: @mlv I go W, hacking away at the saplings with great success, and eventually emerge into a clearing. There is a wicker basket here, its contents covered by a red & white checked cloth. The sun’s rays glint through the trees behind me. I can go E, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 Look in basket


bazbt3: @mlv I kneel and look in the basket. It contains a stoppered green bottle without a label, some bread, a cut of roast ham, and a red apple. It is pleasant here, the stillness and early morning bird song bring a sense of calm to the clearing.


mlv: @bazbt3 open bottle and smell. Drink if it’s safe. Eat some of the bread and ham, and the apple.


bazbt3: @mlv I open the bottle, take a sniff & drink deeply. The ham & bread goes down quickly but I put some back in the basket for later. The apple is juicy & delicious. After the exertion of the previous bruising night this rest is welcome. I can go E, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 I west (hey, I’m tiwed!). Aftew westing, I pick up the picnic basket and go west (the direction, not the vewb)


bazbt3: @mlv Aftew westing I feel weady fow anything. I twy to pick up the wickew basket befowe wesuming my Westwawd walk. I am cawwying too many items to do so. A white wabbit emewges fwom the dense undewgwowth to the Nowth & scuwwies off West. I can go E, W.



mlv: @bazbt3 I asked fow that!


mlv: @bazbt3 Reshuffle inventory, maybe leaving behind some hoopes or staves, but bringing the basket. Go W


bazbt3: @mlv I drop most of the staves & hoops, get the basket, then recommence my walk West. The path soon turns South, following the edge of the valley. After a while the path stops at a farm gate. There is a horse in the field. It looks friendly. I can go N, S.


mlv: @bazbt3 Look around for any tackle. Go S


mlv: @bazbt3 (I was afraid the rabbit was going to complain about being late or something)


bazbt3: @mlv There is a post on the South side of the field, draped with what looks like a rope crudely fashioned into a bridle. I open the gate and walk S. The horse trots over then nuzzles the basket. The is a gate East, a stile to the south. I can go N, E, S.


mlv: @bazbt3 (sounds more like a halter, unless the rope has a bit on it (I’m a software engineer, I’m very focused on bits)). Look around to see if anyone would cause a fuss. If quiet, I bride the horse and ride it E.


bazbt3: @mlv [I’ve ridden donkeys at the seaside, well sat on… I do know that briding one may not be socially acceptable. :)]

I open the gate, get on the horse & ride E, arriving shortly at a rickety bridge E. A rutted cart track runs S. I can go E, S, W.


bazbt3: @mlv Damnit, I didn’t see your comment about the wabbit, late, etc. It wasn’t in my timeline, and then it was. :/


mlv: @bazbt3 (I rode a lot about 40 years ago, not so much recently… and back then there was no question about social acceptability regarding bridling). If the bridge looks safe, cross it E.


mlv: @bazbt3 That whascally wabbit post!


joeo10: @mlv @bazbt3 You both sound like Elmer Fudd.


mlv: @joeo10 Eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh @bazbt3


bazbt3: @mlv The rickety bridge, as per description, looks unsafe but I ask the horse to test the wooden planks. Without fanfare the first few, rotten, fall into the water below. Though in need of repairs the remainder look sound. The horse baulks. I can go E, W.


bazbt3: @joeo10 @mlv Wascally? ;)


bazbt3: @joeo10 @mlv Ah, Michael already used it. Never mind, but I really must figure out why not all my mentions are showing up together.


mlv: @bazbt3 So I cross it. E


bazbt3: @mlv I dismount, jump E over the gap & cross the bridge. The horse looks on sadly but now has room to roam, the gates being open still. There is a box of carrots here. To the E a bridge spans the river gorge. A rutted cart track runs S. I can go E, S, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 Look back at the poor horse. I thought he could join me. That wasn’t clear.

(Also unclear – I went E over a bridge, but the (same?) bridge is still E?

Go back, mount on the horse, grab some carrots, and go S


bazbt3: @mlv I decline to cross the river bridge E but grab some carrots, cross back W over the rickety bridge (which is in need of repair.) I mount the horse, which seems pleased to see me. The gate is open so we go W into the field & jump the stile S easily…


bazbt3: @mlv …At other side of the stile a narrow rutted cart track starts East then curves North around the field boundary. A wide, straight road runs South, heading towards a large house situated at a crossroads. I can hear chickens. I can go N, E, S.


mlv: @bazbt3 S


bazbt3: @mlv I don’t need to urge the horse onwards S, it breaks into a trot/canter/not-quite-a-gallop and we soon arrive near the crossroads. The large house W has a large hen shed in the yard in front. Large well-fed hens peck at the ground. I can go N, S, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 Continue S (nervous it might be their horse and they may not like that I just took it)


bazbt3: @mlv Hehehe. :) I continue S to the crossroads. E a straight road, the end obscured by a shimmering haze. S downhill past well-maintained cottages. W a track, narrowing to a path heading into a dense wood. It is strangely quiet here. I can go N, E, S, W.


bazbt3: @mlv Hmmm… (You’ve done this sort of thing before, or I’m transparent.) :))


mlv: @bazbt3 I love fall haze. E


mlv: @bazbt3 You think I was going to be tempted by some chickens??


bazbt3: “@bazbt3 You think I was going to be tempted by some chickens??”

A late #QuoteSunday.

(‘Yes and no’ was my first thought. Then the word ‘tempted’ entered my head and simply will not leave.)


bazbt3: @mlv I turn E. Immediately North, a long high wall with only one gap visible, just here. The gap is wide enough only for a man. Or woman. Or a man & a dog. Or a boy or girl. With a dog. Or cat. Not a horse. S, a tall, impenetrable hedge. I can go N, E, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 Oh, that’s a fowl joke!


mlv: @bazbt3 E (not about to explore private property while riding other people’s private property)


mlv: @bazbt3 Years ago, I went on pilgrimage to the middle east. Very common were very small doors, way too small for a horse (maybe 5’ tall). I remember little Greek yiayias (old Greek women, about 5’ tall themselves) reminding me (6’5”) to watch my head…


tomcat: @mlv @bazbt3 CHIIIIICKENS


bazbt3: @mlv I ask the horse to walk E, it’s such a nice day. We eventually reach a junction at the E end of the wall. E & S are poorly-maintained cottages. N a larger building stands out, a sign swings from a post outside. All remains quiet. I can go N, E, S, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 read sign


bazbt3: @mlv Yes, yes I am thinking of Shetland ponies.* Trying to imagine the height disparity as you met the locals - and failing, I’m 11” shorter. :}

*I also now know that a ‘hand’ is 4”.


mlv: @bazbt3 These doorways were designed so not even Shetland ponies (and I once rode one, but I was shorter then) would fit.


joanna: @bazbt3 Ummm…? Is this one of those Minecraft posts? @mlv


joanna: @mlv @bazbt3 No idea what y’all are talking about but I once had a dream where I rode a (full-size) horse into a bar to listen to some music. I can’t remember who the singer was now. Hmmm. It was a weird dream.


bazbt3: @joanna An adventure of sorts. @mlv is doing a great job of avoiding my pitiful attempts to steer him towards the baddi^H^H er… interesting bits. :)))


bazbt3: @mlv The sign reads ‘Prancing Pony’. The horse looks askance at it. I can go N (into the building) E, S, W.


bazbt3: @joanna Indeed it is. Try to get it analysed or try it yourself, could be important. … Can I use that here? Pleeeeease? (flutters) @mlv


joanna: @bazbt3 I can see I’m going to have to read this conversation. Hmmm… @mlv


bazbt3: @joanna It goes back a few days, its inspiration is an almost entirely-unrelated conversation. @mlv


mlv: @joanna Think of old text-based adventure games. Now do them live. @bazbt3 is doing a great job!


mlv: @bazbt3 Tie up the horse and go N


joanna: @bazbt3 It was years and years ago. Too late to have it analyzed I’m sure. I don’t know how you want to use it but okay. ;-) @mlv


mlv: @bazbt3 I don’t know if either of you have Cauldron, but it’s great for navigating threads like this (contrary to popular belief, threads are 2D, not 1D). This may be one of the larger threads on ADN. @joanna


joanna: @bazbt3 It’s an insane conversation. It may take me 15 days to catch up! @mlv


joanna: @mlv I am using Cauldron but am switching to treeview for this so I can collapse branches. :-) @bazbt3


mlv: @joanna It is quite the … adventure. @bazbt3


joanna: @mlv Indeed. I followed for a bit but ended up having to give up. Y’all are crazy! @bazbt3


johngordon: @joanna And I just saw it today. Whoa. Yeah, need treeview.


bazbt3: @mlv I tie the horse to the signpost. It* looks hungry but isn’t yet complaining. I go N into the inn, weave through the tables. The room smells of wood, tobacco smoke, spilt beer & fried onions. A grubby, bottle-lined bar spans the back wall…



bazbt3: @mlv …a thin man stands behind the bar, a man with an uncharacteristically anxious demeanour for a barkeeper. He shuffles a little but keeps his silence. The scattered clients look on in silence - not unfriendly, maybe simply expectant. What next?


mlv: @bazbt3 Walk up to the bar and ask for some fried onions and a beer to wash them down with.


bazbt3: @joanna @mlv @johngordon Damn. If I’d thought of it myself/earlier I could have changed it from a simple linear thing into a somewhat more complicated branching, er… thing. Treeview; maybe removes need for a map?

Could I have maintained it?

Hell no. :)


bazbt3: @mlv I walk to the bar, ask for fried onions and a beer. The man relaxes, asks, hopefully asks, for payment: “What have you got?” Before you have chance to think, let alone answer, a voice from behind, quietly: “Is that your horse outside?” Now what?


mlv: @bazbt3 Before I respond, I need to know some details of the area I’m in. Are the windows arranged such that someone inside is likely to have seen me ride in on that horse? Also, do I, in fact, have any money?


bazbt3: @mlv Before responding I look around. Opposite the bar a single door, a grubby window either side. The tables are scattered about in a haphazard manner. It’s impossible to know if the hooded individual entered before or after.

[Inventory] …& money.


mlv: @bazbt3 I calmly drop some money on the bar and slowly look around, sizing up the stranger.

“Who wants to know?”


bazbt3: @mlv The money drops onto the bar. “That’ll do nicely,” grins the barkeeper behind, who continues, “Do you have anything to go with the onions?” You turn towards the interrogator who answers “A knowledgeable friend. I see you have money, my favourite.” …


bazbt3: @mlv Hmmm… You raise an interesting point by adopting the term ‘stranger’. It’s easy to adopt the obvious, default, categorisation, but anyone walking into an unfamiliar bar is the stranger until an investigation of the clientele proves otherwise. ;)


mlv: @bazbt3 But the guy talking is a stranger to me, which is why I referred to him (her?) thusly.

I ignore the bartender, and just stare at the interrogator.


bazbt3: @mlv Your stranger responds by scanning the room. As her gaze alights on each of the other customers each nods. The atmosphere shifts. A shrug & reply: “We know where the horse is from, you would be wise to not return there.” A pause… “Why are you here?”


mlv: @bazbt3 “I wasn’t planning on it… just stopping by for a beer and onion rings. Any problem with that?”


bazbt3: @mlv I haven’t forgotten you, my time’s not my own at the moment.


mlv: @bazbt3 No problemo.


bazbt3: @mlv Your stranger responds: “No, no problem. We…” she casts her gaze around the room “…wondered if you had anything to go along with the fried onions. They get a bit boring after a mouthful or two. The beer helps.” This gets a laugh. Now what?


mlv: @bazbt3 I relax a bit and check my bag. “I got some carrots… Got any onion rings?”


mlv: @bazbt3 Soo….. no onion rings?


bazbt3: @mlv Oops! Sorry Michael! Expecting some sort of notification from Dash app. I just setup IFTTT-to-Pushover to see if that’ll nudge me. Please hold whilst I do an internal recap. :}


mlv: @bazbt3 (nudge)


bazbt3: @mlv You awaken slowly. It is pitch black. Your head hurts, a lot. Fumbling about, you find yourself seated in a small room - too small to move about or stand up comfortably. Turning is possible. Time passes… Your head hurts less. It remains pitch black.


bazbt3: @mlv More fumbling establishes the existence of a door and some paper. You turn then rattle the doorknob which, rather unhelpfully, comes off in your hand. Hmmm… Now what?


awanicka: @bazbt3 Promise them a visit to Harrod’s teddy bear section next time. Our grandtwins were 19 and loved that, seeing the queen in her car, parade at Buckingham Palace, finding certain authors’ burial spots in Westminster Cathedral. Reservations for Eye.


mlv: @bazbt3 groan I guess some people just don’t like carrots.

Start moving around, trying to feel for a door. I figure the more I move, the better I’ll feel.


mlv: @bazbt3 Try to put the doorknob back in the door. Can it be? If so, can it be turned?

Take the paper.


bazbt3: @mlv I get the paper, carefully refit the knob, gently turn it. The latch pops. Success! Too-bright light floods in as I open the door. I am behind the inn’s bar. All is quiet, all is still. Everything but the fixtures & furniture has gone. I can go S.


mlv: @bazbt3 I blink in the brightness, and go S


bazbt3: @mlv I go S through the inn, exiting onto the W-E highway. ‘My’ horse is, of course, gone, as is the sign previously giving the post its raison d’être. The air is still here, no birdsong, no far-off animal noises… Cottages lie E & S. I can go N, E, S, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 Take stock of my inventory. What (if anything) do I have left?

E on the highway, going past the cottage


bazbt3: @mlv Inventory: Paper, and a map which the scoundrels at the inn assessed to be worthless. I walk E past the cottages. The road narrows here. I can go E, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 Look more closely at the map. Can I discern where I am? Anything interesting?

Continue E while I read it.


bazbt3: @mlv I walk East, examining the incomplete world map as I go. I turn it over. Interesting… an entirely different map! … I eventually arrive at a T-junction - North & South lie yet more cottages, the southerly ones framing a steep hill. I can go N, S, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 Stay at the junction and try to get my bearings. Can I find myself on either map? Also, what time is it? How long was I unconscious?


bazbt3: @mlv I stay at the junction hoping something will happen to reestablish my sense of direction, place… The incomplete world map proves to be… unfinished, however I can find myself on the local ‘Map’ on its back. It is teatime, sometime. I can go N, S, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 Does the local ‘Map’ on the back show any details N or S?


bazbt3: @mlv The local ‘Map’* shows no details North or South more than those already described. I can go N, S, W.

*Thanks for using the word, this is an approximation of the travels thus far. Feel free to pick holes in it. ;)


mlv: @bazbt3 Nice map. Very helpful.

S it is.


bazbt3: @mlv Thanks. I threw it together during lunchtime today - which also included finding the app (which is why I added the ‘it may have minor inaccuracies’ implied disclaimer thingy) and eating. :)


bazbt3: @mlv I step into the road intending to head S & downhill. At that very moment a cart, flames trailing behind, one wheel badly broken, careers wildly into view, a wild-eyed horse straining to get away from…

It is, like you, heading S. This won’t end well…


bazbt3: @mlv … I walk S down the hill, expecting to see broken cart or horse lying in a heap at the bottom. From halfway down I see nothing untoward. I can go N, S.


mlv: @bazbt3 Run down, trying to see if the horse is okay. Any idea why the cart was on fire?


bazbt3: @mlv I run down the hill to attempt to check on the horse. ‘Missing,’ along with the cart. A dreadful din starts from the N. Gathering pace with the gradient I soon regret my haste… I am lying in a crumpled heap at the bottom of the hill. I could go N, S.


mlv: @bazbt3 Uncrumple my heap, look N, then continue S expeditiously.


bazbt3: @mlv I pick myself up, dust m… No, no time! The din, racket, cacophony of sounds grows, intensifies… I first look N. Would seeing its source help though‽ I head S as quick as wobbly legs allow. The noise becomes overwhelming… And passes! … I can go N, S.


mlv: @bazbt3 Do I see anything as the noise passes? Or is it just a bunch of invisible giants playing rugby?


bazbt3: @mlv I recall the last time I chanced across a bunch of invisible giants playing rugby. This sounds close to that experience, but steam wasn’t present THAT time… Hmmm… Still mulling it over I absent-mindedly fall over a small cliff. Pain? Pah! I can go S.


mlv: @bazbt3 So, I see steam. How steep is this cliff? Can I use it as shelter from whatever’s coming over it?


bazbt3: @mlv The cliff is too steep for me to climb. The steam dissipates to reveal…

I am standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door.

There is a small mailbox here.


mlv: @bazbt3 Does the house look familiar? :)

Open mailbox


bazbt3: @mlv :)

Opening the small mailbox reveals a leaflet.

I can go E.


mlv: @bazbt3 read leaflet


bazbt3: @mlv I read the leaflet aloud:

“[My so-far nameless quest] is a game devoid of adventure, danger, and low cunning. In it you will explore some of the least amazing territory ever seen by mortals. No computer should be without one.”

I am hungry, can go E.


bazbt3: @mlv :)


mlv: @bazbt3 Hey booboo! Where’s that picanic basket I had?

Go E


bazbt3: @mlv [You were knocked unconscious and bundled unceremoniously into the inn toilet. Did you think the derty wotten scoundwels forgot to rob you first‽]

[Inventory] You have a map and some paper.

I go E. The big white house’s front door is boarded shut.


mlv: @bazbt3 Walk around the house. Is there a back door?


bazbt3: @mlv I walk around the house. I am behind the white house. A path leads into the forest to the east. In one corner of the house there is a small window which is slightly ajar. Everything else is boarded. I can go E, W, etc. [ Enough fair use, I think. :) ]


mlv: @bazbt3 I open the jar and look in


bazbt3: @mlv Tsk. :) I peer through the crack between frame and boarded-over window. It’s dark inside, getting dark outside. A vaguely sulphurous, somewhat musty odour sneaks through the gap… I open the window, though not without a great deal of effort. Now what?


mlv: @bazbt3 Go inside, if possible


bazbt3: @mlv I somehow lever myself up & through the window. It’s a bit tight. I drop like a cat into the room. Landing isn’t a success. Pots, pans, spoons, plates tumble off a table, sending a warning reverberating through the house. Nothing stirs. I look around…


mlv: @bazbt3 That’s my line.

I look around.


bazbt3: @mlv I look around. North is a latched door without a lock. East, next to the too-small window, a locked & boarded door. South, a table set for a meal. West, a latched door without a lock. The sun must be setting. I am hungry. I can go N, E, S, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 Is there food on the table? Is it fresh and yummy looking (or at least fresh)? Are there any sounds of life from inside the house? Are there lights? Are they on? Are they powered? Am I asking too many questions?


bazbt3: @mlv There is no food visible, but this IS a kitchen… A faint glow under the West door possibly signals recent occupation. The house isn’t silent - a most unfamiliar hum hovers at the edge of sensation. That may be the hunger speaking? I can go N, E, S, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 Quietly rummage through cupboards or refrigerator.


bazbt3: @mlv There are no cupboards, there is no refrigerator. It seems things we take for granted in the ‘modern’ world are not present in this kitchen. The light from outside has faded, the glow from under the W door seems stronger. There must be food near…


mlv: @bazbt3 Please explain how I identify this room as a “kitchen”. Does it have a stove?


bazbt3: @mlv … Perhaps dredging through folk memories, back to the days prior to the advent of modern conveniences is in order, especially given the dilapidated condition of the house exterior?

[I remember our very first fridge. It had an ice box! Oooh!]


mlv: @bazbt3 Okay, I quietly open the door to the W, watching for any xenophobic occupants


bazbt3: @mlv The pots, pans, spoons, etc., that signalled your precipitous arrival indicated the room’s function. There is a stove. It is cold. Recap: N, latched door, E, window, boarded door, S, table set for meal, W, door with ominous glow. I can go N, E, S, W.


bazbt3: @mlv [Sorry I’m so slow, teatime here: cats, dog, girls.]


mlv: @bazbt3 Actually, I’ll go N


bazbt3: @mlv I stop short of the W door, go N. This proves a good choice. The latched door opens easily to reveal a pantry. There is ham, bread, an apple, a bottle and a basket here. There are a few unlabelled cans scattered about the shelves. I can go S, etc.


mlv: @bazbt3 Make a quick sandwich with some of the ham and bread and eat it, still listening…

Then pack up the rest in the basket. Grab a can as well, then go S.


bazbt3: @mlv I rip some of the (surprisingly soft) bread open, drop some ham on & eat it. Mmmm… perfect timing! I put the rest of the bread & ham, the bottle, apple & a medium-sized can into the basket. I go S. The hum remains at the edge of… I can go N, S, E, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 Now again quietly open W, watching carefully for xenophobes


bazbt3: @mlv The door W is already open. I look past it to the room beyond for ghouls, ghosties & monsters. There are none. I can go N, E, S, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 Go W, young man


bazbt3: @mlv I go W to a hallway. N, through an open door, a long coat is slung on a hook on the back wall. S, stairs up into darkness, a latched door underneath. W, a large ornate door. A candle provides the only illumination here. I can go N, E, S (door) W, up.


mlv: @bazbt3 get coat get candle go up


bazbt3: @mlv I get the coat & candle. I go up. It doesn’t take long before my passage is abruptly halted - the dilapidation extends to the stairs. A yawning chasm halfway, extending to the upper floor, means upwards progress is impossible. I can go Down.


mlv: @bazbt3 I throw the can in the sleeves to add some weight, and tie the sleeves of the coat together, then toss it, trying to hook it on the other side of the chasm. Once it’s secure, I use the basket on this side to secure it…

Forget that. Just go down.


bazbt3: @mlv I toy with elegant gap-crossing solutions for a while, but wisely avoid a potential certain death and go Down. The hallway: N, cloakroom, E, kitchen, S, stairs up, latched door under, W, large, ornate door. I can go N, E, S, W, up.


mlv: @bazbt3 N


bazbt3: @mlv I go N into the cloakroom. There is a hook fixed solidly to the wall, the hook from which I’d earlier pulled the long coat. It appears to be made from bras. It is shiny, well-used. I can go S.


mlv: @bazbt3 Well, I know bras have hooks. But I’ve never seen ones big enough to hold a coat. I toy with taking one of the bras, but really have no use for it.

Go back S, then check out the door to the W.


bazbt3: @mlv Awww… “bras”. Ah well, I go S into the hallway and examine the W door. Ornately-carved door & frame, big brass* knob dulled by time, lack of use. No letterbox spoils the house-facing side. A few nail points poke through (from the boarding?)



bazbt3: @mlv … Turning the knob is easy but the door recalls its tree roots and remains implacably immobile. Throwing my not-inconsiderable mass at it fails to even… I can go N, S, E, W, up.


mlv: @bazbt3 Speaking of trees, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess I can’t really go W.

Look in coat. Pockets?


bazbt3: @mlv P^Hfunny, and correct for now. :) I rummage in the coat’s many pockets, eventually coming up with a piece of paper. It appears to be blank. The candle starts to flicker.


mlv: @bazbt3 Up


bazbt3: @mlv I go Up the stairs and again reach the missing treads, the ones not-exactly bridging the gap between where I am and where I wish to be. The gap is wide. Deep too, the floor below just visible… The candle starts guttering. I can go Down.


mlv: @bazbt3 Can I jump/climb down safely?


bazbt3: @mlv It looks safe to jump down. The staircase, though impossible to scale without some ad-hoc bridge, is no grand statement of privilege or entitlement. I can go Down or ‘under’ the staircase.


mlv: @bazbt3 under


bazbt3: @mlv I balance on the edge of the last viable step, and gently drop, like a cat, to the floor below. Unfortunately the landing doesn’t go well. I crash against the latched door previously visible from the hallway & rebound into… The room’s back wall moved!


mlv: @bazbt3 So I’m back in the room at the bottom of the stairs? Examine that back wall!


bazbt3: @mlv Correct! I start to examine the back wall just as the candle sputters and dies. Luckily there’s a soft glow from behind one edge, providing just enough illumination to almost dispel the heebie-jeebies! I can go N (door), S (prod the panel for a bit.)


mlv: @bazbt3 S of course


bazbt3: @mlv I push at the back panel. It flexes but remains a wall. The glow remains tantalisingly just there! One consolation, the hum is stronger here. I can go N, S.


mlv: @bazbt3 Look around for hidden doors, latches, etc.

(If this were nethack, I’d hit the ‘s’ key).


bazbt3: @mlv I look around for hidden doors, latches, etc. There is a latch on the outer door to the hallway. Simply looking for a hidden door proves futile. Perhaps a bit of lateral thinking would help?

[Nethack, I’d never heard of it! It seems I’ve missed out.]


mlv: @bazbt3 Look around for anything unusual.


bazbt3: @mlv The single most unusual thing in sight: the gaping hole above. Aside from that, pairs of tiny handprints at one end of the back wall, now glowing faintly as my eyes became a little more accustomed to the darkness, are the only unexpected thing here.


mlv: @bazbt3 Examine the airea around the handprints more closely


bazbt3: @mlv There appear to be 3 sets of tiny glowing handprints, 1 set smaller than the others. They are situated at the same end as the glow through the small gap between the featureless wall & a newly-apparent frame. The hum is slightly more intense there too.


mlv: @bazbt3 examine frame more closely


bazbt3: @mlv I examine the frame more closely. It’s smooth, fits closely between the 2 walls, floor, & ceiling - at least what’s remaining of it after the stairs fell. The back wall doesn’t seem particularly well-attached to the frame - shoddy workmanship perhaps?


mlv: @bazbt3 Will the back wall wiggle? Or the frame?


bazbt3: @mlv Whilst the frame is immobile the back wall does indeed jiggle when I wiggle it. It also, most unusually for a wall, giggles.


mlv: @bazbt3 tickle the back wall


bazbt3: @mlv I tickle the back wall. And wait. And tickle. And wait… Nothing. Then, probably behind the wall, a sigh, a single “Tsk!”, then the sound of footsteps heading away - a bit echoey.

Wiggling then?


mlv: @bazbt3 Wiggle the wall


bazbt3: @mlv Wiggling the wall does seem the best course of action at this point. Doing so at random increases the gap nicely at the end - just enough to take a look at the green glow’s source. It’s as if there’d been an explosion in a watch face painting factory!


mlv: @bazbt3 Try to increase it some more.

(Spent too long trying to find a Bloom County comic strip where Oliver Wendell Jones builds a nuclear bomb for a science project by scraping the paint off of thousands of watches)


bazbt3: @rabryst Ha! I woke the dog, she’s got her head on one side again. I don’t sense approval. Thanks. :) @mlv Thanks for asking. :)


mlv: @rabryst Exactly it! Thanks. How did you find it? @bazbt3


bazbt3: @mlv The door slides laterally easily now, revealing a nicely-illuminated tunnel. A flight of steps heads down it in a southerly direction. I can go N, S/Down.


mlv: @bazbt3 S (as if you had to ask)


bazbt3: @mlv I go South, down the steps. The slope increases quickly, the illumination remains constant, the hum grows louder though its source remains distant & indistinct. My early pace soon slows with the effort of not stumbling and falling. Time for a rest?


mlv: @bazbt3 Rest just for a bit, then keep going.


bazbt3: @mlv I rest for a bit… …then resume my journey S & D. I exit the tunnel onto a wide semicircular platform, a low wall, with 2 breaks, extending around its edge. At the side of each break, a short post. There is a coil of rope here. I can go N (Up), E, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 get rope go west (too tiwed to use the joke again)


bazbt3: @mlv I get the rope and go West. The sheer drop to inky blackness visible through the gap in the wall, visible over the wall, probably visible in my later nightmares, demands that I stop and think. I stop and think for a bit. I can go N, E, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 I look at the rope, then at the post, then at the inky blackness (well, through, I guess). Go back and tie the rope to the post, and also to myself, then continue W for as long as the rope lasts.


bazbt3: @mlv I tie one end of the rope to the western post, the other end to myself and continue West until the ground disappears from under me and I drop…

(to be continued…)


bazbt3: @mlv Have you got a dice*?

*Never sure these days if die or dice sounds best.


mlv: @bazbt3 I have @eliza_bot who can roll any dice. What should she roll?


bazbt3: @mlv Can you ask @eliza_bot to please roll 2 dice?


mlv: @bazbt3 2d6? d20? d300? @eliza_bot


mlv: @bazbt3 I covered the bases. @eliza_bot replied:

Rolled 2+4 = 6 for “roll 2d6” Rolled 3+18 = 21 for “2d20” Rolled 233+128 = 361 for “2d300”


mlv: @bazbt3 If you want to do the rolling yourself, send a PM to @eliza_bot


bazbt3: @mlv Thanks. 2d6 is fine. :) (Continuing shortly.)


bazbt3: @mlv The 2d6 rope length is too short to do anything other than leave me suspended above (though within the upper reaches of) the inky blackness. The sensation is not-at-all of embarrassment, but amusement. I swing for a while, contemplating… Now what?


mlv: @bazbt3 I have a choice. Hang around here, or climb up. If I swung around here, is there anything I might be able to reach?


bazbt3: @mlv Inky blackness below, tunnel illuminating the roof over the wall above. Your choices at this stage, given the fact we’ve had a dice throw, are pretty free-form. Say from: Dangle (waiting to see what happens), climb, drop intentionally, thrash about?


mlv: @bazbt3 thrash about


bazbt3: @mlv I thrash about. It feels good, positive. And loosens the rope. (time passes…) The previous choices still apply.


mlv: @bazbt3 drop intentionally


bazbt3: @mlv I work to loosen the rope. Eventually, I drop…

A second later I land in a crumpled heap. Ah. All I can see now is the glow above. Now what?


mlv: @bazbt3 So I fell 4.9m… stand up (if I can), fumble around, trying to avoid any pitfalls (literally).


bazbt3: @mlv No. Your fell around 10 feet in a fuzzy second, so there’s not much bruising. Fumbling about proves the existence of a flat surface underfoot, no breaks, and exits leading in all 4 compass directions. Oops, got to get daughter 2!


joanna: @bazbt3 You two are still at it????? Wow. @mlv


mlv: @joanna We keep trying to kill me, and failing. @bazbt3


mlv: @bazbt3 N


bazbt3: @mlv @joanna I need to get better at killing, I suppose. ;)


bazbt3: @joanna @mlv We are. Just getting started. ;)


bazbt3: @mlv I go N, gingerly feeling my way through inky… It’s dark. I can, however, see a faint glow ahead. (sigh) I can go N, S.


mlv: @bazbt3 N, to faint glow


bazbt3: @mlv Heading, shuffling, North up the tunnel I nearly fall over the candle. Pushed into an old ceramic holder even close-enough to singe eyebrows it seems very dim - a weedy light. Disorientating, this unaccustomed black. A dead end. I can go S.


mlv: @bazbt3 get candle go S, trying to see any of my surroundings on the way.


bazbt3: @mlv I get the candle and head back South. Though its light affords some comfort the walls seem to suck the life completely out of… Oh, I can go N, S, E, W.


bazbt3: @joanna @mlv I’ll be honest, having something that started off as just a bit of fun develop into a bit of fun is… fun. :)


joanna: @bazbt3 It sounds like…fun. @mlv


mlv: @bazbt3 S until I see the glow above


bazbt3: @mlv I can see the glow above. I can go N, E, S, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 Do I see the rope?


bazbt3: @mlv Now I have the candle I can see the rope - surprisingly clearly, in addition to the silhouette of the wall above. I can go N, E, S, W, etc.


mlv: @bazbt3 How far out of reach is the rope? –or, can I reach it?


bazbt3: @mlv The drop was 10 feet. Accounting for the rope unravelling from around wherever I tied it to myself, and the loop and knot types I used to secure it about me…

(time passes…)

The rope dangles within easy reach of an outstretched arm.


mlv: @bazbt3 Go east


bazbt3: @mlv I trudge East, eventually arriving, just as I sense an upwards gradient, at a small alcove/seat in the otherwise featureless black. I can rest here, go E, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 Rest for a moment, then continue E


bazbt3: @mlv I continue East. The gradient increases until it becomes really arduous to continue up. Ah, another junction. The path seems to steepen North. I can hear the sound of running water from the East. The path levels out Southwards. I can go N, E, S, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 E (starting to get thirsty)


bazbt3: @mlv I trudge E. Soon the source of the sound of running water is revealed, a stream running through an impressively large & lumpy cavern. Mites, tites, weird formations… Light too! N upstream & S down, E crosses it, W back. Thirsty. If only I had a beer.


mlv: @bazbt3 S


bazbt3: @mlv I step S into the icy stream waters. Very quickly I arrive at a dead end, the waters disappearing down a hole too-small for me to fit. I can go N.


mlv: @bazbt3 Take a sip of the water. How does it taste?

Then go N


bazbt3: @mlv I taste the crystal clear water. It is lovely and cold and tastes of mountains and snow and moss and goats. I go N, unfortunately hitting a dead end. Ow! There is a small rowing boat here. Above, the water cascades through a large opening. I can go S.


mlv: @bazbt3 ….goats?

When I went N, I thought I was backtracking. If I passed my starting point (where I first encountered the stream), go back S to that point.


bazbt3: @mlv Yes, goats. Somewhere cold a lonely goatherd is lonely. Um… You are correct, I boobed. :/ I go S. I can now go N, E (stream), S, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 If I can cross the stream, then go E. else N

(I used to constantly have, “Lowly Goatherd” from Sound of Music stuck in my head. Turns out the first few notes were identical to my Blackberry’s ringtone, and my brain just continued the riff).


bazbt3: @mlv :)) I cross the stream E. Though swift-flowing it poses no danger at 3 feet wide. I can go N, W, S. (The same N & S as on the other side.)


mlv: @bazbt3 N


bazbt3: @mlv I go N, a dead end. There is a small rowing boat here, and water continues to cascade into the stream off the edge of a large hole above. I can go S.


mlv: @bazbt3 Can I climb?


bazbt3: @mlv I attempt to climb, but the walls are too slippery and the cavern walls slope inwards towards the hole the water arrives through.


mlv: @bazbt3 get boat (pulling it in the water if necessary) S


bazbt3: @mlv I attempt to get the boat, and succeed only in encouraging it to straddle the stream here, but not much else, nothing useful. I go S. I can now go N, E (just across the stream, S, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 So, no way to bring the boat S?

Just go S without it, then.


bazbt3: @mlv Correct, though the boat’s hull appears sound the stream’s simply not wide-enough for floaty progress along it. In any event the hole S is way too small to accommodate it. I already went S, can now go N, E (stream), S, W (tunnel.)


mlv: @bazbt3 Take a final drink of the goat-water (I SO do not want to know why it tastes of goat!), then return W.


bazbt3: @mlv The water is again lovely and sparkly and cold and refreshing and snowy and goaty. I go W. I try to, but stepping just into the tunnel a creaking, groaning, terrible noise makes me pause. A wall of rock slides across the hole, sealing me out. Oops!


mlv: @bazbt3 Get the boat break the boat, get a board look back down the stream see what I saw take the saw, cut the board in half Two halves make a (w)hole climb through the hole. W

If that doesn’t work, then go S


bazbt3: @mlv :} The boat proves to be built well. Even a cursory check indicates roped and tar-sealed joints, clever joints at bow & stern. Breaking this apart will perhaps require magic. I go S. Dead end again. the water swirls down the hole anticlockwise here…


bazbt3: @mlv … I can go N.


mlv: @bazbt3 How curious that it goes anticlockwise and not counterclockwise….

How big is the hole? Any idea what’s on the other side?


bazbt3: @mlv British English is awesomesauce, borrows nothing but the very best from other, inferior cultures. (time passes…) The tapered hole is a few inches in diameter. It’s impossible to see through the swirly, cold, goaty, normally clear stuff filling it.


mlv: @bazbt3 Okay, take things methodically like… look around here for anything other than the hole and the way N.


bazbt3: @mlv Okay! Aside from hole and boat, a pleasing number of stalactites, stalagmites, and lumpy formations apparently crafted by the water over millennia, it looks like I’m simply in a big hole in the ground. Water comes in above, water flows out below.


mlv: @bazbt3 Is that water the same water I was seeing when I went N?

Go back N


bazbt3: @mlv The same water. I go back N, but in reality it’s not a complex walk N or S, even in this cavern. Boat astride stream, hole above where water enters, one below where water exits, interestingly-lumpy rocks. This load weighs frustratingly heavily.


mlv: @bazbt3 Inventory

I think of three locations (from N to S):

1: hole enters stream, has boat 2: has paths E and W (W blocked) 3: hole draining stream

I want to look around all three for anything odd. I looked around 3, and am now apparently at 1.


bazbt3: @mlv [Inventory] Map Basket Bread Ham Bottle Carrots Toilet paper Coat Can Paper


  1. N: stream enters through hole above, boat here,
  2. E: simply crosses stream, no further passage E,
  3. W: blocked now,
  4. S: Water drains down small round hole…


bazbt3: @mlv … I can see nothing odd about anything in the cavern.


mlv: @bazbt3 I thought I had a candle.

Drag boat out of water and give it the once or twice or thrice over


bazbt3: @mlv The candle’s resting on that st/mite over there, illuminating. ;)) I drag the boat out of the water. It’s a rowing boat, substantial carved rowlocks (oarlocks) though no oars, a flat seat across. No name, sail, flag. It’ll float. Er… that’s about it.


mlv: @bazbt3 Any chance I can break a stalagtite? I’m looking for something just larger than the drain hole to the S.


mlv: @bazbt3 … or maybe something in my inventory that may work to plug the lower hole.


bazbt3: @mlv I look around for something to break a stalactite off. There is a boat here - unfortunately too heavy & unwieldy. From my inventory the most suitable candidate for a hole plug seems to be the can.


mlv: @bazbt3 I knew I grabbed the can for a reason. Try hitting a stalactite with the can. If that doesn’t work, try plugging the hole with the can (I’d prefer a conical stalagtite–it would make a better plug, but a can may work)


bazbt3: @mlv I bash away with the can for a while, to no avail. The centuries building the stalactites ensured parity with modern reinforced concrete - at least in can-resistance. A bit of reshaping later the can’s vaguely round, cylindrical-ish, fits the hole…


bazbt3: @mlv … So I plug the hole with the can. Twisting & pushing gives an fit adequate for purpose, and so the water gurgles away below, starts to fill the cavern floor above. Now what? (This might take a while.)



mlv: @bazbt3 Get in the boat, keeping my distance from the opening above so the boat doesn’t get swamped, and wait for the water to rise enough so I can get to the opening above.


mlv: @bazbt3 Oh! Grab the candle before it goes underwater, and put it in the boat. Drink some more water and have a snack. Look up and wonder if the whole boat will fit in the above opening.


bazbt3: @mlv I get in the boat, centre the load so I can relax, and wait. A cavern is a cavern after all.

(time passes…)


I wonder what there is to amuse myself here now swishing water about has ceased to be amusing.


bazbt3: @mlv Luckily the candle holder was hollow underneath and, though it bobs about as I shift position, it floats nicely alongside the boat - which, incidentally, looks too large to fit the hole above. I drink some water, examine the basket’s snack contents…


bazbt3: @mlv … Basket contents: bread, ham, bottle.


mlv: @bazbt3 Open the bottle and take a snort. What is it?

Also look through the coat. Anything interesting in the pockets?


bazbt3: @mlv I uncork the bottle and sniff. Pears, peaches, goats, the usual. A quick glug and… it attacks my gums, tongue, the back of my throat, and oh my eyes! Mmmm… smooth. Strong too. Some form of alcohol would be my best guess, nothing magical about it…


mlv: @bazbt3 Mmmm…. yum. Definitely save the bottle. Anything in the coat, or on the paper?


bazbt3: @mlv … I recork the bottle and look through the coat pockets, which are empty. (time passes) (more time passes) Halfway between the cavern floor and hole in its roof now, the pace should pick up as the walls taper inwards.


mlv: @bazbt3 The hole is in the roof, not the wall?


bazbt3: @mlv The hole is indeed in the roof, and even if the boat could have fit through you’d have been paddling it upstream without oars. Some good news, the boat’s getting closer to the top now. Some bad, that imperfect seal just let a bubble past the can.


bazbt3: @mlv Also, perhaps a snack is in order? Booze might help as a muscle-relaxant/painkiller, but is best used sparingly… Dunno.


bazbt3: @mlv Oops, my apologies, you also have an apple! minusamillioninternetpointsforme!


mlv: @bazbt3 Not worried about the seal, as long as more water is going in than going out, I’m fine.

While there’s time (and there seems to be plenty of it), get myself ready for climbing out of the hole. I want to keep the boat from getting swamped as long…


mlv: @bazbt3 …as possible. I also want to keep all my inventory safe (is the bread in a plastic bag?) if I have to swim.


bazbt3: @mlv The bread - the kind one rips chunks off - is in a basket. Hope is all I have now.


mlv: @bazbt3 Good news the basket is waterproof and floats.


bazbt3: @mlv A-aaand, you’re there. There’s not much time to get out, the boat’s straddling the hole and some water’s started to enter from above.


mlv: @bazbt3 Okay, grab everything I can (including the candle if possible), and climb through the hole.


hybotics: @bazbt3 “die” is singular, and “dice” is plural. :-)



bazbt3: @hybotics @mlv Yeah :) we did that a few days ago - - I’m assuming that’s the point you’re referring to, this app doesn’t let me see and it’s too early to get my brain cell checking elsewhere. ;}


bazbt3: @mlv I grab everything I can, including the now-snuffed-out candle (i.e. all but the boat & water) & wobble my way out of the boat. Turning to watch the boat submerge the happy sight of the now-crushed can bobbing to the surface delights. I can go N, D.


mlv: @hybotics I thought “douse” was singular. :) @bazbt3


mlv: @bazbt3 N!


bazbt3: @mlv Did you mean “N¡” ;)

(Please hold…)


bazbt3: @mlv I watch the water subside before heading N along a path paralleling the stream - a path eventually swallowed by a deep, dark gully. A black bird alights on a branch & examines me before flying off E. I am at the edge of a dark forest. I can go N, S.


mlv: @bazbt3 Take a moment and inspect my inventory. Toss anything ruined. Also, approx. what time is it? And what direction is the forest?


mlv: @bazbt3 I meant I don’t want to go back down.


bazbt3: @mlv I examine intact inventory: Map: 2-sided Basket: wicker Bread: soft Ham: thick-sliced Bottle: 90% Apple: apple Paper: soft Coat: long, mostly dry Can: !label, bent Paper: blank Candle: unlit

Time: difficult, cloudy. Teatime?

Forest: N, extends E, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 Teatime, with no tea. This IS a sticky wicket (see? I can talk like you guys!).

What’s S besides the stream? And can I see the house from here?


bazbt3: @mlv Besides the stream there is a sheer cliff face visible S along the gully, jutting from the rock immediately after the hole into the cavern. I cannot see the house from here but my gut instinct tells me it’s approximately West. I can go N, S. Tally-ho!


mlv: @bazbt3 N (this better not be a fire swamp!)


bazbt3: @mlv Please describe in great detail* what a ‘Fire Swamp’ is, and how much pain and how many twisty passages you expect to incur/experience therein, thankyouverymuch. ;)))

(Please hold ‘til later, at work.)

*‘Sok, I shall use my imagrification. :)


mlv: @bazbt3 I’ll save you the trouble. A fire swamp is a lovely place with tiki torches and scantily clad ladies offering free drinks with umbrellas.

My character is deathly afraid of umbrellas.

You see? Nothing to do with Princess Bride at all.


bazbt3: @mlv I walk N into the dark, impenetrable off-path, forest. No mere wood this: no bird sound, no rustling of grass, leaves, no animals braying, barking, lowing far-off, not even the stream breaks the… sadness? My heartbeat becomes apparent. I can go N, S.


mlv: @bazbt3 Relieved by the lack of umbrella drinks, I continue N


bazbt3: @mlv The path narrows, thorns more frequent, scratchy, close to tearing clothing, skin… It could be worse. There’s a bag on the path. It’s short, black. From its open end projects a short, shiny, bulbous cylinder. From that a flexible loop… I can go N, S.


mlv: @bazbt3


mlv: @bazbt3 (previous two replies failed, hoping to remember what I wrote): Get bag, inspect contents. Continue N carefully.


bazbt3: @mlv I noticed, was hoping to borrow a quote from 2001: A Space Odyssey about non-compliance, but thought better of it. Ah well, back to…


bazbt3: @mlv I get the bag & examine it. Unsheathing its contents: following down from the (handle?) very flimsy cloth over a spindly metal frame, a shiny button below the, yes, but too-small handle. Not much of a weapon this, it doesn’t seem particularly durable…


bazbt3: @mlv Continuing North I soon arrive, though bloodied and frustrated by my slow progress, at a clearing. A single tree stump, flat across its top, at just the right height for comfort and large-enough to sit on, sits there invitingly. I can go N, S,, etc.


mlv: @bazbt3 Briefly check if the top of the stump opens, then sit and rest. Look more closely at the (weapon?). What happens if I (carefully) push the button?


mlv: @bazbt3 (checking for hidden door in stump, expecting Colonel Hogan and gang in complex tunnel network)


bazbt3: @mlv Walking round the stump I find no hinges. Tapping & kicking shows solidity. I sit. Nothing. No swinging log, coiled spring or evil pixies with pointy sticks… I press the button. The black weapon reveals itself as a hemispherical shield! Flimsy tho’!


mlv: @bazbt3 NOO!!!!

Throw it far away!


mlv: @bazbt3 (I honestly didn’t see that coming! Although I should have)


bazbt3: @mlv (Baz mutters something about Cause & Effect.) Thanks. :) Bonus though: hemispherical shield!


bazbt3: @mlv I throw the hemispherical shield far away! Aerodynamics take over and it drops at my feet, but not before ably demonstrating the aerodynamic properties of a… Suffice it to say Mary Poppins isn’t controlling this thing. I… Don’t know what to do next.


mlv: @bazbt3 Hastily pick it up, fold it up, and throw it into a nearby tree.

Look around, what are my options again?


bazbt3: @mlv I pick the shield up, fold it (carefully, eventually) and throw it into, or at least at, a nearby tree. This simply results in it bouncing off the trunk & landing at my feet. Worse than magic! I look around. I can go N, S, sit, etc.


mlv: @bazbt3 Leave it there and go N


bazbt3: @mlv I head N through trees & thorns. Passage is no easier than before the clearing but I make ‘ok’ progress without the shield. Eventually I reach a 4-way junction, all identically thorny. I pause. The shield loop is around my ankle! I can go N, E, S, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 Look down at the shield thing. Seems I was a bit silly about it. Pick it up and use it to help out. Go W.

((Checked the THREAD to repost my final response and found there wasn’t one! That explains why you didn’t reply))


bazbt3: @mlv I pick up the shield thing and head West. The path soon widens, making the walk almost pleasant. Soon I arrive at a stream. A log has helpfully fallen across it. Though the sky isn’t visible I nevertheless sense night approaching. I can go E, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 Cross the stream W, and continue. Any moon around to light my way?


bazbt3: @mlv I climb into* the log and cross the stream West without incident. The trees remain too dense here to see the sky. I walk for a while more and soon reach the Western forest edge. The path continues W in an odd twilight. I can go E, W.



mlv: @bazbt3 Continue W in the odd twilight.

Didn’t realize the log was hollow.


bazbt3: @mlv Didn’t realise? Tsk! Missed, how many things you have… (sighs)

I continue West, arriving shortly at the rear of a strangely-familiar white house. A window is wide open here. How careless! I can go around the side of the house or through the window.


mlv: @bazbt3 Just says “a log has fallen across it”. Most logs aren’t hollow, let alone large enough for me to climb through.

Go in the window.


bazbt3: @mlv True. I didn’t have enough room for a smiley or to explain my apparent capricious-ness. Sorry. :) Right, back to…


bazbt3: @mlv I go in through the window. It remains a tight squeeze but this time I drop like a cat from window frame to table. Landing, yeah, bad. Quieter. At least the pots, pans, spoons still littering the floor indicate lack of habitation. I can go N, E, S, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 I still have my candle, right?


bazbt3: @mlv Right.


mlv: @bazbt3 Go W


bazbt3: @mlv I go through the open door to the West, into a strangely-familiar hallway. I can go N, E, S, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 Up


bazbt3: @mlv I walk slowly up the stairs in the near-dark. A creaky tread reminds me to walk carefully. The gap between this step and the next means further vertical progress will be challenging. I can go Down the stairs or to the floor below more easily than Up.


mlv: @bazbt3 How do I fall down to where I was last time? Up? Down? Really down?

Get Down Get Funky.


bazbt3: @mlv (Baz drops down the musical rabbit hole, starting with Kool & The Gang, and later continuing with The Sugar Hill Gang, James Brown…)


bazbt3: @mlv Cat-like. :)


mlv: @bazbt3 Go back into the kitchen pantry and grab another oh-so-useful-yet-mysterious can.


bazbt3: @mlv I slowly walk back downstairs, through the hallway, and re-enter the now-dark kitchen. I go N and try to grab another can off the shelf. Unfortunately I am carrying too much to do so. I can go S, back into the kitchen.


mlv: @bazbt3 Okay, what’s in my inventory that I can drop?


bazbt3: @mlv Inventory: Map Basket Bread Ham Bottle Apple Soft paper Coat Can Blank paper Candle I think the hemispherical shield isn’t a candidate. I can go S.


mlv: @bazbt3 Oh? I still have the treasured can. Then I’ll just go S.


bazbt3: @mlv I trudge South into the kitchen. North, the pantry, East, the window remains open, South, a table still set for a meal, West, the door to the hallway. I can go N, E, S, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 Any meal on the table, or just the place setting?


bazbt3: @mlv The table is simply set simply for a meal.


mlv: @bazbt3 Then I will simply sit down and enjoy a simple meal from my simple fare.


bazbt3: @mlv I sit. Ham, bread, an apple & some of the gum-tingling-but-oh-so-smooth nectar hit the spot. It feels good to sit at a table, it’s been a while. But all good things must come to end. It’s night and I don’t recall much sleep. Concussion doesn’t count.


mlv: @bazbt3 Survey the various rooms on this floor for the best place to sleep (even if a quiet corner of the floor).


bazbt3: @mlv Kitchen: dining table is longer than a man is tall. There are a few tablecloths under it. Pantry: cold. Hallway: free of comfortable places to lie, save for the floor. No mats or rugs here. Cloakroom: too small, as is the Cupboard under the stairs.


mlv: @bazbt3 How did I miss this…?


mlv: @bazbt3 Okay, I’ll drink myself under the table, or rather, lie down under the dining table on the tablecloths.


bazbt3: @mlv Life, probably. :)


bazbt3: @mlv Isn’t it a good thing I’m not petty enough to take your first answer? :) I lie down for a bit under the table, on the tablecloths. Sleep is not instantaneous. Though dark, a rectangular mark under the table becomes curiously interesting. Glows a bit.


mlv: @bazbt3 No, I’ve been actively watching for it (I even reposted my previous reply). For some reason, I didn’t see yours until this morning.


mlv: @bazbt3 Stare at the mark for a bit. Move my hand close to it, is it warm? How big is it?

These are questions my sophorific mind ponders, but I’m still sleepy. After moving my hand, and letting it fall again, I drift off to sleep.


bazbt3: @mlv (time passes…)


bazbt3: @mlv Dark. Cold. Bang! Where am I? Under the table. And with a sore head. What’s this? Ah yes. I can’t quite focus on the glowing mark, still waking up. Touching it brings a success of sorts - it flutters down onto my face. Paper, larger than the mark.


mlv: @bazbt3 Look at paper


bazbt3: @mlv I squint at the paper. It seems to be scattered with diagrams of tables in various states of build, with one rather perplexed-looking stick figure per table. Perhaps there is one table? The only readable word is “NoToolzNeeded®”.


mlv: @bazbt3 Okay, toss the paper aside. Is it morning? Am I sufficiently rested? Should I try to go back to sleep?


bazbt3: @mlv I toss the paper aside, promptly go back to sleep. (time passes…) This time I’m mentally prepared for the shock of banging my head on the underside of the table. It helps. Morning. Under the table, in the kitchen. A leg slowly topples to the floor.


mlv: @bazbt3 Can you be more specific? Whose leg? Mine? I thought I was already on the floor. Someone else is on the table?


bazbt3: @mlv A table leg, the shock must have loosened it. Quality craftsmanship! Physics!


mlv: @bazbt3 Way to scare someone! I thought it was a human leg!

Take a moment to calm my shattered nerves, extract myself from my makeshift bed (picking up the tableclothes in the process). Look around. Anything different from last night?


tewha: @mlv “I thought that was a human leg!” is possibly the best out of context ever. / @bazbt3


bazbt3: @mlv Nothing different from last night apart from the now-wonky table, a lonely definitely-nonhuman wooden leg, and a lumpy head. And a label idly cast aside. And it’s getting lighter. Hungry, again? Tsk! So quite a few things then. Ah well. Now what?


mlv: @bazbt3 W, then look around


bazbt3: @mlv I reenter the hallway. In daylight, or at least light, it’s pretty unremarkable. The carvings around the large front door W appear decorative rather than informative. Nothing else has changed: N empty cloakroom, S cupboard & gappy stairs turning E.


mlv: @bazbt3 S. Wasn’t there a loose wall somewhere around there?


bazbt3: @mlv There was a loose panel at the back of the cupboard under (or below the gap in) the stairs.


mlv: @bazbt3 Go back to that loose panel and try to make it looser


bazbt3: @mlv I unlatch the door & crawl into the cupboard. It seems smaller than the last time I dropped in. There’s a glowing rectangular rim around the panel, which will no longer move. It seems the little people weren’t impressed with the intrusion. I can go N.


mlv: @bazbt3 Look for any latches or anything in the panel.


bazbt3: @mlv The panel is smooth, now not-at-all wobbly or jiggly. The little people have done a good job of… Well, whatever their intention is, it’s made their tunnel system secure from outside intrusion attempts. At least for now. Maybe there’s another way in?


mlv: @bazbt3 Look around for another way in


bazbt3: @mlv The panel is sealed as tight as a drum. There are no other fixtures within the cupboard that could be used to get through.


mlv: @bazbt3 Look around outside the cupboard


bazbt3: @mlv I look around outside the cupboard. Aside from the cuoboard, kitchen and stairs there are no exits off the hallway. Scratch the cupboard. (Not literally.) Ive explored the kitchen… so only the stairs remain a viable means of progression.


mlv: @bazbt3 Okay, scratch the cupboard literally.

If nothing happens, start looking at the stairs. I know there’s a gap and last time I was here, I fell into it down to a cave. Where is that gap in relation to the cupboard?


bazbt3: @mlv Whilst not exactly the fingernails-on-blackboard sound, it’s close. I give up scratching, look at the stairs. Last time I dropped into the cupboard my exit was the tunnels. This time, no. Maybe there is something in the house to bridge the stair gap?


mlv: @bazbt3 Go back in the kitchen to see if there’s anything I can use to get a “leg up” on this problem.

Or just grab the table, remove the legs, and bring it back.


bazbt3: @mlv I pull the legs off then manhandle the table out of the kitchen, through the hallway, then drop it at the bottom of the stairs before pondering on my next course of action. Time for a sit down? Naah, the sleep did me good.


mlv: @bazbt3 Go up the stairs and eyeball whether the table will reach across the gap. Also confirm there’s a place at the bottom where I can secure it (do I need the legs?). I’d rather it not be a slide once I’m halfway across it.


bazbt3: @mlv It’ll fit. You’ll need at lease one leg to avoid vertical disappointment.


mlv: @bazbt3 Negociate with the table to just rent a leg and avoid a long term lease contract. :)

(Get leg from kitchen and try to make all this work)


bazbt3: @mlv :) The table leg reattaches easily, seems secure, but who knows given how easy cranium-propelled disassembly was earlier? The stairway beckons invitingly. Or something similar that otherwise-inanimate objects do in gothic novels. Sits and waits.


mlv: @bazbt3 I still have the candle, right? Go up the stairs, over the table.


bazbt3: @mlv A partial inventory includes a candle. I clamber over the table & head up the stairs, which turn East part-way. I am at the end of a carpeted corridor, off which are 2 doors North, 2 doors South and a door at the Eastern end. I am standing on a mat.


mlv: @bazbt3 Open the first door on the north side


bazbt3: @mlv I open the first door North. It’s a bathroom. Washbasin, bath, toilet, radiator, unheated towel rail. Large cistern mounted near the ceiling, chain dangling invitingly. I can go S.


mlv: @bazbt3 Not another bathroom… S, then next N door.


bazbt3: @mlv Bathroom! I exit S, close the door, walk along the corridor & open the next door N. A fireplace, cast iron stove within, dog’s bed in front, a pile of logs, rake & shovel in one corner, bucket in the other. One side a table with a curious contraption.


mlv: @bazbt3 Examine the curious contraption.


duerig: @mlv That could be dangerous!



bazbt3: @duerig No ‘could’ about it. @mlv


bazbt3: @mlv I examine the curious contraption. A large black box, 6 vertical slots in front, each with a shiny, metal, pivoting lever. Front & centre at the base, a small door hinged across its top. At one side, a key slot. An opened envelope lies in front.


mlv: @bazbt3 open envelope and examine.


bazbt3: @mlv I slide a sheet of paper from the envelope. It reads simply: “A bitter text, make Hotter than a summer’s day. See sheet 2, enclosed.”


mlv: @bazbt3 Look for sheet 2.


bazbt3: @mlv There is no other paper in the room, at least as I entered it. Partial inventory: A blank sheet of paper.


mlv: @bazbt3 Take another look at the contraption. Like Ringo Starr, I am, as well, a born lever-puller. So pull one of the levers and see what happens.


bazbt3: @mlv Nothing has changed since the first look. Pulling one of the levers upwards precipitates a bit of clunking inside the box, nothing more.


mlv: @bazbt3 Try pulling other levers, or opening the door.

(Unlike Mr. Starkey, I’ve never been to Lever-pull)


bazbt3: @mlv More unfocused clunking ensues. And occasional clicking. The door is loose about its hinge, merely a flap covering a saucer-shaped receptacle, presumably for something within the box.

(Must be a literary reference, not grasped by this philistine.) :)


mlv: @bazbt3 remove the saucer-shaped receptacle. Is it … a plate? Or maybe a saucer?

Try flipping all the levers.

(In Yellow Submarine, Ringo is told not to pull a lever. His reponse: “Can’t help it. I’m a born lever-puller”. Prob a reference to Liverpool)


bazbt3: @mlv Thanks. Removing the saucer-shaped thing reveals a saucer. Flipping all the levers brings to mind the likelihood that a lengthy treatise on the Cutler Ring’s PR Department (Revolutionary America) could be written by a near-infinite number of monkeys.


mlv: @bazbt3 examine the saucer

flip levers. 1st down, 2nd up, rest alternating.


bazbt3: @mlv The saucer is white, plain on both sides, save for its saucer-shaped-ness. Flipping the levers thus drops a key into the space recently vacated by the saucer.

Damnit! :)


mlv: @bazbt3 Is the contraption small or un-bolted enough to tip over and slide the key out?

Is it on a table? Is the table bolted to the floor? Is the house foundation affixed to bedrock? Is there a house jack available?

(You get the idea)


bazbt3: @mlv I reach inside the saucerless hole and get the key.


mlv: @bazbt3 That sounds easier than the house jack. Try putting key in keyhole on side of contraption.


bazbt3: @mlv The hinged door raps my knuckles on its way shut but I escaped unharmed.


bazbt3: @mlv The key will not fit the keyhole in the side of the contr… box.


mlv: @bazbt3 Okay, replace saucer in slot, and flip all levers (told you I was a born lever-puller). First up, then down, etc.


bazbt3: @mlv Replacing the saucer and inverting the state of each lever achieves nothing much at all. Clunks, clicks, disappointment.

(FYI, you missed steps out from my intended scenario thingy, but got the key anyway.)


mlv: @bazbt3 (I know. Was hoping for another key or something)


mlv: @bazbt3 Okay, retain the key, leave the room, and open the 1st door on the S side.


bazbt3: @mlv (shrugs) ;)


bazbt3: @mlv I keep the key, leave the North 2 room and enter the South 1 room. It is dark inside. Very dark indeed. Even the hallway light doesn’t lift the darkness.


mlv: @bazbt3 Check wall near door for light switch.


bazbt3: @mlv There is no light switch. Instead, a wire mesh basket, with what feels like a a valve handle below, is in place of the light switch.


mlv: @bazbt3 pull out candle and look around


bazbt3: @mlv Pulling out the candle doesn’t really help much. Maybe if it was lit?


mlv: @bazbt3 sigh… light candle


bazbt3: @mlv Ah. If only there was a fire or firestarter & kindling here. :( It remains dark in this room. Tnere may be alternative light sources.


mlv: @bazbt3 any window?


bazbt3: @mlv Feeling about a bit, I find heavy cloth draped from above. Pulling horizontally, a window behind! Bright! Blink for a bit.


mlv: @bazbt3 Enough blinking. Look around!


bazbt3: @mlv The room itself is empty of furniture. What’s more interesting is the view outward - a broad, straight trench below, cutting through the countryside right to the horizon. The remarkable thing is the amount of steam billowing up from this end of it.


mlv: @bazbt3 Anything I can see in the bottom of the trench? Just dirt? Water? ?


bazbt3: @mlv Something shiny, two shiny things, parallel with each other, run along the bottom of the trench. Scale? Impossible to establish it’s so unfamiliar.


mlv: @bazbt3 So unfamiliar for a python programmer who won’t go anywhere near anything to do with ruby?

Okay, go look at south 2.


bazbt3: @mlv Yes. Watch out for mythical beasts along the way.

I exit South room 1 & enter South room 2. Plaster piled up under rotten ceilings, buckets positioned under dripping water, years’-layers of wallpaper hanging off the outer walls - not a pretty sight.


bazbt3: @mlv By the way, did you get the significance of the lever positions?


mlv: @bazbt3 (that’s a reference to the “Ruby on rails” platform (I avoid ruby like a medusa (speaking of mythical beasts)). And no, aside from the switches being in a binary ‘21’ pattern, I don’t know.

Any windows to look out of?


bazbt3: @mlv I got the reference :) though my only involvement in Ruby so far was trying to install all the stuff to get Ayadn_shell to run in Ubuntu.

The clever* bit here is the binary pattern is reversed - a more meaningful number.

Window: same view.



mlv: @bazbt3 Wait. The view is EXACTLY the same? No slight change from being a few feet to the left?

If it really is just slightly different, I go back to the hallway. Any more doors E?


bazbt3: @mlv To gain extra points why not try a persistence of vision/stereoscopic/parralax test and run very, very quickly indeed from window to window? ;)

The hallway: 2 doors North, 2 South, one remaining East, unexplored.


bazbt3: @mlv Crap! Bloody BLOODY BLOODY PARALLAX! How the hell…


Parallax¹°° times.


mlv: @bazbt3 Hey, rrellax…


mlv: @bazbt3 I just move from side to side briefly, and presume (unless things are really weird) that the physical world is, in fact, mostly normal.

Go explore the E door.


bazbt3: @mlv The East door creaks open to reveal… A train set. Elaborate, many levels, realistic scenery, but still a train set. A uniform hangs over a chair in one corner and a door marked ‘Station Master’ hangs listlessly in a South corner. I can go S, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 Awesome! Take a minute to study it. Notably, are there any buildings, and do they bear any resemblance to the current building I’m in?


bazbt3: @mlv There are indeed: buildings, a river valley, woodland, and an interesting sign on the eastern wall where the scenery ends: “Here be dragons!”

A couple of locomotives stand idly by. Little human, non- and in-human figures awkwardly dot the landscape.


bazbt3: @mlv …The closest building resembling this current one sits alone at the southern edge of the ‘map’.


mlv: @bazbt3 Focus on that one. There tracks under it? And where do they go (when they’re not going under it)?


bazbt3: @mlv There are indeed tracks going under it, which look to be going against or through the wall.


mlv: @bazbt3 Interesting! Where do those tracks go in the other direction?


bazbt3: @mlv The shiny, parallel tracks lead North towards a large house at a crossroads, and enter a tunnel both there and close to this house.


mlv: @bazbt3 I’m looking at tracks from a south facing window. So, heading south, they just go into a tunnel?


bazbt3: @mlv Not quite. In the model they stop at the wall, in real liff* they emerge from the tunnel by the house then run along a cutting through the southern countryside.

*‘The Meaning of Liff.’


mlv: @bazbt3 (I love Meaning of Liff. Favorite: Gafney (being stupid for comedic effect) and Vancouver (street cleaning vehicle))

So I can guess the track goes under this building and continues north?

Go through the station manager door.


bazbt3: @mlv It does on the model. I walk South through the door. It’s as-if I’m transported back to the past. Or the future‽ A rural railway station, complete with hanging pot plants, whitewashed rocks, a large clock… And a steam locomotive ahead of 4 coaches.


bazbt3: @mlv “Glossop”* is my favourite. :)

*One of the first Google hits mis-spells ‘rogue’ in its description (possibly in expertly stolen, er… OCR-ed or transcribed from the book?), and this pains me. :(


mlv: @bazbt3 I need to put this on hold. Taking a break from things social for a little while. This is a good temporary stopping point anyway.


bazbt3: @mlv Fair enough Michael.* Thanks for letting me know, and for giving me the opportunity to exercise my grey matter. I’ve enjoyed the journey. :) Take care.

*I like your use of the word ‘temporary.’


mrshaiku: @bazbt3 @mlv Admirable effort from both of you!


bazbt3: @mrshaiku @mlv Scrolling the thread alone takes stamina! ;)


mlv: @bazbt3 Actually, “rough”…


mlv: @bazbt3 First thing I do is look back through the door. Does it still look the same, or ?


bazbt3: @mlv (ahem) :)


bazbt3: @mlv There is no door here.


mlv: @bazbt3 Right. It should be “rough”


mlv: @bazbt3 Wait, what? It was right there?


mlv: @bazbt3 I see that my Invergowrie looks out of place here so I take it off, turn it inside out, and put it back on. Much better.


mlv: @bazbt3 Look around some, what time is on the clock? Is it working? What’s the locomotive doing? Anyone in the coaches?


bazbt3: @mlv ‘Rogue’ implying it has no right to be there. As an occasional vegetarian/pescetarian my view resonates nicely; lumps of stuff once an integral part of an animal which don’t fit my demands are ruthlessly removed with the rest of the meat. /finicky


mlv: @bazbt3 Got it. (By the way, my character is walking around a train station, looking slightly different, if you didn’t notice)


bazbt3: @mlv The door may or not have been “right there”. Who knows? What matters is what you see now.

Er… though I may need some time to catch up with your imagination. :)


bazbt3: @mlv What’s an Invergowrie, apart from a Scottish place?


mlv: @bazbt3 A liff I coined. An reversible jacket. Also, the nearest train station to Liff. :)


bazbt3: @mlv I should have guessed. It appears my imagination must be kick-started, jump-started, or have the big electrodes applied. :/

Incidentally, I’m eschewing the use of Google, all search engines for a bit, otherwise I could have looked it up. :)


mlv: @bazbt3 You had mentioned at one point, “The real Liff”, which got me wondering if the train station was modeled after one near Liff. Turns out Invergowrie is just an unmanned rail halt and the real station is in Dundee. But Invergowrie is easier to liff.


bazbt3: @mlv /thinking :)


bazbt3: @mlv A cloudless day, the clock chimes ‘around teatime.’ A locomotive, W, sits on N-S tracks, seemingly waiting only for a sense of direction. The coaches behind seem, at least from outside, to be empty. E, a featureless wall, save for travel posters.


bazbt3: @mlv … Across the tracks, views broken by locomotive & carriages, a whitewashed building - possibly a stationmaster’s cottage.


mlv: @bazbt3 W. Explore the locomotive and coaches


bazbt3: @mlv I go W, clamber up into the trailing coach and walk through to the front. Tatty seats, clean but obviously old. No tables, no observation car. Basic. The locomotive is mostly black; shiny where controls are used, dusty & greasy elsewhere. It’s hot.


mlv: @bazbt3 Check the fire in the locomotive (you did mention it’s a steam locomotive). Is it lit?


bazbt3: @mlv I grab a handful of rags and open the door at the centre-bottom of the bulkhead. There is indeed a fire. It is lit; very, very hot indeed, so I close the door quickly before toasting things that shouldn’t be.


mlv: @bazbt3 (SOOO tempted to take it out for a joy-ride)

Saner heads prevail. Get out and go S on the tracks.


mlv: @bazbt3 Stop. Look back at the locomotive….

Oh why not. Go back to the locomotive, climb in, and check the water level. If it looks good, fire it up and drive it.


bazbt3: @mlv I sensibly avoid walking along the tracks and instead climb into the locomotive. There is indeed water, and fire and coal and some gauges and some levers and some levers and some levers. Quite a few levers actually. And dials. (The dials will keep.)


bazbt3: @mlv … Most of the levers are tagged, labelled in much the same way as children evacuated from major English cities during periods in which bombing was expected.


mlv: @bazbt3 So you’re saying the levers will take me into the English countryside where I’ll live in a huge manor and discover a wardrobe that takes me to another world?

Sounds good to me. Pull that lever and let’s go!


bazbt3: @mlv I pull that lever. The locomotive makes a whooshing noise & shudders a little. Well, rolls a moment, settles. That lever’s tag reads ‘Brake’.


mlv: @bazbt3 Okay, what are some other levers?

(If you prefer, rather than documenting all the levers necessary for operation of a steam locomotive, just pretend there’s one marked “GO”)

I pull the “GO” lever.


bazbt3: @mlv :) Thankyou sir - you would have very rapidly exposed my relative ignorance of steam locomotive cabs & controls!


bazbt3: @mlv I pull the lever tagged ‘GO’. The machine lurches violently, the terrible screeching noise from the rails as traction is established and the train begins to move is painful. Easing the lever a fraction back towards its origin stabilises things nicely.


mlv: @bazbt3 Ease off on the cylinder cocks, and move the Johnson bar back towards vertical.

Oh, and blow the whistle!

(sorry, pretend I just said, “keep going”)


bazbt3: @mlv I ease off on the cylinder cocks and move the Johnson bar back towards vertical. Forward progress is unimpeded, slows none.

Whistle, whistle…? Ah, there it is! Toot-toot!

Actually, the speed increases appreciably.


mlv: @bazbt3 Keep an eye peeled for speed limit signs, and ease back on the speed if I go too fast.


bazbt3: @mlv The narrowness between bushes, trees, rock cuttings either side of the single line & the speed at which it’s going doesn’t give much opportunity to spot signs as the train behind begins to sway. I attempt to regulate speed, with some success. Phew!


bazbt3: @mlv … And then the train begins to slow. The shimmying could conceivably have been the track’s poor state of repair. Or approaching an uphill gradient. Anyway, order is restored.


mlv: @bazbt3 Continue on, doing double duty, both as fireman and engineer (check the fire to make sure it’s not too hot). This is coal-fired, right?


bazbt3: @mlv I grab rags, open the firebox door, check the fire. It seems quite hot, though without a suitable yardstick I’m guessing. The train continues to slow as the gradient steepens. A large house appears in the distance, overshadowing a group of cottages.


bazbt3: @mlv … The train begins to sway again despite the reduction in speed and an apparent levelling of the terrain. A warning sign at the side of the track simply states ‘Bridge Unstable 5.’

“What an odd name for a settlement,” I think.


mlv: @bazbt3 No I don’t. Apply the brake!! Slow it down to a speed of 5.


bazbt3: @mlv :) Sorry, couldn’t resist. Must be an English thing.

I gently apply the brake until the speed seems to drop below 5mph. The train approaches the bridge in a sedate manner, no longer in danger of…

… Please now roll a 2d6. ;)


mlv: @bazbt3 I created a PM channel for the three of us, you, me, and @eliza_bot. She replied:

Rolled 5+1 = 6 for “roll 2d6”


bazbt3: @mlv Thanks, gottit. Here’s something I prepared earlier, a text file:

Hopefully you’ll understand why this way. :)


mlv: @bazbt3 Uh oh… so you’re saying my roll of:

5+1 = 6 for “roll 2d6”

means: no troll, but bridge fails?

I suppose if there was a troll and the bridge fails, there’s probably a chance it’ll crush him, but that’s a moot point anyway at the moment.


mlv: @bazbt3 And for those playing along at home, your link said:

Rail bridge roll

d1: <4 = Troll d1: >3 = no Troll

d2: <4 = bridge fails d2: >3 = bridge allows passage

Meaning, if I rolled 3.5 on d1, we’d get Schrödinger’s Tröll?


bazbt3: @mlv Apologies for the complication, not sure how else to do it and avoid being labelled capricious. :) My inability to comment on the Dropbox thing notwithstanding, I’ll be getting back to you later - after daughter 1’s* school play.

*It is 1.


mlv: @bazbt3 Hope she breaks a leg!


bazbt3: @mlv Thanks! I’ll let her* know.

*I’m in 2 minds - her autism will find a way to make it happen if I do, but I’m nonetheless sure she’d appreciate the thespian’s comment. ;)


bazbt3: @mlv Back now, she did fine. A bit stagestuck again. :)


mlv: @bazbt3 #KermitFlail YAAY!


bazbt3: @mlv Observing the posted speed limit I allow the train to start over the bridge. From the vantage point up front it goes well, at least until the bridge structure under the last coach suddenly gives way! Dangling above a gorge is not what trains do well…


bazbt3: @mlv …A terrible metallic screeching, wheels scrabbling to achieve traction, all to no avail. An impasse is reached; not sliding backwards nor advancing towards safety. (Could have been worse - there’s no Troll asking for a riddle to be solved!)

Now what‽


mlv: @bazbt3 I think I would have preferred a troll.

Attempt to climb back and release some of the rear cars (something after the tender).


bazbt3: @mlv There is unfortunately no tender. I climb down, walk back to attempt to release the easiest link between the coaches. Should be as simple as pulling a chained pin from a hole. No fancy concertina walkways here. Might need something heavy, to bash.


mlv: @bazbt3 No tender? That makes me a bored (and soon to be unemployed) fireman. Of course the whole “crashing the train” thing makes me an unemployable engineer as well.

Is there a shovel? For shoveling coal?


bazbt3: @mlv There is a shovel for shovelling coal, and a somewhat limited supply of coal. And water. And levers and gauges. No tender does indeed limit this part of the journey.

Meanwhile, screeching, grinding, teetering…


mlv: @bazbt3 Grab the shovel and try to bang on the pin.


bazbt3: @mlv Banging, bashing, levering the pin out of its linkage takes time; the train shimmies, vibrates, lurches this way & that… The rearmost coaches soon slide relatively silently into the void whilst the locomotive starts to inch away, slowly at first.


mlv: @bazbt3 Great! Get back in the locomotive and ride away.


bazbt3: @mlv A mad scramble for the engine before it can accelerate away to 5mph succeeds. Bashing merry heck out of a lump of near-intransigent steel had taken its toll. North it is! The vaguely familiar large house draws nearer. Er… the loco draws closer to…


mlv: @bazbt3 House is familiar? Do I recognize it? And do the tracks pass near the house, or ?


bazbt3: @mlv The tracks appear to pass right by the house. I seem to recall a brief encounter in an inn in* which its regulars mentioned my theft of a horse from the house’s owners. The train is drawing near to the house. Do I stop at its, er… platform?



mlv: @bazbt3 Nope, nope, nopers. Just keep going. If I’m passed the bridge, increase the speed.


bazbt3: @mlv Well-past the danger by this point, I advance the regulator in an attempt to both increase the speed and by-pass the large house. And yet the speed still drops.

A black sign with white lettering looms loomly: “Capriciousness 1/4”.

Please roll a 1d6.


mlv: @bazbt3 Okay, as you no doubt saw:

Rolled 6 = 6 for “roll 1d6”

How’s the steam? Check out all the systems and make sure everything’s good.


bazbt3: @mlv Thanks! A 6 keeps the train rolling past the large house at a decent pace. The speed does fall after as the track curves East, but… safe. A sign “Tunnels 1”. The steam pressure gauge is below green, water level looks ok; you have a shovel.


mlv: @bazbt3 Check the fire, stoke it, and add more coal (what there is of it). Not too much – want it to last.


bazbt3: @mlv I retard the regulator, open the firebox door, rake the grate, shovel in some of the remaining coal, close the door, watch for rising steam pressure. It does so I increase speed again. May be worth lighting the lamp at this point, the tunnel is close.


mlv: @bazbt3 light lamp


bazbt3: @mlv I light the lamp. It is lit. We (the train and I) enter the tunnel. It’s dark out there, noisy in here. And hot, smoky, sooty, but mainly hot. Without knowing how long the tunnel is, and having nothing better to do while we chug along… Now what? :)


mlv: @bazbt3 Try to look forward… no light at the end?

Tend (pun intended) to things. Make sure the fire isn’t too hot (want to save fuel).

And wait.


bazbt3: @mlv Hah! :) I look forward to… but there’s no light at the end of the tunnel yet. The fire is fine, there’s no discernible change in speed, no labouring either; we’ve achieved a nice equilibrium. (time passes) I forget, have I tooted the whistle recently?


mlv: @bazbt3 I don’t recall tooting the whistle at all.

Nor do I intend to.


bazbt3: @mlv I recall blowing the whistle, definitely. Yup. Youthful exuberance. :)


mlv: @bazbt3 You’re going to make me go back in that history, aren’t you?

Stealing a locomotive is not something you tend to advertise to everyone within earshot.


mlv: @bazbt3 Okay, you’re right.


mlv: @bazbt3 Regardless, after seeing that large house, the whistle stays quiet.


bazbt3: @mlv Borrowing, sheesh! ;))


bazbt3: @mlv No, not going to make you look back through history. That said, I find it difficult to with Android Dash app (has only user & hashtag search) so be my guest. :)


matigo: @bazbt3 I’ve been thinking about making a custom viewer just for this world-building thread …

// @mlv


bazbt3: @mlv Ah, you blew, I tooted. I was close. :)


bazbt3: @matigo @mlv Interesting Jason. What would it look like for a casual observer? A Treeview/mind map hybrid?


bazbt3: @matigo @mlv Tadaa! ;)


mlv: @bazbt3 Higher res, please? @matigo


mlv: @matigo Cauldron does a passable job, although it does take time to load. @bazbt3


bazbt3: @mlv PDF is the only format in which it’s readable throughout:



mlv: @bazbt3 That’s awesome! Thanks!! @matigo


bazbt3: @mlv Thanks. There’s pretty much nothing in there that you don’t already know - the future is not yet mapped. There is a very good reason for that. ;) @matigo


bazbt3: @mlv We chug onward through the tunnel. Its end must be coming up soon?

(time passes…)

I look ahead, just in time to see a pinprick point of light! Great! Soon we exit the tunnel! Daylight! The ability to breathe! A tree branch slap in the face… Hmmm…


mlv: @bazbt3 just a reality check, I’m still in the cab, right?


bazbt3: @mlv :) Still in the cab, though a wipe of the slapped cheek with an oily rag probably wouldn’t go amiss. Otherwise uninjured.


mlv: @bazbt3 Okay, take stock. I’m going through a forest. I get that… How’s the fuel supply? How far can I take this iron beast?


bazbt3: @mlv Good question. Fuel: looks like there’s enough for a longer distance than a man can walk in a day. Without a map a lack of knowledge of the terrain ahead likely means shedding all unnecessary items from the train. Like, perhaps, the remaining coaches?


bazbt3: @mlv (If a supplementary or alternative fuel source becomes available then maybe 2 men, in a kind-of relay walk.)


mlv: @bazbt3 Okay, stop the engine, decouple the coaches, and start it up again.


bazbt3: @mlv I slow the train to a stop then use the shovel to bash away at the link pin between lead coach and loco. Freedom! The loco starts to inch away, so I jump aboard, scratched by the inevitable thorny bushes, and we chug off East through the dense forest…


mlv: @bazbt3 E


bazbt3: @mlv We continue chugging East, and, after the monotony of trees and thorny bushes, cross a stream and almost immediately, but only briefly, glimpse a forest path crossing the track, then more chugging along between trees and thorny bushes. (time passes…)


bazbt3: @mlv (It seems to be getting colder as we progress Eastwards.)


mlv: @bazbt3 Good thing I’m in a nice warm cab.


bazbt3: @mlv Aye. We continue past dense trees & thorny bushes for a while longer, then… The edge of the forest! And a cutting through rock. Not exactly a panoramic vista; maybe that’ll be round then bend ahead…

Ah, no. A sign “Coggy Halt 2”, amid stunted trees.


bazbt3: @mlv (time passes…) Then, another sign: “Coggy Halt 1-1/2 - Slow.”

Not sure we have to worry about that at this speed.

(a bit more time expires)

“Coggy Halt 1 - Slow.”

Now what?


mlv: @bazbt3 Stop


bazbt3: @mlv I fiddle with levers and, after clicketty-clacking over what feels like 3-way points, manage to bring the loco to a smooth halt just before the buffers. Other than tracks there’s nothing else here though, apart from a siding South & odd track North.


jextxadore: @bazbt3 I love fiddling with levers, but knobs are so much more responsive to my touch. Above all, I like buttons.

// @mlv


bazbt3: @jextxadore Hah! @mlv


mlv: @bazbt3 Where does the odd track N go? Can I take the locomotive on it?

If not, I “park” the locomotive on the S siding, and walk north.


bazbt3: @mlv The track goes North towards, now I’ve had a chance to look around, the sodding great mountain looming over everything. The locomotive may indeed wish to go North; now unfettered by a train it seems eager to. The track does look a bit steep though!


mlv: @bazbt3 N!


bazbt3: @mlv We reverse away from the buffers, click-clack across the points, stop. To cut a long story short I shift the points to divert the track North. Back in the cab, North we go. Easy at first, the incline gradually steepens until ascent becomes laboured…


bazbt3: @mlv … At which point we come to a shuddering, mechanical-sounding, halt!


mlv: @bazbt3 Using my obviously superior engineering skills, I try to get the engine moving again.


bazbt3: @mlv The gauges don’t indicate problems and looking outside the loco the wheels remain intact. The gradient of the track alone shouldn’t have caused such a sudden impact; might be something related though, it did get very steep very suddenly. Any ideas?


mlv: @bazbt3 Get out and look around.


bazbt3: @mlv I climb down from the loco and look around. A panoramic view extends from the East to the West, with flanks of a snowcapped mountain to the North. A large & forbidding forest to the southwest, around the south and west of which are houses, cottages…


bazbt3: @mlv Looking upslope the trees thin out with altitude & closeness to snow…


The loco itself seems oddly slanted downwards towards its front, but not out of place here on the mountainside. There are 3 rails, the centremost unlike those flanking it.


mlv: @bazbt3 Anything blocking the engine? Any idea why it won’t move?


bazbt3: @mlv The loco is blocked by a failed meshing between the rack (toothed gear) on the middle track & the pinion wheel under the cab. We have ourselves a cog railway!* Is there a tagged control in cab? :)



mlv: @bazbt3 Oh, a cog railway. Okay. Go back in the cab and look for the tagged control.


bazbt3: @mlv I climb back up into the cab, look around for the cog rail engagement lever. I reason that, as there’s likely no synchromesh, it’ll need a bit of dead-slow forward motion, jiggling, cajoling and luck to set off up the mountain.

*Total guesswork! ;)


mlv: @bazbt3 I do some dead-slow forward, jiggling, and cajoling.


bazbt3: @mlv … A-aaand the cog engages in the rack, and we’re off! Not sure what the maximum speed of this is. Probably ‘downhill’. A sign: “Halfway House 3 - Slow”. Time for a rest? Time for lunch? Actually, I’ve quite lost track of time here. What time is it‽


mlv: @bazbt3 Sure, why not. Keep the cog engaged, of course, but stop the engine.

You mentioned at one point it was “tea” time. Since I drink tea in the morning I’d say it’s about time for lunch.


bazbt3: @mlv Lunchtime it is! What have we got?


mlv: @bazbt3 A sign. Is the Halfway House here as well, or just the sign?


bazbt3: @mlv Nice view here. Yes, just the sign. The house itself is likely to be round the mountain - which is a bit steep, hence the track disappearing around…

Are we there yet?


mlv: @bazbt3 I stopped because I thought we were there. My mistake. Continue on.

Are we there yet?


bazbt3: @mlv Not quite there yet. Round the next bend! We continue, past rocks & trees & rocks & trees & nice views, until “Halfway House”, a strangely-familiar building, comes into view. Perhaps they’re built to a pattern? Anyway, here we are. Stopping for a bit?


mlv: @bazbt3 Oh, that’s the guy in the bathroom with the dog’s house?

I think I’ll keep going…


bazbt3: @mlv Nope, not that one, I think. We must be way East of there. No too late to change your mind… ?


mlv: @bazbt3 Okay, I’ll stop.


bazbt3: @mlv I stop and admire the view for a bit. Must be time to look the loco over though? (Polite euphemism.)


mlv: @bazbt3 Give the loco a once-over. I wonder if this place has any coal or water…

Give the house a once-over, too.


bazbt3: @mlv There is indeed coal, conveniently piled in a bunker, and water in a reservoir with a convenient hose at the end of a swing arm - both conveniently located at the near end of the platform. The 2-storey house has a large front door & darkened windows.


bazbt3: @mlv … There is also a mailbox here.


mlv: @bazbt3 First take a listen – any noises? Anyone stirring? A mouse preparing a bouillabaisse?


mlv: @bazbt3 … then restock the engine and open the mailbox.


bazbt3: @mlv I walk across then listen for a while outside the front door. Save for the rustling of leaves in the breeze all is quiet. Mouse? Where? Clogs?


mlv: @bazbt3 Just wanted to see if anything was stirring…


bazbt3: @mlv I shovel coal into the car’s hopper - quite a workout that - and pour water into the reservoir behind the cab. I then dust myself down amd open the mailbox.


bazbt3: @mlv Nothing stirring. Maybe, though the local climate is in no way tending towards temperatures influencing the adoption of weekday siestas, it’s nap time? Dunno. Worth a look inside the house?


mlv: @bazbt3 Wait, anything in the mailbox?

If not, then yeah, look inside.


bazbt3: @mlv There is indeed something in the mailbox. It’s flat and rectangular.


mlv: @bazbt3 Remove it, and examine. If it’s an envelope.


bazbt3: @mlv It is. I remove the envelope from the mailbox and examine it. White, small, thin, franked stamp.

Front: “Mr Ergo Maerts, Halfway House, Mountain View”

Back: “Prf. Brnstwm. Bespoke Inventions, The Woodshed, Stream End”


mlv: @bazbt3 Check the other side, considering the name…

If it’s boring, then go back to the engine and steam it open.


bazbt3: @mlv I carefully steam the envelope open. Inside, a single sheet of paper: “Dear Mr Maerts, Thankyou again for your very kind order for a Mechanical Contraption VI, and indeed for collecting it so quickly. As payment remains overdue I regret that I must


mlv: @bazbt3 That it?


bazbt3: @mlv visit you to reclaim, by fair means or foul, what is owed to me. Your obedient servant, P. Br.

p.s. Noon tomorrow.”

So, the householder can expect a debt collection visit.

That’s it. What time is it?


mlv: @bazbt3 Tea time!* Late afternoon, right?

Carefully return the envelope to the mailbox, and hit the rails. I’m outtahere!

*I hearby define Tea time as “whatever time makes things safest for me”


bazbt3: @mlv I return note to envelope, envelope to mailbox, and hit a rail. It’s very, very hard & hurts my hand! Ow! Nursing what’s sure to bruise later I return to the loco’s cab, gingerly release the brake & gingerly start the loco back on its journey uphill.


mlv: @bazbt3 You related to my daughter?

Tend the engine, wondering what will come next.


bazbt3: @mlv I could have hit both rails but that’d be silly. :) I check the gauges, shovel more coal into the firebox, check that water is flowing into the boiler to make steam (!!), then try to peer around the mountain. (time passes…) Approaching the snowline.


mlv: @bazbt3 …


bazbt3: @mlv A sign: “Three-Quarter-Way House 3/4 - Slow”. We chug onwards for a bit… And there it is. Looks like Christmas here! Holly, ivy, wreaths, a reindeer… And lights spelling out “Welcome!” Will we be stopping to check this place out?


mlv: @bazbt3 Yes, indeed.


bazbt3: @mlv We stop to check the 3/4-way place out. Looks friendly though there’s no-one providing a welcome. Large log cabin, white smoke from the chimney, has tracks facing windows, door midway across the front. The door doesn’t appear to have a lock. A stream.


bazbt3: @mlv There is a mailbox here.


mlv: @bazbt3 Oh, how you taunt me so with such devices. That really shouldn’t be that unusual – how many houses DON’T have mailboxes?

But…. it’s so ICONIC!

Oh, okay. Even though it’s a federal offense, take a peek in the mailbox.


bazbt3: @mlv It’s empty.


mlv: @bazbt3 Go up to the front door and listen.


bazbt3: @mlv I go up to the front door and listen. Music, a little like a musical box in reedy tinniness. Pleasant. And, from behind and at the bottom of the door, a polite snuffling.


mlv: @bazbt3 behind? Behind me? Look around.


bazbt3: @mlv The snuffling comes from ahead, behind the door. I look around for a moment, mainly to gather my thoughts, and spy a face at the window; fleeting, but definitely there. A quick scratching from low down on the door then more polite snuffling.


mlv: @bazbt3 Knock on the door


bazbt3: @mlv I knock on the door. A single “woof!”, more scratching and sniffing. And, again, a face at the window. Shiny eyes, grinning mouth, floppy ears, furry. Probably not the homeowner. Then, back to snuffling.


mlv: @bazbt3 Wait for a more sentient response before opening.


bazbt3: @mlv I sit on the step and wait for someone to come.


mlv: @bazbt3 Wait a minute, then open the door (taking care to keep the dog from escaping)


bazbt3: @mlv I wait a little longer than a minute, then open the door carefully to stop the dog escap… It shoots around my legs and tries to mount me from behind. A friendly pup! Then it settles & says hello; lots of licks, nuzzles. A smell of woodsmoke wafts out.


mlv: @bazbt3 Enter the room, ensuring the dog stays inside, closing the door.

Look around.


bazbt3: @mlv We go into the cabin, I close the door then look around. N: open arch into a room with bed & wardrobe. This room: fireplace, stove, table on a hide rug, cupboard, wooden chest, 2 chairs, dog’s bed & bowl. Spartan; no pictures or decoration. Smoky too.


mlv: @bazbt3 What’s the state of it? Is it clean? Dog bowl full? Does the dog have water? Any clues as to how long ago someone was here (obviously the fire is lit, yes?)


bazbt3: @mlv The fire is indeed lit,not exactly roaring, but still warming. The room is clean, tidy. The bowl has only water - perhaps there’s another, food, bowl (or the dog finds its own?) The tabletop is clear - like every other surface aside from the floor..


mlv: @bazbt3 Look around for another bowl. Also look at the bedroom. So the place is just two rooms?


bazbt3: @mlv There is a bowl along with the cutlery, knives, plates, pots, pans, cooking bowls, etc., in one of the cupboards. I look over at the bedroom. The bed and wardrobe remain in it. No pictures or evidence of comfort or of abstinence. Just plain, tidy.


mlv: @bazbt3 No food (either human or dog)?


bazbt3: @mlv Dog & human food?Could be in the other cupboard, the chest, or outside. Perhaps in times of desperation the dog could gnaw on the hide rug? Actually, it does look a bit grotty… Shoe leather’s good in desperate winters - it’s been in the movies! ;)


mlv: @bazbt3 Look in the other cupboard and the chest. Carefully. Don’t want to look like I’m ransacking the place.


bazbt3: @mlv In the other, larger cupboard: Food; food in bottles, jars, packets. Drink; drinks in bottles, jars, packets. Not exactly overflowing but a satisfying quantity. I take nothing out, keep disturbances to a minimum. The unlocked chest appears empty.


bazbt3: @mlv …The dog wags its tail hopefully.


mlv: @bazbt3 Check the larger cupboard for some dog food


bazbt3: @mlv There is something that looks like dog food. Not wishing to question the dietary tastes of the cabin owner I show the dog the jar. It seems to be familiar with the thing, the tail wagging migrates further forward.


mlv: @bazbt3 Dump some of the contents out into the dog bowl and offer it.


bazbt3: @mlv The dog doesn’t exactly bite your hand off, but the food disappears very quickly indeed… The bowl touches the floor, the dog spins around in its bed, lies down, curls in on itself, snuffles, twitches.


mlv: @bazbt3 Sit back and relax a bit, maybe eat some food if I’m hungry.


bazbt3: @mlv I sit at the table, eat the last of the ham & bread, follow it up with the apple, & take another swig from the bottle. And then, as the bottle’s relaxing contents take the aches from shovelling water and pouring coal, I sit back for a bit. Cosy here.


jextxadore: @bazbt3 Sounds perfect…

// @mlv


bazbt3: @jextxadore Almost. There’s always something ‘unexpected’ just around the ‘corner’ that Michael is very adept at avoiding. :) @mlv


bazbt3: @jextxadore Of course I don’t know which post in the thread you’re referring to. ;) @mlv


jextxadore: @bazbt3 The post about drinking from the bottle and eating ham :D

// @mlv


bazbt3: @jextxadore :) @mlv There’s nothing better than a hot ham sandwich, thickly sliced with crispy fat, placed lovingly between also-thick slices of squishy, crusty bread dripping with butter, smear of mustard. And a bottle of (Baz uses imagination for a bit…)


mlv: @bazbt3 aahh….

Stoke the fire. Going to get cold soon.


bazbt3: @mlv I add a log to the fire, rake the grate; best prepare for nightfall even though the temptation to sleep is strong. Good stuff, whatever was in that bottle. Speaking of dark, there doesn’t seem to be a lamp or lantern here… The fire’s fine indoors.


mlv: @bazbt3 Any other lamps that could be lit? Any electricity?


bazbt3: @mlv No electricity up here. There’s nothing that can be lit as a lamp inside the cabin, but maybe outside?


mlv: @bazbt3 Go look outside


bazbt3: @mlv I walk out of the front door, the dog, fed, wisely stays inside. W is the loco. N, the track disappears into the gloom. S, the track disappears into the gloom and a path winds around the side of the cabin. With the door shut, it’s a bit dark here now.


mlv: @bazbt3 Any lamp outside that I can use inside?

If not, then go back inside, find a comfy chair, and sleep the night.


bazbt3: @mlv I walk around the South side of the cabin, looking for a lamp. On the back wall, just at the SW corner there it is, a lamp! I lift it, sloshing, from the hook. Oil? Genie? Naah, probably not… I should probably find something to light it.

Chilly out.


mlv: @bazbt3 Bring it inside. Look for any portable flamable device (match, stick, thin ember from fire), and light it.


mlv: @bazbt3 Did you see my reply where I brought the lamp in?


bazbt3: @mlv I did Michael. Weird evening yesterday after I brought the tree home, then work, and this evening was relatives until a few minutes ago. Normal service resumes very shortly.


bazbt3: @mlv I take the lamp inside, give it a quick rub to satisfy an old itch…

Nope. :/

I look around for something to light it. Selecting from the kindling at one side of the fire I fiddle with the plunger to prime the wick and apply a burning twig.



mlv: @bazbt3 double-check the flu, making sure it’s doing it’s flu-y things (been years since I lived in a place with a fireplace). I don’t want to suffocate (it was smoky when I first walked in). Have another swig of the bottle, and just sit back and relax.


bazbt3: @mlv It remains smoky, the flue isn’t accessible with a fire in the grate; well, not unless there’s a flame-retardent suit in the wardrobe or chest! For the short-term, sitting, finishing off what’s left of the amber nectar works nicely to relax me. Mmmm…


mlv: @bazbt3 Is there a comfortable place to spend the night in the living room (where the fire keeps it nice and warm)? Or should I retire to the bedroom?


bazbt3: @mlv Looking around, the only comfy place to sleep appears to be the hide rug under the table. Maybe with some bedclothes over a potential sleeper it’ll be toasty? The dog seems happy enough, curled up in its bed just the right distance from the fire.


mlv: @bazbt3 Curl up on the hide rug as comfortable as I can be, and go to sleep.


bazbt3: @mlv I curl up on the hide rug, and attempt comfort and sleep. Something’s lumpy on or under the rug; not quite a Princess-and-the-Pea scenario, but close…

(time passes…)

Can’t get comfy, sleep is elusive.


mlv: @bazbt3 Check what’s under the rug


bazbt3: @mlv I roll the hide rug aside, revealing what it had been hiding… Rectangular wooden outer and inner frames, slats across the inner, and a hand-sized swivelable ring at one end of the inner. That’s what I’d been struggling with, trying getting to sleep!


mlv: @bazbt3 I’m tired. Move the rug where there’s no trapdoor, and go back to sleep.


bazbt3: @mlv (time passes…) I move rug out from under table, between fire & dog bed, & attempt sleep. Nope, that’s not working. Too excited about the prospect of exploring what must be massive subterranean caverns far below the humble cabin; caverns hewn by dwZzz…


mlv: @bazbt3 … it’s probably jus a root cellar.

… with a hidden door. Is it morning yet?


bazbt3: @mlv Please roll 2d6. :)


mlv: @bazbt3 @eliza_bot responded: Rolled 4+6 = 10 for “roll 2d6”


bazbt3: @mlv The dawn has just arrived, though without fanfare. And as for what’s beneath the trapdoor, is it breakfast time yet?

Thanks @eliza_bot.


mlv: @bazbt3 I’m a little more comfortable using the supplies found in the cabin, so stoke the fire and break the fast with suitable food found in the cupboard. After a nice breakfast with a hot beverage, I’ll check out the trapdoor.


bazbt3: @mlv Fire stoked, hearty breakfast: eggs (surprisingly), bacon, Lorne sausages, roughly cut bread… eaten, tea slurped. The fast is broken well.

Hmmm… The owner can’t be far away, certainly no longer than a day or two.

Best have a look under the trapdoor…


mlv: @bazbt3 Aww, forget the trapdoor. Just go out and fire up the engine again.

Just kidding. Find (and refill and light, if necessary) a suitable lighting device. Then move the table and open the trapdoor.


mlv: @bazbt3 (now you’re making me hungry)


bazbt3: @mlv If you were a breatheari- veg- vegetari- pescetari- an, that would have been an entirely different response. “Phew,” I say!


mlv: @bazbt3 Well, I am, at the moment, vegetarian (mostly vegan). But it still makes me hungry.


bazbt3: @mlv I relight the lantern from the barely-glowing embers and pull at the trapdoor handle. Nothing gives.


Turning it brings relief, and then another door; more of a lid actually. Set snugly into its frame, its only feature is a slot at one end.


mlv: @bazbt3 A slot, like a key hole?

Look around for a key.


bazbt3: @mlv Nothing laid out in the cabin, but a quick ‘Inventory’ shows: Map, Basket, Bottle, Toilet paper, Coat, Can, Plain paper, Candle, Hemispherical shield, Key, Spade, Oil lamp.

So, what now?


mlv: @bazbt3 Try the key. Also look through cupboards, etc.


bazbt3: @mlv The key fits, turns with a few clicks and satisfying clunks. Looking through the cupboards turns up the previous array of cooking & eating utensils & foodstuffs. At this point the dog comes over, nuzzles. Oops, even sleepy dogs should have breakfast!


mlv: @bazbt3 Feed the dog.

When I turn the key, can I lift it?


bazbt3: @mlv I get food from the cupboard and feed the dog. Waiting for it to finish I attempt to lift it, only to be swatted away. Fair enough, I’d better concentrate on opening the trapdoor then. It opens easily, without a creak, on a hinge that works on an arc…


mlv: @bazbt3 Shine a light in, what do I see?


bazbt3: @mlv I shine a light into the hole, see an apparently bottomless hole. Shielding my eyes from the comparative glare of the lantern the hole now definitely curves in the direction of the front door before the light bottoms out… A non-trivial distance away.


mlv: @bazbt3 Look for anything to hold on to on the way down, ladder or handholes.

Failing that, look around the room for a rope.


bazbt3: @mlv The sides look smooth, or at least not rough. The only thing that is likely to be useful are the bedsheets.


mlv: @bazbt3 Grab a bedsheet (or two). Clear the table and put it on it’s side, with one leg right near (over) the hole. First thing I do with the sheet is tie the lamp to it, and lower it, seeing what’s down there.


bazbt3: @mlv I do exactly that, unfortunately the hole’s curvature renders viewing further down it impossible.

Fortunately the sheets don’t catch fire.


mlv: @bazbt3 Okay, got to do this the hard way. Tie knots in the sheets, and tie one end to the table leg (that is across the hole). Grab the lamp and climb down carefully.


bazbt3: @mlv Unfortunately something you are carrying is too large to fit the hole.


mlv: @bazbt3 What’s that?


bazbt3: @mlv A quick ‘Inventory’ shows: Map, Basket, Bottle, Toilet paper, Coat, Can, Plain paper, Candle, Hemispherical shield, Key, Spade, Oil lamp.

What are you willing to get rid of?


mlv: @bazbt3 I mean which of those things (wait… hemispherical shield??) is blocking my way?


bazbt3: @mlv Indeed. I wonder why it’s blocking the way? Odd. Anyway, what’s to do?


mlv: @bazbt3 How big is it? And where did I get it?

Anyway, if it’s too big, leave it behind.


bazbt3: @mlv I think the hemispherical shield was found in the dark, thorny forest. It’s pretty short, collapsible. Best bet; furl it (as-opposed to being unfurled.)

Time to go; I hear noises outside the cabin. Stomping, crashing, grumpy grumbling.

Not the loco.


mlv: @bazbt3 Furl the shield, grab the torch and climb down.


bazbt3: @mlv The shield furled, I climb into the hole, closing the trapdoor just in time to avoid the… whoever it is above. The hole is sized so downward passage is almost comfortable. I reach the bottom just in time to hear a key in the lock above. Stay or go?


mlv: @bazbt3 Did I happen to notice if there’s a keyhole on this side of the inner trap door?


bazbt3: @mlv There is indeed a keyhole on this side; nothing fancy about this trapdoor!


joanna: @mlv @bazbt3 I cannot believe you two are still at this! Mighty impressive. Happy New Year!


bazbt3: @joanna We are. @mlv is an inspiration to me.


mlv: @bazbt3 (tempted to just drop the sheet and slide, but resist).

Lower myself carefully


mlv: @joanna Yeah! @bazbt3 has made it really fun.


bazbt3: @mlv I resist the temptation to abrade arse & elbows against the bottom & sides of the shaft, instead lowering myself carefully ‘til the sheets run out. Then they do. Lucky: the floor is just that, something to stand on. Well, crouch over. I can go W, Up.


bazbt3: @mlv Thankyou. (bows) @joanna


mlv: @bazbt3 I hold up the torch, and take a look around.


bazbt3: @mlv I hold the torch up, look around at the tunnel/shaft. Featureless floor, featureless walls, roughly-chiselled ceiling; it curves sharply upwards behind, levels out ahead. The lantern is unable to pierce the darkness ahead. I can go W, Up.


mlv: @bazbt3 W


mlv: @bazbt3 W…


bazbt3: @mlv I carry on W for a while, attempting to guess where I am in relation to features above ground. At one point here’s a rumbling above, then the silence resumes. Silence? Well, apart from my exertions as the path steepens. Then steps W. I can go E, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 Steepens up or down? I’m guessing from the exertions, that you mean up.

Anyway, continue up? the steps W.


bazbt3: @mlv Aye. Ran out of characters. I continue W & upwards for a while and, just as I believe I can go no further, arrive at a small cavern. Ok, a cave. Steps continue upwards W, a narrow passage heads off N, & there’s a shelf cut into the rock on the S face.


mlv: @bazbt3 Look at the shelf. Anything on it?

If nothing, then go N


hybotics: @bazbt3 You are both caricatures of your former selves. 😎😝



bazbt3: @mlv I look. There is nothing on the shelf. I try to insert myself into the mouth of the narrow northern passage; unfortunately I cannot fit. Maybe I’m carrying too much but it really is quite narrow, this passage mouth.


bazbt3: @hybotics (suspiciously) What was that about the Elves, what do you know‽ @mlv


hybotics: @bazbt3 I know much, but not about Elves..

Your question is not relevant..



mlv: @bazbt3 Then I continue W


bazbt3: @mlv I continue W through the cavern & start up the next flight of steps. It’s hard going; they become more uneven and slippery as I ascend. Then they abruptly end in daylight. I am on a path at the N side of a stream. S lies a bridge. I can go E, S, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 E


bazbt3: @hybotics Didn’t you mention something about former Elves? I don’t think it’s a thing one can switch off though; once an Elf always an Elf. Maybe they can switch from Wood to Forest, Glade to Wood… Dunno. But they’ll never be Dwarves, more’s the pity. @mlv


bazbt3: @mlv I walk slowly E to the rop of the steps, then head down, slowly, taking care to keep my pace down. It’s good that I didn’t extinguish the lantern, but it must exhaust the oil soon… The steps become more even, and then, the cavern. I can go N, E, W.


hybotics: @bazbt3 You seem to have mistaken me for one of my companions, though I do not know how this could happen.. Have you been into the mead?? The last time I was among the Elves, things did not go well, and a quick exit was needed.



mlv: @bazbt3 Correction: Go E overland. Not in the cavern.


bazbt3: @hybotics Gadzooks! If ye an Elf are not, what art thee? @mlv


bazbt3: @mlv I wearily clamber up the steps again. Upon arrival at the top I pivot about and survey the path East. There isn’t one. An outcrop of rock dominates the immediate vicinity, ably backed up by the mountainside behind. The stream bed may be navigable E?


mlv: @bazbt3 Is it a stream bed, or an actual stream?

If the former, then I’ll try it. My goal is to go back to the house, if possible.


bazbt3: @mlv Lower limbs will get wet, that much is certain. The stream/stream bed heads: East up a slight incline and out of sight around the foot of the mountain. West, down-slope, under a bridge.


mlv: @bazbt3 Forget that… go whichever of N or S which can get me going E more easily.


bazbt3: @mlv I turn W to the bridge. No Trolls here so I cross over and head South, hoping to soon turn Eastward. I shortly reach the edge of the dark thorny forest and a path heading in… Now what?


mlv: @bazbt3 If the path is heading E or S, then I follow it.


bazbt3: @mlv The path heads South between the trees & thorny bushes. I walk for some time, before emerging at the edge of a short drop into a channel cut through the earth & rock. It’s a railway track, which curves out of sight through trees to both East & West.


mlv: @bazbt3 I don’t suppose I recognize it, do I?

Follow the railway path east.


bazbt3: @mlv I follow the railway East, not the easiest walk ever over sleepers and loose gravel. At least there’s no imminent threat of being mown down by a train. (time passes…) The temperature drops suddenly as I emerge from the eastern edge of the forest. …


bazbt3: @mlv ‘Coggy Halt’


mlv: @bazbt3 “Coggy Halt”? So that’s when I engaged the cog drive on the locomotive?

Keep following the tracks, hopefully back to the house where I spent the previous night.


bazbt3: @mlv I walk along until I reach the track points, and look up at the mountain. And think. And walk. And switch off, letting the repetition of my footfalls take the discomfort away. A small sign disturbs my rhythm: “Halfway House 1/2” I’ll be tired by then.


mlv: @bazbt3 I’m a bit surprised. It shouldn’t take that much longer to get there than it took to leave.

But keep going. One step at a time…


bazbt3: @mlv Time, as they say, passes when one’s having fun trudging uphill, though dark thorny forests, and the like. I trudge on, and eventually arrive at Halfway House. Now what?


mlv: @bazbt3 Look and listen. Any signs of life inside?


bazbt3: @mlv Aye climb up onto the platform, to better-known inside the building. It’s dark inside, even in the daylight. And quiet. Nothing stirs, not even a breeze disturbs the silence. Now what?


mlv: @bazbt3 Knock, and listen more


bazbt3: @mlv I knock on the door and wait. No response. I look in the windows and, on seeing nothing, knock on each for good measure. Nothing. Yes, I tried the doors on the way round, both front and back, both locked. Any ideas now I’m back at the front?


mlv: @bazbt3 What time is it? Did the dog bark? Is the steam engine still there?

If it’s still morning, light the engine.


bazbt3: @mlv It’s early afternoon. The dog didn’t bark primarily because there is no dog here, nor is there a steam engine. The sign read “Halfway House…” not “Three-Quarter-Way House…” Last time I was here I wasn’t so bold as to knock. Nice house. Looks familiar.


mlv: @bazbt3 Give myself a dope-slap and continue on.


mlv: @bazbt3 To be clear, continue on following the tracks


bazbt3: @mlv I dope-slap myself and continue on…


bazbt3: @mlv … when the time for slapping is over I continue walking up the tracks. It takes a while getting there and, as the signs indicate I’m nearing last night’s resting place, I recall my hurried departure. Peering cautiously around a strategic tree I see…


mlv: @bazbt3 …yes??


bazbt3: @mlv …I see a tree. Adjusting position I see trees, track, locomotive (silent), cabin with dog tied up outside, a chair next to the cabin door and a mug on the platform. And the mountain. The sun casts its warmth over everything; the dog seems content.


mlv: @bazbt3 Is the mug steaming?

Stand a listen for a bit.


bazbt3: @mlv The mug is indeed steaming. I stand and listen for a bit. All is quiet.


mlv: @bazbt3 Walk up and pet the dog, still listening.

If all remains quiet after a couple minutes, knock on the door.


bazbt3: @mlv As I approach, the dog looks up & wags its tail in recognition. I crouch to pet it; only to be taken aback when it bares its teeth & snarls. Odd, what’s different‽ I back off a step and it calms down. It doesn’t bark, a bonus…

I knock on the door.


bazbt3: @mlv Please now roll a 1d6.


mlv: @bazbt3 Rolled 5 = 5 for “roll 1d6 with some trepidation”


bazbt3: @mlv I knock and wait…


But the die is cast…

Now what?


bazbt3: @mlv Sorry, it took me so long creating the gist (including 1 tantrum-driven deletion) that I lost the ability to prove impartiality. I’ll be better next time. :)

(Attempting to use GitHub as a hub for more-than trivial stuff.)


mlv: @bazbt3 … reading the different revisions.

Oh, I was supposed to roll 1d3? Hang on.

Rolled 3 = 3 for “roll 1d3 hopefully”


bazbt3: @mlv No, I messed up - it’s supposed to be a 1d6.

Opportunist. :)

Thinking now… of a malicious edit


mlv: @bazbt3 (“It doesn’t look like they’re going to let us in! Come on, Artoo. Let’s go!”)

Go back to the locomotive and see about firing it up.


bazbt3: @mlv After waiting for a response from the cabin I return to the locomotive, clamber up into the cab and examine the…

Yeah, no fire, the firebox is stone cold.

Now what?


mlv: @bazbt3 Light it!


bazbt3: @mlv With what shall I light it dear Liza, with what?


mlv: @bazbt3 With a match, dear Henry, dear Henry. Or maybe with the lantern.


bazbt3: @mlv The lantern is extinguished, dear Liza, dear Liza, the lantern is extinguished… … and needs a source of fire or a spark to relight it. There may be something suitable available around the Three-Quarter-Way halt area.


mlv: @bazbt3 Then look over there, dear Henry, dear Henry…


bazbt3: @mlv As far as matches, the only source I can think of is inside the cabin. Possible, that’s all.


mlv: @bazbt3 It’s a steam locomotive. You’d think there’s some kind of sparker in it.


bazbt3: @mlv A search of the cab reveals nothing usable. Unlucky. Perhaps bashing the shovel on a convenient rock will suffice, or maybe there’s something in the cabin or further up (or down) the mountain?


mlv: @bazbt3 Okay, go back to the cabin. Again, try to pet the dog, seeing if his attitude has changed. And again, knock on the door (maybe the occupant awoke from a nap?).


bazbt3: @mlv I stroll slowly over to the cabin, reach out speculatively. The dog nuzzles, rolls over and

Something’s changed. Hmmm…

I absentmindedly knock on the door and wait, listening intently. The dog mimics me.

All within remains quiet.


mlv: @bazbt3 quietly open the door and go in. Check the bedroom, see what’s changed since the last time I was here.


bazbt3: @mlv I quietly open the door and tiptoe into the main room… Peering into the darkened bedroom; a pair of large boots at the bed foot, a large greatcoat draped over the bed end, a large bag at the bedside, & a large humanoid shape on the bed. Snoring.


mlv: @bazbt3 Try to find something for lighting the engine… quietly. Then get out, and light it.


bazbt3: @mlv I look around for something to ‘start’ the loco. A bundle of kindling next to the fire fits the bill so I light it and start to tiptoe towards the door. The bed’s large occupant stirs, grunts, rolls over, farts. The dog isn’t impressed; slinks out.


mlv: @bazbt3 Tiptoe out, and go light the loco


bazbt3: @mlv I tiptoe out & gently close the door. Its tired hinges creak and emit a loud crack just as it nestles into the frame. An extraordinarily loud “Wha!” from inside fills the gap between cabin and loco and mountain and reverberates…

Oops! Hide or wait?


mlv: @bazbt3 Wait


bazbt3: @mlv I wait. In an instant the door slams open, falling off its hinges. The cabin’s occupant runs at me, arms waving, eyes wide, a murderous expression, screaming “WHO‽…” … and he falls over the dog, helpfully at the end of its rope. Unluckily for me…


mlv: @bazbt3 I mutter an apology and beat a hasty retreat.


bazbt3: @mlv Making conciliatory noises utterly fails to placate the now-quite-livid giant-of-a-man. He picks himself up, advances. Again the dog - this time at the end of its rope - unsuccessfully fails to trip his master. The giant can move very fast indeed! …


mlv: @bazbt3 I could be seen as a giant of a man myself (300lbs (21.5stone/136kg) and 6’5” (195cm). I stand and scream at him, “WHAT’S YOUR PROBLEM!?!?!?”


bazbt3: @mlv The not-quite-as-giant-of-a-man-compared-to-you stands slowly, and continues to rise to his full 6’15-7/8” height. 29stone 19lbs of pure adrenalin and spit faces you off. “RAAAAAAAAAAA-AAAAAaaa!”, he says. (Conversation isn’t his strongest attribute.)


mlv: @bazbt3 Look at him with a big smile, “RAAAAAAAAAAA yourself! Hi! I’m Michael.” and extend a hand.


bazbt3: @mlv He pauses mid arm-whirling, slavering rage…


He looks at the offered hand. “Hullo, I’m Jimbobflibblywibpants, but you can call me ‘sir’.”


mlv: @bazbt3 “Hi, sir. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” and shake his hand.


bazbt3: @mlv “Yes. We had best go inside then, before the avalanche.” And he turns & clumps off inside the cabin without so much as a by-your-leave, or accepting the handshake in the terms it was given. The dog wags its tail, follows.

Its very quiet.

Now what?


mlv: @bazbt3 Avalanche? Follow him in.


bazbt3: @mlv I follow the giant-in-comparison-to-a-normal-sized-man inside the cabin. “Best close door. Best block it too.” At that he smiles and sits in the chair closest to the fire. The dog smiles and sits by its bed.

Now what?


mlv: @bazbt3 (puzzled by the notion of a dog that has the facial control to actually smile, but leave it be)

Close and block the door, then sit down.

Casually glance over at the kitchen table, and the rug under it.

“So… are avalances common here?”


bazbt3: @mlv “Ar…” he says. The dog smiles again. “…that it?”


mlv: @bazbt3 pause for a moment…

“How does this house survive avalanches?”


bazbt3: @mlv He shrugs: “I build quick…” The dog grins, wags its tail, looks at its bowl. “…maybe this one not bad. Shame about loco. Maybe.”

Still quiet.


mlv: @bazbt3 “How do you know when an avalanche will happen?”


bazbt3: @mlv He shrugs: “Quiet. Birds fly, animals scurry away; the dog…” The dog sits up, alert; looks at its bowl for a moment. “…is hungry again.” At this he grins, settles into his chair.


mlv: @bazbt3 I had asked you to casually look at the table. Is it like it was before?


bazbt3: @mlv Of course. The hide rug beneath though, that is displaced from the trapdoor, now very much in evidence - as a direct result of the earlier hurriedly-begun subterranean activities. So no. The normal-sized man spies your casual look and grins: “Ha!”


mlv: @bazbt3 “Yeah, I noticed that when I came in. What’s down there?”


bazbt3: @mlv “There?” (another grin) “Show me key.”


mlv: @bazbt3 rummage through my inventory “You want to see just any key? Okay, I think I have one in here. Don’t see what that’ll do, though.” produce key


bazbt3: @mlv His face drops, ever-so-slightly: “Not dumb, only you in miles. Dog not do. Honesty best.” At that he stands and opens the wooden chest. “Look.” He points within.


mlv: @bazbt3 I look in the chest


bazbt3: @mlv I look in the chest. It’s empty. The man sees my lack of understanding; the grin returns. “Clever, yes?”


mlv: @bazbt3 “I’m sorry. Yes, honesty best. I was traveling on that locomotive you saw parked outside last night, and needed to stop and rest. Your dog was hungry, so I fed him, and decided to spend the night. …


mlv: @bazbt3 …I slept on the rug under the table, and that’s how I found the trapdoor. This morning, I thought I’d explore it, when you arrived. Then, when I came back, I was afraid to tell you the truth. I’m sorry.”

(still don’t understand the empty chest).


bazbt3: @mlv “Truth best.” And the great brow furrows greatly before the great man’s laughter bursts out. … I (ahem) examine the chest. Superficially it’s a box with a lid, made from wood flooring with metal hinges. Superficially empty. Ah, but there’s a catch.


mlv: @bazbt3 Turn to my gracious host and smile. “Truth best. What’s in the chest?”


bazbt3: @mlv He shakes his head, looks over to the dog, who shakes its head. In an entirely reasonable facsimile of a long-suffering teacher he points at the catch.


mlv: @bazbt3 examine the catch


bazbt3: @mlv It’s a rectangular plate, painted to match the surrounding wood - but obvious now. Off to one end a square, slightly depressed. The by-now normal-sized man looks on. “Made that. Make lots of things…” more for himself than a statement to you. “Go on.”


mlv: @bazbt3 I try manipulating it. See if I can open anything.


mlv: @bazbt3 so… can I?


bazbt3: @mlv I press the catch. Solid. Pressing the button, a Click! & the surround pops up; a handle. The man taps me on the shoulder, “Time.” Lifting the handle, the chest liner follows smoothly to reveal… At that moment a dull rumble outside disturbs the quiet…


bazbt3: @mlv …and then silence. The man rises, “Time.”


mlv: @bazbt3 What did the liner reveal?


bazbt3: @mlv The liner slides easily up and out of its outer casing, pivots somehow about a corner and revealsA BOULDER SMASHES THROUGH THE WINDOW, NARROWLY MISSING MAN AND DOG, who both regard it impassively. “Told you,” the man mutters…

The rumbling continues.


mlv: @bazbt3 I hastily move away from any windows or potential boulders.

“How safe are we here??”


bazbt3: @mlv … Just as I peer into the chest’s inner cavity another boulder crashes through the remaining window, coming to rest in the fireplace.

Now what?


bazbt3: @mlv Shrugging, “Not safe; rebuild due, cabin old.”

The next boulder fails to make onward progress, the stout front wall doing its job.


mlv: @bazbt3 I start to panic. “What should we do??”


bazbt3: @mlv “Look in the chest!”, the man says, with some urgency it must be said.

It’s a crumpled hat.


mlv: @bazbt3 I take out the hat and look at him.


bazbt3: @mlv “Yes. Now.”


mlv: @bazbt3 I put on the hat.


bazbt3: @mlv The rumbling stops. The man seems about to say something, but stops. The dog stops licking itself. An extraordinarily-large boulder, big-enough to span both windows stops, wedged across the broken door frame.

Now what?


mlv: @bazbt3 Don’t take off the hat.

“Did this hat stop the avalanche somehow?”


bazbt3: @mlv The hat stays on. I speak to the man but receive not a flicker of recognition.


mlv: @bazbt3 pet the dog


bazbt3: @mlv I pet the dog, expecting at least a tail wag, maybe a lick. Not a sausage.


mlv: @bazbt3 Are the man and dog sitting there, apparently breathing? Or are they frozen?

If no reaction from them, explore the house, inspecting it.


bazbt3: @mlv The man and dog are essentially utterly immobile, respiration is too slow to be discernible. Frozen? No, warm. Let it go. Where would you like to explore first?


mlv: @bazbt3 First examine the boulders. Are they hovering in the air the same way a brick doesn’t? Or are they really lodged in the walls, etc?


bazbt3: @mlv The gigantic boulder IS hovering in the air very much in the way a brick doesn’t. The others are simply not as massive. Pushing on them does nothing positive; in fact they move imperceptibly inwards. More accurately, appreciably imperceptibly. Yellow.


mlv: @bazbt3 So, does it seem like I slowed down time, or sped up myself?

And what is meant by “Yellow”?


mlv: @bazbt3 Look around the house for bulldozers.


bazbt3: @mlv Is there any practical difference given what’s happening?

What colour were the Vogon ships? The rocks, by the way, have a similar yellow, but powdery, flaky coating.


bazbt3: @mlv Bulldozers? Maybe in Halfway House or at the Coggy Halt stop; not here though. Sadly.


bazbt3: @mlv Maybe you need a lie down?


c_n: @bazbt3 @mlv how is Mr Prosser?


c_n: @bazbt3 @mlv 🚜


mlv: @bazbt3 Don’t think I want to lie down right now. I don’t think it’ll help with the boulders.

Go outside and look around. Any other boulders flying around, or hovering the same way a brick doesn’t?


bazbt3: @c_n @mlv Likely in a nursing home, thinking of sweeping majestically across the Steppe. And axes.


bazbt3: @c_n @mlv Yellow. :)


bazbt3: @mlv There is, unfortunately, no way out through door or windows. There’s a certain inevitability about the physics of this situation - specifically the sweet combination of time; large, dense objects and inertia.


mlv: @bazbt3 Try the trapdoor.


bazbt3: @mlv The trapdoor opens easily, no key required.


mlv: @bazbt3 Go down there, sliding if necessary.


bazbt3: @mlv I hurriedly slide into the shaft, leaving the man & dog to their fate, but this time around not too worried about the inevitable scrapes & grazes. Part-way down the vertical section the sudden, intense cacophony above indicates massive destruction.


mlv: @bazbt3 Am I still wearing the hat?


bazbt3: @mlv The hat remains in place.


mlv: @bazbt3 Follow the tunnel like before. Before I venture out, is it quiet out there?


bazbt3: @mlv I slide, crouch, stand and walk; up the steps, through the cavern, past the shelf and narrow North passage, up more steps until I emerge blinking into the daylight - East of a bridge. Quiet, yes. Unnaturally so? Who knows? I can now go back E, S or W.


mlv: @bazbt3 Look around for any evidence of boulders or avalanche. If all looks quiet, remove the hat and try to see if anything changes.


bazbt3: @mlv Removing the hat makes nothing here change, it’s a still day. Away in the distance, over to the east, the rumbling continues fitfully. Almost rhythmically.


mlv: @bazbt3 Follow the same path back to the house. Watching carefully for low-flying boulders. For the moment, leave the hat off.


bazbt3: @mlv I go West, cross the bridge South, and enter the dark thorny forest. Progress between the thorns and bushes soon becomes impossible; I’m simply carrying too many things now.


mlv: @bazbt3 inventory


bazbt3: @mlv [Inventory] Map

Basket Thin paper Coat Can Blank paper Candle Hemispherical shield Key Spade Oil lamp The Hat.


mlv: @bazbt3 Clearly the thin paper is burdening me.

Is the spade from the locomotive? What else would you recommend?


bazbt3: @mlv Hah! The thin paper almost certainly is restricting your freedoms, and the spade is from the loco. Would you like to toss for it; 4 from a relatively predictable list? 1d4?


mlv: @bazbt3 Rolled 1 = 1 for “roll 1d4”

Should have left the space WITH the locomotive…


bazbt3: @mlv 1 = the basket.

The spade might be more useful? Dunno.


mlv: @bazbt3 What’s in the basket? Is it mostly empty? If so, can I put something else in it, and free up space that way?

(This is nothing new – when I play Minecraft, I’m always filling up my inventory!)

(and why AM I hanging on to that weird shield thing?)


bazbt3: @mlv The papers, can, candle & key are indeed in the basket. The coat and hat might fit too, if folded & stuffed appropriately.

Ridding oneself of the hemispherical shield is surprisingly difficult, remember?


mlv: @bazbt3 Okay, have I furled the shield yet?

Or, maybe put on the coat?


bazbt3: @mlv The hemispherical shield is actually already furled. I put the coat on, to see if forward (S) progress can be resumed. It can. I soon arrive at the rail track passing E-W through the forest. A chilly breeze blows from the East. I can go N, E, S, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 Retrace my steps E.

Glad I got the coat on.


bazbt3: @mlv It gets colder the further E I walk. Passing the eastern edge of the forest I soon reach the western end of the cutting through a rock seam. Ahead an unfamiliar noise grows louder with each step; much faster than my pedestrian pace.

Vibration too.



mlv: @bazbt3 Confirm I’m walking near the tracks, not actually ON the tracks. So if an oncoming train arrives, it won’t impact (literally, pun intended, etc) me.

Also, what does the sound sound like?


bazbt3: @mlv I’m walking on the tracks. Well, between the tracks - stepping from sleeper to sleeper - the poor state of repair of gravel and the edge camber would make that a bit tricky.

The sound? A metallic whooshing.


mlv: @bazbt3 How about the ties (sleepers?) just outside the rails?

Put it this way: what’s the fastest way to walk such that

a) I’m following the tracks b) I can get out of the way should some large metalic thing come whooshing down


bazbt3: @mlv There isn’t enough sleeper/tie projecting outboard of the rails to walk on safely, speaking of which… Carrying on just as I am I will be safe once out of the cutting’s narrow confines.

Time is passing.

The metallic whooshing noise intensifies…


mlv: @bazbt3 Move with a purpose to get out of the cutting’s narrow confines.


bazbt3: @mlv I move forward in a sinuous manner, oscillating my body as-if swimming at speed through the open sea. It slows me down somewhat; so time to re-evaluate that slightly odd method of locomotion.

I carry on walking for a while, reach the cutting’s end.


mlv: @bazbt3 No, purpose, not porpoise!

Get off the tracks and keep walking at a quick pace.


bazbt3: @mlv Had to. :)


bazbt3: @mlv I get off the tracks and walk quickly alongside, soon arriving at Coggy Halt. I can go N (up the cog track) E (to the buffers), W (returning to the forest.)


mlv: @bazbt3 N


bazbt3: @mlv I walk N. After my recent experiences I know what to expect; a tiring walk up an uneven incline, a stop to collect my bearings at Halfway House, then more walking until I arrive at Three-Quarter-Way House.

And so it starts. Halfway House.

What now?


mlv: @bazbt3 Status of Halfway house?


bazbt3: @mlv Intact.


mlv: @bazbt3 Situation? Quiet? etc.


bazbt3: @mlv As before - quiet, vaguely welcoming, not overrun by gigantic boulders.


Odd that, after the earlier, and very real, sounds of imagined impending doom.

Now what?


mlv: @bazbt3 Continue on to 3/4 way house


bazbt3: @mlv I continue on to Three-Quarter-Way House. It’s hard going, as before…

Eventually I reach it. More accurately what remains. The most obvious change is a lack of roof. Completely gone.

As have the walls.

At least there’s an outline for the rebuild.


bazbt3: @mlv … The trapdoor might be under the hide rug.

I can go N (up the tracks), S (back down) and E (to the hou, er… foundations.)


mlv: @bazbt3 Is the engine still intact?

Look around what’s left of the house for anything that can start a fire.


bazbt3: @mlv Engine? Oh, no; that’s gone. Anything left of the house? Gone. Downslope? Nothing left there either. Well, a swathe of destruction; if there were trees, the ground they grew on is scraped clean - it’s eerily reminiscent of a post-glacial landscape.


mlv: @bazbt3 :( I’ll miss that engine. That was fun.

Okay, then just press on up the tracks. N


bazbt3: @mlv I press on N up the tracks, gazing back wistfully but once. The tracks soon become uneven; after one particularly sharp bend, rusty. I trudge on. The air becomes thinner, colder; the path, such as it is, somehow less friendly.

Here’s a tunnel.

N, S.


mlv: @bazbt3 N


bazbt3: @mlv I continue N. It gets warmer and darker as I progress. Eventually it’s too dark to see and, just at that point, I hit the buffers. Well ok, walk into them. The light at the end of this tunnel is far behind. I can go at least S.


mlv: @bazbt3 light the lantern and look around


bazbt3: @mlv I look round for something to light the lantern. Unfortunately, it seems to be taking some time for my eyes to become accustomed to this darkness. (time passes…)


mlv: @bazbt3 fumble around in the dark trying to feel for a wall.


mlv: @bazbt3 …. still fumbling around in the dark, looking for a wall


bazbt3: @mlv 4 days later (or so it seems) I fumble around in the dark, trying to feel a wall or at least something useful to allow me to progress. Well here we are, 2 walls, one either side of the track. What’s this; an alcove? Yes. I can go N, E (alcove) or S.


mlv: @bazbt3 E


bazbt3: @mlv I stumble E into the alcove. A light pops on. Literally. Yes, illumination and a comedy noise.


mlv: @bazbt3 Look around. Also, take the oportunity of the light to look back at the tracks


bazbt3: @mlv The light seems tightly focused within the confines of the alcove though it does spread across the tunnel. Looking N & S is thus fruitless - S has only a far-distant point of light. The tracks close by are dull, rusty, seemingly long-disused.


mlv: @bazbt3 Look around the alcove


bazbt3: @mlv I look around the alcove. Crudely carved with vertical, parallel sides, a low step up from the tunnel floor, arched roof similar in profile but smaller than the tunnel’s. Entirely unremarkable. Not even a seat or a secret hinged back wall. I can go W.


mlv: @bazbt3 Look again for hidden doors


bazbt3: @mlv I look again for hidden doors. I push, press, lean… Nothing. I try the spade; levering in the corners, then bashing, and all I do is create sparks and reflect light off the polished back of the head.


mlv: @bazbt3 What’s the nature of the light? In any way portable? Hot? Can I light my lantern from it?


bazbt3: @mlv The light is overhead, set into the back of the arched roof, hot but only to the touch; not hot enough to light the lantern or set fire to paper. There’s no visible sensor, perhaps it’s magic?


mlv: @bazbt3 stranger things…

Try another test. Leave the alcove slowly, until the light just turns off. Then try to see what’s necessary to turn it on. Waving a hand in the alcove? Fast? Slow?


bazbt3: @mlv Slowly stepping backwards out of the alcove the light turns off immediately. Experimenting with waving hands, legs, noses in & in the general direction of it proves nothing. Apart from the simple fact that the light remains off. I step E. On again.


mlv: @bazbt3 Well, that’s a result. Walk in slowly. How precise is the point where it comes on? If I back out, will it turn off immediately?


bazbt3: @mlv The light comes on as soon as I set foot in the alcove. More precisely the merest touch down makes it work. Not magic then, but in a bygone age it would have been quite impressive.

Now what?


mlv: @bazbt3 Get down and try to activate the light with my hand. Does the floor move?


bazbt3: @mlv The light activates with the smallest of pressures. If the floor moves it’s utterly imperceptible. No give, it just works. Maybe it’s the entire tunnel that moves, maybe the engineers thought differently.


mlv: @bazbt3 “fascinating”, I muse.

With a foot on the alcove floor, I stretch back into the tunnel and try to look around as much of the tunnel (and especially farther down) as I can.


bazbt3: @mlv The light doesn’t spread far-enough to allow sight of much more than the alcove’s immediate vicinity. Am I carrying anything that could help?


mlv: @bazbt3 I don’t know… am I?

Is the hemispheric shield shiny? If so, I unfurl it, and try that.


bazbt3: @mlv Yes. The shield is unfortunately dark and not particularly reflective.


mlv: @bazbt3 Okay, is this what I have? Map Basket Thin paper Coat Can Blank paper Candle Hemispherical shield Key Spade Oil lamp The Hat.

Potentially shiny things include: can (the end of the can) spade, if it’s clean enough, or can be cleaned lamp reflector?


bazbt3: @mlv Getting somewhere now! I lean out of the alcove, angling the can just so, and almost pierce the gloom. There’s not enough surface area to form a viable reflector. Ripping it apart… but no. The well-used spade, long-since cleaned, works well. I look N…


mlv: @bazbt3 … look N


bazbt3: @mlv I look N. A small door in a big wall filling the tunnel has something glinting close to one edge.


mlv: @bazbt3 Examine it more closely


bazbt3: @mlv Examining the door proves problematic - it’s far-enough away that it’s difficult to resolve detail.


mlv: @bazbt3 Put the can on the floor of the alcove to keep the light on, and position the shovel so it reflects light. Then go to the door to examine it more closely.


bazbt3: @mlv I put the can on the floor of the alcove to keep the light on, and position the shovel so it reflects light. Then go to the door to examine it more closely…

It’s a bit gloomy but there appears to be a cross, an ‘X’, crudely daubed across the door.


mlv: @bazbt3 Can I open the door? Is there a latch?


bazbt3: @mlv There is indeed a latch. It seems to be smeared with the same stuff the ‘X’ is painted with. All is quiet. I can go N, S.


mlv: @bazbt3 Open the door slowly. Don’t go in, but just look.


bazbt3: @mlv I open the door ever so slowly. The gloom extends beyond. At the first creak of the hinge a low moaning starts, its creator unseen, and it soon rises in intensity. Shortly, multiple voices, nothing discernible as speech or intelligence. I can go N, S.


mlv: @bazbt3 Oh what the hey….



bazbt3: @mlv I walk slowly N, through the door and into the gloomy… it’s not a tunnel, nor is it…

The door slams shut behind!

The gloom lifts.

It’s more like a bathroom; a strangely-familiar bathroom.

A closed door lies N, shower E, a toilet S, washbasin W.


mlv: @bazbt3 Look behind me for any indication of the door that just slammed shut.

(not being hopeful)


bazbt3: @mlv There is the merest outline of a door in the bathroom’s back (S) wall. It’s not fading.


mlv: @bazbt3 open it


bazbt3: @mlv I attempt to open the door but there’s nothing to grab hold of, and a series of speculative presses along both edges proves fruitless. Pushing is out; there’s not enough gap to get a finger in to pull. I can go N, E, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 N


bazbt3: @mlv I try to open the N door but my hand, still coated with the stuff daubed on the tunnel door & latch, cannot grip strongly-enough to turn the knob. A muffled and occasional snuffling starts, close by.


mlv: @bazbt3 Try to clean my hands on something – quietly.


bazbt3: @mlv I quietly wash my hands in the basin. Warm water, soap, a soft fluffy towel too; a pleasant bonus.

Clean feels good.

Outside, the pipes start to thump; quietly at first, then with a sudden bang.

Clean; not quite as good now.

The moaning starts.


mlv: @bazbt3 Can I tell where the moaning is coming from?


bazbt3: @mlv It’s behind! ;)


mlv: @bazbt3 Behind the wall opposite the sink? Or in the bathroom with me.

Turn around quickly!


bazbt3: @mlv The somewhat disconcerting noises emanate from behind the wall opposite the sink. I turn around quickly. Nothing in here, no-one but me.


mlv: @bazbt3 Okay, hands clean, I’m ready for anything!

Open the door, slowly…


mlv: @bazbt3 …yes?


mlv: @bazbt3 We still doing this?


bazbt3: @mlv Yes. Not the best of weeks, too many distractions. Might send you a PM, not sure if it’d be fair to though.


mlv: @bazbt3 Sorry you had a tough week.


bazbt3: @mlv Thanks. Couldn’t send the PM; after further review in isolation each issue is nothing. I need to redevelop a sense of perspective. :}

Speaking of which…


bazbt3: @mlv I twist the knob, open the door slowly. It’s a bedroom, inverted L-shaped. There’s a bed, a pile of clothes at its foot. There’s other bedroomy furniture, stuff scattered about.

East, a door; North a window, curtains closed; South, the bathroom door.


mlv: @bazbt3 Is the door closed?

Go N to the window, and look outside. What do I see? Time of day, etc? Also, is the window openable? Can I climb out?


bazbt3: @mlv The door is closed, is almost identical to the bathroom.

I go to the closed window. It would not be big-enough to climb out of. I look out instead; see hills, trees, houses. Some near, some far, some large, etc.

It is tea time.


mlv: @bazbt3 Listen at the door. Any noise?

If it’s quiet, I open it carefully and peek out.


bazbt3: @mlv Listening at the door I detect a faint snuffling.


bazbt3: @mlv I slowly open the door. Beyond, a landing at the top of a stairway. To the south and at the end of the landing which looks to branch west, a door. To the east, the head of the stairs.

And a dog; a grinning, strangely-familiar dog.

I can go E, S, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 Okay, open it carefully and peek out.


mlv: @bazbt3 How familiar?

E. Down stairs


bazbt3: @mlv The dog seems to know me and follows as I walk E and then downstairs. There’s a table the bottom, its top clear of things. To the W a hallway running N-S; doors N, S, W.

Mmmm… soft carpets.

I can go N (upstairs or door), S, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 S


bazbt3: @mlv I go S, ignoring the instruction to go to sleep. There’s another door E, and the front door of the house S (doormat on floor.)



mlv: @bazbt3 Hasty and quiet retreat: S. Out the door.


bazbt3: @mlv Too many toilets? ;)

The front door opens easily, I step outside. A path heads S, past a broken cart E and a bare tree W.

I can go N, S, E, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 (don’t generally like hanging out in occupied houses)


mlv: @bazbt3 S


bazbt3: @mlv I walk S past the cart and tree and arrive at a wider path running E-W. Ahead S, a narrow-ish, slow-running stream. Its far bank is too far away to jump over. I’m hungry.


mlv: @bazbt3 Enjoy a snack, then follow the path E.

(Where’s that map you made once upon a time?)


bazbt3: @mlv An experiment, satisfying my need to find uses for GitHub/git:

(Let me know if the file’s difficult to open there.)

I’ll get back to the other stuff when the man’s looked at replacing 2 of our radiators.


bazbt3: @mlv For completeness, here’s the first version of the file:


bazbt3: @mlv A snack at this point (teatime) would be nice, but I have no food left. Nevertheless I follow the path East. I soon arrive south of a path leading North to a house. Still hungry.


mlv: @bazbt3 I still have the can…

N (wonder if he’s still on the can, speaking of which…)


bazbt3: @mlv Hah! :) I do still have the can; maybe I can fight my way into it, hunger is increasing. I walk N, soon arrive at the front door.


mlv: @bazbt3 Knock on the door. Listen carefully for any sounds from inside


bazbt3: @mlv I knock on the door; already-unlatched it opens, ever-so-slightly. I listen carefully. Nothing from inside. I can go N, S, W.


mlv: @bazbt3 Enter, still listening carefully…


bazbt3: @mlv I slowly push the door open, listening carefully, and enter. There are 3 doors: N, open; E, closed; W, closed. It’s quite gloomy here. Silence reigns. The dog nuzzles my ankles.


mlv: @bazbt3 What’s in the N door?

(Did this dog follow me all the way from the other house?)


bazbt3: @mlv N is the house’s kitchen.

The dog seems to know it’s way around, heads N.


mlv: @bazbt3 follow the dog. N means kitchen, means food.

If it stays quiet, do some foraging.

(Did the dog follow me from the other house? Same dog, or different one?)


bazbt3: @mlv The dog’s the spitting image of the one 75% of the way up the mountain. I walk casually into the kitchen behind it. Its sits by the table.

There’s a familiar man sat quietly at the table, he’s eating. Its Jimbobflibblywibpants!

“Hello. Hungry?”


mlv: @bazbt3 Jimbo! Hi, how are you?

Actually, I am. Thank you. sit down


bazbt3: @mlv “What would you like to eat? Help yourself!” He gestures towards a wall-mounted cupboard.


mlv: @bazbt3 Look at the cupboard. What kind of food is there?


bazbt3: @mlv I look at the cupboard. The dog looks at me then the cupboard. Jimbo* looks at the dog looking at me looking at the cupboard. The cupboard stares implacably back, in the way only closed cupboards can.


mlv: @bazbt3 Open the cupboard and THEN look.

(in the tone of an old Monty Python gumby sketch: knockknock* “Come in!” CRASH “Open the door, and THEN come in!”)


bazbt3: @mlv :) I abandon hope of attempting to acquire x-ray vision and open the cupboard. Arrayed on its shelves there are packets of this, of that, of the other. Cans and jars and bottles of the other, that and this. None are labelled or indicative of contents.


mlv: @bazbt3 Grab a can at random and look for a can opener.


mlv: @bazbt3 Still holding the can…


bazbt3: @mlv To find out if its content are edible, please roll a 1d3.


bazbt3: @mlv Incidentally, I changed the dice roll outcomes from a gist to a repo, here:


mlv: @bazbt3 From @eliza_bot: ‘Rolled 3 = 3 for “roll 1d3 yummy in my tummy”’


bazbt3: @mlv The contents of the can appear delicious, nutritious. Everything a body needs. Whatever it is, it tastes like chicken. It’s probably chicken then.

Hmmm… Should I cook what’s left of the contents after the quick taster? Will Jimbo object?


mlv: @bazbt3 “Mind if I cook this?”


bazbt3: @mlv “You cook. Make meal for me and dog.” The dog grins at this. “Take your time, no hurry.” The dog looks at Jimbo, shakes its head.


mlv: @bazbt3 Grab some random cans and open them. Make note of which cans look like dog food, and serve the dog. Cook up the rest for a meal.


mlv: @bazbt3 “So…rebuilding the house?”


bazbt3: @mlv The dog wags its tail appreciatively. Then sits and eats; eats as if this was its last meal. The cooking smells fill the kitchen with the promise of a hearty meal, randomness notwithstanding. Jimbo breathes in appreciatively, licks his lips. “Mmmm…”


bazbt3: @mlv “What?”


mlv: @bazbt3 “I may be confused, but the last time I saw you, you talked about rebuilding a house up on the mountain. Or was that someone else?”


bazbt3: @mlv “I…” he shakes his head, a puzzled expression growing, “can’t remember… I think I can’t remember.” At that he stands. “ Is it ready?”


mlv: @bazbt3 “The meal? Yes!” grab plate, serve him, serve myself, and sit down.


mlv: @bazbt3 Sorry the meal took so long. It’s ready.

(*I assume this is the end of the thread, Cauldron isn’t giving me the whole thread, for some reason)


bazbt3: @mlv Jim* shakes his head again, attempting to remember something important: “Ah well, it’ll come.” He sniffs the air, looks at the dog. Brighter, to the room: “What’s to eat?”


mlv: @bazbt3 Sorry it’s taken so long. First course is miso soup (you were out of miso, so I had to ferment the soybeans). I also have some aged cheese (ditto). And for the main course, Boeuf Bourguignon. Dessert is Baked Alaska. Enjoy.


bazbt3: @mlv Thanks for posting the link back here. Here’s the link forward to our continuation #ADNventure thread, for reference: Long may it live and pro, er… oops, different genre.


At this point there’s a short intermission as we switch threads.

mlv: @bazbt3 Let’s start a new thread. The other one was just too unwieldy.

Last link from the big one:

(I just gave Jim* a meal that took months to prepare)


bazbt3: @mlv (I haven’t forgotten this, I’m pondering; how to continue.)


mlv: @bazbt3 Clearly, Jim’s been caught mid-mouthful.


bazbt3: @mlv Back.

Jim, intent, expectant now, waits. The meal looks and smells delicious, but it’s as-if he doesn’t know what to do.


mlv: @bazbt3 Jim? Eat!


bazbt3: @mlv “Will do. Thanks. Any drink?”


mlv: @bazbt3 “Of course. The wine is a bit young but still good.” (pours a glass of wine)


bazbt3: @mlv Jim sniffs at his glass: “Wine.” Sniffs again: “Hmmm… Can you start a fire?”


mlv: @bazbt3 checks in the cupboard Do we have any matches? (What kind of stove is it?)


bazbt3: @mlv No matches, it’s a stone alcove with a pile of wood at one end, over the grate a frame under which hangs a hook. A hook on which currently dangles a small can.


mlv: @bazbt3 inspect the can, and it’s contents


bazbt3: @mlv The can is black, dull, has a spout at the far side, a lid under the top handle; its contents slosh when swung on the hook. Jim looks over, says “coffee” then, suddenly distracted, looks seemingly through the wall. The dog follows suit, alert now.


mlv: @bazbt3 (you’re not going to like this)


Do I have anything that can make a fire? Is there anything around here (flint and steel, gas stove sparker, magnifying glass and bright sun) that can help me make a fire?


bazbt3: @mlv Please hold.

(time passes…)


bazbt3: @mlv [Inventory:]* Map


Toilet paper



Thin paper


Hemispherical shield



Oil lamp


I look around for a thing designed as a firestarter…

It seems I must improvise.

*The list seems in order to me.


mlv: @bazbt3 Okay, improvising: Use some toilet paper as a fire starter with the wood provided, I light the candle from the oil lamp and use that to light the toilet paper and thus the fire.

Boom. Done.


grumpy: @mlv @bazbt3 you assume there is oil, and that the lamp is lit 🃏


And there ended the great Adventure.

(…or did it?)

A bonus for your patience:

A link to the map! (