The Roscovian Palladium

My new text adventure is called THE ROSCOVIAN PALLADIUM and it deals with art, culture, and politics—well, it deals with the fictional politics of talking rats. It’s a rat heist in an art museum! Rats!!!

Development of my text adventures is supported by my PATREON patrons. If you like what I do, you can pledge some amount of money to send my way every time I release a game. Some Patreon folks have it set up so that you pay them every month but I don’t release a game every month so I don’t have it set up that way.

Lots of people pledge just a single American dollar per game, which means they each send me probably less than $5 a year, but none of it goes unappreciated and all of them get to view the secret Patreoneer-only Twitter feed.

At the very least you should go to my Patreon page and watch the little video I did because I am still proud of it.

The Cat Who Grew Hands

A Cozy Mystery by P.J. Quickbooks

The rec room was a mess. Hanna made a show of stepping gingerly over some free weights; then, balancing her tray of blondies on one arm, she produced her key ring and unlocked the heavy door to the back room.

“It’s such a shock,” she repeated, ushering me and Melanie ahead of her into the tiny chamber. Then she made a point of looking straight at me: “You gotta understand, things like this just don’t happen in Carol Lake. It’s not that kinda town.”

The room did not have the appearance of a crime scene. It was quite tidy, especially in comparison to the rec room. The safe was small and unimpressive; its door was only slightly ajar.

“Of course not,” I said. “I’m finding out that it’s a really lovely town. Really beautiful.”

“That’s right. Aren’t you sweet?” Hanna smiled her huge, disarming smile. “You oughta have another blondie, you sweetie, you.”

I started to shake my head, but Melanie put her hand on my shoulder.

“My friend is about to reject your offer. He wishes to treat you kindly, and believes it would be impolite to eat more than one of your blondies. He is unused to the social mores of Carol Lake, and is not aware that the opposite is true.”

She turned toward me, pushing my shoulder so that we were face to face. “You would be treating Hanna with more kindness if you ate another of her blondies, which I have reason to believe you find delicious. You should continue to accept her blondies until she ceases to offer them.”

I nodded emphatically, and, at a loss for words, picked up a second blondie from Hanna’s tray.

“You’re just like Mr. the Mayor,” she said, still grinning. “‘Only one blondie for me, Hanna! Watch out for those empty calories!’ All that nonsense. Don’t let him find out I said such a thing, of course. Such a lovely man.”

“Of course.”

Melanie was now poking her nose around the room, leaning and craning her neck with her hands in her pockets. Hanna and I just watched and waited—then Melanie turned around, pushing past us to investigate the rec room. With a short glance at each other we followed the detective.

Melanie’s talent for moving around without touching anything was put to the test in a room littered with fitness equipment. I won’t embarrass myself trying to put a name to each of the appliances, but I will say that the level of organization definitely made the area more of a “rec room” than a “gym.”

Now Melanie was stalking along the south wall, inspecting a series of tall basement windows which afforded the space only a modicum of natural light. The sill of the last window was occupied by a brown tabby, attempting to luxuriate in what passed for a sunbeam. Without warning, Melanie abandoned her policy of non-interference and shoved the cat out of the window.

The poor animal yelped as it fell to the floor, but, having landed on its feet, it immediately put on a show of nothing having happened. With unconvincing loftiness it strolled over to Hanna and deigned to be picked up.

“You’re sure that the door to the back room was locked?” Melanie asked from across the room.

“It locks on its own,” Hanna explained.

“Where was Cleopatra last night?”

Hanna smiled. “I never know. Out on the town, I expect.”

This sounded like an evasion to me, but Melanie seemed satisfied, and she continued: “Only you and the mayor have keys to that door?”

“That’s right. Well, there’s only the one key, but—”

Melanie cut her off. “And the combination to the safe?”

“That’s between me and Mr. the Mayor.”

Melanie nodded. “I have it figured out,” she said. She took a seat on one of several weight benches, took a deep breath, and began:

“The latch on that rightmost window is undone; the others are secured. Before the building closed, your cat left that window open—on purpose—and at some point during the night she entered this rec room in that way.

“Once inside, the cat grew a pair of human hands, which she used to pick the lock on the door to the back room. In similar fashion she broke into the safe and withdrew the bake sale proceeds. Cats being inscrutable creatures, I can only guess at her motive. Perhaps she suffers from a bad catnip habit, or compulsive purchasing behavior regarding fitness equipment. Perhaps a series of veterinarian bills piled up after a relative was put to sleep.

“At any rate, the cat left the back room with the money, allowing the door to lock as it closed. She left in the same way she entered, through the basement window—but, although she could pull the window shut behind herself, even with a pair of human hands she was unable to close the latch once she was outside.

“Then she hid the money, I do not yet know where, and turned her human hands back into paws. By pretending to fall asleep on the sill of the relevant window she hoped to disguise the key clue in the case, but I’m afraid I was too smart for her.”

Melanie finished her story with a little nod. I clicked my teeth nervously; Hanna was silent for a moment.

When she finally spoke, it was clear she was trying to hold back laughter. “Miss Cozy, that is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. If you can’t solve the case, I understand, but that’s no reason to make fun of it.” At length she regained her composure: “This is a very serious situation,” she concluded.

“I totally agree,” Melanie said, “but I’m afraid I’m not joking. The only humans who could have committed this crime are the mayor and yourself. It’s beyond consideration that either of you would have done such a thing, and so the only remaining explanation—”

Now Hanna cut Melanie off. “Oh! Oh, Cleopatra, you bad, bad girl!” She pushed her face into the cat’s, pursing her lips and squinting furiously. “How could you have done such a bad, bad thing?” But despite her anger she clutched the poor animal all the tighter against her chest, and I imagine a less lazy cat would have summarily jumped out of her arms.

“Well,” Hanna said, grinning again, “looks like you solved the case! Should I—Write a check, or?” She glanced from Melanie to me and back again.

“We’ll mail an invoice,” I said automatically.

“That is incorrect,” said Melanie, standing and dusting off her jacket. “My associate and I will accept payment immediately, in the form of blondies.”

HALLOWEEN TIME

🍂🐀🌕🎃🐍🚪🕷☠️👁‍🗨⚰

Halloween is my favorite dang thing, and I try to make the most of it. There is not enough October in a year for all the spooky stuff I want to accomplish. But, with a view toward enhancing your Halloween experience, I would like to promote here some of the Weeny things I’ve produced for your enjoyment. Pretty scary, boys and girls!

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The Imitable Process of Ryan Veeder

or, “How to Write the Way I Write, in Inform 7”

Good afternoon. It may be the case that you have a desire to learn about how I write my text adventure computer games. There are a lot of angles to this subject, and the one I’d like to focus on here is the stage right after all that horrible “coming up with an idea” and “figuring out the story” stuff—the corpus callosum between design and implementation, getting the world to a state where the player can at least walk around and look at stuff.

I’m going to assume a basic familiarity with the Inform 7 programming environment, but if you have no idea how I7 works, you may be able to glean that basic familiarity from this post. Plus you will get to see my terrible handwriting!!!

Okay, so! First I draw a map.

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Cream Cheese Banana Bread

This banana bread is terrible for you but he not busy being born is busy dying.

Oven 350 degrees.

Butter up a bread loaf pan.

WET TEAM:
Cream a cup of sugar and a stick of butter.

Margarine works fine.

Add two eggs. Mix it up good.

DRY TEAM:
Mix a teaspoon of baking soda and a teaspoon of salt into a cup and a half of regular flour.

Mix dry stuff into wet stuff.

FLAVOR TEAM:
You need a couple of bananas that are super ripe. Mash them up into a gross banana paste. You can use less ripe bananas but you’ll have to mash them more. 2 bananas is roughly 1 cup of banana paste. That’s how much you want.

You need half a cup of cream cheese. Half a cup is 8 oz, ie the amount in one of those cardboard boxes of Philadelphia cream cheese. You can use Neufchatel too; it has 1/3 less fat and tastes the same. At least it does when it’s all mixed up in a banana bread.

Also you need a teaspoon of vanilla.

Mix the flavor team in. Mix that mixture until the cream cheese is fully incorporated. I am pretty sure you can’t mix it too much.

Put that mixture in the pan. Bake it until a toothpick comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Let it cool blah blah.

When it’s first out of the pan it’ll be all crusty, which is great if you love crustiness. Then you let it cool off and put it in a bread bag and the next day the crust will be suffused with moisture. I guess this is probably how every banana bread is. Thank you for your time.

Some new stuff!

  1. I’ve got a new game for you about cavemen; it’s called Reference and Representation: And Approach to First-Order Semantics.
  2. I’ve got ANOTHER new game for you about a docent; it’s called An Evening at the Ransom Woodingdean Museum House.
  3. The above games were supported by nice people via Patreon.
  4. If you haven’t checked out Clash of the Type-Ins recently, you may have missed various new episodes featuring such luminous guests as Dan Schmidt, Jason McIntosh, and Andrew Plotkin.

D&D: THRILLING PIRACY

☠️

In October, I ran a one-shot D&D game for a great big gang of internet people via Google Hangouts. We called it D&DLLOWEEN and it was a ton of fun.

Pretty soon I am going to run another one-shot D&D game for a great big gang of internet people via Google Hangouts, and it will be called THRILLING PIRACY.

In the Pythenic Ocean,

living people are second-class citizens. Queen Noumenia the Infinite, an ancient lich, prefers for all her subjects to be undead. A spell cast over the entire ocean causes any who die within its borders to immediately revive as some sort of unholy zombie or ghost or suchlike.

Captain Jack Hock of the Expertly is an alive person, a swashbuckling force of outlaw justice on the Pythenic seas. His crew is on a quest to find a mysterious treasure that supposedly will weaken Noumenia’s dominion—but they are hounded at every turn by Captain Laphria of Her Majesty’s Navy, who seeks to claim the same treasure for the Queen. Captain Laphria is a skeleton.

As far as scheduling:

There will be two sessions, on the evenings of April 1 and April 2, beginning at 8 PM Central.

If you are interested,

you should email me. When the event gets a little closer, I’ll start figuring out who is playing when. After that’s straightened out, I’ll email you an extremely brief preparatory questionnaire and we’ll figure out the character you’re playing.

You can play with us even if you’ve never played Dungeons and Dragons before.

I’ve generated characters for all levels of D&D expertise. It’s very very helpful if you can at least check out the basic rules ahead of time, but the main principles are A) play along and B) when instructed, type “/roll d20+whatever” into the thingy.

On the other hand, if you are a 5th Edition expert, you may want to run one of the full caster—or even put together your own character, if you have an idea for a piratical PC.

The characters that I have prepared are these:

“Bobo,” a rapier-wielding swashbuckler type with horns

“Coco,” a navigator who draws eldritch power from the stars

“Dodo,” a large parrot

“Fofo,” a kuo-toa cleric of Blibdoolpoolp

“Gogo,” who wields power over the weather

“Hoho,” a halfling with guns

“Jojo,” a half-orc who hits people with an anchor

“Koko,” a tattooed gnome barbarian

“Lolo,” a silent zen type

“Momo,” a dwarf with a harpoon

“Nono,” a giant crab

I have given the characters stupid names in order to encourage you to give your character a better name.

What else?

I can’t think of anything else at the moment.

Posted in: D&D |