Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Enchanter: Won!

As of yesterday, I had successfully entered the warlock's castle, discovered five new spells, charted a mostly map of its layout, and learned to stay away from the temple and its adjoining junction.

Multiple challenges remained unsolved.

  • A Zork Trilogy adventurer can be summoned from the hall of mirrors, but what for?
  • A jeweled box in a room near the courtyard is secured by a magic rope tied in an impossible knot.
  • A demonic looking door by the north gate obviously can't be opened with a simple rezrov spell.
  • The tower by the south gate has an engine room at the top with a booby-trapped passage to a room with a powerful scroll.
  • A turtle outside the castle by the south gate can be spoken to, but what can you do with this?
  • A maze of translucent rooms beneath the castle's dungeon was mapped out, but what's the point of it?

It occurred to me to try giving the turtle instructions, and he obeyed, so I had him come with me to the engine room and retrieve the scroll there for me. After speeding him up with magic, he was fast enough to avoid the smashing hammers, and his shell protected him from the flying spears.

The kulcad spell he brings is so powerful that it can only be cast once, and when you do, the circle of enchanters will warn you that Krill is likely alerted to your presence. I found a few uses for it:

  • Casting in the banquet hall dispels the illusion of the feast, leaving nothing but empty tables and broken benches.
  • Disenchanting the magic rope lets you undo the knot with rezrov, revealing a scroll of "melbor," for protection from evil.
  • Disenchanting the demonic door gives way to a map room.

The first option seemed useless, but I saved and gave the second one a try to see where that would lead me. Melbor let me safely explore the temple and the rooms past the junction, but all I found in the temple were two empty cells and a bloody altar, and all I found past the junction was a fourth tower with winding stairs that went on up and down forever. So I reloaded and tried the map room.

The map room had a useless seeming scroll "Filfre" for magic fireworks, but the more interesting thing here was a map.

B       J
!      / \
!     /   \
!    /     \
!   K       V
!          / \
!         /   \
!        /     \
R-------M       F
 \     /        
  \   /        
   \ /        
    H       P

This pretty much matched my own map of the translucent maze! I inscribed a line from H to P with a magic pencil found by the map, and Belboz appeared to warn me that I had disturbed some kind of ancient terror. Pretty soon, they summoned me back to the circle - the Terror escaped and the world was doomed.

So, this is a clever little puzzle. It's not a very difficult one, but it does show how versatile the Z-Machine engine can be. Your pencil affords you two line draws and two erasures. I drew a line from P to F, giving the terror a longer route to the exit, and immediately erased it, hoping the Terror took that route before. Then I erased M to V. The map now looked like this:

B       J
!      / \
!     /   \
!    /     \
!   K       V
!            \
!             \
!              \
R-------M       F
 \     /        
  \   /        
   \ /        
    H       P

If my plan worked, the Terror was now out of "P" and trapped in the K-J-V-F corridors. I drew one last line from H to P, giving me passage there and rendering the pencil useless. Sure enough, after going into the maze I could enter this room safely and retrieve a powerful "guncho" spell, to banish a victim to another dimension.

I couldn't think of what to do next. This scroll probably was key to defeating Krill, but I'd need to find him first, and summoning him would only get be killed faster than I could say "guncho." Summoning the adventurer seemed like it must be useful for something, but I couldn't figure out what, so here I turned to a walkthrough.

The first thing I missed is in the castle gallery. You must enter without a light source, and when you do, you'll see that one of the portraits has light coming from behind it, and can be moved to reveal a cache. I can't really see how this action could reasonably be deduced.

Anyway, the cache contains a black candle and a scroll of "ozmoo," for surviving unnatural death. For lack of any better ideas, I tried using it to enter the temple and survive through their dark ritual. It worked, and I took their dagger and got my belongings back. With it, I could cut the rope on the jeweled box and retrieve the melbor scroll, allowing me free passage through the east junction again, but there was still no clear point to going here.

The walkthrough revealed the next thing I missed, in the tower bedroom.

A careful examination reveals the outline of a small compartment, and near it an ornate carving which looks like a button. You could never have found it on your own.

Technically, that last part isn't wrong.

The button opened the compartment revealing a "vaxum" scroll, for making a hostile creature friendly. I had a strong feeling that this spell's purpose was to charm the demonic door and the one-shot kulcad was needed elsewhere, but just for the hell of it, I tried summoning and charming the adventurer to see what would happen. His disposition turned sunnier, but no obvious good came of it.

I reloaded to the point before squandering my kulcad, retrieved vaxum and cast it on the door, but nothing happened.

The solution, once again one I had to look up, is to vaxum the adventurer, who will then follow you if you possess something shiny (such as the jeweled box), and have him open the door for you.

The seemingly fearless adventurer shrugs and walks purposefully toward the door, ignoring all harm to his person in the form of knives, tentacles, and molten lead. As three buckets of the latter pour over his head, he casts you a perplexed look.
"Did you try the doorknob?" he asks, as twenty-seven knives delicately skewer him.
Before you can answer, he reaches for one of the gargoyle heads which, by sheerest coincidence, has just flooded him in red-orange flame, and turns it gently.
"I think it's unlocked," he says, stoically ignoring the host of human-sized rats which feed on his incinerated torso.
His left hand, broken and bloodied, pulls at the gargoyle head.
"I'm going on ahead!" he cries, opening a simple wooden door.
Wooden door? You rub your eyes for a moment and look again as he goes through it. Yes, just a plain wooden door.

I don't get it. Trying to enter the door yourself will get you maimed and eventually killed - why is the adventurer no worse for wear? And how are you supposed to conclude that this is something worth trying?

I re-solved all of the puzzles of this session, learning the hard way to DROP the kulcad scroll before entering the temple, or it won't be among your possessions when you retrieve them. By the time I caught up, my bread was half gone, my water all gone, and the days were getting shorter with each passing, leaving me fewer waking hours to accomplish my tasks. I went to sleep in the bedroom tower, re-filled my jug of water, and headed for the winding stairs, spells in hand.

Kulcad dispels the stairs, but also creates a point of no return through a rather silly sequence of events. First the floor disappears beneath you while a passage to the east opens up. Then you reach for a banister to keep from falling, but it turns into a scroll, and you drop all of your possessions except for the bread and your scroll collection. And the scroll you just grabbed lets you fly. Since you've lost your spellbook, it can't be gnusto'd, so instead you just have to cast it from the scroll and exit to the east without your stuff.

This exit leads to Krill's tower, where a dragon will incinerate you before you can guncho either of them.

I knew you couldn't bring the spellbook with you, but you can memorize one and cast it without the book! Transforming the dragon into a newt with cleesh was the obvious choice, but for funsies I tried a few others. Melbor and ozmoo did absolutely nothing, while vaxum and nitfol just made the dragon toast me with a friendly hello. Cleesh, it turns out, doesn't work either, as the dragon is already reptilian. I have to object to that logic, as the spell clearly says it turns the victim into a "small amphibian," and a dragon is neither.

The walkthrough revealed one last thing that I missed. Rat tracks in the library, when examined, are traced back to a hole, in which a spell of "gondar" for quenching flames can be found.

Gondar kills the dragon, but Krill simply summoned a demon which hacked me to bits. I reloaded and tried memorizing multiple spells, which worked - it seems you can prepare up to seven. Cleesh and vaxum both worked against the demon, leaving Krill alone to be gunchoed to oblivion.

Krill recoils as he hears the first words of the guncho spell. For a few seconds he continues with the spell he was casting, trying to finish before you. He fumbles some syllables! Then he steps back and, with his hands outstretched toward you, lets out a bloodcurdling scream. His face twisted, and his body vibrating with the effort of resisting the enchantment, he utters a spell of power, and is gone! After a quiet moment, a rumble begins deep in the earth. It strengthens as the tower starts to sway. The floor gives way beneath you and you tumble down towards the sea ... then you are surrounded by a burst of light.

You realize that you are with the Circle. The Eldest of the Circle, Belboz, rises and speaks: "The evil of Krill is ended this day. From beyond hope, you have proved yourself great and worthy. Our hearts are gladdened at your return." A chair appears at his right hand and he motions for you to sit beside him. He smiles warmly. "Join with us," he says, "and tell us of your quest!"

Here ends the first chapter of the Enchanter saga, in which, by virtue of your skills, you have joined the Circle of Enchanters. Further adventures await you as the Enchanter series continues.

Your score is 400 of a possible 400, in 443 moves.
This puts you in the class of Member of the Circle of Enchanters.


GAB rating: Above Average. Enchanter is well written and atmospheric, and I enjoyed its interconnected puzzles, which veered on the easy side but were mostly fair and a few quite clever, but the overall experience fell a bit short of enchanting me. What stands out to me most about Infocom's best games is the worldbuilding, which had internal consistency and logic while also feeling unique. Enchanter's world, even with its humor mocking generic fantasy game tropes, feels like one of the very generic fantasy game settings it satirizes, where you play the all too familiar role of the meek hero chosen to defeat the foozle who wants to conquer the world with dark sorcery. Most of the game is set in his castle, where the tools for his destruction are hidden throughout for some reason.

The final confrontation with Krill was, dare I say, a bit underwhelming too. You enter his tower, and his dragon attacks, so what do you do? The correct spell to use here is obvious if you've got it, but either way you've got to reload your saved game because if you have it, you probably didn't memorize it immediately before entering, and if you don't have it, then you'll have to find it. Same goes for his next minion, and then for Krill himself.

Enchanter is certainly a well crafted game, and at its best I found it pleasant to play through, but never as gripping as I wish it was.

My Trizbort map:


  1. I found the guarded door difficult too, back in the day.

    The clue is in the Enchanter manual it says something like wizards have a heightened susceptibility to spells cast by other. And that some spells that an ordinary (non-wizard) person wouldn't even notice, would have a major effect on a wizard.

    1. Huh, that's a good point. I even remember reading that and thinking it was probably important!

  2. When you sleep in the castle tower, you will have one of several dreams. Those dreams are hints to the several of the puzzles for which you went to the walkthrough.

    One dream shows a damsel playing with the bedpost of the bed in which you are sleeping. That's a hint to examine the bedpost and find the button that leads you to the "vaxum" scroll. According to the Invisiclues, you actually *can't* find this until you've had that particular dream (which I believe is always the first dream you have). That's why the game comments you wouldn't have found it "on your own" - your character was already hinted to do this via the dream.

    Another dream shows a series of faces, one of them glowing in the darkness. This is a hint to go into the gallery with no light (the gallery is a portrait gallery, thus, has a series of faces), so that you will find the one that is lit from behind.

    A third dream shows a "cartoon figure" climbing a stairway and opening a door. This is a clue (though in my opinion rather an oblique one) to lead the Zork adventurer up the stairs to the hideous door so he can open it. A further clue that he can open the door is that, if you lead him to that room, he looks around nonchalantly and doesn't react to the door at all. That door has an *illusion* spell on it - you're susceptible to it because you are also a wizard, but the adventurer is not, and so he sees the door for what it is: a plain wooden door. (That the illusion will actually kill you if you keep at it is, I think, a "your mind makes it real" situation.)

    There's also a dream about feeling something seems to be lost. That's a subtle clue indicating that you used the KULCAD spell in the wrong place (i.e., somewhere other than the infinite stair), and the dream only shows up if you have in fact done so.

    1. Serves me right for not paying attention to the dreams. I guess my mindset was that the need to eat, drink, and sleep was a mildly irritating interruption to whatever I was in the middle of doing (likely mapping or re-solving old challenges) and I was so overeager to return to the action that I subconsciously filtered out the dreams as background noise.

    2. I dont believe you have the damsel/bedpost dream until you actually sleep in the bed in the SW tower

      And, yes, you can't find the button until you have that dream


Most popular posts