Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Beyond Zork: Closing In

All right, in an effort to finish up Beyond Zork, I thought I'd craft a half-posting, half-note summary that will help me identify the areas with which I'm still having problems. This is going to get pretty detailed, so skip along to something else if you don't want to learn about the ins and outs of Quendor. I've noted when there are quests or puzzles I can't solve yet.

East Village

This is the name I've given for the beginning area. It consists of a hilltop with an oak tree--one of several oak trees under which the minx finds a truffle once you have him. Nearby is the edge of storms, which I cannot initially pass until I visit the Plane of Atrii and get a goblet from the implementors. I can pick a bit of spenseweed here to heal the pterodactyl later. Down a hill to the east is the wharf, where I can talk to a mysterious sailor creating a painting and find a shillelagh (club) bobbing in the river.

Down the road to the south is "Ye Rusty Lantern, A Public House." The rusty lantern in question is hanging outside, and I take it for use in dungeons; it is renewed with the Scroll of Renewal. The main room has a bearskin rug which I take and use to defeat the dornbeast in the lighthouse. There are a group of bandits who throw a rusty dagger at you that you can renew with the same scroll. There doesn't seem to be anything else to do with the bandits. In the kitchen is the cook who asks me to retrieve a bottle of wine from the cellar in exchange for a giant onion. For some reason, the cook (or maybe one of the bandits?) locks me in the cellar.

In the cellar, I find a scroll that will renew my lantern and allow it to last more than a few minutes (my intelligence must be high enough to read it, though; I got trapped down here once when it wasn't). I also find a bottle of wine at the top of a stack and kill three monsters: a rat-ant, a skeleton, and a discipline crab. There are minor treasures I can sell for zorkmids. There's a bit of moss to squeeze and improve my dexterity, and an amulet that temporarily boosts my strength so I can bash open the locked door (I don't need the amulet if I set my strength high enough in the beginning, but that would come at a sacrifice to other stats).

In the north part of the village is a lighthouse whose entrance opens once I answer a riddle about lightning. There are several foes inside: a spider which I just kill; a giant slug which I kill by throwing salt on it (found up the road a bit); a dust bunny which I kill by hauling in the rug from the tavern, rubbing my feet on it, and touching it; and a dornbeast which I don't think I can kill (I tried for a while), but I can incapacitate by cutting the giant onion in his presence. The dornbeast guards a magical chest that, when opened, transports the opener to the Plane of TransInfinite Splendor, where unicorns roam. There are other assorted treasures in the lighthouse.

Plane of TransInfinite Splendor

I visit this location after opening the chest from the lighthouse. I meet some unicorns who are very unhappy at their treatment over the centuries at the hands of humans, and they warn me not to return. If I do, they consign me to a fate worse than death. I don't think there's anything else I can do in this place but send the monkey grinder here.


Accardi is a little village north of the lighthouse. There is a weapons shop here, as well as the abandoned Guild of Enchanters. A little fairy refuses me entrance to the guild, but it isn't long before a monkey grinder appears and kills the fairy. He then tries to kill me, and the only way I've been able to defeat him is to give him the chest and watch him get transported to the Plane of TransInfinite Splendor and, presumedly, a grisly fate. In the abandoned guild, I find a wand of dispel whose use I haven't determined yet.


The moors are south of the village. Here, an eldritch vapor tries to alternately kill me and steal my items. A guttersnipe also attacks me. There are scattered random treasures. In a mud flat, a pterodactyl is wounded with an arrow through his wing. Helping him involves putting him to sleep with the hurdy-gurdy, taking the arrow out, and healing him with a spenseweed from the edge-of-storms area. I can then take his whistle and use it to summon him three times to give me a ride. So far, I'm not sure exactly where I need to ride to, but I think it's the castle I can see from a distance but not find.


Borphee is a village south of the moors. There is an armor shop and a stable containing a unicorn. There is also an amusement ride called a skyway that gives me a ride over the Miznia Jungle.

The unicorn locked in the stable gives a good example of the different ways you can do things in Beyond Zork, unlike its predecessors. Your ultimate goal is to free the unicorn from the stable, partly so you can get compassion points, but partly so you can get in and take the saddle you need for the pterodactyl. You can free her by (a) breaking the gate, either with the aforementioned amulet or just through your own raw strength; (b) pointing the wand of levitation at her and bringing her over the top of the gate; or (c) giving her the chest and letting her open it, returning her to her own land.

Gurth City

When you first visit Gurth City, a vendor drops a fish cake which I eat for a boost to my intelligence statistic. The Magic Shoppe contains a number of useful items, but more important, the old woman who runs it identifies all of the various items I have found. Among the items she sells may be potions that raise my stats and a rabbit's foot that raises my luck.

One of the items she sells is a really expensive hourglass, but I'm not sure what to do with it.

Puzzles remaining:
  • Uses for hourglass


There is a forest north of Gurth City in which I am attacked by a cruel puppet and, after him, a hellhound. The staff/rod/wand of annihilation comes in handy here. There is a clearing in which a riddle gives me access to a "pool of etermal youth," which is nice and all but I didn't expect the game to take that long. this where I put the truffles to keep them from spoiling? Confirmed. Damn it. I knew typing this out would help. But then what do I do with the truffles?

North of the forest is Zeno's Bridge, which I can never cross--I can only get closer and closer to the other end. If I get stuck on it, I have to use an umbrella (conveniently there) to jump off and float to safety. The ruins are on the other side, but I can only get to them with the Scroll of Gating or on the back of the pterodactyl.

Puzzles remaining:
  • What do do with the truffles after I use them in the pool of eternal youth.

Miznia Jungle

I access Miznia Jungle by boarding a skycar in Borphee and riding it until I can jump to a support tower and climb down (to the tut of the disapproving conductor). Foes include a bloodworm and a crocodile, which I dispatch with my sword. There are scattered treasures. In a pit of quicksand, a baby hungus is sinking, and I must use my rod/wand of levitation to get him out, but first I need to agitate his mother to chasing me to a nearby idol. She serves as a counterbalance on the bottom of the idol as I climb to the top and extract a valuable jewel. She ends up eating the jewel, but a wand of eversion turns her inside out long enough for me to retrieve it. I can then levitate the baby to safety for some compassion points.


The village of Thriff is south of the jungle. It is here I can save a minx from a group of hunters by erasing his footprints in the snow. Later, beneath the roots of oak trees, he will dig up truffles for me.

The village is threatened by Christmas Tree Monsters, kept at bay only by a glyph in the swiftly-melting snow. Occupants of a nearby chapel are in a tizzy about this, and a "Cardinal Toolbox" has a sermon on the issue. He is guarding a reliquary that I assme I need at some point. The monsters cannot be killed by weapons or magic. It would seem that I must scare them off with a caterpillar (this is the manual's clue), and Jason Dyer said that I could "make" a caterpillar, but I haven't found how to do that yet. I can also see a castle in the distance but can't seem to reach it.

Puzzles remaining:
  • How to find or make a caterpillar so I can get past the Christmas Tree monsters
  • How to reach the castle in the distance

Ethereal Plane of Atrii

I reach the plane by using the Scroll of Gating (found in a random location), and from here I can travel quickly to other parts of the map, but it's a bad idea to use it for travel because you only get so many chances to visit. I finally figured out the "vague outline" from the treasure chest turns into a "phase blade" when I visit the plane. I can use it to cut what is another "vague outline" blocking my path, thus allowing me to visit the court of the Implementors.

The Implementors, who alternately insult and ignore me, are clearly intended to represent the game's creators. They make fun of me for any errors I made in spelling earlier. As I watch them mess around with the Coconut of Quendor, an ur-grue suddenly appears and steals it. They task me with retrieving it--thus the main quest begins well into the game! They also give me a goblet to get me past the fields of lightning below.

Fields of Frotzen

The Fields of Frotzen are accessible once I have the goblet from the implementors. The place consists of several fields of scarecrows with angry corbies (giant crows, basically) circling overhead.

Oh, hell! There's a butterfly here! How come I didn't see it before? Clearly, I'm supposed to do something with the butterfly to turn it into a caterpillar. Wait...doesn't this happen the other way around? He was easy enough to catch: he just landed on my goblet and I stuffed him in my pack. Jesus, do I have to tear his wings off?

Elsewhere is an area that I can't access because the corbies block my path. I can't figure a way through or around them. I'm guessing from the manual that I need to be carrying something of a particular color to scare them, but I can't find anything.

Puzzles remaining:
  • How to turn the butterfly into a caterpillar, if that's what I have to do.
  • How to get past the corbies blocking the north exit


The ruins are north of Zeno's Bridge and accessible from the Ethereal Plane of Atrii or by flying on the pterodactyl. There's a spade here, but I'm not sure what I'm supposed to dig for. A ghoul and an undead warrior attack me; the latter is defeated with a vial of holy water.

I feel like there must be something else to do in the ruins other than defeat the undead and collect treasures. I'm not sure what it is. I'm guessing it has something to do with the hourglass, perhaps turning back time, given the way the game keeps emphasizing what the place must have looked like in its heyday, and the manual talks about it, too. But nothing I do seems to have any effect.

Puzzles remaining:
  • What to do in the ruins

Here are a few miscellaneous notes I've discovered:

  • There are potions of death and forgetfulness in the game. Their outcomes are predictable if I drink them. I'm not sure if there's a place to use these on someone else.
  • There are many ways you can attack foes, like a spider, including "ATTACK SPIDER WITH SWORD," "KILL SPIDER WITH SWORD," "HIT SPIDER WITH SWORD," and so on. Searching through the documentation, I found that THRUST AT is also a command, and I tried it out, and it seems to result in a hit way more often than any of the other commands. I don't know if this is a bug or not.
  • One of the scrolls you find is a Scroll of Fireworks that, when you read it, gives you the credits for the game.
  • You hardly ever kill any monsters; instead, you wound them enough that they slink away.
  • If you swear, the game reduces your intelligence

That's about the size of it. I feel like I'm pretty close, especially now that I've found that butterfly. I'm going to let my brain mull all of this while I play a little more Dungeon Master, but hopefully we can have a "won!" posting soon.


  1. That butterfly one is SIMPLE!

    Here's a tip: A caterpillar is WHAT in relation to a butterfly?

    I am terrible at phrasing vague hints so I might have actually just made things more difficult but I CARE NOT.

  2. I just received a package in the mail: a shrink-wrapped copy of TELENGARD (Commodore 64 + Atari version). I paid $30 for it on Ebay.

    I'm still struggling with whether or not I should break the shrinkwrap and open it.

    I confess that I played a pirated copy back in the day, so I suppose it's a good thing that I now legally own it.

    So, should I break the shrinkwrap or not? Should the game remain in it's shrink-wrap coffin forever?

  3. One of the puzzles you mention in an area is a solution to a puzzle in a different area.

    re: shrink-wrapping dilemma, I would say the buck stops here and bust that sucker open. But that's because when I buy an old game I buy it to keep it and enjoy it as a game, not for some supposition of future value.

    But it's your choice and if there's nothing remarkable inside (just a disk and a manual you already have a PDF of) then it's not as much a worry.

  4. For what it's worth, it is in fact possible to kill the dornbeast by just attacking it repeatedly while it's incapacitated (although you need to cut a fresh gash in the onion once in a while to keep it incapacitated). But it takes a while and it doesn't confer any benefits other than some additional XP.

  5. re: shrink-wrap dilemma

    What I think I'll do is bust it open when I play it sometime this weekend. It is the datassette version, so I'll actually physically load it the old-fashioned way. But cassettes are notoriously unreliable and I'll be surprised if it works at all. Failing that, I'll just load it from floppy disk.

  6. I think I know what to do about the butterfly - and it seems very simple indeed! Can't wait to see if I'm correct...

  7. Yeah, the butterfly one stands out to me too. My vague hint, is that you already know what to do with it. In fact, you've done it before.

    As for the bridge... is there any way to carve a line in it, perhaps, ahead of you, creating a new mid-point to bridge? I hope that doesn't constitute a hint, as it's only guesswork on my part, having never played the game. Are you cool with guess submissions? Is this a collaborative playthrough?


  8. I solved the caterpillar problem, but I disagree that it was SIMPLE, especially if you don't realize that you can put stuff in the hurdy-gurdy.

    ROQ, keep it in its shrinkwrap for the historical value and play a abandonware version.. Your conscience is in the clear because you bought it.

    JS, I don't think the bridge is a problem. The ruins are on the other side, and I can reach them a couple of other ways. I think the bridge itself is just supposed to be a joke. But yes, I'm cool with guesses! I need to finish this one, and I'm still stumped on a number of puzzles (see the new posting).


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