Key & Compass presents:
Beneath: a Transformation
by Graham Lowther

Beneath: a Transformation is a Z-machine interactive fiction game written with Inform 6 and is © 2007 by Graham Lowther. It was an entry in IF Comp 2007 where it took 21st place.

In this Lovecraftian game inspired by the works of Robert E. Howard, you play as a poor resident of the rundown town of Stregoicavar. You want to continue reading your borrowed library book, Worms of the Earth, but the library's now closed, the sun is going down, and you have no more working light bulbs at home.

This solution is by David Welbourn, and is based on Release 1 of the game.

Map of Stregoicavar

Cell PetStore CoffeeShop LibrarySteps YourHouse Sidewalk Sidewalk,Downtown Sidewalk Sidewalk WindingStreet DirtRoad Junction Roof ofa BrickBuilding DirtRoad Front ofthe PoliceStation WoodlandPath Bottomof theCliff Backyard Clearing LargeTunnel Clearing Cave Ruin Conveni-ence Store BackInside theLibrary d d u se d u dig clay look in black stone


Library Steps

> x sign. x library. x steps. x street. x buildings.

> x me. i. x book. open book. (Light isn't good enough here.)

> x bag. open it. x fifty. x dime. x nickel.

> s.

Sidewalk (south of library)

> x fire-escape. x windows. x boards.

Ignore that glove somewhere far to the west; we'll pick it up later.

> e.

Sidewalk (east of library)

> x roof. e.

Winding Street

> x shack. x dirt. n.

Your House

> x futon. x bill. take it. put bill in bag.

> take nail. (You rip the board out of the wall instead.)

> x board. take it. x insulation.

> x rope. take rope.

> s. w. w. w.

Sidewalk, Downtown

> x police. x hill. x gas. x forest. x shop.

> w.

Sidewalk (west of downtown)

> x glove. take it. wear it.

> x mansion. (police station again)

> e.

Sidewalk, Downtown

> s. (The convenience store closes and you immediately leave.)

> ne.

Coffee Shop

> x chalk. take it. (No, not yours.)

> x clerk. x blackboard. (bagel 10¢; biscotti 5¢)

> x cabinet. look in it. x bagel. x biscotti.

> x counter. x table. x chair.

Don't buy the bagel, but do buy the biscotti. This is an excuse to be able to sit down and read here, and you'll need all your other money for the pet store.

> give nickel to woman. (She puts the biscotti on the counter.)

> take biscotti. eat it. (You should sit.)

> sit on chair. eat biscotti.

> open book.

You read almost half way before she evicts you from the shop and closes it. You now have two bookmarks in your book.

Sidewalk, Downtown

> nw.

Pet Store

Okay, it's really unclear from a narrative standpoint why you'd want to buy pets in the middle of the night when you just want to read a library book, but go with it.

> x man. x counter.

> x cage. (80¢) look in cage. x lab.

> ask man about lab. ("Name is Four-Feet. It'll fetch and smell things.)

> x tank. (5¢) look in tank. x tadpole.

> ask man about tadpole. (He thinks it's a fish.)

> x box. ($1.30) look in box. take box. (It hoots.)

Make sure you're wearing the glove when you ask:

> ask man about owl. (Name's Wilbur. He reduces its price to $1.)

> give dollar to man. (You now own an owl.)

> x owl.

You want to buy the lab as well, but to get the man to reduce its price, you'll need to be really good at guessing what topics he'll respond to. This is read-author's-mind territory.

> ask man about store. ask man about price.

> ask man about lab. ask man about smell. (Keen has a keen sense of smell?)

> ask man about keen. (salesman with parrot.)

> ask man about expenseorask man about parrot. (He reduces the price to 60¢ and lets the dog out.)

> give fifty to man. give dime to man. (The dog is yours and immediately goes outside.)

> out.

Sidewalk, Downtown

Your owl immediately flies away, but that's okay. It's now free to help you later. It's time to spend some time with your new dog, who follows you.

> e. e. e. e.

Dirt Road

The dog digs up a metal hook. The dog is very fond of it and will stay wherever you drop it.

> x hook. take it. tie rope to hook. x fields.

> w. w. w. w. w. sw. s.

Front of the Police Station

The dog starts making growling noises.

> x hedge. s. (Locked)

Careful! If you go with the dog to the southwest, you'll be immediately killed. So drop the hook here.

> drop hook. sw.

In the Backyard, you see a frail man complaining about a statue having negative effects on people to a cop who casually kills him with a nail file. Then the cop spots you and locks you in darkness. Minutes later, your dog (carrying the hook) is tossed in with you.


To survive here, you must have previously read some of the book in the coffee shop, and you also need the dog and its hook. Utterly impossible to guess you needed to set things up this way. Note also that the cop didn't take any of your inventory away.

> w. (The door's on that side.)

> e. (Small crack in wall. Something on right.)

> s. (Something on left.)

> se. (You touch polished stone.)

If you didn't read the book in the coffee shop, the game ends right now as you lose your sanity. Otherwise, you can suddenly see in the darkness.


> x crack. x door. x dark man. take hook.

Since you have "light" again, read more of your book, but not both bookmarks, because then you'll lose the light again.

> read page 57. (That bookmark slips away.)

> look through crack. (You see the hook and a pile of refuse.)

> x pile. (See a stuffed rabbit and a newspaper.)

The game is fussy about the next command. Although it seems like "put hook in crack" works, it doesn't.

> throw hook through crack. (The dog goes after it.)

> dog, fetch newspaper. (It brings the newspaper and rabbit into the cell.)

Ignore the newspaper, but take the hook and rabbit.

> take hook. (The dog comes back.)

> take rabbit. x it.

Now wait for the mad cop to return.

> z. z.

After X turns in the cell, the cop opens the door and bludgeons the dog to death. You should run directly to downtown:

> w. ne. n. ne. e.

Sidewalk, Downtown

Dark Man is now here.

> drop rabbit. (This is to attract our owl.)

> e.


> throw hook at railing. u.

Roof of a Brick Building

> z. (The owl moves the rabbit to the library steps.)

You now know that the owl acts four turns after you drop the rabbit.

Now wait until the map cop is completely gone from view:

> z. z. z. z. z. z. z. z. z.

Your timing must be exact, or this won't work. You need owl and cop to be at the same place. Quickly, get the rabbit back and head to downtown:

> d. n.

Library Steps

> take rabbit. s. w.

Sidewalk, Downtown

> drop rabbit. w.


> z. (The map cop moves into view.)

> z. z. (Owl attacks cop!)

> e.

Sidewalk, Downtown

> take file. e.


> swing rope. take hook. e. e. e. se. s.

Woodland Path

> x trees. x path. (which path?)

> x animal path. x overgrown road.

> sw.


> x stump. x branches.

> ne. e.

Bottom of the Cliff

The Dark Man is now here.

> x ancient man. x seat. x pit. x clay. x grass. x cliff.

> wake ancient man. (His name is Gonar.)

> x Dark Man. (It's staring at the clay.)

> throw hook at clay. (The rope now dangles into the pit.)

> d. (Gonar lets you enter the pit since the Dark Man is here.)

Large Tunnel

Careful. If you head southeast right away, you die.

> x movement. listen to murmur.

> file rusty nail with nail file.

> hit movement with board. (You now see smaller tunnels.)

> se.

Clearing (near ruin)

> x ruin. x trees. x cliff.

> s.


> x vines. x dark area. move vines.

> x lump. take lump. (A voice interrupts you.)

A transparent woman, who calls herself Atla, calls you a looter. Her brightness cycles from dimness to eery radiance.

> ask Atla about lump. ask Atla about Atla.

> ask Atla about Dark Man.

> ask Atla about Gonar.

> ask Atla about worms.

> z. (Continue waiting until Atla brightens to an "eery radiance".)

> read last page. (That bookmark slips away.)

Atla will now be more willing to answer questions.

> ask Atla about worms.

> ask Atla about stump. (She calls it the great canoe.)

> ask Atla about lump. (She warns you, then leaves.)

> look in lump. (No details.)

> take lump. look in stone.

Cave (on the floor)

> x me. (You've changed.) i. (Your inventory has not.)

> x cylinder. x black stone. x tunnels.

> dig clay. stand. n.

One thing left to do before you retire as a worm.

> dig clay.

Back Inside the Library

You return your borrowed book to the return bin.

*** THE END ***





You have an inventory limit of five items. You also can only buy things with exact amounts.

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