Key & Compass presents:
Berrost's Challenge
by Mark Hatfield

Berrost's Challenge is a TADS 2 interactive fiction game and is © 2008 by Mark Hatfield. It was an entry in IF Comp 2008 where it took 10th place.

Berrost has finally decided you should learn some spells, but he's also evicting you from his tower. So, as a test of your wit, you're to search the village for five hidden scrolls containing your new spells. Berrost will be watching your progress from his scrying room.

This solution is by David Welbourn, and is based on Version 1.0 of the game.

SPOILERS AHEAD. Reading a walkthrough prematurely can sometimes diminish one's enjoyment of an interactive fiction game. Please make an honest effort to play the game before reading this walkthrough.


Loft SpiceMill NorthRoad Cellar MineEntrance Mineshaft Wagon-yard Market NorthStreet Tavern SilverMine Site End ofMineshaft WestRoad WestStreet VillageSquare EastStreet EastRoad Bottom ofthe Well Guard-tower Herbalist SouthStreet Smithy DilapidatedFarmhouse StillFurtherDown Well Top of theGuard-tower Berrost'sTower SouthRoad AbandonedFarmstead Downthe Well FurtherDownthe Well u d z u z 2 d u d 1 z
  1. To enter the well, either jump in well or climb rope. Note that jumping in is fatal without wearing the ring, and climbing the rope is fatal if you've climbed the rope before.
  2. To leave the well, either climb rope or cast levitation on me. Note that climbing the rope is fatal if you've climbed the rope before and you lose 10 Wit if you levitate.



Berrost's Tower

> about. x me. i. x list. read list.

> x murals. ne.

South Street (between herbalist and smithy)

> x crow. x villagers. n.

Village Square

> x fountain. x statue. x water. (You see a glint.)

> search water. (You acquire a flooglemid.)

> n.

North Street (between market and tavern)

> x Grappler. x sign.

> e.


> x Silas. x sign. read sign.

> x trophies. x bar. x jerky. read placard.

> talk to Silas.

Learn that a scroll is in his cellar, but you have to beat Silas at thumbwresting to get it:

>> 1. d. 1. 1. 1. 1.

Purchase beef jerky for a coin.:

>> 2. 1.

End the conversation:

>> x

> d. thumbwrestle Silas. (You fail in seconds.)

> take shot glass.

> w. n.

North Road (outside millhouse)

Leave the berries for now; pick them later.

> x bush. x berries. (Birds eat them, but poison for humans.)

> w.

Spice Mill

> x golem. x wheel. x pile. x sacks.

> x crossbeam. x pole. x broom. eat pile.

> x ladder. u.


> x ledge. (Birds come here.) x vent.

> x table. look under table. (See a glass scroll tube.)

> take tube. (It's too far back. Need a snagging tool.)

> crawl under table. (You're too fat to fit.)

> x gloves. take gloves.

> d.

Spice Mill

You should watch the golem's routine; it's on a strict cycle:

You need to borrow the broom while the golem isn't using it, but put it back before it needs it; otherwise, the golem will pulp you to death. You have 8 turns to use the broom immediately after the golem drops it:

Let me tell you that you may need to try snagging the tube up to SEVEN times before you succeed. That means you need to borrow and return the broom twice. Timing is important, and your success at snagging is a bit randomized, so I can't say exactly when you succeed.

> save

> z. (Repeat waiting until the golem drops the broom.)

> take broom. u.


> snag tube with broom. g. g. g. d.

Spice Mill

> drop broom. z. z. z. z. z. z. (The golem drops the broom again.)

> take broom. u.


> snag tube with broom. g. g. (Success! The tube is yours.)

> d.

Spice Mill

> drop broom.

CAUTION: Dirty hands can ruin a scroll! Examine your hands before opening a scroll tube. If your hands are covered in oil or sludge or grease, go to the Town Square and wash your hands in the fountain first, then open the tube.

> x hands. open tube. take scroll. (+10)

> read scroll. (You memorize the Knock spell.)

> e. s. s. s. s. e.

Abandoned Farmstead

> x weeds. x well. x rope. x winch.

> turn crank. x bucket. x sludge.

> search sludge. (+3. You acquire a silver ring.)

> x ring. wear ring. jump. (You seem to float down.)

> x hands. (They're filthy.)

Don't go into the well yet; you need a light source first.

> ne.

Dilapidated Farmhouse

> x dog. (Game suggests a sleep potion from the herbalist.)

> x bones. x doghouse. x house. x sillboxes. x dirt. x chain.

> sw. w. n. n.

Village Square

> wash hands. search water. (You acquire another coin.)

> s. w.


> x herbalist. x pouches. x plants. x pipe.

> talk to herbalist.

You must have seen the dog first before you'll be able to ask about sleep potions and learn about slumberweed:

>> 2. 2. 2. x.

> n. w.

West Road

> x tower. (Was used vs. Red-Hand ogres.)

> s.


> x cot. x crack. look in crack.

> look under cot. x weeds. (It's slumberweed.)

> pull weeds. (+3)

> x trunk. x washbasin. x table. x chair. x cushion.

> x window. look through window. x ladder.

> u.

Top of the Guardtower

> x road. x village.

> x platform. x mount. x ballista. x bolt. x seat.

> x captain. x armor. x sword.

> talk to captain.

>> 1

>> 1 (Red Hand clan adorns their agents in red.)

>> 2 (He says he sleeps deeply on his cot.)

>> x

> d. n. e. s.


> talk to herbalist.

Buy a sleep potion with a flooglemid and slumberweed:

>> 2. 2. x.

Note that the potion must be poured on a dead animal which you feed to the dog. That annoying crow would be ideal. And the captain will shoot any animal with red on it. But how to make the crow red?

Also, you're starting to get hungry. Eat that beef jerky.

> eat jerky.

> e. e.


> x nail. take nail.

> x forge. x coals. x products. x scraps.

> search scraps. (The scraps are sharp.)

> wear gloves. search scraps. (+4; you acquire a shield.)

> x shield. x axe. x sword. x shovel. x scrape.

> x barrel. look in barrel. (Saltwater. Can't see the bottom.)

> search barrel. (You can't reach the bottom.)

> x Gonddol. x apron. x Gonddol's gloves. x anvil.

> talk to Gonddol.

>> 1 (He doesn't want to chat.)

> n. e. n.

Silver Mine Site

> x sign. read sign. x bucket. x brush.

> x tank. (It has oil; its spigot is wedged into the dirt.)

> push tank. look behind tank.

> take rock. x rock. drop rock.

> push tank. (It's now upright again.)

> x vegetation. x cave. x tools. x shelf.

> n.

Mine Entrance

> x webs. (Blocks the shaft.)

> x minecart. (Has handbrake. Missing a wheel.)

> x track. (They go downhill.)

The shield can work as a substitute wheel, but you can't install it just yet.

> x axle. put shield on axle. drop shield.

> look in cart. take helmet. x it. push button. (Needs oil.)

> pull brake. (Must be in the cart to use it.)

> x wheels. (Made of wood with steel bands on outer edges.)

> s.

Silver Mine Site

> put helmet on tray. x spigot. clean spigot. (Still clogged.)

> unclog spigot (with the nail).

> x handle. turn handle. (You fill the helmet with oil.)

> take helmet. wear it.

> i. (Hm, let's reduce our inventory a bit.)

> drop shot glass, gloves, tube, nail.

> take bucket. take brush.

Head back to the North Road, where you saw the berries:

> s. w. w. n. n.

North Road

> pick berries.

> w. u.


Did you remember the over-described vent and the ledge with bird droppings on it? The crow comes here.

> drop bucket. open it.

> dip brush in paint. paint vent. drop brush.

Note that you must place the berries on the ledge while the paint on the vent is still wet. If it dries, this trick won't work.

> put berries on ledge. (+4. The crow now has red wings.)

Now re-visit the Captain:

> d. e. s. s. w. w. s. u.

Top of the Guardtower

> talk to captain.

Tell the captain about the crow with red-painted wings:

>> 1. 1.

> z. (Continue to wait until the Captain shoots the crow: +5.)

> d. n.

West Road

> x crow. pour potion on crow. take crow.

Return to the dog at the farmhouse:

> e. e. s. s. e. ne.

Dilapidated Farmhouse

> give crow to dog. (+5. The dog sleeps.)

> search bones. (You take a bone scroll tube.)

> x hands. open tube. take scroll. (+10)

> read scroll. (You learn the Telekinesis spell.)

> drop tube. sw.

Abandoned Farmstead

Now that you're wearing a magic ring and a working miner's helmet, you can now safely visit the bottom of the well and get back out again.

> turn crank. (Now the bucket and rope are lowered again.)

> push button. (Helmet lamp now on.)

> jump in well.

Down the Well

> z.

Further Down the Well

> z.

Still Further Down the Well

> z.

Bottom of the Well

> take cork tube. climb rope.

Abandoned Farmstead

> push button. (Helmet lamp now off.)

> x hands. open cork. take scroll. (+10)

> read scroll. (You memorize the Sleep spell.)

> drop cork.

Visit the market next:

> w. n. n. n. w.


> x vendors. x sweetbreads. x pies. x stews. x corn. x pit.

> w.


> x wheel. x saw. x wrench. x jug. x hammer. x tin. x teamster.

> x horses. x wagon. x elm. x stable. x gate.

> talk to teamster.

>> 1 (You need to listen.)

>> x (Stop talking.)

Yes, you need to literally LISTEN to what noises the teamster makes when he uses his tools. For the next several turns:

After you've heard at least three of these, try talking to the teamster again.

> talk to teamster.

>> 1 (He offers a tool for your help.)

>> 1 (Okay.)

>> 1 (Okay.)

>> x (Stop talking.)

Now you have to wait until he asks for a tool by its sound and give it to him. For the next several turns:

Eventually he'll complete his task and you can take one of the tools. Except the only tool he's willing to let you leave with is the tin of axle grease. So take that one.

> take tin. e. (+3)


You're peckish again. Go get another coin and buy another beef jerky and eat it.

> e. s.

Village Square

> search water. (You find a coin.)

> e. n.


> talk to Silas. 2. 1. x. eat jerky.

Return to the minecart:

> s. e. n. n.

Mine Entrance

> put grease on axle. put shield on axle. (+4)

> enter cart. push button. pull lever.


Dead end ahead!

> push lever.

End of Mineshaft

You and your stuff are scattered. You can leave the tin of grease here.

> out. take tube. take list.

> x hands. open tube. take scroll.

> read scroll. (You memorize the Levitation spell.)

> drop tube.

> n. w. s.

Silver Mine Site

> push button. (Turn the helmet off.)

> put shot glass on tray. turn handle. (+4; shot glass filled with oil.)

> take glass. pour oil on thumb. drop glass.

Return to Silas:

> s. w. n.


With an oily thumb, you can win the thumbwrestling match.

> thumbwrestle Silas. (+4)

> d.

In the dark / Cellar

> push button. look.

> x stones. x casks. x rack. x chest.

> open chest. (It's locked.)

> u.


> push button. talk to Silas.

>> 3 (He'll give you the key if you win at normal wrestling.)

>> x

Return to the spice mill:

> w. n. w.

Spice Mill

> take spice. (You have a pinch of spice.)

> e. s. e.


> wrestle Silas.

> throw spice at Silas. pin Silas. (+6)

> talk to Silas.

>> 2 (You demand the key. He gives it.)

>> x

> x key. push button. d.


> unlock chest with key.

> open chest. take ivory tube.

> x hands. (Oops, the oil is still there!)

> u. push button. s. w.

Village Square

> wash hands.

> open tube. take scroll. (+10)

> read scroll. (You memorize the Fireball spell.)

> drop tube.

> s. sw.

Berrost's Tower

Berrost is now here.

> x Berrost. talk to Berrost.

>> 1 (I found your scrolls.)

>> 1 (What task?)

>> 1 (What council?)

>> 1 (What journey?)

The game is now over. Thank you for playing.

Oddly, the game lets you continue playing. There's no prompt to RESTART, RESTORE, QUIT, etc.

> quit





You start with your Concentration at 100%.

Hunger affects your Concentration. You lose 5% at 1:21pm if you haven't eaten by then, and lose 5% at intervals afterwards. Eating something, like the beef jerky, restores your Concentration to 100%. If you need to eat more than once, buy more beef jerky.

Sleepiness affects your Concentration. You lose 5% around 9:45pm. If you really must sleep, you can rent a room in the tavern for a coin.

I didn't bother to investigate how a low Concentration percentage affects you, since it's very easy to keep it at maximum. But according to the CAST spellname ON target paragraph in the response to ABOUT, a low Concentration means that there's a chance that your spells will fail when you cast them. For example, if your Concentration is 60%, there's a 60% chance your spells will succeed, and a 40% chance your spells will fail.

But since we're trying not to cast spells, this entire fiddly business with Concentration seem a bit moot. Just eat some jerky when you're hungry and you'll be fine.


From the response to CREDITS:

Thanks to my playtesters:



You have a bulk limit of 12 and a weight limit of 12. I confess I didn't figure out the bulk and weight for everything; just lighten your load if you're near a limit, and you'll be fine.

Scroll tubes and scrolls

All scroll tubes have bulk 2 and weight 1. Scrolls disappear after you read them, so feel free to discard their tubes afterwards.

CAUTION: A scroll can be damaged if your hands aren't clean when you take it from its tube! If your hands have sludge, oil, or grease on them, go to the Village Square and wash your hands first!

Other items


The response to SCORE or WIT is:

In a total of H hours and M minutes, your Wit is your-wit out of a possible 100.

This makes you ranking.

Wit is awarded (or penalized) as follows:

The possible rankings are:


The SPELLS command lists your known spells. Examine a spell to learn more about it. Note that you're trying not to use any spells at all, but they can be used if you don't care about your score.

You start with 50 manna and a maximum of 50 manna. This is a special type of energy used when casting spells.

Thumbwrestling tips

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