Key & Compass presents:
The Bibliophile
by Marshal Tenner Winter

The Bibliophile is a Glulx interactive fiction game written with Inform 7 and is © 2014 by Marshal Tenner Winter. It was an entry in Spring Thing 2014 but disqualified from the competition. The official reason given was "due to an unsuccessful attempt by its author to manipulate the competition results." This was hotly denied and disputed by the author, but the disqualification stood.

In this game, you play as Mr. Troy Albert Higgins, a humble bookstore owner in Baltimore's Mount Vernon district. Your quiet life is interrupted by the discovery of an obscure Italian libretto, which you'll eventually learn is key to summoning a cosmic horror that will destroy the world. To prevent this summoning, you find yourself drafted to be the reluctant hero of this story, even learning a few spells to help you succeed.

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


Map 1: Higgins Bookstore

u u Back ofStore LowerRoom UpstairsOffice Among theBooks Front ofStore d d OutsideBookstore

Map 2: Mount Vernon

u AasimAhlaan's Sewers Coffey'sTownhome SevernApts HigginsBook-store Engineer'sClub PeabodyLibrary PeabodySchool (to photo-graphystore) (into alley) (to CRINEL) (into club) (into Agora) (insidechurch) (ShapiroHouse) (intoAsianWing) (intoWaltersMuseum) d OutsidePhoto-graphy NearAlley OutsideCRINELAdvert'g StreetCorner Inter-section StreetCorner OutsideCoffey'sTownhome WestBranchAlley AlleyInter-section OutsideAasimAhlaan's WestBranchAlley NorthernPark EastBranchAlley OutsidetheSevern StreetCorner OutsideBook-store OutsideMt VernonClub OutsideAgoraPublish'g StreetCorner Statueof Taney StreetCorner OutsideMethodistChurch FountainPark West StoneFountain FountainPark East WashingtonMonument PeabodyStatue GrassyPark West GrassyPark East Sidewalk OutsideEngineer'sClub Sidewalk StreetCorner GeorgeWashing-ton Statue StreetCorner OutsideConserv-atory Bldg Sidewalk Sidewalk StreetCorner OutsideAsianWing Dog ParkNorth Sidewalk Sidewalk OutsideWaltersMuseum Dog ParkEast OutsideShapiroHouse StreetCorner GatedEntrance StreetCorner

Map 3: Peabody Library

AuxiliaryStorage T-Junction u LibraryLobby ExhibitionGallery ReadingRoom BasementStairs CateringStagingArea LibraryOffice Bottom ofStairwell BasementCorridor CardCatalogs BasementCorridor BasementCorridor OrganizedClutter StorageRoom OutsideConserv-atory Bldg d

Map 4: Your Apartment at The Severn

(more hall) (via elevator) YourBedroom LivingRoom YourBathroom KitchenArea SecondFloorHall SevernLobby OutsidetheSevern

Map 5: Coffey's Townhome

u (to balcony) OutsideCoffey'sTownhome SittingRoom TownhomeFoyer Coffey'sDen Down-stairsLibrary Coffey'sKitchen DiningRoom UpstairsHall Down-stairsBathroom UpstairsBathroom UpstairsBedroom d

Map 6: Aasim Ahlaam's

WellChamber Priest'sChamber DarkAlcove SteepStairs CrampedStore OutsideAasimAhlaam's

Map 7: Peabody School of Music

GatedEntrance StudentAuditorium StudentDorm Dorm Hall AuditoriumLobby DormLobby Dorm Hall ArboredWalk StudentSquare StudentDorm

Map 8: Engineer's Club and Secret Tunnels

d RicketyStaircase SlopingPassage SecretTunnel A NarrowPlace ClubBathroom West Hall Member'sFoyer East Hall CampbellRoom KoffelRoom SouthHall AshraeRoom Member'sBar BilliardRoom u SlickLedge OutsideEngineer'sClub

Map 9: Sewers and Washington Museum

(moresewers) Inter-section RicketyStaircase UnderneathManhole End ofHall BasementHall EmployeeBreakroom BasementCorner BasementHall Back ofMuseum UtilityRoom WestSide ofMuseum Center ofMuseum EastSide ofMuseum Front ofMuseum d u d AnotherJunction LongTunnel TightSqueeze TunnelJunction DrippingPassage CurvingTunnel SlimyTunnel PlankLedge SlickLedge SlickLedge SlickLedge SlickLedge Janitor'sCloset u d u


The game's story is rather linear. You'll be focused on these tasks in this order:

On Monday:

On Tuesday:

On Wednesday:

Three tasks are particularly dangerous; you should save the game before attempting them. You can also be threatened by shamblers appearing in the sewers, but just cast shrivel on shambler to scare one away.

Note also that time doesn't advance until you complete certain tasks, so if nothing is attacking or threatening you, feel free to explore and examine the scenery as much as you like.


Among the BooksHiggins Bookstore

I suggest examining the cat first since it might wander off. Renaming the cat is optional.

> help. x cat. name cat Smoky.

> x me. i.

> x phone. x bookstore key. x apartment key.

> x bookshelves. x books.

> s.

Front of StoreHiggins Bookstore

> x door. x windows. look through windows.

> n.

Going north from Front of Store is the trigger for the arrival of Agents Long and Short. They want to know if you have an old Italian libretto called "Massa Di Requiem Per Shuggay".

> x Long. x Short.

> ask Short about libertto.

> n. u.

Upstairs OfficeHiggins Bookstore

> take satchel. open it. look in it. (empty) wear it.

> x scattered. x stacked.

> sit on chair. x laptop. x stickers. open laptop.

It now wants a password.

> think. (You remember the password is now "kublakhan".)

> type kublakhan (Don't use a period at the end of TYPE commands.)

> type massa (Not in stock.)

> close laptop.

> stand. d. s.

Front of StoreHiggins Bookstore

> tell Short about libretto. (The agents leave.)

> n. n. d.

Lower RoomHiggins Bookstore

> x damaged. x unsorted.

> search unsorted. (You've found a fourth copy of the libretto!)

> x massa.

You now want to talk to Dr. Coffey at the Peabody Library about the libretto.

> put libertto in satchel.

> u. s. s. s.

Outside BookstoreMount Vernon

> close door. lock door (with the bookstore key).

Feel free to sightsee and explore all of Mount Vernon if you like. Game time only advances on the completion of your current goal. But for this walkthrough, we'll be ignoring the Mount Vernon scenery:

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

Library LobbyPeabody Library

> x woman. ask woman about Coffey. e.

Exhibition GalleryPeabody Library

> x manuscripts. s. s.

Catering Staging AreaPeabody Library

> knock on office door. e.

Library Office

> x Coffey. ask about libretto.

He tells you not to tell anyone about your libretto, then asks you to fetch a locked briefcase from the auxilary storage room in the basement.

> i. x storage key. x basement key.

> w.

Catering Staging AreaPeabody Library

> unlock basement door (with the basement key).

> w. d. e.

Basement CorridorPeabody Basement

You can ignore any sounds of footsteps in this basement. They are just for atmosphere.

> take club. e.

Card CatalogsPeabody Basement

You may want to amuse yourself by searching the catalog here.

> x catalog. search it. g. g.

> s. s.

Storage RoomPeabody Basement

You can ignore the tables, chairs, and desks here. Walk through the western darkness:

> w. w.

Organized ClutterPeabody Basement

> search boxes. x flashlight.

> turn on flashlight. e.

T-JunctionPeabody Basement

> unlock door. (with the storage key. But the key breaks.)

> break door with club. n.

Auxiliary StoragePeabody Basement

> search shelves. search boxes. search crates.

> x briefcase.

> s. w. turn off light. n. n. u. e. e.

Library OfficePeabody Library

> give case to Coffey. (He opens the case and gives you a spellbook.)

> ask about Dennison. (He wants to summon a cosmic horror via music.)

New task: Either go home or to your bookstore to study your new volume.

> x volume.

> put volume, flashlight, club, phone in satchel.

> drop basement key.

> w. n. n. w. n.

Outside Conservatory BuildingMount Vernon

> w. nw. nw. w. w. w. w. n. e.

Severn LobbyThe Severn Apartment

> x sofa. x fern. n. (You take the elevator to...)

Second Floor HallThe Severn Apartment

> unlock door (with apartment key). n.

Kitchen AreaYour Apartment

> close door. lock it. n.

Living RoomYour Apartment

Explore your apartment, if you like, but return here when you're done.

> sit on chair. x volume. read volume.

You've learned CAST MEND WOUND. It's now Monday evening.

> answer phone. (Has Coffey been attacked?)

Head to Coffey's townhouse:

> stand. s.

Kitchen AreaYour Apartment

> unlock door. s.

Second Floor HallThe Severn Apartment

> close door. lock door.

> s. w. n. n. e. e. e. e. e. e.

Outside Coffey's TownhomeMount Vernon

The door is unlocked and looks bashed open. There's going to be trouble.

> x door. save.

> s.

Townhome FoyerCoffey's House

This next part of the game is randomized. There are two thugs that wander around the first floor rooms. You need to find both thugs and knock them out by hitting them more than once with your club.

For purposes of illustration in this walkthrough, let's assume where the thugs are and which way the fights go.

Okay, let's pretend that the large thug is in this room and that you always succeed in hitting him and that he luckily misses you:

> hit large thug with club. g. (He's down.)

> e.

Coffey's DenCoffey's House

> take opener. s.

Dining RoomCoffey's House

Let's assume the lean thug is here, but this time he wins the battle:

> hit lean thug with club. (You're hit and wake up in...)

Downstairs BathroomCoffey's House

> cast mend wounds. nw. (locked)

> hit door. g. g. g. (The door is now open.)

> nw.

Coffey's KitchenCoffey's House

Let's assume the lean thug is here now, and this time we win:

> hit lean with club. g. g. (He falls.)

> health. cast mend wounds.

> w.

Downstairs LibraryCoffey's House

At this point, both thugs should be down and you should have the letter opener before continuing. If you want to snoop around Coffey's home, now's the time.

> u. se.

Upstairs Bedroom Coffey's House

Dennison orders you to put the libretto on the desk.

> put libretto on desk.

> x Dennison. ask Dennison about libretto. (He leaves via flying creature.)

> talk to Coffey.

> ask about flying creature.

> ask about errand.

You need to first go home and study the volume more, then sleep. Tomorrow, visit Aasim Ahlaam in West Branch Alley and ask him for a book called Africa's Dark Sects.

> nw. d. e. n. n.

Outside Coffey's TownhomeMount Vernon

> w. w. w. w. w. w. s. s. e. n.

Second Floor HallThe Severn Apartment

> unlock door. n.

Kitchen AreaYour Apartment

> close door. lock door. n.

Living RoomYour Apartment

> sit on chair.

> study volume. (You learn CAST SHRIVEL ON SOMEONE.)

It's now Tuesday morning. Time to visit Aasim.

> stand. s.

Kitchen AreaYour Apartment

> unlock door. s.

Second Floor HallThe Severn Apartment

> close door. lock it.

> s. w. n. e. e.

Outside Aasim Ahlaam'sBack Alleys

> save.

> x window. x art. n.

Cramped StoreAasim Ahlaam's Store

Note: Although this walkthrough has you cast shrivel on your foes because it's quick, it's simple, and it works, I realize that some players might have qualms about killing people so thoughtlessly just to get some book.

Like, you are trying to save the world and they are trying to kill you, but maybe you don't feel like murdering anyone today?

So, if you don't want to kill Silas, I suggest just waiting in the store after asking about Africa's Dark Sects. Eventually, he'll hit you and you'll wake up in the Well Chamber. Immediately cast mend wounds because an insane man there will be trying to kill you next.

Oh, and when it's time to leave, the backroom door will be conveniently unlocked and Silas will be gone, so you won't have to deal with either of those issues on the way out.

> x artifacts. x Silas.

> talk to Silas. ask about Aasim Ahlaam. ask about himself.

> ask about Africa's Dark Sects. (He blows a dust in your face and threatens you with a cane.)

> cast shrivel on Silas. (He's gone.)

> look. take store key.

> w. unlock backroom (with the store key).

> w. w. n.

Well ChamberAasim Ahlaam's Store

The insane man will attack you soon after you arrive here. Heal yourself first, if you haven't already from your dealings with Silas, and wait for this man to make an aggressive move against you. Opening the well counts as aggressive.

If you don't care to shrivel this guy, fight him conventionally by hitting him with the club. Make sure to heal yourself whenever he hits you.

When the chakota arrives, play drum immediately to dismiss it. You can wait until the battle with the insane man is over before closing the well.

Also, when the battle is over, remember to heal yourself before continuing to the priest's chamber to the east.

> x man. talk to man.

Just after he opens the well:

> cast shrivel on man. z. play drum. close well.

> e.

Priest's ChamberAasim Ahlaam's Store

You don't have to shrivel this priest either, even though it's expedient. You can, instead, hit him with your club over and over until he's unconscious.

Note that the priest can use pain spells and his fists to wound you, but you can (and should) heal yourself immediately afterwards with cast mend wounds.

> cast shrivel on priest.

> health. cast mend wounds.

> x mattress. look under mattress. (You find the book!)

> x sects. put sects in satchel. drop store key.

> w. s. e. e. s.

Outside Aasim Ahlaam'sBack Alleys

> e. n. e. e. e.

Outside Coffey's TownhomeMount Vernon

> knock on door. s.

Townhome FoyerCoffey's House

> give Sects to Coffey.

Greedily, he tells you to go study your book while he'll study his.

> topics. ask Coffey about Azathoth. (A cosmic horror.)

> n. w. w. w. w. w. w. s. s. e. n.

Second Floor HallThe Severn Apartment

> unlock door. n.

Kitchen AreaYour Apartment

> close door. lock door. n.

Living RoomYour Apartment

> sit on chair.

> study volume. (You learn CAST PSYCHOMETRY ON SOMETHING.)

It's now Tuesday evening. Your phone rings.

> answer phone.

Coffey tells you the Dennsion has kidnapped four musicians from the Peabody School. Sergeant Fletcher of the police will expect you there.

> cast psychometry on volume. put volume in satchel.

> stand. s.

Kitchen AreaYour Apartment

> unlock door. s.

Second Floor HallThe Severn Apartment

> close door. lock door. s. w.

Outside the SevernMount Vernon

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

Washington MonumentMount Vernon

> se. s. s. s. e.

Gated EntranceMount Vernon

> n.

Arbored WalkPeabody School

> talk to Fletcher. ask about kidnapping.

> n.

Auditorium LobbyPeabody School

> x posters. x stub. take stub.

> cast psychometry on stub. (One of a pair for a first date.)

> drop stub. n.

Student AuditoriumPeabody School

> talk to Brown. ask about kidnapping. (Victim was a drummer.)

> x drumstick. take it.

> cast psychometry on drumstick. (You see the kidnapping.)

> drop drumstick. s. s. e. n.

Dorm LobbyPeabody School

> talk to Stewart. ask about kidnapping.

> e. s.

Student DormPeabody School

> x bong. take it. cast psychometry on bong.

> drop bong. n. n. w.

Student DormPeabody School

> x bear. take it. cast psychometry on it.

> drop bear.

> x textbook. take it. read it.

> cast psychometry on textbook.

It's now midnight. Fletcher says it's time to go.

> drop textbook.

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

Gated EntranceMount Vernon

> w. n. n. n. nw. nw. w. w. w. w. n. e. n.

Second Floor HallThe Severn Apartment

> unlock door. n.

Kitchen AreaYour Apartment

> close door. lock door. n. n.

Your BedroomYour Apartment

> enter bed.

You sleep. It's now Wednesday morning and your phone is ringing.

> answer phone.

It's Coffey. He wants to meet you at the Engineer's Club.

> s. s.

Kitchen AreaYour Apartment

> unlock door. s.

Second Floor HallThe Severn Apartment

> close door. lock door.

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

Outside Engineer's ClubMount Vernon

> s.

Member's FoyerEngineer's Club

> talk to young man. ask about Coffey. (In the bar to the south.)

> s. s. w.

Member's BarEngineer's Club

> talk to Coffey. ask about recent developments.

> ask about pillars.

You learn the students are held in the closed museum in Washington's Monument. You're to find a secret door to the sewers from this building and reach the museum that way to rescue the students. Coffey will be destroying one of the pillars above ground. He leaves.

> talk to bartender.

"Care for a drink, sir?" no

> ask bartender about secret door. (suggests fireplace in the Ashrae room)

Feel free to explore the Engineer's Club if you like, but I'm going straight to that fireplace:

> e. n. n. e. s.

Ashrae RoomEngineer's Club

> x bookshelf. x books. g. g.

> x fireplace.

> pull right andiron. (A secret passage opens.)

> e.

Darkness / Secret TunnelSecret Passages

> turn on flashlight. take poker.

> cast psychometry on poker. (Only used in the fireplace.)

> e. ne. n. d.

Slick LedgeSewers

> e. ne. n.

Slimy TunnelSewers

A shambler appears when you enter this location!

> cast shrivel on shambler. (Your spell scares it away.)

> nw. ne. ne.

Janitor's ClosetMuseum Basement

> x supplies. search supplies. (Find a bottle of dish-soap.)

> x bottle. cast psychometry on bottle.

> e. s. s. w.

Employee BreakroomMuseum Basement

> talk to woman. ask about herself. (Her name is Karen.)

> x handcuffs.

> squeeze soap on Karen's wrist.

Karen is now free and following you.

> e. e.

Basement HallMuseum Basement

> u. (Can't escape that way.)

Lead Karen through the sewers, but not to the Engineer's Club:

> w. n. n. w.

Janitor's ClosetMuseum Basement

> sw. sw. w. n.

Long TunnelSewers

Another shambler appears!

> cast shrivel on shambler. (It flees.)

> n. e.

Underneath ManholeSewers

> pry manhole with poker. (Karen leaves.)

Retrace your steps to the janitor's closet.

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

Janitor's ClosetMuseum Basement

> e. s. s. e. u.

Utility RoomWashington Museum

A young man named Terrell is tied to a chair here.

> turn off light. untie rope.

> talk to man.

> ask about himself. ask about Dennison.

> ask about escape route. (He leaves.)

Blatant suggestion to save your game.

> save.

> w.

Back of MuseumWashington Museum

You find a male student duct-taped on the floor.

> cut tape with opener. (His name is Josh.)

> ask Josh about Dennison. ask Josh about himself.

> ask Josh about escape route. (He leaves.)

> sw.

West Side of MuseumWashington Museum

> take chains. untie chains.

> talk to woman. ask her about herself.

> ask her about escape route. (She leaves.)

CAUTION: Avoid going to the center of the museum.

> se. ne.

East Side of MuseumWashington Museum

You don't actually need to wait, but it seems safest.

> z. (Continue waiting until you think Josh and Wendy are safe.)

> w.

Center of MuseumWashington Museum

A shambler carrying Dennison and a tied-up Coffey arrive.

> talk to Dennison.

> ask about himself.

> ask about Coffey.

> ask about students.

Everyone is distracted by the surprise arrival of your cat! The shambler goes after it. This is your chance to act!

> throw club at Dennison. (He loses one gun!)

> throw poker at Dennison. (He loses the other gun! You give him a whupping.)

The feds arrive and take away Dennison and the librettos. Your cat returns, eventually.

*** Thus ends The Bibliophile. ***



Named people:

Unnamed people:



Playtesters: Syman Weed, Geoff Moore, Toby Ott, Al Golden, Joey Jones, Joel Webster, Joseph Geipel, Elizabeth Anne McDonald, Hanon Ondricek, Daniel Stelzer, Jason Lautzenheiser, Andrew Schultz, Kyle McKinnon, Jack Welch, and Francesco Tortorici.

Special thanks to The Interactive Fiction Faction who tolerated months of questions and issues and who gave mountains of feedback during the making of this game.

This game is dedicated to my best friend, Christopher Massey, 6/16/1974 - 3/30/2014.



In the usual order acquired:


During the course of the game, you will learn three spells by STUDYing or READing the leather volume that Dr. Coffey gives you. You need a quiet and private place to study. Sit in the Eames chair in your living room of your apartment and study the volume there.

Note that you may, at least the first time, study the volume in the Upstairs Office in the bookstore, but there's no real advantage to using that location.

Your spells are:

Thank You to my Patreon supporters

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