Key & Compass presents:
The Cabal
by Stephen Bond

The Cabal is a Z-machine interactive fiction story written with Inform 6 and is © 2004 by Stephen Bond (as "Ike Cooper"). At the 2004 XYZZY Awards, it was a finalist in the Best Story category.

In this satire, you play as a young American man who loves old puzzle-based IF. You are also racist, sexist, and prone to believe in conspiracies. While playing Infidel, you learn that a secret society called the Cabal is behind the trend to make IF more story-based and a lot less fun. Learn who's in the Cabal and stop their evil schemes!

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


Map 1: Main Map

(talkto Volker) (talkto Mike) (talkto Graham) (escape) (talk) (THE END) Volker'sRoom McDonaldsHamburgerRestaurant Top ofPyramid Great HallGallery TelephoneAlcove Great HallStaircase Outsidethe GMDIF Archive Great Hall RubyRidge,Idaho InsideKevin'sVan Elevator(Lobby) Floor 8Reception Elevator(Floor 8) Elevator(stopped) Insidea WhiteHouse Floor 7Reception Elevator(Floor 7) Red HatOffice New IFArchiveLobby d u d u open door push stop open doorwith crowbar push 7 push stop (die!) (talk to Kevin) (north orsouth oreast thentalk toshooter) (talk) (talk to Zarf) (talk toRadical Al) (talk) LibraryMaze A Maze ofTwistyCorridors,All Alike Chamberof Ra SecretPassage The SlabRoom Cellar InnerSanctum in d u d w/e/s u d knock knocker push 8 z.z push 8 push 7 z.z run away

Map 2: GMD Archive: Library

TelephoneAlcove SecretPassage H H O T H e O H H H H T H T O T T H u distortingmirror Hand-bücher Alter-nativerGeschichte Mittelalt-erlicheErotika Bibeln Besch-wörungen Alchem-ischeTexten PopulärePsycho-logie MehrBibeln Apokryphen Astrologie Minuten derVersamm-lungen ErgodischeLiteratur Kochkunst VerboteneBücher T T H T O O O out T O O T T T H O O H O T O H d bricked-upO arch

Map 3: A Maze of Twisty Corridors, All Alike

(any) (any) (any) (any) Elevator(stopped) InnerSanctum 1st room 2nd room 1st room(again) 3rd room open door with crowbar


McDonalds Hamburger Restaurant, Miami Beach, Florida

> license.

You can do any four actions before the vagrant interrupts. Suggested actions:

The vagrant asks: "Is that Infidel?" All options advance the narrative until you learn who the vagrant is.

>> 1or2or3.

>> 1or2or3.

>> 1or2or3.

You learn the vagrant is Mike Berlyn! The options "This is such a privilege!" and "Could you autograph my PalmPilot, please?" provide side-comments; all other options advance the narrative.

>> 3. 2. 1.

>> 1or2.

>> 1or2.

>> 1or2.

>> 1

>> 1or2or3.

Mike panics and runs. Now you're off to Egypt.


The banner text appears here.

Top of the Pyramid of Menkaure, Giza, Egypt

Look around first:

> i. x flashlight. x sun. x monuments.

> x Cairo. x Khafre. x Khufu. x Sphinx.

> x Queens. x causeway. x temple. x capstone.

Okay, now let's get inside:

> push stone. x hole. push stone. x hole.

> turn on flashlight. d.

> SPACE (You fall 15 feet to...)

The Chamber of Ra

> x walls. x altar.

> n. (No, that way is certain death.)

> soreorw. (You make your way to...)

The Slab Room

> i. (You have four jewel clusters now.)

> x slab. x gunk.

Have you played Infidel? Um, spoilers? There's a 'click' sound when you put a gem cluster into its correct hole.

> put diamond in first hole. put ruby in second hole.

> put emerald in third hole. put opal in fourth hole.

> open slab.

> take spatula. x it.

> take book. x it. (A voice interrupts your reading.)


Graham Nelson orders you to put the book back at gunpoint. You do so. In his first conversation menu block, groveling and asking how he got here provides side-comments; all other options advance the narrative. For example:

>> 2. 1. 1

Then there's a block with three "But..." questions:

>> 1or2or3. (You need to visit the Archive.)

>> 1.

Graham sends you through a secret passage, and now you're off to Germany.


Outside the GMD IF Archive

> x castle. x door. x knocker. x windows.

> x cobbles. listen.

> knock knocker. (A small panel opens.)

>> 1or2or3. (The elderly butler says the Maintainer is expecting you.)

GMD Archive: Great Hall

> x butler. x torches. x chandelier. x front door. x floor.

> x staircase. x portraits. x gallery. x painting.

> x mannequins. x doors. x green light.

> w. hit butler. (Something's not right.)

You can try talking to the butler, one topic at a time, but only the first topic about how long he's been working here elicits any answer.

> talk to butler. 1.

> u.

GMD Archive: Great Hall Staircase

> x portraits. search final. (Shadow with red eyes.)

> u.

GMD Archive: Great Hall Gallery

If you linger outside until the song ends, Volker will find you, wherever you are, and bring you into his room automatically.

> x painting. in.

(Volker's Room)

"Do you like The Magic Flute?"

>> 1or2or3. (He introduces himself.)

>> 1or2.

He offers a cigar:

>> 1or2.

If you said "Cigars are for Cubans", there's an extra choice here:

>> 1or2.

You settle back in your chair:

>> 1or2.

He explains they induct a new member every year.

There's now an expandable menu block from which you'll be able to select four options before the butler interrupts. For example:

>> 1. 1. 1. 4.


The butler, Hermann, enters, saying there's an important telephone call for you.


The butler leads you to a lit alcove containing an ancient telephone.

GMD Archive: Telephone Alcove

Start the phone conversation however you like:

>> 1or2or3. (The American voice claims you're in danger.)

It's best to be polite and play along if you want to learn what you're supposed to do next. You can be rude and obtuse, but let's be a good boy for once:

>> 3. 1. 1


> x paper. take it. x photographs.

> e.

GMD Archive: Library (several locations)

By the way, if you feel like exploring the library on your own, you can find a distorting mirror and a bricked-up arch off the THOTH route.

> x lantern. take lantern.

> enter T. enter H. enter O. enter T. enter H.

> x shelves.

> x Solomon. x Voynich. x Necronomicon. x Poetics.

> take Protocols. (A secret doorway opens!)

> d. d.

GMD Archive Cellar

Note: It doesn't matter how badly your telephone conversation was or how long you took wandering in the library. As long as you can reach this door and open it, you will find your rescuer on the other side of it.

> open door.

A long-haired man tells you to drop the lantern and any books you have and follow. You both race to to a van and get in.


(Inside Kevin's Van)

You recognize the driver is Gerry Kevin Wilson.

> 1or2.

> 1or2.

He drives thru a wooden gate and introduces himself. Learn more about Kevin's involvement:

> 1.

> 1.

> 1.

> 1or2.

> 1.

Ask about Mike:

> 2.

Now discuss Graham and Inform:

> 2.

> 1or2.

> 2.

Finally ask what he expects you to do, which leads to Kevin's concluding remarks about agent provocateurs, A.P. Hill, Andrew Plotkin, and Aloysius T. Freeman.

> 1.

> 2.

> 1or2.

> 1or2.

> 1.

Kevin drops you off at the airport.


Ruby Ridge, Idaho

> x house. x forest. x mailbox.

> open mailbox. take note. read it.

> norsore.

Gunfire shreds the mailbox. You drop to the ground. Only asking about the AK advances the narrative:

>> 1. 1. 1. 1.

>> 1or2or3. (You know guns, but do you know I-F?)

>> 1or2or3. (You convince him. He's Radical Al and he hauls you in via the window.)

(Inside the White House)

You greet him:

>> 1or2or3.

You look around at all the old games. Ask to borrow "Atlas Shrugged", he'll give that and "The Fountainhead" to you. Then express your admiration.

>> 3.

>> 1or2.

Now we have menu options about copyright, Christmas Island, and AGT, etc. Ask about Christmas Island first:

>> 2.

Now ask about copyright:

>> 1. 2. 1.

Continue with AGT, etc. The rest of Radical Al's conversation is straightforward:

>> 1.

>> 1.

>> 1or2.

>> 1or2or3.

>> 1or2.

>> 1or2.

>> 1or2.

>> 1or2or3.

>> 1or2or3.


The New IF Archive -- Lobby

You try to sweet-talk the receptionist. She is not impressed.

> 1or2or3. (Ouch. You're now in...)

New IF Archive -- Elevator

> x legend. listen. x buttons. (1 to 8, plus a pink "Stop")

> push 7. SPACE

New IF Archive -- Floor 7 Reception

> 1or2or3. (Ouch, again. You're back in...)

New IF Archive -- Elevator

> push 8. (It's moving extremely slowly.)

> z. z. (You step out to...)

New IF Archive -- Floor 8 Reception

> 1or2or3. (Ouch, once more.)

New IF Archive -- Elevator

I assume you've had enough? I think it's time to get off this merry-go-round.

Incidentally, if you insist on going back and forth between floors 7 and 8 in an attempt to exhaust your receptionist banter, the elevator will eventually stop of its own accord between floors.

> push 6. (Voice says that floor is closed for renovation.)

> push 7. (Again, it's moving slowly.)

> push pink. (The elevator stops.)

> open door. (You have a crowbar?)

> x crowbar. open door with crowbar. (You make you way to...)

A Maze of Twisty Corridors, All Alike (1st room)

You remember bringing junk to map the maze with. Normally, you should only drop one item per room when mapping a maze, but this isn't a real maze and I want you to see all the drop messages.

> i.

> x Pentari. drop it.

> x Suddenly. drop it.

> x Cybertext. drop it.

> x Shapes. drop them.

> e. (or any other compass direction)

A Maze of Twisty Corridors, All Alike (2nd room)

I'm assuming you got the Rand books from Radical Al:

> x Atlas. read it. drop it.

> x Fountainhead. read it. drop it.

> e. (or any other compass direction)

A Maze of Twisty Corridors, All Alike (1st room again)

> e. (or any other compass direction)

A Maze of Twisty Corridors, All Alike (3rd room)

> e. (or any other compass direction)

Darkness / New IF Archive: Inner Sanctum

> wear eyepatch.

You've found Andrew Plotkin.

>> 1or2or3.

"What cabal?" You explain.

> SPACE (He thinks you're crazy.)

You get three chances to prove you're not crazy; for example:

>> 1. 1. 1.

> SPACE (The dodecahedrons are gone.)

> SPACE (You find yourself in...)

Red Hat Office

>> 1or2or3. (He ignores you. You hear male nurses advancing.)

The following command is forced, letter by letter:

> run away

Sven catches you first. The others pile on. You've been captured again.


Dr. Sandra apologizes to Zarf as you're dragged away.

*** The End ***

Congratulations, you have completed THE CABAL.

> credits



Gentle reminder: Any character named after a real person is a fictionalized version of themselves. These are not meant to be accurate portrayals by any means.



From the CREDITS option available when at the end of the game:

I'd like to offer my sincerest thanks and a conspiratorial wink to my beta testers, both for the aborted Comp03 push and for the final release:

Further thanks to:

Special thanks to:

THE CABAL was inspired to varying extents by the following:

Thanks for playing THE CABAL! If you have any comments about the game, please send them to email redacted.





The response to SCORE is:

[You're one point short of the full 350.]

I assume this is in reference to your PalmPilot game in the opening scene. It doesn't seem to have any application to the main game at all.

Thank You to my Patreon supporters

This walkthrough was funded via Patreon with