Key & Compass presents:
Cold Iron
by Andrew Plotkin

Cold Iron is a Z-machine interactive fiction game written with Inform 7 and is © 2011 by Andrew Plotkin. As "Lyman Clive Charles", the author entered this in IF Comp 2011 where it took 15th place. This game is also part of a metapuzzle with three other games: The Life (and Deaths) of Doctor M, Last Day of Summer, and Playing Games. At the 2011 XYZZY Awards, the four games shared the win for Best Individual Puzzle for the hat metapuzzle.

In this small game, you play as a farmer. It's now time to chop the wood, but your good axe is missing. The piskeys must have stolen it. Better take Reverd Pearson's book of tales with you when you go piskey-hunting. You can't explain why you need the book, but you know it's true.

This solution is by David Welbourn, and is based on Release 5 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.


YourYard YourFrontRoom UndertheTrees BrushyHollow FallenOak Clearing SmallHill OakStump ChapelGreen AmidtheTrees DimCopse SmallHill (to barn) (to field) sw ◄ Chapel (to yourbedroom) (to town) $ take axe-head ► ne

Your Front Room

> x me. i. (Carrying nothing.)

> x table. x book. take book. read book.

You must have the book with you. You can't leave without it.

> w.

Your Yard

> x barn. x house. x road. x forest.

> s.

Under the Trees

Between here and the the oak stump location, all compass directions are the same until you're told one direction is more special than the others. Where you end up when you travel in the forest is determined by which plot points you've accomplished so far.

> x trees. climb tree. s.

Brushy Hollow

> x sumac. s.

Fallen Oak

> x glass. take bead. (Reminds you of a story.)

> read book. (You read the Tale of the Cabbage Farmer.)

> x oak. s.


> x man. x hat. give bead to man. (He drops a knife and he's gone.)

> take knife. x it. (Reminds you of a story.)

> read book. (You read the Four Doors.)

The story tells you to put the knife into an oak stump and follow the knife's shadow.)

> s.

Oak Stump

> x stump. put knife in stump.

> x shadow. (It points southwest.)

> sw.

Under the Trees

Hmmm. You don't really want to go home. You still want your axe.

> s. s. s.

Oak Stump

Let's go the opposite way from "home".

> ne.

Small Hill

> x holly. read book. (You read The Village and the Night Gomps.)

The story tells you about how a boy wove holly branches into a wreath, washed it, wore it as a hat, then entered a cave invisibily.

> take holly. x glint. take axe.

(Press any key)

You are someone else now.

> x me. i. (You don't have a book.)

> x axe-head.

> weave branches. x wreath.

> n.

Dim Copse

You cannot go northwest until you wear a wet holly wreath.

> x stream.

> wash wreath. nw. (The gloom gives you pause.)

> wear wreath. nw.

Amid the Trees

> n.

Chapel Green

> x chapel. n.


You're the Reverend and you remove the wreath. You decide you'll write down your fancies as a book of fairy tales.

*** The End ***





The response to CREDITS is:

Cold Iron would not exist but for the help and support of my friends, my IF work group, my beta-testers, Bates College, and the person who suggested the original idea. Plus, of course, everybody who played the game in the first few days of the IFComp. The "look for axe" command is dedicated to you.

(Apologies for being unspecific. There's no point in using a pseudonym if you credit your friends by name. After the IF Competition judging is over, I will release an update with all the details.)


Also, one or two more items may exist in this game as part of the hat metapuzzle.

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