The Dreamhold was written in Inform, and is © 2004 by Andrew Plotkin.
This solution is by David Welbourn, and is based on Release 4 of the game.
Related link: Zarf's Interactive Fiction page.
At the beginning of the game, you should decide whether you want to play in normal or expert mode. In expert mode, some puzzles are slightly more difficult. If you decide to play in expert mode, you won't have the Tutorial Voice to help you, and you can only return to normal mode by restarting the game.
If, however, you decide to play in normal mode, you may still want to turn the Tutorial Voice off. If you do turn it off, you can turn it on again later with "tutorial on".
In this walkthrough, I'll preface commands in expert mode with EXPERT> , commands in normal mode with NORMAL> , and commands in common to both with the plain > prompt.
NORMAL>tutorial off. (This command is optional, of course.)
>i. x pen. x me. x floor. x walls. x gap. e.
Note: The cabinet can never be opened.
>x book. turn page. x desk. x mask. take it. wear it.
>x trunk. x panels. open trunk. x key. take it. x door. open it. unlock door with key.
>x clutter. x books. search books. x plants. x animals. x candles.
>x cabinet. open it. x curiosities.
Note: The lead-slab door can never be opened. Sorry. Pretend it goes to boring rooms like kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, etc.
>x chair. x mirror. touch it. sit. x mirror. stand.
>x curtains. move curtains. search curtains.
>x door. open it. unlock it with key. look through keyhole.
In both expert and normal modes, the painting here is a desert landscape. However, in expert mode, the desert painting also features a brown mask in the sand.
>x painting. take it. x hook. pull it.
EXPERT>x brown mask. touch it.
>x fireplace. x basket. x spheres. touch sphere. enter fireplace.
>x flowers. x carpet. rub it. x settee.
>x chair. x leather chair. x wicker.
>x door. open it. unlock it with key. e.
>x plaster. hit it. x candles. take candle.
>x ceiling. x floor. move boards. e.
This room is very interesting, but you don't need to do anything here to win the game.
If the Tutorial Voice is on, taking the apple helps teach the player about the UNDO command. It is not possible to safely get the ripe apple from the cage, nor is it possible to restore its youth once lost.
The birds on the tiles will change position each time you re-enter the room, cycling through seven stages where they fly up from the east horizon, up and across the ceiling, and down to the west horizon before repeating the cycle. It's wonderful. It's gorgeous. But ultimately, you must ignore it.
>x cage. x apple. smell it. open cage. x apple. smell it. eat it. push cage.
>x tiles. search tiles.
In normal mode, it is the mountain landscape that has the brown mask painted on it, and this painting is initially found on the easel. In expert mode, the mountain landscape is here in the room, but not on the easel.
>x scope. x mountain. x easel. x palette. take it.
NORMAL>x brown mask. touch it.
EXPERT>take mountain. put it on easel.
>look in scope.
You seem to be inside the telescope, with the lens to the south.
>x walls. rub it. x glass. look through it. touch it. n.
In normal mode, this is where the brown mask is, and the crumpled white wad is in the desert painting.
In expert mode, it's the other way around: the crumpled white wad is here, and the brown mask is in the desert painting.
To leave the painting-world, go in any direction (except up or down).
NORMAL>x brown mask. take it. wear it.
EXPERT>x wad. take it. read letter.
>x mountains. x moss. x pool. x fish. drink water. enter pool.
Let's do the desert painting next.
>take mountain. put desert on easel. look in scope. n.
NORMAL>x wad. take it. read letter.
EXPERT>x brown mask. take it. wear it.
>x sun. x sand. take sand. dig sand. x stones. take stone. x it. taste it.
Hm. The palette is sorta like a painting, isn't it? What if we tried to use it with the telescope?
>take desert. put palette on easel. look in scope. n.
Sea of White
The sea changes colors as you stay. From a "Sea of White", it becomes a "Sea of Gold", then Red, Brown, Green, Blue, and finally, Black.
>take string. x it. untie it. x sea. d.
>x sea. g. (Repeat looking at the sea or just "wait" until the sea turns black. Once the waves are black, they'll stay that way. At least until you look at the palette through the telescope again. Then it'll again be a Sea of White and go through the same series of colors again.)
>dip pen in sea. drink water. (Note that although the sea now looks like ink, it isn't really ink.)
Is the string a hint that we should be looking for a portrait? Or is the string itself a portrait? Well, there's one obvious test:
>take palette. put string on easel. look in scope. n.
Platform in the Void
If you experiment, leaving the easel empty or putting any object other than the paintings or the palette on it will have the scope take you to Platform in the Void. Whatever you put on the easel is now just an intangible shadow of itself. Interesting, but not useful.
>x platform. x shadow. take it. d. n.
Don't forget to pick up the string again.
>take string. sw. s.
Curving Hall, South End
This door isn't locked, but we'll ignore it for now.
>x window. x door. e.
The stairs up from the shed are a trifle odd. For one thing, sometimes they're on the north side of the shed; sometimes they're south.
>x glove. take it. u.
On the initial climb up, you can expect to go up four times before reaching the top.
>x stair. x walls. u. u. u.
or Dim Shed
>x sky. x sun. x boulders. x path. x cliff. s.
>x statuary. x lawn. x mountain. x dome. s.
>x valley. x streams. x balcony. x statue. x gold mask.
>take gold mask. climb statue. blow gold mask.
EXPERT>push statue. z. push statue. z. push statue.
>x gold mask. take it. wear it.
>x statue. s. x balustrade. n. w.
>x bush. x smoke. smell it. x berries. take berries.
>wear glove. take berries. x berries. eat berry.
>x bluffs. x shrubs. smell flowers. e. e.
Make sure you're wearing the glove when taking these berries, too.
>x bush. x fog. smell it. x white berries. take white berries.
>remove glove. touch orange berry. touch white berry.
>x flowers. w. n. n.
Note that on the first return trip down, the entire series of Landing locations were bypassed. On subsequent trips up and down, you can expect variable stair lengths, seeing anywhere from 0 to 4 landings. (Assuming you don't change directions on a landing, of course.)
|to Curving Hall,|
|—||to Curving Hall,|
Dark Dome, East
You can't do much in the Dark Dome just yet, but I think you should see it first.
Dark Dome, Center
>x pyramid. rub it. open it. x basket. touch it. n.
Dark Dome, North
There's stairs up as well; we'll return here later.
An orrery is a model of a solar system. (And an atelier is an artist's studio. Tell your mom and dad. Consider your word power increased.)
>x blue mask. x machine. x blue globe.
>x copper wheel. x red globe. x green globe.
>x silver wheel. x violet globe. x tan globe.
In normal mode, the blue mask is on the tan globe. In expert mode, it's on the blue globe. In either case, we want to grab the tan globe when it's at the lowest point of the machine. Timing is rather important for this room, so it might be useful to save as soon as that occurs.
>z. (Repeat waiting until you see a paragraph ending thusly: "The tan globe, at the nadir of its own revolution around that wheel, is sweeping just inches above the floor.")
>take tan globe.
Orrery, on Silver Wheel
NORMAL>take blue mask.
>x cord. d.
Orrery, on Blue Globe
During your stay on the blue globe, you're looking for this message to make your grab for the green globe: "The silver wheel spins past the highest point of the brass disk, directly above you. The copper wheel, opposite it, is directly below. The green globe, carried on the copper wheel's rotation, is swinging past you."
EXPERT>take blue mask.
>z. z. z. z. z. z. z. z. z. z. z. z. z. z. z. z. d.
Orrery, on Green Globe
Now it's just a matter of grabbing that cord and getting down safely.
>z. z. take strip. x strip. z. d.
>x blue mask. wear it. wear belt. n.
>x rag. take it. touch it. n.
Curving Hall, West End
>x window. n.
NORMAL>x iron key. take it.
This room serves no purpose in Normal Mode. Which might be puzzling.
EXPERT>x iron key. take it.
>x vines. climb vines. x flowers. x pot. out.
Curving Hall, at Pedestal
You can't do anything useful with the pedestal. Sorry. I have a theory that it's an analog to the stone spire, which is in a location called "On Stone Spire".
>x pedestal. take it. push it. look behind it. look under it. sit on it.
For a room that is mostly useless, there's an awful lot in here to suggest otherwise. For starters, you cannot restore the harp, nor do anything else useful with it. Later on, you'll hear harp music in the Curving Hall, but you won't find the harp here making it.
Secondly, the door doesn't open. Really. Perhaps there really is a mountain of light wedged up against the other side. We'll never know.
Thirdly, later in the game, there's an increasing chance that the Harp Chamber will be replaced by the On Stone Spire location whenever you go northeast of the pedestal. You can do nothing of use there except return. Objects left on the spire will reappear in the Harp Chamber. The significance of the Spire is a mystery. Make up your own explanation, for the game offers none.
>x harp. take it. x string. take it. blow it.
>x straw. take torch.
>x door. open door. x panels. x pillars. hit pillars.
The torch is really quite clever. You can start it burning with an orange berry, and put it out with a white one. It will never burn out on its own. If you abandon it in the dark caverns, you'll find it again here.
>n. x walls.
>put orange berry on torch. x torch. n.
>x columns. x ore. x pit. x steam. look in pit.
Shore of River
For an extra treat: put the white berry in the river, then run directly back to Curving Hall, West End, where the window is. You'll get there in time to witness the chunks of ice falling over the waterfall.
>x river. x green mask. listen. swim. jump over river.
>put white berry in river. w.
Far Shore of River
>x green mask. take it. wear it. sw.
Ledge in Pit
The pit is the one place in the game where you can die, so perhaps you should save the game before going further down.
>take torch. x walls. save. d.
Deep in Pit
The following is an exercise in timing. Watch the walls carefully. If they are slick with condensation or frost, it's too slippery to go further down. You want the walls to be dry.
>put white berry in pit. x walls. g. g. g. g. d.
Depths of Pit
Don't waste time admiring the scenery here. If you wait here too long, the walls will get too damp, and you'll fall to your death. You will fall to your death immediately if you put either kind of berry in the pit from here, or if you put out your torch with a white berry here. So don't do any of that, unless you don't mind using "undo".
>take bracelet. u. u. u.
>x bracelet. look in it. rub it. wear it. ne.
>x door. x granite wall. e.
|—||Cistern, West||—||Cistern, East|
>x floor. x ceiling. x catwalk. x red mask. x column. e.
>x column. x platform. x lever.
>pull lever. (You automatically step onto the platform when you do this.)
>stand. (That is, get off the platform.)
>z. (And the floor gurgles away...)
>x floor. x column. x circle. x wheel. turn it.
>x ladder. x grating. u. u.
Cistern Catwalk, East
NORMAL>x red mask. take it. wear it.
>x catwalk. x pipe. turn it. n.
Cistern Catwalk, Northeast
>x slab. x small blob. x big blob. take all. w.
Cistern Catwalk, North
>x hole. put small blob in hole. w.
Cistern Catwalk, Northeast
>x hole. put big blob in hole. s.
Cistern Catwalk, West
>x hole. put slab in hole. s.
Cistern Catwalk, Southwest
>x glass. e. n. n. e. e. s. d. d.
>turn wheel. x catwalk. u. u. n. n. w. w. s. s. e.
Cistern Catwalk, South
EXPERT>x red mask. take it. wear it.
Cistern Catwalk, Southeast
>x black wad. take it. x chart.
>x grate. x film. x rag. take film. x substance.
>w. w. n. n. e. e. s. d. d.
>turn wheel. w.
>x grate. put rag on grate. e. u.
>push lever. d.
>d. x floor. x ceiling. w. z.
>x buckler. take it. breathe. listen. x floor. x ceiling. x gap. w.
>put white berry on torch.
As your eyes adjust, you can see some light. If you repeatedly "enter light" or "go to light", you will escape the caverns. But what if you "leave light" or "go away from light"? Where then might you go?
>z. x light. leave light. g. g. g.
>x dagger. take it.
>x rent. x floor. x columns. x ceiling. x form.
>stand. look under settee.
>x fireplace. take sphere. wear glove. take sphere. x sphere.
>e. s. w. w.
Dark Dome, Center
I'm assuming you left the pyramid open.
>put sphere in basket.
The "Dark Dome" becomes the "Lit Dome". Then, in the following turns, it becomes the Gold-Lit Dome, the Red-Lit Dome, the Brown-Lit Dome, the Green-Lit Dome, the Blue-Lit Dome, the Strangely-Lit Dome. When you close the pyramid on this last light, the dome transforms again, this time as the Starry Dome.
>x dome. g. g. g. g. g. g. g. close pyramid.
It may amuse you to see the light show again, but this time with the pyramid closed as soon as possible. The dome remains the "Dark Dome" until the sequence ends with the "Starry Dome", but now the dome is lit with colored patterns very similar to those on the orrery's globes. The color order is the same as before: White, Gold, Red, Brown, Green, Blue, Black. Seeing this version of the light show is completely optional, of course:
>open pyramid. take sphere. put sphere in basket. close pyramid. z. z. z. z. z.
Starry Dome, Center
>x crutch. x bull. w.
Starry Dome, West
>x doorstep. s.
Starry Dome, South
>x cloak. take it. x it. wear it.
>x axe. e.
Starry Dome, East
>x galley. x wall. n.
Starry Dome, North
>x moth. u.
In normal mode, the triangle is on the north side of the dome. In expert mode, the triangle is on the south side.
>x dome. x platform. x triangle. x track. u.
>x terrace. x valley. w.
>x mountain. n.
>x ravine. x ledge. x black mask. jump over ravine. x dome. e.
Far West of
Far East of
Far South of
>put orange berry on platform. (Or simpler: "burn wood")
EXPERT>pull sail. g. (Move the sail to the north side.)
>x fire. u.
Catwalk, South; Night
Lighting the bonfire has somehow transformed the outdoors to Night, not only here, but also in the garden below. Most of the differences between day and night are cosmetic. Most of the changes, however, are in the sky.
>x dome. x valley. x garden. x mountain. x sky. x moon. x stars. w. n.
Catwalk, North; Night
A more significant difference is the triangular sail's shadow: it somehow acts as a bridge.
>x dome. x sail. x shadow. touch it. put stone on shadow. n.
>x black mask. take it. wear it. s. e. s. d.
You should have seven masks now. And you have an iron key. Let's use them.
>d. e. e. n. w. s.
>unlock door with iron key. s.
This corridor is endless. Go as far south as you like; you'll not reach the end.
>x walls. x sconces. s. n. n.
>sit. x mirror.
The masks are flat and smaller than your actual face. This is meant to suggest putting them on a flat and smaller face, such as your reflection in the mirror. Since your reflection isn't there until you sit, the following won't work unless you're sitting.
Also note that the masks' colors match those displayed in the palette's Sea and in the Dark Dome. Both of those locations displayed the colors in a unique order: White, Gold, Red, Brown, Green, Blue, Black. By no coincidence, if you ordered the masks by their evoked memories in chronological order, you'd get the same sequence. This is the order in which you must put the masks onto the mirror.
(If you make a mistake, "stand", then "take all from chair", then "sit" and start again.)
>put white mask on mirror. put gold mask on mirror. put red mask on mirror.
>put brown mask on mirror. put green mask on mirror. put blue mask on mirror.
>put black mask on mirror. x mirror. stand. w.
>x book. s.
>x spell. break it.
|lump of resin||40|
>x mural. x shelves. x table. look under table. x drain. x flagstones.
EXPERT>x scale. x case. open case. x 1 weight. take all from case.
>x apparatus. x chain. x flask. take it.
>x basket. x resin. take it.
>x jar. x dust. smell dust. taste dust. take jar.
NORMAL>put resin in flask. pour dust in flask.
EXPERT>put flask on left disk. put 1, 3, 9, copper key on right disk. (The scales should be balanced.)
EXPERT>put resin on right disk. pour dust into flask.
EXPERT>take flask. take all from right. put resin in flask.
>put flask in loop. pull chain. g. x ink. take flask.
EXPERT>put weights in case. close case.
>put jar on table.
It must be noted that you can mix up all sorts of interesting gunk by not following the directions on the scrap. To get rid of a mixture, pour it into the drain. Speaking of the drain, here's a fun thing to do:
>put orange berry in drain. put white berry in drain.
Time to get going. Check out the mural one last time to be sure you're dressed appropriately. You should be wearing the glove, bracelet, belt, and cloak and be carrying the dagger, buckler, and string.
>x mural. n. n.
>x shred. take it. wear it. x diagram. save.
This is the point of decision. There are three ways you can continue, each with different endings.
Do you want to draw the diagram, use the torn black shred, or enact the mural?
>dip pen in ink. draw diagram. x it. enter it.
Ending 1A can be reached right away:
>x diagram. enter it. [The End]
It is a bit more satisfying to explore. However the landscape is not fixed. Whichever direction you go from here, you will go to "White Hallway, Possibly", and that direction will continue to go there. So you will want to keep moving in different directions, until all 8 have been explored. For simplicity's sake, I propose to start with north and work clockwise.
White Hallway, Possibly
>x walls. x candles. ne.
Gold Harp Chamber, Possibly
>x harp. play it. put string on harp. x panels. x pillars. e.
Red Curtained Room, Possibly
>x frame. enter it. x curtains. search curtains. se.
Brown Shed, Possibly
>x walls. s.
Green Bower, Possibly
>x shrubs. x valley. x mountain. sw.
Blue Mosiac Room, Possibly
>x tiles. x bird. x stand. touch bird. w.
Black Night, Perhaps
I'm calling this ending "Ending 1B".
>x stars. nw. [The End]
>sit. put shred on mirror. [The End]
>n. e. s. w. n. u.
>pull sail. (It should now be on the west side.)
>put white berry on fire. x fire. u.
Catwalk, South; Unearthly
Strangely, the white berry doesn't put out the bonfire, but changes it into a cold fire. More odd is the transformation of the landscape, still the same, yet so different. Again, the sky bears the more significant changes. Remember the globes on the orrery?
>x dome. x valley. x garden. x mountain. x sky.
>x violet moon. x green moon. x blue moon. x tan moon. w.
Catwalk, West; Unearthly
The blue fire casts a shadow, too.
>x shadow. w.
Catwalk, West of Dome; Unearthly
Catwalk, Far West of Dome; Unearthly
>touch sky. touch tan moon. w. [The End]