Key & Compass presents:
by Ravi Rajkumar

Halothane is a Z-machine interactive fiction game written with Inform 6 and is © 1999 by Ravi Rajkumar (as "Quentin D. Thompson"). It was an entry in IF Comp 1999 where it took 6th place.

In this rambling game, you begin as Harold Banks, a failed sci-fi author. Your second novel is so bad, you throw its manuscript away. However, your words and ideas have shaped another dimension into existence! Mysterious characters will pull you into your not-so-fictional world, guiding you to fix the chaos you've unwittingly released. Assuming, of course, that this isn't just a grandiose delusion caused by an anaesthetic called Halothane.

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


Map H1: From Your Bedroom to a Fireside Chat (From Prologue to Chapter 4)

Cold citystreet Livingroom By TheFireside Meadow In theCalvertMuseum StorageRoom On a lonely,highway, inthe back seat OpenField MasterBedroom Corridor,Down theWest Wing Underthe Arch Nursery DrivewayOutsideHouse Front Hall,in thehouse Study InstrumentRoom OperatingRoom YourBedroom Red Lake Prologue Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four FirstInterposition Second Interposition wait (omit, leave,or solve puzzle) wait n putmanuscriptin bin touch panel turn valve sleep e turn sign pushswitch

Map H2: Tower and Building (Chapter 5)

TowerRoom Boudoir In adesertedclassroom InsideTheBuilding In adesertedstoreroom Outsidea Building OutsideThe Tower Laboratory Beforea Gate NarrowSide-Lane In AnOpenField At TheBase OfThe Stairs FloatingOn Clouds Red Lake Ante-chamber,in theAviatorsSaloon ThirdInterposition By TheFireside break bottle (or)put pill in bottle n u pour acidon gate d d wait

Map H3: The Aviators Saloon (Chapter 6)

put penin vase pour acidon gate u d u d break bottle (or)put pill in bottle Outsideyourhouse Beforea Gate TowerRoom VanessaClarke'sroom Room 6 Secondfloor Reception-ist's room Room 1 Room 3 Chambers Room 4 Room 2 Ante-chamber DiningHall

Map C1: Cassandra's House (Chapter 7)

(blocked bybrick wall?) (study is trashedand bloody!) VanessaClarke'sroom 500 milesaway fromhome Bathroom Masterbedroom Ante-chamber Corridor End ofcorridor Frontporch Outsideyourhouse DarkLane put penin vase put cash cardin machine

Map C2: Charlestown (Chapter 8)

(defeat Sweeney orsee him defeated) (boarded up) e e put cash cardin machine u d d u In ahospitalcorridor DarkLane (blocked byboards) Archivesof C'townTimes Officeof C'townTimes In theshack 500 milesaway fromhome OutsideCharles-town TownSquare MainStreet Work-house Sweeney'sLair FrontRoom EmptyRoom SmallChamber Kitchen Under-ground Under-groundPassage Inter-section Dead end Chapel

Map C3: Hospital (Chapter 9)

(Ward Six) (defeat Sweeney orsee him defeated) (Ward Seven) (Ward Four) (Ward Three) (Ward Eight) (Ward Nine) d d u u n n End ofcorridor Ward Two Corridor Ward One Doctors'Lounge First FloorCorridor,North End Ward Five RecordsRoom Inter-section Stairwell MiddleStairwell Middle OfCorridor,First Floor In ahospitalcorridor RecoveryRoom, inWard Ten Ward Ten,Ante-chamber First FloorCorridor,South End (Storeroom) Small Hut Sweeney'sLair

Map C4: Battlefield (Chapter 10)

n hit monsterwith pen RecoveryRoom, inWard Ten Battle-field Small Hut YourBedroom



Your Bedroom

> x me. x pockets.

> x manuscript. search it. (+4)

> x flower. x note. read note.

> take note and flower. smell flower.

> x desk. x chair. x bed. look under bed.

> look under desk. (+2)

> x fan.

> x bookcase. open it. x novel.

> take novel. read novel.

> enter bed. sleep. stand.

> put fan on chair. (+4)

> turn on fan.

> enter bed. sleep. (+7)

Chapter One - Respiratory Distress

Operating Room

> stand. x table. x mask. take it.

> x trolley. x door. w.

Instrument Room

Note that if you turn on the valve, maskless, you'll go straight to Chapter Two, skipping the interposition.

> x panel. x cylinder. read print.

> x valve. smell.

> wear mask. turn valve.

> read panel. touch panel. (+6)

First Interposition - Invasion of Privacy

Driveway, Outside House

> read sign. ("Franklin")

> x door. knock on door. e.

Front Hall, in the house

> close front door.

> take small piece. read it.

> take memo. read it.

> x shawl. take it. wear it. smell it.

> x sofa. x shelf. open shelf.

> x texts. search texts. read texts.

> n.

Under the Arch

> x arch. touch arch. (Babel ref.)

> e.


> x letter. take it. read it. (by Simone to her parents)

> x table. x chair. x bed. search bed.

> x wardrobe. open it. x dresser. open it.

> x window. open window. look. close window.

> w. w.

Corridor, Down the West Wing

> listen. g. g. g. g. g. g.

> w.

Master Bedroom

> x bed. x people. x table.

> push switch. (+13)

Chapter Two - Errare Humanum Est


> x manuscript. g. x dustbin.

> take manuscript. read it. tear it. put it in bin. (+4)

Chapter Three - Driving With Your Eyes Closed

On a lonely highway, in the back seat

> x rope. untie rope. x window.

> listen. g. g. g. g. g. (+8)

Open Field

> x sun. x wall. x grass.

> sit on grass. search grass.

> n.


> x fence. x tree. x sign. read sign.

> climb fence. climb tree.

Going north leads to Chapter Four and 8 points.

Turning the sign, however,...

> turn sign.

Second Interposition - Thinking Allowed

In The Calvert Museum

> x machine. x slots. read dial. (6 mV) x button.

> take all model. e.

Storage Room

> take brochure. read it. w.

In The Calvert Museum

> put clonidine in a2. put propranolol in b1.

> put dopamine in d4. put ondansetron in s3.

> read dial. (4 mv)

> push button. (+17)

An aged man escorts you to...

Chapter Four - Everything Can Change

Cold city street, outside a house

> w. n. s.

> x window. open window. e.

Living-room, inside the hosue

Oddly, the window isn't on this side.

> x table. x fireplace. x chandelier.

> x sofa. x figure.

> e.

By The Fireside

You will now begin a long conversation with Simone. However, your time with her is limited and you can't get to every topic that she has a response for. Feel free to change the suggested topics if you want to ask about something else, eg: history or dimnesion.

> x woman. (It's Simone Rosenberg, neé Franklin.)

> sit on sofa. x fireplace.

> ask Simone about herself. ask Simone about solution.

> ask Simone about Author. ask Simone about me.

> ask Simone about manuscript.

> ask Simone about worldorask Simone about future.

> ask Simone about empire. ask Simone about successors.

> ask Simone about flowerorask Simone about halothane.

> ask Simone about Edwardorask Simone about Laura.

> show shawl to Simone. show flower to Simone.

> ask Simone about Rosenberg. ask Simone about house.

> ask Simone about politics. ask Simone about Padre.

After several turns, Simone ends the conversation, gives you a fountain-pen, and wishes you luck. You gain 20 points and the room dissolves to...

Chapter Five - The Far Horizon

Red Lake

> x pen. x liquid. taste it. swim.

> x trapdoor. open it. d.

Floating On Clouds

> x cloudsorx city.

> x pathway.

> n.

Before a Gate

> x gate. read sign. x statue. open gate.

> e.

Narrow Side-Lane

> x tower. e.

In An Open Field

> x grass. e.

At The Base Of The Stairs

> x staircase. u. e.


> x bottle. read it. (Aqua regia, a dissolvant.)

> take bottle. take key. x it.

> x table. x tubes.

> x pot. x liquid. smell it. taste it. (Chocolate!)

> w. d. w. n.

Outside a Building

> x board. ("Dreamscapes Publishing House")

> x door. open door. unlock door with key.

> n. w.

In a deserted classroom

> x blackboard. read it. (Shut down by G.H.T.)

> turn it. erase it.

> e. e.

In a deserted storeroom

> x box. look in it. (+5)

> take handbag. x it. open it.

> x handkerchief. ("Marguerite")

> x badge. ("Harvey Price")

> w.

Inside The Building

> n. (Denied. "Identity invalid.")

> wear badge. n. (+16)

Third Interposition - A Romantic Interlude


> x door. x bed. x pillows.

> look under bed. take journal. x it. read it.

> x dresser. open drawer. read handwritten note. (To you from The Little Tin God.)

> read letters. (to Cathy from L.)

> take all from drawer.

> enter bed. sleep. (Man in your dream wants antimony.)

> sleep. (You see yourself put white stuff into a vial.)

> sleep. (Giacomo and Margot talk in hushed voices.)

> sleep. (Knight and king in throne room.)

> sleep. (A voice says you could have done something.)

> stand.

> z. (Repeat six or so turns until the door suddenly opens.)

> n.

Tower Room

> x stand. x green bottle. open it.

> x wine. drink wine. (Denied.)

> take green bottle. close it.

> x fireplace. enter fireplace. (Denied.)

> search fireplace. (+9)

> take box. x it. open it.

> x pill. x insert. read insert.

> take pill. open green bottle.

> s.


> put green bottle on dresser. (Denied.)

> n.

Tower Room

Choose one:

You have aided an intrigue and now you're in...

Chapter Six - The Sad Café

Antechamber, in the Aviators Saloon

> x man. ask man about story. (Tells about Janus Mbelwe and Vanessa Clarke.)

> ask man about hotel. ask man about Janus. ask man about Vanessa.

> x counter. look under counter. read scrap.

> e.

Dining Hall, in the Aviators Saloon

> look under table. take device. x it.

> x table. x carvings.

> x cupboard. open it. x plates. search plates.

> w. u. n.

Room 1, in the Aviators Saloon

> take manual. x it. read it.

> x table. (It's locked.)

> table, 100. (Bzzt.)

> s. s.

Room 2, in the Aviators Saloon

> x armchair. x disc. take it.

> n. w.

Room 3, in the Aviators Saloon

> x chair. x bed. look under bed. (+9)

> take blue disc. x it.

> x table. open drawer. close drawer.

> x computer. turn on computer.

> put black disc in computer. read screen.

> take black disc.

> put blue disc in computer. read screen.

> take blue disc.

> e. e.

Room 4, in the Aviators Saloon

> x bed. look under bed. x box. open box. read crumpled note.

> x quilt. (Dr. Reed's.)

> x dresser. open it. x table. x armchair. x window.

> w. n.

Room 1, in the Aviators Saloon

The table codes are the years mentioned on the black disc's article.

> table, the code is 2187. (It opens.)

> look in table. take chip. x it.

> put chip in device. (Something teleports to room four?)

> read device. ("Room 7. Behind Closed Doors.")

> table, the code is 2869. (It closes and locks.)

> s. e.

Room 4, in the Aviators Saloon

> move quilt. take letter.

> x it. read it. yes.

> w. u.

Second floor, in the Aviators Saloon

> x plants.

> w.

Room 6, in the Aviators Saloon

> x stool. take stool. sit on stool.

> e. e.

Receptionist's room, in the Aviators Saloon

> x bed. x window. x couch. search couch.

> x bookshelf. x books. x tv.

> w. d. d.

Antechamber, in the Aviators Saloon

> ask man about device. (A tracer used to find someone.)

> ask man about table.

> ask man about letter. (+6)

> take key. x key. ask man about key.

> u. u.

Second floor, in the Aviators Saloon

> unlock door with key. n.

Vanessa Clarke's room, in the Aviators Saloon

> x table. x vase.

> x wardrobe. open wardrobe. x coat. look in coat. (+8)

> x card. take card. read card. (It's Cassandra's.)

> put pen in vase. (+18)

Mr Author says your story goes no further, but your memories can guide someone in this dimension.

Chapter Seven - Recalled From Life

You are now playing as Cassandra Anderson, a lawyer. You have kept the flower, strange letter, and identity card. You are wearing the coat and dress that Harold found in the wardrobe.

Outside your house

> x me. i. x card. x coat. x dress.

> n.

Front porch, outside the house

> x panel. touch it. (Nothing happens.)

> x door. open it. n.

Antechamber, in your house

> x lights. x coat-stand. put coat on it.

> x wallpaper. n. (A brick wall is in the way.)

> e. e.

End of corridor, in your house

> s. (The room is destroyed. There's blood. You retreat.)

> n.

Master bedroom, in your house

> x bed. x pillow. x mattress. look under bed.

> x wardrobe. open it. (+7. A corpse falls out.)

> x corpse. (Initially think it's Gerald, but no, it's not him.)

> search corpse. take plastic card. x it. read it. ("Angela Bradbury")

> x armchairs. w.

Bathroom, in your house

> e. s. w. w.

Antechamber, in your house

> take coat. s.

Front porch, outside the house

> wear coat. s. e.

Dark Lane

> x machine. put cash card in machine. (+26. Kaboom!)

Chapter Eight - Where The Sun Always Shines

500 miles away from home

You retain the flower, letter, and dress. Your coat and both cards are gone.

> i. x tracks. x signpost. read it.

> n. listen to tracks. lie on tracks.

> e.

Outside Charlestown

> x buildings. e.

Town Square, in Charlestown

> x statue. read inscription. ("Joel Sweeney (1814-1892)")

> x fog. n.

Office of the Charlestown Times

> take front page. read it.

> x shelf. x papers. search papers. (+13)

> x envelope. read it.

> take letter from envelope. read it.

> n.

Archives of the Charlestown Times

> x chair. look under chair. (+6)

> take form. read form.

> s. s. s.

Workhouse, in Charlestown

> x wooden door. x black door. read it. ("Joel Sweeney's Lair. Private.")

> open wooden door. d.

Underground, in the workhouse

> x vial. take it. read it. (Pentothal.)

> e. n.

Kitchen, in the underground

> open cupboard. x insect. take bug.

> look in cupboard. x cartons. search cartons.

> x fireplace. enter it. (There's a light in a hole in its roof.)

> x bug. s. e. s.


> x bulb. take bulb. unscrew bulb. hit bulb. (+15)

> look. take key. x it.

> x benches. x altar. x window. pray.

> look under altar. (+6. "Great men have sensitive ears.")

> n. e.

Dead end, in the underground

> u. (boards block a small chamber.)

> w. w. w. u. n. e. n.

Note that the fog is gone when you walk back through the town.

In the shack

> x transmitter. turn on transmitter.

> z. (Repeat waiting until countdown and a clatter.)

> s.

Main Street, in Charlestown

> s. (Unlocking the door with the golden key.)

Front Room, in the Golds' home

> s.

Small Chamber

> d. (End at platform into tunnel.)

> e. (Ends in a series of boards.)

> n. e.

Empty Room

> ask Judith about Sweeney. (She dies.)

> take key. x it.

> search Judith. take knife. x it.

> w. n. w. s.

Workhouse, in Charlestown

> e. (unlocking the door with the black key)

Sweeney's Lair

> x Joel. ask Joel about himself.

> x coffin. read it.

> ask Joel about Janus. ask Joel about Leon.

> ask Joel about Author. ask Joel about God.

You have a choice:

Sweeney vanishes into green mist. Mbelwe breaks out of his coffin. He reads the letter and the walls change...

Chapter Nine - Birth Of A Notion

In a hospital corridor

> i. (You're wearing your dress. All other inventory is gone.)

> n.

Intersection, in the hospital

> x map. (ASCII art map is shown, with east as the top edge.)

> x sign. read sign. ("The Receptionist is OUT")

> e. u. u. s. w.

Ward 10, Antechamber

> x student. n. (You need the proper attire.)

> ask student about attire. (Need cap, mask, and gown.)

> e. n. n. e.

Ward 5

> take cap. x it.

> x cupboard. open it. look in it. move it.

> w. s. d. d. w.

Intersection, in the hospital

> push sign. (+1) read desk.

> look under desk. (+7) take sheet. read sheet.

> w.

Records Room, in the hospital

Amusingly, you may see a reference to "Patient H. Banks" when reading the pile of records.

> x table. look under table. (+6)

> read square paper.

> x pile. read pile. (+20)

> take pink. read it.

> read pile. g. g. g.

> e. n. e.

Ward One

> take gown. x it.

> w. n. e.

Ward Two

> take key. x it.

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

Doctors' Lounge, in the Hospital

> x locker. open it. (locked)

> unlock locker with platinum key. open locker.

> take mask. x it.

> s. u. s. w.

Ward 10, Antechamber

> wear gown. wear cap. wear mask.

> n.

Recovery Room, in Ward 10

> n. (+24)

Laura and her newborn daughter are there. Laura gives you something (a fountain-pen) before the room fades away.

Chapter Ten - It Takes A Village

Small Hut

> i. x pen.

> listen. g. g. g. g.

> w.


> x monster.

> xyzzyorplugh.

> hit monster with pen.

Gerald arrives in the family jet to take Cassie home.

Meanwhile, Mr Author and the Voice congratulate Harold on his victory.

Your Bedroom

*** You have won ***

> amusing



Amusing (and surprising) things to try..


Mentioned in the Third Interposition:

Note: These characters form a story all their own, as if they all belong to a different game or story.

Mentioned elsewhere:


From the Credits submenu via the HELP command:


In a purely literary sense, Agatha Christie, Isaac Asimov and W.M.Thackeray, to a great extent, and Kurt Vonnegut Jnr. and Keno Don Rosa on occasions. Musically, Don Henley, Eddie Vedder, Mark Knopfler, Joe Dassin, Enrico Macias and Pierre Bachelet.

In I-F, Graham Nelson (for getting me started on IF), Rybread Celsius, Daniel Ravipinto, Adam Cadre, Cody Sandifer, Brendon Wyber, Mike.J.Roberts, and - most importantly - Volker Blasius for providing a life-line to thousands of I-F addicts.


Many thanks, several times, to the following people, in no specific order: Graham Nelson for Inform (and, more importantly, the Designers' Manual), L. Ross Raszewski for his library extensions and Comp '98 capsule rants, Baf for his Guide to the IF-Archive (though I don't always agree with it), Jay Goemmer and Stuart Moore for support and programming tips, Volker Blasius for all his encouragement when I started writing I-F, Michael Gentry for Anchorhead and Little Blue Men, Rybread Celsius for unremitting kookery, all the MiSTing programmers, all the kind souls who wrote reviews of the Comp '98 games, Stephen Granade for collecting them and for his wonderful news page - not to mention "The Arrival", and C.E.Forman for his 1997 reviews. I enjoyed "Sylenius Mysterium" too, perhaps because, once upon a time, I also used to play Atari games. Thanks to Kent Tessman too, for "Guilty Bastards" and my first taste of footnotes.

The Roll of Honour

And, finally, here's a tribute to all the fine folks without whom this game never would have existed:

Stephen Granade, organizer of IF Comp 1999.

Lucian Paul Smith, organizer of the IF Comp Beta-Testing Ring.

Graham Nelson, who did 99% of the programming in this game.

And finally, my wonderful beta-testers, without which this game would have had more bugs than text:

Vincent Lynch, Stuart Barrow, Mark Silcox, Alex Hoffer, Anneli Meeder, Jennifer, Karalee Coleman, Steve Barcroft, Andrew Brack and Randy Cox.


Note that some items will be quietly removed from you as you advance to a new chapter, but other items can persist between chapters.

From the prologue:

From chapter one:

From the first interposition:

From chapter two:

From chapter three:

From the second interposition:

From chapter four:

From chapter five:

From the third interposition:

From chapter six:

From chapter seven:

From chapter eight:

From chapter nine:


Every so often, the game displays a box quote.


You have so far scored your-score out of a possible 360, in several turns, earning you the rank of ranking.


Thank You to my Patreon supporters

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