Key & Compass presents:
The Xylophoniad
by Robin Johnson

The Xylophoniad is a web browser interactive fiction game written with Versificator and is © 2016 by Robin Johnson. This was entered in the Main Festival division of Spring Thing 2016 where it tied for 1st place.

You play as the adventuress Xylophone. King Eurystheus of Anachronopolis commands you to complete three great labours: one, slay the Bicyclops; two, recover two souls from Hades; and three, end the Trojan War and rescue Helen of Troy.

This solution is by David Welbourn, and is based on the competition release of the game.


Map 1: Anachronopolis

Propscupboard Theatre Templeof Eris OutsideTempleof Eris Plaza Court-room Temple ofPoseidon Afthold Westof Troy out out enter pool enter pool in in

Note: After the Trojan Horse is destroyed, the destination of Eris' pool is West of Troy.

Map 2: Trojan Horse

(and horse falls!) u p u f p u enter pool pull rope d u sb a u sb Westof Troy Templeof Eris Bridge Foreportpillar Forehold Forestarboardpillar Aftportpillar Afthold Aftstarboardpillar

Note: The bridge is the head of the horse; the pillars are the legs.

Map 3: Troy

(and horse falls!) (†) sw ne pull rope n/in d u se in in nw se nw enterpool out u d out sw out enter pool ne Bridge Templeof Eris Labyrinth Labyrinthexit Northof Troy Citadel Bed-chamber Fort OutsideCitadel Landing Sandybeach Siegecamp Westof Troy OutsideFort PalladiumGarden Outsidebarber'sshop Eastof Troy Temple ofArtemis OutsideTemple ofArtemis Barber'sshop Foot-hills Southof Troy Pebblybeach Cavemouth Mountains Cavelair

Note 1: The dagger (†) marks where the hole to put your sword in is.

Note 2: After the Minotaur has been vanquished, the destination of Artemis' pool is Labyrinth exit.

Map 4: Labyrinth

Hilltop Temple ofArtemis enter pool Labyrinthexit Labyrinth(LOTLP) Labyrinth(LOLTP) Labyrinth(TLOLP) Labyrinth(LLOTP) Labyrinth(sawDaedalus) u enter pool

Note 1: The rooms in the labyrinth can be identified by the passages phrase used for it. For example, "labyrinth of twisty little passages" (LOTLP) is different than "labyrinth of little twisty passages" (LOLTP).

Note 2: Once you meet Daedalus, your current room's exits silently change so that the north exit leads to the Labyrinth exit and the west, east, and south exits all return you to your current location.

Map 5: Hades and Island

out u out enterpool in enter cart Bicyclops'lair Emptycell Hades Olddock Hilltop Daedalus'workshop Hades Sisyphus'cell OutsideTemple ofPoseidon Temple ofPoseidon Tantalus'cell Hades Outsideclayhouse PoorlyGates Sappho'shouse Labyrinthexit Propscupboard in in out enter cart



King Eurystheus of Anachronopolis commands you to complete three great labours: slay the Bicyclops, recover two souls from Hades, and end the Trojan War and rescue Helen of Troy.

> x me. i. x sword. x scroll. x money.

> x king. x goblet. x throne. x dais.

> x benches. x pillars.

> ask king about bicyclops. ask king about hades.

> ask king about helen. ask king about war. ask king about troy.

> ask king about goblet.

> w.


> x diogenes. x barrel. ask diogenes about philosophy.

> ask diogenes about barrel. ask diogenes about king.

> ask diogenes about bicyclops. ask diogenes about helen.

> ask diogenes about hades. (He tells you to go to hell in a handcart.)

> ask diogenes about souls. ask diogenes about war.

> n.


> x stage. x shack. x benches. in.

Props cupboard

Thespis immediately pushes you out.


> s.


> ask diogenes about thespis. ask diogenes about gods.

> e.


> ask king about diogenes.

> w. w.

Outside Temple of Eris

> x mural. in.

Temple of Eris

> x eris. x pool. x figurine. take figurine.

> enter pool. (+3%. You're re-enacting the mural outside.)

The figurine glows, the water bubbles, and you're now at...

Aft hold

You're inside the Trojan Horse, and the only interesting part is the bridge.

> fore. up.


> x city. x panel.

> x lever. (Upright with horse head knob.)

> x dial. (arrow all to the right.)

> x rope.

> pull lever. (+%3. This starts the horse to move.)

Over the next few turns, the wooden horse you're in starts to lurch, trot, canter, gallop.

> z. z. z. z. z. z.

When the city wall is almost upon you:

> pull rope. (+7%)

A flame jet hits the city wall. The horse collapses and you're now at...

West of Troy

Achilles, a Greek general, berates you. Greek troops enter the hole, and fighting in the city starts.

I'm going to ignore Achilles and walk around the city first:

> ne.

North of Troy

> x sea. se.

East of Troy

There's a random chance that the guard will say "Troy cannot fall while the Palladium stands!"

> x guard. x leg. ask guard about troy.

> kill guard. take leg.

> sw.

South of Troy

> w. s.


The reason why we want to block this hole will become apparent later.

> x hole. smell smoke.

> put sword in hole. (+4%. This blocks the smoke.)

> n. n.

Siege camp

> x tents. w.

Sandy beach

> x ship. x tents. s.

Pebbly beach

> in.

Cave mouth

> x statue. ("PERSEUS")

> se.

Cave lair

CAUTION: If you see Medusa's snake-hair, you'll be turned into stone! However, with the ceiling hole blocked, the lair is filled with smoke making it difficult to see.

I'm cheating a little here, asking about the barber before we've met him.

> ask woman about woman. ask woman about barber.

> ask woman about perseus.

> nw. w. n. e. e.

West of Troy

> x achilles. x boots. x horse.

> ask achilles about heel. ask achilles about horse.

> e. u. (+3%)


Patroclus begs you to fetch Achilles.

> x patroclus. x hector. d. w.

West of Troy

> tell achilles about patroclus. (+3%)

> e. u.


Achilles and Hector fight!

> untie patroclus. d. e.

Palladium Garden

> x statue. push statue. (Too heavy.)

> x flowers. x grass. x plinth.

> e.

Outside Barber's Shop

Caution: Although you can go east out the gate, you can't return the same way while the guard at East of Troy lives. And yes, we killed him earlier, so this is no longer a problem.

> in.

Barber's shop

> x barber. x mirror. x chair.

> ask barber about hair. (costs one obol)

> give obol to barber. (+3%)

You now want to lead the blind barber to Medusa, so he can cut off her snakes. But because he'll give a haircut to the first person he finds, you must first have moved either Achilles or the guard out of your path; otherwise, the barber gives those men a trim instead. You only need to lead the barber as far as the cave mouth; he will enter the lair itself without you.

> out. w. w. w. w. w. s. in. (+3%)

Cave mouth

The barber has done his job, but let's get the sword back so we can see in there.

> out. n. e. s. s.


> take sword. n. n. w. s. in. se.

Cave lair

> x medusa. ask medusa about ointment. take pot.

> ask medusa about palladium.

> nw.

Cave mouth

> put ointment on perseus. (+3%. Alive, he goes, leaving a bronze key.)

> take key. x key.

> out. n. e. e. e. e.

Palladium Garden

> put ointment on palladium. (+7%. Alive, she leaves. The war is over!)

> w. u.


Only Hector is here now.

> d. e. n.

Outside Citadel

This gate won't be open until the war is over.

> x citadel. in. u.


> n. (+3% for using the bronze key; +3% for bringing chicken.)


Normal attempts to take Helen fail; she squirms out of your grasp. However, Helen will follow you while you carry the chicken leg.

> x helen. (She's a pug dog?)

> x painting. (Of a sailing ship.)

> x bed. ask helen about ship. pet helen.

> s. d. out. s. w. w. w. w. (+4%)

Sandy beach

Helen launches the ship. Guess how. She and Achilles hop aboard and they're gone.

> x scroll. (Third labour is crossed out.)

> e. e. e. e. s. in.

Temple of Artemis

> x painting. x pool.

> enter pool. (+3%. Your figurine glows and you're now at...)

Labyrinth (up to 4 locations)

Although the labyrinth is mappable, the minotaur's and Daedalus's movements are random. So you'll need to wander at random repeatedly until you find the minotaur, who you'll definitely meet first.

> eorworsorn. (Repeat until you find the Minotaur.)

Caution: The minotaur will start hitting you if you hang around him too long, though, so I suggest you keep moving.

> x minotaur. ask minotaur about labyrinth. ("Moooo!")

> eorworsorn. (Repeat until Daedalus arrives and takes the Minotaur away. +%3.)

> n.

Labyrinth exit.

Note: Once you leave the labyrinth, you can't return.

> u.


> x hut. x trail.

> in.

Daedalus' workshop

Daedalus tells you that the Bicyclops lives on his island. He wants to charge it with a vehicle but he needs a frame and wheels.

> x daedalus. x shelves. x coldbox. x cheese. take cheese.

> ask daedalus about bicyclops.

> out. se.

Outside Temple of Poseidon

> x symbol. x temple. x cliff. x sea.

> sw.

Outside clay house

> x house. x beads. in.

Sappho's house

Note: You can't take the kithara and aulos out of Sappho's house until the cat allows it.

> x sappho. x cat. x kithara. x aulos.

> pet cat.

> ask sappho about cat. (It's named Hecate.)

> ask sappho about daedalus. ask sappho about bicyclops.

> ask sappho about symbol.

> take kithara. play it. drop it.

> take aulos. play it. drop it.

> out. nw.

Old dock

This would seem to be the entrance to Hades. The fish is a "lost sole". Diogenes told you to go to hell in a handcart. And the "hellish" path is "paved with good intentions"?

> x fish. x handcart. x wheels. x dock. x path.

> take fish. take wheels. (+3%)

> ne.

Bicyclops' lair

Fortunately, you can spend several turns in the Bicyclops' presence without him attacking you.

> x bicyclops. x footprints. x bones. (+4%)

> x saddle. take saddle.

> sw. se. in.

Sappho's house

> give fish to cat. (+3%. It takes it outside and stays there.)

> take kithara. take aulos.

> out. ne. nw. in.

Daedalus' workshop

> give wheels to daedalus. (+3%)

> give kithara to daedalus. (+3%)

> give saddle to daedalus. (+3%)

He finishes building his "Bicicile" and wheels it outside.

> out.


> ride bike. (+4%. The Bicyclops is slain! Daedalus, pleased, takes the bike back.)

Bicyclops' lair

> x scroll. (First labour is crossed out.)

> sw.

Old dock

> enter cart. (+3%)

Poorly Gates

> read sign. x gate. n. w.

Tantalus' cell

> x tanatalus. x wine. x plaque.

> give aulos to tantalus. (+3%. He uses it as a straw, then leaves.)

> e. n. e.

Sisyphus' cell

> x sisyphus. x boulder. x slope. x plaque.

> give cheese to sisyphus. (+3%. He wedges the boulder, then leaves.)

> x scroll. (Second labour is crossed out.)

> w. n. w.

Empty cell

Here's a handy bit of foreshadowing.

> x plaque. x pitchfork. take it.

> e. s. s. s.

Poorly Gates

> enter cart. se. ne. in.

Temple of Poseidon

> x painting. x pool.

> enter pool. (+4%. You teleport to...)

Props cupboard

Thespis storms out when you materialize.

> out. s. e.


The king acknowledges that your debt to society is paid then tells you to get lost.

> w.

You decide to adventure elsewhere.

*** Ending 1 of 2 ***

> undo. kill king. (+6%. Using the pitchfork.)

You usurp the throne and become Queen.

*** Ending 2 of 2 ***



Mentioned or depicted:



Honorable mention:


You have completed this-percentage of this adventure.
Diogenes rates you as ranking.


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