Letters to the Archivist

I'm always delighted to receive thoughtful e-mails about Quendorian history. Here are some of the more interesting letters from Chronology of Quendor readers.

If you have comments about Quendorian history, Feel Free to write me! (I will assume, unless you state otherwise, that I have your permission to include such comments here.)

I've grouped the letters by their primary subject, though many refer to several:

Wishbringer in Beyond Zork

From: Nate Waggoner
Sent: Sat 05 Feb 2000 12:05 PM
Subject: Grues

I was just wondering if maybe Wishbringer could be placed in between Spellbreaker and Beyond Zork? It seems to make sense, because that way the princess could make an appearance in Beyond Zork, and Y'gael would be the same age, and there would be no mix-up about Y'gael seemingly holding the magick stone of dreams in the intro of Beyond Zork. It seems canonical, but I'm not sure yet. Could you check that for me?

Thanks in advance,

Nate Waggoner

It's a paradox. Since Morning-Star is alive in Beyond Zork according to the magic mirror, Wishbringer cannot exist yet. But Y'Gael seems to be holding Wishbringer in the preface. I've assumed that that's a rather Wishbringer-like glowing rock.

From: AbstractManiac@aol.com
Sent: Sat 29 Sep 2000 9:19 PM
Subject: Chronology of Quendor comments: Wishbringer and Beyond Zork reconciliation

Hi! My name's Arthur, and I'm a pretty big Zork fan, though I got into it late (only about four years ago, actually), so you might say I'm one of the upstart youth generation of text adventurers. Keeping the faith alive, and all that!

Let me start out by saying that I love your site. I think it's awesome that you've taken the time and the energy to put together such a well-organized and complete compilation of information on those games we love. You really deserve a hand for your work; I'm just blown away by how thorough and high-quality it is. I could never maintain a project of that level.

Okay, that said ... :)

Well, I don't claim to be an expert, but I am fairly anal, as well as having obsessive and fanatic tendencies, so I do have a few disagreements with some points in your timeline, just based on my personal observations and interpretations of the game. I hope you don't mind my sending them to you.

Anyway, the main issue I have is the time Wishbringer takes place. I understand your argument for having Wishbringer take place after Beyond Zork, but to me that's a very unsatisfying place to put it.

It has way too many inconsistencies. Somehow, Morning-Star's heart must magically change into Wishbringer, the Evil One magically transforms the town of Festeron, and the mail clerk uses the myriad powers of Wishbringer, the magic whistle, the wizard hat, etc., all during the zero-magic Age of Science, unless of course we move the date even later, in which case Y'Gael's continued survival becomes less and less likely, no matter how old she looks. (The Age of Science will last long ... None in this room can hope to outlive it.) Speaking of which, Y'Gael somehow gets all the way to Festeron after leaving in the ship with the Coconut, when Zork Grand Inquisitor fairly strongly implies Y'Gael and the other mages either died or transported themselves to Atrii after marooning the ship on the high seas. (Exactly how or why is unclear; the ending of Beyond Zork implies that the future Beyond Zork sequels would have addressed that storyline, but sadly, the Infocom Implementors never got the chance. It seems as though by going to Atrii they were able to preserve some measure of magical control over events after the Great Change, allowing them to safeguard the Coconut from beyond the grave. Hence Y'Gael's ability to give magical assistance to you in ZGI.) Most telling of all, Y'Gael sacrificed her youth to defend the Stone; since she's already described as old in Beyond Zork, she must have become the Stone's keeper long before then.

Also, though the evidence doesn't demand it, I feel that the Implementors (or, at least, Brian Moriarty) meant to imply that the Wishbringer letter carrier later becomes the Zork Trilogy adventurer and Second Dungeon Master. It's certainly an aesthetically pleasing theory, and it seems to be strongly hinted at by many phrases in Wishbringer. (The whole trip to the White House seems to be a magical foreshadowing of future events, since You will return someday. And there's Y'Gael bestowing the title of adventurer upon you at the end ...) Of course, there remains the question of what happened to the mailbox, but one of the themes of the Zork Trilogy, insofar as it has a theme, is how the adventurer sacrifices morality for personal gain, and even in the end, Zork III, his actions, taken to prove his worth morally, still are for selfish gain and power; I felt the ending of Zork III was not so much happy as ambivalent. (Why's the 1st DM smiling at me like that? Maybe he knows something about the price of such power that I don't ...) It would be a kind of bitter irony that the great adventurer, in his rise from humble beginnings, forgot the first lesson Y'Gael taught him and abandoned/gave away the greatest true treasure he'd ever earned. But then, that's just my opinion. Oh, there's also the question of how the mailbox gets back there in Zork I, of course, but then I don't think it's that much of a stretch to say they're different mailboxes. The mailbox in Zork I is never described as particularly small, after all. And, presumably, since the White House was originally created by the 1st DM, he has magical control over it and can replace things that are destroyed or removed. (Who do you think keeps barring the trapdoor on you in Zork I, after all? Who resurrects you when you die? And who teleports you that secret map when you fill the trophy case? All evidence of magical manipulation ...) It fits a recurring theme, too; in ZGI, the mailbox is destroyed, and later replaced by a different one.

So, I'd say Wishbringer takes place in the time just prior to Zork I, say, maybe in the 930s, to give the mail clerk time to develop a career as a world-famous adventurer, so that Wishbringer would've been discovered perhaps as far back as the 8th century (Y'Gael sacrificing her youth; assume she's old for an Enchanter, about 250 or so, when Wishbringer takes place; old enough to be retired from public life, but not yet so old as to be senile, particularly in the case of a prodigy like Y'Gael). The time of Morning-Star would be back in the B.E. centuries, giving time for the centuries to pass as her heart transmutes to the Stone, as well as explaining the presence of grues in the Legend of Wishbringer, and the existence of an independent platypus kingdom not found by the Empire. (Most humans don't seem to know platypi are sentient, with the possible exception of knowledgeable mages like Y'Gael and yourself, which is why the Legend of Wishbringer is illustrated with human characters and humans use platypi for food.) It seems likely that as the human Empire expanded, the platypi, who seem to range over quite a large area of land in the Legend, are pushed farther and farther back until their once-great kingdom becomes an isolated outpost on Misty Island.

The pertinent question is, of course, how does one explain the Alexis cameo in Beyond Zork?

Okay. First off, to pop back out for a reality check, I think that in real life, Brian Moriarty did mean to put Wishbringer just prior to Zork I; however, in Beyond Zork he got careless and created a gaping continuity problem for the sake of a half-funny moment. I do like Moriarty's work a lot, but he seems to be the most careless of the original Infocom Imps when it comes to continuity (such as with the whole spenseweed debacle, for example).

Now, going back into Quendorian historian mode, it's still perfectly possible to explain this in a way that makes sense and is aesthetically pleasing. First off, who says it's the same Alexis? Platypi seem to reuse names for royalty just as often as humans; there's two King Anantinuses (Anantini?), after all. This Alexis could just be named after the other one. Or, since platypi do seem to have the ability to use magic (the Whistle of Summoning and the crystal jar and circlet), it could be the original Alexis under a Long Life Spell. (We don't know just how long a Long Life Spell is, but judging by Canuk, over 400 years old and still looking 25, it's pretty long. Remember that in Quendor, normal mages already have a lifespan of 300, Zylon the Aged lived over 300 years presumably without the benefit of magic, and even the wholly nonmagical Antharia Jack is over a century old without visible signs of age. Maybe the macrobiotic diet. Anyway, longevity is common in Zork, maybe because of latent magical fields in the air or something.) I do prefer to think of her as the original Alexis, since that's the whole point of the cameo.

Why is she here, then? Well, notice that her castle seems to be rather isolated. It's far away from the platypus kingdom at Misty Island, it's completely inaccessible from the ground, and, most telling of all, it's inaccessible from the Planes of Atrii, protected by a strong magical field.

Remember, Alexis was a bit of a strong-willed ruler, and I think it's a safe bet her popularity rating went down a lot after Morning-Star's untimely death of brokenheartedness. It seems safe to assume she was forced out of power, perhaps by her own husband (who seems to be reluctant to follow her mad schemes in the Legend). She then fled with a small retinue of followers to an isolated mountaintop in the Southlands, where she built a castle shielded with powerful magics where she could live for all of time.

There may be something like a modified GIRGOL spell, in fact, on the castle, that, while preserving a semi-normal time flow in the castle, generally isolates it from the passage of time, explaining the rather unusually pristine and well-kept appearance of the castle given its out-of-the-way location; a side effect may be isolating it from other nonspatial dimensions as well, preventing you from dimensionally gating there, so that you have to fly through the normal spatial dimensions. That would explain Alexis's long life and youthful appearance even better than a Long Life Spell or macrobiotic diet. Such things are not unprecedented in Zork; there seems to be a similar temporal isolation on the Walking Castle in ZGI, created by the Guild to allow a future defender of magic to transport the relics to the future since they can't be brought through time tunnels. There's also an effect like that in the Gallery in Nemesis, and even the White House is said to be unnaturally well-preserved thanks to the DM's power. Suffice to say that there's lots of examples of things being cut off from the time stream in Zork.

So, this provides a possible explanation for the mirror's strange report! If the castle is separated from the passage of time, the mirror may not be able to sense any changes that take place outside the castle grounds. Assuming the last time the mirror checked for beautiful platypi was while Morning-Star was still alive and young, it won't sense any changes since then, and will give the same report.

Which means that Alexis, in her cry of Liar!, isn't being petulant, she speaks the truth!

An alternate, more clever explanation, which I like a great deal, is that the mirror, being a very literal creature, as magic mirrors are apt to be, checked for Morning-Star, as it usually did, but instead of finding the old and broken body Alexis wanted to find, what did it see? None other than the gorgeously glowing violet Stone of Dreams, the only physical remnant of Morning-Star's body! (Okay, so the real plastic stone isn't that gorgeous, but I'm going with the way it's described in the story.) The perfect jewel is much more beautiful than the starting-to-sag-slightly Alexis, which is why the mirror gives its characteristically true but misleading answer. Alexis cries Liar! thinking the mirror really is lying, unaware of the truth of what happened to Morning-Star.

I think this theory does make sense and is appealing, at least a lot more appealing than all the headaches that come from a post-BZ Wishbringer. I've thought about it a while, and I've decided that's the best way to explain the chronology, the one that makes the most internal sense and is still closest to the Imps' original intentions. So, please let me know what you think! Thanks for your time, and thanks again for your wonderful site!

- Arthur R. Chu

Hope I don't mind? I love letters like this!

Your theory of the mirror referring to Wishbringer is quite clever, even elegant! I like it a great deal. Moving Wishbringer back into the Age of Magic simplifies a number of things, though it'll take some time to work through all the implications.

A few comments:

My original theory was that Y'Gael's longevity and the persistence of magic in Festeron were due to the influence of the Coconut of Quendor (and what better reason for the platypi to live on Misty Island than to be close to the source of magic?). Of course, Grand Inquisitor complicated that theory.

You will return someday - Wishbringer was an introductory Zork-type game aimed at those new to the genre. The quote could just as well refer to the expectation that the player would attempt Zork I after the more welcoming Wishbringer. I had never considered that the Famous Adventurer might have once been the letter carrier daydreaming of princesses and dragons.

I had thought either the thief or the cyclops was the one who barred the trap door. Can it be barred after disposing of them? I agree that the DM is surely the one who sends the map.

The Popular Enchanting magazine in Sorcerer says Sorcerers have a life expectancy of 175 years, three times that of a layperson. That doesn't seem to apply to the Activision Zorks, though. :-)

From: AbstractManiac@aol.com
Sent: Mon 2 Oct 2000 10:23 PM
Subject: Re: Chronology of Quendor comments: Wishbringer and Beyond Zork reconciliation

Hello again!

I must say I'm absolutely thrilled you printed my letter on the Chronology of Quendor website. It's moments like these that make me think all those hours pondering the ins and outs of an imaginary computer game universe weren't entirely wasted after all. :) (Now I have something to show to my parents!) I don't know if it's a good enough theory to make it into the Chronology proper, but I am tremendously gratified you chose to put up my long-winded theorizing in its entirety. Thanks!

I understand the connection between Wishbringer and the Zork Trilogy is tenuous. The main reason I still like it, though, is that there's a romantic in me who does like to think that the lowly mail clerk, dreaming of princesses and dragons, does become a real adventurer someday. And a cynic in me who likes to think that in the process he loses his innocence, and the true nobility and heroism he had before.

Also, there's one factual note that I forgot to mention, which you already have in the Chronology. Remember the three books that came with the Zork Trilogy documentation? Though they have pertinent info on Quendor, they have very little to do with events in the games themselves; as you said, it seems almost as though the world-famous adventurer was researching whatever background he could on the GUE before delving into it. And where did he check all three books out from? The Festeron Public Library ... Makes you think, huh? :)

All right, so it is established in Wishbringer that the Library in Festeron is world-famous for its collection of historical information, so he may have come from somewhere else to do his research, but I think that plus the other insinuations makes it a little too much of a coincidence.

Yes, of course, popping back into real life, the You will return is quite definitely a not-so-subtle plug for Zork I to the real-life game player; however, there's no reason why something that has meaning in real life can't have a parallel meaning within the game continuum. It would be extremely appropriate and satisfying to train future Zork players by having them play through the Zork player-character's first real adventure? And if there's one things the Imps liked, it's solutions that were appropriate and satisfying.

About the Zork I trapdoor: the rule, if I recall correctly, is that the trapdoor is barred until you find an alternate means of exiting the dungeon (the chimney doesn't count, since it's too limited). It is theoretically possible to have the trapdoor barred on you even after beating the Cyclops and Thief, as long as you get past the Cyclops using the lunch and water (using ODYSSEUS causes him to break open the Strange Passage back to the White House); it's just very difficult, since beating the Thief requires high combat skill, and high combat skill requires a high score, and a high score requires transporting treasures back to the trophy case. It's theoretically possible by using the chimney or being very lucky (since combat is randomized).

The only motive I can think of for barring the trapdoor on you is as a test, to force you to explore the dungeon, and the only person I can think of who'd do that would be the Dungeon Master. (Neither the Cyclops nor the Troll had the ability to move fast enough; the Thief might, but though he does show signs of toying with you, I don't think he wants to toy with you to the point of trapping you in the dungeon with him. He more seems determined to drive you away, actually, by threatening you at random points, stealing treasures out from under your nose, etc. You're, as the game puts it, a threat to his career.) We've seen the DM be in two places at once before, or at least be able to teleport really fast from one place to another. (One minute he's getting medieval on me as the Hooded One, then he's mocking me as the friend at the cliff, then he's the old man in the rune room ...) And there's no question he at least partially set up the whole Zork scenario to test you ...

So, that's just filling in a few gaps.

Oh, by the way, I just noticed a glaring error in the previous letter I sent you; I mistakenly said the White House was created by the 1st DM. Of course, it wasn't; it was created by Megaboz, but he did put it under the complete control of the 1st DM, as well as giving him all his magical power. So it's not unreasonable to say the 1st DM can control the White House and its surroundings completely, since the House is nothing but a magical construct put under his command. In fact, the message you get when you die for the third time makes it pretty clear you're not the only adventurer who ever broke into the White House, or even the first one to reach that point; the numerous bodies in Hades and elvish swords in the Wizard of Frobozz's trophy room would indicate that quite a few before you have progressed through the events in Zork I, only to fail later, and the DM reset everything in the Zork I area back to the way it was.

With the possible exception of the Thief, of course, who, judging from the various messages about him, is sort of a loose cannon. He's referred to as the Other Occupant, in fact; the capital letters make me think that that's a kind of special position to hold. Perhaps normally there's only one person in the dungeon at a time, but the Thief is unusual in that rather than attempting to push forward as all the others did, he, being a pragmatic soul, has set up camp in the region and become content to live on what treasure he finds here. That makes him an unsuitable candidate for the 2nd DM, so the DM is now using him, with or without his consent, to test you.

Anyway, I find it unlikely that you'd be the only adventurer to penetrate the White House in all this time, and the rather overly convenient provisions you find in the House even more unlikely. (What's up with an elvish sword, presumably a very valuable item, just lying around? And isn't that trophy case for all your treasures just a little TOO handy ...) The whole White House is obviously a giant setup by the DM (actually, a setup created by Megaboz for the DM). Meaning, of course, that replacing something like a mailbox would be utterly trivial for him. The only purpose of the mailbox seems to be for him to issue his challenge to adventurers who find the White House. Ignoring the fourth-wall-breaking nature of the message, of course. :) (And it's obviously his magical power that allows you to break the time barrier when mailing things through it, in ZGI.)

Anyway, that's just filling in some loose ends from my previous message. Thanks very much for all your time and your kind words about my apologia, and I'm sure I'll be back to bother you again soon enough in the future! :)

The trouble with grue repellent

From: Jesse Smith
Sent: Mon 15 Dec 1997 6:28 PM
Subject: Quendor chronology

Hi,

I just visited your Chronology of Quendor -- what a massive job! Fine work!

I wonder if you've noticed the inconsistancy between the FrobozzCo annual report in Zork III and Zork Zero. In the report, there is a statement about Frobozz Magic Grue Repellant reducing grue-related fatalities (and consequently grue population) by a percentage I don't remember offhand. But this report is dated 778, and Zork Zero (and Beyond Zork, I think) established that grues were unknown in the GUE and thought to be mythical until the pits were filled in 883.

Any ideas on rationalizing that one away?

--
Jesse Smith

http://www.wco.com/~jdsmith/
God's in His Heaven; all's right with the world. - Robert Browning

Good catch, Jesse! Perhaps there are a few remote corners of the empire where they still lurk.

From: David Fillmore
Sent: Tue 08 Jul 1999 1:40 PM
Subject: Grues

I e-mailed because I found a possible (if somewhat contrived) solution to the problem Jesse Smith mentioned about grues - namely that they were supposed to have all disappeared during the reign of Entharion, yet were mentioned in a letter between then and 883, when they were released from the bottomless pits.

Okay, here's my theory: The letter in question came with Zork III. At one point in this game, the character goes back in time to 776 GUE, and steals a ring. Now, Lord Flathead wasn't the most understanding of people, and probably had the people guarding the treasury fired.

I think that in the original timeline (the one the letter came from) grues were around by 778, because one of these guards filled in the bottomless pits under the castle (like the player does in Zork Zero), but after he was fired, he no longer had access to these pits, and therefore they remained unfilled until 883. The letter was perfectly correct at the start of Zork III, but probably looked slightly different by the end.

No more contrived than some of my apologia. :-)

From: Gregory Baumgardner
Sent: Thu 30 May 2002 2:41 PM
Subject: Note On Quendor Chronology

778 -- the Grue repellent entry

Perhaps this is similar to the elephant repellent joke? But there are no elephants for MILES! See how well it works?

If the Frobozz Magic Grue Repellent company keeps cranking out deaths down 14% stories and such, people might be willing to believe that their Grue repellent is working.

I thought that -- perhaps to fit it to the chronology better -- this explanation might serve.

Sorry to bother you -- you probably get fifty or sixty of these a day.

--chaoticset

Ha! Good one! Turning a continuity error into a themely joke might be the best apologia yet.

Since FrobozzCo has products to exploit every need in the Empire but good government, they might as well develop products to keep away boogiemen too.

I don't receive very much e-mail about the Chronology. The occasional suggestions and notes of thanks once in a grue moon make me happy to devote 6 megabytes of server space to keeping it online.

Zork Nemesis geography

From: Andy Harrington
Sent: Sat 31 Jul 1999 2:55 AM
Subject: Twothings

#1: How is FCD #3 around in RTZ if you ruin it in ZGI?
#2: FCD #7 is an error in the game ...it's suppose to be FCD #3 as there are no more FCDs and in the ZN maunel map the dam right next to the Conservatory is labelled FCD #3.

~ANdy

1067

1647

  1. Yes, the dam was destroyed, but they can rebuild it. They have the technology. They can make it grayer ... blockier ... uglier ...
  2. One of Kaine's letters in Zork Nemesis mentions a battle at Flood Control Dam number 678. Who knows how many there are? Dimwit was never the sort to stop at just one.

From: Andy Harrington
Sent: Sat 9 Aug 2000 4:33 AM
Subject: Two things to fix your timeline ...

I've been pondering this for awhile ... I think that there is in fact a FCD #7. Notice it's location on the map. SOUTH of the White House. So, I think the map made the mistake. Also, notice how the name of the Conversatory is the Frigid River BRANCH Convervatory. Not just the Frigid River Convervatory. And, if you look at the map that was included in the original packaging for Zork 1, the Frigid River heads south and then curves to the west to the Great Sea. Just for Zork Nemesis, they happened to add another river flowing further south. Check both maps. But that's my theory and that's what I believe.

Also, the Temple of Agrippa is UNDERGROUND. So, it would still be in the location mentioned on the map.

~Andy

If the Temple of Agrippa is in the same location as the Valley of the Vultures in the Futurelithic Age, then it is above ground, though it has passages going down as deep as the Great Underground Highway.

From: Andy Harrington
Sent: Sat 20 Sep 2000 12:15 PM
Subject: Re: Quick question, please reply.

From Laird!

That right there proves that the temple is underground. but the roof broke away to show the eclipse

Oh, so that's why the rocks look so peculiar above the temple! I didn't realize it was in a hollow mountain. Thanks for clearing that up.

Lucien is (not) the Thief

From: Noah Green
Sent: Sat 08 Nov 1997 9:06 PM
Subject: Quendor:Lucien/Nemesis was the Thief from Zork I

Hey,

Your timeline is awesome! It really brings back the old (and new) memories. Thank you for providing this service to us.

There is a bit of apocrypha I wanted to bring your attention to; it's up to you what you want to do with it. In the Strategy Guide for Nemesis, it talks about how it was the Dungeon Master was responsible for sending the player into Nemesis, and that he did it out of guilt for killing the thief. (Well I didn't feel guilty, did you?) And as you point out from Lucien/Nemesis's diary, Nemesis explores the Underground Empire, and has to kill people who try to take treasures. I once talked to some people who said that this and much else was edited out of the final version of Nemesis, but not before the strategy guide got done; and what is more, Lucien/Nemesis WAS the thief, and the Dungeon Master knew that by sending the player back in time to events before Nemesis's death, he might be able to prevent it from happening, and make things right. Interesting, eh? Well you may want to put this in ....at least put in the fact that the Dungeon Master sent the player to the Temple (as it is in the Strategy Guide.) If it's all true, then in Nemesis we came up against the same enemy we had 20 years ago in Zork I!

Well anyway again it is a great timeline and I sure appreciate your putting it out there!

-noah

From: Andy Harrington
Sent: Sat 18 Sep 2000 1:18 PM
Subject: Info straight from Laird ...

Lucien IS the Thief from Zork 1. And in the intro to Zork Nemesis it shows the player stabbing him. I emailed Laird and he told me this for a fact.

~Sky

From: Andy Harrington
Sent: Sat 19 Sep 2000 2:58 PM
Subject: more

Laird also told me that Lucien became the Nemesis when the player from Zork 1 killed him as the thief.

Also, he told me that the Bivotar, Ellron, and Syovar are infact the same ones that were in the choose-our-own-adventure books.

~Sky

In the opening shot, a lone man is silhouetted in darkness by a bright light. He slowly raises his arms high and wide. A dramatic pause, then he thrusts toward his chest, with a stabbing sound effect. If you watch closely, you can glimpse the dim blade in his hand as his arm comes down. As he turns sideways, the backlight reveals the knife in his chest.

It looks like Lucien commiting suicide to me. Perhaps he means to join Alexandria in death like Romeo joins Juliet, or perhaps he is trying to avoid becoming the Nemesis. The famous adventurer does not appear in this scene at all. Besides, we witness Lucien starting to become Nemesis at the climax of the Great Eclipse of 945, three years prior to Zork I.

So the lean and hungry gentleman slain in Zork I isn't Nemesis. He of the large sack was likely not the only thief in the realm, so Nemesis's diary entry is still reconcilable.

An earlier letter from Noah Green reports that in the original plot of Zork Nemesis, the Dungeon Master sends the player after Nemesis out of guilt for slaying the thief, but this was edited out of the final version.

I'd like to take Laird's word as official, but he's talking about early drafts. What he says conflicts with the game as released. I have to go by what's in the released game. I've added a note about the removed plotline, though.


(See also my response concerning the What-Do-I-Do-Now books.)

From: Andy Harrington
Sent: Sat 28 Oct 2000 7:10 AM
Subject: Re: Info straight from Laird ...

I thought it showed him clutching his chest after the dagger hit him. But, Laird directly told me that, so, how can you argue with the creator?

He clutches his chest after he stabs the dagger into his heart. Watch it again.

How can I argue with the technical director? The same way I argue when I point out the errors and inconsistencies in the other Zorks. The game designers made mistakes.

In this case, the game tells a different story. The story the game actually tells is more official than subplots that ended up on the cutting room floor. In the end, it's all about the games.

The cutting room floor

From: Bill Horton
Sent: Tue 25 Nov 1997 10:01 AM
Subject: ZGI

Hello;

Have enjoyed your comments and your website. My wife and I were testers for ZGI. The little old man in the red jacket (guard) was (through most of the testing) sitting in a chair by the dolls. We kept telling the team that after he runs away yelling fire, you hide and Jack is halled away; you could then for two moves toward the tavern still see the little guy sitting in the chair when you turned around looking down the alley toward the barrel. Thus, their solution, cut him out of scenes altogether. My wife was disappointed - she thought he was cute. Now we feel responsible for the little guy not staying in the game - at least visually.

Question: Did you say you could not cast Kendall on the telephone in Hades? We did.

I'd like to know more about what you do. Am I wrong that you design websites for people?

Bill Horton
mrbill@acd.net

From: Eavenson
Sent: Sat 07 Nov 1998 6:10 AM
Subject: Re: Quendor: GUE Tech and Frobozz references

thank's for answering my questions. Now i have one more is their a page that lists scenes that were supposed to be in the zork games but were removed, such as the mushroom people that were supposed to lead you to the singing tree in Return to zork? I've heard of a few more mainly in Zork nemisis, but haven't seen or heard any one go far in describing the left out scenes.

Wow, I never heard anything about these mushroom people. Where did you read that?

The Zork Nemesis Strategy Guide includes some excerpts from the developer's notes, which include a few things that didn't make it into the final game.

From: Eavenson
Sent: Sat 07 Nov 1998 6:38 AM
Subject: Re: Quendor: Mushroom people?

i learned abut the mushroom people scene from the Return to Zork Strategy guide. i also rembember another scene it mentioned, in it you find Graham in the woods after he was blinded and he helps you by giving his bow and arrows, and answers a few questions to why he was blind. He also asks you to go to the fairy to ask for forgiveness for his actions. i borrowed the strategy guide, but i may be able to find it and be able scan the article for you if your interested.

Also it would be nice if your timeline had another section on scenes that didn't make the cut in zork games.

Could you tell me about the Zork Nemisis missing scenes?

I do not care about you putting my letters up.

A section on things which weren't in the final cut is an interesting idea. It might even be worth picking up the Return to Zork Strategy Guide for.

From: Eric Perel
Sent: Wed 01 Apr 1998 9:52 PM
Subject: Idwit Succeeds Barbawit Flathead After 2 Years.

On your calendar, when you marked Barbawit Flathead's succession by Idwit Oogle, you said after only 2 years? I wonder what befell Barbawit. I think I have an explanation: in the Zork Nemesis strategy guide, it said that the last 3 kings of the Flathead dynasty were a coward, a lunatic, and a stand-up comedian. In the same book, Wurb Flathead's actions seem to mark him as the coward. I'm assuming that Barbawit was locked in an asylum after 2 years because he was the lunatic. And Idwit Oogle lasted so long because he was the stand-up comedian. I made the Idwit Oogle/stand-up comedian is because I like stand up comedians. (Also, look at Jerry Seinfeld, who knows how long this stand-up comedian's show would last if he didn't take it off the air. Basically, to sum it up, here is what I'm saying:

Wurb Flathead is the coward.
Idwit Oogle Flathead is the stand-up comedian and
Barbawit Flathead is the lunatic.

Yoruk353

After reviewing the internal inconsistencies of the Strategy Guides, I've decided that the hint books and strategy guides are not canonical, though I did include a few items from them.

The novels and What-Do-I-Do-Now books

From: Andy Harrington
Sent: Sat 9 Aug 2000 4:57 AM
Subject: More ...

Also, why do you refuse to list events that occurred in the Infocom novels? (Lost City of Zork, Enchanter, The Zork Chronicles, and Wishbringer)

Now I just recently re-read all 4:

Wishbringer: it does use a few references to non-Zork (real life) stuff, but remove those and it works fine for the story-line after Wishbringer.

Enchanter: Apparently the new seal that you in the game Enchanter created to hold the Great Terror wasn't enough and it brakes free. There are countless errors in geography (mostly combinding the eastlands and westlands in one continent). But it fits really well.

Lost City of Zork: I really can't see any problem with this except possibly the a couple dates conflict.

The Zork Chronicles: I'll admit, this is a really wierd book. But, from reading in-depth, Glorian becomes an Implementor at the end of the novel. So all of his draw forwarding, and the Van Hilton, etc are places in the Etheral Planes. Also, to become an Implementor, you must have to be nominated on several occations. And to get nominated you have to help adventurers and heroes on their quests, like Glorian does in this novel.

Now, the Choose-Your-Own Adventure books ...

Alright, these are very twisted, but put it this way. They all have to take place between the years of 883 (start of Syovar's reign) and 947 (Bivotar's death). Now, just say they explored a different section of the Empire. Now, there's no doubt that this Bivotar isn't the same one in the Zork Nemesis diary - I mean ...both are the ONLY things with Syovar, Ellron and Bivotar in them.

Also, Syovar had to reign from somewhere during ZNem, why not the Castle of Zork as in the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Books. It also appears that Ellron was a Knight of Frobozz (which appears to be Syovar's military power and is how he overtook Wurb Flathead). And the reason Ellron is not loyal to Syovar anymore was because of disputes with Kaine (possibly because Kaine took Ellron's place as general as well as the boarderland disputes? It said that they both had so much mutal hatred for each other. And then Ellron and the Knights of Frobozz (while attacking Irondune) fell under the curse of the Nemesis and got violent and destroyed various villages, etc.

Now, about the thing with Krill in the first book. First he's banished from the guild around 883. Now, at the end of the 1st book Krill and Syovar fight. During that battle, Krill was thought to be destroyed (used magic to escape, very badly wounded) and then retreated to the westlands where he then assumed power at Largoneth for Enchanter.

Now, the part about Jeeaar from the 4th book. Well, Jeeaar is never fought or destroyed at the end of this book, so thus we would still be perfectly living in Sorcerer.

Also, there's one thing from Dungeon that you could include:

There was a treasure called Holy Grail or just Grail (I can't recall the exact name) that was removed from the Zork Trilogy. You could say that during the adventurer's quest to become the 2nd Dungeon Master, that he managed to pass/not discover this treasure.

One last thing, this info is taken from the orignal Field Guide to the Creatures of Quendor

Since Sorcerer takes place in 957, it's safe to assume this that this takes place in 956:

“Due to last year's bankruptcy of the Frobozz Magic Grommet Company, a severe shortage of infotaters (rotating data wheels) has developed. For the duration of this crisis, we are substitutin (at the last minute and at great expense) this special birch-bark-bound edition in book form.

            Borphee Infotaters, Inc.”

There are too many inconsistencies in the novels to reconcile. I'd rather ignore the What-Do-I-Do-Now books altogether than try to work around the altered mythos, especially in light of the reuse of character names in Zork Nemesis. However, I enjoyed reading your ideas on reconciling them.

Since I've decided not to consider Dungeon canonical, I'll pass on including the grail, but thanks for the suggestion.

Good call on the Frobozz Magic Grommet Company bankruptcy! I've added that to the timeline.

From: Andy Harrington
Sent: Sat 19 Sep 2000 2:58 PM
Subject: more

Laird also told me that Lucien became the Nemesis when the player from Zork 1 killed him as the thief.

Also, he told me that the Bivotar, Ellron, and Syovar are infact the same ones that were in the choose-our-own-adventure books.

~Sky

I'm not convinced that Steve Meretzky ever meant the What-Do-I-Do-Now books to fit into the timeline. Rather, he recast the Zork puzzles in book form mixed in with an original story. I also believe that Cecilia Barajas reused the names Syovar, Ellron, and Bivotar as an homage, not an attempt to write the same characters. Ellron and Bivotar serve very different roles, and Syovar has a quite a different personality.

With a lot of apologizing, a case could be made for Syovar and Ellron. It would go something like this:


Syovar learns magic from the sorcerer Hermacedus. He is married in the last days before the empire falls in 883. Warlocks vie for power. Perhaps Krill is one of them, which could be one of the reasons for banishing him from the Circle of Enchanters. Finally, Syovar recreates the royal Knights of Zork to bring peace to the land. General Syovar pretends to the throne, calling himself Vice Regent or King of Zork or King of Land of Frobozz. The evil warlock Grawl kills his wife Lorena and exiles his son Logrumethar.

Bivotar and Juranda are feared lost when Krill's armies attack. The Sword of Zork transforms Bill and June of Earth into Bivotar and Juranda. Bivotar and Juranda retrieve the three palantirs which, placed in the trophy case of the white house of Sir Ellron, summon the Warriors of Zork to fight Krill's armies. Syovar plunges the Sword of Zork into Krill's heart. Krill starts to whisper a curse, but it's too late. He dies, his body disappearing in a giant puff of unwholesome smoke.

Syovar is kidnapped by Malifestro and held for ransom. Bivotar and Juranda free a demon from a black sphere and discover Syovar is dead. They wish him back to life. Syovar then defeats Malifestro in a traditional shapeshifting mage battle.

Bivotar and Juranda journey into the Cavern of Doom and return Prince Logrumethar to Syovar. Grawl apparently captures Bivotar and Juranda in retaliation. Actually, the demon Jeearr is using Grawl to lure Syovar into a trap, preventing him from brokering peace between the lands at the Conference of Quendor. Syovar comes to rescue them, and gets into a fierce battle with Grawl. Soon, Grawl is dead and Syovar is dying. Bivotar and Juranda retrieve the Helm of Zork, which allows Logrumethar to impersonate the indisposed Syovar at the Conference. The Treaty of Quendor is signed while Syovar recovers.

Sir Ellron becomes disloyal. In 924, Lord Ellron gets into a border dispute with General Kaine, and Syovar starts to lose control of the westlands.

After the Great Eclipse of 945, King Syovar declares the lands forbidden. Kaine's armies deteriorate. An older, more cynical L. Karlok Bivotar spies on Ellron on his way to the Temple of the Ancients. He writes to his uncle in his journal as a fawning subject rather than a beloved nephew. He refers to him as the Vice Regent and at one point writes Syovar the Strong (Dear Yoruk, the life of a sycophant-- must I call him that, even in my personal papers?). The Nemesis kills Bivotar.

A famous adventurer puts the Twenty Treasures of Zork in a trophy case without the Warriors of Zork plaque, retreives three different palantirs to summon a different black sphere to release some other imprisoned demon to defeat the Wizard of Frobozz, briefly helps an Enchanter banish a revived Krill to another plane of existence, and becomes the second Dungeon Master.

And Syovar manages to hold his kingdom together on into the Age of Science.


If L. Karlok Bivotar were Bill/Bivotar, he seems to have become considerably estranged from his uncle. It's obvious he isn't the same Bivotar, as you yourself said earlier. Bivotar is as unlike L. Karlok Bivotar as ZGI's Y'Gael is unlike Beyond Zork's and Wishbringer's Y'Gael. And if good old Uncle Syovar is Vice Regent Syovar, then who is Lord Syovar II, who succeeds him in 972 instead of his firstborn son (and vice vice regent) Prince Logrumethar?

It's a clumsy fit at best. I'm resistant to the idea of adding them. If future games make the connection less tenuous, maybe I'll add it then.


(See also my response concerning Lucien being the Thief.)

Homages in other games

From: Eavenson
Sent: Sat 07 Nov 1998 2:28 AM
Subject: Quendor:

I was just wondering, i finally had the chance to play Lurking horror, and noticed so far 3 zorkian terms. First i noticed that the name of the college is GUE (great underground empire?) tech, not to mention several other zork games have GUE tech in them. Secondly i noticed that the name of a containor of floor wax was Frobozz Magic Floor wax, A zork company. Third thing i noticed was that a hallway was named Infinite Corridor, (GUE tech in grand inquistor had a infinite Corridor which you shrink). My big question is this could this game be another game in the zork universe? Also are there other infocom game that make very big refrences to the zork games, in this way, or is this the only game like this.

Lurking Horror's George Underwood Edwards Tech has the same abbreviation as Zork's GUE Tech. In the Status Line interview Is It GUE Tech or MIT?, Dave Lebling talks about the real places at MIT that the Infinite Corridor and the Department of Alchemy are based on.

Several non-Zork games make Frobozz references. In Infidel, there is a reference to Frobozz Magic Village Industries. In Suspended, there is an obscure reference to a Frobozz Magic Engineering Company. Funny names for companies, to be sure.

And yes, grues exist throughout the space games. However, Planetfall describes the Zork series as fiction, which implies that it is not the same universe.

In my opinion, in-jokes and homages don't make these games part of the Zork canon.

The Steppinthrax relics

From: AbstractManiac@aol.com
Sent: Thu 5 Oct 2000 7:59 PM
Subject: Nemisis monastery relics

Hi! It's me again!

Nothing as interesting as the Wishbringer conundrum this time, just some comments on the monastery relics in Zork Nemesis, many of which are of doubtful provenance.

I agree that it's possible the relics are fakes; it wouldn't be the first time, in the real world or in Zork, that people have tried to pass off phony artifacts.

Still, I'd prefer not going to the they're fakes explanation unless absolutely necessary or clearly indicated by the story; true, Malveaux's conduct does throw suspicion on the whole monastery, but they still retain a large measure of credibility in their claims because of their moral code; this is before the Inquisition propaganda days. The Zorkastrians seem for the most part to be honest, if a trifle misguided, and I think it's possible to more elegantly explain some of the dubious artifacts than by simply questioning their authenticity.

First off, the book The Presence of Incredibly Strange Things Going On; true, there's a missing preposition, but books can be published with varying titles. The book is a first edition; presumably in later editions he added the On to make the book more formal and academic-sounding, and one of these editions became the most popular, canonical work. Probably he made the title change around the same time he changed Weirdic to Magic, and since no one could tolerate the original edition's word Weirdic, the original title without the On has been lost to history, making the museum' s copy extremely rare.

The real sticking-point is, of course, the caption First Known Magic Spell; however, the caption doesn't say First Known Spell Book or First Known Written Spell. The caption probably doesn't mean a spell contained in the book itself, but that the book describes the first known magic spell. It appears that magic was, in fact, first discovered by people noticing strange effects caused by speaking certain words in the runic (Mithican) language. Originally these were probably known as magic spells, spell being then a generic term. (The magic words XYZZY and PLUGH would be two of them, supposedly.) Later on, when methods are developed to store this magical power in paper so that the effects could be reliably duplicated, the various papers or scrolls became known as spells, since the unreliable and difficult-to-use magic words passed out of use (except for a few that seem to work everywhere and are called Words of Power). (I think, actually, that the description of scrolls storing the Presence needed to activate magic may be poking fun at the location-based magic in Colossal Cave Adventure and its relatives, where an inquisitive adventurer may often run up against the frustrating Nothing happens here. The running Hello, Sailor gag in Zork is probably also a riff on that.) That's why the English (Common Tongue) words the Wizard of Frobozz uses to activate his wand are called spells in Zork II; as an untrained adventurer, you use the common layman's definition of spell, not the proper one. (Judging from the language used in the Enchanter Trilogy and Beyond Zork, the F-words are more properly Words of Power or Words of Activation, like the words on the scrolls in BZ.)

So, the topic addressed in OTPOIWSGO (almost as neat an acronym as AFGNCAAP) is probably one of the first, most widely-observed Words of Power (perhaps XYZZY?) seen by Bizboz. Most people, therefore, think of that Word of Power as the first ever magic spell, even though it almost certainly wasn't really, any more than Columbus really discovered America. That's the way the general public remembers things, unfortunately. The caption still makes sense as a caption describing the area of study of the book, not the book itself.

It's the same thing for the Magic Scrolls of Bizboz. They could simply be scrolls, that is, documents, written about magic; appendices and minutiae to add to his main work, OTPOIWSGO. They were given their unfortunate name as the Magic Scrolls when they were first written, since at that time no one knew people would find a way to make scrolls that were actually magic themselves. (Perhaps the same confusion could exist between an electronics book, a printed textbook on electronics, and an electronic book, a book that exists as software.)

As for the Zork Shroud of Zylon, the word Zork originally meant the legend of the adventurer, right? (It seems later on the word was applied to the whole planet once people started to get the idea that Zork was a planet, just like Earth didn't become an actual proper name until we started to understand there were places besides Earth.) But the Legend of Zork existed for centuries before Zork actually happened; it's described as a classic folk myth in Sorceror, when the actual events of Zork took place only nine years ago. From its description in the Encyclopedia Frobozzica this legend has been ubiquitous in Quendorian culture since ancient times, so much so that it's come to define their culture, to the point that they named the planet after it. If I remember correctly the Zork Nemesis Strategy Guide implies that even the Zorkers themselves saw the fulfillment of the Legend of Zork as one of if not the primary purposes of their world. Perhaps an offshoot of the admittedly bizarre Legend of the Implementors? :) How does it fulfill the purpose of the world? Well, it creates the Second Dungeon Master; we don't know where he went after the Great Change, but he probably left for another world ... His great deeds may continue still, and his life may have a significance beyond what we imagined ... (Translated into real-world: The purpose of the Zork Trilogy was to teach people the potential of computer games. Many of the great game players and designers today grew up on Zork.)

The Legend may have been a prophecy of some sort, or, the First Dungeon Master, being an ironic soul, could have set up his test to match the ancient Legend, thus creating an extra sense of the importance of the task (it could fulfill the purpose of the world!) and reward adventurers with a knowledge of ancient literature.

So it's not unreasonable to think that the Legend of Zork may have been written, embroidered, or otherwise marked on the burial shroud of Zylon the Aged as part of an ancient religious ceremony; the Legend, can, in fact, be taken as a religious allegory about the power of humanity to achieve their dreams a hostile world through cunning and determination and become to become the master of its hidden forces in the end. (So it's stretching it a little; it's no more than some real-world religions do.) This ceremony would have been particularly significant since Zylon seemed to have cheated death for so long; he may be a religious figure to some, in fact, because of his longevity. So the combination of the greatness of the king (in years, at least) and the sacredness of the legend would make this shroud more valuable.

True, it's hard to see anything on that shroud, but since it's so old we may assume whatever method was used to write the legend on the shroud faded over time, or that the only surviving part of the shroud was a fragment upon which nothing was written.

About Grueslayer and its Sheath: It is possible that there's an alternate use of the name Grueslayer as a noun with an article the. Often a name that starts out as a title that must be accompanied with an article over time is used so often that it simply becomes a name. (Like, say, the State of Rhode Island becoming simply Rhode Island, thus creating a huge confusion over why it's not really an island; it just has an island in it that happened to be used in its name.) Since it's a religious museum built a long time ago, it probably uses the more archaic and proper titles for things. As for why the Sheath and the Sword are displayed separately, it's probably because they're both powerful magic artifacts and displaying them together might draw all the attention to the Sword and downplay the Sheath's importance. The at least in theory peaceful monks' philosophy probably demands that they give the Sheath equal or greater importance than the Sword. Also, the Sword and Sheath are so famous it probably wouldn't be necessary to put them together for visitors to understand the connection. (Also why they don't need to tell you Grueslayer's name.)

The movement of these relics to their scattered positions isn't that mysterious; we can see Steppinthrax lost a lot of credibility after Malveaux's fall from grace, and they were probably forced to sell much of their collection in order to get the funding to keep running. (Which actually has happened in some Catholic churches in real life.) They may also have decided to move some of the relics after finding out how insecure the museum was (i.e. when you plundered it in Zork Nemesis). Most of them would probably have eventually disappeared into the black market, but a worldly-wise and wily Enchantress of Y'Gael's stature wouldn't have that much of a difficult time digging up what she needed to assist you indirectly in your quest, especially in an emergency of that magnitude.

The only treasure there whose existence I have a hard time explaining is the Jewel of Jerrimore. The Torch of the Endless Fire doesn't seem to be that rare an item; there's a similar torch in Zork I made of ivory, another such torch in Zork III, some torches under the Monastery that appear to be the same variety (since they haven't burned out in all the time that area's been hidden), a candle with the same properties in Zork Zero, etc. Some of the items would be relatively trivial to obtain for any institution (a standard-issue wand, ZEMDOR scrolls, etc.). The others were probably preserved in museums or collections since the time of their creation. It's just the Jewel that's difficult to explain, since there's only one and it disappeared in Zork Zero. However, many Zork I treasures also disappeared (mostly into the cauldron) in Zork Zero; when Megaboz converted Flatheadia to the White House, he probably took the treasures he'd magically obtained and rescattered them into the Underground or put them in the Treasury for the First DM's use. The Jewel may have been one of them, that for some reason (fear of the curse?) the First DM let slip out of his hands into the hands of some wily adventurer, who was somehow able to identify it and sell it to the Monastery, once again to avoid the curse. The Monastery probably took it, believing themselves so holy as to be immune from curses; and boy, did they learn otherwise. :)

So, that's just a few comments on the Nemesis relics. That's all for now! Bye, and thanks again for all the attention you've paid to me! :)

The theory of brogmoidism

From: JENTH
Sent: Wed 17 Dec 1997 2:07 AM
Subject: Quendor: Historeum Addendum

A few corrections and observations, if you will ...

The dam featured on the map of Zork in Bivotar's Journal is merely a misprint, not an outright error. In reality, the dam is FCD #7, as you can plainly see if you look close enough at the southern face.

The theory of brogmoidism is both true and false. If you simply went to the mountain with the expectation of seeing some massive brogmoid standing there, then you're in for a wasted trip. The brogmoids are not material, nor are they standing on/holding a flat world. Brogmoidism is (for those of us who are well versed in trans-dimensionalism) nothing more than a description of how the set of planes to which Zork belongs is interconnected.

Fact: according to brogmoidism, the brogmoid who carries Zork stands upon another plane and the one standing upon Zork holds yet another plane, not forgetting that each of these planes has two brogmoids each holding yet another set of planes with another set of brogmoids ...

Supporting Fact: The sequence of alternating brogmoids and planes exactly parallels basic dimensional physics if it is hypothesized that the first brogmoid stands upon the plane held up by the last brogmoid (forming a massive daisy-chain, or circle of bodies).

Fact: When the first Dungeon Master confirmed the existance of the brogmoids in 883, he never stated that the world was flat, nor did he say that the other people who have previously searced for the brogmoids were wrong or lying. Also, there were a large number of people to climb Mt. Foobus and search the caverns both before and after 883 who could not find a trace of even normal brogmoids.

Supporting Fact: According to all known facts, it has long been concluded that only a select few who are attuned to the planar fields of wherever they are may see the connections between two realms of a plane or two planes of a dimension. These often appear as some symbolic representation manifested by the sub-consious in order to explain or describe that which the mind cannot handle. Simply put, the connections are there, but they do not have a form which may be explained by most beings. Those few who are attuned to their plane's magnetic (and magic) fields can occasionally decipher enough of what they see to prevent the mind from shutting it out as impossible. What they see, however, takes the shape of something they hold sacred, or have great belief or trust in.

This is why many Zorkans (and indeed Terrans) claim to have seen the skies upheld by bears, turtles, and giant cats or bastets, as well as a multitude of other beings throughout the histories of both worlds. They are not wrong, for what they see, be it brogmoid, daemon, or a titan of stone is merely an interpretation of the fact. Nor are those who deny such a thing, for (indeed) there are not really giant beings holding up the stars, just merely a tether of sorts which is too fantastic for the mind to grasp.

Another mistake is the supposition that T.A.Flathead invented the phonograph and the movie. Edison did not invent either of these things (actually, about the only thing Edison could invent were excuses to prevent other, legitimate, inventors from marketing their inventions. Edison was a swindler who would claim an invention was dangerous, steal the design, asthetically alter it so it wasn't recognizable, and then patent it as his own invention. Flathead, being a more decent fellow, has produced many fine inventions of his own accord. It is not very likely that Flathead invented the movie, as it is not very practical under normal circumstances (it is nothing more than entertainment in most cases, which is hardly productive). The possibility of him inventing the phonograph, however, actually holds some truth. He did not directly create it, although he did take part in the planning, and later the shell design, of this instrument. The true inventor (who's name appears on the patent alongside T.A.'s) is not well known, and therefore unimportant outside of the fact itself. Next time you see an olde phonograph, remember that the shell and shared concept is Flathead's, but the mechanics are not.

Lord Harper
Jeridyte Se Ra

Longevity in ZGI

From: Chris Green
Sent: Tue 26 May 1998 4:06 AM
Subject: Quendor:

Hello,

I have been a fan of Zork since the very first one which I played back in '81 and have played all the related games up through ZGI, any idea if Activision will create any more or have they retired the name? (I hope not)

Also 2 personal theories of mine:

It says a wizard cast a long-life spell on himself before he married Lucenzia Flathead, and it also says Dalbaz was affected by a long-life althrough they give a date of birth for Dalbaz I have a theory that maybe being immortal lived several lifetimes, changing his identity, appearance and such each time and gave a false date of birth so he wouldn't be traced back since it doesn't give who cast the spell on him or which date they did.

Another one involves Lucien/Nemesis, perhaps the Nemesis existed long before Lucien was born and the two were simply merged into 1 creature after Lucien killed the 4 alchemists, perhaps it was there waiting for him or there was some kind of holy law against what he did, perhaps cause he killed in the temple.

Anyways, perhaps after seeing the adventurer travel to the different locations and read of the Lucien/Alexandria relationship he was able to fight with enough of his own willpower to assist the adventurer and re-uniting him with Alexandria was the final step in removing Lucien and the Nemesis, perhaps even destroying it.

Also a quick point, notice how so all the characters of ZGI are like 100+, Lucy Flathead looked pretty good for a woman of over 100 years (perhaps kept her youth by some magical means).

Sinceraly,

Chris Green

Quibbles and quibble quibbles

From: Marco
Sent: Wed 16 Sep 1998 9:11 AM
Subject: Timeline

I'm very impressed with your Quendor timeline, although I am more interested in the geography of GUE.

A couple of comments:

First, if you still haven't played The Meteor, the Stone, and a Long Glass of Sherbet, I recommend that you do so. There are a several new spells for your list. One bit of minutiae for when you update the spell list: the spell Chiaro in the game appears to be simply the spell Frotz renamed. However, Frotz can be used on living things (you can Frotz a grue or Frotz yourself), while Chiaro is described only as working on inanimate objects (I haven't confirmed this, though). So they may be different spells. Incidentally, you didn't mention that the author of the game, Angela M. Horns, is actually a pseudonym for Graham Nelson.

Secondly, in my opinion, Balances is more than simply a dream. Prior to Spellbreaker, the evil wizard acquired the other four Foundation Cubes. So perhaps, due to the connection between you and the evil wizard, you dream about his quest to recover the four cubes, and these events really do occur, as a prequel to Spellbreaker.

More nitpicking - the evil wizard should have actually aquired FIVE cubes, so he could leave the earth cube for you in Belwit Square. There is also no explanation for where he found the Blorple spell. It would have been interesting to Blorple into the other 4 cubes in Balances - I'm curious to know what the rest of the elements were supposed to be. One of the cubes seems to represent Balance, but the other 3 are a mystery.

Finally, you could reconcile the strange geography of Return to Zork with the other games. If you carefully read the descriptions of the canyon view, ledge, and canyon bottom in Zork I, they say that the greater part of the runoff from Aragain Falls twists down a narrow passage. If this part of the runoff goes back underground, it probably becomes the underground river in RTZ. Thus we place the Valley of Sparrows/Vultures south of the Zork I forest, and one long underground passage runs back north to FCD#3 from the far side of the dam which is relatively unexplored in Zork I. Aragain Falls, therefore should be just north of the lighthouse.

I realize this is a weak explanation, and it's probably easier to just forget the RTZ travesty ever existed.

Marco.

Or one could argue that the geography has been radically altered by natural or magical forces over the intervening centuries.

I'll get to The Meteor, the Stone, and a Long Glass of Sherbet eventually. I'm still trying to get through the 1998 Competition games.

I don't think Balances is substantial enough to take seriously. You're entited to your own opinion, of course.

In an interview, Dave Lebling said Spellbreaker was originally intended to be about the creation and cosmology of the Zork universe. Perhaps size constraints kept him from making as much game as he wanted to, and the other four cubes just didn't make the cut.

From: Jeffrey Scott Nuttall
Sent: Wed 27 Jan 1999 3:55 AM
Subject: Quendor: ZGI Timeline

I was just looking at your Chronology of Quendor page, and noticed the quibbles you included on the ZGI timeline, but you missed one (or there's some explanation for it I don't know):

According to the ZGI timeline, John D. Flathead founded Flathead Industries in the year 743. But if that's true, then since he's one of Dimwit Flathead's younger brothers, and Dimwit was born in 723, he has to have been under twenty at the time - which seems unlikely. In fact, according to the Flathead Calendar that comes with Zork Zero, John D. Flathead was born in 725, and was 22 when he founded Flathead industries - which means it had to have happened in 747 or 748, not 743.

Is there something I'm missing, or is this another inconsistency?

----- Jeffrey Scott Nuttall

http://www.sozo.com/sozo/people/JSN/index.html

I've added a note about this inconsistency to the chronology.

From: Jeffrey Scott Nuttall
Sent: Wed 27 Jan 1999 4:09 AM
Subject: Quendor: Carrots/milk in Return to Zork

While I'm on the subject of quibbles with games, I have to say that I disagree with one of your quibbles about Return to Zork. (Not that I disagree with your assessment of the game in general, just with one of your specific quibbles.)

You state that it would be more logical to eat the carrots yourself to improve your eyesight than to feed them to the cow and drink the milk. I don't think so at all. The files in the mayor's office (or somewhere else; it's been a while since I played it) it is explicitly mentioned that milk improves eyesight (at least in the world of Return to Zork), which motivates the drinking the milk to see in the dark. The carrots have nothing to do with it; the fact that there's an old saw on Earth that carrots improve eyesight doesn't mean they do in the Zork universe, and if it's explicitly stated that milk does, then the whole milk thing seems perfectly logical in context.

But then, I guess I'm quibbling about your quibbles. Sorry. :)

----- Jeffrey Scott Nuttall

http://www.sozo.com/sozo/people/JSN/index.html

It's not in the files. I think you're thinking of a line by Rebecca Snoot; I believe one of the things she says in her random appearances is that her mother always said milk was good for your eyesight. But then, again, the family cow only eats carrots.

If all milk is good for your eyesight, maybe grue's milk should be especially good. Too bad it doesn't work that way in Wishbringer. :-)

The best playing order

From: Phil Mahoney
Sent: Thu 01 Sep 1998 11:27 AM
Subject: Quendor Chronology:

Hi there,

That's a really impressive page you have there. But I was wondering, if I'm about to play all the games, what order should I play them in so it makes the best chronological sense? I think I remember hearing that Zork Zero is a prequel, but best played after the original trilogy.

Thanks in advance,

Phil Mahoney
Ottawa, Canada

The Chronological order would be:

However, I recommend playing them in the order they were published:

I recommend this order for the following reasons:

  1. To appreciate how the Zork universe evolved over time.
  2. To appreciate how their parsers improved over time. (Zork I's parser might seem pretty stupid after playing Zork Zero.)
  3. To catch all the in-jokes each game makes to previous games.
  4. So you don't have to finish with that wretched travesty called Return to Zork.

If you are not experienced with text adventures, you may want to start with Wishbringer, which is a more welcoming introduction to the genre than Zork I.

Requests for help

From: ChrlPolk@aol.com
Sent: Sat 16 Oct 1999 10:56 PM
Subject: Quendor:

I'm playing 'return To Zork'.

A few years ago my college roommate showed me the game, and one thing I remember him doing was going into Rebecca's Father's room.

The room was at Zoot's Farm, guarded by a hellhound. Somehow, you can step into the stove to get by the hound!

Seriously!

Do you have any idea how this is done?

No idea. I can't do anything with the stove after it goes boom. I'll believe it when I see it.

The stove in the kitchen adjoins the wall of the bedroom with a mirror on the dresser. The room Alexis guards is on the opposite end of the trailer, next to the bathroom where Rebecca Snoot decks you. Perhaps you mistook one for the other?

Site plugs

From: Edgar Governo
Sent: Tue 22 Jun 1999 2:10 PM
Subject: Chronology of Quendor

Robin:

This is just a quick message to let you know that I have included a link to your Chronology of Quendor on a website that I maintain devoted to fictional timelines on the Internet:

http://www.escape.ca/~arphaxad/history.html

You have clearly put a great deal of effort into putting together this chronology. You are truly an historian of things that never were. :)

I hope the link meets with your approval and that you enjoy the site in general.

Thank you! Your site has a fascinating collection of links. I hope by featuring your letter here, I encourage more people to visit.

From: Stefano Canali
Sent: Wed 29 Dec 1999 5:52 PM
Subject: Postcard from the Great Underground Empire

Hi, my name is Stefano and I'm sending this E-Mial from Rome.

First, GREAT compliments to your page.

Is fulfilled with many details that you worked on, presented with a clear and easy interface.

Since I build up a page on the GUE, I putted a link to yours because I consider your page a must for all Zork fans who wants to go in-deep.

the only thing that I don't share is your contrasts with RTZ.

You give motivations for 'em, but simply I don't agree completely.

Anyway, have a good New Years Day, keep updating your page (I repeat myself, IT IS GREAT), and hope you'll find the time to come to visit mine.

Bye.

Stefano
www.geocities.com/jojo_73/

Thanks! And double thanks for the lovely postcard!