Thoughts on Room Extra Descriptions

From: Ken Ray (
Date: 06/15/02


I have a preferance for using room extra descriptions to add setting to
locations.  However, a common practice is for a "sign" object to be added to
a location, with the sign being "NO-TAKE".  So, when the player arrives at
the room, after the description the see:

A large sign is here demanding your attention.

Or something like that.  They can type in "look at sign" and see what the
sign says.  If they try to take the sign, they are told "You can't take

Now, I prefer my players to actually READ the room descriptions, and to work
out from those what things there are to look at.  For example:

You are at a crossroads, with well-troden paths leading in all four
directions.  A weatherbeaten signpost leans slightly, the writing on the
arms faded with age.

Now, someone with reasonable intelligence shoudl think "Ah! A signpost.  I
should look at that", and types the command "look at signpost".  The extra
description for that room could have been set up as:

signpost sign~
The signpost has been at this intersection for many years, judging by the
weatherbeaten nature of the arms.  You examine it carefully, wiping away the
accumulated dirt and grime to better read the writing.  After close study,
you see the following directions on the four arms:

North: Crowley Moor
East:  Midgaard City (4)
South: Lurline Ford (1)
West:  Haon-Dor Forest

You assume the numbers are the distance in leagues.

OK, that is all good, and adds to the atmosphere. However, if someone types
in "take sign", the response is that there is no sign there.

1) Do most people use extra descriptions in this way to add further
information, or do you go with "non-takeable" objects, despite their
presence being very obvious to the player?

2) Should there not be an addition to the "do_take" logic that if the
player's location does not contain the object to be taken, the list of
keywords for the current room is checked, and if a matching keyword found,
the response is "<keyword>: You can't take that!" rather than the default no
found message?

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