Friday, August 08, 2008

Shove Beyond Zork under rug

I ended up browsing the Wikipedia pages about Infocom several evenings ago, because someone on reddit was talking about games making you cry, and I was apparently the only person who remembered Floyd from Planetfall. (I now see that SicTim brought up the same comment around the same time I did.)

I went over to Beyond Zork, probably the game of theirs I had the most fun with (although not their most fun game -- the distinction is subtle). And they linked to the bugs list for it. Well, they were missing my favorites, so I just had to contribute.

The Bearskin Rug

My favorite object to abuse was the bearskin rug. The bug database told me about a bug that I hadn't known about before -- that standing on the rug could let you move in a blocked direction.

But there was another wacko thing you could do: SHOVE MONSTER UNDER RUG. For many objects, regardless of the size of the object, it gets it out of the way, and you can move around in spite of it.

I cruised through the game trying to shove everything I could see under the rug, and I've made notes below about them. But I'm sure I missed some stuff (especially the fields of Frotzen), so go through yourself and tell me what you see.

SHOVE COOK UNDER RUG. He disappears from the description of the room, and he will be under the rug when you LOOK UNDER RUG. But he still mills about the room, and will stop you from rolling out the onion. You can't otherwise interact with him. If you leave and re-enter the room, the cook snaps from out of the room. (I could swear that you could cheat like this on the Apple II version.) You can shove the onion under the rug, but you cannot get it back, because you cannot lift up the rug. Maybe the weight of the onion gets added to the weight of the rug?

SHOVE MONSTER UNDER RUG. The monster is removed from the room; it cannot attack you and you cannot attack it. Like everything else you shove under a rug, the only way to get it back is to lift up the rug.

SHOVE PTERODACTYL UNDER RUG. A lot like the cook, you can still hear him, even if you cannot see him. See below for what happens if you do this while mounted. :)

SHOVE ARROW UNDER RUG. Cannot do this unless you could normally get to the arrow. But if you do shove it, when you actually pick it up, you'll get the text about ripping it from the pterodactyl's wing, even if the pterodactyl is long gone.

SHOVE EASEL/CANVAS/SAILOR UNDER RUG. Seems to work, but they all still interact normally. Shoving the wood under the rug puts it there, but it will magically float out from underneath it if you don't manually pick it up soon.

SHOVE SELF UNDER RUG. Just like DIP ME IN POOL, self is forever under the rug, or lying on the floor if you pick the rug up again.

SHOVE IDOL UNDER RUG. The craziest thing so far, but you can indeed do it. I've gotten the game to crash by trying to slide the jewel under the rug that the idol was underneath.

SHOVE CARDINAL TOOLBOX UNDER RUG. You can snatch the reliquary immediately. You can win the game pretty quickly if you combine this with the other rug bug to bypass the Christmas Tree Monsters. Toolbox seems to disappear permanently, although presumably finishing the volcano/glyph puzzle will make him reappear.

SHOVE FOOTPRINTS UNDER RUG. You can put the minx tracks there. Wacky, huh?

SHOVE HUNTER(S) UNDER RUG. This resets the minx puzzle. You can restore the minx even if you lost her by disposing of her in quicksand or losing her in the timeline. Each time you stomp out the tracks you'll get 15 compassion points, too.

SHOVE MINX UNDER RUG? The text says she jumps off of it, but it seems she's standing on it. She jumps fully off the next turn.

SHOVE BUTTERFLY UNDER RUG. If you leave and return, it will be lying atop the rug.

SHOVE WORD OF RECALL UNDER RUG. Yep, you can shove the glowing words from the Recall scroll under the rug. Then you can teleport there. If you previously PUT SELF UNDER RUG you will at least have some company. Or you can fight off a monster you previously shoved under the rug; that would be fun, huh? I think the only way to escape is to use the sayonara wand, although the gating scroll might work. The sea chest cannot be opened under here because it is, after all, under the rug. You can summon the pterodactyl, but you can't mount it under the rug.

You can have fun interacting with various objects after both you and them are shoved under. Try the display case, the old woman, the flight of stairs.

You can put the rug in the sea chest, and shove stuff under the rug, and then get the rug. That stuff will be in the chest. All the craziness above and below has just been compounded. Can you try carrying a monster to a brand new area? Is there any other container that's big enough to hold the rug? I don't know.

You can put yourself "in" the pew with the above trick, although you can easily stand out of it.

You can create an infinite loop by shoving the chest under the rug that's inside of it. Same with the pool.

You can also get yourself under the rug by shoving the pterodactyl under the rug and then dismounting. The place will be totally dark unless you light it.

SHOVE SOUTH UNDER RUG. You can shove exit directions, which doesn't seem to do anything as far as I could figure.

SHOVE DOME/CRATER UNDER RUG. Changes the description, but doesn't seem to have an effect. You won't be able to interact with them until they're out from the rug, of course.

SHOVE GONDOLA UNDER RUG. This might make two gondolas be in the room, making it hard to interact with either. "Which do you mean, the gondola or the gondola?"

SHOVE UNICORN UNDER RUG. This empties the stall. The unicorn cannot be seen under the rug, although rubbing the rug reveals something underneath. (This is pretty common.) When you lift the rug the unicorn has disappeared.

Can SHOVE MONKEY GRINDER UNDER RUG, which means you can enter the hall of enchanters. But he will still be present and attacking you, and the fact that he's missing will stop you from leaving, resetting his appearance just like shoving the hunter under the rug. He will continue to beat on you while this happens, though. :(

Cannot shove hurdy-gurdy (while in possession of the grinder) under the rug. The game seems to let you shove the warning nymph, but there doesn't seem to be a change.

THE ARCH: You can get under the arch and shove the arch under the rug. Nothing special seems to happen, even if you leave.

You can put rug in arch and then shove arch under rug. Game freezes in infinite loop, like with other containers.


SHOVE BLACK KNIGHT UNDER RUG. Can shove the black knight under the rug, although the story will proceed as if he were out. If the rug is under the arch when this happens, you can bring him with you on your time traveling adventure. Flinging arrows will stop you from interacting with him. Is there anyway to get him out far enough that your wand of annihilation would be effectivce, like to the present and outside of the arch? Maybe you could use the rug-in-chest trick to get him out.

Can shove the dead prince under the rug, but he will disappear if you travel into the future or the past. Can shove the black horse under the rug, but the story will move him away, just like the driftwood.

Can shove the undead warrior (and presumably the ghoul) under the rug, then travel to the past with him. He won't try to kill you at all, but you can injure him. Would something like this work with the pool of radiance and harder monsters? You can "wake him up" by dropping the rug outside the arch in another time period and re-shoving him under it. You can trap him in the past this way. (I don't think you can do the same with the idol or the pool of radiance, and I don't think the other random areas have minirooms like that. But please test. :> )

Can shove the orator under the rug, but he will disappear from there when the crowd carries him away. I can't figure out how to extend this.

You can shove the minxhole under the rug. In any other time period it becomes the trench. It will go back to its original place, much like the helmet, if you go back to the battlefield.

THE DARK CAVES: SHOVE MIRROR UNDER RUG. They still have the same effect, although you cannot see the effect in this room nor turn the mirror.

SHOVE UR-GRUE UNDER RUG. The ur-grue will no longer chat you up as you exit and enter the room, killing you much faster. You have just enough time to drop the rug, shove the shadow under it, blow the bubble, spin the mirror, and get the rug again, which should kill the ur-grue, but the ur-grue will cast his statue spell and end the game. So it's hard for me to figure out just why the light isn't killing the ur-grue. Any way of extending his talking time. . .?

BUT, with the ur-grue out of the way, he won't stop you from searching the plunder for the coconut. You need to get out of that room fast, though! And an under-the-rug-ur-grue will still destroy light sources.

Fun Facts

By using rug bugs to get the Scrystone without the goblet and the butterfly, you can defeat the ur-grue without ever visiting the Implementors. And to my happy surprise, the coconut isn't in the room if the ur-grue hasn't stolen it. Fortunately, you can go back to the Implementors and go through the story to get the coconut to the ur-grue, and the ur-grue will obligingly steal it even though he's dead.

If you go inside the caves and close the door, the grue will show up, and then you can open the door. It will be paralyzed and look like a lurking presence, and you will be free to kill it. After it is dead, it won't retreat until you make that room dark again.

TOUCH SHADOW after RUB RUG will crash the game! Maybe the game isn't ready for that monster taking any kind of damage.

You can kill the monkey grinder through physical combat. THRUST will do it, and you may need the amulet to help. He dissolves in a puff of smoke.

Even with all the bugs above, you still need to kill either the outline or the grinder to kill the ur-grue, because you need to get the rose. So either use the goblet to enter Frotzen and use the rug to get past the corbies, or use the rug to get into Frotzen and use the hurdy-gurdy to get the rose. (If you want to just win via stealing the coconut from the ur-grue hidden under the rug, you can do it with killing only the outline.)

The white hemisphere seems to be that which becomes the scrystone.

You can analyze potions and scrolls and wands by their proper names even when not identified, and even by their magic words.

You can win the game without the Pheehelm, and not using any of these bugs. If you start with an Intelligence of 29, you can get smart enough to peer into the Scrystone without it. This frees up your money to armor up.


BZ was around the point where I learned that I could hack into games. It seems obvious now, but back in the day it was some giant epiphany for me to realize that I could analyze the stored data on disk (we're talking about floppy disk, here).

I grabbed the RWTS code from the Beagle Bros. and did massive compares across two floppies. Eventually I found out where the vital RPG stats were stored. All the values were stored by some checksum that I couldn't quite reverse-engineer; however, it was quite a literal checksum; you could swap luck and compassion for endurance and strength on a 1-for-1 basis.

There was one good way of using this: you endurance would go up more the less of it you had. (9 - int(endurance/10)) So you could keep your endurance low and let your other stats grow in the meantime. Meaning you could gain 90 status points instead of 57 from levelling up 9 times.

Or you use the infinite compassion bug I mentioned earlier and transfer those points around wherever you want them.

Cash wasn't protected by any kind of checksum of encoding. You could give yourself thousands of zorkmids. (When I first played the game, I couldn't figure out the idol puzzle, so this was how I ended up "solving" it.)

Now, you're probably wondering what would happen if you got the checksum wrong. Well, you'd get this:

A technical nymph appears on your keyboard. 'Shame on you. Bye!' She disappears with a wink.

Wow, that was a surprise. It was like the programmers had left a little message in there saying "you are smart but I am smarter." I felt a little chill in my spine at that, like I had been caught at something. A technical nymph appears on your keyboard. 'Shame on you. Bye!' She disappears with a wink.

Other things to try

What if you are in an object that is destroyed? I'm not sure how to do this offhand, but maybe you can use the volcano. What if you leave "self" somewhere that gets it destroyed.

Can you get the ur-grue into the chest? How about the onion?

Can you get the rug into any container besides the chest? It's hard to get monsters out of their area with the chest, since you can't move it while it's open and you can only open it a limited number of times.

Happy classic gaming!


Blogger Dan Weber said...


- Can shove glyph under rug no matter where you are, and it will be in the description, but you can't interact with it at all.

- The rug is two different containers. Things can be either on top of it and beneath it.

- Can put stuff "in debris" in lamp room, meaning you can get yourself into it with the rug trick. "The remains of the <object> cannot be moved" while you are here. But you can drop the rug, and then geton the rug, and then drop the chest (which will be on the rug in the debris). You can open the chest, and you will snap back into the lamp room when you are done. You can "search room" if you get yourself into the debris.

- So you can get the dorn into the debris, but he will be out of rangeto weapon attacks. You can still shock him and annihilate him.

- SHOVE ROOM UNDER RUG. Wtf, dude? It may stop you from doing generic interactions with "room."

- SHOVE ZORKMID UNDER RUG. Some mysterious object will be moved. It will stop you from giving away your money, but you can still buy and sell at will.

- Can SHOVE FIST UNDER RUG. It's like SHOVE SELF UNDER RUG except you only lose access to your hand, not your whole self.

- SHOVE WIND UNDER RUG. You can no longer inspect it.

- Can "turn wind south". WTF?

- SHOVE TREE or FOREST UNDER RUG. cannot "Examine tree" in other forest locations: they will all know that it's still under the rug.Will the minx be frustrated?

- Can SHOVE OAK TREE or ROOTS under rug, too.


- You can put the woman in the chest, but she'll snap back into the shop when you return to it -- actually, maybe as soon as you close the chest!

- Can get the grinder in the chest and move the chest to another location, but he will still be bothering you. Even if you throw the chest into the brook. If you get the grinder out someplace else, he won't attack you, but will have all of his defenses. (Is he able to avoid a THRUST? I cannot tell, because THRUST doesn't seem to work in its natural form. Maybe my character is too weak. He doesn't regenerate hit points, though, so you can shock him a lot, down to zero hit points.)

- Will crash the game if you and the boulder are under the rug when you type "youth" the first time. Typing "say youth" won't work,though. Odd. And either command will crash if both you are the boulder are in the chest.

- Get pool in chest, then enter pool, leave pool, you'll be in the clearing for an instant and then in the (dark) chest. "Enter pool"will crash the game.

- Get pool in chest, then enter pool, then drop rug, then shove puppet(that was inside the chest) under rug, then get rug, the puppet will be in the pool (that's inside the chest.) You can beat on him but he cannot fight back! But how do you finish him off? Have the rug outside the pool, get in, and shove him under it.

- Dispel wand doesn't work on sea chest or hurdy-gurdy. It will seem to work, and a second usage won't suck out anything, and the Magick Shoppe woman will say it's used up, but it'll still activate. This means you still have a limited ability to open up the chest.

- There are a few other ways to open the chest, though, besides the monkey grinder. You can open the chest at the Snowy Clearing if the Christmas Tree Monsters have yet to appear, because the game prevents you from leaving that location. So you can get 1 free open of it that way. You can also do this at the mountain pasture if the hunter is preventing you from walking away. (And you can cause the hunter to reappear using the rug bug.) What other places are you prevented from leaving until something critical in the story happens?

- You can use the chest to move a monster to another location; the monster (generally) will not pursue you if outside of its location.

- Can teleport inside the chest that you are carrying, but the very next move crashes the game.

- If you are in the chest that is in the display case, you cannot pickup objects lying on the ground.

- Things can be put on the display case, so you can get yourself "on" it, which is different than being "in" it.

- Can toss the chest in the river and then teleport inside of it.

- Can get Minx inside the closed chest. You'll see "Something moves restlessly in the sea chest" as long as you're around, for the rest of the game!

- If I open the chest to escape the lava at mountain trail, I go back to Darkness, and stay on the plane of transinfinite splendor, probably because the sea chest has been destroyed. :(

- "Workbench" is another container, and it can hold the rug. So can the "oak tree," which you put things "behind." And you can move the oak tree around with the chest!

- I haven't tried, but I think that the skeleton, the bones, and the debris are all good places to put the rug in the cellar.

- The table is a solid surface in the plane of Atrii. But the implementors will not let you interact with anything on it (such as the food), so I'm not sure if you could put the rug or chest or oak tree or anything on it. But if you could, you could grab the coconut very early in the game! Or get those Implementors or their food out of Atrii.

- You can use the chest and rug to get the coconut out of the caves, but the game will still act as if you are in them with text descriptions of rock slides once you pick it up, even if you are in the air or in Atrii. The woman will refuse to buy it, won't remark on it, and won't recognize it.

- You can also get the ur-grue out of the caves. Once it is outside,you still cannot attack it physically, but you can either use the wand on it or shock it. If you do either of these, though, the game will crash. (You can also shock the ur-grue inside of the games without using any other bugs.) You can Sayonara the ur-grue away, but I'm not sure where it goes. Other wands have no effect.

- To do the above, have the rug in the chest, and pick it up (you will probably need the amulet to do so; see the amulet bug below for help!)Then DROP CHEST, OPEN CHEST. (While in the TransInfinite Planes, turn on your lamp. See below.) When you get back, SHOVE MONSTER UNDER RUG.CLOSE CHEST THEN GET CHEST. Now get out of that room; if you back in you will instantly be turned into a statue.


- 1. Drop amulet. 2. Say magic word. 3. Wear amulet. This seems to set your strength to 99, and it slowly ticks down to your normal strength.

- You can have a lit lamp in the Ur-Grue caves if you open the chest and turn on the lamp in the TransInfinite Plane and then return. You could probably get the glowing runes in there with the chest, too.


- The game lets you Sayonara the Christmas Tree Monsters away, but nothing seems to change.

- Y'gael will offer 2 zorkmids for the rug, but will refuse to buy it.

- Can shock x-mas tree monsters by RUB RUG THEN KISS MONSTER, but they don't seem to take damage.

- If you "get lava" after destroying the dome, the game talks about"hardened lava" although it's hot and flowing.

- Can interact with the rug even when it's pitch black. Can also read the chest even in the pitch dark.


The display case under the rug makes the rug too heavy, like the onion. Could you lift this with the amulet?

Just what does the scabbard do, anyway?

Can you go west from the magick shoppe? The map on the back of the box suggests that you can.

Try playing around with shoving the platypus under the rug.

6:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fabulous! Very impressive. All this will eventually make it to my bugs list in some form. You're one of us, those few who keep banging away at these bugs to figure out every aspect. Well done!

8:50 AM  
Blogger Dan Weber said...


You -can- open the chest on the rug, if you are on the rug as well.

This means you could carry the open chest around; pick up the rug when the chest is on it. You probably need a very high strength to do this.

Can put the rug in the chest when the chest is on the rug. Both items vanish, but game will lock up unless you undo immediately.

So I tried using this to mess with the Implementors. If the chest is on the rug on table, I can get the chest, but I cannot open it. I cannot get on rug either.

So I tried with a large supposedly-non-mobile container: the tree. I'm carrying the rug, which has the open chest on it, which has the tree inside of it. (Setting this up was a bit of a challenge, since moving the tree from the Mountain Pasture seems to mean that you actually span to the TransInfinite Plane when you open the chest. Had to carry them both to the Snowy Clearing.)

I could get the Implementors inside the chest this way, but as soon as they gave you the goblet, the game removes them from wherever they were.

(Leave minx on rug and "something moves restlessly on the bearskin rug," even though you can see the minx plainly.)

Could shove the table under the rug (that's inside the chest that's on the rug that's on the table) and this won't crash the game by itself, which surprised me. But if you shove the coconut under the rug first, then it will.

So I wasn't really successful at this endeavor, but maybe someone else will have better luck.


You can shove the skeleton under the rug while being strangled to death. You cannot get him out once you've done that, either. Fortunately, the game lets you GET SKELETON at this point.

You can levitate the amulet off of the skeleton. It then lies on the floor, and also is around the skeleton's neck.

The game pretty much stops you from doing anything else while the choking is going on. I wonder what fun bugs this could lead to.


The cook shouts "Yow" if you smash the door while he's watching, from the kitchen.

I seem unable to reproduce the shocking of the Christmas Tree Monsters.

If you smell the dust bunnies, you get "He smells just like a dust bunnies."

Shocking the outline crashes the game, just like shocking the ur-grue. See the next comment for more.

Typing in SAVE PTERODACTYL "BLAH" gets the message 'YOU CAN'T SEE ANY BLAH HERE. [2]'

The arrow can be named, despite not being listed as such in the InvisiClues.

If you land in the Royal Garden via opening the umbrella, the platypus does not appear. You need to land properly for the platypus storyline to start.

7:07 PM  
Blogger Dan Weber said...

dang, blogger doesn't let tables be in comments. Hopefully this comes through legible enough.


If you rub the rug 10 times and then touch a monster, you both take 10 hit points of damage. Besides a nice strategy, this can be used to determine the hit points of various monsters.

You can examine most monsters to see its health. Monsters start at "excellent" condition, and move through 5 other states before dying:

slightly wounded
noticeably wounded
seriously wounded
gravely wounded
dangerously wounded

Like you, monsters generally regenerate if and only if they are not attacking. There are some interesting exceptions, though.

Monster Hit Points Experience Notes
Rat-Ant 6 5
Discipline Crab 7 5 Might need to "kiss" to shock it.
Skeleton Infinite? 3 Always in excellent condition, even when shocked for 60 points. But easily destroyed.
Grinder ~140 25 Never regenerates! THRUST to hit it once, run away to heal, then return.
Spider 10 7
Slug 11 7
Bunny ?? 10 Any shock kills it.
Dornbeast 100 20 Only attacks your strength, so you can sacrifice your endurance to battle it.
Outline NA 10 Game will crash if you physically damage it.
Vapor 6 9
Guttersnipe 12 7
Cruel Puppet 30 25 It heals even when it attacks.
Hellhound 40 25
Crocodile 20 20
Bloodworm 20 20
Ghoul 36 25
Undead Warrior 36 25 Have to "kiss" to touch it. Note that you can kill it without the holy water.
Snow Wight 36 30 Seems to regenerate even when attacking.
Dark Caves
Grue 100 30 each
Lucksucker 16 20 each Don't need to use up a luck object!
Ur-Grue NA 50 Will crash the game if you shock or annihilate the monster.

I was able to do some testing and figure out, approximately, where the level starts are. I haven't gotten them perfectly tuned; feel free to experiment yourself to further narrow down the range.

Level Experience Needed
0 0
1 9
2 26-32
3 59
4 90-99
5 145-151
6 206-210
7 279-280
8 359
Next Rank 449
When you hit the next rank, you lose all additional experience points. By my math there are 278 experience points available before the dark caves, and 200 available inside, giving you 478 possible. If the ur-grue is the very last creature you defeat, you'll end up as a Level 0 Novice. But if you manage to land precisely at 449 experience points and then get the remaining 29 after that (say, by leaving the monsters in the Moors and Cellar until the end), you could get yourself up to a Level 1 or maybe even 2 Novice for the end.

The first "rank" is Peasant. You can get up to "Novice" with normal play. If you hack data files to get further, the next rank you will get is one called "Cheater." Seriously. :) After that are garbage strings like "ifx" and "oxk."

7:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The latest update to my bug list is up, including the first few bugs you blogged about here, and a link to this entry.

12:54 PM  
Blogger BParsons said...

I actually obtained the helmet without getting the Crocodile's tear. I had thought that I somehow would have to get the onion to the Crocodile, cut the onion, and make the crocodile cry. I was stuck with that dilemma for a year, maybe.

One day, using the mini-floppy that was my first version of the game, I suddenly typed "show butterfly to woman," and she made an offer, and I sold it. The butterfly flew out of the case, came back to the goblet, and I repeated the process, except this time, she paid me double. Then doubled that, and so forth. I could get all the zorkmids I needed by re-selling the restless butterfly. I then bought the hourglass and used it. Only now do I realize that I could have then rolled the onion through the caves while the mirrors were intact, and emerge in the jungle. Then I could have tried my trick of making the crocodile cry.

Alas, my cheap 3.5 disc finally crashed, and my backups as well, but I had all the Zorks on CD by then. Unfortunately, the CD version had fixed this "bug," and the butterfly was no longer for sale. But it was fun while it lasted.

6:59 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Thank you so much for your hard work.
I hold BZork very dear to my heart, still playing it through every few years.

I only reached level 0 once out of ~10 playthroughs and always wanted to understand why. Using your EXP numbers I've honed down the required EXP levels:

1 9 9
2 29 20
3 59 30
4 99 40
5 149 50
6 209 60
7 279 70
8 359 80
n0 449 90
n1 458 9
n2 478 20

I don't believe you can get to n2 since to do so you can't waste any EXP but you also need exactly 9 EXP twice, which isn't possible.

I also had much fun showing things under rugs to completely change my walkthrough.

Thanks again!

11:12 PM  

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