Key & Compass presents:
Color and Number
by Steven Kollmansberger

Color and Number is a TADS 2 interactive fiction game and is © 2002 by Steven Kollmansberger. It was entered in IF Comp 2002 where it tied for 24th place.

You are a self-employed cult investigator called in by the police to investigate a local temple, the scene of a mass cult suicide. The police have already cleaned out the place, but the cult's leader and funds are missing. Can you find what the police missed?

This solution is by David Welbourn, and is based on Version 2.0 of the game.



d Study NorthwestPrayerRoom StatueRoom NortheastPrayerRoom PedestalRoom WesternStairs GreatHall EasternStairs SouthwestPrayerRoom PrizmRoom SoutheastPrayerRoom Entry Way u Rails

Entry Way

You can mostly ignore the dubious premise; this game is really just an excuse to solve some puzzles involving colors and numbers. Your character brings no tools, no expertise, no prior cult knowledge to this investigation. There's no reason the player-character can't be the police officer who called you here.

Also, in my humble opinion, this game would've been better implemented as a graphical point-and-click game. These particular puzzles are best visualized, not described in rather dull prose.

> i. (You have nothing.)

> x statue. (Glows, has star, faces north.)

> n.

Prizm Room

That should be Prism Room, of course.

The "prizm" is on a pedestal, shaded by three meshes, which are opened and closed by three ropes, but not one-to-one.

The black rope operates the outer mesh and alternates operating either the inner or middle mesh as well.

The purple rope operates the middle mesh and alternates operating either the outer and inner mesh as well.

The blue rope alternates operating both inner and middle meshes or just the inner mesh.

Naturally, all the meshes are initially closed and you want them all open so enough light can reach the "prizm".

> x prizm. x pedestal. (There's markings you can't read yet.)

> x meshes. x ropes.

I'll report "inner-middle-outer" mesh statuses:

> pull black. (open-closed-open)

> pull black. (open-open-closed)

> pull purple. (open-closed-open)

> pull blue. (closed-closed-open)

> pull blue (+1. open-open-open)

> x pedestal. (You learn the following correspondences:)

> w.

Southwest Prayer Room

> x statue. (Holds nothing, faces northeast.)

> x rugs. x jar. take it. open it. (Contains 7 beads: yellow, red, purple, black, green, blue, and white.)

> x yellow urn. e. e.

Southeast Prayer Room

> x statue. (Holds nothing, faces northwest.)

> x pillows. x etching. x black urn.

> w. n.

Great Hall

You startle a man in blue robes. He chants "Ra Jisan" to open a secret door in the east wall, but drops a book in his haste. The door closes behind him, and you note the phrase on a scrap of paper.

> take book. x it.

Lots of odd things in the book, but for now, note that there are 7 colors, and their values add up to 28. The beads are in seven colors, and from the "prizm", you know six of their values (2 through 7). You can thus deduce that the value of black is 1.

> x fern. x columns. x east wall.

> x scrap. say "ra jisan". (The wall shudders slightly, but doesn't open.)

> n.

Statue Room

> x statue. (Large, smiling, sitting, two open hands: left and right.)

> x circles.

> x levers.

> push black lever. (Rotates inner circle counter-clockwise.)

> pull black lever. (Rotates inner circle clockwise.)

> push purple lever. (Rotates outer circle counter-clockwise.)

> pull purple lever. (Rotates outer circle clockwise.)

We'll come back to this, but since we know from the prizm that du, an, san, and ra are the numbers 2, 3, 4, and 5, we can deduce that "to" means 1 (and black as well).

And since "soto" is 6 and "sodu" is 7. the prefix "so-" likely means "plus 5". "Ji" and "tu" are probably other additive prefixes.

> w.

Northwest Prayer Room

Huh, another prayer room? Don't cultists need bathrooms and kitchens, at least?

> x statue. (Holds nothing, faces southeast.)

> x windows. x couch. x red urn.

> move couch. take list. x list. (You learn more numbers:)

Since "to" is 1, "an" is 3, "to an" is 23, "ra" is 5, and "to an" is 25, we can deduce that the number system is in base 20.

So "to an", literally "one three", means one twenty plus three, eg: 23.

And "du ji" would be two twenties plus "ji" for 50; "ji" must mean 10.

And "an tu" would be three twenties plus "tu" for 75; "tu" must mean 15.

That fits with "tudu", 15 plus 2, for 17.

And "san tura" is four twenties plus fifteen-plus-five, which equals 100.

That last one is kinda weird; 100 should just be five twenties, but the cult's numbering system seems to have no name for zero. Silly cultists.

> e. e.

Northeast Prayer Room

Well, at least there's food in here, but don't eat any. It's all rotten and you'll die.

> x statue. (Holds nothing, faces southwest.)

> x food. x purple urn. x green urn.

> w. s. w.

Western Stairs

There are six pipe values: sodu, jian, tusan, du jira, an soan, and san tura. The gauge goes from 0 to 250; 100 is good; 200 and over is bad.

> x door. x pipes. x goop. x gauge.

Obviously, we want the valve pressure units to add up to 100 exactly. The last valve, "san tura", which we know is 100 from the list, is stuck with goop, otherwise we'd just open that one. But we can open the other valves one at a time to learn their values.

> open sodu. x gauge. ("7") close sodu.

> open jian. x gauge. ("13") close jian.

> open tusan. x gauge. ("19") close tusan.

> open du jira. x gauge. ("55") close du jira.

> open an soan. x gauge. ("68") close an soan.

After a little calculation, you'll note that 13 + 19 + 68 = 100. Open those three valves:

> open jian. open tusan. open an soan. (+1. The door opens.)

> w.

Pedestal Room

> take sheet. read it. (A clue for the circles in the Statue Room.)

> x pedestal. (Obviously made for the urns.)

> x white urn. x blue urn.

> e. e. n.

Statue Room

By this time, we have enough clues that we should be able to list the cult names for 1 through 25 (blue for guessed names):

1to 2du 3an 4san 5ra
6soto 7sodu 8soan 9sosan 10sora / ji
11jito 12jidu 13jian 14jisan 15jira / tu
16tuto 17tudu 18tuan 19tusan 20tura
21to to 22to du 23to an 24to san 25to ra

> x circles. (Should still be blank-blank on left, ji-an on right.)

"Jian" is 13 according to the valves. And to follow the sheet's instructions, we need to put beads in the statue's hands to match what the circles read.

Since the left side of the circles is blank, we can leave the left hand empty.

A red bead (6) plus a white bead (7) adds up to 13 for the right hand.

> put red bead in right hand.

> put white bead in right hand. (+2. Circles move to reveal stairs down.)

> take all from right hand. d.


> x desk. x plate. take it.

> x scribblings. x chair.

> x lantern. take it.

> x drawing. (red-green-yellow from top to bottom.) take it.

> u. s. s. s.

Entry Way

The plate directs you to "go through all of the prophets, to the Great One, then His voice may be heard." This refers to the statues; the "Great One" is the big statue in the Statue Room. But the statue here in Entry Way glows and has a star.

You have to make a bit of a mental leap to realize the statues turn, and that the "glow" can travel like an invisible laser beam from one statue, through walls, to another statue.

There are two possible orientations of the statues that ought to work, but only one does, the one that looks like an N:

Unfortunately, we can only "turn statue" which rotates a statue one-eighth of the way around counter-clockwise. We can't "turn statue to northwest".

> turn statue. (Faces northwest.)

> n. w.

Southwest Prayer Room

> x statue. (It's glowing.)

> turn statue. (Faces north.)

> e. n. n. w.

Northwest Prayer Room

> x statue. (Glowing, and already faces southeast.)

> e. s. s. e.

Southeast Prayer Room

> x statue. (Glowing.)

> turn statue. g. g. g. g. g. g. (Faces north.)

> w. n. n. e.

Northeast Prayer Room

> x statue. (Glowing.)

> turn statue. g. g. g. g. g. g. (Faces west. A deep voice clears its throat. +2.)

> w.

Statue Room

> x statue. (Why this statue isn't glowing, I don't know, but it should, in my humble opinion.)

You'd think we'd be manipulating this statue next to get it to speak, but the control is actually the pedestal downstairs.

> s. w. w.

Pedestal Room

> take white urn. put it on pedestal. (The voice clears its throat again. Note that it's activated by putting things ON the pedestal, not off.)

> take white urn. put blue urn on pedestal. (Voice clears again.)

Changing urns didn't do much. What if we add a bead?

> put blue bead in blue urn. ("sosan" = 9. A "3" bead in a "3" urn.)

> take blue bead. put red bead in blue urn. ("tuan" = 18. A "6" bead in a "3" urn.)

> take red bead. take blue urn. drop urns.

I think we can assume the spoken number is the value of the urn multiplied by the value of the beads inside it. Experimenting bares this out. And of course, an empty urn would be multiplying the urn value by zero, and the silly cultists have no word for zero, so the voice says nothing then.

Checking our scrap of paper, we want the voice to say "Ra Jisan". Five twenties plus ten-and-four is 114. 114 = 2 × 3 × 19. Looks like we'll need a "6" urn and "19" in beads.

Let's get the red ("6") urn:

> e. e. n. w.

Northwest Prayer Room

> take red urn. e. s. w. w.

Pedestal Room

For beads: white (7) + red (6) + yellow (5) + black (1) = 19.

> put red urn on pedestal. (Voice clears throat.)

> put white bead in red urn. ("du du")

> put red bead in red urn. ("an tuan")

> put yellow bead in red urn. ("ra soan")

> put black bead in red urn. ("ra jisan". +3.)

> take all from red urn. put all beads in jar.

> e. e. e.

Eastern Stairs

Turn on all six lights to get the door to open.

> x door. x lights. x buttons.

So, how do the buttons behave?

> push black button. (⬛︎ ⬜︎ ⬛︎ ⬜︎ ⬜︎ ⬜︎)

> push black button. (⬜︎ ⬜︎ ⬛︎ ⬛︎ ⬜︎ ⬜︎)

> push black button. (⬛︎ ⬜︎ ⬜︎ ⬛︎ ⬜︎ ⬜︎)

> push black button. (⬜︎ ⬜︎ ⬜︎ ⬜︎ ⬜︎ ⬜︎)

> push purple button. (⬜︎ ⬛︎ ⬜︎ ⬛︎ ⬜︎ ⬜︎)

> push purple button. (⬜︎ ⬜︎ ⬜︎ ⬜︎ ⬜︎ ⬜︎)

> push blue button. (⬛︎ ⬜︎ ⬜︎ ⬜︎ ⬛︎ ⬜︎)

> push blue button. (⬛︎ ⬜︎ ⬜︎ ⬛︎ ⬜︎ ⬜︎)

> push blue button. (⬜︎ ⬜︎ ⬜︎ ⬛︎ ⬛︎ ⬜)

> push blue button. (⬜︎ ⬜︎ ⬜︎ ⬜︎ ⬜︎ ⬜︎)

> push green button. (⬜︎ ⬜︎ ⬛︎ ⬜︎ ⬜︎ ⬛︎)

> push green button. (⬜︎ ⬜︎ ⬛︎ ⬜︎ ⬜︎ ⬜︎)

> push green button. (⬜︎ ⬜︎ ⬜︎ ⬜︎ ⬜︎ ⬛︎)

> push green button. (⬜︎ ⬜︎ ⬜︎ ⬜︎ ⬜︎ ⬜︎)

So, uh, scanning the columns:

So, to get the 2nd, 5th, and 6th lights on, we must at least push the purple, blue, and green buttons. Let's do that and see what results:

> push purple button. (⬜︎ ⬛︎ ⬜︎ ⬛︎ ⬜︎ ⬜︎)

> push blue button. (⬛︎ ⬛︎ ⬜︎ ⬛︎ ⬛︎ ⬜︎)

> push green button. (⬛︎ ⬛︎ ⬛︎ ⬛︎ ⬛︎ ⬛︎)

+1. Door's open. That was easy.

> e.


Temple WoodenDome Maze NorthMural Room NortheastMural Room RailRoom EastMural Room SouthMural Room HiddenMural Room stand on platform

Rail Room

The heart, skull, and face buttons probably correspond to Love, Death, and Fear as mentioned by the book. Thus, we will focus on "Love", first.

Pushing the black button takes us clockwise around the track; pushing the white button takes us counter-clockwise.

> x console. x buttons. x book.

> x lever. x car. x pit.

> enter car. push black button.

North Mural Room

> x mural. (2 men with swords, 1 man in fear.)

> push black button.

Northeast Mural Room

> x mural. (2 people in love.)

> out. turn on switch.

> in. push black button.

East Mural Room

> x mural. (1 dead man, 2 men in terror.)

> push black button.

South Mural Room

There was a bump in the last track, suggesting a track junction was passed.

> x mural. (1 woman and 1 baby, happy together.)

> out. turn on switch.

> in. push black button.

Rail Room

With the two "Love" murals selected by switches, let's go around the track again.

> push black button. g. g. g.

Hidden Mural Room

> x mural. (3 happy men, and "Love is greater than Fear and Death together!")

> push white button. g. g. g.

Rail Room

Count up all the love, death, and fear in the murals:

And, indeed, 7 is greater than 3 plus 3. In colors, this is white-blue-blue.

> out.

> push heart. g. g. g. g. g. (white)

> push skull. g. (blue)

> push face. g. (blue)

> pull lever. (+2. Platform rises from pit.)

Fun fact: If you put the jar of beads in the pit, its weight will bring the platform up to you. Shame you didn't know the pit contained a weight-activated elevator earlier.

> x platform. stand on platform. (You travel down to...)

Wooden Dome Maze

5 6 7 stand on platform End Rails 4 3 2 1

Wooden Dome

If you need to go back up, stand on the platform again.

> n.

Wooden Dome Maze (several locations)

The lantern is needed for the maze to see the colors. Otherwise, you just see gray. (The lantern is what the last page in the book refers to.)

It is simple to traverse the maze: just count from 1 to 7 using cult colors. It's so simple, I wonder why the cultists bothered.

> nw. n. w. sw. s. s. s.


Rails (through the maze) Lobby WoodenDome UndergroundShrine ShieldRoom stand on platform


Once you reach the lobby, you never enter the maze again. You auto­matically just zip through the maze by going north from either entrance.

> x tables. s.

Underground Shrine

You find cult leader, Simon Zigh, here at the altar. He does a crazy-quick robe change from blue to green and passes through an energy field projected by a crystal, which changes from yellow to green.

But when you automatically give chase, you bounce off the field; the crystal changes from green to red.

> x altar. x holder. x cabinet. open it. (5 colors of robes inside.)

Remembering the picture from the study, you can theorize that you must anticipate what color the crystal will change to and wear the appropriate robe.

> x crystal. (It's still red.)

If yellow becomes green, and green becomes red, then red becomes yellow. Wear a yellow robe for a red crystal.

> wear yellow robe. se. (+1.)

Shield Room

Zigh has trapped himself in his own prison and somehow thinks this is a good thing. I'd be tempted to just leave him there to his fate. Or just go and bring the police in here and point 'there he is'.

And goodness knows what this place is normally used for, or why anyone thought this area needs this much effort to reach. Seriously, what was the point of the rail and the maze? Why have energy shields for empty, unused storage space? This is a total dead-end.

> x zigh. x shield. x pedestal. (3 dials with sockets; lever up; 3 blue lights, off; green light, off.)

> x dials. x picture. (The picture from the Study, remember?)

I'm afraid it's a bit of read-author's-mind for this last puzzle. From the picture we can deduce that either the dials or their sockets should match up with the picture's red-green-yellow color scheme, but it's not clear how the rest of it goes.

Anyway, it's the beads that will need to match the picture; we'll have to guess at the dial settings (and this part is randomized).

I don't understand the blue lights. They're somehow associated with failure; you want the blue lights to stay off when you pull the lever.

You'll want the green light on, though, because that'll mean success-we-solved-it, never mind that in the real world, we'd associate a green light on with the device being on—and we're trying to turn the darn thing off.

So, anyway, one at a time, place a bead and set a dial.

To test a dial, we'll have to repeatedly turn the dial and pull the lever until we get a blue-lights-off and green-light-on result. Do that for all three dials, and we're done.

> put red bead in upper socket.

> pull lever. (If that worked, skip to middle socket and dial.)

> turn upper dial. pull lever. (Repeat both until success with that dial.)

> put green bead in middle socket.

> pull lever. (If that worked, skip to lower socket and dial.)

> turn middle dial. pull lever. (Repeat both until success with that dial.)

> put yellow bead in lower socket.

> pull lever. (If that worked, great, you're done.)

> turn lower dial. pull lever. (Repeat both until final success.)

+3. The energy field dies. You tackle Zigh, knock him out, and finally bring the police down here to take him away. Congratulations.

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