Grayscale is a TADS 2 interactive fiction game and is © 2001 by Daniel T. Freas. It was entered in IF Comp 2001 where it took 13th place.
You play as a friend of the author, Daniel Freas, who has programmed a house in virtual reality. You have no particular goal except to explore the house and eventually leave the simulation.
This solution is by David Welbourn, and is based on the competition release of the game.
The house has an aura of vague luxury; most of the rooms are unimportant and aren't particularly memorable or noteworthy.
You learn that Daniel likes poetry, and there are poems scattered about the house, but the poems and house don't support each other; if the house had no poems, or the poems were presented elsewhere, it would make no difference.
You will also discover Alanna, the game's only NPC, in the center of the library. She is an artificial intelligence program and is, herself, a simulation within the simulation. She is also the game's help system, and easily one of the most interesting things in the game.
All the games' puzzles are designed to either hide or block the way out of the simulation.
The game makes little use of the fact that you're in a virtual reality. All your senses are intact. You can die in many ways, including by poison, which shouldn't be possible if there really isn't any poison.
For once, I shall abbreviate my usual verboseness in my walkthroughs. The point of the game is to explore, and most of that is just looking at furniture and scenery objects. So I'll just comment on what's in the room that you can look at, but reduce the actual commands in this walkthrough to a more speedy traversal of the game.
Examine: iron door (locked and unopenable).
> info. n.
North End of Entry Way
Examine: placard; door (locked).
> x parchment. take it. read it. x window. n.
Hallway (north of Bay Window)
Examine: carpet; pillars.
Hallway (at French door)
Examine: french door (locked).
Examine: lighting, couches, chair, tables, trinkets, book stands, books, drapes, glass door.
Try: If you open the glass door, the breeze from the balcony will make its presence felt. North is the Balcony, but there's nothing to see there but stars (it's night). You can kill yourself if you attempt to jump too many times from the balcony.
Hallway (outside the bathroom)
One of the bathrooms is north of here. There you may examine a sink, toilet, and towels. You can turn the sink on and off, flush the toilet, and attempt to take a towel, but that's all you can really do there.
Middle of Hallway
Examine: counters, sink, fridge, stove.
Note: You can turn on the stove only when it's closed. And yes, you can heat up anything you can put into the stove, and they'll be too hot to take for a few turns. Incidently, the bonsai tree doesn't fit in the stove, but it does fit in the fridge.
> x knife. take it. e.
Examine: table, high backed chairs, matching chairs, candle holder.
Note: You can take the holder, but you don't need it for anything.
> s. e.
Try going up. The stairs are currently incomplete.
> x stairs. s. s.
Examine: table; drawer; handle.
> open drawer. x key. take it. (+5)
Southeast End of Library
There's nothing in this corner of the library, nor in the opposite corner to the northwest, but you can examine books or take a book from all the other ends and sides.
At the north side, the book is "Don Quixote" by Cervantes.
At the northeast end, the book is "Modern Poetry".
At the east side, the book is "Flatland" by Edwin A. Abbott.
At the south side, the book is "Chemistry" by Ira Remsen.
At the southwest end, the book is "Philosophy".
At the west side, the book is "Wonderland" by Carroll.
Center of Library
Examine: woman; platform; leather chair; stone chair; skylight; stars.
Try: touch woman; kiss woman.
Note: There are no books in the center of the library.
The woman is an AI and will have something to say about most of the items in the game. There is nothing you must ask her about, but you'd likely want to ask about these topics at the outset:
> ask woman about herself. ask woman about name.
> ask alanna about fire and ice. ask alanna about alanna.
> ask alanna about daniel. ask alanna about house.
> ask alanna about testers. ask alanna about box.
> ask alanna about parchment. ask alanna about key.
Alanna usually only has one response per topic, but her responses will change slightly if you ask about an item in your inventory.
> nw. nw. s. s. s. e.
North End of Entry Way
> unlock door with key. e. (+10)
Examine: chairs; coffee table; engravings; rug; lamp.
Note: The bathroom to the northeast of the study is identical is every respect that matters to the one near the kitchen.
> x bookcase. x bible. take it. (This opens an exit north from here to Hall's End.)
> x heart. take it. (+10. This turns on the basement lights.)
> x staircase. take it. (+10. This completes the staircase and you can now go upstairs.)
> n. n. e.
This is the entrance to a large garden. All you have to do in the garden is take the four gems and the mask. They will be useful upstairs.
Examine: grapes; berries; flowers; trees.
Note: The berries are poisonous. You can't take the grapes or the berries, but you may try eating some. If you get poisoned, the cure is to drink the water from the pool at the center of the garden.
> x bull. x opal. take it. (+5)
Pathway (west of center)
Examine: pool; rock.
Try: drink water. If you ask Alanna about the pool, she'll tell you that this water cures all diseases and poisonings.
Pathway (east of center)
Examine: figs; flowers.
Pathway (further east of center)
> x lion. x ruby. take it. (+5)
> w. w. w. n.
Examine: cliff; branch.
Note: Jumping here is as dangerous as at the balcony, and for the same reason.
> x eagle. x topaz. take it. (+5)
> s. s. s.
Examine: stones; moss; roses; trellises.
WARNING! Wearing the mask is very dangerous. If you put it on, you'll hear the tolling of a bell. The next turn, blood will seem to drip from your head. On the third turn, voices will call for your death. This is your last chance to remove the mask; it won't come off after this warning. In subsequent turns, your vision will blur in different colors: blue, purple, green, orange, white, violet, then finally black. Then you die.
However, the mask will always fall off when you drink water from the pool in the center of the garden, so if you want to experiment with the mask, do it there.
If you ask Alanna about the mask and EAP, she'll tell you that E.A.P. stands for Edgar Allan Poe, and that the initials are on the mask as a warning. Like, buh-wuh? How often do you see "E.A.P." as a warning about anything?!?
> x man. x emerald. take it. (+5)
> x rolled paper. read it.
> x mask. take mask. (+5)
> n. n. w. w. w. w. n. u. w.
Note: There's a guest room to the west, containing bed, sheet, chair, window, and mirror. The mirror has an inscription by Robbie Burns. You can ignore the guest room entirely.
The face on the south door isn't mentioned until you try to open the door.
> s. open south door. x face. put mask on face. (+10)
Examine: tiles, bed, frame, covers, dresser, window, table.
Only the table is of real interest here, and maybe the window since its view of the garden is a subtle hint on what you should do here.
> put topaz in north hole. put emerald in south hole.
> put opal in west hole. put ruby in east hole. (+20)
> x compartment. x black jar. take it.
> n. e. d. w. w. w. w. s.
Hallway (at French door)
> unlock french with knife. w. (+10)
Examine: plants, tables, glass, ceiling, north wall, cliff, west wall, pine trees, stone wall.
Try: dropping everything and taking the bonsai. Take it to Alanna and ask her about it.
Also: unlock french door. One of the few times I've seen an open locked door.
> x bonsai. x snail. home.
> x glass. x south wall. (+15. One panel is open.)
Outside Glass Room
There's four other locations north of here, but they're rather empty and ignorable. Jumping off the cliffs at the north end of grounds is still fatal. Ask Alanna about Wallace Stevens, if you're curious.
> x oak. x words. ("Wallace Stevens was here.")
It's best to follow the path through the pines. You can try going in other directions, some of which put you in random nearby locations.
Examine: window, pillar, clear jar, bars (when they appear).
WARNING: If you break the clear jar three times (interrupting the integrity of the virtual reality), then you'll die.
Try: putting water in the jar. You can drink the water or pour it when outside, but I found no way to pour water into any of the sinks or water any of the plants in the garden.
> take clear jar. (Bars spring up around you and the pillar.)
> put black jar on pillar. (The bars go away.)
> open clear jar. (+30. The pillar rotates clockwise.)
Inside the library, the leather chair swings away, revealing a hidden stair downwards.) You must open the clear jar here; it's the sound the wind makes on the open jar that does the trick. If you close and re-open the clear jar, the pillar will rotate counter-clockwise and the leather chair will close. The black jar isn't openable.
> w. n. ne. n. e. n. se. se.
Center of Library
Examine: pillar; laser beam (when it shows up)
First of all, you have to fix up the room so the exits work. All you have to do to accomplish that is put the clear jar (when empty) on the pillar.
> put jar on pillar. (+15)
The room to the west has a super computer, a placard, and a button. If you push the button, Alanna will vanish from the library, and you'll be able to examine the stone chair she was sitting on, including a poem that supposedly explains her other name, "Fire and Ice".
The room to the south is a room with mirrors and a podium; the podium has yet another poem on it.
The room to the east is a room with eight paintings in it. If you like, examine the paintings several times to see them all, then talk to Alanna about them and their artists if you want more info.
However, if you're only interested in solving puzzles, the room for you is to the north.
> x door. x keypad. x table.
> x note. read note. (A poem about the snail. Incidentally, did you ask Alanna about the snail?)
> type "home" on keypad. (+15)
Caution: Anything dropped here disappears into the vortex.
> x vortex. d. (+25)
*** You have won! ***
In the order discovered in this walkthrough:
In a total of several turns, you have achieved a score of your-score points out of a possible 200.
This walkthrough is provided free of charge since I wrote this walkthrough prior to January 2015 when I began my Patreon account. I've since reformatted this walkthrough to use my currently preferred style. I hope you enjoy it!
I'm still creating new walkthroughs! Please visit my Patreon account if you're interested in helping me create more interactive fiction walkthroughs. I appreciate all the help I can get! Thanks again.