Muggle Studies is a Glulx interactive fiction game written with Inform 7 and is © 2012 by M. Flourish Klink. At the 2012 XYZZY Awards, the game won the Best Supplemental Materials award for its feelies. There are three feelies: a letter from Deputy Headmistress McGonagoll (as a jpg image file), a Hogwarts brochure (as a pdf file), and a 15-page manual on how to play Muggle Studies and interactive fiction in general (as another pdf file).
You play as Alice Armstrong, the new Professor of Muggle Studies at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in Scotland, even though you've never heard of "muggles" before and never knew magic was real until the headmaster proved it to you. But when you arrive at the school, you discover that a botched spell has made everyone disappear and you're now trapped within the castle. Is this something you can fix without magic?
This solution is by David Welbourn, and is based on Release 1 of the game.
Initial goal: You need to find an old shoe to touch that'll transport you to the school.
Story note: This game is set during Harry Potter's third year at Hogwarts as told in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Although it helps if you're familiar with the books or movies, you should be mostly okay if you haven't. A "muggle" is a person who isn't a wizard or witch, someone without magic. Since your character is a muggle, you won't be doing any real magic.
Gameplay note: You can't use ALL in this story. You're also discouraged from using SEARCH as a command verb.
> x me. i. x card. (You're Alice Armstrong.)
> x contract. x brochure. x candy.
> take contract. take brochure. take candy.
> x aga. open oven.
> x bed. open drawer.
> x trunk. open trunk. (Better not.) take trunk. (Too heavy. Don't worry about it.)
> x broadside. ("The Witch of Atlas" by Shelley.)
> x wardrobe. open it.
The shoe will always be in the last place you look. You must open the oven and the drawer and the wardrobe to find it.
> x shoe. enter wardrobe.
> take shoe. (You are transported, but the shoe is lost...)
> x desk. (You pick up and read a purple parchment.)
The parchment is a list of ingredients, denoted by symbols which are described rather than shown. Unicode could've been used to show most of these directly since they're used in both astrology and alchemy: ☉ (Sun/gold), ☽ (Moon/silver), ♀ (Venus/copper), ♂ (Mars/iron), ♃ (Jupiter/tin), ☿ (Mercury/quicksilver), and ♄ (Saturn/lead). The alchemical symbol for salt is also in Unicode, 🜔, but it isn't well-supported by standard fonts; you'll also learn later that the symbol can also refer to base matter such as crystal. I don't know of any Celtic knot pattern in Unicode; you'll learn later that it represents "eternity".
Anyway, this game is mostly a scavenger hunt for spell ingredients, and most of those are different metals. The bell is iron; it's one of the ingredients.
> x bell. take bell. ring bell. x perch.
> x portraits. (Dilys Derwent and Phineas Nigellus Black are asleep; Newton Scamander is awake.)
> x dilys. talk to dilys.
> x black. talk to black.
> x newton. talk to newton.
Conversation in this game is handled with menus, where you have one or more numbered choices. Conversation with Newt is optional, but it's here where you'll learn (sorta) what happened to everyone, and you'll get a brief visit by Peeves, the castle poltergeist.
> 2. ("What are you?")
> 1. ("Where's Dumbledore?")
> 1. ("Business?")
Interruption by Peeves. Dumbledore's spell made everyone disappear. Is it possible for you to fix this?
> talk to newton
> 1. ("Who's Peeves?")
> 2. ("Disappeared?")
> talk to newton.
> 1. ("Who's the Bloody Baron?")
> 1. ("How can I get back home?")
> 1. ("Never mind.")
> x oddities. x astrolabe. x jar. x orrery. x contraptions. smell them.
> xyzzy. plugh. x staircase.
Note: Talking to the gargoyle automatically takes you back into Dumbledore's Office.
> x gargoyle. x fat lady.
> x staircase. (Somehow, you can tell by looking at the staircase that you're on the 5th floor.)
> x door. (Prefects Only.) open door. (Won't budge.)
> x archway. take feather. (You don't need it.)
The fat lady guards the entrance to Gryffindor Tower. She will insist on hearing the password before she'll let you in.
Talking to the fat lady will give you a bit more background on the current situation. She'll suggest talking to Newt and looking in the library for help.
> talk to lady. (She asks you for the password.)
> 2. 2. 2. 2. 2. 1. 2.
> read plaque. u.
> smell. x shelf. x pouf. x armchair. x table.
> x doll. x ball. (It's one of the spell ingredients you need.)
> talk to doll. (She won't throw the ball to you.)
Hm. Try standing on things to increase your height?
> sit on pouf. stand on armchair. stand on table. take ball. (Can't.)
> accio. (The summon spell? You're not a witch and you don't have a wand.)
Throw something at the doll? It doesn't really matter what.
> throw bell at doll. (She throws it back, then throws the ball at you! Success.)
> d. se. ne.
The owl-parrot asks if you're here for the medallion. Uh,... yes? Then CALL the owls, it tells you.
See the riddles appendix below if you don't understand how these are solved.
> x owl-parrot. talk to owl-parrot. (It's a kakapo.)
> 1. ("First owl?" Riddle answer: DAVID.)
> 2. ("Second owl?" Riddle answer: PEARL.)
> 3. ("Third owl?" Riddle answer: MIMI.)
> 4. ("Fourth owl?" Riddle answer: LEX.)
> 6. ("Bye.")
> call david. (He gives you a red piece of wood.)
> call pearl. (She gives you a yellow piece of wood.)
> call mimi. (She gives you a black piece of wood.)
> call lex. (He gives you a white piece of wood.)
With all four pieces, you automatically assemble them into a wooden medallion, which has the Celtic knotwork circle on it. I suspect the four colours weren't randomly chosen; see the Wikipedia article on Magnum opus (alchemy).
> x medallion. (This is one of the spell ingredients.)
> ring bell.
> give jelly babies to owl-parrot.
> sw. d. w.
> x bookcases. open bookcase. (Book of alchemy. Book of herbs.)
> x alchemy. (This decodes the symbols on the purple parchment.)
> read purple. (That's much simpler to understand now.)
> x herbs. take it. close bookcase.
> e. s.
The Mirror of Erised is from the first Harry Potter book. To understand the engraving, read it backwards, respacing, to read: "I show not your face but your heart's desire".
> x mirror. look in mirror. (You see Sangita.)
> x sangita. (She's your ex-girlfriend.)
> talk to sangita. touch mirror. (It's just her image. It doesn't react to you.)
If you have the tourmaline ball, Sangita will juggle her ball.
> juggle ball.
> n. d.
> take note. read it. ("Password: Pig snout." This will help you with the fat lady upstairs.)
> x armour. talk to armour. (One turns to look at you, briefly.)
An interesting bit of coding here with the tin cup: you don't have to specify what tool you're using to try to reach the cup with. The game will automatically use whatever's in your inventory that has the best chance of helping.
> x case. x brass cup. x pedestal.
> x tin cup. take it. (Can't; wedged too far back. It's also one of the spell ingredients.)
> x brush. take tin cup. (Doesn't work. The brush's handle is too short.)
> e. d.
> x plastic. x black door.
> x beds. x cabinet. (Locked but the glass front lets us see inside.)
> x mercury. (It's one of the spell ingredients.)
> x potion.
> open cabinet. x lock. (It's a dial with moon phases.)
> n. w.
The Defence Against the Dark Arts Classroom
> x skeleton. x hoof. (It's silver, one of the spell ingredients. But the skeleton shies away.)
> x lantern. take it. (Out of reach.)
> x desk. open drawer. (A journal is inside.)
> x journal. (The journal explains that the thestral skeleton wants its black mane back.)
> talk to skeleton. (Yes, he can hear you.)
> e. n.
Muggle Studies Classroom
> x table. x poster. x bookcase.
> x blue book. (Mentions the rot13 cipher.)
> x cloth book. (Describes how to unlock a dial lock by listening to the tumblers.)
> s. d.
> x torches. w.
> x card file. open it. x manacles.
> x broom. take it. sweep floor. ride broom. (It's an ordinary broom.)
> x press. x type. take it. (It's lead, one of the spell ingredients.)
> x list. x course.
> e. e.
> x head table. x centrepiece. x toad.
> take toad. (It's gold, one of the spell ingredients.)
> x red table. x green table. x blue table. x yellow table.
> x floor.
> w. d. e.
> x scarf. take it. (Black hair? It's the skeleton's mane.)
> x potions book. (Aconitum will render the icy potion inert.)
> look up aconitum in herbs. (Also known as wolfsbane or monkshood. Poisonous.)
> x cauldron. x icy.
> x bundles. x cabinet. open cabinet.
> look up aconitum in cabinet. (Not here.)
> look up wolfsbane in cabinet. (Not here.)
> look up monkshood in cabinet. (You take a sprig.)
Unlike the search for the shoe, the sprig will always be in the monkshood drawer. And it's also the only thing I could find in the cabinet. The book of herbs lists lots and lots of plant names to try, and I tried several of them, but I couldn't find anything but monkshood.
> x sprig. s.
As far as I can tell, you can't mess this up by touching the icy potion or putting incorrect ingredients into it.
> put sprig in cauldron. (You empty the cauldron and take it. Copper is one of the spell ingredients.)
Return to the Defense Against the Dark Arts Classroom:
> w. u. u. w.
A memory interrupts you. It's a year ago, and Sangita's packing to leave you.
Your Remembered Flat
> x sangita. x suitcase. x clothes. x bed.
> talk to sangita.
> 2. 2.
The flashback ends.
The Defence Against the Dark Arts Classroom
Awkwardly, "put scarf on skeleton" or "show scarf to skeleton" doesn't work.
> give scarf to skeleton. (You get the silver hoof.)
> x hoof.
> e. s.
The hospital wing is sufficiently quiet that you can hear the tumblers without hearing aids.
> turn dial right. g. (New moon; tumblers click into place.)
> turn dial left. g. g. (Waxing gibbous moon; tumblers click.)
> turn dial right. g. (Waxing crescent moon; click; cabinet opens.)
> take vial.
> take potion. (Denied. You're only taking things you need to take.)
> n. u. w.
> take tin. (Automatically using the broom to reach it.)
Head back up to the fat lady:
> e. u. u.
Another flashback memory interrupts. I'm not sure what exactly triggers this memory, if it's always on turn 267 or what. Regardless, you can't make a mistake during the flashback; it's already happened, after all.
It's your 12th birthday. You're with Grandma Gigi in her kitchen. You're doing the wash-up; she's knitting.
> x grandma. x aga. x dishes. x knitting.
> talk to grandma.
> 1. 1. 1. 1. 2. 1. 2.
The memory ends.
I'm assuming you did read the note found in the Armour Gallery.
> talk to lady. (You say the password automatically, and enter.)
The badge is the prize here; the rest is just for flavour and atmosphere.
> x fireplace. (Something shiny on it.)
> x shiny. (It's a Prefect badge.)
> take badge. (You automatically pin it to your shirt.)
> x tapestries. move tapestries. x banner. x window.
> x board. read toad flyer. read glee club. read love note.
> ne. s.
While you're wearing the badge, the door to the bathroom presents no obstacle.
> x mermaid. x chandelier. x tub. (3 taps: amethyst, sapphire, pearl)
> x towels. x heavy book. ("Qvzrafvbaf naq Lbh.")
> rot13 heavy book. (That would be too easy, it says.)
> x bottle. (Sleekeazy's Tangle Tamer Potion.) smell it.
> turn amethyst. turn sapphire. turn pearl. take bath. (Not now.)
It's not too hard to find a rot13 cipher encoder/decoder website. Copy the encoded text from the game (use your interpreter's scrollback mode if necessary), paste it into the decoder's input field, and click the encode/decode button and you'll read:
> n. u.
Where to put the spell ingredients? On the desk. That's where the diagrams are.
> put toad on desk. put hoof on desk. put cauldron on desk.
> put bell on desk. put cup on desk. put vial on desk.
> put type on desk. put ball on desk. put medallion on desk.
> redite. (Dumbledore and Sangita appear. Dumbledore rushes out, leaving you with Sangita.)
> save. (You'll probably want to run through the final conversations a couple times to see what they say.)
The game ends with a long conversation with Sangita, and an even longer one with Dumbledore. This is your chance to rail against them for keeping secrets from you and for their abuses of power. You're particularly upset to learn that wizards don't feel bound to follow normal laws, that wizards treat "muggles" as inferior beings with few rights, and that wizards can erase your memories whenever they wish.
Or you can try to make peace with them. They might've had good reasons for what they did. I played this part as highly-annoyed yet hesitant to condemn them outright, since I hardly know the full situation. CAUTION: If you're too antagonistic with Dumbledore, you won't even be offered the choice to stay at Hogwarts.
> x sangita. talk to sangita. (She tells you that she's a witch. You figured that out by now, right?)
> 2. 2. 1. 1. 1. 1.
> 2. ("I need to think.")
Sangita leaves. Dumbledore enters and continues the conversation.
> 2. 2. 1. 1. 1. 2. 2. 1. 1. 2. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. ("What next?" "Choose. Will you stay at Hogwarts?")
Please answer yes or no.> yes
He is pleased. You retort there wasn't any choice. You can't help Sangita fight against injustice if you can't remember what the fight is.
*** The End ***
Of course, if you answer "no" or aren't offered the choice, he will erase your memories of the wizarding world instead.
The spell ingredients:
Books, notes, and other readables:
Oh, and things that seem like you ought to be able to take but can't include:
These riddles are what I'd call rebus clues, similar in wordplay to cryptic crossword clues, except these are somewhat simpler, since the answer is spelled out by its letters.
It helps quite a bit to know your Roman numerals: I is 1, V is 5, X is 10, L is 50, C is 100, D is 500, and M is 1000.
For the first owl: "500 begins it. 500 ends it. 5 in the middle is seen. First of all figures and first of all letters take their stations between."
Using the Roman numerals for 500 and 5, we know we're looking for a name that starts with D, ends with D, and has a V in the middle. The first of all figures is 1, and its Roman numeral is I. The first of all letters, the first letter of the alphabet, is A. You can assemble those letters into either DAVID or DIVAD, but you should be able to guess that DAVID is the correct choice.
For the second owl: "Cut off her head, she's male. Cut off her tail, she's a fruit. Cut off both, she's part of you."
"Cut off her head" means dropping the first letter of the word; "cut off her tail" means dropping the last letter of the word. These types of clues are refered to as beheadings and curtailments. I solved this by thinking up names of fruit and seeing if I got a word that refered to a body part after dropping its first letter. Noticing that PEAR becomes EAR, I then mentally added letters to the end and found PEARL and EARL. Running through the clue again: Cut off PEARL's head, she's EARL, a male. Cut off PEARL's tail, she's PEAR, a fruit. Cut off both, she's EAR, a part of you. The answer is PEARL.
For the third owl: "One thousand one times two. Enigmatic!"
Roman numerals again: One thousand is M, one is I. "MI" times two is MIMI. I don't see what's so "enigmatic" about that.
For the fourth owl: "A villain with a common heart. Ten is his end, but he's fifty to start."
Again with the Roman numerals. Ten is X, and fifty is L. So that's L_X. And the "common heart"? Well, the most common letter in the English language is E, and heart goes in the middle. So the answer is LEX.
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