This is a story about a sidewalk chalk tournament in 2011 that went disastrously wrong. It's told from several points of view, and some of the protagonists experience drug-induced hallucinations. After the story is over, you can tour Ryan Veeder's office, examine some of his research materials, and learn how everyone is doing in 2020.
This solution is by David Welbourn, and is based on Release 1 of the work.
SPOILERS AHEAD. Reading a walkthrough prematurely can sometimes diminish one's enjoyment of a work of interactive fiction. Please make an honest effort to play the work before reading this walkthrough.
You must first hold the editor blameless for any inaccuracies or errors whatsoever and not report them publically or privately.
Do you consent to this? yes
Press any key > SPACE
Nathalie says Jessica has a complaint about Xavier's art. You, Lane, are picked to take care of it. Nathalie will come with you.
> x me. x Hina. x Alec. x Nathalie.
> talk to Nathalie.
> 2(ask for another bottle)
> 2(ask about hydration office)
No one's saying if the dispute is east or west, so I'll pick east.
Okay, this isn't the right way.
> x bucket. take it.(not yours)
> x shed. x spigot.(You'd need a key for the valve.)
> drink water.(from bottle)
> w. w.
You can ignore most of the artwork and participants during section one, but I recommend at least giving everything a quick look so you know how everything was originally.
If you feel motivated, please feel free to stop and talk to everyone you meet on the way to Xavier. I'm also skipping over some background scenery which you may want to look at.
> x python. x Victoria.
> x slogan. x Rachel.
> x island. x Jonathan.
> x fountain. turn knob.(no water at all)
> x art. x Faye. x tattoos.
> x flowers. x Jessica.
Since Jessica made the complaint, we should ask her to elaborate, but this is actually optional:
> talk to Jessica.
> 1(ask about herself)
> 2(ask about problem)
> x Xavier. x drawing.
> talk to Xavier.(Instead, Natalie takes the lead, admiring the succubus, mentions the complaint, then introduces you.)
> talk to Xavier.(You say you'll confer with the other judges.)
> talk to Nathalie.
> 2(ask about Xavier's drawing)
Head back to the judges' table. There's little reason to dawdle, but are the chalk drawings becoming more realistic somehow?
> n. w.
> x Jack.(You feel unsettled.)
> x island.(The snow looks so inviting.)
> n. n.
> x python.(It looks frighteningly real.)
> talk to Hina.
You sit, barely able to talk. Nathalie describes Xavier's drawing, and you pass out soon afterwards.
Lane faints. You're Alec. Now what?
> talk to Hina.
Hina orders you to get a bucket of water and erase Xavier's succubus and tell him to start over with something else or go home.
> x shed. turn on faucet.(Maybe Hina has the key?)
Behind the Bleachers
> talk to Hina.(You get the spigot key.)
> x key. e.
> put key in spigot.(You fill the bucket and take it.)
In this section, we'll mostly skip looking at everything. But if you like, feel free to stop and examine the artwork again and talk to the participants again to see how Alec's point of view differs from Lane's.
> w. w. s.
You hear a shriek. Rachel doesn't.
> e.(You hear "Jerk". But Jonathan says he didn't say it.)
> x drawing.(Doesn't he know that snow will melt?)
> e. e.
Jessica is sobbing. You drop the bucket and run to her.
Actually, press SPACE several times to end section two.
0. THE CAVE
It's not immediately obvious what the situtaion is now.
> x me.(You remember: you are Nathalie.)
> x signatures. x machinery. x people. x cars.
> i. x baggie.(has seven yellow pills)
> think. e.
I. THE DELUGE
> x creature.(He's waving at you.)
Talking to the creature is optional. It's Alec, but Nathalie doesn't recognize him at first.
> talk to creature.
He says he's to deliver you back to headquarters.
> 1(re: weather)
> 2(re: this guy)
> 3(re: everybody leaving)
> 3(re: what he wants)
> 1(re: meeting)
> 1(You refuse. Alec runs away.)
II. THE BEAST
Talking to the beast is optional.
> x beast.
> 1(re: detesting me)
> 2(deny he is abhorrent)
> 3(deny responsibility)
> 4(re: chains)
> 5(re: melting)
> 6(You say something nice.)
III. THE FORTRESS
Every time you examine the castle, you focus on a different feature.
> x castle. g. g.
> n.(The fortress is in the way.)
> hit castle. g. g. g. g. g. g. g. g.
At last, enough of the castle is destroyed. You can now get past it.
> x village. x mountain. x lava.
> touch lava.
V. THE THRONE
> x Papa.(This opens up a menu.)
> 1.(re: hating him)
> 2.(re: screaming)
> 3.(re: not worth your time)
> 1 —or— 2(he's hopeless)
> x throne. x cord. x curtains.
VI. THE WRECKED SHIP
> x sailor. talk to sailor.(He doesn't respond.)
> x siren. talk to siren.(She ignores you.)
> x shark. pet shark. x tentacle. pet tentacle.
> x planks. x hull.
> search planks —or— search hull.(Find a pearl!)
> x pearl.
VII. THE GATE
You cannot avoid your conversation with Hina. And it doesn't matter how you respond to her questions.
> x Hina.
> 5(act normal)
> 3(re: rain)
> 1(affirm it is fun)
She's now examining your eyes.
> 1 –to– 4
Hina identifies your pills as episcophacetin. And the game tells you what percentage of artwork you destroyed.
Hey, which writing style is more excruciating: the tortured Olde-English prose about Cealdhame or the mind-numbing techobabble about episcophacetin from Wikipedia? Ye merciless godths [acetylsalicylic acid needed].
Feel free to tour the entire island if you like, but know that you can't currently interact with any of its peoples or features.
To leave Cealdhame, you must enter the sea. This walkthrough will just head directly east into the sea.
> x Careth. x crown. footnote 1.
Cealdhame (valley of Milcas)
> x Deldere. e.
Cealdhame (þryng-stone of Oflec)
> x stone. x Oflec.
> e. yes.
You lift your face off the sidewalk. You'll now be interacting with animated versions of the chalk drawings in much the same way Nathalie did with the animated sand sculptures last year.
Oh, and from now on, you'll be able to leave Cealdhame simply by going up from any location on the island.
Kingdom of Cealdhame
Hina's math here is puzzling. I don't question this part of the story, but I don't know what she was thinking.
> x me. x island. x Titan. wake Titan. x beam.
The Titan is Jonathan, but you can't wake him.
> n. n.
Coils of Ahigu
> x serpent. e.(Ahigu stops you.)
> talk to Ahigu. 1. 2. 3. 4.
> s. s. e.
Talking to Jack and interacting with Halloween Town is completely optional, but there's a lot here and you should examine some of it.
> x Jack. talk to Jack.
Asking about the town:
> 1. 1. 2. 3.
Asking about him:
> 2. 1. 2. 3.
Telling about yourself and the others:
> 3. 1. 2. 3. 4. 1. 1.
There's more than just Jack here:
> x Barrel. talk to Barrel.
> x Doctor. talk to Doctor.
> x Sally.
Jack interrupts, and asks your opinion of their town.
> 1.(give your opinion...)
> 1 –to– 4.(...whichever it is)
Continuing with Sally and the rest:
> talk to Sally. x moon. x fields. x graveyard.
There's actually more here to look at. If you LOOK over and over again, the room description will randomly show more inhabitants that you might have missed earlier, and you can interact with them too. But this walkthrough is moving onward.
Curling Flower Space
The maiden is Jessica; the knight is Alec.
> x maiden. x dress.
> x knight. x hand. open it.(You acquire a key.)
> x key. x flowers. x helm.
Before talking to Nega-Hina, it helps if you've already visited Ahigu earlier, because then you can ask Nega-Hina about the serpent and learn about the bracelet that protects against all poisons.
That's the important take-away: learning about the bracelet. Everything else here just clarifies what's going on.
> x Nega. x horns. x fangs. x skin. x birthmark.
> x couch. x windows.
> talk to Nega.
> 1. 1 —or— 2.(re: her)
> 1.(re: here)
> 2.(re: other places)
> 1.(you learn about the bracelet)
> 2. 3. 4. 2. 5. 6.(you learn about the other places)
> 3. yes.(asking what's going on)
> 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
> 4.(re: what to do)
> n. w. w.
Kingdom of Cealdhame
> d. yes.
> se. sw.
Cealdhame (fortress Cynebrand)
> x bracelet. take it. wear it.
> u. yes. n. n. e.
Hall of Judgment
You must talk to Lane before you can leave her. Feel free to answer her questions any way you like.
> x Lane. talk to Lane.
> 1 –to– 3.
> 1 –to– 3.
> 1 –to– 3.
> 1 –to– 3.
> x sand. x pillar.
> put key in slot.(Nathalie slams you.)
> x Nathalie. talk to her. hit her.(She's a giant.)
> throw sand at her.(This works!)
> turn on spigot. drink water.
*** The End ***
The game asks if you'd like to view some supplemental materials? Just say YES. The game doesn't accept a NO answer.
> yes. SPACE
Appendix. Ryan's supplemental materials
The game proper is over and you can now quit at any time, but surely you want to see what's here?
> x Ryan.
> x desk. x birdhouse. x legal documents. x discharge.
> x wastebasket. x arcane.
> x wall documents. x class photo.
> x angry letter. x poster.
> x easel. x whiteboard.
> x window. x Old Capitol.(We're in Iowa.)
> x roofs. x jagged metal. take it.(can't with bare hands)
> x chair.
The pearl is only here if Nathalie found it in section 3.
> x bookshelves. x pearl.
> x table. x lengthy letter.
> x box. open box. x index card. x ribbons.
> x sketches. x handwritten letter.
> search books.(You read about catheters.)
> x podium. x birth.
> x chalkboard. x chalk. take it.
> write DRIEDOUT. erase chalkboard.
> x fabric. x desks. x transcript. g.
> x couches. x blue couch. x orange couch.
> x fridge. x magnet. open fridge.
> x bar. take it. eat it. close fridge. x wrapper.
> x miniature door. open it. knock on it.enter it.
> x table. x east table. x chapbook. read it.
> x west table. x novel. read it.
> take scrap. read it.
> x lamp. x mushroom lamp. x flower lamp.
Huh. Nothing here.
> eat bar.(You finish it.)
> n. se.
> put wrapper in wastebasket.
> quit. yes
Lane Mulville is one of three judges for the sidewalk chalk tournament and she's also the player-character in section one. She was a sophomore (or junior) chem major. Hina sends her to investigate Jessica's complaint about Xavier's artwork, but Lane passes out soon after returning to the Judges' Table. In later years, she became romantically involved with Faye and in 2012, they organized an indoor arts event using crayons and butcher paper.
Alec Arden is one of three judges for the sidewalk chalk tournament and he's also the player-character in section two. Hina orders him to erase Xavier's art with a bucket of water, but he collapses beside Jessica on the way there. Sometime later, he published a slim chapbook of bird poems.
Nathalie Durant is the hydration officer for the sidewalk chalk tournament, the player-character in section three, and the person responsible for the chaos by drugging everyone's water. She was also a theater major and a fifth-year senior. She was arrested and did time in rehab. Currently, she and her partner Lucas run a yoga studio together and have adopted a son named Ethan.
Hina Shiroiwa is the lead judge for the sidewalk chalk tournament and the player-character in section four. She was a senior, and pre-med at the time. Today, she teaches art to children in grade three.
Victoria Graham drew a coiled python as her chalk artwork. She was a freshman and had planned to award ribbons to all the participants, but she never had the chance. She eventually sent them all to Ryan.
Rachel Lee drew a simple political slogan as her chalk artwork. She's now married and has five sons.
Jonathan Devries drew the island kingdom of Cealdhame as his chalk artwork. He was a sophomore then and a novelist now.
Faye Thompson drew Jack Skellington and Halloween Town as her chalk artwork. She was a sophomore then. During the hallucinations, she ran to the river and talked to what seemed to be a huge dog. Somewhat later, she got involved with Lane and co-organized a new arts event using crayons and butcher paper.
Jessica Marinakis draw a huge bouquet of flowers as her chalk artwork. She was a junior and a music major then. Now, she plays the bassoon for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
Xavier Daneri drew a sultry and nearly-nude succubus as his chalk artwork. He was an art major who had already had a nude photo exhibition. One can safely assume that he's currently a successful professional artist specializing in female nudes.
Ryan Veeder is the author of this interactive fiction re-telling and re-creation of the sidewalk drawing event. He interviewed all the major characters sometime after the events originally happened, and you can peruse some of his research materials in his office after you win the game.
You, the player, visit Ryan in his office during the Appendix section.
Characters hallucinated by Nathalie during the sand sculpture contest:
A beast shackled to the street, melting in the rain.
Everyone in the fortress, including administrators, artists, bards, a blacksmith, earthy poets, horses, madmen, messengers, a little orphan girl, seers, visitors, and the wizard.
Papa, screaming from his throne.
A skeletal sailor is embraced by a siren. A tentacle wraps around his leg, and the siren's pet shark lurks nearby.
Characters hallucinated by Hina during the sidewalk chalk tournament:
Ahigu, the Endless Wyrm, threatens you with its poisonous venom. It is millennia old and can speak directly to your mind with ease.
Everyone in Cealdhame, particularly fair Princess Hebryn who has the bracelet Hlutorbeg, but also wise King Careþ, the thick-browed Garn-men, the hated Cranhƿal, the weaver Cædmyd, the swordwright Ðeldere, the Mer-Witch Agaþe, the ice-dragon Lucender, the dead hero Istenlyc, the demon-spawn Mærceg, the troll-disaster Ermand, the wife-sister Norhecge, the fearsome Grecge-wolves, the hill-farer Sƿealtmare, Ƿarg (son of Bleoc), Geƿarcain the ice-bat, Nepeþ the Wicked, Asƿealt the Moist, Ecgemarc the Clinging, Helabreoc the Furious, the stone-raiser Oflec, the popular blacksmith Dragard, the beloved blacksmith Heortƿic, reclusive skald Ðatsal, mournful spirit Lecgeðor, the hell-steed Reosycge, the dread vassal Ygnared, bloodthirsty Prince Nagol, the deadly fellswan Hisc and her fellcygnets, Cleoƿðric the wart-giver, Queen Friþ, and the otter-lord Ƿæslic.
Everyone in Halloween Town, particularly Jack Skellington, but also Sally the ragdoll, Doctor Finkelstein, Barrel the trick-or-treater, and more.
Nega-Hina is a demonness twin of Hina who knows everything that Hina knows, even subconscious memories of obscure Cealdhame lore.
Tim Burton produced The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Ron Paul is named in Rachel's simple artwork.
Shelly Lampada was the faculty advisor for the Honors Arts Committee.
Elena Maric was a freshman who joined the resurrected committee.
Isaac Diston replaced Shelly in 2012 after she left the Honors program.
Lucas (aka Luke) is now Nathalie's husband or partner. They own and operate a yoga studio together.
Ethan is Nathalie and Lucas's adopted son.
James is Rachel's husband.
Jacob, Scott, William, Levi, and Mitchell are Rachel and James's five sons.
A huge dog came out of the water and talked to Faye, according to Ryan's interview with her. It's unknown who or what the dog really was.
Unnamed people watch Nathalie destroy some of the sand sculptures.
An unnamed medical consultant wrote an angry letter to Ryan regarding how drug abuse was being depicted in this story.
The response to CREDITS is:
(Thank you for your interest in A Rope of Chalk. I'm having a lot of fun writing this game, so I hope you're having fun playing it.
A Rope of Chalk was tested by Lance Campbell, Catherine O'Sullivan, Zach Hodgens, and Emily Boegheim.
If you're interested in my other games or the other stuff I do, my website is rcveeder.net, my Twitter is @rcveeder, my email address is email redacted, and my Patreon is patreon.com/rcveeder. Okay bye!)
an (empty) water bottle. You're carrying it.
If you ask Nathalie for another bottle, she'll give you a full bottle in exchange for your empty one. And, of course, you can drink the water, possibly giving you an empty bottle again. (Sorry, but I didn't bother to research the sipping mechanics deeply.)
an (empty) water bottle. You're carrying it.
Ignore it. You cannot refill the bottle from the spigot.
a spigot key. Hina has it; she's behind the bleachers.
First, try to turn on the spigot by the shed. Now that you know you need a key, return to the bleachers and talk to Hina. She gives you the key.
At the shed, with the bucket nearby, put the key in the spigot; you'll fill the bucket automatically.
a metal bucket. It's by the shed.
At the shed, with the bucket nearby, put the key in the spigot; you'll fill the bucket automatically. It's now a bucket of water.
Carry the bucket of water to Xavier's location, with the intention of pouring the water on his drawing. However, when you reach Jessica's location, you'll drop the bucket and go to her instead. This is fine; this is how the story is supposed to go.
Alec is unwilling to pour the water onto anyone else's chalk drawings, but feel free to try to see what he thinks of the idea.
a plastic baggie containing yellow pills. You're carrying it.
You don't need to take any direct actions with the pills. There's seven yellow pills originally, but by the time you reach Hina, there's only two left. It seems Nathalie eats five of the pills completely absent-mindedly; she's surprised that there's only two left.
a pearl. Find it by searching the wreckage at the Wrecked Ship.
This seems to be an Easter Egg, a bonus item to just look at. If you found it in the wreckage, it will appear later in the library.
a tarnished key. The knight at the "Curling Flower Space" is holding it. Open his hand to acquire the key.
You should be able to deduce that the "knight" is actually Alec, and this is the spigot key you gave him earlier.
At the Desert, you can try to turn on the spigot if you're holding this key.
Hlutorbeg. The princess in the fortress Cynebrand in Cealdhame has this bracelet.
Learn about this bracelet by talking extensively with Nega-Hina in "Inferno", but only if you visited the serpent earlier. The bracelet protects its wearer from poisons. Note that Nega-Hina must tell you about the bracelet before you can actually take it.
Take the bracelet and wear it. Now Ahigu, the serpent, can't stop you from going past him.
a handful of sand. It's in the "Desert".
Throw the sand at the giant Nathalie after she stops you from using the spigot. This will disable her long enough for you to turn on the spigot and drink some untainted water.
Your inventory when YOU, the player of this game, are visiting Ryan's office
Use of any of these objects is totally optional. The main story is over and you've won. Examining all these things simply gives you an update on how everyone is doing since the events of the story.
an orchestra poster. It's one of the documents on the office wall.
Examine it. It's a poster for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and features Jessica with a bassoon.
an angry letter. It's one of the documents on the office wall.
Examine it; it's from Ryan's medical consultant about the ethics of portraying drug misuse in the game.
a class photo. It's one of the documents on the office wall.
Examine it: it's of Hina and her class of three-graders. There's also a message on the back where Hina says she's intrigued by Ryan's suggestion about organizing some future event.
a discharge summary. It's on the desk in the office.
Examine it. You learn that Nathalie went to rehab.
a sheaf of legal documents. It's on the desk in the office.
Read it. It reminds you that you agreed to hold Ryan totally blameless for any possible inaccuracies of any kind in the game.
a photograph of a birdhouse. It's on the desk in the office.
Examine it, but it seems unrelated to the story.
an arcane diagram. It's in the wastebasket underneath the desk in the office.
Examine it, but it's very cryptic. I don't know what it refers to.
a lengthy letter. It's on the long table in the library.
Read it; it's from Lane to Ryan, explaining what happened to the Honors Arts Committee after the sidewalk event.
a cardboard box. It's on the long table in the library.
Open the box. It contains an index card and a bunch of ribbons.
Read the card and examine the ribbons. The box is from Victoria. She thought Ryan might want the ribbons that she never gave out.
Note that Ryan won't let you wear any of the ribbons because they're "historical artifacts".
a pile of sketches. It's on the long table in the library.
Examine them. They're sketches of the demoness that Xavier drew in preparation for the sidewalk event.
a handwritten letter. It's on the long table in the library.
It's a letter from Nathalie to Ryan, asking if he'd be willing to be a character reference to help her and Lucas adopt a child.
a pearl. It's on the library shelf if and only if Nathalie found a pearl earlier in the game.
a transcript. It's on one of the desks in the classroom.
It's a partial transcript of an interview Ryan did of Faye in 2017. There's two pages, so read it twice.
a birth announcement. It's on the podium in the classroom.
Examine it; it's a postcard announcing the birth of Rachel's fifth son.
a piece of chalk. It's on the chalkboard in the classroom.
With it, you can write words on the chalkboard. Erase the chalkboard if you want it blank again.
a chapbook. It's on the east table in the lounge.
It's a book of bird poems by Alec. Read it.
a thick novel. It's on the west table in the lounge.
It's Frost-Wenches of Cealdhame by Jonathan.
Read the novel; a handwritten note falls out.
Read the note: Jonathan wants Ryan to write a text adventure set in Cealdhame.
a frozen Snickers bar. It's in the lounge's mini fridge.
You may eat the bar, leaving you with a Snickers wrapper. You'll need to eat the bar twice to completely finish it. A good person would put the wrapper into the office's wastebasket.
The response to SCORE varies from section to section of the game:
§1: (You're doing fine.)
§2: (You're doing about as well as can be expected.)
§3: (You're amazing. You're fantastic.)
§4: (You're doing a really good job, under the circumstances.)
Appendix: (It's over! You won.)
There is also a secondary score, of sorts, given at the end of §4:
Your rate for destroying artwork is percentage.
🦕 NOTE! Achieving a 100% artwork destruction rate is a club wooby mission worth 20 buttons!
Obviously, I may not explain how to destroy all the artwork without voiding the mission entirely, so please don't ask me how to do it, and don't tell me or anyone else the details. Just email the game's secret phrase to Ryan Veeder after you complete the mission. Congratulations in advance!