A Runcible Cargo

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A Runcible Cargo
Eamon adventure #271
Author Thomas Ferguson
Created 2011
Released March 2012
EDX number 22
Native format PC DOS
File Eamon 271 - A Runcible Cargo (EDX standalone).zip

A Runcible Cargo is an Eamon adventure written by Thomas Ferguson for Eamon Deluxe. The adventure is unique in taking place largely in and around the Main Hall of the Guild of Free Adventurers in Evenhold, a location normally seen only through the menus on the Eamon Master, and is notable for its detailed descriptions, numerous puzzles, and abundant references to earlier adventures. Eamon Deluxe creator Frank Black ranked it one of the five best Eamon adventures ever written.


Ferguson wrote A Runcible Cargo in 2011 and in December sent a copy to Frank Black for help in solving what Black described as "an elusive bug in the Main Loop." Once corrected, Black held the adventure for a few months, intending to release it as part of his nearly-completed Eamon Deluxe version 5.0 package; however, Black's final revisions to the system took longer than he expected so on 11 March 2012 he published Ferguson's adventure, announcing it on the Eamon Adventurer's Guild Online blog.

The adventure's locations are drawn largely from Sam's 1985 adventure The Eamon Railroad, with Ferguson keeping several of the stops Sam described along the railroad.


The adventure opens with a very brief and dreamlike introduction:

Admittedly, you don't know how you got here, but a relaxing, if uncanny, sunset greets your gaze.

But you have unexpected company, in the form of an incredibly large rabbit.

Being a seasoned Eamonaut, a rabbit of this stature should seem pedestrian. You, after all, have battled wizards with rocket launchers and engaged in space opera with broadswords...

...so why does this rabbit unnerve you so?

Following the surreal prelude the adventure quickly moves to the real Main Hall and pits you against the forces of the invading Bandits Guild in a quest to locate a mysterious artifact known only as the "Runcible Cargo".


A map of the Main Hall and surrounding areas by Huw Williams.

A Runcible Cargo is a larger-than-average adventure — 102 rooms, 141 artifacts, and 162 effects — and is not entirely linear, allowing players to explore its several distinct areas in various orders, or to follow multiple paths from point to point. This walkthrough represents one progression through the adventure that lets the player see it all without unnecessary backtracking, but is certainly not the only one.


At any time you can enter hint to bring up a list of handy tips for solving the adventure. It's good to start off by reading the "Eamon Deluxe 5.0 General Help" hints: they give some helpful advice on how to use the game's commands.

How do I use the Eamon Railroad?

  1. The Eamon Railroad, in keeping with its designer's intent, is voice activated. SAY the name of your destination — either "Frukendorf," "Main Hall," "Dodge," or "Mudville."
  2. The Bandit's Guild will not permit you to pass to Frukendorf unless you bear the Runcible Cargo.
  3. You may use abbreviations for the town names. SAY *M = Mudville, SAY *F = Frukendorf, SAY *D = Dodge, and SAY *H = Main Hall.

How do I escape the Main Hall?

  1. There are keys that can serve that purpose.
  2. One is in the Burly Irishman's desk, on the northwest corner of the Main Hall. It will open the sewer grate.
  3. One was in the locker in your private quarters, opening Sam Slicker's shop.

How can I recover the Runcible Cargo?

  1. The Runcible Cargo can be found at the archaeological site in Dodge.
  2. Professor Larkspur might have some advice, if you can recover his medication.
  3. His pills can be found in his hotel room in Dodge, in a nightstand.

Can I beat the adventure without capitulating to the bandits?

  1. There are explosives in the Department of Quantum Engineering at Eamon University. If you PUT them in the Runcible Cargo and remotely detonate them in the right place, you can complete the adventure without capitulation.
  2. You can also just kill the Bandit Commander or the Bandit Prince, if your character is strong enough.
Adventure map by Frank Black

The dream

You begin immersed in the surreal environment of a dream with the strange rabbit Pooka at your side, who keeps softly murmuring the word run. Follow the pier east to the shore; you'll begin to notice an increasing heat and a smell of smoke. In the tumbledown fishing shack to the north (behind a crumbling door that you can open) waits Pooka, now with the head of a wren, intoning the word hide. Return to the shore and press east to find Pooka yet again, now with the head of a horse, standing in a grassy clearing, repeating the word fire.

The heat and smoke begin to press unbearably on your senses and you soon awaken to discover that you're in your bed — and your room is engulfed in flames!

The Main Hall

  1. Before fleeing your burning chambers, open your locker and remove the contents: a bottle of drink mix and a key to Sam Slicker's pawn shop.
  2. Exit east to hurl yourself out of the window and escape the flames. In the alley below you'll find the wizard Hokas Tokas (your landlord) who explains that the Bandits Guild has attacked the Main Hall in an attempt to recover something known as the "Runcible Cargo" which they believed was held by Sam Slicker. Hokas explains that Sam doesn't have it, and that you must either appease the bandits by finding the item and giving it to them, or else find a way to defeat them.
  3. Take the alley east and enter the southwest corner of the Main Hall, a large, chaotic space now overrun with terrified adventurers and armed bandits. Defeat the bandit swordsman, then attack the overturned wagon to spill its contents: a gilded broadsword and a cosmic ray gun. Collect them, then go north.
  4. In the northwest corner, find the Burly Irishman's locked desk and Blast it to reveal a pamphlet, some gold, and the Main Hall maintenance key. Gather them up, defeat the bandit captain and bowman, and exit east.
  5. In the northeast corner, battle the bandit's lumbering behemoth. Read the marquee to discover that "the legendary and eldritch Runcible Cargo" is supposedly among a collection of artifacts discovered at an archaeological site near the town of Dodge. Exit south.
  6. In the southeast corner, rubble blocks the exit south, but a door (for which you have the key) leads east into Sam Slicker's pawn shop.
  7. Enter Sam's shop and collect the rare Ervuolian sword. Go east again into Sam's warehouse and remove the letter from the unlocked safe: it's a message to Sam from Professor Larkspur in Mudville saying that he did not include the Runcible Cargo in the most recent shipment of artifacts.
  8. Return to the Main Hall.

The bandit camp

  1. Leave the Main Hall through the north exit. Dispatch the wild dog and continue north along the road.
  2. At the intersection, follow the east branch through the clearing and into Ockham's Inn.
    • In the lobby take the newspaper from the stand; it relates rumors of recent unsettling events in the town of Dodge.
    • In the kitchen to the south, open the refrigerator to find some food, and open the oven to free the friendly Bill of Ockham.
    • Upstairs dispatch the off-duty soldiers and obtain the Bandit Guild's military orders.
  3. Return to the road and go north to the railway crossing; fight the bandit sergeant guarding it.
  4. Go north once more and you'll reach the bandit camp. The commander will greet you and propose a deal: recover the Runcible Cargo for them and they'll pay you a sizable reward of gold. Avoid tangling with the commander and the many soldiers accompanying him and take the road back south to the Main Hall.

The sewers and railyard

  1. In the southeast corner of the Main Hall, attack the rubble to break it apart and make your way out.
  2. In the alley is a locked sewer grate: open it using the maintenance key and descend into the sewers.
  3. At the sewer entrance fight a pair of putrid rats and collect the handy electric lantern. You can light it to see in darkened rooms.
  4. Go east to an intersection, then east again (past an enormous alligator) to reach an exit that leads up out of the sewers.
  5. You've discovered a hidden brothel managed by the friendly Amazon of Easy Virtue who will accompany you on your quest. Open the window and exit north.
  6. This is a railyard east of the Main Hall, with Sam Slicker's warehouse to the west, a tower north, and a rail platform east. First go north and climb the observation tower to discover a telescope and a bandit scout. Use telescope to survey the surrounding countryside.
  7. Return to the railyard and go east to the platform. At the south end of the platform are steps leading down to a darkened railroad office (which you can illuminate) — check the bureau to find several useful items including a watch, a map, and a key.
  8. Go back to the north end of the platform and read the notice to learn how to use the railway. When you're ready, step east into the engine and ride the rails to your next stop.


  1. Step out onto the east end of the Mudville railway platform and walk to the west end.
  2. Descend the steps into the underpass and follow it north below the railway line, emerging outside Eamon University.
  3. Go north to the university gate and check out the safety office to the east. The desk contains a chocolate donut plus a ring of keys for the alchemy and quantum engineering departments. The board gives the location of Professor Larkspur's office.
  4. Exit the office and go north into the university quad which is surrounded by three department buildings. You have keys to grant you access to two of the departments (Quantum Engineering and Alchemy), and if Bill of Ockham is with you he'll unlock the third (Archaeology).
  5. Go north to the Quantum Engineering lobby.
    • West is a classroom where you'll find a lectern, inside which is a student report on the nature of the Speed spell. Reading the report will increase your ability to cast the spell!
    • East are offices where you'll encounter two bandits scouts. Below the offices is the basement where you can pick up two very important artifacts: explosive munitions and a remote detonator.
    • Return to the quad.
  6. Go west to the Alchemy lobby and climb the stairs to the upper level.
    • West is the departmental library; collect and read the Eamonomicon and the Manual of Ervuolian Lore.
    • East is an elevated walkway across the quad to the Archaeology Department, guarded by a bandit enforcer. (If Bill didn't get you into the Archaeology Department before, the walkway will let you reach it.)
    • Return to the quad.
  7. Go east to the Archaeology lobby, then up to the offices. Obtain the test answer key and grant proposal from the filing cabinet.
    • West is the overpass back to the Alchemy Department.
    • East is Professor Larkspur's small office where you'll interrupt a couple of bandit scouts rummaging through the professor's records. Dispatch them and open the desk to find a slip of paper with the combination "1-2-3-4" on it.
    • Return to the quad.
  8. Retrace your steps back to the middle of the railway platform and head south into the town square.
  9. Check out the shack on the west side of the square, kill the recon soldier, and take the reports.
  10. Take the trail south from the town square and investigate the shack where a bandit sergeant guards a bound old woman. Once freed, the fortuneteller will consult her crystal ball to give you a free prediction.
  11. Return to the path and continue south to the beach. Take the rowboat out to sea and go two stops west to reach the marshy shore near Dodge.


  1. Follow the trail north from the beach past two threatening ghouls to reach the south end of Main Street in Dodge.
  2. Go north to the middle of the street, then east to enter the abandoned hotel.
    • In the lobby, check the front desk to find a room key and a list of hotel guests.
    • In the basement, fight a ghoul and find a bottle of wine and loaf of bread.
    • Upstairs use the key from the front desk to open room 14. Inside is a nightstand containing a bottle of pills and the diary of Professor Larkspur detailing his work at the archaeological dig west of town.
  3. Return to the street and head west along the path.
  4. At the end of the path an iron gate protects the dig site and a tent stands to the north. Investigate the tent (and kill the ghoul inside); read the notebooks to learn that the writer has taken refuge beyond the fence. Open the gate with the combination you found in the professor's desk.
  5. Descend into the pit to find the weak and tattered Professor Larkspur... and the Runcible Cargo! Give the professor the pills you took from his hotel room; his health will improve and he'll fill you in on the nature of the Ervuolians and their strange device. He'll also let you know that the object can be destroyed using the explosives from the university.
  6. Continue north until you find the dead body of the town sheriff, surrounded by three ghouls. Dispatch the ghouls and enter the sheriff's office to the east.
  7. Go east again to the jail cells when you find someone locked up; break the cell open and free its occupant, your old friend Larcenous Lil. Your companions may suggest that she can't be trusted... and they're right, since she's likely to try to snatch the Runcible Cargo from you; however, if she tries anything she can be driven off and will drop her weapon and the artifact when she flees.
  8. Return to the street, head north to the rail platform, and board the train.


  1. Take the train to your final stop: Frukendorf, home of the nefarious Bandits Guild. A guard will stop you at a checkpoint along the way, but will allow you to proceed when he sees that you're bearing the Runcible Cargo.
  2. Step out onto the railway platform. Bill will whisper a suggestion: destroy the artifact here and wipe out the bandits. Open the cargo and slip the explosive device from the university inside, then immediately close it again.
  3. Go north from the platform, through the antechamber, and into the magnificent throne room of the bandit prince. The prince will greet you and ask for the Runcible Cargo in exchange for calling off his attack on the Adventurers Guild. Hand it to him.
  4. Return south to the rail platform and use detonator. A massive explosion rocks the Bandits Main Hall, followed by the terrible sounds of otherworldly forces unleashed by the Runcible Cargo. You know that the Bandits Guild, if not wholly destroyed, has at least been terribly damaged and will no longer pose a threat to you or your guild, and you return home a hero!

Alternatively, you may choose to end the adventure by capitulating to the bandits and handing the Runcible Cargo over to the prince without first booby-trapping it. If you do so, the prince will honor his word and withdraw his forces, and you'll return safely to the Main Hall... but you'll be troubled by the knowledge that the bandits will now only increase in power. You may also try simply to kill the prince and his entourage, but this is extremely hazardous.


In his review of the adventure, Eamon Deluxe creator Frank Black praised Ferguson's A Runcible Cargo as having "all the traits of a great adventure": steady pacing, rich and enjoyable descriptions, a clear quest, lots of special effects, plenty of laughs, and three-dimensional companions. Black was very pleased with Ferguson's writing and complimented the care and detail evident in the adventure's descriptions, describing them as more artful and realistic that those in many adventures. He also commended the varying moods conjured by the game's distinct settings, as well as the many fun references to earlier adventures.

Black nearly awarded the adventure a perfect 10-out-of-10 rating, something no other Eamon adventure has ever achieved; the only faults Black found to make him slightly reduce his score to 9.5 were some repetitive "cardboard cutout" monsters, a few too many doors, and the conclusion feeling a bit rushed.

As Black writes in his conclusion, "A Runcible Cargo is nothing short of a complete masterpiece of interactive fiction and definitely one of the five best Eamons ever written. I highly recommend this adventure to everyone. It is certainly Eamon flavored interactive fiction at its best."


"The engine steadily plunges into the dark, southeastern countryside of Eamon." (Steam Drive, 1999)

A Runcible Cargo is unique in taking place largely in and around the Main Hall of the Guild of Free Adventurers in Evenhold, a location normally seen only through the menus on the master diskette.

The towns of Dodge and Mudville first appear in The Eamon Railroad (1985) by Sam. Dodge lies east or southeast of the Main Hall, a short walk inland from the sea and about 15 minutes from the Main Hall by rail. The tiny hamlet of Mudville is another 15 minutes east.

Frukendorf, first mentioned in The Abductor's Quarters (1980), lies to the west of Evenhold and is the site of the Bandits Guild's headquarters. The "remote province" of Frukendorf is visible by telescope from an observation tower in Evenhold, but is farther from the Hall than Dodge and Mudville.


  • The term "runcible" is a nonsense word coined by the poet Edward Lear in his poem "The Owl and the Pussy-Cat" (1871).
  • In Celtic folklore, a púca (or pooka) is a shape-changing spirit that may bring good or bad fortune.
  • The Double Dragon Blomb mix refers to the drink that Hokas Tokas orders at the Main Hall bar after teaching an adventurer a spell.
  • The Bandit's Guild originates from a description of an enemy in The Abductor's Quarters by Jim Jacobson: "A man in flowing black robes is here. He is probably a bandit from Frukendorf, a small town near the Main Hall where bandits rule."
  • Ervuol first appears in Henry Haskell's Lotto's Masterpiece as a small island in the Sea of Dreams, one that served in ages past as the summer home and art repository of ancient kings. Ferguson expands on this, making Ervuol the capital of the much larger and technologically advanced Ervuolian civilization.
  • Hokas's use of the phrase "thank Annav" is also a reference to Lotto's Masterpiece where Ethiw Annav is identified as the goddess of love.
  • Bill of Ockham invokes the name of Terza, a fire goddess who appears in works by Pat Hurst.
  • Professor Thomias X. Larkspur first appears in the adventure The Museum of Unnatural History by Rick Volberding as a university physicist who invents a teleportation device known as the Interdimensional Translocator. Volberding describes him as short and stooped.
  • In addition to Professor Larkspur, the guest list at the Dodge Hotel includes A.J., an ally from Frank Black's Adventure in Interzone, and Brion Gysin, a real-life artist and writer.
  • The name of the bandit commander's weapon, a Well-Tempered Cleaver, is a play on The Well-Tempered Clavier, a collection of keyboard music by Johann Sebastian Bach.
  • The railroad and the towns of Dodge and Mudville originate in The Eamon Railroad by Sam. Ferguson retained several details from Sam's original adventure, including the text on the signs near Dodge.
  • The Amazon in the brothel mentions that their operation (first seen in House of Ill Repute) was forced to move underground to avoid the Keep Eamon Clean committee. The K.E.C. was introduced in The House of Horrors by Dan Cross.
  • The pamphlet from the House of Ill Repute, found in the Burly Irishman's desk, identifies the proprietor as Eowyn Fleiss, a reference to "Hollywood Madam" Heidi Fleiss.
  • The alligator in the sewer is a nod to a long-standing urban legend, particularly its appearances in The Sewers of Chicago and The Eamon Sewer System.
  • Larcenous Lil is a recurring love-interest for the adventurer.

External links