Source:Assault on Dolni Keep notes

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This page is a verbatim reproduction of original source material and should not be edited except for maintenance.

Author's notes, comments, and hints for Eamon adventure #124, Assault on Dolni Keep.


The BASIC file "NOTES-COMMENTS-HINTS" from the original game disk


January 1987


Tom Zuchowski


The use of this item is permitted on the grounds that it's free or in the public domain.

Assault on Dolni Keep Builder's Notes

The MAIN PGM was based on my own Thror's Ring, which was already extensively modified from the base 6.0 MAIN PGM.

Variable names were shortened to save memory; e.g.: R1 for ROOM, A%(X,X) for AN%(X,X), F for FO, etc. This step saved about 1k of badly needed memory space.

The Thror's Ring doors routine was not saved, as there are no doors in Dolni Keep.

Every routine was optimized for speed and space. Anything that was not used, such as the spells, was deleted. Much programming that handled different levels of friendliness was deleted or extensively modified.

Monsters 1–4 are friendly, and all the rest aren't; I took advantage of that to economize code. Also monsters 10–22 are multiple persons, each with a hardiness of 5; there is much programming to handle them.

There is very little that is exotic in the artifacts themselves, although some of the interactions are fairly complex. The dungeon itself is small to allow more memory for the special stuff.

The most significant Eamon deviation in Dolni Keep is, of course, the comments. They are stored in a random data file with a record length of 128. These are called by checking the array CD%(X,Y,Z), where:
 X = room #
 Y contains 4 locations for 4 different comments in each room
 Z contains 5 different items:
      0: # of monster making comment
      1: comment type
      2: direction that comment applies to
      3: 1st record # for comment
      4: last record #

There are 4 different comment types:
  1: an observation made when entering a room
  2: a comment advising you of a dangerous choice of direction
  3: a comment advising you that your choice of direction will not aid the quest
  4: a comment made while leaving a room

CD%(X,Y,Z) is loaded from the comdata file.

The comdata file is sequential.

The fighting has been jazzed up somewhat with the addition of extra verbs.

Like yourself, Gorim and Galehir carry spare weapons; if they break one in the heat of battle, they will ready their alternates. Galehir can repair his bow once the fighting is over.

The orcs do not carry real weapons, even though they will break and drop them during battle. This was a necessary economy measure, since there are 428 orcs in the keep!

Here are a few flag variables:

 RF "Rescue Fromir"; 1=found, 2=rescue
 BO "Bridge out"
 BR "Burning rack"
 OC "Orcs cross bridge"; toggle for orc attacks in the keep dunjon
 GL "Gate alarm"; true if you rouse the keep by pounding on the gate
 G1 Gorim in room
 G2 Galehir in room
 G3 Fromir in room
 OP "Observe patrol"; patrol in sight
 AP "Alarm patrol"; encounter patrol, alarm given
 AL "Alarm"; true is alarm given; counter for progress of keep arousal
 WG "Wet gorim" after he fell in river

A significant improvement to the base Eamon is the addition of a "fast start" feature that loads the variables from previously built binary files in the same manner that the "save" routine uses.

The validity of these files is checked by comparing the values of VARTAB and MEMSIZ to values stored in the disk file "FS.PARMS". This insures that any modification of the MAIN PGM that changes the program length will force a bypass of the binary files and cause the data to be loaded conventionally.

This feature hastens program startup considerably: a conventional startup of Dolni Keep takes 80 seconds, while a "fast start" takes only 37 seconds.

If the parms are invalid and the data is loaded conventionally, the pgm will automatically build new "faststart" files.

Note that this will only happen if the values of VARTAB and MEMSIZ do not agree with the parms file. This will happen if the MAIN PGM is modified (VARTAB), or if DOS is loaded into the RAMcard (MEMSIZ).

As far as I was able, I have made this feature fully automatic with no user input required. However, if you should ever start up the pgm and get garbled descriptions, names, etc., I strongly suggest that you:
  1) remove the disk
  2) reboot
  3) delete the file "FS.PARMS" (be sure and reboot first!)

This will totally disable the fast start feature and force new, correct fast start files to be generated on the next start up. By the way, the same thing applies to any Eamon binary "save", also.

I have installed Diversi-DOS on my Eamon master disk so that I have it running for Eamon adventuring.

It only takes 15 seconds to fastload Dolni Keep using Diversi-DOS, and 52 seconds for a conventional load. The difference results in a significant decrease in the boredom brought about by slow disk access.

I strongly recommend a "Fast DOS" for a significant enhancement of the enjoyment and playability of Eamon. Be sure, however, that the one you select improves text file access times — some of them don't.


The hints are in the order that you need them; please don't read any more of them than you need or you will ruin the puzzles for yourself.

  1. Listen to your companions.
  2. There is nothing that you need outside the keep.
  3. Everything that you need is mentioned in the descriptions.
  4. The bridge is a stone arch, and can be destroyed by removing a key feature.
  5. If you could find something to stand on perhaps you could escape up the crack.
  6. The orcs would find it hard to follow if the rack was set afire, and a ruined bridge prevented sufficient aid.
  7. Perhaps the rack would light if it was first covered with a flammable material.
  8. The river is much gentler once you get downstream from the cataract under the bridge.
  9. The quickest escape is surely a simple jump from the wall.
  10. Rivers are softer than dry land.

Have you tried?

  • Attacking the main gate? Several times?
  • Fighting the patrol?
  • Fleeing?
  • Fleeing the evil orc, then returning?
  • Not wrecking the bridge? Not burning the rack?
  • Escaping by jumping off the bridge?
  • Checking your torch after being in the river?
  • Entering the main keep? The building?
  • Jumping off the wall onto land?
  • Attacking anyone while in the elf post?
  • Requesting Gorim's belongings?
  • Using the rope & grapnel yourself?
  • Readying the magic ring? Using it?
  • Killing one of your companions, then entering the keep?
  • Hanging around on the burning rack?

You will want to use SAVE before trying some of these; many will not do good things to yourself or the quest.

Drop me a line...

Tom Zuchowski
7625 Hawkhaven Dr.
Clemmons, NC 27012
(919) 766-7490