Source:Eamon Adventurer's Log, March 1985

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The Eamon Adventurer's Log newsletter, volume 1 number 6.


Eamon Adventurer's Guild Newsletter Archive


March 1985


John Nelson (editor)


Permission has kindly been granted by the copyright holder for this copyrighted item to appear in the not-for-profit Eamon Wiki website. Permission granted by Matthew Clark in email with Huw Williams on 22 November 2012.

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Eamon Adventurer's LogNational Eamon User's Club
Volume 1 Number 6 — March 1985

From the Editor...

While reviewing some of the current Eamon adventures and receiving a couple of new adventures, we have concluded that we have to take a stand. While we do not consider ourselves prudish, we cannot condone some of the things that are happening.

What are these terrible things?

The first is moral. The Eamon system was designed to be a good clean way to have fun with the computer and to have a little excitement and adventure on the way. We intend to keep it that way. We have recently discovered that there are some adventures that contain drug usage and explicit descriptions that have no business in the Eamon system.

While we have resisted censorship on these types of things, we do not think distributing an adventure wherein you have to shoot up heroin to escape the adventure is what the system was ever intended for.

The second thing we have found is that up until now, every Eamon adventure has been creative, somewhat imaginative and exciting. The last couple of submissions have scraped the bottom of the creative barrel.

I, for one, do not enjoy playing adventures that have no mission, no story, no plot, no effects, no special programming whatsoever or descriptions of one sentence, usually containing less than five words. When an adventure has all of these, it becomes no longer playable.

Taking these two things into account, our adventure list may have to change somewhat. If we remove the highly offensive adventures, what do we do with them?

We started the club with the idea that we wanted to provide a place for all Eamonites to get all adventures. With this in mind, we have decided to go ahead and distribute these bad adventures with a warning that they can be hazardous to your mental health. The list will be codified to show which adventures fall into the categories of poor taste.

We do not intend to pass judgment on the adventures, but there is a certain line beyond which we will not go. For more on this, see this issue's Designer's Den column.

Club News

In the annual 3A Catalog, there was a mention of a new Eamon club forming called the World Eamon Club. This was the result of our friends at 3A getting peeved at us and taking a pot shot.

Actually, I talked to Ron Maleika about this and he said he ran that because he didn't think we had been printing bug fixes, but instead were trying to capitalize on them. After pointing out to Ron that we had been printing bug fixes since issue number two, he said he was unaware of it and apologized for taking this shot at our club.

We both agreed that since he had no mechanism for doing a newsletter to keep the Eamonites informed that it would not be too practical for him to start his own Eamon club.

Our Staff

John Nelson — Chief collaborator
Bob Davis — Free Lance Lancer
Dan Cross — Non-Programmer extraordinaire
Jeff Harris — Our Lost Adventurer
Steve Mahr — New kid on the staff
Gary Flanagan — Off duty artist
The Dover Boys — Who are those guys?

New staff member

Official Des Moines member Steve Mahr has volunteered to help with some of the duties we have here at the club and has been given the job of order processing. We will still put the diskette orders on the system and mail them, but Steve will be the one responsible for processing and packaging.

Bug Bytes

Starting last issue, we started giving bugs and their fixes accompanied by a date. This date is when the original club master copy was fixed. It was not made clear at that time that we would like to have all of you place this revision date into the program when you make the fix. The date of the fix should be placed near the front of the program being revised. This normally is placed in line 7 or 9. This standardizes the revisions to the point that we can tell which changes people need when they give us the revision date they have.

Some bugs were corrected since last issue, but since we are all caught up giving bugs from previous problems, there are not as many as last time.

Behind the Sealed Door was converted from non-standard files to standard files. We do this whenever we discover an adventure with non-standard files. It is necessary in order to allow the utilities to work with these adventures. If you bought a copy of this adventure from us, please return your diskette for a free replacement, plus $1.00 for postage and handling.

Eamon Master 2.0 Diskette


Line 7 REM Revised 2-17-85

Line 26030 has an extra THEN on it. Please remove this. It got in by itself somehow...

Line 7 REM Revised 3-24-85

Line 3540 PRINT DK$;"READ EAMON.ROOMS,R";ROOM:NX = 0: FOR X = 1 TO ND: INPUT RD%(X): IF RD%(X) < 0 AND RD%(X) => -NR THEN RD%(X) = ABS(RD%(X))


Adventure #11 — Tomb of Molinar

Line 7 REM Revised 1-22-85

If the previous adventurer is captured carrying more than 32,767 gold pieces, it causes the program to bomb with an illegal quantity error upon entry by the next player.

Line line: 4375 IF GOLD > 32767 THEN GOLD = 32767

Adventure #21 — Quest for Marron
— has been rewritten, in order to provide more reliability under certain unusual circumstances. A new copy of this is required to get the new version.

Adventure #42 — Alternate Beginners Cave

Line 9 REM Revised 02-28-85

This adventure used the ten direction version of the main program, but the dungeon was not a ten direction dungeon. Therefore the program would bomb every time you tried moving in a diagonal direction. The program should be changed back to a six direction base program by making the following change.

285 C = C - 15 ...deleted from this line
290 insert 3000 eleven times at the beginning of the rest of the numbers on this line.
1910 change 41 to 37
1920 remove commands NE, NW, SE, SE from this line
3015 delete this line
3025 delete this line
3020 FOR D = 1 to 6: IF LEFT$(V$,1) <> MID$("NSEWUD",D,1) THEN NEXT

Adventure #48 — Picnic in Paradise

Last issue a fix was listed on p. 11 column 2 that should have been applied to this adventure. People wrote to me for assistance on this, because their copy of this routine was slightly different. I will therefore reprint these routines for your convenience. These two routines will only appear in version 6.0 adventures which should all have the routine as printed below. The current 6.0 adventures are: #48 Picnic in Paradise; #77 Temple of the Trolls; #90 Doomsday Clock; #92 The Fugitive.

Line 7 REM Revised 3-22-85

4705 WH = RO:HA = -1:EMB = RO
4710 BM = 0:FO = 0: FOR X = 1 TO
     NM: IF S$ < > MN$(X) AND LEFT$
     (MN$(X), LEN (S$)) < > S$ AND
     RIGHT$ (MN$(X), LEN (S$)) <
     > S$ THEN 4750
4720 IF MD%(X,5) < > WHER AND MD%(X,5)
     < > EMB THEN 4750
4730 IF S$ = MN$(X) THEN BM = X
4740 FO = FO + 1: M = X

4805 WH = RO:HA = -1:EMB = RO
4810 BM = 0:FO = 0: FOR X = 1 TO
     NA: IF S$ < > AN$(X) AND LEFT$
     (AN$(X), LEN (S$)) < > S$ AND
     RIGHT$ (AN$(X), LEN (S$)) <
     > S$ THEN 4850
4820 IF AD%(X,4) < > WHER AND AD%(X,4)
     < > EMB THEN 4850
4830 IF S$ = AN$(X) THEN BM = X
4840 FO = FO + 1: A = X

Adventure #50 — Behind the Sealed Door

This adventure was converted to standard files on March 22, 1985. The room names file was random access 32-byte records (standard is 64-byte records) and the artifact and monster files are sequential (standard are random access 128-byte records). If you are not very familiar with programming, you should order a new copy of this diskette if you want the new version. The old version works OK for playing the adventure. It was changed only so that it could be used with the various utility programs.

If you wish to change the adventure yourself, the process basically involves writing a program that reads the sequential artifact and monster files and stores them into a table. Then close, delete the files, then re-open them at the standard 128-byte length and re-write the files.

Anyone wishing to do this should be familiar with the structure of the files and with programming in Applesoft with text files. We have utilities at the club office that can be used for this, but they are no user-friendly enough currently to be used by non-programmers. When we get a chance, we will be enhancing these to make them easier to use.

Adventure #77 — Temple of the Trolls

This adventure, being a version 6.0 dungeon, should have the same changes made as given above for #48 Picnic in Paradise.

Line 7 REM Revised 03-21-85

Add this line to the MAIN PGM:
9650 REM

(It was undefined before for some reason.)

Adventure #85 — The Time Portal

Line 9 REM Revised 03-26-85

Line 140 of The Time Portal says:
140 PRINT DK$;"RUN MAIN PRG" It should read:

The save game feature was added to this diskette on 3-26-85 while training one of our staff. Next issue of the newsletter we will include an article on how to install the save game feature yourself.

Dungeon Designer Diskette version 6.0


Line 9 REM Revised 3-9-85

Change line 1340 GOTO 80 to 1340 GOTO 800


Line 9 REM Revised 2-9-85

New line:
3505 IF A%(2) > DT THEN FOR X = 1 TO 4: A$(AF + X) = "FIELD " + STR$(AF + X): NEXT: GOTO 3520

Adventure Tips

Real Adventurers
Compiled by John Nelson and Bob Davis

  don't flee.
  don't eat more than they can carry.
  will rescue princesses only if it doesn't interfere with their fun.
  have hair in their ears.
  don't believe in science.
  can't spell or read.
  don't discriminate — they’ll kill anything.
  don't like to teleport.
  have illegal weapons.
  don't sleep on anything soft.
  yell, even when sober.
  don't use a "privy".
  help with community activities, such as barroom brawls, looting and lynch mobs.
  eat Adventure pizza and drink Adventure beer every Friday night.
  had beards at birth.

  have sharp knee guards.
  drink with one hand... on each glass.
  don't cook.
  will rescue real adventure men only after inflicting severe humiliation.
  never scream — they snarl at surprises.
  don't gossip.
  don't kiss frogs claiming to be princes, they eat them.
  intimidate trolls.
  aren't call "Susie".
  don't have boyfriends.
  don't wear perfume.
  don't socialize with the ladies — they drink with the guys.

Utility Lines

Utility Lines is a column that will be run from time to time. This isn't one of those times.

Eamon News

By John Nelson

There are only a few new things to report in the world of Eamon in general.

Item: The first is we have decided to undertake the task of converting Eamon to other machines. The two targeted machines are the IBM-PC and the Commodore 64.

We do not know how long it will take to do this, but we are interested in knowing how many people would be interested in Eamon on these machines. It looks to me like a really nice version of Eamon could be available for the IBM-PC, but I'm not too sure about the Commodore 64 version yet.

I will be doing the IBM version and Bob Davis will be doing the Commodore 64 version. If anyone out there has already converted portions of Eamon to these machines, please let us know, maybe we can "borrow" some of your code and save ourselves some time. Kent Sullivan has already made a sizable contribution to the Commodore 64 version.

Once we get Eamon converted, we would possibly be interested in someone taking over distribution and assistance on these new versions, as we are not sure we will have time for supporting all versions at once.

Item: The latest Eamon adventures received are:

  1. The Fugitive by Don Doumakes

We received four other adventures:
  Flying Circus,
  Blood Feud,
  Chamber of the Dragons and
  Maze of the Quasequeton
which are being reviewed, and are not quite ready for distribution.

Questions and Answers

The Birth of a Club

(Not to be confused with The Birth of a Mace, which would be rather painful.)
by Bob Davis

It was mid-1980 and I was at my first real job since college. Staring at a rather lengthy IBM assembler core dump trying to think in hex, which is rather difficult since the only valid letters in the hexadecimal "alphabet" are A through F, I suddenly came to the realization that I was not having fun and decided to voice my new-found revelation. Having looked about the place first to locate my data processing manager and determine he was out of vocal range, I turned to my closest associate, a stocky, bearded fellow named John Nelson, and declared, "This isn't fun anymore."

John just grumbled as he ripped out another handful of hair. "I swear this program is alive," he shouted, suddenly. I instantly knew which one he was yelling about, the program we cursedly called PO2. Many careers have been stunted and lives shattered trying to corral and bend PO2's will to a sane and logical path to produce unerring output.

It was time for a diversion, hopefully something everlasting. "I think we should do something different for a while," I stated.

"Like what?"


John thought about this for a moment, then he quickly looked around. "What day is it?"

I had to admit I had no idea and started to search my desk for a calendar. I found one, it had December of 1979 on it. I looked out the window, noticed it was summer and threw the calendar away.

I looked back at John. He had found a clock, still plugged in. "It's five minutes to quitting time." He seemed anxious.

I logged on to a terminal and typed EXECUTE DATE. "It's Friday."

John got a far away look in his eyes. "Home, I'm going home," he whispered. He came back to reality and asked, "Wanna do something fun with a computer?"

Somehow I had always thought "fun" and "computer" were mutually exclusive. "Is it legal?"

"Sure, it's called Eamon."


"It's an adventure game, like Dungeons and Dragons on the computer. You get to run amok and find treasure and kill things and drink beer and be disgusting."

It sounded appealing, especially the beer part, and frayed programmers do need little diversions into virtual reality. We went to John's house and began partaking. In very little time I was creating a character and venturing off into The Beginner's Cave with Bob the Wanderer. I was just getting used to the commands when I was baited by a book, transformed into an aquatic life form, had three spasms and was abruptly told that my carbon-based form had ceased to function. It wasn't quite fun yet, although John seemed to be unable to control a giggling fit.

I was encouraged to try again. This time selecting a somewhat longer living name for my character, Lazarus Long, I made it to the pirate and captured a sword called Trollsfire. When I readied this weapon, a blue flame encompassed the sword — something I was really impressed with. "Where did you get this program?" I asked enthusiastically.

"From Don Brown. He wrote Eamon."

"You know the guy that wrote this?"

"Yeah. He lives in Des Moines."

I was amazed, not because someone in Des Moines had done something creative, but because someone in Des Moines put the word fun back into the same sentence with computer. My limited view of the world began to expand.

Once completing The Beginner's Cave, I returned to the Main Hall and discovered my character was a little wealthier and a better fighter. "Now what?"

"You could play another adventure," John replied. He reached for a box and pulled out a handful of diskettes. "Any one of these."

"How many have you got?"

"All of them. Ten to be exact." (You must remember this was 1980.)

"Don Brown wrote all those?"

"He and Jim Jacobson."

I looked the diskettes over and selected Zyphur Riverventure. After playing through part of it, I was solidly convinced these two guys were geniuses. "This is great!" I exclaimed. I wanted John to know I was impressed so that possibly a few more evenings could be devoted to this activity. "Where did Don get this idea?"

"A friend of his, Bill Fesselmeyer. He asked Don to write a Dungeons and Dragons type game for the computer.

"I'd say it came off rather well." I continued battling sea monsters and scrounging for treasures and slowly became a fixture in front of John's computer. By the time I went home, the pink and blue colors of dawn were invading the night and I had fallen hopelessly in love.

It was a typical Friday night (this time it happened to be in October of '83) of beer, dungeons and pizza — not in any particular order, although we managed full shares of each. After suffering a somewhat brutal and demoralizing demise as Stark Dextix by the evil Vaprak, I opted for the next item on the list (pizza) and a little light reading before I sacrificed another alter ego.

"Hey, John. What's this?" I said while browsing through a 3A Computer catalog spying the full-page add in the back for some mysterious organization called the "National Eamon User's Club".

"What's what?" he mumbled, staring transfixed into an amber screen as if the program would change the moment he looked away.

"This," I replied, holding the catalog above my head with the page open to the ad.

"I dunno," he mumbled without looking. I knew I had been placed in the queue. Five minutes is the average time it takes my words to make it from John's input stack to the processing area of his brain. Five minutes went by.

Turning as if he had just heard me speak, his eyes followed my now tired and out-stretched arm up to the publication. "Oh, that's an ad Ron Maleika put in his catalog when I told him about forming a club to keep track of all the Eamon adventures floating out there."

"How would you keep track of them?"

"Assign them adventure numbers and publish lists. Ever since Robert Plamondon wrote an article about Eamon with my name in it for Creative Computing last January, I've been getting questions from all over."

"So you would act like a clearing house for Eamon," I stated.

"Something like that. Plus help people with questions," he said. He turned to resume his gaze into the spell-binding amber glass and find that all-illusive bug that somehow had escaped detection the first four times.

"Oh. That's not a bad idea. Want another beer?"


I went to the kitchen. John and I don't always have as intelligent a conversation as the one that previously took place, so my mind dwelled on the possibilities of what an Eamon club could offer. On the way back to the electronic dining room, a memory surfaced.

"Wasn't someone supposed to start an Eamon newsletter? What ever happened to that idea?" I asked.

No answer. Determined not to be placed in the queue a second time, I opened one of the beers. It worked, I had John's full attention. "What ever happened to the Eamon newsletter?" I repeated, holding the can of beer just out of reach.

"Ken Sherwood was supposed to start that, but I haven't heard from him for quite awhile," John replied, grasping the can. "He wants me to write an article or two, when he's ready."

"What kind of articles?"

"Oh, just general Eamon stuff. You know." John turned back to the computer. "There it is!" he exclaimed. Quickly loading GPLE in memory, the pernicious line was corrected and replaced in the program. Once again, Eamon was made a little safer.

I opened my beer. John saved the program, loaded a database program and pulled a report. Some names started showing up on the printer. Curious as to these activities, I asked, "What are you doing?"

John indulged me. "Whenever I find a bug in an Eamon adventure, I search my customer database for the people that have ordered that adventure from me and send them a postcard with the bug fix on it.

"I'm impressed. How do you pay for the postage?"

Casually he said, "It's not that much." John ran his Eamon Deluxe Cheater program and was off to journey in the Orb of Polaris.

Following his lead, I re-entered Caves of Mondamen "one more time".

Time passed. Autumn begat winter and it was the time of festivities and monetary exchange for merchant's goods. December, 1983.

Upon entering the computer haven of the Nelson household, I noticed something was amiss. My normal fun-station was aclutter with envelopes, letters and diskettes. My first impulse was to ask "What's this?", but not wanting to be nosy I inquired, "Are you going to get this off my desk?"

John smiled. "I thought you were going to ask me, 'What's this?'"

"OK. What's this?" Sometimes first impulses are correct.

"These are Eamon orders, letters, correspondence and requests," he said proudly but with a hint of exasperation.

"Oh." I stared at the disarrayed papers. "Are you going to get this off my desk?"

He seemed to ignore me. "I am getting so much of it, it's all I do anymore. Just answer letters and copy diskettes and send out orders. I didn't realize how much work it was to process mail. I need someone to help me."

I looked around. I started to leave.

After gentle persuasion and several bribes, I was soon reading letters and copying diskettes and writing answers to questions and finding referred-to bugs — an intensity of activity that lasted until 1:00 AM, January 3rd. When we lay back in our chairs due to exhaustion and looked at the letters still remaining untouched, I intoned, "Something must be done." John agreed. I thought a moment. "Some of these letters referred to the same bugs in the same adventures, or similar bugs in several adventures. Also, a lot of the questions were alike. If we could have a prepared answer to send..."

"Or put it in Ken's newsletter," John interrupted.

My eyes opened wide. Of course! We would save a lot of time answering the questions/bugs/whatever only once and having them in a medium everyone on the database would receive.

John later talked to Ken and, with both of them receiving letters, came to the conclusion that one big pile was better than two little piles and it would be better for John to create the newsletter himself. Ken agreed and sent his list of names and addresses of fellow adventurers eager to see an Eamon newsletter. The database multiplied, and it was good.

By February 1984 the first Eamon newsletter had been laid out. With the names of the columns picked, the articles written and the format complete — the first cries of a new-born publication came screaming from the printer while two proud fathers looked on.

Notices and Junk

Many of our members have asked for a comprehensive list of our products and prices. We thought that was a rather good idea. With that in mind, the following lists are our available products and proposed products with their status and price if known. The complete list of available adventures with author names is included in this issue. The club prices for adventures are as follows:

Member prices ($12.00 membership)

Number of Diskettes Price each
1 – 4 $4.00
5 – 9 3.75
10 – 19 3.50
20 – 39 3.25
40 – up 3.00

Non-member prices

Number of Diskettes Price each
1 – 10 $5.00
11 – 20 4.50
21 – 40 4.00
41 – up 3.75

Documentation (Members only)

Description Pages Price
* Player's Manual 12 $2.00
NEW Utilities documentation 30 3.50
Adventure Descriptions (1-90) 43 5.00
* Designer's Manual 5 2.00
* DDD 6.0 - Addendum 5 2.00
Master Bugs List 25 5.00
Designer's Guide N/A N/A

  * = Available on standard Master/Designer diskettes.

Special items

Eamon Notebooks $10.00 + 3.00 shipping

We have received many compliments on the notebooks ranging from "great" to "beautiful" and we would like to sell them all. There are approximately a bunch of notebooks left and the club money is sitting in this medium. If you have any urge at all to order one, please pay some attention to it.

Please send your diskettes/correspondence by regular mail as opposed to registered, certified or insured whenever possible. This saves us a trip to the post office from work during lunch hour. Thanks.

Iowa residents please add 4% sales tax to all orders.

Designer's Den

by John Nelson

This issue I would like to cover three different areas. First, some guidelines you should have in mind if you are intending to distribute your adventure through the club. Second, some limitations of the Eamon system in general, and finally, normal limits and recommended levels for the various data fields required to define an Eamon artifact or monster.


The following points cover some guidelines:

  1. We do not like to accept and may reject adventures that have artifacts, monsters, or scenes of extremely questionable taste. Some of these adventures have gotten into the library that we did not filter out, but in the future, we may filter such adventures from the regular list of Eamon adventures or place warnings in the adventure list. We believe adventures should have some redeeming value.
  2. Adventures should have a description of the intended goal or mission or at least how the adventurer came to find himself in his current situation. Some adventures have been received that contained absolutely no description of what was supposed to be done. If there is a reason for this lack of explanation, we understand this and accept it. If not, it isn't fair to the players.
  3. Adventures should be somewhat exciting and unique. Special programming is almost a necessity for a good adventure. While we will not reject an adventure based on a lack of special programming, it may not receive as high a rating as those adventures that do contain special programming. For example, an adventure that has only 18 rooms, 10 monsters, 30 artifacts, no effects, no special programming whatsoever, and boring descriptions such as "YOU SEE A SWORD" for every artifact, etc. may receive a rating of 0 or 1. These adventures would be available to anyone wishing to waste their time in them, but would not be recommended.
  4. When an adventure is completed, please send a copy on standard 3.3 DOS Apple diskette. Tell us whether the adventure is being submitted for review or for distribution. If you do not specify, we will assume that it is being sent for distribution. We will test it and if you have submitted it for review, we will return our comments for suggested improvements, bugs, (if any) and give an honest opinion of how we liked it. If you wish it to be distributed, we will put it into production status.

These guidelines are necessary to maintain the high standards and morals of Eamon. If we do not follow them, the quality of the average Eamon adventure will suffer and Eamon will lose much of its charm. We could have hundreds of adventures, but we'd rather go more for quality than quantity.


And now onto the Eamon system limitations...

The Eamon system, for all its magnificence, has the same shortcomings that any computerized adventure system has. It is limited by the number of characters that can be put into memory, the size of the diskette, the intelligence of the programs and the author's creativeness.

The designer and the player both have to recognize the limitations of the system and not be too nit-picky. For example, if the designer describes a room as having a table and chairs in it, in version 5.0 and before, the artifacts could be real (player able to pick them up, eat them, destroy them, examine them, etc.) or they could just be there for effect (i.e. to make the room more interesting). In version 6.0, the artifacts could have the added advantage of being in the room, but being set up as "embedded". That is, they are in the room, can be acted on as an artifact, but are not listed by the main loop as separate artifacts until they are examined. The player has to recognize that if he picks up the table and chair, carries them to the elevator shaft, drops them and walks back into the room and looks around that the room description will say there is a table and chair here. Please don't send us a letter and say this is a bug. It is not a bug. It is a "feature".

Another example: A player walks into the room and there is a broom sitting in the corner. The designer sets up the description of the broom as "YOU SEE A BROOM SITTING IN A CORNER OF THE ROOM." The player picks up the broom, goes up into the attic and tries to clean with it. He then examines the broom and it says it is sitting in a corner of the room. What?!! Can this be? Quick! Do an inventory! How did that tricky little devil get away from me? Bzzzz — not a bug! Poor design, maybe, but not a real bug.

Let's take a look at how to avoid these things. Maybe we should set up a set of guidelines.

  1. Don't describe an artifacts' surroundings in the description of an artifact. Describe the artifact itself. For example, on the broom above, you could have just said, "YOU SEE A BEAT UP OLD BROOM SITTING HERE."
  2. In a room description, try to avoid describing artifacts in the room, unless they are rather permanent or are "embedded" artifacts and it is necessary to describe them so that the adventurer knows they are there.
  3. While monster names with descriptions like "THE BLACKSMITH HEARS YOU COME UP BEHIND HIM AND HE SPINS AROUND, BRANDISHING A HOT IRON THAT HE QUICKLY PLUCKS FROM THE COALS" might sound interesting and exciting, you might want to consider that some new player may LOOK at the Blacksmith and when he gets the same description again, he may be confused. The player should realize that this is a program feature or limitation and not be confused by it. The designer may decide that it isn't worth worrying about and go ahead with the good, active descriptions.

The next item I would like to cover is setting up monsters and artifacts. Since this is a broad topic, I will narrow the scope to normal ranges of the various data fields making up the items.

Artifact fields

Artifacts consist of the following pieces of data:

  • Artifact name
  • Description of artifact
  • Value
  • Type
  • Weight
  • Room

In addition, weapons and all version 6.0 artifacts contain four more fields that are used for different purposes, depending upon the type of artifact.

Weapons contain the following additional fields:

  • Complexity or Odds
  • Weapon Type
  • Dice
  • Sides

For the purpose of keeping this a little simpler, we will discuss only the standard fields listed above and cover the various 6.0 artifact types in a future issue.

Artifact name — The name of an artifact should be concise, and try to avoid duplicating names of artifacts within a single adventure. This can cause the program difficulty when trying to figure out what the player is doing. The name of the artifact should not contain any commas, colons or quotation marks.

Description — This will describe the artifact to the player either the first time he comes upon it, or whenever he examines it. Try to keep in mind that this description will appear whenever and wherever the item is examined, so do not describe its surroundings within the artifact description.

Value — This will be the price (or roughly) that will be paid the adventurer upon returning to the Main Hall with this artifact. It should not be negative and for gold (type 0) should not exceed 32767. If it is a treasure (type 1) or any other type, it will bomb the program if it is over 13652. This value will vary depending on the charisma of the adventurer. Anyway, this shouldn't be a problem, since the practical limits are much smaller. I do not think the total value of an adventure should go over 10,000 for all treasures. (Unless it is an extremely dangerous or difficult one.)

Type — This is the type of artifact. It should be 0 through 3 for most versions. Version 6.0 has artifact types up to type 10.

Weight — All artifacts should have weight. Some magical artifacts may have negative weights, which makes it easier to carry other items.

Room — This is the room number that the artifact is to start in. If it sits in one room waiting to be found upon entering that room, then it will simply be the room number. If it must be found by doing something special, like saying gesundheit when a holy man sneezes, for example, then it should be set to room 0 initially and altered to another room using special programming. If it is a version 6.0 adventure, you could hide it in a room (say, room 54) by coding it as 354. Also for version 6.0 it can be not mentioned by coding it as 254 or inside another artifact (say, artifact 27 - tool box) by coding 127.

For weapons the fields are:

Complexity — The normal limits on standard weapons is +/- 10%. Magic weapons can go up to +/- 35%, although normally they do not exceed +/- 25%. Anything with a higher complexity than +35% is going to be considered illegal. If you design an adventure and someone walks in with a weapon of higher complexity, feel free to chastise them in a manner of your choice.

Dice — This is normally not greater than 2, but depending on the sides, may be almost any number up to 5. Remember that the normal character going through a dungeon has a maximum hardiness of 24. A weapon that generates more than this in total hit points is rather unfair.

Sides — This is normally not greater than about 10; but again, this will depend on the dice. Total damage should not exceed 24. (Total damage is dice × sides.) Magic weapons such as Excalibur, etc. generate something like 2 D 8 (total of 16). A super-powerful magic weapon like Mjolner (Thor's hammer) generates something like 4 D 8 or 32 maximum points of damage, but this is exceedingly powerful, and should not become a norm.

The important thing to remember about setting up Eamon weapons is try to be consistent with the rest of the series. If in one place magic swords are 2 D 8 and in another a pea-shooter is 100 D 20 (maximum of 2000 points damage; minimum of 100), then you are not being fair, realistic or consistent. When adventures are created like this it promotes cheating by the players. That's one thing we would like to limit — not promote.

Monster fields

And now for the monsters...

Monsters have the following data fields and their associated normal limits:

Monster name — Try to make it somewhat spellable. Also, RAT1 RAT2 RAT3... is not interesting. BROWN RAT, TAN RAT, GREY RAT, CAVE RAT, ICE RAT are much better. Avoid punctuation in the name.

Monster description — Do not use quotation marks in the description. The program will bomb. Try to make the descriptions interesting.

Hardiness — Hardiness is how many hits a monster can take. Monster hardiness should be no higher than an adventurer's hardiness if the monster is human. A hardiness of 54 for a small boy is ridiculous. Below are some guidelines. For consistency's sake, let's try to stay within reason.

Rat, cat, small dog 1 – 5
Medium size dog 6 – 10
Child 5 – 10
Large dog 10 – 15
Fighter — average 16 – 18
Fighter — strong 18 – 22
Fighter — v. strong 22 – 24
Abnormal Human 25 – 35
Demon, Devil 35 – 95
Giant 10–16 ft. 30 – 60
Dragon — small 45 – 80
Dragon — medium 75 – 150
Dragon — large 130 – 225

Agility — Believe it or not, the agility field is not used in Eamon for monsters. You may set this to anything you wish and it will make no difference.

Friendliness — 0 – 100 is normal

Courage — 0 to 200 is the normal range. Monsters with a courage of 100 will not (or should not) run from a battle. Monsters with a courage of 200 not only won't run from battle, but will chase you forever if you do.

Room — The room number that the monster is in.

Weight — This is not used for anything in Eamon currently.

Defensive Odds — Normally defensive odds are zero. If a monster is exceptionally fast or able to avoid attack, it may be 10 – 30%. Anything higher than this and the battle becomes a little boring. If a monster is very slow and lumbering, you may wish to set this lower than 0.

Armour — This is the number of points of protection that the monster's armour affords him. It should be from 0 to 7 for humans. You have to try to remember the adventurer will be swinging weapons that will generate maximum of 8 points of damage (for a standard sword). Therefore if you set the armour to 7, he would have to get a maximum roll just to do any damage at all. It is therefore recommended to try to stay around 3-4 for humans. Leave the 7 armour classes to the extremely tough fighters, dragons or some such creature. If you go above 7, you should provide a weapon that can penetrate such defenses. Otherwise the standard characters will not have a chance.

Weapon number — This must point to a weapon artifact, a zero for natural weapons or a -1 for unarmed.

Offensive Odds — This is the total chance the monster has to hit. Most of the time you don't want to go above 75%. A monster with 80% is very difficult in battle, while a monster with 0% will be very boring.

Dice and Sides — See the artifact dice and sides description above. The same recommended values apply to monster dice and sides.

That wraps up this issue of Designer's Den. Next issue I will get into version 6.0 artifacts.

Terminological Inexactitudes

We sent our roving reporter to the hills of Appalachia to see how they handled their Eamon bugs. He never came back.

Contrary to popular belief, John is not a Dwarf. He just looks that way. When we asked John why he looked like a dwarf, he got violent.

Why did we start the Eamon Club? Because after doing some heavy soul searching, we came to the realization that the poor kids in India didn't have any documentation for their software! We were going to fill that void. Working through an international relief fund UNICEF (Users Needing Information on Computerized Eamon Fantasies), we sent millions of Eamon diskette labels, and older copies of the player's manual. You should have seen the kids' faces!! At first there was just a confused look, which broke into peals of joy as they realized what they could do now!

Are you smoking more and enjoying it less? Maybe you should get new Dragon-B-Gone. That heavy duty dragon repellent used by such great adventurers as King Arthur, Sir Galahad and Attila the Hun. Now in three fresh scents. Try it now at your local weaponers and outfitters. Don't leave home without it!

Spotlight On

by Bob Davis

(Ratings are given on a scale 1 to 10 with 10 highest. Format is R:D where R = rating for setting, description and plot; D = rating for difficulty, problem solving and survivability.)

#50 Behind the Sealed Door (4:2)

by Tim Berge

Reviewed by Bob Davis

Extra commands: ENTER, READ, UNLOCK, OPEN
Playing time: 2 1/2 hours

Well, here I am — in another adventure where I don't know what my mission really is. I hate that. I'll assume exploration is the general attitude I should take.

I walked around the dungeon for awhile and found nothing. So I walked around some more, and found some crystal barriers that were not going to let me travel the direction I wanted to. Suddenly a realization case to me — where are the monsters? I have seen only one monster and it won't pay any attention to me. I walked around again, "Here monster, monster, monster..." Several minutes and rooms go by before, finally, an encounter.

The dungeon played much like the paragraph above reads — there is a lot to go through, but you get little out of it. Not only was the dungeon void of life, but void of artifacts, although the few artifacts that were present were very interesting. The weapons found had a very high maximum damage rate (60 – 80 hit points), so unfriendly monsters were easily dispatched. I don't find this fun or interesting because there is no challenge.

The author did make a good effort on the descriptions of rooms, artifacts, etc. Unfortunately, misspellings and grammatical errors abound. There are a few special effects and I actually learned something (which I can't tell lest I spoil it).

#59 The Jungles of Vietnam (1:1)

by Jeff Allen

Reviewed by Bob Davis

Playing time: 2 hours

With no mission previously defined, I started in a U.S. army barracks in Vietnam. Venturing out into the jungles and villages of Vietnam, I found many peasants (Peasant1, Peasant2, etc.) and "Gooks" (Gookl, Gook2, etc.). The monster names and descriptions were of such a monotone flavor that I became bored and just started killing everybody, whether they were friend or not. This wasn't too difficult to accomplish since I had a rocket launcher with a seemingly endless supply of rockets. No monster (including tanks and planes) withstood one attack from me. Realistic, maybe. Fun, no.

The mission, I later realized, was to get out of the army. I was not pleased with the way I had to do this. I believe an alternative method should have been provided, especially since the character I used does not condone the use of perception altering substances (drugs). Perhaps Mr. Allen was making a social comment with his adventure — but looking through his other adventures (The Sewers of Chicago, Master's Dungeon and Lost Adventure) I rather doubt it.

In summary, this is a great text adventure for people who don't like to read, like the adventure to do their thinking for them, and are entranced with killing things in one blow.

Personally, I would not recommend this adventure to anyone; especially children.

Super Eamon (no rating)

by Little Green Software

Reviewed by Bob Davis

Super Eamon is a graphic version of the Eamon Main Hall available from Little Green Software. Preliminary findings are:

  1. Good graphics.
    I enjoyed the pictures of each shop in the Main Hall, along with the movement of the character from one shop to the next. Being a devoted text adventure activist, I found the blend of text and graphics were very well done.
  2. Extra features in the Main Hall.
    A side alley is available for adventurers wishing to seek a better made weapon, special weapons training or to help a fellow adventurer return from the dark unknown (dead). The only complaint I have is too little options available at the bar (but I have this complaint of the text system, too).
  3. Pickpockets thrive in abundance.

The Super Eamon Main Hall will let you transfer your characters from your text Main Hall, but will kill them on the text Main Hall diskette. I didn't deem this as particularly appropriate, but it is logical. I had a normal character who went through many adventures and had a couple abilities that were modified by these adventures so that the values were above legal limits (usually 100 for spell ability). These illegal character attributes printed as low-med (Super Eamon does not print values). After conversing with Little Green Software, they provided me with the following list of ratings and values:

Description Spell Ability Weapon Ability
V LOW 0 – 50 0 – 10
LOW 51 – 199 11 – 24
LOW-MED 200 – 299 25 – 49
MEDIUM 300 – 399 50 – 64
MED-HI 400 – 499 65 – 84
HIGH 500 – 599 85 – 99
V HIGH 600 + 100+

I don't know about the rest of the Eamon world, but spell abilities above 200 seems to be rather rare on the club's diskettes. I did find some problems with Super Eamon, however. Like every time I ran the program, I got it to bomb. I have notified Little Green software of this feature and am waiting for a reply... or a fix. Little Green seems to care about its product, so I have no doubt the problems I described to them will be diligently looked into.

In communicating with Little Green Software, they have indicated a willingness to give members of the National Eamon User's Club a special price on their product. (No, it is not public domain.) The normal price is $20 (US), but they are willing to give a price break and lower the price to $15. This is for the master diskette (Main Hall), The Beginner's Cave (which is not available as a graphic adventure yet), and the Super Eamon Manual. Graphic adventures for Super Eamon have been proposed, and we will be awaiting any information on their pending release.

Recommendation: Super Eamon will be a great step for graphic Eamon adventures, but don't get it until the bugs are worked out. More on this story as it develops.

Note: If you can't wait, here is the mailing address to order:

Little Green Software
PO Box 459
Glenwood Landing, NY 11547

Remember to mention you are a member of the National Eamon User's Club and please include the number found in the bottom left-hand corner of your newsletter mailing label with your order to get the $15 price.

I was rather disappointed with the adventures I selected to play for this issue's reviews, trying four and all were bad (I only put two in this newsletter). I wanted to give equal time to adventures by authors of whom I had never played. C'est la vie.

Next issue I am going to review a new adventure from Roger Pender (a personal favorite) and a couple from some character named John Nelson. I think there will be something above a 4 in that bunch.

Eamon adventure diskettes

1. Main Hall & Beginners Cave Don Brown
2. Lair of the Minotaur Don Brown
3. Cave of the Mind Jim Jacobson
4. Zyphur Riverventure Jim Jacobson
5. Castle of Doom Don Brown
6. Death Star Don Brown
7. Devil's Tomb Jim Jacobson
8. Abductor's Quarters Jim Jacobson
9. Assault on the Clone Master Don Brown
10. Magical Kingdom David Cook
11. Tomb of Molinar Don Brown
12. Quest for Trezore Jim Jacobson
13. Caves of Treasure Island G. Genz/P. Braun
14. Furioso William Davis
15. Heroes Castle John Nelson
16. Caves of Mondamen John Nelson
17. Merlin's Castle Randall Hersom
18. Hogarth Castle Ken Nestle
19. Death Trap John Nelson
20. The Black Death John Nelson
21. Quest for Marron John Nelson
22. The Senators Chambers James Plamondon
23. Temple of Ngurct J&R Plamondon
24. Black Mountain John Nelson
25. Nuclear Nightmare John Nelson
26. Assault on the Mole Man John Nelson
27. Revenge of the Mole Man John Nelson
28. Tower of London F&S Smith
29. Lost Island of Apple Don Brown
30. Underground City Steve Adelson
31. The Gauntlet John Nelson
32. House of Ill Repute Anonymous
33. Orb of Polaris John Nelson
34. Death's Gateway Bob Linden
35. Lair of Mutants Evan Hodson
36. Citadel of Blood Evan Hodson
37. Quest for the Holy Grail Evan Hodson
38. City in the Clouds Evan Hodson
39. Museum of Unnatural History Rick Volberding
40. Daemon's Playground Rick Volberding
41. Caverns of Lanst Rick Volberding
42. Alternate Beginner's Cave Rick Volberding
43. Priests of Xim! Marty & Ed Bauman
44. Escape from the Orc Lair Jay Hinkelman
45. SwordQuest Roger Pender
46. Life Quest David Crawford
47. FutureQuest Roger Pender
48. Picnic in Paradise John Nelson
49. Castle Kophinos Don Doumakes
50. Behind the Sealed Door Tim Berge
51. Eamon Bluff Tim Berge
52. Devil's Dungeon Jeanette Merrill
53. Feast of Carroll D & J Lilienkamp
54. Crystal Mountain Ken Hoffman
55. Master's Dungeon Jeff Allen
56. Lost Adventure Jeff Allen
57. Manxome Foe Ray Olszewski
58. The Land of Death Tim Berge
59. Jungles of Vietnam Jeff Allen
60. Sewers of Chicago Jeff Allen
61. Harpy Cloud Allan Porter
62. Caverns of Doom Matthew Mullin
63. Valkenburg Castle Jeff Weener
64. Modern Problems Bonnie Anderson
65. School of Death Kurt Townsend
66. Dungeons of Xenon Sam Bhayani
67. Chaosium Caves Sam Bhayani
68. The Smith's Stronghold Allan Porter
69. Black Castle of NaGog Doug Burrows
70. Tomb of Y'Golonac Robert Romanchuk
71. Operation Crab Key Joe Vercellone
72. House on Eamon Ridge Tim Berge
73. The Deep Canyon Kenn Blincoe
74. Dharma Quest Roger Pender
75. Temple of the Guild Don Doumakes
76. Search for Yourself Don Doumakes
77. Temple of the Trolls John Nelson
78. The Prince's Tavern Bob Davis
79. Castle of Count Fuey Don Brown
80. The Search for the Key Don Brown
81. The Rescue Mission Don Brown
82. Escape from Mansi Island Scott Starkey
83. The Twin Castles Jim Tankard
84. Castle of Riveneta Robert Karsten
85. The Time Portal Ed Kuypers
86. Castle Mantru Steve Costanzo
87. Caves of Hollow Mountain John Nelson
88. The Shopping Mall Allan Porter
89. Superfortress of Lin Wang Sam Bhayani
90. The Doomsday Clock Jim Tankard
91. FutureQuest II Roger Pender
92. The Fugitive Don Doumakes