Tuesday, April 27, 2004

The Dome of Doom

Tis Millennium's Eve, and a motley crowd of creatures have gathered by the Dockside beneath YellowBird Tower. There across the raging River Tamesis lies their goal, the giant Dome of Doom. Lights flash from within, and 12 tall spikes pierce the chill December air above. Our band of friends must cross the river to reach the object of their quest before the clocks strike midnight, else their lives will surely be over and no mistake.

Now choose your character wisely, then click upon their name to proceed.
Tony, the Wizard [1]
Mandy, the Goblin [2]

[1] Tony the Wizard is the leader of this merry band of travellers. Some would say he rules the lands round these parts with style and charisma, while others would say his luck's about to run out. The Dome of Doom is his latest big project, an expensive show promising magic and sparkle. But all is not well in olde Greenwyche and the enemy hordes are massing like vultures, sensing disaster and defeat.

"I must get to that Dome by midnight," says Tony. "I need to bathe in the glory of my imminent success. But here I am trapped beneath YellowBird Tower, so near and yet so far."

But how to get there?
Walk down to the river (14)
Investigate the nearby caverns (5)

[2] Mandy the Goblin is the chief henchman of this band of travellers. Some would say he's just a smarmy ne'erdowell, while others wouldn't be so kind. The Dome of Doom is his latest big project, a chance to show that he can put on a gaudy parade with the best of them. But all is not well in olde Greenwyche and the enemy hordes are massing like vultures, sensing disaster and defeat.

"I must get to that Dome by midnight," says Mandy. "There are all those celebrities to schmooze with for a start. But here I am trapped beneath YellowBird Tower, so near and yet so far."

But how to get there?
Walk down to the river [14]
Investigate the nearby caverns [7]

[3] You search all around for the key. Keys in these adventures are usually large, gold and chunky, hidden in an old oak chest or inside a dead tree trunk. But there are no chests here, nor any tree trunks. And there is no key. You could wait around for four years, but you have to be at the Dome in the next hour so that's not an option.

What option is there?
Try the western entrance [13]
Head down to the river [14]

[5] Beneath YellowBird Tower lie two enormous cave entrances, each covered by a giant glass shell.

Dare you go in?
Enter the eastern cave [15]
Enter the western cave [13]
Walk down to the river instead [14]

[4] Her Majesty seems not to notice your plaintive cries, or else she chooses to ignore them. There is the faintest of smiles upon her face as her boat sails on into the darkness, heading for that midnight rendezvous at the Dome of Doom. Time is ticking by, and your quest appears doomed.

Two options remain.
Swim across [11]
Walk downstream in search of a ford [9]

[6] Strat Ford is all abustle with crowds trying to reach the Dome of Doom. Two thousand lost souls have gathered in the town centre, awaiting carriage through the tunnels underneath the river. Huge queues have built up, waiting for the local bureaucrats to pull their finger out and get thyngs moving. The rich and famous stand in line, their costumes wilting in the drizzle. Nothing moves. Midnight approaches, and here you are stuck on the wrong side of the river with a crowd of lost souls baying for your blood. Well, it is all your fault this mess, isn't it?

Stupid idea to build the thing in the first place.
Start again?

[7] There are two silver caves beneath YellowBird Tower. One appears to be blocked off completely, while entrance to the other is only possible on the payment of two gold pieces. A guard stands at the barrier demanding money but, as a man of style and reputation, you don't actually carry any cash on you.

"Listen here peasant, I need to get to the Dome of Doom before midnight. Don't you know who I am?"
"Er, no. Now pay up or move on, squire."

There's no arguing with the guard.
Retreat up the stairs and head back to the river [14]

[8] The Queen signals to her staff to slow the royal barge to a halt. Two footmen lower a walkway down to the riverbank, and a gloved finger beckons you on board.

"Oh Mandy, my queenly favourite. Come aboard and ingratiate yourself to me some more."

You're on your way!
Onward downriver [16]

[9] It's a long walk along the riverbank. With every step the Dome shines out, mocking, from the opposite bank. But there is no obvious means of getting across the river, no ford to make your passage easier. At last a signpost appears pointing inland - 'Strat Ford 2 myles'. This may be your only hope.

Which way now?
Journey on to Strat Ford [6]
Swim across the river [11]

[10] As you climb inside the giant silver snake, its jaws snap shut behind you. There is a loud groaning sound as the snake rushes forward, carrying you quivering and shaking inside the belly of the beast. Prodding the inside of the snake with your trusty sword seems to have no effect on the increasing speed, although you do appear to have slashed a lot of the seats. Eventually, after a few minutes of screaming hell, the snake slows and disgorges you into the caverns at North Greenwyche. Ju-believe it?

You have arrived!
Up the steps [16]

[11] You remove your ceremonial clothing and wade into the water. As the riverbed slips away, you kick out with both feet and start to swim. The tide is strong, the river is wide, and your destination seems further and further away. Bugger. The current begins to drag you down into the murky depths. The last thing you remember is sweet relief at not having to argue the case for that bloody Dome any more. Doom comes quickly.

Don't say we didn't warn you.
Start again?

[12] Something silver shines from the deck of the passing boat. It is the crown of the local monarch, her regal smile beaming brightly beneath. She is making her way downriver on the royal barge to attend the celebrations in the Dome, for midnight will soon be at hand. But will she notice you?

What will you cry out?
"Your Majesty, it is I, Tony" [4]
"I remain your most humble servant Mandy, Ma'am" [8]
"Oi Queenie, gissa lift!" [4]

[13] The western entrance to the caves stands squat beneath YellowBird Tower. Five staircases lead down into a giant cavern, and deeper down into the belly of the earth. The caves may look ancient, but in reality they've only been open for three months. At the lowest level stands a long wall of glass, with doors spaced out along its length. There is a roaring sound from behind the glass as a long silver snake rushes into the cavern. Its jaws open wide as the glass doors slide open. Blimey, this doesn't happen every day.

Snake! Snake! Now what?
Climb inside the snake and see what happens [10]
Run screaming out of the caves [5]

[14] The river is running swift and deep. The swirly grey waters are treacherous, and have claimed the lives of many a local sailor. But the Dome stands glowing on the other side, drawing your gaze like a moth to the flame. Midnight approaches, and the need to cross is strong.

But how to get there?
Swim across [11]
Flag down a passing boat [12]
Walk downstream in search of a ford [9]

[15] The eastern entrance to the caves is closed, blocked off by a wall of locked doors. A large sign reads 'Not opening for another four years.'

What can you do?
Try the western entrance [13]
Search for a key [3]

[16] Congratulations! You have arrived at the Dome of Doom before the midnight hour. You parade through the entrance, past a few shabby fibreglass shells and cheap corporate adverts. As you take your position beside the Queen in the central arena, you look around you at the expectant faces gathered here to celebrate this momentous evening. Up above you the circus performers twirl and spin on their high trapezes. One unforgettable year at the Dome is about to begin. As Bygge Ben strikes twelve it all looks so perfect (apart from the peeling ceiling), which is just as well because the exchequer is now empty. What could possibly go wrong?

But that's a whole different (mis)adventure.
Millennium eve fiasco
Where has your Lottery money gone?
Sell off, or sell out?
Farewell to the Dome
Going nowhere fast

The end.
Start again
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