Lesson #666 of demon exorcism:

If you are dealing with a demon that can possess beings at will, make sure to take defensive measures so that you, the exorcist, do not make an appealing target to the recently exorcised demon. Let us take an example from Infocom's Sorcerer text adventure. We join our hero (written in the second person, as all good text adventures are) as he has cast the exorcism spell on Belboz, the current host for excessively powerful demon Jeearr. My comments and edits are, as always, in italics.

A wispy translucent shape rises from the body of Belboz. It speaks in a voice so deep that your whole body seems to hear it. "Foolish Charlatan! I am forced to flee that weak, old body -- I shall take your own, instead! Already I have sucked all knowledge, all secrets from that ancient Enchanter. Now begins an epoch of evil transcending even your worst nightmares; a reign of terror that will last a thousand thousand years!" The shape blows toward you on a cold wind.

Wow, wish I could do that. Now let's see what happens to the hapless enchanter who forgot the mind-shield spell.

You feel an overwhelming sense of oppression as the demon seizes control of your mind and body. The monster reaches into the recesses of your mind, adding your hard-earned magic powers to its own. As it settles comfortably into your skull, the demon grants you a vision of the future. You see the enslaved people of the land toiling to erect great idols to Jeearr. Parents offer up their own children upon these altars, as the rivers of the land fill with blood. And YOU embody Jeearr; you are cursed by ten thousand generations of victims; your face adorns the idols. And worst of all, you remain awake and aware, a witness to horror, never sleeping, and never, ever to escape.

Your score is -100 of a possible 400, in 1063 moves. This puts you in the class of Menace to Society.

Wonderful end to it all, no? Now, let's see what happened to the smart enchanter who had memorized and cast the handy-dandy mind-shield spell.

Jeearr surrounds you like a cloud and begins to contract. Suddenly, it strikes your invisible protection and recoils as if burned. "No!" it cries. "Such a guileless Enchanter developing a mind shield?" The cloud is thinner, the voice fainter. "It cannot be! I cannot survive ... without a host." The demon roils in agony, then thins and dissipates. There is a final scream of pain, then silence.

Belboz moans softly, and begins stirring. (...) After posing a few well-chosen questions, he casts a brief but unfamiliar spell.

An instant later, (...) you are standing in the Chamber of the Circle. The Circle of Enchanters is assembled. Belboz speaks. "Once again, this young Enchanter has done a matchless service to the Guild and to the entire kingdom, displaying resourcefulness and imagination worthy of the greatest of Enchanters. I grow old, and must soon step down as Head of the Circle. But let it be known that a successor has been found."

Your score is 400 of a possible 400, in 1065 moves. This puts you in the class of Leader of the Circle of Enchanters.

There's some nicely written prose in the Infocom games, and some of the nastiest puzzles you'd care to encounter. Go out and play one today.

The Archon
June 21, 2000 AD

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