This first update is gonna be long and exposition heavy. After this, things will get started for real, so let’s hop right in! There’s no opening, just the splash screen that opened the thread, leading straight into this.
I’m a folk singer. Yeah, that’s right, a folksinger. Now, I know it sounds glamorous. And obviously fraught with live-threatening situations and heart-stopping peril. But try to keep up with me anyway.
I spend a lot of time at Callahan’s. As a result, you are not the first person to take up temporary residence inside my head. You probably won’t be the last. A few of us are accomplished psychics, and the rest of us are trying to learn.
Anyway, you’ll find out more about Callahan’s as the evening goes on. But right now, it’s Riddle Night, and as usual, Doc’s supplying the riddles. Pay attention, because if we don’t win this contest, we’re broke. And if we’re broke, the evening’s going to end mighty early.
Ah, Jake Stonebender. His life has really turned around since he found Callahan’s Place. Looks like we’re in his head for the adventure, let’s take a look at his backstory.
The bio isn’t lying. Spider Robinson appears as a character in some stories, says that his world is just another fiction that along with the stories, and his books are just the stories that Jake has told him.
Anyways, the camera pans over to the right nearly 180 degrees, and we move on.
We’re given a yes or no prompt. Let’s say no, just to get the explanation.
Does everybody WANT to know the rules, or do you want to try to figure it out for yourself?
Another prompt, let’s have him explain.
Okay, I’ll be brief, and if you have any questions later on, ask Mike, he’ll tell you whatever you want to know.
In brief, then. Ten answers, they’re all names, and they’re all in the same category of names, like “Movie Titles” or “Famous Emcees.” But it’s neither of those.
Each riddle is a series of words; all you have to do is think of other words that mean the same thing. You put the other words together, say 'em all together, and you get a name of something. That name is the answer.
For instance, if the riddle says, “Christmas Song; Thorn ; Web”, you’d think of words that mean the same thing. Christmas Song could be “Carol,” Thorn could be “Burr,” Web could be “Net.”
Yeah, yeah. Carol Burnett.
Okay? Ten of those, just like that one. Just that easy. Right? Right. Of course, winner gets his or her bar tab refunded. All right? Go.
Is there a time limit?
No there’s no time limit.
Does spelling count?
No. Ask Mike if you have any other questions. Now go.
And go we shall. We’ll get to the two question askers in a bit, but for now let’s take a look at Doc Webster’s history.
This is the guy who told Jake to come here, and turned the man’s life around. His punning is legendary, and we’ll see a bit of it in a moment. We’re now free to move about and investigate. To advance, we have to solve the puzzles, but we’re going to talk to everyone first, starting with Doc.
Ah, conversations. This is how they appear. For the record, all of Jake’s dialogue is presented as options we need to choose, even when there’s only one option like here. I’ll be posting one of these when we first talk to a new person, then just showing the conversation like normal.
Yeah, but “the Bard of Hicksville” doesn’t cut it.
I don’t live in Hicksville, either.
That’s your opinion. I’ve been there, and I’m telling you, you live in hicksville, man.
1. I don’t want to hear a lot of Long Island jokes, thank you very much.
2. I think I’ve got a riddle answer for you.
3. How about a hint for one of the riddles?
Here we get our first dialogue choice. I’ll tell you now, the second two don’t lead to anything interesting. The middle option takes us to the board to solve the puzzles. The second takes us to help in case we get really stuck.
Now, there’s a Deer Park in the Northport of town, perfect for Huntingtons of pheasant. You can’t miss it, to Bay Shore, it’s in Plainview.
Uh-oh, here come the puns. People of Long Island, duck.
I thought we were going to have a mon-to-Montauk, not listen to a travelogue. Next thing I know, you’ll be singing, “Commack to Jamaica…”
I don’t know what to say. I’m just Bayside myself.
Yeah, sorry, it’s a Centereach that far for a joke.
I Woodbury you if I could think of a topper for that.
Sorry, this is the point where I slip out. Doc, you can Babylon all you Wantaugh, but personally, Armagensett. Freeport for everybody!
A choan, the local equivalent of a cheer and a groan, goes up from the crowd. Doc hangs his head in surrender.
Doc surrendering. Now there’s a sight not often seen.
I prefer to think of it as a scene not often sighted.
Are you really buying a round of port for everyone?
Okay, I thought not.
And that’s it for Doc, at least until we’re ready to solve the puzzles. Let’s go around the bar clockwise.
Just this lonely fellow over here. He’s a new face in Callahan’s, and not really sure what the deal is here. In fact, if we look at him…
This man just walked in a few minutes ago. His eyes are peculiarly intense, but the strangest thing about him is that he has no smell. None at all. It ain’t human, I tell ya.
Now Jake, you’re no strangers to non-humans in Callahan’s. Be nice.
You’re new to Callahan’s, aren’t you?
I’m just here for a drink.
But you haven’t been in before.
Yes. I mean, you’re right, I haven’t been in before.
You hold out your hand, which he looks at and, with some uncertainty, shakes.
I’m Jake, I’m one of the regulars. You have any questions, you feel free, OK? Mike runs things a little differently around here than in most places.
That’s putting it lightly… But here we have a few options, We get to go through them all, so we’ll do it in order.
Well, there’s the contest.
Several nights a week, we have them, usually. Punday Night, and the whoever tells the worst pun of the evening drinks free. Tonight’s Riddle Night. Tall Tales Night is… it’s kinda like Punday Night, but the emphasis is on tall tales.
But they have to be true, of course.
Oh, we’ve got the Friday Night Fireside Fill-More Night, that’s not a contest, but it’s kickin’ music.
Which sort of leads me to the Rule.
Well… it’s got to do with the clientele here. See, most people don’t wander into this place for no reason. I mean, for being right next to 25A, we don’t get a lot of drop-ins.
Anyway, stick around, chances are you’ll see something. I’d put money on it. If I had any.
Yeah, that’s why I’m out to win Riddle Night tonight. Get my bar tab back.
You’ll get your money back if you win the riddles on that blackboard.
That’s the deal.
Hm. What else is done differently here than in “most places”?
Well, there’s the rule.
What’s the rule?
People open up here a lot. Sometimes shockingly so. But we begin to take for granted that everybody’s interested in opening up all the time.
You open each other up.
I guess you could put it that way. But you’re not allowed to pry. You can pretty much signify that you want to talk about a problem by going over to the chalk line and making a toast.
If Eddie – that’s Fast Eddie over there, at the piano – hears anyone prying, he gives them a… a love tap with the business end of a blackjack, and he ejects you into the parking lot.
What else goes on here?
Well, there’s the toast.
You can make a toast out of any sentiment or occasion, of course, but some people use it as a way of spilling their troubles. Or asking for absolution.
You grant absolution here?
Well, of course the absolution is only good with us, but sometimes that’s all the absolution you really want… for somebody to tell you it’s okay.
You make your toast, you throw the glass into the fireplace. Try to hit the bullseye, it’s the center of the parabola and the glass doesn’t fly into the room so much.
Then you’ve got the floor.
I get the floor.
You’ll have our full attention – as long as you need it or want it. Got it?
It’s very interesting. Is there anything else I should know about?
Well, you should probably just keep your eyes open. Something’ll happen tonight.
Thank you. I will.
And that’s the Biker. After that lengthy conversation, let’s just… take a look around this part of the bar. Let’s start with the tables.
The tables are as sturdy as the chairs. They’re unusually clean for bar tables, because Callahan dotes on them. Is this what’s meant by a table dote?
Okay, this one took me a while to grasp. What he’s punning off of is the term
”. The folks of Callahan’s will go to any distance for a pun. Let’s move on to the window.
You never paid much attention to this window, why start now?
Okay, fine, but can we open it?
You walk over to the window, draw the curtains aside, and open it. A blast of fetid air hits you full in the face, reminding you that the Sanitation Workers are on strike again. You close the window.
Can we, yes. Should we, definitely no. Well, this is an adventure game! How about this shelf of knick knacks?
Rachel, who’s working at Lady Callahan’s tonight, once referred to this stuff as “chozzerai.” Ah, my small amount of Yiddish knowledge comes into play! This is just a word for junk, just… clutter, stuff taking up space. To you, it just looks like junk. Clearly Jake is on the same page. But every item up there was either instrumental in some adventure of one of the regulars, or was the object of an especially rotten pun.
Lady Callahan features in a few of the books. She runs a brothel, but one that follows the same rule as Callahan’s Place. You can be open, but you can’t pry, and nobody will ever do something they don’t want to. Anyways, let’s see if we can take any of this junk.
You can’t decide whether to take what looks like a hood ornament from a '57 T-Bird, the ceramic mermaid with a stomach where her clock ought to be, or the bronzed Krundai claw. Stymied by indecision, you decide to take nothing instead.
I’ve mentioned that the errors are on the game’s end, that I triple check everything I transcribe. The mermaid comment probably isn’t a typo, though, more likely just a weird thing from some other adventure. Now, let’s finally continue moving.
This guy is another new face. less talkative than the last one, though.
This man is not the only new face in the crowd tonight. He’s very dirty and has a noticeable aroma, and his eyes, which meet yours unwaveringly, are sad and slightly fearful. He’a also drinking heavily. When he first came in, he snarfed down the Free Lunch as if he hadn’t eaten in years. You’re hoping he’ll tell his story, sooner or later.
You try to strike up a conversation with the shabbily-dressed gentleman, whom you’ve never seen before tonight. Despite the friendly overtures you make towards him, he barely says a word
The two in the back are Long-Drink McGonnigle and Shorty Steinitz. They’re absorbed in their own conversation though, and just give us a polite nod if we try to talk to them. Shorty is notable for having his appendix removed by Doc Webster, right on top of Callahan’s bar, but he’s not doing anything for us at the moment. We could go out the front doors here, but there’s nothing to see out there for now, so let’s keep moving.
Again the two folks in the back won’t talk to us, too absorbed in their own affairs. This is Tom Flannery and Les Glueham, They’re “Cheerful Charlies,” folks who make it their job to keep people happy. Pretty good guys, if I do say so myself, though Tom has… not long left according to Doc Webster. Let’s leave them be and talk to the pair up front who… aren’t actually talking to each other despite what it looks like. Let’s start with the one on the left. Apparently women are a rare sight in Callahan’s, not that there’s anything discouraging them from coming.
Jodie Bauer is a member in good standing of the Time Police, an organization that doesn’t exist yet. She’s also a humor groupie; win the Punday Night contest, and she’ll accompany you home for the evening. Doc keeps winning, damn his eyes.
If only it was Punday Night instead of Riddle Night, we managed to beat Doc today! Oh well, not that it matters. Josie’s a classy lady, and she’ll go home with whoever she chooses. Let’s throw her bio in here before we talk.
The Time Police are just that: Police whose jurisdiction is the timestream, not a physical place. It’s hard work, but somebody’s gotta do it.
Officer Bauer. Is this an official visit?
I’m officially visiting. But I’m off-duty.
So you’re not just waiting to slap the cuffs on Al Phee, should he happen to drop in.
Far as I know, he’s clean.
Can’t a cop simply go out to a bar without being hassled?
Apparently Jodie and Doc are having a conversation from across the room.
Am I interrupting something?
Nope. Doc and I are just weighing the merits of various tropical beans.
And that’s that. I’ll put in Al Phee’s bio here. He’ll come into play later, but you might as well know who he is.
He’s… something. Like it says, he’s got a heart of gold. But he’s not the most upstanding citizen. Let’s just move on to the big fella up front here.
This is Mickey Finn, a cybergenic creature so named because that’s the drink we gave him the night he wandered in and told everyone that his race was planning on destroying the Earth. He’s saved out skins dozens of times since then. You just wish he’d learn to RELAX.
Ah, Mickey Finn. Let’s take a look at his bio, shall we?
So, Mickey is an alien who came to Earth to destroy it. But the folks at Callahan’s knocked him out and then convinced him not to destroy the planet, and instead he now protects it. He eventually did marry Callahan’s daughter, which is something in itself, since Jake has eyes for her as well.
Michael Finn, how the hell are ya?
Not too shabby, you?
Tolerable well, thank you.
And that’s Mickey Finn. Next to him is Tommy Janssen, a drug addict who cleared his mind here at Callahan’s. He’s in a mood tonight, though, so he’s not talking to anyone. At least his friends are here to keep an eye out. We’ll shift over a bit, just to chat with the last two people at the bar itself, the man who interrupted Doc earlier, and the bar’s owner himself.
Noah Gonzalez is a senior man at the Suffolk County Bomb Squad. You once saw him neatly defuse an exploding cigar… and then neatly defuse the guy who gave it to him.
Noah’s a tough old guy. Let’s look at his bio, first.
Tough, but with his own soft side. Sci-fi and juggling, both hopefully help him forget the stress of his job.
Oh, yeah, I’m being real antisocial tonight. How’s business?
Slow. You’d think bombs were out of style.
Just as well. I’m getting old. I lost to Long-Drink, he’s never gonna let me forget it.
Give yourself a break, he’s an iron man.
Always used to be able to beat him. Not anymore.
So why’s it been so quiet at work?
I mean, it’s great, y’know, it’s hard to complain about lack of business.
But it doesn’t feel right, y’know? It’s not natural.
Maybe it’s something on TV.
Haven’t seen a King Family Special in years. Ditto Debbie Boone.
Could it be Baywatch?
Actually, we find domestic bombings go up right after Baywatch.
So it can’t be TV.
Maybe it’s something in the water.
We checked. Couldn’t find anything.
Not TOO paranoid.
You’re saying we shouldn’t be?
Maybe the War on Drugs is having an effect?
The two of you exchange a look, then burst out laughing.
And that’s it for Noah. Let’s talk to the big man himself now, Mike Callahan.
This is Mike Callahan, the man without whom this would all be unnecessary… nor even possible. He possesses an almost supernatural serenity of spirit and inhuman clarity of thought, but he also knows all the pressure points and how to use them.
Let’s take a look at his bio real quickly
That’s right, Callahan isn’t actually from around here. Nobody knows why his bar is such a magnet for strange happenings, but I think everyone is grateful that it is.
You walk over to the bar to talk to Callahan
Mike, good to see you.
I was about to ask you the same thing.
Not too much. Haven’t seen Pyotr yet, but it’s early. Two drop-ins already, that’s unusual. The guy at the end of the bar…
He indicates the shabbily-dressed, heavily-bearded young man at the end of the bar
Ah, yes, the quiet one.
And the heavily-armed guy over there with Mickey.
He nods towards the guy with the big bonus in the Upper Appendages Department. At Callahan’s, unlike at most New York bars, the aliens don’t feel a need to wear black leather or heavy makeup in order to pass for human.
Well, Mickey is standing next to Jodie, and she’s definitely not who’s being talked about. The person Mike is talking about is actually across the room, near the piano. We’ll chat with him pretty soon. Before we continue, let’s look at Pyotr’s bio. We won’t see him for a bit, but he’s another important character in this game.
Pyotr, the kind-hearted vampire. He’s a great guy, making sure nobody is driving drunk and keeping off of harder stuff himself. I wonder what’s keeping him away tonight?
Nope. Hence it’s vitally important that I win Riddle Night tonight and win back my tab.
I can float you.
Not necessary. I’ve got it in the bag.
Mike smiles at your faint attempt to sound self assured, and goes back to cleaning glasses.
Lady Sally is Mike’s wife, proprietess of a house of thrill repute in Brooklyn… a no less remarkable establishment that shares a lot, both in spirit and clientele, with Callahan’s.
She asked about you the other day.
Yep. Hadn’t seen you in the Place in awhile, wanted to know if you’d met somebody.
Normally, you could be counted upon to turn red around the neck, but after all, the guy’s wife owns the place.
Tell her not to worry… it’s business, not pleasure. I mean, it’s a lack of business, and therefore, a lack of pleasure.
And that’s it for Mike. We can ask for the rules of the competition, or for help, but we don’t need to. We can also ask for a drink, but we don’t have the money and don’t want to let Mike spot us for it, so it would be pointless. Only one more side of the bar to check out before we’re back to the puzzles!
Ah, a hat! Doesn’t look like it belongs to anyone…
A battered fedora hangs on a hook.
Maybe we can just… take it?
It’s not for you, it’s for Dora.
…Ouch, that one actually hurts a bit. But maybe we can just try it on fast!
You try it on and look in the mirror. Not only does it do little for you, but it doesn’t do the hat or the mirror any favors, either.
First hurt my sense of humor, then hurt my pride. You win this one, random hat. Our next friendly face is the man on the piano. We mentioned him to the biker earlier.
Fast Eddi Costigan, Callahan’s long-time pianist, doesn’t usually participate in the Punday Night, Riddle Night, and Tall Tale night contests. But on Monday’s Fireside Fill-More Singalong Night, he’s got more hot licks than Rin Tin Tin
As we mentioned to the Biker, Eddie makes it his business to enforce the Rule. Other than that, he doesn’t pay a ton of attention to the goings-on, mostly keeping his eye and ear on the piano.
What’s going on?
Nuttin’. It’s been real quiet.
Wanna grab Lady Macbeth and liven up da joint?
Maybe later, okay?
You participating in Riddle Night?
Yeaaaa… not really. Glanced at it. Offhand, could only get one clue, so…
The four-sharp major key. It’s E. HEL-lo!
I’m… really not musically inclined, so this actually helped. That is one of the clues on the board, and the meaning for it is “E.” We can ask Eddie about the new folks in the bar, but he hasn’t seen any of them, despite one of them being about a foot away. Speaking of, that’s our next stop.
We’ve taken to calling this fellow “Squish” because nobody can pronounce his real name, which is… well, it’s a sort of squishing noise that makes you want to wipe your mouth. You sense that he’s getting ready to open up and spill his guts. You can only hope that that means the same thing on HIS planet that it means on YOUR planet.
This description is accurate though… Jake hasn’t met Squish yet. We’re about to introduce them, though the first line when we interact with Squish comes from Mickey, across the room.
Jake, this is “Dtzllchhh.”
We should get ready for a bit of thisstuff.
I see what they mean about the name…
A pleasure to meet you, Dtzllchhh.
Thankfully, Jake picks up on this type of thing pretty easily.
Dtzllchhh, ktzlch chhh txchgtzlll.
…I… apologize. Presently…my… command to or of… English speech… is… fractional… presently. I…attempt…improvement.
I think you’re doing pretty darn well, Squish! Also, your head is so big and cool looking, you get a bigger icon!
Well, how about just Squish for short?
Squish is good.
And there we go, we officially know Squish now. Let’s see what’s up with him.
So! How’s things on the Homeworld?
My world…very confused.
Civilization there is… wait, doing conversions… is millions of your months old. Then,… three weeks ago last Tuesday… we discovered beneath the surface of the planet… technology far beyond ours.
Initial thought is that planet is really…spaceship disguised as planet, But when we entered inner core of spaceship, we find…
This is the part I like.
…inside spaceship is enormous asteroid.
So you thought you were living on a planet, but it’s really a spaceship made to LOOK like a planet, and the core of your planet is an asteroid inside the spaceship?
That is…what we believed as well.
Scientists probing asteroid now have evidence that asteroid only look like asteroid, but is actually spaceship of even more advanced race.
Huh. You’d think with all that advanced thinking, one of those civilizations could come up with something more original than making their spacecraft look like asteroids.
Yes, and the deeper you dig, the smarter you find out your ancestors were. You must be feeling backward right about now.
I was not… until you pointed it out…
Tell me about your race.
Our planet is Txschlrrr Ppppp… our system for government is Ccchrlxzz Ptzkrzmism. And our chief exports are fpfpzlllkm, czztschrkrl, and fzzzkrplch.
What else would you like to know?
How do you keep from hurting your tongue?
How many arms exactly DO you have?
Up to six. Four normal…one retractable, one inflatable.
What’s the inflatable one for?
Water begins to cascade out of Squish’s eyes, and orange spots blossom all over his face. You decide to drop the subject before he drowns in humiliation.
Jake is usually better than this… But that does it for Squish! Let’s get back to our goal, the puzzles!
Well, actually, let’s look at some things we learned about earlier, the chalk line and the fire.
This chal line indicates where to stand if you’re going to make a toast and fling your glass into the fireplace. Generally, when someone stands at the chalk line, everyone hushes up and prepares to listen.
We also have the option to… erase it!? Jake, you wouldn’t!
You bend over and try to erase the chalk line, but succeed only in slightly smudging it. It’s apparently been ground in fairly solidly over the years.
Phew! Now, the fire. We can Look, Throw, Extinguish, and Poke it.
For a change, somebody’s built a fire strong enough to stand up to the hail of glass that follows a toast.
The fire isn’t aerodynamic enough for an effective lob.
O-oh… I figured it meant throw something in, but that works too…
The fire is adding needed warmth and cheer to the room. If you want to play Smoky the Bear, wait until everyone else has left.
You look around the fireplace, but there’s no poker in sight. Perhaps it’s just as well, since the fire seems to be doing just fine.
Alright, now we’re ready! You may notice the ladder leading up. It goes to the roof, but there’s nothing there for us right now either. Let’s get to those puzzles!
Here we are, ten puzzles, and the end of this first update! I’ll leave these for a day or two to see if anyone takes a crack at them, and then we’ll move on. Remember the explanation: Take each term given (terms are separated by semicolons) and think of another word that means the same thing. Do that for every term, then say them out loud together to get the answer. They all fit an unknown theme, and once you have the theme it might make them easier to decipher. Hidden below I’ll have the puzzles transcribed, and the theme in a spoiler blur. Good luck, puzzle solvers!
[details=Puzzles]1. Cranky; exist; bootlegging devices; grind teeth; additionally; green
2. Rapid; fibrous cellulose material; arguably superior computer
3. Broth; paddle; vagabond
4. Slender projectiles; legend
5. Iriitate; occupied to capacity; lifeless
6. Propel with paddle; wildcat; vocal inflections
7. Guided; fasten w/ sliding fastener; face that launched ships
8. Correct; ancient game; boullion; funeral transport
9. Portion; wealthy; woman; four-sharp major key
10. Thump; minerals containing metal
The theme of the answers is 60’s music groups. (well, two are from 1970, but the rest are 60’s)