Arthur: the Quest for Excalibur


The Churchyard, Village, and Merlin's Cave

The graphics are pretty, but the map is more useful: press F2 or type map to bring up the automap. (You can switch back to the picture if you want by pressing F1.)

Pick up the torque (torc) that Merlin left behind, and wear it. Examine the stone. Go east into the church and pray. Leave the church. Hide behind the gravestone. Wait while the soldiers arrive, search the church, and leave. Say yes each time you are asked if you want to continue waiting. Oh my! Lot has stolen the stone with the sword! Eventually morning will come and Lot will announce that he is to be crowned three days hence. (Guess what it's the point of this game to prevent.)

Go east to get out from behind the gravestone. Go south to the Town Square. Ask the idiot about the Invisible Knight. Ask the idiot about himself. Thank Floyd. (Of course they named him Floyd...) Go south to the Tavern. Wait and listen to the farmers. After a couple of turns, one thing you will overhear is how Lot picks the password into the castle: when the bells toll at the start of each canonical hour, he picks a line from his favorite poem.

When the farmers "prudently lower their voices", stop waiting and go south into the Tavern Kitchen. If the cook is here, wait until he leaves the room. Get the cheese and eat it. Go north twice, west twice, southwest to Meadow. (Don't worry about the ghost - the Invisible Knight - that steals your stuff. He doesn't steal items you're wearing, such as the torc, and the only thing you were carrying was a piece of red glass; you can get it back later if you want to.) Go northwest twice to Outside Merlin's Cave. Remember the word of transformation, Cyr - you'll be using it a lot in this game.

Go southeast, southeast, northeast, east, east, south, and south back to the Tavern Kitchen. Wait for the cook to leave again. (If the cook returns and chases you out at any point, just come back in and wait for him to leave again.) Cyr owl. Listen to what the bird has to say, then cyr human and open the cage. Get the key, unlock the cupboard, and open it. Get the bottle. Drop the wooden key.

For Your Amusement:
Ask the idiot about: Lot, Merlin, Arthur, Black Knight, Red Knight, Blue Knight, Thomas, Nimue, Nudd, cook, peasant, dragon, basilisk, leprechaun, raven, boar, kraken, bird, bog, lake, castle, tower, password, transformation animals - human/owl/badger/salamander/eel (they all yield the same response), foods - cheese/midges/weeds/minnow (the response for "mouse", which you can eat as an owl, is different), ball, sword (or other weapon or armour), apple.

Under the Castle

Go north twice, east, then south to the Smithy. Cyr badger and go down into the Den. Move the loose stone. Go east, cyr human and get the stone. Hide behind the door (thus pressing yourself against the wall) and call the guard. Wait. The guard will appear; answer N when prompted whether you want to continue waiting. Hit the guard with the stone. Take the cell key and his helmet. Free the prisoner and give him the guard's helmet. Go north, then east twice to the Small Chamber at the end of the hallway. Move the tapestry and go east into the Dark Passage.

Go north twice to a secret chamber Behind the Throne. Wait for the next canonical hour and listen to Lot announce the new password. (You can type wait for [next hour], e.g., if it is Terce, wait for sext.) The necessary poem is printed in the front of the Book of Hours that came with the game. He always chooses a line from the third verse, which is No king so fair / by maid begot / was ever there / than good King Lot. Make a note of the line that is the password.

Go south four times to End of Passage. Here is a room with fire for one wall - you're on the back side of a fireplace! Cyr salamander and go west through the flames to Castle Kitchen. Cyr human. Look in the barrel. Push the barrel to spill the water inside it and put out the fire. Take the pumice stone. Open the door and go northwest, then south into the Armoury.

Wear the armour. (In some versions you may not get the points unless you first take it, then wear it.) Take the shield and polish it with the pumice stone. Drop the stone. Go north, then leave the castle to the west, giving the guard the password by typing say "[line from poem]".

The Joust and Leprechaun

From Outside Castle Gate, go south to the Smithy and pick up the bottle you dropped when you became a badger. Go north and west twice to the Village Green. Cyr badger and dig. Cyr human again and get everything, including your new sword. Go west, north, northwest, and north to Edge of Woods. Knock on the door of the pavilion. Mount the horse, and choose whichever lance you like. For the first turn of the joust it doesn't matter what you shield or where you aim, but on the second turn, shield your body and aim for his body. The ivory key he gives you opens a tower door we'll be coming to in a little while.

Go north, northwest, northwest to Track. Try to go north and the trees will begin pelting you with conkers. Cyr turtle, pull in your head and legs, and wait it out. When "the hailstorm of conkers ceases," cyr human, get all, and go north into the Glade. Examine the footprints. Hide behind the rock. Listen to the murmuring. Go east to get out from behind the rock. Drop the bottle, hide again, and wait once. Answer N when prompted whether to keep waiting. Catch leprechaun, and you will get a bottle of whisky for your trouble.

For Your Amusement:
Drink the whisky four times. (save first)

The Ivory Tower and Invisible Knight

Go south, southeast twice, then north twice to the Clearing. Unlock the door and go down the stairs once. Drop everything, then go down again into the darkness. In the dark, cyr owl and notice the writing on the wall. Cyr human, go up, get all your belongings except the ivory key (which you no longer need), then continue up the tower three times to the Landing. Cyr salamander and go west through the crack. Here's more writing. Return east to the landing and to human form, and get your stuff. Open the door. Say "Thomas the Rhymer" to the man, and wear the ring he gives you. Open the door, go down twice, and open the door to leave the tower.

Go south four times, then southeast, south, and southwest to the Meadow. Rub the ring, and go east into the revealed pavilion. Answer yes when asked about the brass egg. The answer to the riddle is TH - the letter pairs are the last two letters of the words "first", "second", "third", and "fourth". Get everything. (You sure had missed that red piece of glass, eh?)

The Peat Bog and Raven

Go west, northwest twice, and north into Merlin's cave. Get the bag and open it. (This item is like a D&D bag of holding: you can put as much as you like in it and it will never fill or weigh more, with one exception which we'll get to later.) Put the egg in the bag. Leave the cave, then go southeast twice, northeast, north, northeast to the Moor.

Get the slean and go northeast. Cut some peat with the slean and drop the broken slean. Return southwest, get the crutch, and open the cottage door. Put the peat on the fire and give the crutch to the man. Ask him about the peat bog, and he will give you directions to cross it safely. (You don't need to note them down; the game will map it for you.) Thank him and open the door.

Go southwest, then northwest, north twice, then northeast twice to the Grove. Cyr owl and fly up. Wow, nice raven's egg! Land in the grove. Cyr human. Take the egg out of the bag and drop it in the Grove. Cyr owl and fly up again. You will see the raven swoop down into the grove. Land in the nest. You have only three turns to act here, so quickly cyr human, push the egg out of the nest, then cyr owl. Land in the grove, cyr human again, get the items, and put the egg in the bag.

The Badger Maze and Lake

Go southwest twice, south twice, southeast, south, east three times, and south to the Smithy. Cyr badger, then go down into the Den. Go south and you'll enter the badger den proper. (Yaaay... a maze. This is actually a particularly nasty one since every room has exits in all directions, and at least some room connections are not reversible; Zork I, eat your heart out. If you'd like to map it oldschool, claw wall repeatedly to make marks that will distinguish the rooms from one another.)

Go up, down, then up again. On Thorney Island, get the sprig, then go down, north, north, and up. Cyr human and get everything. Go north, west three times, southwest, and southeast to the Field of Honor. Drop your belongings here except for the sword, and continue south into the Shallows.

Cyr eel. (You will drop the sword in the water.) Swim south, then southwest to the Lake. Look at the boat. Zap the kraken. (Skipping over how electric eels are endemic to South America...) Immediately escape northeast, then north to the Shallows. Cyr human, get the sword, and cut the kraken's tentacle with the sword. Cyr turtle, then go south. Swim through the bracelet, return north, and pull in your head to drop the bracelet. Then cyr human once more, and get the bracelet and sword. Wear the bracelet.

The Boar

Go north to the Field of Honor and cyr owl. Fly up, then go northeast twice and east twice. When you return to your human shape at East of Ford, get the apple from the tree. Go west three times, across the ford, into the Peat Bog. Follow the peasant's directions through the bog (this differs game to game, but the map is pre-drawn for you) and continue southwest twice to the Fork in the Road. Go south, southwest, and southeast to the Field of Honor, collect your belongings, and put everything you can in the bag.

Go northwest, northeast, north, northwest, north, north, northwest, and north to South of Chasm. Throw the apple across the chasm, then throw the sword across. Cyr owl, fly north, and cyr back into human form. Get the sword and cut off the tusk. Throw the sword and tusk back over the chasm. Cyr owl, fly back south. Cyr human and get everything. Put the tusk in the bag.

The Black Knight and Nudd's Realm

Go south, southeast, south twice, southeast, northeast three times into the peat bog, and through it (according to the map) to West of Ford. Attack the black knight. Keep doing it. When you "knock the knight's sword from his grasp", cut off his medallion, then proceed east twice to East of Ford.

The magic of Merlin's bag no longer works here, so you will drop everything and the bag will only hold a few small items. You only strictly need the sword, shield, and the whisky jug in the next area, so get the jug and you can leave everything else behind for the moment.

Go northeast twice to the Ledge. Examine the dragon. Try to wake the dragon, then give him the whisky jug. Wait a few turns for him to pass out, then cut the hair with your sword. Proceed north into the Cave. Ignore the apparitions; they are illusory. Go northwest into the Basilisk's Lair. Show your shield to the basilisk (a "mirror" polish, remember?), and it will turn itself into stone.

Go northeast to the Hot Room. All you have to do is say "Nudd", huh? Try it. Oh, too parched to speak? Go southwest, southeast, and northeast to the Ice Room. Say "Nudd" in here. Get the block of ice. Retrace your steps southwest, northwest, and northeast to the gate, where the block of ice with the trapped word will melt just in time.

In the Hall, attempt to kill the girl - she's an illusion put up by the demon Nudd. Accept his offer to unlock his manacles. Take the fleece and the golden key from his neck. Unlock one of his manacles with the golden key, specifying "right" or "left", then lock it again. Then unlock the other one, and after a bit of a show you will find yourself outside on the Ledge again.

The Red Knight

Drop the gold key. Go southwest twice to East of Ford. Get the silver key, sprig, glass, and gold egg. Pick up the other items here. Make sure you have the gold egg, tusk, fleece, dragon hair, silver key, and sprig of hawthorn.

Go west three times and through the peat bog. Put everything in the bag. Go southwest twice, south, southwest, southeast, and east to End of Causeway. Give the egg, hair, fleece, and tusk to the Red Knight. Continue south twice to the Island. Unlock the door with the silver key and go down to the Underground Chamber.

Look at the woman. ("Everything you always wanted on a bier." OMG really, Implementors?) You can try kissing her, but besides the fact that that's not the right action, you can't break the enchantment until Christmas, and it's still St. John's Day (the 23rd of December). However, you need to eat and sleep at least once a day, so you can't just "wait for Christmas" either. Instead, wait for compline, wait 7 more turns until you begin to get tired, then sleep. When you wake on Christmas Eve, go up, north, north, west, and northwest twice to the Path. Cyr salamander and eat the midges. Cyr human again.

Return southeast twice, east, south twice, and down. Wait for Compline again, then wait until you are tired. Sleep. When you wake again on Christmas, go up, north, north, west, south. Cyr eel. Go south, southeast, and northeast to a River location. Eat the minnow. Now you can complete the plot. Return southwest, northwest, north, cyr human, north, east, south, south, and down.

Defeating Lot

Get all your belongings, and get the hawthorn sprig from the bag. Examine it. It should have "a small flower on the end". (If not, keep examining it until it blossoms.) Touch Nimue with  the sprig. Take the gauntlet that she leaves behind.

Go up, north twice, west, northwest, northeast, and east five times into the Great Hall (the guard will let you pass when he sees you have the gauntlet). Hit Lot with the gauntlet. You will be taken to the Field of Honor for the challenge fight. Show your bracelet to Lot. While he is distracted, attack him. When you have your sword at his throat, free Lot. Then do as the Lady instructed: call Nimue. Proceed south to the Lake, and pull the sword from the stone. Congratulations, Once and Future King!



For further entertainment, you may be interested in:
Lists of bugs in Arthur: Nathan Simpson external link, Graeme Cree external link, XyzzyNews external link
Posts about this game at SPAG external link and The Digital Antiquarian external link
Source code external link


Action Chivalry Wisdom Experience Quest
Churchyard, Village, Merlin's Cave  
Pray in the church 10
Hide behind gravestone until St. John's Day 5 2
Thank Floyd (the village idiot) 10
Eat on first day (St. John's Day) 1 1
Turn into an owl in the tavern kitchen 3 1
Open birdcage 10
Get wooden key 1
Get bottle of spices 1
Under the Castle    
Turn into a badger in the smithy 3 1
Enter prison cell 2 2
Hit guard with stone 3 3 2
Free prisoner 10
Enter hidden passage 2 1
Hear Lot set password 2 1
Turn into a salamander at the end of the hidden passage 3 1
Pass the fire into the castle kitchen 3 3 1
Push over water barrel 2 1
Take pumice stone 1
Take/wear armour 1
Take shield 1
Polish shield 2
Escape castle with prisoner 10 2 3 4
Joust and Leprechaun    
Get sword under tree in village green 2 1
Win joust, get ivory key 10 5 7 4
Turn into a turtle at the track with the conker trees 3 1
Survive the barrage of conkers 3 7 3
Catch leprechaun (get whisky) 3 1
Ivory Tower, Invisible Knight  
Unlock tower door 1
Turn into an owl in the tower basement 4 1
Go through crack in wall as a salamander 2 1
Say "Thomas the Rhymer" 7 3
Rub magic ring in meadow 3 2
Answer invisible knight's riddle, get brass egg 7 3
Peat Bog and Raven  
Cut peat with slean 1
Put peat on fire in cottage 10
Give crutch to peasant 10
Get gold egg 4 5 2
Badger Maze and Lake  
Get through badger den maze/Arrive at Thorney Island 2
Take hawthorn sprig as a human 1
Turn into an eel in the lake shallows 3 1
Cut kraken tentacle with sword 5 7 4
Swim through golden bracelet as a turtle 3 1
Take bracelet as a human 2
Get through the peat bog 2 3 2
Throw apple across chasm 3 7 4
Cut boar tusk with sword 1
Take tusk on the south side of the chasm 2
Black Knight and Nudd      
Cut off black knight's medallion 4 7 4
Get dragon hair 3 1
Enter Cave 2
Show shield to basilisk 2 5 2
Bring block of ice with frozen "Nudd" to hot room 5 3
Take golden fleece 2 1
Unlock manacles one at a time 7 10 5
Red Knight  
Give gold egg to red knight 1
Give dragon  hair to red knight 1
Give Golden Fleece to red knight 1
Give boar tusk to red knight 1
Unlock silver door on island 1
Eat on second day (Christmas Eve) 1 1
Eat on third day (Christmas Day) 1 1
Defeating Lot    
Touch Nimue with hawthorn 10 2
Take gauntlet 1
Hit Lot with gauntlet 10 5
Attack Lot after distracting him with the bracelet 7 7 4
Free Lot 10
Call Nimue 1 1
Total 110 103 101 100


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last updated 4/28/2021