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§11.6. Ending The Story

Play can end in many ways, at the writer's discretion:

end the story;
end the story finally;
end the story saying "You have reached an impasse, a stalemate";
end the story finally saying "You have succeeded.";

The phrase "end the story" by itself will finish play, printing "*** The End ***". Using one of the phrases with "saying..." allows us to specify some other text with which to conclude. Including "finally" means that the player has earned access to AMUSING text and other notes, if any of these are provided.

We can eliminate the asterisked headline entirely by removing the rule that prints it, thus:

The print obituary headline rule is not listed in any rulebook.

The next step is to print the player's score and, if applicable, the rank he achieved. By default a story doesn't feature scoring, but the following use option will incorporate it:

Use scoring.

Then, if we want to allow a score but alter the way it is reported, we may remove or modify the print final score rule, as in

The print final score rule is not listed in any rulebook.

or perhaps something like

The chatty final score rule is listed instead of the print final score rule in for printing the player's obituary.

This is the chatty final score rule: say "Wow, you achieved a whole [score in words] point[s] out of a possible [maximum score in words]! I'm very proud of you. This was a triumph. I'm being so sincere right now."

What happens next is normally that the player is invited to RESTART, RESTORE (from a saved story), QUIT or UNDO the last command. The presence of the question can somewhat undercut a tragedy, and Battle of Ridgefield shows another way to go out.

If we do leave the question in, the text is formed by the Table of Final Question Options, which by default looks like this:

Table of Final Question Options

final question wording

only if victorious


final response rule

final response activity




immediately restart the VM rule


"RESTORE a saved story"



immediately restore saved story rule


"see some suggestions for AMUSING things to do"




amusing a victorious player




immediately quit rule


"UNDO the last command"



immediately undo rule


Because this is a table, we may alter the behavior by changing entries or continuing the table. Finality shows how we might take out the option to UNDO the last command, for instance.

Using an ending phrase that includes "finally" tells Inform to include the options that are marked "only if victorious". One common use is to let the player read some special bit of additional text, perhaps describing easter eggs he might have missed in the story or presenting some authorial notes. Xerxes demonstrates a simple AMUSING command to read final information, while Jamaica 1688 shows how to add completely new elements to the list of options.

Old-school adventures expected their adventurers to die early and die often. Labyrinth of Ghosts shows how the residue of such past attempts can be preserved into subsequent attempts, using an external file. Big Sky Country shows how a player can be resurrected by, let us say, some beneficent god, so that a player can even die more than once in the same attempt.

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*ExampleBattle of Ridgefield
Completely replacing the endgame text and stopping the game without giving the player a chance to restart or restore.

Not mentioning UNDO in the final set of options.

*ExampleJamaica 1688
Adding a feature to the final question after victory, so that the player can choose to reveal notes about items in the game.

Offering the player a menu of things to read after winning the game.

**ExampleLabyrinth of Ghosts
Remembering the fates of all previous explorers of the labyrinth.

***ExampleBig Sky Country
Allowing the player to continue play after a fatal accident, but penalizing him by scattering his possessions around the game map.