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§6.5. Examining

By default, examining an object shows its description, and - for devices - tells us whether the object is switched on or switched off.

This kind of additional information is not always what we want, so if we have a device whose on/off status we want to conceal, we may write

The examine described devices rule is not listed in any rulebook.

On the other hand, there are times when we may want to add a similar line or two to the descriptions of other kinds of objects. Crusoe allows us to append an "It is charred." sentence to the end of descriptions of things we have burned in the fire. Since it works by introducing a "printing the description" activity, Crusoe is also a good example to start from if we want to introduce more complex, flexible descriptions of items throughout our story.

Odin rewrites the "You see nothing special..." line with other text of our own, for items that otherwise do not have a description.

Finally, we may want to look at multiple things at once. The Left Hand of Autumn demonstrates how we might provide a different response for EXAMINE PAINTINGS than for examining each individually; Beekeeper's Apprentice provides a SEARCH command that will show the descriptions of all the scenery in the current location.

* See Actions on Multiple Objects for an alternative EXAMINE ALL command

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Replacing "You see nothing special..." with a different default message for looking at something nondescript.

**ExampleBeekeeper's Apprentice
Making the SEARCH command examine all the scenery in the current location.

***ExampleThe Left Hand of Autumn
The possibility of using a [things] token opens up some interesting complications, because we may want actions on multiple items to be reported differently from actions on just one. Here we look at how to make a multiple examination command that describes groups in special ways.

Adding a "printing the description of something" activity.