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§9.12. Actions as conditions

There are two ways that descriptions of actions can be used as conditions. First, we can simply describe an action, and then the condition will be true if that is what the player is trying to do, and not otherwise:

if taking a container, ...

This is actually an abbreviation for the longer, some would say preferable form:

if we are taking a container, ...

Secondly, we can talk about the past as well as the present, which is very useful since interactive fiction often contains situations which are changed by earlier events.

Instead of waiting when we have taken the lantern, say "No, your acquisitive nature is roused now, and simply waiting will no longer do."

More on the past tense later follows in the next section: note that "we are taking" has become "we have taken". For the rule to apply, it is not enough that the action "taking the lantern" has been tried: it must have succeeded. Note also that it's enough for any actor in the story to have successfully taken the lantern: it doesn't have to be the player.

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*ExampleNight Sky
A room which changes its description depending on whether an object has been examined.

A box which called "horribly heavy box" after the player has tried to take it the first time.