Grue challenge

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The devnull tournament for NetHack includes a Grue Challenge. The trophy description states, "harkening back to Zork, players accepting this Challenge must find and figure out how to use the Frobozz Company Inter-Dimensional Portal Generator before being eaten by a Grue".


The challenge places a magic portal at the bottom of the Gnomish Mines that goes to the darkened Grue Lair: a big, empty room with no monsters generated inside on creation. An instadeath occurs if the player attempts to do anything while in an unlit area three times - the first time, the player will be greeted with the iconic Zork message:

It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

If the message is printed three times and the player character is not in a lit square, they are instantly killed with the message "Eaten by a Grue". Multi-step movement commands do not count entering darkness or the message appearing as cause to interrupt those commands by default - furthermore, a bug in the code prints this message and updates the counter for every action taken, rather than ones that take in-game turns. As such, it is possible to get eaten without any time passing, e.g. when checking your inventory for a light source.

To win the challenge, players must find a "sinister device" within the lair, identify it, and apply it while avoiding being caught by the titular grue. Once identified, the device is referred to as the "Frobozz Company Inter-Dimensional Portal Generator (TM)", and applying it will allow you to escape the room successfully. Applying the device after the challenge has been won will have no effect beyond printing this message: "On the other hand, maybe you should leave that portal closed ...."

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