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TaskMaker was a Role Playing Game first designed in 1989 as a Tabletop Game and later adapted into a computer game for the Macintosh computer. While almost nothing is known about the board game or the 1993 TaskMaker, the game was later bought by a short-lived software company called Storm Impact, which majorly upgraded it and released its version 2.0 in 1996. For the next couple years, various new releases were made, each one fixing bugs from the previous versions.

The game is a simplified computer roleplay where the player is asked to fetch objects from various towns and dungeons to help gain experience. Along the way, he has to fight various monsters. The player can also go to shops to buy useful potions, weapons and scrolls to enhance his fighting ability, as well as not-so-useful items. Stats are measured in bars such as food, spirit, health, stamina, etc. — these stats can be depleted and restored at any time, but leveling up increases how much overall you have of each. He can also cast various preset spells to aid in killing monsters, replenishing stats, etc. For the final task, the player is asked to kill a prisoner, who actually turns out to be a good person. Regardless of whether or not the prisoner is killed, the player then discovers that the TaskMaker is evil, and has to kill him to win the game. The Taskmaker will insta-kill you if you killed the Prisoner.

A sequel entitled The Tomb of the TaskMaker was released in 1997. In it, the player is now the master of the land, and has to, once again, go off and fight monsters and find objects to restore peace. Before the final task, the player is told that the TaskMaker has come back to life. Upon arriving at the TaskMaker's tomb, he finds that the TaskMaker is indeed dead, and has been protected by the evil Guard Captain. The player then wins the game after killing the evil guard.

Due to management issues at the corporate level, the sequel was largely rushed and had many unused dungeons, as well as several glitches. Storm Impact collapsed soon afterward, and the game was never heard of again until David Cook, one of the programmers, released a version 1.0.1 of Tomb on his personal website in July 2008.


Tropes present include:

  • Abandon Ware: After Storm Impact dissolved, the creators posted registration codes online so that all three of Storm Impact's popular games (the two TaskMakers and a skiing simulation called MacSki) could be registered for free. Since then, however, Cook has posted the games (and a third late-1990s game called Asterbamm, which was a critical failure) on his website, and charges $10 for registration codes.
  • An Adventurer Is You: In Tomb, the player can choose to be male or female, and a fighter, magician or thief. Naturally, fighters, magicians and thieves all have different abilities, although gender doesn't matter besides some changes in graphics and sound effects.
  • All There in the Manual: The Storm Impact version and Tomb both came with a manual, without which some of the puzzles are pretty hard to solve. In Tomb, you can at least buy scrolls with hints on each dungeon.
  • Bag of Holding: All items are placed in the player's pouch, which can hold up to 41 items (up to 61 in Tomb if you use a Silver Lining scroll), regardless of how big each individual item would be in Real Life. You could carry 41 old empty chests in there if you wanted.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: One character in TaskMaker says "This game is too tough." One in Tomb jokes about the game crashing when he is frightened.
  • Cap: Several. A player can't go beyond 280 damage, 260 aim, or 1000 of any other stat (health, spirit, etc.). Monsters can't inflict more than 100 damage, it seems.
  • Cheat Code: Many spells can be entered into "Other Spell to Invoke", including one which summons a(n expensive) food shop, another which summons a(n also expensive) key shop, one which blows away any force field in your path, one which returns you to the docks at the start of the game, one that summons a ship when facing water, etc.
    • One version of the game accidentally left in a cheat code that allows the player to wish for any object as often as they wanted. Using the spell in subsequent versions force-quits the game.
  • Critical Hit: Called "Double damage."
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Some controls were changed in Tomb. "Blast" (capital B) became "Strike" (capital S); "Cure" (capital C) became "Heal" (capital H); and "Determine" (lowercase D) was merged with "Examine" (lowercase E).
  • Death Cry Echo: In both versions, the cry played upon a player's death echoes.
  • Death Is Not Permanent: A player can die and go to Hell an indefinite amount of times.
  • Disc One Nuke: The Tutorial level gives you an etheral potion, which can either be sold for a high price to get powerful weapons early on, or used to phase through walls near the TaskMaker's throne to access three powerful weapons and a switch that unveils a fourth.
  • Dronejam: Pushing against an NPC will cause your character to say "excuse me," and after enough tries, "get out of the way!" However, it won't necessarily get the NPC to move.
  • Dual-Wielding: A player can hold a weapon in each hand (and probably should). Except shovels, picks and bows, which require both hands to operate.
  • Dummied Out: Tomb had four dungeon names which existed in the coding, but were never fleshed out into actual playable dungeons. Two of them were finally made by fans and added to 1.0.1.
  • Dungeon Bypass: Invoked in Poet's Nightmare. After deciding that it was too tough a dungeon, the programmers added a staircase hidden behind a wall. Just one Passwall or Ethereal Potion will get you there.
  • Easter Egg: Several.
    • Nearly every dungeon and town in both versions has a hidden message. Pentamerous, a dungeon in the first game, has a very long one that explains the game's history in detail.
    • If you try to throw a task item in the recycle bin in either game, you'll get a funny message such as "You can't recycle that! It would turn you into a tuna fish sandwich."
    • The first game also has several amusing easter-egg spells based on Other Spell to Invoke:
      • "Kiss" on a monster or guard displays the message "You should seek professional help."
      • "Fuck" or "Shit" sends the player to Hell with a message of "Watch your language!". "Damn" does the same in Tomb.
      • "Eggs" displays the message "Why did you say eggs?"
    • In the second game, every dungeon (including the tutorial) has a hidden angel. Give her Bucky's Beef Stew and she will tell her your name. You can then summon her name once to instantly heal you and teleport you back to the docks.
      • And yes, killing one sends you straight to Hell.
  • Excalibur: The name of the most powerful sword in the first game. It's found in the Island Prison.
  • Fetch Quest: The main premise of both games.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: Played straight in Tomb.
  • Forced Tutorial: Subverted; you can skip the tutorial. However, it can be a good idea to play through it, because it offers far more treasure than is given to players who skip the tutorial. (For instance, you can gather multiple weapons and an Ethereal Potion, which can be sold for a high price or used to get a powerful sword early on.)
  • Game Breaking Bug: If a player's food meter is drained, he will lose health very quickly and be sent to Hell. Unless he finds food right away, he will be stuck in an infinite death loop. This bug was finally fixed in version 1.0.1 of Tomb, which replenishes the food bar when a player is sent to Hell.
  • Hell Hound: One of the enemies in the first game is just that (albeit spelled as two words).
  • Inconveniently-Placed Conveyor Belt: The tutorial shows an example of a conveyor belt being used to deny exit from a room (you have to turn it off via switch or use a haste spell to get across). However, this trick only shows up in one dungeon, where all it does is block you off from a very small pile of treasure. Even then, these can easily be thwarted by using the Haste spell.
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests: One of the items you can acquire at a shop is "Old Empty Chest," which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin and has no value at all. Tomb actually has chests laying about which, when opened, can reveal a useful (or useless) item.
  • It's Up to You: You have to do all the fighting, Item Getting, and everything else. None of the NPCs can help you beyond giving hints.
  • Joke Item: Tons are available at the shops and throughout the game. These range from the obvious, such as garbage, skulls, and old bones, to less obvious ones, including several varieties of Macintosh, the aforementioned old empty chest, etc. Tomb gets a little more creative with Stealth Pun items such as "Aks a stupid question...," a useless axe, and "hard rock bands" which are the highest armor rating but deafen the player.
  • Karma Meter: In a manner of speaking; the game keeps track of how many "good", "neutral" and "evil" beings you kill. In the first game, kill too many good beings (or the Prisoner) and the Big Bad insta-kills you.
  • Lampshade Hanging: One of the monsters in the game is called a Cameron, a species made up for the game. When happy, it asks, "What's a Cameron anyway?"
  • Level Editor: Sort of. After winning the game, you can edit all of the dungeons, but can't actually turn them into a newly playable game.
  • Level Grinding: Pretty much a necessity. You can even pull it off in the tutorial despite that level not having monsters; just use the entry-level spells (Heal/Cure, Illuminate) enough times and you can probably get to level 7 (by which point you will know all the spells) before you're even done with the tutorial.
  • Like a Badass Out of Hell: The tricky thing about monsters is there tend to be a limited amount, and randomized ones are rare unless you stock up on Make Monsters scrolls. This made level-grinding tricky, especially if you only want to kill evil monsters. When you die, you have to make your way through a fiery maze in Fire and Brimstone Hell without your weapons back to the living, while avoiding respawning devils. ....however, one gets sent to Hell if you "cast a spell" with a swear word in it. (Or use an item like a Hell Scroll or Adam's Apple that Randomly Drops). Ironically you get to keep your weapons in this case, and one can fire a weapon through the fire "walls" and the devils don't go through them. If you hit a devil with a boomerang enough times, they'll die; and devils do respawn immediately if you save the game in Hell and restore.
    • This is possible in the sequel as well; but trickier. There is one out of four possible "ironic hells". One of them has you giving presents to Devils, and they make fun of you for doing so. After enough times, the exit opens. Nothing prevents you from killing them at this point.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Almost all dungeons in both games are swarming with NPCs and/or monsters.
  • Money Spider: Both versions, but far more evident in Tomb, where killing almost everyone results in finding significant amounts of money.
  • Nintendo Hard: This game can be just that unless you a.) break it, or b.) somehow find a LOT of money to get powerful weapons and potions.
  • Obvious Beta: Tomb due to the many gaps. For instance, at one point you're told that the villages south of the mountains have given you a key; there's only one actual village south of the mountains.
  • Playable Epilogue: After winning the game in both versions, you are transported to a mini-level. The one in TaskMaker is a Shout-Out to David Cook's mother and various programmers, while the one in Tomb simply comprises several NPCs who say randomly-generated praises.
  • Poison Mushroom: "Skeleton Scroll" temporarily depletes your player stats (temporarily knocking down 10%-20% of however much Stamina, Spirit, etc. you have left) and "Depressions" knocks them down even further. "Devil's Scroll" goes so far as to lower your overall stats.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: Present in Tomb; the only differences are in character appearance and some sound effects. The character creation dialog box even mentions this.
  • Schizo-Tech: Despite being essentially The Theme Park Version of a medieval setting, both games have modern technology to an extent, including "Auto teller" machines, recycling bins, and early-model Macintoshes for sale at some shops.
  • Schmuck Bait: Inverted. "Poison Potion" in the first game, and "Worthless Potion" in the second, are potions that strongly increase all stats.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Enitsirhc in the first game, a royal house led by a woman named Christine.
  • Sequence Breaking: Averted. While you can clear out the path to a task object whenever you want, you can't actually pick up the next object in line until the TaskMaker has assigned it to you. The game even informs you of this.
  • Shout-Out: Many of the weapons, including the Vorpal Blade and Maxwell's Hammer. There are also some shout-out monsters, including a Killer Rabbit.
  • Significant Anagram: The most powerful cloak in Tomb is named "Cloak and avoid". This is an anagram of "David Alan Cook", one of the game's creators.
    • In a lesser example, "Fierce Fold" is basically a Spoonerism of "Force Field", but could also be counted as a slight anagram.
  • Skeleton Key: Of the "open any doors" variety. Tomb ups the ante by also offering lock picks, but they can only be used if the player is a Thief.
  • Speaking Simlish: The sound effect played when conversing with a player is actually the words "fine by me" sped up and multi-tracked. Similarly, the sound effect for reading a scroll is multi-tracked gibberish.
  • Sprint Shoes: "Boots o' Speed" in both versions.
  • Take That: Richard Garriot is held in the Island Prison; in a prison covered with feces. (You can only get to him by phasing through walls.) He says "I don't make games anymore."
  • Treacherous Quest-Giver: The titular character.
  • Vendor Trash: See also Joke Item, above.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can kill off almost every NPC, but there are a couple characters (including Mom in Enitsirhc) who render the player permanently deaf, blind and drunk if killed.
  • Violence Is the Only Option: One of the tasks in the first game is to kill a rebel and bring back his head. Averted from version 2.0.3 onward, as the level was changed so that instead of killing the rebel, you can bestow a gift to him, thus causing him to give you a slave's head, which the Task Maker always assumes to be the rebel's head. Similarly averted in the Island Prison from 2.0 onward, where you can (and probably should) bestow a gift to the prisoner instead of killing him as instructed, or just do nothing to him at all.
  • Wake Up Call Boss: The final boss is about 10 times more powerful than any monster in the game. He can also teleport, deafen, blind or intoxicate you, and summon monsters. He used to be nearly ten times more powerful than that in 2.0, but was severely cut down. Tomb not only has an uber-powerful boss, but also several Mooks to help him.
  • Welcome to Corneria: NPCs have only four lines: one each for happy, neutral, angry and frightened, plus a fifth randomly-generated line if killed. Most monsters in both versions only have one or two lines, more often in Tomb, where nearly a third of the monsters only say "Arrrr!" regardless of mood.
  • What the Hell, Player?: As stated above, this happens if you try to recycle a task object. Also, if you attack a good or neutral NPC, any other NPCs onscreen will become angered and start attacking you, usually with WTHP?-esque statements. If you do this in Castle Hall in either version, it will also anger the Guards, no matter how far from them you are.
    • This goes a step further with the "Mom" character in Enitsirhc — if you attack her to the point of frightening her (which happens when an NPC's HP is low), she will tell you "You're making a big mistake!" And if you kill her, your player will permanently be rendered blind, deaf and drunk (i.e., completely unable to finish the game).
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: One of the stat bars is Food. This is replenished by buying or finding any food, starting with Apples or generic Rations to Home-Cooked Meal and Spinach, which replenish both Food and all other stats. Similarly, an "Instant Vacation" spell will also replenish all stats including Food, and a Food Ring will keep the Food bar full at all times. As mentioned above, the Food bar hitting 0 causes the other stats to drain very quickly until the player finds food or dies from his health hitting 0.
    • Tomb also has a thirst meter, which rarely comes into action unless the player has come back from Hell or is made thirsty by the final boss. Thirst is replenished either by finding a beverage of some sort (with some, such as Coffee, Latte and Cappuccino also restoring other stats), or using a Heal spell a few times. It also has the Food Ring and a Candy Necklace, which does the same thing as the Food Ring minus the extra armor points.
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