Discourse Frotz - an Interactive Fiction game bot 🎲

Wooah, back again!

New Feature-rettes

Enable FrotzBot for private messages (at your peril! :wink: )

Allows users to play in private, but usage will be less transparent. If you have a big enough server this may not be an issue for you.


default: OFF

If (s)he is not enabled there, the user will get a polite message:

Restrict to a list of Categories, or allow all:


default: ON for all Categories


Hi Robert! Thank you, I really like this plugin !
I tried to install it on dev environment (without docker) and my system asked for the ncursesw lib when making dfrotz, after installing that it worked, will it be the case with a prod env with docker?

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I tested on Production and building on Docker (to my surpirse) worked out of the box. Feel free to deploy to a Production instance and let me know how you get on.

Glad you like it!!


For those like me, who might loose their last few hairs about that:

that’s :

  story_header_lines = 9
  story_load_lines = 7
  story_save_lines = 3

and now, how to adapt it… :sweat_smile:, that’s an adventure inside an adventure…!

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I’m currently working with the maintainer of Frotz to see if we can do away with those. It’s an approach I ported from restful-Frotz but hardly perfect :slight_smile:

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Yes ! found it !
kheper.z8,20,15,4 almost works
for this one :


it’s nothing, but there is something weird

) Line-type display OFF
Compression mode MAX, hiding top 0 lines

is displayed once by Pause() with

[Pause notNeeded;
@read_char 1 notNeeded;

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Ha, yeah, there are lots of quirks and a considerable amount of variety in the stories. I cannot promise to support all.

Right now my focus is on:

  1. simplifying code
  2. making the code more secure
  3. adding formatting where pragmatic.

#3 is surprisingly hard.

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I’ve pushed some improvements to a feature branch:


This does away with the silly suppression settings, introduces translation to BBCode to support formatting and colour, leverages the Dumb Frotz command line options better, obviates the need to write to a text stream and squashes a vulnerability.

This branch requires the official BBCode plugin to be installed.

I’m still experimenting with it. Feel free to do so too.

I’ll probably merge after some significant trials.

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Does the plugin need the whole frotz repo clone or does it just need $home/frotz/dfrotz to exist? Because I’d rather just compile it once and save the binary between rebuilds.

Not sure why you would care? The resources we are talking about are comparatively tiny. (6MB for the entire repo post make versus Gigabytes for the forum?). It clones the whole repo, then just makes dfrotz. Perhaps that is slightly wasteful, but the simplicity and repeatability is more important I feel. I could go into greater detail and perform a sparse clone, but that would make the build script more complex and less robust. Would it be worth it? Feel free to suggest an optimisation. This is all building inside the container, so will get cleaned whenever the container does.

I’m just trying to optimize for my tiny server, not asking you to change the general install.

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This is a really cool plugin! This reminds me of a “classic” computer game that was created years ago(I forgot the name).


It’s a great suggestion for a future optimisation if I can keep it simple and robust. Thanks!

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Yes there are many playable classics. More via the link in the OP.


BIG update: :tada: :kiwi_fruit:

(this has taken months of occasional background work and coordination with Frotz team).

Introducing full colour and monospaced formatting for stories


This big update comes with a bunch of improvements:

  • ADDED colour formatting and monospaced text support
  • IMPROVED simplified settings: no longer requires calibration of header and footer, just the desired title and story file, whoop!
  • IMPROVED uses Open3 gem for system commands, reducing risk of abuse/vulnerabilities.
  • IMPROVED internal interaction with command line to remove need for stream files, now copes with more/press any key prompts

Now REQUIRES the Discourse BBCode plugin!!

This required the collaboration of the maintainer of Frotz, David Griffiths and one of the very active members of that community, Borg323 who wrote the BBCode extensions against the BBCode Discourse standard. Many many thanks to them! We had to get a bit creative to get the monospaced text stuff to work, but the solution is really great!

Some examples of the new formatting (I’ve not fully tested these stories, these are just examples of formatting)


and notice the coloured compass here:


KNOWN ISSUES: There are loads of games that don’t work because of the nature of their call and response protocols. If one step of the game doesn’t lead you to a prompt at which you can save (ignoring press any key or More prompts which should be handled), then the story won’t work. e.g. in Act of Murder (great game!) the lady at the door asks if you are a policeman. Unfortunately this is a state of the game that’s unsaveable so fails this requirement and I can’t see a way we would get that to work.

There are probably games that are now compatible with Discourse Frotz that weren’t before … please experiment but note the limitation above!

Let me know if you have any issues getting this to work and I’ll refine the instructions as required.


A reminder that you can use keyboard shortcuts to improve your experience with this plugin:

  • Shift-R to reply to the bot

  • Ctrl-Enter to submit your next move

(Standard out of the box keyboard shortcuts).


Hi Robert !
finally had time to go further, so far so good, it worked right out of the box in prod env :+1:

Weirdly frotz is not able to respond in private messages unless I also set it in any category :thinking:
Next step : to play :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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Thanks for the report!

I’ve gone ahead and fixed that: https://github.com/merefield/discourse-frotz/commit/34b022e90b65b8c2acb3701384302e9cb0a57a65

NTS: must add some unit tests!


I tried to add :grin: in a source,

it’s going to be fun !

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I dusted this off to find that the bot didn’t work any more …

… it does now! :+1: COMPATIBILITY: sidekiq now requires strict JSON arguments · merefield/discourse-frotz@1340b17 (github.com)