The Trader of Stories:
Bell's Heart


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Rating: 4.7/5 (529 votes)
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Bradtraderofstories_title.jpgGather 'round me, children, and a story I will tell. Actually, it's a story about stories. Well, it's not so much a story as a review of a game about stories and storytellers. In this case, it's the latest from Pastel Games, a bit of short point-and-click fiction called The Trader of Stories: Bell's Heart. In Trader of Stories you take control of Myosotis, a barterer of tales, if you will, who's on her way to a place called The Cradle. Unfortunately, her wagon wheel breaks and she has to go into a small town to get it fixed. Of course, it won't be that easy. It turns out you don't have enough acorns, which are the local currency, to get your your wheel re-wrought. Looks like you're going to have to do some pointing and clicking.

Bell's Heart has all the usual makings of a point-and-click adventure. You'll use your mouse to interact with objects and people and also to help you navigate your way through the game. The most noticeable difference is your book of stories. As you make your way through the game you'll learn bits and pieces of the tragic tale of a local man named Derrida. Every time you hear more of the story, you'll get a note on one page of your book and a part of the picture on the opposite page. Along with fixing your wagon wheel, writing down the story of Derrida is your goal.

traderofstories_screen2.jpgAnalysis: If you're familiar with Pastel Games this won't come as any surprise to you because, as we've come to expect from them, this game looks and plays beautifully. Every area is lovingly drawn and detailed, the characters are just as well crafted with their unique looks and designs that ooze personality. This might be Pastel's best looking game to date, but since the style tends to change with each game that's an unfair call to make. On the audio front, the music wasn't really my thing, but I can't deny that it was very well done. Just a note, to fiddle with audio and quality options, you can right click on the game at any time to bring up those options.

"The narrative unfolds beautifully no matter what order you work out the clues. Add [this] to the tiny list of games that successfully play with narrative." -Shudog

The gameplay is pretty much standard point-and-click fare. The book of stories is a nice touch and while it doesn't add a whole lot of variety to the genre it is a lot of fun to watch the story come together. One element that might go unappreciated is the signpost tree. Sometimes in point-and-clicks navigation can be really big pain. It can be confusing as to which way you're going or, if the world is big enough, you can get lost. Trader of Stories simplifies all this while still having a nice amount of areas. To get to an area just click on the appropriate sign on the signpost. You'll still get to explore the areas, which aren't that big, but usually have some off-shoots to check out, and it cuts way down on back tracking.

Play all the Big Old Tree that Dreams games:
Trader of Stories: Bell's HeartTrader of Stories: A Grain of Truth

Trader of Stories: Bell Heart is the first game in the Rudowski brothers' Big Old Tree that Dreams series of games, and it's a great example of a strange, new and wonderful looking world that really draws you in. You want to know more about characters and spend long amounts of time in their world. Unfortunately, the game also tends to feel a bit too short, like getting woken up during the best part of a dream. Bell's Heart is also pretty easy, which doesn't help the length but does help the atmosphere. You'll breeze through it and get to soak in the sights without suffering from frustration induced myopia. In the end you'll want more. More stories to collect, more people to meet, more strange creatures and locations. We'll just have to hope for more.

Play The Trader of Stories: Bell's Heart

Walkthrough Guide


(Please allow page to fully load for spoiler tags to be functional.)

Trader of Stories Walkthrough

Except for a few things, most actions can be done in any order.

Wagon

Pick up wheel.

Pick up the bag of food.

Give food to the Zephyr pulling your wagon.

Click the town or the copse of trees in the distance.

Outskirts

Click the little pile of acorns in front of the stone.

Click the flower to the left of the path.

Click the stone, when the screen changes, click it again, go back to the original screen.

Click the copse of trees to the right.

Forest

Click the tree without any ribbons on it.

Click on the bell clapper strapped to the tree. Go back.

Go back to the outskirts, then proceed toward the towns.

Run Down House

Click on the house.

Click on the cat.

Click on the paper on the ground. Click it again when it's in your hand.

Go back, go towards town.

Center of Town

Click on the ladies on the ladies by the well.

Click the horseshoe on the sign post.

Stable

Talk to the woman leaning against the wall.

Ask the woman about Derrida

Return to the signpost tree and go to the next location

Forge

Click on blacksmith

Give broken wheel to the smith.

Ask the smith about Derrida

Go back, click on the house on the hill

Combine the bell clapper with the bell, click the complete bell

Go inside

Old Woman's Home

Grab the amulet on the left hand table

Grab the pot to the left of Myosotis

Talk to the woman, then ask her about Derrida

Go back to signpost, go to next area

Wayside Inn

Grab the pile of acorns on the right side of the round

Click on the cart down the road

Talk to the merchant, then talk to him again to buy the two recipes

Go back, enter the inn

Grab the flint on the table to the left

Click the drunk

Click the bartender

Talk to him, then ask him about Derrida

Grab the bottle above the bartender's head

Click the curtain to the side of the bartender

Click a bottle of wine, buy it

Leave, go back to the signpost, go to the town hall

Town Hall

Click the door up the stairs to the right

Talk to the mayor, then go back and ask him about Derrida

Go back, then click on the door to the left, then click on the waterfall in the distance

Click on a lily pad

Go back to the signpost, go to the rundown house

Run Down House

Go insde

Use flint on the tinder in the oven

Place pot on oven

Put flower, drunkard's hair and amulet in the pot IN THAT ORDER

Put cat's fur, lily pad and wine in the pot IN THAT ORDER, then use the empty bottle on the pot

Go back to the Wayside Inn

Wayside Inn

Go inside, use the amulet on the drunk

Go back to the stables

Stables

Give the drunk to the woman

Go back to the waterfall

Waterfall

Use potion on water

Talk to Derrida

Return to the mayor, give him the story of Derrida

Finishing Up

Go to the forge, buy back your wheel

Go back to your wagon and use the wheel on the wagon

All right, since people still seem to be having trouble I'll outline where you get every piece. This guide will go from the TOP DOWN and from LEFT TO RIGHT. So, if I say "third row, third space," that means the third row from the top and three spaces over.

1st row, 1st space

Ask the bartender about Derrida

1st row, 2nd space

Just talk to the bartender

1st row, 3rd space

Click on the tree without ribbons in the forest

2nd row, 1st space

Click the stone on the first screen away from your wagon

2nd row, 2nd space

Just go to the front of the Butterfly woman's house

2nd row, 3rd space

Just go into the forest

3rd row, 1st space

Ask the Butterfly woman about Derrida

3rd row, 2nd space

Ask the stablewoman about Derrida

3rd row, 3rd space

Talk to Derrida

4th row, 1st space

Just go to the waterfall

4th row, 2nd space

Ask the mayor about Derrida

4th row, 3rd space

Just talk to the stablewoman

5th row, 1st space

Just talk to the merchant down the alley of the Wayside Inn

5th row, 2nd space

Ask the blacksmith about Derrida

5th row, 3rd space

read the paper on the floor of the run down house

92 Comments

SonicLover Author Profile Page October 1, 2010 12:13 PM

Very well done. Beat it without any external help.

I wonder what type of walkthrough would be appropriate for this game.

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littlefish October 1, 2010 12:22 PM

Lovely little game!

Hint

When you find that you need a cauldron, visit the old house by the blacksmith.

To get in, use the bell thing from the graveyard on the dor bell.

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Schmorgluck Author Profile Page October 1, 2010 12:23 PM

Oh wow! Nice game! Not too challenging, and a glamorous mood. Very, very nice. I hope the sequel will come soon.

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Anonymous October 1, 2010 12:24 PM

I don't know how to make a potion. I have lit the oven and have every ingredient but I'm missing a vessel?

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Beachykins October 1, 2010 12:29 PM

Great game so far but I can't seem to light the fire in the stove... I know I'm missing something but I can't figure out what! Absolutely gorgeous game though!!

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SonicLover Author Profile Page October 1, 2010 12:45 PM

JIGuest:

I was looking for a vessel for a long time, too. Check the inn.

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JIGGuest

Have you entered the house beyond the blacksmiths? Look for a vessel there

Now _I have all the ingredients and a vessel but they refuse to combine. Any ideas?

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I'm missing the last of the story, and I've exhausted everything.

Bottom middle panel? I've talked to everyone, including the dead guy.

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Brilliant and atmospheric - just what one expects from Pastel. I'm intrigued with the concept, since Skutnik can spin off multiple tales of this sort, and they'd be very welcome.

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uhh im soo lost :S

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what is the purpose of the amulet of power?

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Never mind. A character who I thought wouldn't take something, did.

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why does the

drunkard take the amulet? it makes no sense!

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OMG SOLVED IT! :)

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SonicLover Author Profile Page October 1, 2010 1:35 PM

Chiuni:

He was probably just too drunk to object when you put it on him.

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LMAO aww SonicLover, you made my day :)

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Logic2009 October 1, 2010 2:38 PM

Lovely little game! I really liked it. Three buggy bits though.

1. I couldn't read the story all the way through after i'd finished. Couldn't scroll through it all and just got the first part.
2.

After telling the mayor the story and completing the game I went to a couple of places before leaving, like the undecorated tree. I accidently got 3x D's story and couldn't go back to the mayor. And the icon was in the same place that the fixed wheel was so I had to jiggle for ages to get around picking up the story and somehow get the wheel.

3. The music is still playing although I've exited the game?

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The scrolling is very buggy. The arrows don't work properly. Clicking and dragging on the square seems to be effective, but only if you don't let go.

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trialanderr0r October 1, 2010 4:33 PM

Namedrop (and cameo as the Mayor) philosopher Jacques Derrida (and arguably cleverly so)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacques_Derrida

Am impressed... (not that I wasn't already impressed by Pastel games...)

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On the site you guys linked to, it loaded instantaneously, and when I hit play, it goes back to the loading screen with play. Kept hitting play with no result.

[Try disabling your browser extensions and/or update your Flash Player. There is likely a conflict with your setup. Also, rights to the game were purchased by Games Nitro, which is the sponsor. That's why we linked to that site. -Jay]

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Nothing. Flash is updated and no add ons are conflicting. Everything else seems to work.

[If you list what versions of browser/os/flash player you are using maybe someone could try to reproduce the issue. I can't reproduce it on any of my systems (Windows or Mac) in any browser. -Jay]

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Im desperate to play this game but it just wont work, I cant get past the first screen! I give Zephyr the food and it keeps telling me I have to feed him before moving on, its so frustrating! Ive cleared my cookies and have the newish flash player so I dont understand why its not working :(

[There is no point in clearing cookies with Flash games. Flash games don't use cookies. If you give the bag of food to Zephr and he eats it but the game doesn't let you move on, then try clearing your cache (not the same as cookies) and reloading the game and start again. I hope that helps! -Jay]

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Infant Tyrone Author Profile Page October 1, 2010 5:59 PM

Very nice little game! Atmospheric and easy to play-- except for the buggy arrows. More please!

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The bottle you have to use for

the formula of the summoning of the drowned,

is that actually the

empty wine bottle?

I can't do anything after I added the last ingredient! Clicking the pot or bottle does nothing.

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@Isa WP: That's not the correct container for the potion. To get the correct container,

go talk to the bartender again and click on the round blue bottle behind his head

. From there just use the inventory system to use it on the cauldron!

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Lovely game, though I had the same scrolling bug as a couple of other people. If the arrows in the scrollbar don't work, you may be able to read everything by manually dragging the scroll box up and down.

Aside from that, the only other problems I had were occasional English errors -- the writing is generally good but sometimes it's clear that the writer isn't a native speaker. But again, lovely, and I especially like the way it gives a sense of a larger world -- especially because it means we'll probably get sequels!

The signpost was great too; sometimes navigation can be needlessly obscure in Pastel games, but this worked like a charm.

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lowattitude Author Profile Page October 1, 2010 9:21 PM

Ok, I know this isn't a help forum for technical issues, but I have been having some problems with the flash player for the last few days playing games here. I had an update recently so I guess it started after the last update. Anyway, my problem is that when I play flash games now, the game is larger than the screen that it is displayed on. Sometimes I can right click and click 'show all' and that fixes the problem, but when I went to play this game, right click didn't give me the option and I got to a scene in the intro that I couldn't see a next icon.... Any help or suggestions? Thanks in advance... I'd like to give this game a try if I can see it properly...

[It's kind of strange that this problem has come up several times recently by different people. I've created an FAQ on our Support Page for problems and issues like this. I think your issue of "flash games too large" is due to a zoomed browser. Check for the solution there. I hope that helps! :) -Jay]

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Lovely story and pretty fun.. only problem I had, was that I had to make the amulet of power before I could make the potion to summon the drowned, even tho I had all the stuff for both of them. Was there a reason for doing it that way that I perhaps missed?

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Anonymous October 1, 2010 11:35 PM

I loved this game. Can't wait for a sequel.

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Wait .........

So Derrida was both the neighbor AND the drowned man? What?

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That was awesome. I hope there are more!

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little_geoff Author Profile Page October 2, 2010 1:59 PM

ulch. I am stuck in the same place as Shudog. Bottom centre panel. I have done everything. But still missing something...?

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lowattitude Author Profile Page October 2, 2010 3:25 PM

Jay,

My problem was that my browser (i.e.) wasn't set at 100% viewing size. That fixed the problem. Thanks! Now I can give this game a shot.

[Thank you for confirming that! I'm glad you fixed it. :) -Jay]

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brokenrecord Author Profile Page October 2, 2010 4:58 PM

Just a gorgeous game. The one point I wasn't sure about was collecting the potion ingredients before getting the recipe. I didn't know why my character would want to carry around cat fur and a bell pull. I also wish it had been a bit more challenging. The "questing" atmosphere of the game was canceled out a bit when I stumbled upon many of the clues by accident.

Still, this is by far my favorite of the Pastel games.

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Mateusz and Pastel Games just keep soaring higher and higher into artistry. A story about a traveling collector of stories....fantastic! The music was just great and relaxing, the story and characters, poignant and memorable,the landscapes utterly breathtaking,. Mateusz is truely the Miyazaki of point and click games can't wait for this story to continue!

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What perhaps hasn't been noted ... the narrative unfolds beautifully no matter what order you work out the clues. There's only one paragraph that doesn't quite make sense. Small detail, as the art, the corresponding clue, and the text all lock together in an interesting way.

Add to the tiny list of games that successfully play with narrative.

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(I should note that JIG should really credit the individual artist who contributed. They have a blog.)

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Thanks, Shudog. I've pulled a couple quotes from your comment and incorporated it into the review.

As for the individual that we should credit, who did we miss? Marek Rudowski? Or are you talking of Pastel Games in general?

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Definitely some technical problems with this game. The biggest one (for me) is that the screens as designed are too tall for use on a netbook. In fact this is probably the tallest screen size I have seen on a flash game so far. Game designers need to keep in mind how many people use netbooks these days when setting up screen dimensions. Wider would have been much better than taller.

Like others I also had problems getting the PLAY button to work. Eventually I got it to work by using NOSCRIPT and blocking everything but the main website domain.

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sheila burton October 3, 2010 6:17 AM

the trader of stories: bells heart, it comes up as a blank page, no sign of the game.

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Thoroughly enjoyable despite the numerous bugs and glitches.

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for what it's worth, i have the exact same problem as bdd458, on a mac, on both chrome and firefox (latest versions for both, extensions disabled, flash updated).

[I'm also using a Mac (10.5.8) and both Chrome (6.0.472.63) and Firefox (3.6.10) play this game without issue in Flash Player (10.1.82.76). -Jay]

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I have the same problems as bđ458. Game takes me back to loading screen. I'm using Firefox and Adobe Flash Player (both the latest, I think)

[Please list your browser, os, and flash player versions if you wish someone to try to reproduce your issue. Without them we can only guess as to what you're trying. Thanks! -Jay]

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Wow, this is amazing! I am hypnotized by the very story and art! I though I already used to pastelgames awesomeness, now they surprise me with more awesomeness!

A bit of problem and bug found, the game height is slightly higher for my browser with just menu bar, navigation bar, tab bar, and the very bottom status bar. I have to disable my navigation bar to be able to read the texts on dialogues and items :/ . As the bug, I could get Derrida's story again after telling the story to mayor and go back to the waterfall-- though it doesn't seems to break anything.

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I had the same problem as @bdd458 but it just worked when i tried it the next day :S such a great game, i managed to get through it with minimal help yaaay :D

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For anyone still having an issue running the game at the Games Nitro site, please try it at this link:

http://jayisgames.com/games/the-trader-of-stories-bells-heart/

Does that work for you?

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I encountered the loading problem, too. I think there is just a goof up in the coding somewhere in its initialization. After ignoring it and looking at everything else on the page (my mind sometimes pretends to be a hummingbird mind), I clicked "Play" again and it continued normally. Just give the game a couple minutes by itself after it loads (I checked that my connection was idle to prove it stopped loading), and it should correct itself. I hope this helps.

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Gosh, I would have checked my grammar if I knew you would front-page me. Thanks!

And I misread a name somewhere; I meant Rudowski. The blog has some really cool behind-the-scenes art.

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This was a beautiful game, I hope there is a sequel!

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Near the begining of the game I gave the wheel to the blacksmith. I didn't have money so he said to bring him some. After telling the story and reselling the recipes I returned to the forge to get the wheel. I then noticed the wheel wasn't in my inventory and assumed that the blacksmith had been keeping it for me. He didn't. What now?

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Oops. Just realised that he HAS been keeping it and that I just had to click him a second time. Out of desperation I clicked the rock and now I have lots of completed stories.

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Windows XP SP3, Firefox and adobe Flash player (I don't care much for the numbers, but they're all newest versions)

The JIG link doesn't work either.

[Try uninstalling Flash and reinstall. There are a huge number of issues being reported like this recently. I'm thinking it's probably due to Flash bugs (we've seen a lot of Flash Player updates since they reached 10.0). If that doesn't work, the other likely culprit is any browser extensions you may have installed (ad blockers are notorious for causing problems with Flash games). I just tried the game, both links, using Windows XP SP3, Firefox (3.6.8) and Flash (10.1.85.3) without any issues whatsoever. -Jay]

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I think I'm stuck at a certain part.

I talked to the Mayor before doing the two main tasks with the potions. Now that I go back to the Mayor he says to get the story, which I thought I already had.

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Nevermind, the power of posting.

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I love Pastelgames. Although I do wish the game was more challenging, their work is always gorgeous. :) I can't wait for more.

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sigh. now i can play the game but can't get past zephyr. i feed him but still can't go into town. clearing the cache doesn't work. so sad!

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@little_geoff

bottom middle panel showed up for me when I asked the Blacksmith about Derrida.

Now, I've played through, both by myself and using the above walkthrough, twice and can't seem to get the top middle panel. Any help?

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Never mind, power of the post

You get it by talking to the bartender, but not asking about Derrida. I went back to my old saves and could not talk to him having done everything else in the game, so that one at least needs to be done earlier then other things.

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Smoothfonzo Author Profile Page October 5, 2010 2:23 AM

Not sure what I did wrong, but I followed the walkthrough to make sure I didn't miss anything and I couldn't finish it by talking to the mayor. I've still got one last square missing.

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I also cannot get past the beginning. I feed Zephyr and still cannot leave.

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On one of my computers when I start a game I cannot get past the very beginning where you need to feed Zephyr. I feed him but still cannot leave. I just started it on a different computer and found that apparently I'm supposed to start with three items(book; acorns; notes). On the first computer I ended up starting with none of these items.

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Wow, I feel really bad for thinking that this was enitirely a game from pastel. The true world and the makings of it belong to Mr. Rudowski! If you ever see this, I want to let you know that I think you truely have an artist's eye for scenes and storytelling, much like my favorite and possibley greatest anime director of all time, Hayao Miyazaki,have you heard of him? For anyone who wants to know more about him check his blog here. http://traderofstories.blogspot.com/

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I really enjoyed this it was both graphically and game wise one of the best point and clicks I've played, i hope they do more trader stories games.

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missing the middle piece

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Where do you get the top left piece

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Anonymous October 9, 2010 3:01 PM

Awesome game! Really cool graphics

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NoobEater Author Profile Page October 9, 2010 4:51 PM

Umm, hi. I was playing this game on Kongregate, and I was stuck on the second half of the game, so then I came here. Anyways, this game has a badge that says "Complete Book of Stories". I have gotten everything in there. I'm confused. Is there anything I'm missing or something?

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A gorgeously simple short game - perfect for a casual sit down. Don't have as much time as I'd like to play games, and when I started it I thought "oh no, this is going to consume me till I get it done!", but it was less than half an hour. PERFECT! Thank you for sharing.

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ok so i followed the instructions, but the thing left a puzzle piece out. So i did it all over again and it still left a piece out but instead it was a different one this time. I have no clue why and i followed the directions ....:(

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I'm not sure what I did wrong. I can't figure out how to give the story to the Mayor. I did everything else. When I click on the book of stories it just opens for me to read. I can't click the mayor anymore either. I wish I could finish!

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Beautifully written and wonderful puzzle. I enjoyed every second of this.

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You forgot to put the part about getting the fixed wheel and putting it back on the wagon

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vederblich Author Profile Page October 27, 2010 9:43 AM

Bug:

I can't put the stuff in the kettle for making potions. Have lit the fire and put the kettle on it but it won't let me add the ingredients.

I tried it both yesterday (when the game crashed right after this happened) and today, and have also double-checked with the walkthrough to make sure I wasn't messing it up. Must be a bug, right?

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So who was it that helped to put the wheel on the wagon? Deidra or the drunk?

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there is a glitch that won't let me use the bottle on the drowning potion, what do i do about that?

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can't get the bottle to pick up the formula of summoning drowned. help?

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Anonymous January 4, 2011 8:43 PM

Where do you get the empty bottle. Ive tried to use the empty wine bottle but it didnt work

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Are there any more like this?

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Krizpy,
There are no more Trader of Stories but if you search this site for narrative you'll get a list of all games similar to this one.

Some of my favorites include Aurora and anything by Hyptosis although, admittedly, they don't have the same pleasant charm as Trader of Stories.

You might be interested in other Pastel Games' games, too... especially the Sneak Thief series.

~elle

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Beautiful game, played it after A Grain of Truth. Thanks to JIG for letting us know of this series and other games like it (read through the comments). Also, I didn't encounter any bugs/glitches except some non-intuitive exit points for some scenes, but everything else was smooth and really impressive.

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Is there anyone that can tell me the order of the games?

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I followed the walkthrough and played the game twice- It will not let me talk to the mayor after meeting Derrida and there is no item in my inventory.

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Not sure what to do. I've got everything but one story piece.

I thought I asked everybody about Derrida, and I definitely DID speak to everyone, but the top middle piece (bartender) didn't fill in and now, according to somebody's post above, it's no longer possible anymore.

This was already my second attempt because the first time through I didn't realize what

"Who's Derrida?"

was for until too late. *sigh*

Other than this, I want to call it a nice laid back game. Hahaha, well the concept, music, and unfolding of the story are really well done either way. :')

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