An umbrella might be called a bumbershoot, but it's the same thing: a device normally held open and above one's head to protect oneself from getting wet in the rain. The fabric of an umbrella is water repellent.
A parasol is very similar in design and shape, but instead is meant to protect its user from excessive sunlight and provide portable shade.
Oversized umbrellas, like beach umbrellas, can be used either for rain or sun protection. Because they're so large, you're usually not meant to carry them, but instead lay them on their sides or insert them into patio tables or stands.
Tiny paper umbrellas are used to decorate some cocktails and are usually useless for any other purpose.
Most umbrellas are coded as single items but it's possible they can be disassembled, perhaps unscrewing the handle at one end, or the ferrule (tip) at the other end. If the handle is described as "loose", that's probably a clue.
- OPEN UMBRELLA
- CLOSE UMBRELLA
- GET/TAKE item WITH UMBRELLA
Getting an Umbrella
People also tend to keep an umbrella in their car. Check under the seats; look in the glove compartment; look in the trunk (or boot).
Tiny drinks umbrellas might be found in a bar; perhaps you have to order a drink first.
Using an Umbrella
- Protection from rain. It's rather unlikely that a work of IF will use an umbrella this way, but it has to be considered. If it is raining, use an umbrella to prevent your inventory items from getting wet. Water can damage many items, particular anything made of paper.
- Reach extender. Is something out of reach? Try taking it with the umbrella. Perhaps you can knock off that item from the high shelf? Or grab that dangling rope with the umbrella's hook-shaped handle?
- Secret message. Something could be written on the fabric of the umbrella, but you'll have to open the umbrella before you can read it.
- Secret container. If either the handle or ferrule (tip) can be unscrewed or detached from the umbrella, the shaft of the umbrella may be hollow, hiding something small, like smuggled industrial diamonds.
- Alternatively, the handle or ferrule themselves might be the important item(s), which can be used elsewhere.
- Weapon. Well, yes, you might have to hit someone with an umbrella if you have nothing better. If you're familiar with the Batman comics or TV show, you'd remember that the villainous Penguin used trick umbrellas that sprayed knockout gas or ejected a blade at the push of a button.
- Sail. Umbrellas help catch the wind. Use one like a sail to help you navigate on a raft when you have wind but no oars.
- Cocktail garnish. A small umbrella is sometimes an essential ingredient in making a cocktail. If no small umbrellas are available, but you do have a large one, you may need pseudo-science or magic to shrink it.
- Bad luck. Opening an umbrella indoors is said to bring bad luck according to some superstitions.
- Magic wand. From the Harry Potter books, the character Hagrid concealed his old broken wand in his umbrella, letting him use his umbrella as a magic wand. Also, in the book The Wizard of Oz, the Wicked Witch of the West also used her umbrella as a magic wand.
- Flight. Mary Poppins used her umbrella to fly, although slowly, like a hot air balloon.
- Parachute. It is possible that holding an open umbrella will help you survive a fall, if the umbrella is oversized or magical.
- Summon rain. Some magical spells or rituals to summon rain require an umbrella.
- Magic shield. Perhaps an umbrella has been treated (or can be treated) to give exceptional or unusual protection against something. Remember that Roadrunner cartoon where Wile E. Coyote holds up a tiny umbrella, hoping it would save him from being flattened by a falling boulder? Perhaps he just used the wrong umbrella.