PAWS (Python Adventure Writing System) is developed by Roger Plowman (wolf), whose web pages at home.fuse.net/wolfonenet/PAWS.htm are the primary information source. (Note that it is unconnected with Gilsoft's old PAW -- Professional Adventure Writer -- very popular on the Sinclair Spectrum around ten years ago.)
PAWS offers a novel approach to text adventures. Unlike the other authoring systems featured here, which tend to rely on a purpose-built compiler/interpreter mechanism, PAWS extends an existing environment -- Python -- to support IF authorship. Python is a mature general-purpose very-high-level scripting language, like Perl and tcl, which is freely available for many operating systems; see www.python.org for full details. The disadvantage of this piggyback approach is that, although PAWS games themselves are small, you need to install the Python environment before you can play them -- it's quite a hefty download.
PAWS is aimed squarely at new game authors who are not programmers, but who fear than ALAN (which requires no programming at all) may not do everything they need. It is a 'friendly' language, has very simple syntax, and is easy to learn. However, experienced programmers may also find PAWS to their liking: it doesn't easily run out of steam, and 'hard' things in other languages are easy in Python.
Quoting from the FAQ for the rec.arts.int-fiction newsgroup:
Games can be developed and played on a lot of systems because the Python language has been widely ported. The size of the Python language download is a disincentive for people to play PAWS games though.
Read the complete Inform entry at www.plover.net/~textfire/raiffaq/FAQ.htm#:PAWS or the entire FAQ at www.plover.net/~textfire/raiffaq/.
The PAWS version of "Cloak of Darkness" was written by Neil Cerutti (email@example.com) and revised for PAWS 1.1 by Roger Plowman (firstname.lastname@example.org).