|laziness, impatience, and hubris|
I'm afraid this is the first helpful suggestion that I'm going to have to turn down wholesale, for a variety of reasons:
1: I don't want to have to learn how to make Perl read a database created with some external package.
2: My work involves two databases, one MS Abcess, the other SQL. I've just spent a hellish afternoon trying and failing to produce a list of items from a given list once each exactly in the SQL database. I know I could have written Perl to do the same thing, given an appropriate data structure, in about 5 minutes. I'm trying to learn, yes, but I'm doing this for fun.
3: I have the version of Perl I got with Redhat Linux. I don't see Access for Linux anywhere, and I'm not about to start going to the mountings of the Windoze directories to fetch data. The adventure is intended to be self-contained.
4: Judging by my experience today, transitive exits would be quite a challenge in SQL, etc. I'd rather produce my own editing features, integral to the program, so that I can tinker as I go.
The game is intended to be multiplayer, in the sense of sitting around a single machine. AI is an option. But I'm not quite clear how drowning in SQL helps me write AI later.
Sorry to discard your advice - I'm just not a databasey person! :-(