Spectral Stalkers

By Peter Davill-Evans

 

This is Me:

Skill: 12

Stamina: 16

Luck: 11

Well the stamina could be better (and is actually what ends up killing me).

In this book I have been entrusted with an item called an Aleph and I am supposed to transport it to its rightful owner.  It is quite a good bit of kit and enables me to transport across different dimensions.  As I travel between the “spheres of the macrocosmos” I leave traces of energy that can be detected by the Spectral Stalkers so there is something called Trail that increases at certain times and can be tested similar to luck or skill.

At the start of the adventure a creature falls out of the sky and it’s last action before it dies is to hand me the Aleph.  It is shrowded in a cloth so naturally I take a peak underneath.  As I do this, I am transported to a vast building with a desk, a bell and a sign saying “Silence”.  I decide to head off and explore.

I search around but don’t seem much apart from a load of books.  I don’t meet anyone and am hopelessly lost so I take a random corridor.  Eventually I come to a door with a sign that says Classification department – No Admittance.  I’ve never been one to follow instructions so I push the door open.

Inside the door are a group of creatures called Ranganathans.  They are attempting to classify things and ask if I am “Admittance”  Ha!  They then ask what I am and  decide that I am a difficult case so attempt to take me apart to see how I work.  I make a run for the door but their claws lacerate me – ouch!  I still manage to get out and they don’t seem to follow me so I take a different corridor.

Eventually I come to a door to the Office of the Artefacts Specialist so I knock and am told to insert 4GP into the door which I do and as I walk in a bucket of water falls on my head.  A guy called Wayland is laughing at me – funny guy!  Through gritted teeth I introduce myself and he gives me a bottle of Siccator – I am reluctant to drink any but he seems genuine enough and the drink dries me off completely.  I am allowed to keep the rest of the bottle.  I end up showing Wayland the Aleph and he is amazed!  He tells me I should take it away from limbo (which is apparently where I am).  Wayland tells me to bring anything I don’t understand to “Semeion Cryptoglyphus” and with that, I step through the exit.  I am then told by a dwarf at a desk that I can go anywhere so I decide to let the Aleph take me where it wants…

I arrive in a corridor where I can hear chanting sounds.  As I edge forward, the floor gives way and I am deposited in front of a priest who thinks I am the victory sacrifice that they have been chanting for. I don’t put up any resistance and I am knocked out.  I wake up in a war chariot in the middle of a battle with the priest Syzuk standing over me.  At this point a solitary arrow flies across the sky and embeds in Syzuk’s shoulder.  The arrow is poisoned – for some reason I try to help him but don’t have any corrective fluid.  He doesn’t appreciate this act of kindness so I am obliged to kill him.  I kick his body out of the chariot but it is out of control.  Eventually a wheel hits a rock and breaks, sending me flying.  I manage to pick up a bit of the broken wheel before getting the Aleph out and transporting somewhere else.

I am now in a garden in my homeworld of Titan.  I see a procession of creatures entering the garden and when they see me they stare in astonishment.  It seems these people are the Feliti and they think I am their lord, arrived to save them from a Tyrant.  They gather up some flowers which turns into a jewel of sleep.  When I get the gem, I leave the garden to see if I can find the tyrant…  I arrive at his castle and he seems a bit pitiful.  He then notices the Aleph and tries to snatch it away from me.  Thankfully I am able to snatch it back before he can get it and use it to get the hell out of there…

I am now in a dessert with a small village.  There is a woman selling candles so I buy one and she tells me that the guy who makes them has been missing for some time.  I agree to help them find him and enter his cave where I eventually come across a clay golem that he has created.  It starts lumbering towards me so I fling the contents of the Siccator bottle over it.  It stops in its tracks and starts crumbling before my eyes.  When it is just dust, I rescue the potter who lets me take something for my troubles.  I chose a clay ball and low and behold, it is a great artefact that will protect me from some magic attacks.  Cool.  It rattles when I shake it but I resist the urge to break it open and use the Aleph to go somewhere else.

I find myself in a futuristic transporter and there are voices who have identified the fact that I have arrived in their transporter.  I quickly search for somewhere to hide and find a cupboard which I manage to break into.  It is too small to hide in but I pick up a fire extinguisher thinking it’s a weapon and wait to see what happens.  The door opens and some sort of robot enters – it is a grappler and it is trying to capture me as it assumes I have escaped.  I spray the extinguisher on it which gets into its mechanism and stops it in its tracks.  At this point, the doors fly open on all of the cages that I notice are surrounding me and many different animals escape.  They then start to flee from the forming Spectral Stalker behind me.  I decide not to hang around either and use the Aleph to get away, but not before my TRAIL score has increased by one.

I find myself in a large area of grassland near a forest.  After a while a load of animals flee the forest and are being chased by large creatures but strangely it is all silent. I decide to stand well clear of this commotion, they pass by and leave me alone.  There is nothing else to do here, however, so I use the Aleph again to go somewhere else.

Next I arrive at a clearing where I see a minstrel fighting with a hog-man on a beast.  Two more beasts arrive and attack but the minstrel plays his harp and they enter go into some sort of daze when he starts killing them.  I decide to help him but it soon turns out he is some sort of blood-thirsty warrior.  I decide that perhaps it is not for me so I bid him farewell. Sadly he doesn’t take too kindly to this and starts playing his instrument again.  I fail a dice roll and am unable to resist it.  I walk towards him and he just slices me in two.  The End.

Overall this was a decent book although the different encounters made it seem a little disjointed.

Legend of the Shadow Warriors

By Stephen Hand

shadow warriors

Things start with me moping around my home town getting bored until a group of farmers inform me that they are being terrorised by the return of the so called Shadow Warriors.  I decide on the spot to help them and prepare myself before leaving town. In the inn, just after I was approached by the farmers, a professional gambler enters and challenges me to a game of dice.  50/50 chance of winning so I gamble a small amount of gold.  If I roll a 4-6 then I win.  Strangely after I roll a 6, the dice jumps back to a 1.  I accuse him of cheating (obviously) and luckily someone in the audience also sees what happened.  The man is forced to give me my money back, plus 6 more gold and I take his loaded dice for good measure!  I decide to waste no more time and look for some supplies.

First I head for the Western side of town and pick up a Chameleon Cloak, some Fire Crackers and a bargain Mirror.  On my way to the Eastern side of town I am intercepted by some guards as I apparently have a warrant for my arrest out on me.  I decide to let the guards arrest me.  In the cells I manage to trick the guard into letting me out and I make good my escape.  I need to leave town quickly and head for the East Gate.  I jump onto a rubbish cart, which seems to be a good move as the guards are waiting for me at the gate.  Thankfully as I am covered in rubbish, they don’t see me and I am able to get out of town.

On my way out of town, I sadly bump into the Shadow Warriors themselves.  They hack down the farmers and knock me to the ground.  I decide my best chance is to play dead.  Luckily I am able not to react when they get down and stab me on the floor.  They ride off to the south.  Getting up, I shortly come to a junction and decide to head East to look for a hermit who might have some information to help me with the Shadow Warriors.  On the way I see a Wizard’s well and decide to drink from it.  As I attempt to do this, a Highwayman tried to hold me up.  He is not pleased with the amount of gold I offer him so I slay him.  Afterwards I drink from the well and gain a few stamina points.  I then head off to find the hermit.

When I get to the Hermit’s place he offers me a meal and tells me a bit of back story about the Shadow Warriors.  At this point there is a knocking on the door from someone claiming to be the Hermit’s dead son.  I manage to restrain the hermit and stop him opening the door.  I think this probably saves his life and in return he tells me that if I kill a Shadow Warrior I need to rip its mask off to stop it coming back from the dead.  I feel this is very important information…  I leave the next morning and head South.

As I am heading South, the ground starts moving and opens up into a huge mouth.  I don’t hang around and head for a copse of trees.  The copse isn’t all that safe, though, as it contains a tree monster type thing.  It puts up a good fight but I kill it and carry on South. I am coming towards a town called Hustings but before I get there I talk to some sort of face in the grass…   I decide to help him and he tells me to say a secret word if I feel that I have helped Hustings.  With this in mind I head towards the town.  Before I get there, though, I see some scarecrow type men emerging from the fields.  They have pumpkin heads and are depicted on the front cover of the book.  I put on my chameleon cloak and sneak past but the one near the road that has spotted me.

I head towards a suspicious looking tower near the town and am promptly ambushed by a number of Haggworts who take me up to witch who is their leader.  I decide to decline her dubious offer of food and instead ask her to prove she has the power over the Haggwort by setting them free.  Amazingly she agrees and she is promptly pushed into the fire.  I take the iron band she was using to control them and remember the word that Jack in the Green told me to say.  I get transported to the Cauldren Ring and get given the Spear of Doom, which is a damn useful bit of kit!

I travel south towards Cumbleside but before I get there I see another tower.  I decide to investigate this too.  I ring the bell and am greeted by a young woman who invites me in and offers me some food.  There is something I don’t like about her so I leave it alone.  I talk to her and it seems she has been experimenting and has created a creature out of bits of other people.  Nice.  She is now after my brain so I have to kill her monster before the whole place goes up in flames.  I grab a lantern before I escape.

I decide to head back to the junction and go towards Shattuck. After a while I am caught up in an Orc hunting  party.  Just at this point, however, I spot a cave and decide to hide out in that.  The cave contains an Ogre, but it is probably preferable to a whole troop of Orcs so I kill it and remain in the cave.  I light my lantern and head on into the cave – it goes back a long way and seems to be a viable way South.  After some time I encounter a rather nasty looking chap called, errr, Smegg.  I don’t like the cut of his jib so decide not to let him help me onwards.  When I refuse his help, he stabs me in the back and I am forced to kill him.  Probably a good thing I didn’t trust my life to him then!   I step over his body and enter a nightmarish maze which doesn’t seem to make sense.

I stumble around the maze for ages before being put to sleep by the true gate keeper!  Ah well…

The Keep of the Lich Lord

By Dave Morris & Jamie Thompson

lichlord

Skill: 11

Stamina: 19

Luck: 10

Resolve: 8

Not too bad, that Resolve score might be the source of some problems though.

This feels like a good, traditional Fighting Fantasy yarn.  The Arrowhead islands are under attack from Lord Mortis, the long dead leader who ruled over the islands with fear several hundreds of years ago.  He is risen from his tomb, assembled an army of undead and is hunkered down in a fort somewhere on Stayng Island.  It is my job to assassinate him.

I arrive in siltport (It was a much more uneventful trip than in a few books ago in Master of Chaos).  I decide to stay around in the local tavern but decide not to mention the fact that I am on a mission to kill the local warlord.  There is nothing else to do here so I leave town and head north towards Mortis’ tomb.

Along the road to the north is a town called Menela.  The men there are being terrorised by some sort of fluffy creature.  Of course I help them kill it and collect the bounty. I also manage to find a guide to take me to the tomb but when I get there, I get a bit scared and run away!  Doh!  I end up South of Siltport and carry on my adventure.

The road turns East and I see a cave in the hills.  I go in and it turns out to be a Temple of Luck.  After defeating the guardian I take a whistle, a potion and some gold.  The potion turns out to be a healing draught but I am not sure what to do with the whistle.  I decide to use the ring to ask the guys back at home but they don’t know and tell me off for wasting a charge on the ring.

I then travel for some time before coming to a crossroads and an Inn.  The inn is connected to a graveyard with some rather ominous graffiti.  On entering the inn, it seems it is covered in garlic – I can see where this is going!  I  get talking to some of the locals, buy a puffball from a merchant and just when I am about to go to bed, a hooded figure grabs my arm.  At this point, a soldier comes up to us and gets it to let go.  I decide to tell the soldier about my mission and he wants to come with me.  We share a room and in the middle of the night, the hooded figure comes back.  The soldier, Kandogor, is about to kill it until I stop him…

The hooded figure turns out to be a wood elf who is trying to kill the vampire in the graveyard.  Much to Kandogor’s disgust I agree to help and in the morning we search the cemetery.  All day we have found nothing but when the sun starts to go down, the vampire finds us – it is Lady Lotmora, and she attacks me. At this point, the hateful Kandogor joins her and attacks me too – I knew there was something dodgy about him!  Anyway, the Lady Vampire herself is far too powerful for me and I become her latest victim.

Black Vein Prophecy Blog

By Paul Mason & Steven Williams

blackvein

Black Vein Prophecy is a slightly different book to those I have done up to now.  A bit like in Creature of Havoc you have no idea who you are and it is not necessary to roll any dice for stats as this is explained in the text as and when they are needed.  It is an interesting approach and the story jumps straight into you waking up in your own sarcophagus.  Looking around I can see another body and it appears that a silvery creature has taken an interest in it.  On closer inspection it seems the creature belongs to the dead man.  It is still held on a lead.  The man seems to have stuffed his pockets with jewels but was hit around the back of his head.  I wonder who did that?  My attention turns to my sarcophagus again but when I look at it, the chamber starts to crumble and bits of rock are coming down on me.  I make like a tree and go.

I stumble through some rooms and as I go, the place seems to be falling in on itself.  I make may way through some sort of Terracotta army into another room where there is a colourful light flashing.  I roll for my first stat, luck and luckily do not get hit by the flash and make it into the next room.  I carry on, roll for my stamina, hear someone tell me its too soon and to remember everything I have been taught (oops!), roll for my skill and finally escape from the tomb.  I find myself in the charred remains of a seaside town.

First I decide to investigate the sea wall and notice some catapults ready for firing. I make a mental note of this and search on.  I am disturbed by a talking horse with a rainbow rider.  It says something about rats and sinking ships so I decide to chase after it.  When I catch up, it keeps babbling about rats and meadows.  I reach out to try and touch it and I gain the mutation power – hoorah.  It runs off and I am left to head towards the sea.  I find those catapults I saw earlier and decide to catapult myself into the sea (why not, eh?!).  Luckily I manage to survive the fall and float to the surface.

Shortly after I land in the water, I am rescued by a woman called Velkos in a boat.  I tell her about the dead man in the tomb and she seems upset for a while but soon gets over her loss.  Next we are approached by a man in a sphere.  I use my sword to cut him out but he attacks me.  He is a criminal who has been sentenced to spend the rest of his time in the sphere – he is mad so I have to kill him.  I then decide to get a bit of shut-eye.  While I am asleep the treacherous Velkos starts going through my things.  I wake up and she mutters something about trying to find out who I am.  The thing she is trying to take is a broach.  Something weird happened when I open the broach and I end up losing it.  Oops.  Shortly after this we arrive at the shore.

Next we head towards a forest and there appears to be a group of people tracking me.  Velkos suggest trying to hunt them down so I agree.  Eventually we find a group of bandits and hide up a tree.  It doesn’t fool them, though, and they spot me.  I sidle down to meet them face to face. I tell them I have lost my memory, one thing leads to another and I end up joining the outlaws.  They put me to the test by asking me to rob a peasant but I refuse and explain that the bandit life probably isn’t for me.  The bandit leader seems understanding but he still takes my sword from me and sends me on my way.

I walk down a road and the fields start to look like they have been left to die.  I see two peasants stuck in the mud in one of the fields and decide to help them.  I think this might be a trap though as I am attacked by a Shael beast.  It carries me away and drops me some way away at its lair.  I manage to kill it, but not before it does me quite a bit of damage.  I find another road leading away from the lair.  The road seems to lead to a settlement but on the way I see a pile of clothes at the side of the road.  I decide to look for their owner and discover a man tied up with a scroll in this helmet.  I take the scroll and untie the man.  I wonder if the scroll is of some use…

When I enter the village I sit down with some travellers who share a meal with me.  I pass out from exhaustion and when I wake up they are all gone.  I do see a large battle wagon, however, so I investigate.  The inhabitant seems to recognise me so I bluff him.  He gets suspicious though so I end up having to kill him.  I grab his battle map and leap from the carriage to make my escape.

Walking down the path I come to a cliff face.  I see some bandits scaling the cliff and entering a cave system so I decide to investigate them.  I end up going down a tunnel in a tree and end up in the cave system myself.  I meet a guy called Creddas who tells me my own name and offers to help me.  He gets rid of the bandits, gives me some orange syrup and tells me to go on a treasure hunt for him to the South.  I agree and head off.

After a day or so I get to a river and head down stream to the jungle.  After a while I cannot travel any further on the bank but spot a boat I think I can use.  I swim out to it and set off but am set upon by a mass of eels.  I do not have a “Chang Whistle” which would probably drive them off and the eels end up eating me!  Ouch!

 

Master of Chaos

By Keith Martin

master of chaos

A staff of power has been stolen, probably by a man called Shanzikuul.  It is up to me to retrieve it and return it to its rightful owner.  Unfortunately I have to do this undercover and my cover on this occasion is that I am a slave on a ship.  This means I have to endure beatings and that I start with pretty much nothing apart from two gold pieces hidden in my shoes.  My stats:

Skill: 11

Stamina: 20

Luck: 9

I pick Tracking, Animal Wisdom and Climbing as my skills so off I head.  I start off on the slave ship and witness a fellow slave get a bad flogging.  I try and intervene but this only focuses the slave master’s attentions on me and he starts attacking me instead.  After the beating is finished I fail to overhear a conversation and the next day I am beaten again.  I decide to passively take it and suffer more stamina loss.

The next day I am scrubbing the decks when the captain is attacked by a tentacle.  I decide to help fight it off with my ball and chain.  After killing it, the captain lets me drink some grog!  Now I have helped the captain out, the rest of the voyage is fairly easy going until we hit land.  One of the other slaves suggests we try and escape now whilst the crew are all drinking but I decline the plan and decide to make my own way to land.  During the night I sneak out but, not being able to move silently, I am spotted and when I dive into the water, the crew throw daggers and the like at me.  Some hit me but I keep going and end up on the shore.  I rest for a while before getting my bearings.  I am in the town of Ashkyos, ready for the next part of my adventure.

I decide to head for the warehouses first.  When I get there I bump into a young thief who I manage to apprehend.  The man who was giving chase is  so happy that he gives me some gold and offers me a job on the docks.  I accept and get paid some more gold and I get a decent square meal too.  I stick around the next morning and meet someone called Vesper.  He seems to have a dodgy job going that evening but I decline his offer and go shopping instead.

I look around all the shops but don’t have much money so I buy a backpack, a sword and some provisions before heading off to Entertainer’s square.  I wonder around the square and notice that there is some gladiatorial combat taking place.  I challenge the half ogre champion to a fight to the death and having defeated him I get a nice haul of 12 gold.  I do become a bit more notorious however, as this kind of behavior is not very conducive to being undercover, so I try my luck in the markets.

When I get to the market I see a man selling a mongoose.  I decide to buy him and it turns out he can talk and is called Jesper.  He turns out to be quite useful and makes me a net 8 gold pieces by hatching out some creatures from an egg we bought.  I tell him he does not need to do any tricks and he gets me five more gold by biting a passer by.  He leaves to liaise with a lady mongoose (yeah, really!) but will return when I am ready to leave the city.  I decide to head to the Old Quarter next.

As soon as I enter the old quarter, a mule nearly knocks me over.  It is out of control but I manage to subdue it, much to the delight of its owner who gives me some gold for my troubles.  I then decide to enter a Guursh Bar, and manage to bluff my way past the bouncers before sitting down for a drink.  I am too cheap to buy one though and instead see some sneaky men up to no good.  I follow them round the back of the bar but one of them shoots me with a poisoned dart.  When I wake up, they have taken all my gold and my sword.  Damnit!

I pick myself up and head for the Docks.  I notice some shady dealings but decide not to rob the guy so carry on, only to bump into Captain Shagrot himself!  He even has a pirate parrot to scratch me in the eyes whilst I fight him.  I do end up defeating him, though, and my spoils are his magic scimitar. Ace!  Sadly I am becoming quite well known so will have to tread a bit more carefully in future.  I have not much to do now so return to the Warehouse.  This was a bad idea.  The rozzers recognise me and I am chased down.  I manage to escape most of them except one Man Orc, who I kill.  I am now so notorious that I have to leave town.  On the way out I decide to buy a few more provisions with the gold in my shoe but I doubt it will be enough.

I head South and there are some grueling days walking – I have to eat four of my precious provisions before something eventful happens – I am attacked by a snake.  I pick it off without too much trouble and trudge South.

When I am sleeping, Jesper alerts me to something approaching.  I am about to be attacked by a Mutant Orc.  I manage to get it down to its last stamina and save its life.  I give it one of my precious provisions and it tells me that it used to be a normal Orc but was captured and experimented on.  There are also a group of people looking for a magical item.  Sounds intriguing but not that useful so I carry on.

The next day, all the rest of my provisions spoil in the head (I knew I wouldn’t have enough) and my stamina is rather precarious too…  Thankfully I spot a deer and using my animal wisdom skill am able to bring it down.  I could now eat my fill but for some reason the raw meat is useless to me and I need a lantern to cook it!  Bah!  I guess I would rather die than eat uncooked meat…

The next day is very hot and without a ring of endurance, the heat brings me close to death.  I am now so near death that the next two meals I have to skip sees me dying of hunger.   If only I had some succulent raw meat…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dead of Night

By Jim Bambra & Stephen Hand

deadofNight

Skill: 11

Stamina: 16

Luck: 11

The stamina could be the problem here..

In this book I play a demon hunter who decides to rid the world of Demons after they attack my brother.  This has caused a demon king to get a bit upset and he kidnaps my parents.  The books seems to be about me trying to find out what happened to them and probably to finish the dude off in the end.

My first port of call is my home town, where I see an unfortunate skeleton in a cage.  I decide to spur my horse on past it and surprise, surprise the skeleton moves and starts talking to me.  I decide the best course of action is just to ignore it so I do that and nothing happens until I arrive in the town itself.  I head off to see the priest to find out if he has any information for me.

When I get to the priest, I am told that he found my parents dead several days ago but sensed there was something wrong and they turned out to be Demons.  The priest buried them but the Demons were still alive and I had to kill off his Blight Demons for him.  After killing them I found a map to an area where prisoners were apparently being held.  So I took the map and left town.

I travel North and shortly spot a Wagon heading my way.  I decide to wait around to see who it is and it turns out to be a group of Peasants fleeing a demon attack in the North.  One of them is wounded so I use my Heal talent to help him.  He tells me that they have come from Weddonbridge so I decide to head in that direction as there are obviously demons attacking the town.

I continue North and come to a cross-roads.  There are a group of peasants here burying one of their kind (young Calbert, who has killed himself) because, as everyone knows, if you don’t bury a suicide victim at a cross roads, they return as the undead.  Aha.  So, I help them but would you know it?  Poor old Calbert is now Calbert the Vampire but he doesn’t like my silver cross, which distracts him whilst another villager stakes him.  I gain a luck point for my troubles and head off West.

At this point I realise that I am close to the cave that the earlier map told me about.  I find the cave and realise that the map has been a trap.  I am met by a huge demonic skull that shoots beams out of its eyes.  I luckily manage to destroy it, however, and I gain an extra talent – I pick Meditation and head back to the road Northwards.  Next, along the road, I see a cross at the side of it.  I decide to Meditate here for a while and get a Holy Amulet for my troubles.  Hope that comes in handy.  I set off again for the next town.

Just before I arrive at the town I check out a wooden hut.  I test for Demons and the place is crawling with them so I decide to leave well alone.  I head on into the town and the townsfolk need some help guarding a building from some marauding Moon Demons.  I manage to keep them out of the roof by using the Holy Amulet (although I do kill the one that gets through the defenses).  Downstairs again and I do not have the Holy Circle talent and decide that Meditating at this point is probably not clever. Sadly that means I have to fight the Demons and they are far too powerful for me.  I die in combat.

Seems I may have been a bit premature.  After 3 combat rounds, the sun comes up and the Demons disappear.  I have survived the night after all.  The peasants are overjoyed but head off south, away from the Demons.  I get a luck point for my troubles.  I head off Northwards again and hear something coming.  I decide to hide in the bushes like the scardy cat I am and it passes without incident.  I find some provisions on the floor too, for good measure.  I trek on and stay in an abandoned tower for the night.

During the night, I am visited by the Ghost of Sharleena.  She mutters something about a Pool of Dunningham.  I can’t work out what she means so I go to sleep and the next day I  head off towards Axmoor.  Just before I get to Axmoor, the bridge starts to give away and I am being attacked by a large tentacle.  Luckily I manage to escape so I run towards the town.   The town itself seems almost completely destroyed.  At the centre is a huge organic looking building that seems to be exuding evil.  This is what I have been looking for.  There is a large door or a small hole.  The door seems a bit obvious so I go through the hole.

The hole is a tube that leads to the building.  It is veiny and a bit gross but I manage to dodge vapour clouds and end up near a valve at the bottom.  There is a small opening nearby so I go through this.  I go down a passageway and have a choice – left or right.  I head left and enter a cavern with two Demonic Servants keeping watch over some captive people.  I kill the demons but the prisoners won’t leave.  They are to be fed to the building’s furnaces and it has them in its thrall.  They cannot move.  I come back the way I came, ignore some steps and go the other way.  This way also opens up into a cavern.

The cavern seems to be some sort of heart of the building.  I dispatch a Demonic Servant and find some tubes with different coloured liquid in them.  There is a feed, drain and additive.  I unhook the drain thinking that this will kill the heart.  It seems to start beating faster so I hope it does something good.  At this point, it seems like a guard has been awakened.  Worried that it might undo the good work I have just done, I wait to see if I can stop it. Sadly at this point it kills me.  My adventure is over – I felt I did quite well with this story until this point…

 

Fangs of Fury

By Luke Sharp

fangs

Skill: 10

Stamina: 20

Luck: 11

In this book I play a young soldier who finds himself volunteering for something unknown.  At first I think I have volunteered for extra cooking duties or something but as that probably would not make a very exciting Fighting Fantasy book I soon find out it is something entirely different.  The town is under siege by Ostragoth the Grim because there was a meeting of influential wizards whom he wanted out of the way in order to conquer the land.  For some reason they think that sending a young, inexperienced recruit who doesn’t know what he is doing to reignite the dragon fires is the best solution to this problem.  Not only that, but I have been fitted with a device that will kill me if all of the Citadel walls are breached.  Nice.

I am then shoved down a tunnel under the Citadel and told to get on with it.  My first choice is whether to take a tunnel off to the right.  I decide to do so and something bites me before I have another choice to make – the left tunnel this time.  This tunnel becomes sandy and I am attacked by some tentacles before I find a gem stone (a star crystal) I pick it up and then dig through a mound of sand that is standing between me and fresh air.

As I dig myself out of the sand, I am spotted by some Orcs and decide to blend in by helping them push a catapult out of the sand.  The leader then instructs me to head for a tower with some others, so I do that.  When I get there, someone recognised me so I silence them with a blow to the head.  This seems to go down well with the guards and I am ordered to take some prisoners to the island.  I take the left boat but it starts sinking.  Thankfully I am able to swim to the other boat and make it to the island.  Once there we are ordered to stand in two lines.  I pick the right line.

As we line up, a dwarf makes a run for it.  One of the guards catches him and is about to chop his head off so I feel I have little option but to kill the Goblin Guard.  I hide his body and head back to the group.  I then spot a Monk who is motioning me to follow him so I see what he wants. He explains to me that I need to be looking for pictures of cubes and make a note of them and also that I should be looking for people of Xen religion, I will need to mention that if I meet any more of the monks.  I then hear a commotion and so run off.

I run through some trees and an arrow narrowly misses me before I head for some rocks but am ambushed by a group of Wolves who jump out of the bushes at me.  I get bitten but manage to kill them. I then carry on down a path to the West and arrive at a port.  I pick the ship Gurgan-Ran and am assigned work in the hold but the ship starts sinking.  Luckily I am able to escape and find a drifting bit of wood but need to fend of a deranged sailor before I can float towards a small settlement.

As I start to relax in the settlement I notice that a small girl has dropped a bag of grain so I help her pick it up. Shortly afterwards I see that her teacher is starting to beat her for being late so I get a bit angry, snap his cane and threaten him to stop (which he does).  Turns out that the girl is the ward of a monk who sets me a random test that enables me to get 6 black cubes.  Before I leave the village I receive 20 gold for helping a man get rid of two Orcs stealing from their stores.

After leaving the village, I travel through a plain before heading towards a smoking building.  I take the right path through the marsh and find it is fairly uneventful before I arrive at a Monastery.  When I get there I climb up some stairs and check out a room off a landing but I am immediately attacked by Jinxana.  She is the toughest fight yet but I manage to dispatch her.  On entering the room, I mention the name of the religion I was told earlier and am rewarded with a load of black cubes – hoorah!  I decide to head back out of the room and bump into 4 Orcs – ouch.  I kill them off and decide instead to leave the Monastery via the trapdoor in the room.

I land on some soft ground just below the Monastery and start heading off North towards the Mountains.  Eventually I become very lost and decide to stop off in a pub for some directions.  I get some very helpful direction from the local bar keep and set off North again with a bit more purpose.  I soon see a horse galloping towards me dragging a dead Orc with it.  I decide that it might help me get to my destination a bit quicker and I climb on to it.  At that point the reigns trap me to the horse and it gallops off into a waiting group of Mage Warriors and I am powerless to resist them.  That seems a bit unfair…

Here is my map:

map39Fangs

Vault of the Vampire

By Keith Martin

vaultvampire

Skill: 10

Stamina: 23

Luck: 10

Things start off in a sinister way as I arrive in the Heart’s Blood inn.  The locals are initially reluctant to talk to me but are soon spilling their guts about their families and friends going missing, taken by the evil count to his castle.  I am to go and rescue one young lass in particular who has been snatched.  Just then a headless coachman turns up, offering me a ride to the castle but I decide I would rather walk so I am given some gold for the ferry and head off into the forest.  Soon I meet a woman and a bear.  I try talking to them…

As I start talking, the woman fires an arrow at me.  Ouch.  When I explain I am not up to no good, she seems rather apologetic and gives me some food to make up for it (not sure that quite covers being shot with an arrow).  Possibly more helpful is the fact that she walks me to the Ferry and stops the little man there from charging me and also advised me not to accept his hospitality but to stay with the Forrester over the river. So I don’t and get across the river for free!  I soon arrive at the forrester’s hut and his hospitality is indeed good.  He gives me some food, tells me to look for a guy called Lothar in the castle as he is a goodie.  Perhaps most importantly, given the title of the book, he also give me a clove of garlic.

Eventually I come to the castle itself. The front door is ajar so I let myself into a large courtyard.  I stride purposely across, through some doors at the far end and find myself in an entrance hall.  I go through a door in the north find myself in a corridor.  I enter the first room and encounter an enchanting scene of Zombies preparing dinner.  They cower before my greatness so I sneak past them and take some meals from the kitchen.  I then go through another door.

This door leads to a dining room that contains a rug that attacks me!  Wonderful.  I kill the rug, grab some silverware and head into the next room.  Here I find some Brandy and a Silver Mirror so I take both of those.  I then back track and try the door to the North.  It is locked and I need a key so I head down a corridor opposite.  At the end of the corridor is a room inhabited by a fairly friendly doctor.  I bribe him with the silverware I just stole from the room across the corridor and the Gold that I didn’t have to pay the ferry man.  This is just enough to ask him about the library and for him to give me a key – now we’re getting somewhere.  I use the key to open the locked door.

The library is an interesting room and it is here that I learn.. shock horror… the count is a Vampire!  Well I never!  Good job I have that Garlic…   Anyhoo, I also pick up the Book of Swords which looks like it might come in handy.  I leave through a secret passage, climb some stairs and find myself in a room with Zombies.  I dispatch the Zombies and then head down some stairs.

The next room I come to contains Gunthar Heydrich.  He is a pleasant healer and seems very pleased that I have come to kill his brother.  So much so that he gives me a Silver Crucifix that I will need to kill him.  He also tells me that the book I picked up in the library contains the sword that I need to kill him but it has been locked into the book by some magic.  The only person who can free the sword is the count’s sister, Katarina but she is an apparently unpleasant character.  Hey ho, on we go.

I open the other door and find a corridor with several doors leading off it.  When I open the first door, I am hit by a blinding flash and attacked by a skeletal monster that shoots green rays out of its eyes!  I fight on, having been partially blinded by the flash (I am also given the opportunity to escape) and manage to overcome the beast.  My reward is a lock chest.  Darn.  I’ll come back if I find the key..

In the next room, there is an enveloping dark mist.  I cannot fight it with my crappy normal sword so the mist smothers the life out of me and I am dead!  Not good!

I thought I might start adding my map onto these reports.  Obviously it is not complete and it may well be wrong but it might be of interest to someone so here is my Vault of the Vampire map:

map38Vault

 

 

Portal of Evil

By Peter Darvill-Evans

portalofevil

Skill: 9

Stamina: 19

Luck: 12

The forest near the Cloudhill Mountains used to be quiet and no-one would ever set foot inside the woods. That was until the recent gold rush and suddenly the place was like Picadilly Circus.  Unlike Pic Circus, however, people have recently been going missing and something seems to be very wrong with the forest.  This is where I come in, arriving to help find out what is going on and in return I will be handsomely rewarded by a local mining baron.

As I travel to the local town I come across a dying lizard type creature and an elf who are swiftly attacked by some soldiers.  I help fight off the soldiers and the lizard tells me that he used to be an elf before he was captured and made to submit to the will of the Portal.  He was not turned into a mindless warrior but instead was turned into a Dinosaur.  Interesting.  Anyway he soon dies and I am ready to head off again.

I decide to head South East to try and find Gartax, someone who apparently knows a thing or two about what is going on.  Eventually I come to a clearing and encounter a man being attacked by a large bird type creature.  I come to his aid. Unfortunately this is a trap and as I turn to attack the bird, the man puts a knife to my back.  I decide to surrender to him and a load of other men come out of hiding.  It turns out that this man is Gartax and he starts telling me his story when I tell him about my quest (he doesn’t stab me in the back!).  We head Southwards to his camp.

At the camp I ask Gartax if he thinks there is anyone else who can help.  He suggests I talk to a wizard near a lake to the south of the camp and tell him that he sent me.  Gartex then tells me that an attack on his camp is imminent so I decide to stay to help him out.  Sure enough the attack comes and the advice I give to the villagers helps them repel the attack.  I head into the forest to try and spy on the enemy. I fight off two slave warriors but become lost and disorientated.  I eventually find a large tree to get a good vantage point.

Heading South I soon come to the stream that Gartax told me about and I follow it until I can find a place to cross.  As I head South the canyon walls get more steep and I eventually have to walk past an ominous looking cave.  I then make the potentially stupid decision to check the cave out.  It was a stupid decision – the cave contains a Stegocephalodon that then decides to eat me.  Ouch.  Still, I wasn’t to know!

Again I died before I could really get a feel for the book, although it was quite fun up to that point.

Armies of Death

By Ian Livingstone

This is another book written by founder Ian Livingstone and in it you play the winner of Deathtrap Dungeon!  With your remaining winnings you are tasked to raise an army and face Agglax, the shadow demon who himself is amassing an undead army to take over the world!  So, here is how I got on:

Skill: 11

Stamina: 21

Luck: 10

Pretty good!

The first choice I have to make is whether I want to continue on by marching on foot or take a boat down the river to my destination.  I decide to give my small army a rest and travel on the river.  As we set sail it becomes apparent that this ship is not in good condition.  Anyway, everyone seems in good spirits and when I see a barrel in the water I order someone to go in and retrieve it. The barrel turns out to be fill of apples.  Not a great haul but I decide to distribute them amongst the army.  Mmmm dirty river apples!  These apples are not just dirty but poisoned by a local Hag.  I get sick and several of my men die!  The book chastises me for this act of stupidity – a bit harsh I thought, but I carry on.

On turning a corner in the river, the ship is attacked twice by fireballs.  Luckily they both miss the masts and the raiders row up alongside the ship.  They have no chance with my army on board so I let them board our vessel.  Sure enough as soon as they get on board, I capture them and recruit them to my army.  I also take a shield from their leader – I am not sure how loyal they will be but it doesn’t seem to matter.

The next encounter is with a dead man floating in the water.  I decide to investigate and find that the man is wearing a key around his neck.  On further investigation, they key has a number on it, which in a Fighting Fantasy book means it is an important item!  I let the poor man go into a watery grave and carry on.

On rounding a corner I see a ragged old man gesticulating at me.  I sail over to investigate and it turns out be is the leader of a band of Northmen who have heard about my quest and want to join my army (for a price, of course) I agree with them and later that night Laas, one of the Northmen sidles up to me and asks if he can give me a gift.  A little apprehensive at where this is going, I decide to agree anyway.  The gift turns out to be a manky old Yeti tooth that will apparently keep Warewolves away.  This is a nice gift, particularly as I have only just met Laas so I decide to keep half an eye on him.

Night is falling and I decide that we should sleep on deck.  I’m not sure of the wisdom of this decision, however, as I am attacked by a quick moving assassin.  I manage to fend him off but not before he has killed 5 of my men.  The rest of the night passes without incident.

The next day, after sailing for some hours, we see some river pirates!  I give the order to try and outrun the pirate vessel but this is a little silly as it is clearly a better ship than the one I am on.  Sure enough it soon rams my vessel and it starts to sink.  I order the men to swim to the shore but many of them drown on the way (dragged under water by their armour).  After everyone gets together on the river bank I spare no time in marching for the town of Zengis.

The next day is uneventful, as is the night and in the morning I arrive at Zengis.  I tell the men to pitch camp outside whilst I head to the local tavern to try and recruit some more.  On the way, I pick up a gold ring that has a number inscribed on it.  Then a huge man tries to tell me its his so I fight him over it.  After I slay him I nick his axe before I notice the town guard arriving.  I quickly loot the Axeman’s body and luckily I am able to convince the guard that I was an innocent victim of the evil Axeman.  Pleased with my convincing skills, I head off to the tavern and open my spoils.  Out of the pouch falls a scorpion which I am luckily able to shake off before I get stung.  I decide to waste no more time and head to the tavern to recruit some more men.

I soon find the pub and everyone seems to be having a merry old time so I went to sit at the bar.  When asked what I want, I make a bit of a faux pas and order apple juice!  I am correctly ribbed for this strange choice and offered a mug of Devil’s Brew. I knock it back in one go and when challenged to do the same again, I gladly agree but feel a bit queezy afterwards and stagger towards a group sitting at one of the tables.  These guys seem quite interested when I mention my mission (I seem to have sobered up rather quickly) and offer to show me where the Demon is and how I can defeat him.  I hand over the money and he gives me a map and tells me that he resides in the Forest of Fiends but that I also need to visit the Oracle in the Starstone caves to find out how to kill him.  Pleased with this new information, I head on.

Next I arrive at a pet shop and decide to check it out.  Inside there are many different creatures but a small Hopper takes my eye so I decide to buy him.  He costs me 50 Gold but can turn me invisible and understands the Troll language so I can see that he will come in handy at some point!  The next shop is a Pawnbrokers where I go on a spending spree and pick up a Brass Owl, a Copper Lantern, a Helmet, an Ivory Box and a Green Vase.  Pleased with my haul, I leave the shop.

At the end of the road I arrive at large barn where a pie eating competition is taking place.  Not wanting to miss out on some fun I pay up and enter the barn.  The champion is a huge man and I witness him destroy his last opponent so I decide to take him on.  Fish and custard pie… mmmm…. Unbelievably I actually win and take the 100 Gold prize money!  I decide to take this opportunity to try and hire some more men but as I am about to make my recruitment speech, a shadowy figure flings a dagger at me.  Thankfully I manage to avoid it and he runs away before I hire ten new people for my army.

Shortly I see a small alleyway heading off the main road.  Unable to control my curiosity I check it out and am ambushed by two Sewer Goblins who I dispatch without too much problem.  I then have a look at a barrel and discover an old man hiding in the barrel.  He seems a bit aggravated so I leave him be and descend down into the sewers.  I hear some noises and feel a bit apprehensive as I walk down the tunnel but am pleased to bump into not a Goblin, but a man who is hunting them.  He is pleased that I have killed two for him and tells me that I need to get a guide from Karn before I find the Oracle.  I thank him and climb back up to the street before carrying on down the road.

The next encounter I have (this is all a bit linear) is in a building where a group of people are training in swordplay.  They seem well trained and ten of them offer to join me for 200 Gold.  This seems a bit steep so I try to haggle them down.  I am challenged to land a blow on the leader, Max and manage to do just that so end up paying 100 Gold for them before leaving and turning a corner in the road.

It is getting late so I duck into a small B&B and see a man vigorously polishing his trophy.  Unsure at first whether this is a euphemism I realise that he won it Sailing.  He is a sailing bore but I decide not to be rude and let him carry on.  One thing leads to another and he ends up giving me his sword that he had stashed away.  Excellent!  The next morning I have a great breakfast and head off again.

On my way out of town, I encounter a Dwarf being attacked by a Shapeshifter so I decide to help.  The Shapeshifter is tough but I defeat him and the grateful Dwarf gives me some pills and a seal with a number inscribed on it – sounds promising.  This is the last thing to do in the city so I head back to my army camped outside.

The next morning I take my army and head South over the river. My army have a drink but some scoundrel has poisoned the water.  I wait with the army till they get better and get a bit anxious about my mission so decide to head straight for the Forest even though I know I still need to see the Oracle.  When I arrive in the forest I see a small village so I take some men and investigate.  The village has been destroyed but I see an enticing looking statue.  I pick it up and am sliced apart by the trap.  Ouch!!!