Beneath Nightmare Castle

By Peter Darvill-Evans

Beneath Nightmare castle is not a book I knew much about so without further ado, here are my stats:

Skill: 9

Stamina: 20

Luck: 9

Willpower: 12

Pretty average then.  As you can see, there is a new stat – willpower which is tested much like luck.

I start the adventure by nearly getting to the town of Neuberg before I am captured and end up in a cell.  I wake up and hear a voice offering to cut me free so I do as it asks and then decide to search my surroundings.  At this point someone else arrives at my cell and a Benny Hill type chase sequence ensues before I am captured again and knocked out.

When I wake up for a second time, I am strapped down and some creatures start to torture me to death.

Ha!  That didn’t last long!


Creature of Havoc

By Steve Jackson

Creature of Havoc is an interesting fighting fantasy book.  In it you play a creature that does not know who it is, or even have any free will, instead being driven by hunger or aggression.  Through the adventure you become more self aware as you discover new things and start to gain control of your actions. It really is a unique book and well worth reading. Unfortunately it is also punnishingly hard.  Technically impossible in fact if you have an original penguin copy of the book (or the second Wizard release) due to a typo.

So, here we go.  My stats:

Skill: 12

Stamina: 19

Luck: 10

I’m a beast!  Those are pretty decent stats so lets see how I get on.  My first action is to open my eyes and see a Dwarf, who looks a bit wretched.  I try to talk to the little guy but instead wrap my fingers round his middle!  Naturally he is a little bit put out by this and stabs me with his sword in my leg. This then causes me to squeeze the life out of him… Oh dear,  that didn’t go as I planned!  I find a piece of parchment with strange writing on it and keep it for later.  As I am not really in control of my actions, I randomly head West.

Eventually the path opens up into a cavern and I hear voices…  I rush forward and see a knight, a wizzard and a hobbit.  I seem to have particular liking for hobbit flesh as I head straight for the hobbit and kill him.  The wizard is about to cast a spell so I lash out at him next before taking care of the knight.  I then immediately eat the hobbit before devouring the wizard.  The knight is impossible to get into because he is wearing armour so I ignore that body.  I move on and am briefly bothered by a flock of bats before I arrive at a door.

I break down the door and see some corpses being eaten by something invisible… very odd!  As I move closer, the feasters are revealed – they appear before my eyes and I am forced to kill the flesh feeders.  One of the corpses hides a vial of purple vapour.  The vapour seems to be some sort of genie and grants me the ability to think for myself.  Excellent, this is progress!  So, with my first concious decision, I leave the room by the door to the West.

As I carry on down the corridor, I  come face to face with another group of adventurers.  One of them screams so I slash him across the face.  I then finish him off before killing the other two, a warrior and a thief.  When I search the bodies, I find some interesting artefacts.  I decide to take a dull pendant which doesn’t do too much when I put it on, but its purpose will apparently be revealed when I arrive somewhere that I can’t see.   I decide to feed on the dead adventurers before continuing West.

I come to a rocky cliff which overlooks a large cavern with a river running through it.  There is a foul smell emanating from this cavern.  There is a slightly dodgy looking flight of stairs leading across the river which I need to use.  Luckily I don’t fall to my death and down in the cavern the smell is even worse. I leave down a tunnel to the East.

This tunnel opens up into another cavern that contains some caves and a big pile of bones.  Thinking I am going to be attacked by the creature living within, I investigate.  There is a terrible stench of rotting flesh and the owner of the cave comes out to try and eat me so I am forced to kill the “Devourer”.  After I kill it, I leave to the North and climb some steps to a junction.  Here I turn East.  All the lights suddenly go out and I head East again at the next crossroads.

I reach a dead end and realise that my pendant is starting to shine.  It appears that my pendant is a magical pendant that signals to me when there is a secret passage!  This is a stroke of luck and sure enough a secret passage opens up in front of me so I step through it.  This new passageway ends in a door that I shove open.

This room seems to be a workshop making coffins.  I decide to investigate a coffin.  I get a shock when a nasty creature jumps out at me and curses me for disturbing it.  The curse is pretty harsh and reduces my initial skill and stamina score.  I leave the room and am pleased to be away from there.

I head East and encounter the foul smelling river again.  This time I have to traverse a bridge over the river.  Again I am lucky enough not to fall to my death and continue onwards.  I see two doors and hear some sort of breathing and snorting behind one so I decide to bash this door down and come face to face with a Manic Beast.  I manage to kill it in one hit and then feast on the human that it was eating.  As I do this, I find some coloured liquids.  I drink the blue one, which turns out to be a Potion of Fear.  Great…

I hastily  leave and enter another cavern.  In this cavern  there are a number  of archways.  In one of the arches there is a man who is talking to me in a language I understand.  This is the first time this has happened so I talk to him. The man is offering to find me some hobbits to eat and then offers me a drink.  This is starting to seem very suspicious so I decide to leave this alcove and take a look at the next one.  The next alcove contains sparkling dust that falls on my head!  It seems to be elven dust and I guess this will come in handy later on.  The man from the other alcove doesn’t come after me…

There are several exits from this cavern so I head south.  This tunnel goes this way and that, and eventually I come to a strange black hole in the ground.  It looks dangerous so I try and sneak past.  I then stumble on my way  round the hole and fall in.  It is the last thing I do and I fall down into oblivion.

Oh well, I got further than I have before!  There is a huge amount to like about this book.  The fact that you play a monster is genuinely new and the way that you gain more awareness as you progress is a great addition.  I do feel, however, that it is a little too punishing!


Masks of Mayhem

By Robin Waterfield

Mask of Mayhem is a book that I remember really enjoying in my younger days, so let’s see how I got on.

Skill: 8

Stamina: 23

Luck: 11

That’s quite a disastrous skill score but by choosing a potion of strength at the start, I may be able to get quite far nonetheless.

In this book I play the leader of Arion.  It appears a sorceress known as Morgana (that name sounds familiar).  I am told about the mission by my right hand man, a wizard called Ifor Tynin, who seems to know a lot about what is going on.. in any case I don my special helmet and set off north.

I soon come across a large lake and thinking that trying to make a raft and sail across it is probably asking for trouble, I set off round it’s East bank.  The journey is pretty uneventful during the first day but I do find some Sorrel… that was the highlight!  As night is starting to fall I am given the option to set up camp or carry on.  Settling down for the night tends to be a dangerous thing to do in these books so I continue into the night. Shortly I come to a campfire so decide to take a closer look.  I then trip over on the slope (no test of luck or skill, it just happens!) and end up falling to the feet of the creatures around the campfire.

It turns out the creatures are Blackhearts and they are not too happy with my intrusion. It is a grueling fight but I kill them in the end and decide that I can’t let this campfire go to waste so I stay the night here.  I sleep well and in the morning search the campsite and find some rope which may come in handy.  This morning the weather conditions have worsened and it is a bit foggy so I decide to wait it out instead of blindly stumbling around.  When the mist does clear, I can see a number of buildings which seems to be a disused mining complex.

The first building I take a look at is a small hut. On entering the hut I see evidence that it is inhabited so I wait around to see if I can find the man of the house.  Turns out he was there all along and he emerges from the shadows to give me a sceptre that is inscribed with the words “There should be just one ruler”.  He tells me he was expecting me because the voices told him I would come. Interesting, I have a feeling that this might be a useful item – what a strange way to acquire it!  Next I explore the outhouse, which was a little less fruitful as it is falling apart and I am attacked by a gang of vermin (rats, centipedes etc strangely attacking as one).  There is nothing else of interest in this building so I check out the mine shaft.

Looking down the mineshaft, I see some rusted steps that I don’t like the look of that much.  Therefore I use that piece of rope I acquired earlier to get down into the mine.  When I get to the bottom it becomes apparent that I can’t get back out again so I have to explore the tunnels.  I head off East.  It seems that this mine was a copper mine and I manage to pick up a bit of copper ore (not sure what I will use that for, but you never know) and before long I come to a branch in the path which is described as being foul smelling.  Unable to contain my curiosity I investigate.  All that I find in this tunnel are a load of bats that attack me.  After defeating them, I head back to the main path and carry on.

Next I come to a puddle of stagnant water and am given the option of jumping over or wading through.  I decide that wading through is probably the lesser of two evils and it comes as no surprise that the puddle was home to a sea snake that coils itself around my leg.  I try and stab it with my sword but only succeed in stabbing my own leg!  I get across the puddle and it amazingly turns out that the snake is not poisonous!  Wow!  I get rid of the snake and continue down the corridor.

The corridor branches in two so I head down the right branch.  It soon comes to an area that has suffered a cave in and I think I can  escape out of here.  I try and scrabble away at the cave in with my hands but this only succeeds in reducing my stamina so I have to go back to the branch in the tunnel and go in the other direction.  After a long time the tunnel seems to come to an end and I can hear the sounds of the outside.  Sadly I can also see the silhouette of a large beast. I sneak forward but am too noisy and the Nandibear notices me and attacks.  This is an epic battle, both the Nandibear and I are down to one stamina point and with it’s much higher skill score I assume I will be dead but amazingly I prevail and kill it!  My reward is the outside world so I leave the mineshaft behind.

I now trek towards Fallow Dale and am told that if I have 2 or less provisions I need to lose 6 stamina.  It is not clear whether I lose all my provisions too so I use my last provisions to regain that stamina.  After a long time I arrive at my destination.  I decide to make my way to Lord Hever, of Fallow Dale, through a village.  I ask the way to a healer’s place and am told that with the addition of some Sorrel, she can make a potion to restore some stamina… hoorah!  What are the chances?  I just happened to pick up some sorrel a few days ago.

On leaving the village I walk down the road to Hever’s castle.  On my way I am accosted by some local hoodlums so I put down my sword and engage them in the “noble” art of fisticuffs.  After hitting them three times, they run away.  Finally I meet Lord Hever who invites me to a feast.  As I am tucking into my food, some of his men take my things up to my room.  As I expected, it appears some of my belongings have gone missing as Hever’s men were ambushed in my room.  I wait for Hever to assemble some men before we go after the thieves.

We have no trouble in catching the thieves and it seems they are a band of Pygmy Orcs and they actually wanted me rather than my belongings.  I am very relieved I waited for some men to be assembled and we dispatch the orcs without too many problems and head back to Fallow Dale.  When we get back, Hever invites me to listen to a bard so I ask him to sing me a tale of my adventures.   To my surprise he sings of a sceptre and orb that need to be wielded by a true ruler.  Now, I already have the sceptre so I guess I should now be searching for an orb.

Next I have to broach the tricky subject of Hever’s Horn, which is the item I have come to see him about and something that would be very useful to me on my quest.  He is understandably reluctant to part with it, however, and not having anything that he considers valuable enough to use as collateral (he doesn’t want my bit of copper ore!) the only way I am going to get my hands on this horn is if I track down and kill a Sabre Toothed Tiger that is harassing his lands.  I agree so I am given some hounds and we go hunting.

The hounds are quite good at tracking down the Tiger and they attack it when they find it.  Stupidly, however, I call the hounds off to “finish off” the Tiger myself.  The Tiger has a skill of 11 though compared to my 8.  I don’t stand a chance.  I fight it for 4 attack rounds, losing each one before my spear breaks and I have to fight it with my sword.  At this point, it’s successful attacks cause me even more damage and I realise I will soon be dead if I continue with this so I break off the fight and return to Hever dejected.  He doesn’t give me his horn.

As I am preparing to leave the Vale, I have an unexpected visitor.  It is Kevin Truehand, my trusted armorer and he is not in good shape.  He tries to tell me about some dark magic but dies at me feet.  I decide to ask Hever about this but as I do, Truehand’s body turns into a Hellfire Spirit.  Hever and I fight it off between us.  Now it is really time to leave and Hever has stocked my provisions back to 10!  Excellent, I needed that as I did not have any left.

I set off on the next part of my adventure through Pikestaff Plane.  It is a featureless landscape of grass but I see a small trail of ants which are apparently Treasure Ants who hoard treasure.  I wait to see if any of the ants carry anything of use past me and in doing so do not notice the Spit Viper that is now attacking me.  The viper spits acid in my eyes, but luckily it does not do me much harm. I kill it fairly easily.  I wait almost a day by the ant trail but see nothing else of interest and continue on my way North.

I decide to head slightly North West but find that something strange is happening to my shadow.  Before I can work out what is going on, it turns in to be a Shadow Monster and attacks me.  I am eventually able to kill it but get scared off from my northwest route and head northeast instead.  Before long I come across a caravan being pulled by a Water Buffalo.  It is a trader and he is offering to sell me some of his goods.  Sadly I have no money so have to continue on my way.

That night I am attacked by a couple of Mordidas, one of whom is rabid.  Thankfully I can cut out the bite and don’t get rabies!  I do lose another two stamina, though.

Several days pass by uneventfully before I am confronted by a huge bush fire.  First I try to find it’s Western most point but it is too large and I cannot travel around it in that direction.  Next I decide to run away from it and come across a canyon that would act as a natural fire break.  As the fire approaches I trek West around the cliff face but I cannot find a way down the canyon and am burned to death.

I do like this book, it seems like a good, standard adventure and I got quite far even with a very poor skill score.  I am not sure how I was supposed to escape the fire, though…


Robot Commando

By Steve Jackson (USA)

Robot Commando differs slightly in that, as the title may suggest, it features robots!  It is also another book by Steve Jackson (USA) that features multiple endings.


Skill: 8

Stamina: 21

Luck: 9

Well, that could certainly have been better.

The premise here is that my people have been attacked in a biological warfare attack where most of the population have been infected by sleeping sickness.  I remain unaffected so it falls to me to ensure that my people are cured (oh dear, I don’t fancy their chances much!).

My first choice is to pick a robot.  I decide on a dependable Cowboy Robot (used for herding dinosaurs) and set off for the City of Knowledge but before I get there, I am attacked by a Pteranodon (this seems to be a very common enemy in the FF world and I recall my disastrous encounter in Temple of Terror).  The Pteranodon, with it’s speed advantage, is much stronger than me but one successful hit, with a bit of luck, was enough to kill it.

There was another distraction on the way to the City of Knowledge as I find a Digger Robot in a village.  It is very tough but slow and considering how beat up my Cowboy Robot is already, I decide to transfer into this new one.

On arrival to the College, my first port of call is the College of Medicine.  On arrival here I find a recipe for a Sleeping sickness cure – wow, what luck!  I set about making the cure in the lab, ignoring some ominous squeaking noises.  I create a delicious green potion! I check my work one last time and find out that I need a fresh supply of Mantrap flower essence. I will have to find this in a jungle…

I leave and head off to my robot but am ambushed by some Giant Lizards!   It is a tough fight but I manage to kill them all.  I hear more squeaking but stay to search the lab for anything else of use.  Unfortunately this is the last thing I do as I am ambushed by the squeaking animals, presumably some sort of mutant hamsters. This is not a fitting end for a hero such as me!

Again, this adventure was a bit short to form any opinions on this book…



Trial of Champions

By Ian Livingstone

This is a return to the scene of Deathtrap Dungeon and is notoriously difficult.  Here are my stats:

Skill: 9

Stamina: 18

Luck: 7

With those stats I am probably not going to last long…

In this book, I am a slave captured by Lord Carnuss.  He has captured 42 slaves and we will fight it out until one is left who has the honor of representing the lord in Sukumvit’s Dungeon.  Those are not great odds!

On arrival to an island, we are put into cells and fed before the trials begin.  We are split into groups of 6 and are set to race against each other.  The twist is that the first person who is lapped is put to death.  As if a gold medal isn’t incentive enough… To start with I decide to let someone else make the pace and I keep to the back.  When someone is about to lap us, I speed up and a poor Dwarf stumbles and is passed by the leader.  The race is stoped and the rest of us are taken back to the cells.

I don’t sleep well that night, and the next day I’m put into an arena with a Bonecrusher beast.  Thankfully I have chosen the correct weapon and I manage to ensnare it in my net before knocking it to the ground.  That turned out to be quite easy.  On returning to my cell, I find that there is only one other person left.  The guard says only one of us can survive the night and as I’m about to turn around to discuss this with my cellmate, it seems he has other ideas and leaps on me brandishing a knife.  I manage to fight him off and kill him before getting a good night sleep.

The next day, the trials continue.  The first trial is some sort of blade covered stick that I have to duck under and jump over in quick succession.  This proves to be little hassle for one as nimble as me and myself along with the 9 remaining slaves are then blindfolded and told to fight to the death.  I manage to chose right with my first step and hear that someone has been less lucky.  Unfortunately I then trip over a body and have another slave land on top of me.  We fight to the death there on the floor.  Sadly it is my death that we fight to and he kills me.

Oh dear, another adventure that I didn’t really get started with.


Sword of the Samurai

By Mark Smith & Jamie Thompson

This book is written by the same authors as Talisman of Death, which is my only victory to date so I am a bit more confident of doing well here.

My stats:

Skill: 11

Stamina: 16

Luck: 9

Not too bad, but could be better.  Let’s start…

As the title suggest, I am a Samurai and it is my job to retrieve the fabled sword.  Like in Forest of Doom, it seems that the general population cannot rouse themselves without a fabled weapon so off I go.

I decide to head East and at first things go well, people bow to me as they pass (as they should – they are lowly peasants and I am a Samurai!).  The situation starts to worsen as night falls, however, and some of the peasants are not treating me with respect.  When one lippy youth speaks out of turn I decide it is time to teach him a lesson. I leap majestically amongst the peasants and this does the trick and the boy’s father appologises profusely.  I decide to make the most of this change of heart and ask the villager to grant me sanctuary.

The old man takes me to another village but strangely drops down dead just as we get to the outskirts.  There is no evidence of what happened to him so I continue into the village. I join the village elders at the headman’s house and although they part for me to join them, they then ignore me. Eventually they start a strange clacking noise and they transform into undead monsters, the Rokuro-Kubi.  It is a very tough fight this early on in the book but I defeat them.

Just when I think it is safe, after my battle I need to test my luck and a roll of 10 means I am unlucky.  Sadly this leads to my swift death at the hands of the undead as they tear my flesh from my bones.  Nice.

Unfortunately I did not get far enough in to this book to enjoy it much…


Demons of the Deep

By Steve Jackson (USA)

Demons of the Deep is written by the American Steve Jackson and apart from the fact it is set underwater, it is a fairly traditional adventure.

My stats:

Skill: 11

Stamina: 20

Luck: 8

The adventure starts with my ship being overrun with pirates.  All my crew are killed but I am thrown overboard with my hands tied. As luck would have it, I am cast into the sea over a sunken city (Atlantis, no less!) which gives me a magical ability to enable me to breathe underwater.  Ignoring the option of returning to the suface, I decide to investigate a building where I see something watching me.

In the building, there is a Mermaid lurking around who tells me that I have gills until midnight and that I will lose them if I breathe air at the surface.  She also tells me that I need to collect black pearls to defeat the pirates (the reason for this is not explained), gives me a lucky charm and blows me a kiss.  Wow, I think that is the first hint of any kind of sauciness I have read in a FF book…  The mermaid then leaves and I decide to swim up some stairs.

At the top of the stairs I find a lair of Barracuda.  They attack but offer no real challenge.   A search of their lair reveals 4 gold pieces but nothing else so I head back down the stairs and down through a tunnel in the floor.  The tunnel turns into a hallway and I turn right, this passage ends in a door in a cliff, going throught the door I decide to investigate the cliff face further and find a cavern containing a Moray Eel, which I dispatch but find that it is only guarding one gold piece.

As I swim away from the cliff face, I see a number of places of interest and decide to head for a sunken Galleon. When I arrive at the ship, I luckily don’t put my hand in a giant clam but kill it and find a silver pearl inside.  While I am doing this, however, I am attacked by a Sea Spider.  I am able to kill it and swim off to find the Captain’s Cabin.  In the cabin I see some maps but nothing else of interest to I turn my attention to the cargo hold.  In the hold I find a measly gold piece.  Bah!  This ship has been a waste of time so I instead head for a sunken garden.

On entering the garden, I head down the right hand path and come accross a Lion Fish.  It seems to be hostile so I run up a large bit of seaweed and hide.  This confuses the fish, which then swims away. I then move on and see an old man in a cottage.  I investigate and find that he is a wizard called Greylock.  He seems most upset that I don’t have any black pearls yet (as am I now!) but he says that a Sea Dragon may help me but I should be careful as it is greedy and trecherous.  He then offers to swap my silver pearl for a potion of vaporous essence which turns me into a liquid temporarily!  Should be interesting…  I then take my leave of Greylock and decide to look for this Sea Dragon.

Before that, however, I encounter a Merman.  He seems to be friendly and he invites me to his games room.  I can gamble a gold piece (or pearl if I had it) and test my luck to see if I win.  Due to my rather poor luck score, however, I decide to leave instead and head towards the cavern of the Sea Dragon.  I engage the dragon in conversation and, remembering what Greylock said, I appeal to the dragon’s sense of greed.  This seems to work and the Dragon tells me a little code to summon him should I need him when I find the pirate ship that killed my crew. Finally I feel like I am getting somewhere in this adventure!

On leaving the Dragon’s lair, I encounter a Sea Horse and try and befriend it.  Unfortunately when I try and jump on to ride it, the creature throws me off so I have to carry on by foot.  I take some time out to tackle some Bloodworms (my pet tropical fish eat these things so I am surprised when they manage to injure me).  The bloodworms are guarding 2 gold pieces so I take these before carrying on to a sunken Cathedral.

On approaching the cathedral, I see some interesting stained glass windows.  It seems they change every time I look at them and they relate to real life events.  As I continue to look at the windows, I am attacked by a Devil Fish.  At first I think it is an illusion but I get a rude awakening when it hits me.  After killing the Devil Fish, I continue to stare, transfixed, at the windows.  Eventually one of them comes alive and I meet Cyrano, the master swordsman/fishman.  I pay him 2 GP for some tuition.  As it happens, he is a better fighter than me but this does mean that  he increased my initial skill score by 2!  Wow, that’s good of him!

After the fight I find myself in a wreck of some sort, being swarmed at by some small octopi.  I offer them some food but not all of them leave me alone so I painstakingly pick  them off me.  Sadly the thieving things have stolen an item from my backpack – I should have killed them when I had the chance!  I swim off towards some interesting looking coral…

As I swim towards the coral, however, I encounter the Kraken.  I remember from a readthrough when I was a child that this is a mighty beast so I tried to avoid it.  I therefore tried to hide in the coral but it seemed that I was going to be found so I remembered the potion that Greylock gave me.  Sure enough, this did the trick and enabled me to escape the dreaded Kraken.

After escaping the Kraken, I am told it is getting late so I should think about finding the pirates.  I am asked if I have an unmelting ice crystal.  Sadly I don’t.  I am then asked if I know of a helpful dolphin.  Again, sadly I don’t (This is not looking good!).  My only option, then, is to surface and see what I can do.  My adventure is over and I spend my time floating with some debris while the pirates continue to plunder.  Not a great end…



Rebel Planet

By Robin Waterfield

Rebel Planet is another Sci-Fi FF book.  It is set in the far future when Earth has started colonizing other planets.  This colonisation programme was going well until Arcadia was discovered.  Although the Arcadians were not very developed, they still managed to defeat the invading Earthlings, steel their technology and use it to launch an invasion of Earth.  At the start of the book, Earth had been enslaved for some time and it is my job to tie together a rebel alliance to overthrow the invaders.

This premise actually seemed rather interesting, and is certainly much better than trying to crack a drugs ring.  My hero’s stats were:

Skill: 10

Stamina: 18

Luck: 9

So-so results there, let’s see how I get on.  I blast off from Earth headed towards my first destination – Tropos.  After leaving Earth’s atmosphere I notice that I am being tailed by an Arcadian ship.  Given the political atmosphere I guess this is quite normal so I ignore it.

I actually know quite a bit about the rebel leader on Tropos – I am to travel to the club Fission Chips and am looking for someone called Bellatrix.  Before heading off to Fission Chips, I decide to take a look in the hostel to see if I can gather any more information.

On arrival at the hostel, I wait for the receptionist to notice me and check me in but he seems to be asleep so instead I talk to a sobbing man who I notice sat on a bed.  The man appears to have been made homeless as the authorities suspect him of being a spy.  I decide to sit with him and hear his story.  The man seems to be thoroughly miserable but I don’t get much out of him because and Arcadian guard comes up stating that the receptionist has been murdered (he wasn’t just being lazy then).  He launches into an attack on my new friend but he is not interested in defending myself so it is up to me.  The guard is dispatched and the man brightens up a bit so I leave with him.

We head south and I ask my companion, who is called Grus, where the Fission Chips is.  He seems suspicious but takes me there anyway.  He asks me to wait while he gains us entry.  I decide to insist on following him, however, and it seems he is trying to set me up.  He is now working for the Arcadians.  They try to hold me captive but I get free and start to fight back.  In the end, I defeat them both. I search the house and find a few goodies (IR scanner and some credits) before leaving.

I start getting rather hungry and luckily see a grocer shop that I enter and pay a few credits for some food.  I rather riskily ask the way to the Fission Chips but the grocer has never heard of it.  I am then directed to a hardware store.  I have the option to purchase a number of goods and decide on a strobe.  I then ask this shop keeper where the Fission Chips is but she replies with some sort of nonsense.  I anger her by not understanding but she helps me on my way none the less.

On arrival at the Fission chips, I am asked who sent me.  I decide to say Bellatrix which gets short thrift from the man at the door.  I am just about to leave when I am grabbed from behind.  I decide to put up a fight but it is no use and I am knocked out.  When I come to, it seems I am being questioned by members of the rebels who don’t quite believe I am who I say I am.  I ask them for their credentials and am given a good speech that seems genuine.  I tell them about my mission and they tell me that the barman is a double agent and they ask me to kill him.  This seems a bit dodgy to me so I ask for more evidence.  Turns out I have just passed their test.  What is more, I am given a song that gives me three digits of the code that I am going to need to complete my mission.  Excellent!  One planet down….

Taking my leave of the rebels, I head for the star port to go to the next planet, Radix.  I  am stopped by customs who takes an interest in my IR scanner.  I manage to convince him it is harmless, however, and am able to continue.  I do not know much about the rebels on Radix so I am going to have to investigate.

On arrival to the planet, I am  given the option of staying at the Zodiac hotel for 375 credits or Porky’s Palace for 50 credits.  I seem to have accumulated a bit of money so I stay at Zodiac!  After a while I decide to get something to eat and go to the bar as it is included in the cost of the room.  I join a conversation about building regulations.  Sadly I blunder and say that cornices are used in foundations on Earth and am forced to leave the conversation.

The only other conversation taking place is about Human Rebellions – this sounds a bit more risky and during this conversation, I am basically picked on by the chief of police who says that humans could easily be crushed in a rebellion.  He proves this to be the case by killing me in combat.

I found this sci-fi book much more interesting than most of the others of a similar ilk and actually found the story rather interesting.


Appointment of F.E.A.R.

By Steve Jackson

Appointment with F.E.A.R is another book by Steve Jackson so expect the unexpected.  I believe this is the first book that has more than 400 entries, which I guess is to account for the fact that there are four different stories depending on the super power that is chosen.  I chose Super Strength which gives an automatic 13 for skill.  These are my other stats:

Skill: 13

Stamina: 22

Luck: 11

I play the Silver Crusader, a super hero helping the citizens of Titan City.  As well as giving me super human strength, I am also able to fly!  Sweet.  I have heard that the evil organisation, F.E.A.R are planning a meeting and I have vowed to stop it but I need to know when and where it is taking place… let the crime fighting begin!

I start the day witnessing an argument over some dog shit but decide this is probably not the sort of thing that the Silver Crusader would get involved in so instead I decide to read the paper.  I find out that there has been a bank robbery – that sounds more like it!  and something about Richard Storm, who I know is a villain.  I decide to change into my outfit and check out the bank robbery.

On arrival at the bank, I try and talk to the security guard but find he is trapped in a vault.  I learn that the robbery was committed by “The Alchemists” before trying to wrench the door of its hinges to get at the Security Guard.  This is a futile exercise, however, and I only succeed in hurting myself.  There is nothing else to do here so I follow a lead about a shark sighting at a beach.

I rush off to the beach and sure enough, the shark is heading straight towards a child.  I use my special power to fly out to where the shark is and defeat it with my bare hands! The mother of the child is, unsurprisingly, very grateful to me for saving her son and gives me a great clue of how to track down a villain called Captain Menagerie who is hanging around the lions at the circus (not sure how she knows about this). Now my day’s crime fighting is done, I head home.

The next day, after waking up, I start heading to work (having bunked off the day before) but wouldn’t you know it?  I encounter a crime as someone is pickpocketed on the subway.  At this time I also get a message about a crime at a dairy.  I decide to help the commuter and go after the pickpocketer.  When I catch up with the pick pocket, the book makes a point of telling me that I can’t change into my alter ego and have to fight with my bare hand but I don’t get a skill penalty for this (not sure if I should).  Anyway, for someone with my super strength, the pickpocket is no match and I see how he likes it by stealing something from him.  I decide the tape he is carrying would be a very retro choice so I sit down next to a kid with a walkman (other personal stereos are available) and have a listen – it turns out to be a very useful clue about a chap called Mustapha Karem who is up to no good.  Pleased with my new clue, I carry on to work.

When I get to work, my boss is so angry that he sends me home!  Result!  With my new found time off, I decide to go to “Wisneyland” as I have it on good authority that a villain called the Scarlet Prankster is hiding out here.  Deciding that the Funhouse probably has the best chance of concealing a baddie, I go there.  Sure enough, while I am in the Funhouse, the floor gives way and I land in a pit.

I use my Super Strength to escape and go looking for the Prankster.  Using the clue I was given at the start of the adventure, I find where he is hiding and bring him to justice but not before I take a piece of paper from him that states the F.E.A.R meeting starts at 9am.  Result!  These supervillains evidently don’t like a lie in…

Congratulating myself for some good work I decide to go and do a spot of shopping.  I sit down and have something to eat but notice a kidnapping taking place in front of my nose!  I decide I have to do something and go after the van that took the gent. Using my Super strength I track down the van in no time and bring it to a halt.  I demand to open the back doors to take a look inside and as I open the door, I am blasted and fall to a lifeless heap on the floor.  I am apparently killed by a trap set by the Mantrapper.  Not sure how I was supposed to know that….

So, another adventure, another death.  I really liked this book.  Taking the part of a super hero is a great departure from the other fighting fantasy topics and I really liked the way the clues worked.  I can also see an obvious continuation of Steve Jackson’s work.  In Starship Traveller I was collecting clues to find a black hole to get home.  This time a very similar mechanic was done in order to try and find out the time and place of the meeting.  This book is a lot more polished and playable than Traveller though.


Seas of Blood

By Andrew Chapman

Seas of Blood is the third book by Andrew Chapman and in it you play a pirate who has just made a bet with his pirating friend that each one will be the first to capture the most loot within 50 days.  As well as personal attributes, the book also asks you to determine your crew strength.  My stats were as follows:

Crew Strike: 12

Crew Strength: 11

Skill: 11

Stamina: 21

Luck: 12

Good personal stats, but that Crew Strength is going to make life a bit difficult. Anyhoo, I say goodbye to Abdul and head East towards Lagash.  On the way to Lagash I am attacked by some warships.  I out maneuver one of them but have to fight the other.  After a bruising battle I manage to capture some slaves (I am a dastardly pirate after all) and head South to Enraki.

There are some priests who live on Enraki and I am told they are rich so I try and sneak round the back of their fortress and to launch an attack.  On my way I decide to detour to take a look at a shrine. Sadly this shrine turns out to be a shrine of despair and I have to reduce my luck by two points – who leaves that kind of thing just lying about?  A bit annoyed I rejoin my crew and push on to the Enraki fortress.

The next detour comes in the form of some screaming from a snow covered ravine.  I decide to sneak around on my own to see what is going on but I am ambushed by some strange snow creatures who throw massive snow balls at me.  Thankfully I am able to hide under a rock and run away back to my crew – another useless diversion!

Finally I reach the fortress and decide to “confuse” the enemy by setting fire to some of their houses.  I am a little disappointed to discover, however, that this only alerts and galvanises the monks.  I try and fight them, but they are too powerful and slaughter all of my crew.

So, another short adventure then, not much to go on by I never really got into this story.