By Steve Jackson
The Citadel of Chaos is the second book in the series and is one I don’t actually remember much about. It is the first one to be written by Steve Jackson on his own. My character is:
Not too bad – a good skill score but a weaker stamina and a rather dubious luck score. Still, I am supposed to be able to beat these books with low scores so let’s see how it goes.
The quest for this book is a little more noble than in the Warlock of Firetop Mountain. I am a sorceror’s apprentice who has answered the call for help in order to stop a bad man by the name of Balthus Dire from amassing an army and invading a local kingdom. All good stuff then as I set off towards the titular Citadel.
As I arrive at the gate, I am stopped by some guards. I tell them that I am a merchant and conjure up some fool’s gold to distract them – this is enough and I am in.
On entering the courtyard I am given a number of options and decide to approach a group of creatures sat round a fire. I confidently stride up to their party and sit myself down. This takes them aback but they are soon taking to me like friends and they let slip that the password to get into the Citadel proper is “Scimitar”. Hmm… useful info indeed!. Unfortunately things get a little unsavoury when I start to take an interest in their phial of liquid and I am forced to kill them all. The liquid turns out to be a magic potion, which allows me two more spells so I take this along with 8 gold pieces and a copper key. No-one else seems that bothered that I just killed the group so I carry on towards the Citadel.
As I walk across the courtyard I come across a whirlwind woman. I am a bit wary here because I remember having trouble with her before. I try and distract her and get lucky – she falls for it so I make a dash for the citadel, tell the guards about the password I know and get in.
I have the choice of knocking on a door or sneaking down some stairs, I decide it prudent to take the stairs and after battering down the door at the bottom, I come across a leprechaun. The first thing that happens here is that I am pelted with a tomato, sadly I waste a shield spell to find out. Then after trying to shake the Leprechaun’s hand, I am zapped by an electric buzzer. I consider running him through with my sword but instead agree to his little riddle and go through the middle door. After enduring more trickery (by this point I decide not to waste any more spells on O’Seamus, yes that really is his name!) I am sent on my way with a mirror and a battle sword!
My next encounter is in a wine cellar with a dark elf. I decide on some rose wine but end up blabbing about my mission to kill the elf’s employer. Oh dear, it was a truth serum and I have to fight him. I loot 8 gold from his corpse and try some red wine before I go – this one sends me on some sort of hallucinogenic trip so I ignore the rest of the wine and head off.
The corridor ends in another room where I see a sleeping Golem and some chests. I can see what is going to happen here but I decide to head for the boxes anyway. Sure enough the Golem attacks so I destroy him. After trying the two wrong chests first (and losing some skill and stamina for my trouble) I try the first box which has a key to the second, which in turn has a key to the third. My reward is a spider in a jar. Delightful.
The next room is a large hallway. I am given the option of looking at the paintings or looking at the armour. With the encounter in the Warlock of Firetop mountain still fresh in my mind I decide not to take in any art and check out the armour instead. This was not a great idea as it hits me round the head (-2ST). I hurry on and take the right flight of stairs. There are some ominous creaking sounds but I make it up the stairs unscathed (by the clues in the text, I suspect this would not be the case had I chose the other flight of stairs). I am given a choice of doors so I pick the right one.
This room contains a dubious looking statue which turns to look and me and block my path. I decide to thrust the mirror I got from O’Seamus in it’s face but it looks unimpressed and smashes it on the floor so I flee and go through the middle door.
This door contains some young Goblin like creatures so I give them a shiny tidbit from my backpack and leave them in peace.
Up a spiral staircase I meet the Micks. They nick all my gold and warn me about the “Ganjees”. This rings a bell somewhere in my mind and I head on with a bit of a bad feeling about the next encounter…
Sure enough in the next room I meet the Ganjees – some weird floating heads. They scare me and I decide to:
a) Burn them: they just laugh and knock me over
b) Create an illusion: Again they laugh and knock me down
c) Show them my spider in a jar – this has bad unforeseen circumstances. It appears they are friends with the spider so I have to fight it.
d) Attack them with my sword – predictably this has no affect so I run away.
I run so fast that I forget I am several stories high and start falling. Thankfully I am able to cast a levitation spell. Unfortunately the spell doesn’t work and I fall to my death.
The Ganjees are pesky things and I think I need an amulet to get past them – not sure where to get this from.
Overall then I enjoyed this adventure. It is far more magical than the Warlock but somehow a little harder to capture my imagination. There are some imaginative foes, however, so I am going to give this a 6/10.