Kingdoms of Terror: Dead at the Door

Second try. And I gotta say, this book is just brutal.

I try to enter Quarlen through the South gate this time, to see some different scenery. The guards there aren’t asking for a toll of 3 gold, but a bribe of 10 gold. I only have 12, so no way!

I decide to just ride past them.

They bring out their pike men and I lose control of the horse. I make a very unfortunate roll, and am impaled to death on the pikes.

I made it 4 pages. Damn.

 

 

 

Kingdoms of Terror: A Tavern, An Archery Contest, a Dead Horse Thief

It was a short adventure…

I crossed into the city of Quarlen on page 1, paying a toll at the gate and arriving at a pleasant and crowded tavern. It’s an expensive place too: 3 gold to get into the city, 5 for dinner and a room.

Then some local lord comes in and starts abusing the patrons, working up to murdering a little old man for a laugh. (hey, this is historically accurate after all!) Being a brave hero, I let an arrow fly and impale the bastard’s arm. He swears revenge and bleeds on the floor as he leaves, and I’ve made a new friend.

The old man claims not only to be a wizard (well, a street magician) but to know a guy who knows some guy who’s heard of the Lorestone that I seek. Sure, sounds legit… We ride away with the sunrise at our backs.

No long later we come across a village having an archery contest, and the prize is s +3 bow. Awww yeah! Sadly, the contest is flatly impossible because my opponent has a Combat Skill of 30. Ah well, that’s 2 more gold down the drain.

I come back to find my companion kidnapped, with the riders still in sight! I jump on the nearest horse and take off!

The owner of the horse screams “thief!” and, well… remember I mentioned an archery contest? Yeah, so there are like 50 archers pissed off at me and about 10 seconds later I’m dead, dead, dead.

An ignominious end to our brave hero.

 

 

Lone Wolf Magnakai, a First Glance

I’m back in the land of Magnamund as Lone Wolf, in book 6: The Kingdoms of Terror. In the three years since book 5, Lone Wolf has been buffing up his mad skillz to become not only a Magna-Kai, but  Magna-Kai Senior. What does it mean?

They have shuffled the Kai superpowers somewhat, though it’s still largely the same.

  • Weaponskill is still there, though you get 3 weapons plus more with each book you finish.
  • Mindblast and Mindshield have been reworked slightly. During times when you can tolerate some Endurance damage and need the performance boost, your Mindblast can be a Psi-Surge worth +4 Combat Skill albeit at -2 Endurance per round. They also specify that Mindshield gives resistance to illusions, charms, and similar.
  • Hunting, Camouflage, Healing, and Animal Kinship have been renamed and their description says they have broader uses than previously. For example, Animal Control (previously Animal Kinship) includes being an expert horse rider.
  • Mind Over Matter is now called Nexus, and includes resistance to heat and cold.

Aside from that, there is a new weapon: a bow. This comes up in unusual circumstances outside of combat, to affect the story.

Otherwise, the system hasn’t changed at all. Eight backpack slots, two weapon slots, random gold, and so on.

So, let’s play!

 

 

Thoughts on Infinite Universe and Armies of Death

I have been terribly remiss about posting! I didn’t post any more about Gamebook Adventures Infinite Universe from late June, nor followups as I played Armies of Death a few dozen more times.

Well, let’s see…

Gamebook Adventures, Infinite Universe

I played this one repeatedly while on a camping trip, and did finish it. It was a fun romp, despite a few not-very-smooth parts in the  narrative and a few bugs in both the software and the story flow. I’m not sure I’ll play it again, but I am glad that I did.

I think this brings me entirely up to date on all Gamebook Adventures branded offerings. TIn Man Games does have other offerings in other universes, though…

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Fighting Fantasy, Armies of Death

I played this one through many times, before finally solving it. It was one of those “okay, but not awesome” books. A half-thought system for horde combat, no healing, and the typical random scavenger hunt for inane loot in weird places.

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What’s Next?

My next adventure will be back in Magnamund, as Lone Wolf tries to re-establish the order of the Kai in The Kingdoms of Terror.

 

 

Captain Comet awaaaaaay!

We’re continuing my adventure in Infinite Universe, a sci-fi adventure by Tin Man Games and Gamebook Adventures.

In our previous episode, I trusted some dude who erased my memory, got gunned down, and found out that it was a sim, and that I’m in the year 3021. My boss then bored me for 20 pages with educational videos about myself, and exposition about earth ruling the galaxy, and how an oracle prophesied me by name, to track down the leader of the rebel resistance and bring them to justice. I’m always dubious when statists frame dissentors as terrorists, but they did offer me a lot of money and brain implants!

So, now it’s time to pick my skills. I spend most of my points on buffing my Fitness from its quite respectable 11, to an awesome 14. I pick up sharpshooting, melee and unarmed combat, and dodge. I’m a freakin’ space ninja! And for my undercover superhero name, I choose Clint Ironjaw! Blast Hardcheese! Buck Beefwit! Slab Manchest! No…

Captain Comet.

Quit laughing.

Quit laughing.

Our hero then takes a slipgate to Heathrow Spaceport, where I’m to catch a flight to Tau Ceti and start my investigations. The trip is punctuated with dark humor, and a few random rolls to see if our quantums get entanglemented, but I arrive just fine.

I meet my partner Judas, but have a funny feeling about him. Turns out it’s an impostor and we have fisticuffs in an alleyway. I beat him down badly, he mouths off, so I kill him and rifle through his stuff. I also find the body of the real Judas. I then get picked up by the cops and… Slab Manmeat’s adventure ends here.

Well crap.

 

There are infinite universes… and Joanne dies in most of them

Today I fire up Infinite Universe, by Tin Man Games who makes Gamebook Adventures. I have played their first 12 adventures set in the swords-and-sorcery world of Orlandes, and despite gripes about the combat system have found them a lot of fun. Infinite Universe, though, is a sci-fi adventure. So let’s check it out…

I’ll be a lady, and her name is automatically set to Joanne. I’ll find out on later playthroughs that this is to make room for a lot of jokes about my being a “regular joe” I roll 43 health and 11 fitness. Aww yeah!

Someone erased your memory and killed your friends? I’m just as baffled as you.

I wake up with some guy standing over me, and over two dead bodies, holding a helmet. Coincidentally, my memory has been erased. Is there a connection here? Nah! Seems legit.

He leads me past a barricade and down a hallway, where he meets with a cloaked alien who sneaks him some grenades. Okay, this guy is starting to sound a bit shady. But hey, I don’t remember anything so maybe this is normal? He then has me open a door, throw in a smoke grenade, and just start shooting everybody in the room. Our brave hero here doesn’t have any internal sense of right and wrong, so… okay!

It doesn’t go so well. A few truly unfortunate dice rolls later, and I’m sizzlefried with lazors. … Which makes it doubly surprising when I wake up in a stimsim suit, where my prospective employer says that the training sim didn’t go so well, but that’s okay because we learned something today.

The next 20+ pages are expositional monologue. I hear about the earth alliance (yay earth, the good guys of the galaxy, woot!) and the rebel freedom fighters who want to overthrow it (should that say terrorists? I’m not to judge). And that I’m the chosen one by an Oracle (seriously?) to end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy! “I’ll never join you!” I shout. But you get 1000 credits, a lazer gun, and skillsoft upgrades for your brain. “Sounds awesome!” I amend.

 

 

Damn the Serpent, Full Steam Ahead!

Following up on Caverns of the Snow Witch, in which I have long since lost my patience with a Test Your Luck on every page, as well as the tedious and overly-lengthy walk home.

In our last episode, I cheated to have a 12/24/12 character, who was whittled down 1 TYL at a time and 2 stamina at a time, until death. Death in this case was an unlucky rattlesnake bite.

Because of the curse and other injuries, I had a 10 skill (out of 12). I’m cheating here and allowing the +1 sword, the +2 amulet, and +1 shield to count for a magnificent 14 attack strength. Still, there’s a lot of combat and the curse too, and I was whittled down 1 and 2 stamina at a time… from 20 when I left the cavern, to 9.

Now, let’s pretend that I drank my Potion of Luck. Not only am I not dead, but now I have 12 luck (12 increased to 13, then -1 for passing the snakebite’s TYL). That’s more like it! Still, 9 stamina isn’t a lot, and this book hasn’t had a single healing since we left the Caverns.

Further down the canyon where I’m wandering, I find a treehouse. Hoping to find an eccentric shaman or doctor, I find a half-orc and I take 2 points of damage (stamina 7). Next page is a barbarian; I kill him without taking a hit, and get a +1 armband of strength (attack strength now 15).

Finally, I find the cave of the The Healer. First order of business in healing me: lose 1d6 stamina. You jerk! Fortunately I only rolled a 2, leaving me 5.

The healing process consists of two Test Your Skill checks, with a penalty if I lack some trinkets, and instant death if I fail. Eventually, I am told to go to Firetop Mountain where the curse will be lifted. How I get there, depends on whether I have a silver trinket to offer for a ride. (Though if the healer could have healed me too, that would be great; I’m still at 5 stamina)

I don’t have any silver, so I get to walk to Firetop Mountain. Along the way I only have one brief encounter, with a hobgoblin. I kill him without breaking stride, and arrive at the mountain… where we TYL again (seriously?).

I get to the top of the mountain, and fall asleep. I have vivid dreams of a flaming bird who gives new life, but can’t quite remember what it’s called… oh right, yeah I do. I wake up on page 400.

So yeah, I finally made it. But only by egregious cheating for max stats and extra potions and food. Well, at least this one is off my list.

 

 

You spell that kind of luck B-A-D

Caverns of the Snow Witch is starting to get old. I’ve already taken a few breaks on to other books, hoping that a second wind would give some insight. So far, it’s only confirmed that there are a minimum of 7 Test Your Luck rolls, with the best path. This means that a initial Luck of 12 would be a meager 5, meaning snakebites and avalanche injuries and your adventure ending here.

On my last playthrough I cheated and still couldn’t get through. I’ll skip a lot of the details, as the adventurous part is covered in the previous postings.

I started with 12/24/12 stats (yeah, I cheated), and I play with two house rules: a) Only lose a Luck point if you pass the TYL roll, and b) shields and the amulet of courage etc. don’t add 1 Skill, but add to attack strength so they’re not subject to the initial Skill score.

After defeating the yeti, I cheated again by collecting my 50 gold and refilling my provisions back to 4. So I enter the Cavern with 4 food, 20 stamina, and 11 luck.

I fight my way through the critters, the temple, and the wizard. I evade a giant, and raid a alchemical stockroom, outsmart a rat, and garlic-stake the snow witch’s vampire form. So far so good; 10 luck left, and still 16 stamina and 4 food. Then the tiresome bit of curses and traps and loot, and the snow witch in a snow globe — with two more TYLs for the battles and our escape. Luck is now 8, stamina 18 after eating 2 food leaving me 2 more.

During the journey home are 3 mandatory TYLs: bird men, a werewolf while camping, and the trolls at Stonebridge.

In combat, I’m feeling pretty great or even overpowered. My 12 skill, a +1 sword from the trolls, my +1 shield, and the +2 amulet of courage, gives me a kickass 16 attack strength. But with a luck of 6, I’m not feeling very confident.

But then that curse kicks in. I lose 2 skill, and am losing stamina on every page. I run into a critter in a cave with a skill 11, and it rips me down to 9 stamina, and cost me a TYL (failure would have been instant death, somehow I rolled a 5 and passed), then I run into a rattlesnake and a failed TYL kills me outright.

Yeah, I really don’t know what to think of this. Even cheating and house-ruling, the sheer number of lethal TYLs here, combined with a nearly-complete absence of healing and luck regen, makes it phenomenally unlikely to win with the best of stats.

 

Glass, Shadows, and Pulp

Spectral Stalkers… still.  In my last update, I had found my way to the Ziggurat World and watched a silica serpent eat somebody alive, and befriended some sea creatures who think I can save their queen.

I have climbed the cliff to the second level of this world. I see some towers in the distance and head for them. According to the sea monsters they are inhabited by shadow creatures, and have a direct oath to the castle. That’s almost true: I try to awe the shadows with my Aleph, so they attack me and poison me, then tie me up and drink my blood down to 2 stamina. Not what I had in mind!

I wake up inside a force field, too weak to do anything about it, and am crushed to death as the shadows juice me for the last drops of my blood. My adventure ends here, in a pulp.

 

 

 

Elf Sacrifices, Sea Monsters, and Glass Castles

Is this my fifth day of Spectral Stalkers? My sixth? I was excited to see Peter Darvill-Evans’ name on this, but the clip-show channel-flipping thing is really becoming tedious. So when the Aleph offered me the opportunity to just hurry up and move on with the quest, I took it.

This is likely a mistake, because so many of these FF books require that you’ve collected some obscure piece of kipple, and I have only a few such souvenirs.

I land right in front of Spectral Stalker. Fortunately my trail score is only 4 so it doesn’t see me. Far away, I see a giant castle on an impossibly tall cliff – I assume this is my destination.

For my next trick, I hide in the bushes and watch as some elves tie someone to a stake, and invite a dragon-centipede creature to devour them alive! Good grief, did our brave hero just cower and watch a human sacrifice to a dragon? I feel sick…

I slink off in shame, and find my way to a seashore. I can finally see the cliff side clearly, and a trail up it. I also see giant bubbles floating on the surface of the water. That’s weird, and also interesting because I’m collecting spheres here, so I go take a look. Turns out that they’re vehicles for some truly horrifying sea monsters, but I have a good feeling about them so I surrender. Turns out they’re quite nice, on account of a prophecy that a warrior from beyond will save their queen and themselves from Globus. Cool!

And now, up the trail of the cliff, toward the castle!

 

 

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