Escape and Death in a Far Away Land

Shadow in the Sand was so much fun, and I saw so little of the book last time, that we should do it again. This time I have 14 combat, and am loaded out as a tank: mindblast and healing, sword skill and a shield. Rawr!

We arrive in Barrakeesh to find the king dead, and replaced with a new one who wants to arrest me fresh off the boat. I am of the opinion that cowardice is the better part of discretion, so I dive into the water to escape. I have a brief talk with a floating blob monster asking him not to eat me, then flee into the bazaar district with the soldiers hot on my tail.

I try to blend in by buying a black sash of mourning and acting sad, as I crawl into a tavern to drown my alleged sorrows. The owner understands my grief and lets me hide in the basement, where I find a sewer grate and decide that it’s a great place to hide! A few stinky hours in the sewer, and I have killed several lizards and contracted a paralytic bacterial infection in my arm before I find my way out. It was a full, rich day.

I escape the sewers and fortunately find myself at the public bath house. I wash off and start looking for an herbalist to see to my arm. The only herbalist in town though, says that the king’s apothecary is the only one with access to Oede herb these days, so I guess it’s time to break into the palace!

This works out famously, as Our Brave Hero murders a passer-by to steal his clothing and travel papers, then sneaks into the castle and finds the apothecary fight away. Now that my arm is healed, time for the bad news… The new king is cutting a deal with the Darklords, and I’m part of the deal!

I take off running, and make it as far as the gate back to the garden. Then the Drakkarim warriors straight up shoot me in the back. As I fall forward onto the poisoned spikes, I think to myself that this is some serious overkill.

My mission and adventure, ends there.

 

Finding the Tomb of the Zakhan

In our last segment, Lone Wolf was in Vassagonia trying to find the Tomb of the Zakhan, in which the fabled Book of the Magnakai is said to lie. The Darklord Haakon is also looking for it, so as to destroy it and prevent other people from becoming Lone Wolf.

After a really surprisingly fortunate set of dice rolls, I escaped from Barrakeesh on a giant eagle and have joined up with an airship manned by a magician and a squadron of dwarven riflemen. Now that’s a team to have your back!

We’re headed south to Ikaresh, hoping to met up with a fella named Tipasa who knows exactly where that tomb is located. We walk the last few miles on foot so as not to attract attention, and meet up with a nice man who tells us where Tipasa lives. When we get into Ikaresh, we find that Tipasa has been taken away by the Darklords… but he did leave his diary.

I had to cheat to solve the diary because of misprints in this edition of the book. Yes really, I can take a photo to prove it.

Having arrived at the tomb, well, the entry and boss fight were super simple. I snuck past the only guard, and Darklord Haakon went down without a fight when he dropped his magic rock.

So yeah… My first playthrough and I won. The Book of Magnakai is mine. First playthrough.

But the good news, is that I’ve likely seen about half of the book. There are a lot of turns I didn’t take.

 

Treachery in the Desert

We’re still continuing through Shadow On The Sand, book 5. Lone Wolf traveled to the land of Vassagonia, only to find that there was no peace treaty at all but a new king making a deal with a Darklord.

The Darklord wants Lone Wolf dead of course, but also knows the whereabouts of the fabled Book of the Magnakai. That’s THE book with all of the Kai secrets, not just the 10 listed in the front of the book! That means Lone Wolf could start up a whole new Kai school, as well as learn a lot of new tricks. The Darklord wants to destroy it, and knows where it is, so better move quickly!

I’m spotted by a guard! There’s a frantic race through the castle, then I get the bright idea of stealing one of their giant hawks. You remember from Chasm, that the most bad-assed Vassagonian officers ride giant eagles into battle – seems like a good way to escape.

Through some phenomenally lucky dice rolls, I beat the bird into submission, hop into the saddle like a boss, and whoosh! Several soldiers whoosh after me as well, and it’s a long pursuit… until we come across an airship! A ship, in the air!

When my bird is shot down, I am rescued by the ship. We fight off the soldiers with swords and rifles, then veer south to make contact with someone who knows where the Book of Magnakai is located.

Flying off… into the sunset. Well, with the sunset to our right since we’re headed south.

Arrested in Vassagonia!

In my last posting, Lone Wolf had arrived as a peace envoy to sign a treaty. As we arrived in Vassagonia, we learn that the Zakhan (king) has died and that the new one is not at all well liked. He’s off my Christmas list on page 1, when he has me arrested.

I don’t put up a fight against 30 swordsmen and crossbow archers, and am bundled off to a jail cell minus my stuff. Fortunately, the guards aren’t very bright and when they come to check on me I kick both their butts, take their swords and their keys, and prowl around looking for my loot.

Luck is with me. I take the correct turn and find the armory, and collect my stuff, only needing to subdue one additional guard.  I even find the combination to the door up to the next level.

The next level is an overlook of the throne room (seriously, an assassination balcony overlooking the throne?) where I see the Zakhan talking with… a Darklord! Aw, geez, this just took a turn for the weird.

 

 

Far Away to Vassagonia

After a hiatus for other studies and duties, I don my green cloak and re-enter the world of Magnamund. In our last Lone Wolf adventure, The Chasm of Doom, an army from Vassagonia was in Sommerlund fighting for Lord Vashna.

The Zakhan (king) of Vassagonia was horrified to discover that a rogue warlord had done such a thing, and to make amends he wants to sign a formal treaty of peace and cooperation. So I hop a ship, a peace envoy to sign the treaty on behalf of the king.

Didn’t Battlestar Galactica start with a peace envoy?

After four weeks at sea, we get to Barrakeesh, the capital city of Vassagonia… and the Zakhan has died. We knew he was in poor health, but he timing just stinks. The new Zakhan immediately has me arrested. And that’s on page 1.

 

Still Mapping the Chasm of Doom

After nearly a month, I picked up the book to get back to mapping the rest of it.  This is four times in a row, out of four books, that I’ve been surprised and impressed with the amount of detail and the complexity of pathways which Joe managed to cram into each of these books.  After over a dozen playthroughs and two victories, I have two cramped pages of notes and maps, and still see pathways I haven’t explored yet. The previous books’ mapping, occupied 3 to 4 pages apiece as well. Nicely done, Joe!

So even though I haven’t been posting about every play through, I have been at it off and on, and I expect to have Chasm of Doom mapped out and written up in the next few days.

 

 

Rescued From The Chasm of Doom

In last night’s episode, our party was overwhelmed by a small army of bandits and driven into a mine.  My companions were wiped out by some vicious attack cats, and I was torn down very badly. I eventually found my way out of the mine and to the surface.

The city of Ruanon is  destroyed. Some soldiers are defending the last tower, and I make a desperate run to the tower with bandits and hounds behind me. I’m saved by Captain D’Val, leader of the previous search party that we were trying to find. However, I was rescued with only 4 endurance left, so this may be a very short reprieve.

I meet the baron, whose mind has snapped in the awfulness of the last month of siege. Unfortunately, the story he tells is entirely believable: he tells me that the bandits are being led by the warlord Barakka, who intends to sacrifice the baron’s daughter to call up an army of undead soldiers led by the big Dark One himself, Vashna. Yeah, this just got REALLY ugly.

There’s another attack on the tower, however this time it’s not bandits but soldiers. I only had 4 endurance points, and I’m killed a couple of pages later in the first fight.

Tough book so far. Multiple bandit ambushes whittled us down, but some bad luck when fighting the wildcats really cut me down. I went through 3 laumspur potions but just couldn’t recuperate quickly enough. I may need to pick up the healing skill next time; it’s so overpowered it feels like cheating, though. Hmmm…

 

Ambushes and Mines

Another run through Chasm Of Doom.  I reused my character from previously: 17 combat, 24 endurance, the usual ranger skills, short sword and mind blast.

Again, the strange man with the poem, but this time we decide to skip out on the performers and just stay on mission. Same for the tavern that gets rated by bandits: I know it’s our job to protect our subjects, but right now we’re busy. Come to think of it, I’m not sure that’s even our job; that’s the militia and we’re more special forces types…

The weather turned foul,  and a few of my scouts went missing when I told him to look around for signs of bandits. Not a good sign. We went looking for them, and found the entrance to a mine…  As well as a force of bandits that overwhelmed us, forcing us to retreat into the mine.

We do indeed find the bodies of the previous scouts, having fall into a pit to their deaths. Sad! We continue forward however, and find an underground river with a boat. It’s just myself and two men now, and we take the boat and head down river. We find a landing and stop to take a look. We subdue some guards in a convenient cut scene, then I open a door into a shelter for feral cats. Doesn’t sound too awful, but it kills both of my companions and knocks me down to 9 endurance. Bad kitty!

At this point, I stop to take my breath. I was forced into the mine by an army of bandits, not just a small band. I’m next to a spiral staircase that goes up and down, so that’s a minimum of three stories of underground structure. I’m not sure what’s going on here, but this is well beyond even a lucky or well-organized bandit party.

I decided I need to get out of here, so I take the stairs upward which I hope is towards the surface.  I climb for several minutes, then find a tunnel that goes on for several miles. Aside from avoiding one guard, not very eventful… Until I run into a crew of slaves and their driver. I make a run for it, and escape from the mine and into the trees.

What I see is not pretty. The city of Ruanon is burned to the ground, notwithstanding a small force defending one tower. I’m spotted by guards and I make a run for it.  Thanks to a few lucky dice rolls, I’m only lightly injured… And am rescued by Captain D’Val!

 

 

Chasm of Doom, searching for the search party

Tonight I start The Chasm Of Doom, the fourth of the Lone Wolf series.

I’ll be using the character which survived the Caverns of Kalte. I have a full backpack of food left from my journey to Kalte, 17 combat, and 20 for endurance. This character is your classic ranger: sixth sense and tracking, camouflage, and talking to animals, and shorts word proficiency and mindblast to buff up in a fight.

It seems that a wagon full of gold has gone missing. The king sent his army, but the army vanished. So let’s send a small group of rangers to do but the entire army could not. Typical.

As we’re traveling through the amber waves of grain, with no idea where to start looking, we come across a hut in which a strange man reads me a poem.

Further along the road, we come across a performance troupe who invites us to camp with them for the night. It’s our job to protect our subjects, and they might know something, so we take them up on it. During the night, I find Captain D’Val’s sword! The performer who has it says that he didn’t know it was stolen, and tells us that he bought it at a tavern in Eshnar. I’m inclined to believe him, so I take the sword and move on.

The next evening, we stop at a tavern, which has been reinforced and fortified. It seems they’ve been under attack by bandits lately. Again, it’s our job to protect our subjects, so we stay the night. The bandits do indeed attack, and I make that swashbuckling move of leaping out the upper story window through the roof of the stable, and killing the bandit in one stroke. Aww yeah!

On the third day, we find the turnoff to Eshnar. We head into town, and despite my sixth sense telling me that this is not a good place, I want to investigate that tavern where D’Val’s sword was sold. We are immediately ambushed, and in the fray I was killed in a cut scene.

Well, that’s too bad. At least it was bloody and in combat.

So far, I don’t have much impression of this book to make a judgment. So far we’ve just covered squalid prairie and fields.  But I didn’t make it that far, and have no idea what still lies ahead.

Mapping the Caverns of Kalte

I have played through this one many more times over the last few days, in the process of mapping it all out for the website. As with the first two, Joe and Gary managed to put a lot of complexity into this book.

There are four distinct entrances to the Cavern. The glacier path really is more dangerous, but may give more loot. There are at least four places to pick up a blue triangle keycard, some of which don’t involve a kolkath. And the quickest path to the Vonotar means missing almost half of what’s there, there are so many paths that work.

It’s all basically one castle and some ice, and not an epic quest like Fire and Flight were, but once I dedicated myself to playing more combinations to get it mapped out, I am quite impressed with the scope of what is in here.

 

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