Scorpion Swamp

FF08-CoverYOU become a complete idiot! The Scorpion Swamp is a fatally lethal place, and trespassing into it results in a deadly case of terminal death. But you’re stoked on your Little Orphan Annie magic compass ring, and head into the swamp.

You have a choice of three employers, and any of three separate adventures! Assassinate wizards. Collect precious flowers. Or just keep a map and not die. There are three separate adventures! Pretty sweet.

Now get moving, cuz the swamp critters are getting hungry.

Review and Opinion

This one was #8 in the series, and the first time that Steve and Ian decided to bring in someone else to do the writing. It’s the Steve Jackson you know of in the US, with the game company and all.  As a result, it had some very interesting differences from other books before and since.

First off, the swamp is a grid and they describe this in detail before you start. The clearings have ID#s and you’re instructed at each one to “if you have been here before, turn to…” So in some ways, the thing kind of lacked some personality. I mean, they totally spoilerify it up front. And it’s all straight paths connecting them, not even “secret passages” or “teleportation” or even “getting lost” and winding up elsewhere on the map. So it was some seriously lazy mapping, really.

The swamp is really small, and the adventures are super simple. I solved the first quest within 1 hour of opening the book, then the second quest later that evening, and the third in 20 minutes since I had already mapped it out.

So it didn’t really have that feeling I get from so many of the books, of blowing a whole weekend exploring a really interesting and intricate place.

But, what it did have… was three separate adventures! Yes, page 400 is just another page, because there are with three happy and successful endings!

  • The good wizard, wants you to bring back a plant that can be used for making medicines.
  • The evil wizard wants you to bring back amulets from the wizards in the swamp, and not necessarily by asking nicely.
  • The merchant simply wants you to get to the north end of the swamp, then back again.

And it had single-use spells, kind of like Citadel of Chaos, to get out of trouble. I really love when FF books have these sort of mechanics to opt out of some struggles, or to moxy your way through them.

Maps

FF08-Map1

Publication

Steve Jackson (US)

1984

Book 8 in the series

Links

 

4 thoughts on “Scorpion Swamp”

  1. Thanks for writing up my favourite fighting fantasy book. I drew a map back in the 80’s which I recently rescued from the attic and scanned for preservation. Here’s a link for it:
    drive.google.com/file/d/0B_XOE09zTPxOZ2lJWVg4OTRwYUk/view
    Steven

  2. Thanks! I was not artist, but I bought a pack of fine tipped coloured pens after seeing Tony Hart use them in one of his episodes. The larger pictures show the locations of the amulets. I had a lot of fun using this map to complete all three missions.

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