Infiltrating a Fortress on an Empty Stomach

Sorcery book 4 again; the infiltration of Mampang Fortress, to take back The Crown of Kings. I have a moderately good skill, 14 luck (aww yeah!), 18 stamina… and no food.

The book opens with rain coming, and I’m looking for a cave to sleep in. I find one which is occupied by a dead satyr — now that’s just sad — and sleep the night. I wake up to lose 3 stamina due to hunger. A poor start.

I walk the path, cross a bridge, and am attacked by a bird man. I huck a HOT at him, which has a devastating effect on feathers, and he goes down in one hit. But now I’m down to 11 stamina.

I walk past some janky bridges, and into a roadblock of fallen rocks. I climb over it (lose 1 stamina) and am caught in a second landslide (lose 4 stamina, WAL is the only way out). So now I’m down to 6 stamina.

The good news, is that around the next corner is the Fortress itself! The bad news, is that I have only 6 stamina and am apparently so awed by the fortress that I lose 1 skill until further notice. Oh, and that Libra speaks to me in my dreams to say that once I get inside she can’t help me.

Ooh man…

I sneak to the gate, and oh my goodness it’s a HUGE gate! I decide to play doorbell ditch: knock, then hide on top of the door to surprise the guard as he… oh geez, four guards. It’s long fight, but my 13 combat strength prevails and I come through with 4 stamina left.

Two more guards are inside the gatehouse, as is the key to the gate. And I’m in!

The courtyard is just huge, and also full of people people doing their daily business. This is great; it means I won’t stand out by skulking around dark hallways.

In the courtyard is a guy in a pillory. I figure that if he’s no friend of the local army and Archmage, he’s a friend of mine.

Wrong.

I free him. He clonks me on the noggin, locks me into the pillory in his place, and absconds with all my stuff. My adventure ends here.

 

Mampang, Shortest Offensive of all Time

Sorcery, book 4 – the final stage, the infiltration of Mampang Fortress to take back the Crown of Kings from the Archmage. My journey through the Baklands leaves me in an interesting predicament:

  • Skill 10, +1 sword, +2 armband of swordmastery = 14. Nice.
  • Luck 14. No joke; a natural 12 then books 1 and 3 each increased it by 1.
  • Stamina 18.
  • …but no food.

The walk starts off on the craggy mountainous paths, with a rainstorm coming. I find some caves and decide to hole up in one. Inside I find a dead satyr. Seems harmless, but I’m concerned that its ate may come back and blame me for the death, so I pick a different cave. This one is inhabited by a skunkbear – eeeww! We fight. It sprays me. Eeew. Eventually I kill it and, here comes the most incredible part of my whole three-book journey so far… I decide to sleep in the cave anyway, despite the reeking emissions of a two-meter-tall skunk. Ugh.

Next morning, I gain 2 stamina from sleep but lose 3 from hunger. Ouch. I hit the road, cross a bridge, and notice a bird’s nest. Now, normally I wouldn’t care the least about a bird nest, but you know how these books are – the crown is probably in a chest, that needs a brass key hidden in this stupid nest. Sigh.

In I go. I find a gold mirror (used to  cast KIN) but also the bird men come home. No other rolls nor choices – they grab me, fly into the sky, and drop me to a bloody pulp on the rocks below.

Shortest offensive of all time.

 

Plains, Forest, Lake, Victory! Day Three

The riveting account of day three, of my triumphant journey through the Baklands.

I woke up on the edge of Lake Ilklala, with three dead Serpents behind me and one trapped in an orb by another sorceror. It’s a good day. A quick inventory showed that I was out of food, which isn’t great.

I blew the whistle to summon the ferryman. He was a cantankerous jerk, but as long as he has a boat I don’t care. I paid him the gold, and we headed out into the lake. About halfway there, he starts to spasm and thrash and suddenly he keeled over… as the Air Serpent burst out from him. Fortunately, this was the first serpent-killing advice I learned in the book: kill the body while it’s unprotected. I found a snakeskin in the guy’s pocket, and ripped it up, killing the Air Serpent without a fight.

Bummer. I paid the jerk, and then I had to row myself.

And yeah, first thing I did was row right into trouble. Some of the water was bubbling, and when I got closer, a sea serpent burst out. But it’s not just any sea serpent, it’s the Water Serpent. Fortunately, that sorceror Fenestra that I ran into yesterday told me how to deal with this one. I threw some oil on it, and it withered and died instantly. Fenestra would be very glad to hear about this, since that’s the nasty that killed her father.

That’s two Serpents in under an hour. Surely that’s a record?

Eventually I made my way across the lake, and pulled off into the marsh. I ran into some marsh goblins. Fenestra had mentioned that some goblins have the magic spell that can stop the Time Serpent. So I RAPped with them, and they gave me a scroll as long as I promised to kill the Time Serpent. Deal!

And yeah, there he was right at the end of that path. I read the spell and his time crawled to a stop. He was no match at all for my sword, and that’s the sixth Serpent kill. Combined with the trapped Sun Serpent, that’s all of them!

Sure enough, the next page was a roll call assuring me that I’m awesome. The path to Mampang lies ahead of me, and my newly-restored confidence brought a permanent +2 bonus to my skill (now a natural 10) and a full heal of stamina and luck (now a natural 14). However, I’m out of food and I am assured that the fortress will be the most perilous stage of this whole quest!

 

Plains, Forest, Lake, Victory! Day Two

The riveting account of day two, of my triumphant journey through the Baklands.

The second day is mostly uneventful until afternoon, as a storm kicked up. But I notice, that the storm isn’t a regular one; it was focused on me! I holed up in a cave for a while, but it was no good. The wind snatched away my backpack, destroying about half of my stuff including my gold mirror, and several potions.

That was really too bad, because the next person I ran into was really into gifts. I know this is a person of some importance, who has a gift that will do me well in the fortress when I get there. I had to give her my tinder box and my spare sword to flatter her. And it did! She revealed herself as The Sham, and she gave me some sleeping gas against The Sleepless Ram, some sort of defense at the firtress ahead. She also gave me her oak staff that weakens serpents, should I need to fight them.

Moving on, I sat down at a scenic overlook at a boulder on a hill, giving me a view of Lake Ilklala. I see that the plains are giving way to forest, which is a major landmark in my journey.

The boulder under me started to shudder, and the stones down below started rolling at me up the hill! I was pelted by stones and thrown down the hill into a pit, and the rocks rose up… becoming the Earth Serpent! Fortunately, I know this guy’s trick; the ol’ Antaeus treatment, a HUF and a slash, and little snakey-wakey is dead. Second serpent kill! Unfortunately, I only had 10 stamina at the hill and lost 4 of it from rocks and falls before the “fight” even started! Thank goodness my next stop was a rest stop where I could eat and heal.

I did get some respite for a while. I crossed through some rather pleasant meadows rich with spell components such as leaves and sand and stone powder. But for some reason, I was asked to drop items from my backpack to pick them up, so I passed. And ahead of me on the trail… I saw a red snake. That was staring at me.

I followed it, watching it stop to watch me, as if it’s smiling. Yeah, I knew what’s gonna hap… oh goodness! The tree bursts into flame! Not surprisingly, this is indeed the Fire Serpent. I was burned for 3 points of damage (down to 3!) and also lost 1 skill from the burns. Thinking fast, I threw sand on the fire and extinguished the serpent instantly. A short battle, indeed.

At this point I was in bad trouble, down to 3 stamina and with no healing in sight. I gave up, and I prayed. Full heals for the paladin of Libra, baby! That’s good, too. At my next stop a moment later, I’m bitten by an invisible snattacat for 3 points of damage. That would have killed me! What an end that would have been, bitten by a cat during a lunch break.

Moving along the path, I come across a house, home to Fenestra the sorceror. We chated shop a little bit, and she showed me that she has the Sun Serpent trapped in an orb. Sweet, that’s 14% of my job done for me. Thanks! She offered me some gifts to help me out, and I picked up a whistle that will summon the ferry man when I get to the lake.

Speaking of the lake… After but a short walk, it was evening and time to camp out, at the side of Lake Ilklala. The far side of this lake is my goal, and I was nearly there.

 

Plains, Forest, Lake, Victory! Day One

It was a grueling struggle, but I have crossed the Baklands, leaving behind six serpents dead and one imprisoned. Here is my story.

I walked out of the north gate of Khare with 14 stamina and 4 food. My skill of 9, a +1 sword, and a +2 armband of swordmanship = 12 effective combat strength. I had a bow and silver arrows, and various spell components. It’s a fine start.

A bird dropped me a note, advising me of our plot for this book: kill seven magical serpents who are heading towards the Archmage to warn them and to prepare defenses. The letter advises me to visit Shadrack, a hermit who lives nearby. I did, and he turns out to be good company. He gave me some advice for killing one of the serpents, and also gave me a galehorn which I can use for HUF.

My second encounter though, was far less pleasant — a baddu beetle. It couldn’t hit me at all with its mandibles and claws, but every time I hit it, I would catch a bunch of corrosive spit. This cost me 8 points of damage and brought me down to 6. I was feeling pretty concerned, because it was really early in the adventure!

Later in the day, feeling a little less confident than earlier, I ran into a really unwelcome sight — a horrifying deathwraith. I know these can only be hit by silver, so I broke out my bow and silver arrows from Khare! I made some very fortunate rolls, and knocked him down to 3 stamina – at which point it offered to surrender! Turns out it was a spellcaster having a little fun. So I had a little fun by robbing him, and I got away with some gold, some yellow powder, and a neat throwing weapon that does damage before combat starts.

But then… as I’m rifling through his loot… he kind of shrieked and convulsed and did this horrible twitching thing like in that movie The Thing, and from his body explodes the Moon Serpent! The book offered me a chance to make a fire, so I tried it. Turns out the Moon Serpent hates fire… and that made my job easy. My first serpent kill of the day!

The day went by, one long hot mile at a time, without a lot else going on. I lay down to sleep, really needing to heal some stamina, but I had a scary dream about being carried away by the Fire Serpent, only to be awakened by a bunch of cavemen wanting to kill me! I was in no mood for their guff, though, and I killed them all — but the disturbed sleep and a light injury during the fight, means I started the morning even closer to death than before I slept.

Stranded by the Lake… Forever

Unbelievable. The Seven Serpents, book 3 of the Sorcery! epic, is just merciless.

I made it all the way to the Lake Ilklala… without meeting a single serpent. I know that’s not good, that I should have run into at least 2 of them during Act 1.

Then the book let me jerk around for a while on the edge of the lake… waiting for a ferryman who will never come. The end.

That is disappointing.

Death by Deathwraith: A Short Tale of the Baklands

The Seven Serpents is just ripping me up! Tonight was my third attempt, and it was more brief than the previous ones.

Our doughty  adventurer starts off in the usual fashion, bored and slightly sunburnt and attacked by giant birds on page 1. So, it’s basically hiking as usual here on Earth.

I fight them easily, not taking a scratch but becoming slightly bored, until a giant golden eagle swoops in and scares them away. It also drops a letter for me, my mission briefing from the king of Analand. (do you suppose the owls at Hogwarts appreciate this sort of invasion into their courier/delivery schtick? I expect not)

The king warns me that my mission has been discovered, that that I will need to face Seven Serpents here in the desert, or else they’ll have a trap for me when I get to book 4. But it’s okay — the Seven Serpents are bound to gods and have super badass powers, so I’ll be fine. Hm, wait…

As I’m pondering this good news during my walk, I’m interrupted by a talking tree. It tells me that the hermit I should talk to, lives nearby. I roll my eyes and keep walking, because I do not take advice from trees! The rest of the day passes uneventfully, as I set up camp and sleep, but then lose 3 stamina because I wasn’t allowed to eat while camping. (I have four bags of s’mores stuff too!)

Day Two of my journey starts off hungry and also kind of ticked off from sleeping on rocks. So when three centaurs come at me, I let them have it. They get me with an arrow for 3 more points, but I just slaughter them after that. They were even carrying some spell reagents, so they must have been thieves anyway and surely deserved it. (yeah, there was no campfire coffee either; I am in a really bad mood)

I continue walking northward, still stubbornly refusing to eat for whatever reason. Suddenly, the ground gives out under me! I’m attacked, by a giant acid-spitting beetle! Between its sharp claws and acid attack, I’m in really bad shape by the time I put him down — 5 stamina left.

So when I start hallucinating, and the sky and air darken around me, and a death wraith manifests itself, I am really not prepared. The book offers me the option of hiding, running, or fighting. As we know, running and hiding are never allowed; they just hit you for X damage then force you to fight anyway. So I whip out my bow and silver arrows that I picked up in Khare…

…and die fair and square in combat, against a worthy foe.

Damn.

 

Death by Earth Serpent, a brief tale of crossing the Baklands

Okay, my second try on Sorcery! book three, in which we have left Khare and are trekking the desolate Baklands. Again we open with fighting some birds, and some exposition that seven serpent-gods are racing ahead of me to inform the Archmage that I’m coming, so he can set a trap.

Again, on the next page I run into a talking tree which informs me that I should talk to the hermit who lives nearby. Again, the hermit gives me dinner and a magical horn, as well as some advice and backstory of these serpents.

Back on the trail, I catch a ride with some friendly centaurs. This time they take me to a caravan of elves who are heading back toward Khare. I’m headed the other way, but I figure they may have interesting supplies or advice. However, in trying to make allies and friends, my honesty backfires when the elves basically blame me for attracting the wizard’s attention and getting him into a bad mood. I flee from the camp, with a hail of arrows behind me. I have to Test My Luck six times to dodge six arrows, and though it works out well for me, my Luck is down from 13 to 7. Ouch.

My next encounter is with a weird gnome-like creature. I have a weird feeling about it, but my intuition says to be friendly. Turns out, this person is The Sham whom I was told to talk to in preparation for something called the Sleepless Ram. She has some sleeping gas that may be helpful when I get to that stage of my journey, as well as some useful advice about the Earth Serpent. Or it would be useful, if I could do a levitation spell.

I wander about some more, and some more, and eventually I do run into a place where rocks come to life and start attacking me. I’m worn down one stamina point at a time,  by heat and abrasion and being stung by something I can’t see. And then it comes at me: the Earth Serpent. It has a 12 skill and also 14 stamina, and well he just rolls more fortunately than I.

My adventure ends here, crushed and ground under the coils of a stone serpent.

 

The Curse of Yig, A Tragic Death in the Baklands

The Sorcery! four-book epic continues. I escaped from Khare a few hours ago, and the last few hours have been walking across the barren, nigh-featureless plains of the Baklands. Finally here on page 1, the monotony is broken when I am attacked by giant birds, and am saved by a giant golden eagle which also delivers my plot exposition.

The story is that seven serpent-gods are on their way to the fortress where I’m headed, to warn of my coming. So my quest for this book is not only to survive across the Baklands, but also to kill all seven of the serpents or else I’ll be walking right into a trap.

A short while later I come across a talking tree, which without being asked, informs me that the hermit who was mentioned in my exposition letter, lives shortly to the east. I drop in and pay him a visit, where he tells me a little bit about the serpents and feeds me dinner. Feeling much refreshed, I take off again.

A short while later I run into some friendly centaurs, who offer me a ride in exchange for me pretending to cast a luck spell on them. I ride with them to a pit where a snake charmer lives. Unfortunately, I totally misread the situation and he turned me into a snake.

Well. I guess my adventure ends here.

 

Scum and Villainy, Harpies and Gods

I take a breather in the cemetery, outside the crypt. The wraith inside was what I had hoped: a spirit of one of the town elders, who gave me the third line of the four-line poem I need to leave town. But the fight with the wraith knocked me down to 6 stamina, through a phenomenally unlucky series of dice rolls.

I know that I’m close to the North Gate, having played this before, so I use my once-per-book blessing from Libra. Holy light shines down, filling my heart, healing my wounds. 1UP!

I stride toward the north gate, clearly running out of time to find that fourth line. I run into a blind old beggar, and I know how these things go – beggars always have some tidbit of good advice or something. This guy… has harpies.

The damn things swoop from the sky, screeching and clawing and trying to steal the old man’s gold. I throw a DIM spell at them, rendering one of them harmless as it flies into a wall and forgets what it was doing. The other goes down without much of a fight, and the old man is saved. And yep, turns out he’s actually a disgraced town elder with half of the fourth line of the poem. The other half, he figures I can get at the shrine up the road.

Man, they’re really trying to pad this thing out to feature length, aren’t they?

I head on up to the shrine, and there’s an idol with instructions on how to make out with it. Eew. But when in Khare, I guess slipping some tongue into a god is part of the local custom. Still, eew. The god wakes and give me the last piece that I need to make sense of that fourth line of the poem.

And onward. The gate is just up ahead.

Thinking quickly, I have to bribe the guards. I reach into my pocket and find the crumpled up pass to the Crystal Waterfall way back at Birritanti. I throw DUD on it and turn it into a sheet of gold leaf, which the guards just go mad for. They ignore me, and I get to the gate.

Klaatu! Barada! Nickelback necktie nectar! Maybe I don’t say every single little syllable, but basically I say it… and the gate opens. Goodbye, Khare. I think I’ll come back for a vacation after I finish this quest.

Closing stats: Skill 9 but +3 effective when using a sword in combat, 14 out of 18 stamina. Luck at its 13 max. 4 provisions and 12 gold left.

 

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