All posts by mazemaster

Replay: Sword of the Samurai

My wurst continues: Crown of the Shogun, sorry I mean Sword of Kings, … sorry, I mean Sword of the Samurai. Basically the single-book version of the Crown of Kings storyline, but in feudal Japan.

I started my adventure yesterday, and defended a village from an attack by one of the local lords who has decided to stop obeying my shogun. I accept their thanks and some gold, and continue on my way… coming across the castle of Lord Tsietsen, whose men was sacking our village. No way I can just keep riding past, I need to make an example.

I sneak into a hay cart and get past the gate, then simply bluff my way into the castle by acting arrogant. Being a samurai is kind of fun! I stride down the corridors, pushing a few peasants out of the way and barking a few orders… and come across Tsietsin himself. Not only is he wearing the shogun’s crown of office, but he’s accompanied by some demon-spawn things clearly indicating that he’s in league with that shadow demon I’m hunting. Sir, my lord shall have his revenge!

Revenge does come, at some price in my blood. I take a scratch, and another 3 stamina from a sneak attack. I’m feeling a bit hurt now, so I make a hurried search and pick up 100 gold and a set of +1 armor. Sweet! Then I take off down the escape door that Tsietsen was going to use, to hopefully leave the castle.

It’s not a short tunnel. After some time and a few nutritious snacks, I run afoul of some tunnel-dwelling wildlife (a 40-foot centipede thing) and some tunnel-dwelling loot (healing potion, and a -1 cursed helmet, offsetting my new armor). But it does lead back out into daylight, and on the road to the Forest of Shadows.

Guarding the edge of the forest is a dragon, who is apparently very bored because he asks me to answer old riddles or else to fight as he tries to eat me. Yawn. I answer these age-old puzzles, and move on… and that’s it for the Forest of Doom. Shadows! Forest of Shadows.

 

Replay: Sword of the Samurai

That satisfying end to the Sorcery! epic is still warm in my belly, The series  started off slow, but really ramped up into something great. So what will I do next?

I figured that instead of powering through to the next Fighting Fantasy, why not replay an old one? Sword of the Samurai was a favorite a few years back…

The local shogun has charged me, his most promising samurai, with bringing back the magic sword that gives him power to rule. The sword was stolen by a demon (named Master of Shadows) who lives in a mountain fortress (named Pit of Demons).

Hm, okay I’m getting a really strong Crown of Kings vibe here.

My character is, and I swear this was a honest roll, … Oh hell yeah. My guy is gonna steamroll over everything!

  • 12 skill
  • 21 stamina
  • 11 luck

I choose dual-wielding swords as my superpower, pack my bag full of food, grab my swords, and turn to paragraph 1.

First off, I come to a fork in the road: west through the Forest of Shadows, or east into the swamps? There’s no map, just a vague direction of “north” so… Forest of Shadows it is!

Well, some day. The narrative skips over a few days of boring riding, until I come to the lands of a local lord, who obviously isn’t protecting the shogun’s land very well… because raiders are destroying a village. I ride in and demand to know what’s going on, and am attacked by the lord’s samurai! OMG, they are the bandits! This isn’t a random raid, it’s a land grab by  another local lord!

I kill the first soldier, then I do the most macho thing I can imagine: I run to the center of town, and scream a challenge for these bastards to stop picking on villagers and face me in one-on-one combat. Rawr! Three of them take me up, and I take but one scratch before I have decapitated all three. Still, combined with that surprise attack I’m down to 14 out of 21.

The villagers are so happy at being saved, I gain 2 honour points and some gold, and a headband which belonged to a great warrior. Then I swagger back to the road, the closing theme starts to play on the wind, and roll credits…

 

The Crown is Mine! Victory in Mampang, Part 5

Sorcery part 4, and our heroic and stunningly handsome adventurer is in deep crap again. I felt pretty great walking through two Thorben Gates in 10 pages of text, and getting into the Archmage’s tower… but it was a setup and now I’m trapped.

To keep me company is Jann, that minimite from book 1. Remember him,  that awful little pest? Well, he’s not so annoying this time because he’s really not doing well. The Archmage cut off Jann’s wings and locked him up here in the tower. How awful.

I tell Jann my story, and find out that I was played for a fool: that little old man was the Archmage in disguise. So, how to get out of here?

Well, back when I was trading loot with the satyrs one of the items I picked up was a genie in a bottle.  I’m finally offered the option to open it up and ask its advice. The genie grants my wish “I want to go back to the archmage” … and I find myself back in the fortress, walking in on the little old man.

Hey wait a second…

This time I subtract X from the page because his cover is blown. The man falls to the ground dead, and the archmage appears and begins to transform into a demon. I’m offered a spell before the thing forms and we have to fight. I go with HOT because nothing else sounds right… and I’ll be blessed, it works. The half-formed demon and the Archmage are destroyed.

I use my holy water on the old man, to raise him from the dead. He’s glad to see me, and he calls the allied birdmen to give them the news. Everybody is happy; not only is the crown saved, but I get to fly home in style.

My adventure ends here, in victory.

 

The Crown is Mine! Victory in Mampang, Part 4

Our brave hero (that is I) continues needling his way through the Archmage’s fortress, and referring to himself in the third person. In yesterday’s episode, I threatened a goblin and got directions, befriended the head torturer who turned out to be a nice fella once you get past how horrible he is deep inside, walked through the third Thorben Gate and through a room with swords, and got arrested.

The good news is that they don’t recognize me; they think I’m just some knob who wandered too far. I fast talk them successfully, and the captain of this guard actually gives me the key to the next gate. What a hoser, eh?

Guarding the gate is a status of a ram. I’ve been warned about this Sleepless Ram, and was given some sleeping gas to help. The gas works a charm, knocking the thing down long enough for me to get through the door. And that was Thorben Door number four… the last one!

But instead of the Archmage’s chambers or a throne room, I find a run-down room fit for the lowest peasant. And there’s a little old man poised to crush my head with a vase, but he doesn’t. Well that’s nice of him. We sit and chat a bit, and he tells me that the Archmage doesn’t even live in the fortress, but in a tower next door. What the heck? The good news is that there’s a secret door; the bad news is that… hey wait, Libra told me in my dreams how to get through a secret door. And it works! Presently I’m outside and at the foot of the Archmage’s real tower.

But again, it’s not right. The inside isn’t a wizard’s tower, but more like a hovel or a jail cell. I do find the Archmage all right: waiting for me, here in his special prison tower.

Arrested again. What a lousy day.

 

The Crown is Mine! Victory in Mampang, Part 3

In yesterday’s episode, our brave hero (that’s me, I mean that is I) got advice from an old lady about some birdmen who are working against the Archmage, killed a trio of sightmasters who were picking on that lady, harassed and threatened a tax collector, and got the password to the second Thorben Gate.

I find myself at a second courtyard, with two choices of door. I see one guarded by birdmen, and so I make my move to try and make contact. The birdmen have moved inside, so when I move inside I have a choice of two doors… I pick one at random. The birdmen inside turn out to be very unfriendly, and again with a bloodbath. Feathers everywhere, cawing and screeching, it’s quite awful. Well, moving on…

The next stop is an intersection: left to a door, right to a door, or forward into a door. I ring the doorbell and out comes a little goblin-looking guy with a bad attitude. I get in his face too, and he cowers instantly. I press my advantage and he tells me how to get deeper into the fortress, to the next giant door. His directions take me straight to the torture chamber… which strangely, is where I want to be, because I know that the head torturer has the password to the next gate.

The torturer turns out to be a very reasonable and friendly fellow, if you respect his professional expertise and courtesy. We got along nicely, and he told me how to get through the next gate. What a nice fella!

Moving onward, I run into a merchant shop. I’m fairly rich at this point, so I buy a bit of everything because with Fighting Fantasy you never know if a bird nest or a random silver coin or a red candle happens to be the big key to everything. And next, down the hall… the next Thorben Door.

And the torturer’s advice was true: I get through the door unharmed and without trouble.

… And into a room with swords growing out of the floor, which plunges into darkness. I have those candles I picked up from the merchant, though, and I get through okay…

…and into the waiting grip of guards, and dragged before their captain. Captured!

But for some reason my adventure has not ended here?

 

The Crown is Mine! Victory in Mampang, Part 2

Sorcery, Book 4 and my approach to the fortress of the Archmage to steal back The Crown of Kings.

I spent the night in a cave, met up with some female satyrs and got some loot, and met a priest who blessed my spear. No, that’s not a euphemism for anything. And now I’m in sight of the first Thorben Door, of the four such doors I must pass.

My strategy is elegant yet simple: I run for it, just bolt for the gate as fast as I can and hope nobody sees me. This works remarkably well, considering that I do find the guards passed out drunk. Being the brave but very hungry hero that I am, I kill them as they sleep and eat their lunch right there. That’s how “hangry” plays out in Kakhabad!

Getting to the gate, the book offers me a novel option: to play doorbell ditch. I knock on the gate, then hide above the gate and sneak in when the guards come outside to find the joker. Ha, ha, it’s all fun and games here. But then we get inside and there are four guards anyway. A bloodbath ensues, including an additional two guards in the next room before I get my hands on the gate key. Then I’m through and into a fairly large courtyard. I’m in, and that was easy!

I eye the place and head over to a pillory, where some poor creature is imprisoned. However, I remember this guy from my previous life and I’m not falling for it again. I taunt him a little and move on, and meet a blind old lady begging for coins, I’m feeling generous… and so is she! She advises me that some of the birdmen here are against the Archmage, and tells me the code to talk to them should I meet more birdmen. She also gives a pendant of +1 luck (Luck 16 baby!) and some holy water. In return, I offer to go kill some rogue sightmasters I saw earlier, who apparently are not only loyal to the Archmage but also stealing from this old lady. The battle with the sightmasters is a bit odd, though: as I move in to attack, my blessed spear leaps from my hand and kills the lot of them in a rather gruesome cut scene!

Moving on, I see the second Thorben Gate ahead of me. I see someone whisper a password to it, so I walk on by toward some staff entrance to see if I can get the password from someone else.

That works out reasonably well. A few more times, my element of surprise saves my bacon as I’m not recognized as The Analander but just waved on as a stranger. I run into a really gross creature (a mucalytic; what the hell? the name sounds like website statistics made of snot) and dodge it, and run into Valigaya the tax collector. Now, I’ve been advised in the previous book to not give this guy a single coin, and I’m gonna go with that. When he demands money, I get in his face and pull my sword. He caves immediately, giving me the gate password. I thank him by also taking his coin purse on the way out, because I’m a hero. Damn there was 20 gold in here!

Back down the hall, and to the gate… and the password works. I’ve just crossed the second Thorben Gate!

 

The Crown is Mine! Victory in Mampang, Part 1

Again, book 4 of the Sorcery epic, our infiltration of the Archmage’s fortress at Mampang. I got through Book 3 with all of the Seven Serpents neutralized, giving me a permanent +1 Skill (now 11, +1 sword, +2 armband) and Luck (now 15! fifteen!) as well as the element of surprise: at certain perks throughout the book when someone recognizes me as “The Analander!” they instead see a stranger.

However, I’m doing so with 0 provisions left, nor any healing potions or similar. So I have to be careful here, because even with an 11 skill those scratches and scrapes will add up.

So, I enter Mampang and have a choice of three caves to spend the night. The first one I pick has a very loud wild animal in it, but I go in with my sword ready… and scare a harmless jib-jib. Poor little guy. It’s a comfortable night’s sleep, but a hungry morning: -3 stamina.

The next morning, I run into some fauns or satyrs on the mountainside. Female satyrs, of all things. I’m quite intrigued by this, so I’m friendly with them, and they take me back to their village so I can regale them with stories of my awesomeness. And there is so very much to tell!

Turns out that they’re very friendly folk, and  I end up trading them a bunch of junk from prior books for some new stuff to help with my journey. I traded away a serpent-bashing stick for some healing fruits, and that serpent-interrogation ring for a spear and for information about a local priest who could bless it for me. Nice.

Continuing on my way, I see a possible way to cross the chasm to the side I need: a rope swing. Nope! I keep on until I find a proper bridge, then I give the special call that the satyrs gave me, and meet the priest who lives here. He hates the evil of Mampang, and he gladly blesses my spear. I’m not sure why I need a blessed spear, but in these books you know you’ll need it!

He points me to a safer bridge across the chasm, and I come into sight of my goal: an open field and the first of the four Thorben Doors through the fortress and to the Archmage,

So far, so good! I’m only down 3 stamina, and up some snazzy loot. I still have Libra behind me, and I’m not in any immediate danger. I’ve made it… this far.

 

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!