All posts by mazemaster

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.

 

Wretched Hive… Continued

I just parted company with Lortag the Elder, keeper of the first line of the poem I need to get out of Khare, the famous Cityport of Traps.

I move on through the streets, wondering where I can get a break on the other three lines of the poem… when I’m suddenly grabbed and dragged into a house! The man then explains that he’s lonely and just wants company, and invites me to tea. What the heck? With that sort of personal skills, of course he doesn’t have any friends! I explain that I don’t want to be his friend either, and he pulls a bow on me. I pull out my sword, and have at it. His arrow grazes me for a minor wound, but my effective 12 combat strength makes short work of him.

You know, that +2 armband of swordsmanship is really overpowered.

Being a brave hero, I of course rifle through his house for loot. I find some more gold (now I’m rich!), as well as a vial of poison and a vial of “essence of bark” whatever that is, then I hit the road

I find myself interested by a religous shrine, where some prophet or healer is giving their diatribe. I stop to listen, and the fella presents me with a simple mathematical puzzle. When I solve it, he is so impressed that he gives me the second line to the poem. This is great, two lines in a few minutes.

Feeling pretty good about myself, I head to the Wayfarer’s Rest Inn.

I was expecting a cross between any medieval tavern and the Mos Eisley Cantina, but in fact it’s more like that bar in Gremlins. For one thing, my old pal Flanker is here, drunk as anything and giving away free money as he disappears into the night with some ne’er-do-wells. Man, this day just keeps getting better!

I sit down for a huge pile of dinner, which I appreciate because of my blood loss throughout the day (an arena fight, that fight at the bandit’s house, and DOPing my way out of jail). I meet a sailor who’s buying drinks, too, and heal 3 more stamina. Finally, I toddle off to bed and heal 2 more… and wake up tied to a guilloutine.

 

Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy

Since my victory (with skill 5!) in The Shamutanti Hills, I’ve been keeping busy. For a start, there’s no way I was going to play the whole four-book arc with a skill of 5. So I rolled up a new one: Skill 9, Stamina 18, Luck 12. Nice and mediocre, except for that lovely luck.

After this new victory over The Shamutanti Hills, my reward was 10 money (bringing me up to 10) and +1 luck (bringing me to 13). I have also picked up a +1 sword and that +2 armband of swordsmanship, for an effective combat strength of 12. Oh my yes.

I turn my eyes and feet toward Khare.

Fortunately, I have a key to get through the gate, so I don’t have to mess with any guards, risk bribing them, etc. But as soon as I get through the gate, I’m whisked off the street by the cops and hustled into a cell. This isn’t a bad turn, though, as it gets me in the company of a man who gladly provides exposition and a mission profile. The local chamber of commerce, it seems, has a new Resident Retention Effort in place to help shore up their census numbers. The North Gate to leave town is locked with a four-line poem, so I must undertake a scavenger hunt for the four clues. I thank the man for his information, then DOP the door open and take off into the night.

I randomly follow a path to an avenue of huts, and smell something tasty coming from one of them. I go in and holy crap there’s Cthulhu, right at home in the kitchen, and ready to share his food. My eyes are on his loot, though: a golden mirror (for casting KIN), and some scroll I can’t read, and some gold. So I launch myself at the harmless cook, and unilaterally beats it down and take its loot. Our brave hero, ladies and gentlemen. I am not proud.

I take off back into the street, and wander some more until I find a street fair. I’m attracted by a fighting arena, and the prospect of winning 15 gold if I can defeat whoever wins the fight. A barbarian and an ogre duke it out, and due to some really bad dice rolls the barbarian goes down in 5 turns, barely getting a scratch against the ogre. Hm; that is not a good sign for me. Still, the book doesn’t say that we’re fighting bare-handed so it’s my 12 to his 9, and I prevail. I collect my 15 gold, and also rub elbows with Vik, whose name I know via Glandragor. He’s glad to meet any friend of Glandragor, and he gives me directions to a sage and teacher… who will have the first line of the poem that I need.

Lortag the Elder presents me with a really goofy puzzle, but I figure it out, and he gives me the first line of the poem! He also gives me a green wig, which is used for RAP and YAP. Nice. Thanks, guy.

I head back out into the sunlit day…

 

Shamutanti Hills… Again. Day 6 and Victory

I remain baffled as to how my character is surviving. My starting rolls were abysmal: skill 5, and my luck of 8 and stamina of 17 won’t really make up the difference. I’ve been expecting to just drop dead at any moment, but random chance seems to be on my side, as I am slowly healing stamina one meal and one campout at a time.

Day 4 ended in a fairly squalid village called Torrepani. I can’t afford food nor an inn, so I go to camp out and eat the last of my food. The meal and sleep do me some good, but strange as it sounds, being kidnapped by the locals is even healthier for me.

Mainstream medical literature really glosses over the health benefits of being kidnapped and imprisoned. But here in Kakhabad, well, things are a little different. I sleep soundly through the night because there aren’t any wolfhounds nor werewolves out there, and they even have breakfast for me. This is great! I’m back to my full 17 stamina.

I’ve been “called here” by the chief of the village, to rescue his daughter from a dungeon. You know that manticore on the cover? Yeah, it’s a tough, hungry hombre and it’s my job to go kill it. Fortunately, I’ve failed this book enough times that I know which magic spells will do the job quickly and easily.

In I go!

I descend into the darkness at the end of a rope, reciting the Litany Against Fear a few dozen times on my way down. I find the scared little girl right away, as well as the monstrous beast that’s holding her.

DOZ! As the beast leaps into the air, it becomes drowsy and flies less steadily. HOT! A ball of fire injures and enrages the creature. WAL! As the monster circles around, half dazed from the pain and the sleep spell, I trap it in the far side of the cave. It howls and claws, as we bravely skedaddle back to the surface.

And that’s it! I’m a hero to these svinn, and they promised me anything I want. My journey through the Shamutanti Hills is over, and I set my eyes on Khare.

Not bad, for a dope with 8 luck and 5 skill!