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Back to FF: Crypt of the Sorcerer

After two months of putting it off, last night I finished my mapping and writeup of Moon Knight: Age of Anubis. But rather than dwell on that unpleasantness, let’s grab a new book of the shelf, and this time it’s… Crypt of the Sorcerer, Fighting Fantasy number 26.

The intro is pretty typical: A dead wizard isn’t as dead as we wish, and can only be killed with this one magic sword. Go find the lake and that sword, find an unspecified list of protective talismans, then go kill the lich. Right!

I am particularly amused that even in universe, they assure us that the classic Ian Livingstone trope is in play: visit every single page and collect every piece of kipple in the book, because every random thing in here is required for the gauntlet at the end.

So here we go… roll stats and… Skill 12, Stamina 16, Luck 12 Oh hell yeah! I wasn’t really wanting to steamroll through the book on my first play, but let’s go for it anyway.


Playthrough 1

I leave camp and come to a river.I can cross it and continue east, or follow the river to the north. I pick north because I don’t like wet socks.

The land turns wet and marshy, but I persevere.

I am attacked by a horde of harpoon flies, and roll a d6 to see how many flies hit me. No skill test to evade, which is too bad cuz I would have aced it.

I roll a 6.

This means that the whole horde of them got me, and I collapse to the ground, paralyzed. I am horrified to know that it will take me several days to die of exposure, and my adventure ends here.

Damn. Gruesome.

And brief. I made two choices and one dice roll. This is the second-shortest adventure I can recall, the other being Masks of Mayhem where I died on literally the first turning of a page.


Playthrough 2

This time my sweetie is making the choices, and she’s keeping my 12/16/12 character from last time.

She heads north and then crosses the river to avoid the flies. Suddenly, she’s attacked by a group of adorable chameleon cavemen with stone clubs. They’re really cute in the picture, giant tongues and wobbly eyes and all – but they’re attacking so she defends herself. With a 12 skill versus their 5s and 6s, it’s a lopsided battle and she kills them all without a scratch. She is then offered a rather odd choice do you want to smear yourself in chameleon blood and take on a randomly-selected curse, in order to gain the power of invisibility? Sure,she says – audeamus! The blood brings on a wicked fever, costing her 4 stamina and 1 skill. Her 12 is still a respectable 11, but ouch!

Later in the day, she is attacked by goblins on horses. That’s not something we see often – usually goblins are depicted as being small, barely able to ride a mule let alone a horse. So, cool. Well, not so cool because they too are bent on destruction. It’s a lengthy battle because there are four of them, but again it’s very lopsided and she sustains only a few injuries before she has killed them all.

She finds her way into a small forest, and runs afoul of something wholly unexpected: a Wood Demon. This monster is stronger than her previous encounters,and she gets torn up a bit. Fortunately,, Yaztromo gave her a bunch of healing potion on page 1, so she’s fine. She investigates to look for treasure, because I warned her that Ian books are usually a quest for random junk in every corner. And sure enough – a dead body with a silver tent pole with a number on it, a candle, and a helmet. I smile as she tries on the helmet, because I know how these things go – and yeah, no surprise: it’s cursed, she is aged 30 years, and loses 4 stamina and 2 skill. Her once indomitable 12 skill is now a mid 9.


That night she is awoken by a werewolf, which has a skill of 10 to her 9. This is the first time she’s actually disadvantaged, and she does not roll fortunately. She defeats the beast, but has to cauterize the wound with belladonna to stop the lycanthropy, costing even more stamina. She now has 8 stamina and no healing potion left.

The next morning, she catches sight of a lake – presumably The Lost Lake that we’re trying to find, or else they wouldn’t make such a big deal of it. But she never makes it: she’s attacked by a barbarian riding a gryphon, and this time she’s no match for it. She puts up a fight, but ultimately she’s driven down and killed by this fearsome foe.

Well, she got further than I did, but she lost 3 skill getting even this far. That’s pretty rough.


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First published June 19, 2024. Last updated June 19, 2024.