Category Archives: Fighting Fantasy

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!


Shamutanti Hills… Again, Day 3 and 4 and 5

Yesterday my unskilled and unlucky hero, made it as far as Dhumpus. The villagers are creeped out by my sword, so I gave them a cold shoulder and instead picked up some food. This cost 6 of the 7 gold I have left, so now I can’t afford the inn. That’s fine, I can sleep in the woods.

Bad move.

In the night, I’m attacked by a wolfhound. He tore me up, from a full 17 stamina… to 3. I even had a 8 combat strength to his 7, just crummy rolls. It’s the beginning of day 4 and I’m on the edge of death.

The next day day passes in a few turns of the page, as I skirt a plague-stricken village and make my way without incident to Birritanti. Aside from picking up the unwanted company of a sprite who suppresses magic, it really is 3 turns of the page and I’m here. Now for the insult to go with my injury: I know that the crystal waterfalls would heal me back to full, but I can’t afford it. Nor can I afford to sleep at the inn nor buy food, both of which would heal me. All I can do is walk through the town, camp out, and take what little healing comes from dinner and a tent.

As I walk onward to the next village, I’m pondering the various potential mechanisms of my inevitable doom. Stub my toe? Sleep badly and get a crick in my neck? Get bitten by a mouse? … Or… an assassin! Our brave hero checks his life insurance one last time, then engages in fistcuffs with the ruffian. But what luck! The guy has a glass jaw, and with some great luck I get the first two hits and he surrenders! He pleads that he’s just some street urchin from Khare and that he attacks random folks in the woods just to stay in practice. What a weirdo. The book gives me the guy’s page number in Khare, should I want to look him up again and I dunno, hang out some time?

The day only gets weirder. That afternoon, I’m accosted by a witch who invites me to tea. As is typical small-time tea talk, she asks if I happen to have some torn-out pages from a spell book. In fact I do from way way back at the start of the book, but still that’s a very odd thing to ask someone, right? The up side is that she does me a favor, banishing the annoying little sprite. This unlocks my magical potential again, though I’m wary of using magic at all since I have only 12 stamina.

A bit dizzy from the really weird turn of events, I hit the trail again and make my way to the rather squalid village of Torrepani.

Shamutanti Hills… Again, Day 1 and 2

Before I logged these last two plays, I had played several times. I’ve gotten to the manticore boss fight, starved to death, and been eaten by a werewolf. But this time, I feel lucky!

Wizard. Skill 5. Stamina 17. Luck 8. … Sigh.

Clearly I was chosen not as the hero we need, but as the expendable town idiot that they could send to their death. I wonder if the Crown of Kings even exists!

My first stop in Cantopani is a merchant, so I can buy a +1 sword (yay, skill 6) and some brimberry potion so I can heal myself with DOC later. Inexplicably, the book won’t let me then also buy food, so onward I go.

At the fork in the road, I run into the old man again and he gives me Gaza Moon’s spell book page.  Takes all kinds, am I right? I head left, up the hills, because I know that’s an easier path, and walk until dusk. I have a pleasant meal and sleep soundly overnight.

The next morning, I come across heads on pikes, clearly how the locals communicate “Private Property, No Trespassing” I appreciate and respect that, and head away from it and into the hills. Nearing the top of the mountain, I see a mine being worked by goblins. Interesting.

I sneak into the mine, and turn into a passage, which ends at a door. I FOP the door open, and inside find an ogre running a rock crushing machine. I, our brave hero, leap to the attack, casting a WOK spell to make a magical shield and reducing both of us to an effective Attack Strength of 6. With some lucky rolls, I take only light damage before dispatching the beast (down to 12 Stamina). I can’t help but feel bad, though, that this ogre was working a productive job producing coal and ore for the community… Oh look, loot! I find a couple of gems worth a modicum of money, so see the ogre is helping with a greater cause now: funding my adventure to save the world.

I sneak out of the cave, and make my way past the goblins, and back down the hill. That evening as the sun reaches the horizon, I arrive at the village of Kristatanti.

I head into the tavern to unwind with a mug of ale, and make the acquaintance of a nice old man who gives me a dietary supplement. Sure, why wouldn’t I trust a random stranger handing out fruit? The good news is that the fruit enhances my healing when I eat my next meal, and my next meal is at the inn. Result: I’m back to peak health (17 stamina) by dinner time. After a fitful night’s sleep under the stars, I pick up my kit and hit the road.

I know from prior lives that there’s a witch who lives west of here and that she has phat loot, so I head that way. Yep, there she is locked in a cage. I DOP it open, lose 2 stamina, and am rewarded with an armband of +2 sword mastery. Being a wizard, I should have gone with the reagents but with a 5 Skill, my +1 sword and this armband finally bring me up to “pitiful” level: an 8 basic attack strength.

That witch! Just to feel better about giving away loot, she transforms a chair into a golem and it comes at me! That’s gratitude for you! I throw a HOT at it though, and the thing is instantly wrecked, while I take 4 points of damage. Ow, magic hurts!

As the witch goes to fetch some water before her house burns down, I sneak off into the woods and back onto the trail. Another job well done.

The rest of the day is uneventful walking, to the village of Dhumpus.


Into the Shamutanti Hills – Day 3

Yesterday we started The Shamutanti Hills, the first of a four-book saga. My hero is a wizard of apparently little skill and poor health, but great luck. On my first night outside, I was attacked by a werewolf and knocked down pretty badly, then further weakened by hunger because there wasn’t a chance to stop and eat.  I found some goblins mining and decided to pick a fight, netting myself a silver key and a pair of fur boots, but also bringing me down to 4 stamina. And now I have arrived at the town of Kristatanti, badly in need of significant healing.

It’s a nice town. At the local ale house, I meet an old man who gives me a nutritional supplement which will double my stamina gain at my next meal. I hit up the inn, and although it’s expensive the food and the bed heal me back up to 15 out of my initial 17 Stamina. What a nice place! But  morning comes and it’s time to go.

It’s a quiet and uneventful walk, and I arrive at a gate. A gigantic gate. Like seriously, who would need a gate this large except… giants! I creep into the first cave I see, and sure enough – a giant.  I cast BIG on myself so I am as large as he is, and kick his butt without breaking a sweat because I got to double my Skill for this combat. Oh yeah! That done, I steal his gold and also yank out his teeth for use as magical reagents. (our hero, ladies and gentlemen!) Fortunately he was the only giant in Lea-Ki, The Land of the Giants…

It’s getting dark, so I camp for the night. In the night, another goddamn werewolf attacks me. Through a stupendous series of unlucky rolls, he wrecks me down to 1 Stamina before I get back to sleep. Worse, the book hasn’t let me eat all day, so in the morning I lose 3 Stamina… and starve to death.

I’m surprised I made it as far as I did, for a Skill of 7. But death by hunger, that’s just raw.


Into the Shamutanti Hills – Day 1 and 2

The Sorcery! storyline sounds exciting: four books covering the four geographic areas we will be crossing, to recover a stolen crown that grants leadership and prosperity. I’ve had these books for about two years and for the last few weeks, I have finally been playing them.

The sad reality so far has been quite less exciting: a lot of bordeom walking in the hills from village to village, and only two fights including a boss fight that cannot be won without cheating. But I’m no quitter. So let’s start today’s attempt and see if it gets more interesting.

My wizard’s Skill is a poor 7, Stamina a mediocre 17, and luck at least a solid 12. Ouch. As always, we start with 20 gold and food for 2 days.

My first stop is the village of Cantopani, only a short walk from where I started. Sadly, I have the choice of buying food or else visiting a merchant. I opted for the merchant and picked up a +1 sword for a hefty 11 gold. n my way out of town I am harassed by bandits, and with some very fortunate rolls I killed both of them without even taking a hit (my SK=8 to their SK=7) and I hit the trail.

The evening doesn’t go so well. In the middle of the night I was attacked by a werewolf, and knocked down to 9 stamina. Hunger hits me for 3 more, so I’m down to 6 already.

The next day I make my way up a hill, and find a rather gruesome sight of severed heads on spears, clearly a warning that this is private property. I ignore them and bravely stumble onward, and find myself at a mine being operated by goblins. Interesting! I sneak inside the cave for a look.

My wandering brings me to an office, where a goblin does not attack me immediately, but instead tells me that I’m not allowed here. Well that’s all fine and reasonable, but I’m an adventurer! I bravely hack him down with my sword and steal the silver key from his desk, and move into the next room. It’s a dark passage, but at this point my Stamina is only 4 so casting a light spell would kill me, so I continue along blindly.

Suddenly the roof caves in! I run like the dickens, and fortunately my Luck of 12 saves me from further injury. Eventually I find a point of daylight and fresh air, and make my way to the surface again, putting me into the village of Kristatanti that evening.



Damn the Serpent, Full Steam Ahead!

Following up on Caverns of the Snow Witch, in which I have long since lost my patience with a Test Your Luck on every page, as well as the tedious and overly-lengthy walk home.

In our last episode, I cheated to have a 12/24/12 character, who was whittled down 1 TYL at a time and 2 stamina at a time, until death. Death in this case was an unlucky rattlesnake bite.

Because of the curse and other injuries, I had a 10 skill (out of 12). I’m cheating here and allowing the +1 sword, the +2 amulet, and +1 shield to count for a magnificent 14 attack strength. Still, there’s a lot of combat and the curse too, and I was whittled down 1 and 2 stamina at a time… from 20 when I left the cavern, to 9.

Now, let’s pretend that I drank my Potion of Luck. Not only am I not dead, but now I have 12 luck (12 increased to 13, then -1 for passing the snakebite’s TYL). That’s more like it! Still, 9 stamina isn’t a lot, and this book hasn’t had a single healing since we left the Caverns.

Further down the canyon where I’m wandering, I find a treehouse. Hoping to find an eccentric shaman or doctor, I find a half-orc and I take 2 points of damage (stamina 7). Next page is a barbarian; I kill him without taking a hit, and get a +1 armband of strength (attack strength now 15).

Finally, I find the cave of the The Healer. First order of business in healing me: lose 1d6 stamina. You jerk! Fortunately I only rolled a 2, leaving me 5.

The healing process consists of two Test Your Skill checks, with a penalty if I lack some trinkets, and instant death if I fail. Eventually, I am told to go to Firetop Mountain where the curse will be lifted. How I get there, depends on whether I have a silver trinket to offer for a ride. (Though if the healer could have healed me too, that would be great; I’m still at 5 stamina)

I don’t have any silver, so I get to walk to Firetop Mountain. Along the way I only have one brief encounter, with a hobgoblin. I kill him without breaking stride, and arrive at the mountain… where we TYL again (seriously?).

I get to the top of the mountain, and fall asleep. I have vivid dreams of a flaming bird who gives new life, but can’t quite remember what it’s called… oh right, yeah I do. I wake up on page 400.

So yeah, I finally made it. But only by egregious cheating for max stats and extra potions and food. Well, at least this one is off my list.

You spell that kind of luck B-A-D

Caverns of the Snow Witch is starting to get old. I’ve already taken a few breaks on to other books, hoping that a second wind would give some insight. So far, it’s only confirmed that there are a minimum of 7 Test Your Luck rolls, with the best path. This means that a initial Luck of 12 would be a meager 5, meaning snakebites and avalanche injuries and your adventure ending here.

On my last playthrough I cheated and still couldn’t get through. I’ll skip a lot of the details, as the adventurous part is covered in the previous postings.

I started with 12/24/12 stats (yeah, I cheated), and I play with two house rules: a) Only lose a Luck point if you pass the TYL roll, and b) shields and the amulet of courage etc. don’t add 1 Skill, but add to attack strength so they’re not subject to the initial Skill score.

After defeating the yeti, I cheated again by collecting my 50 gold and refilling my provisions back to 4. So I enter the Cavern with 4 food, 20 stamina, and 11 luck.

I fight my way through the critters, the temple, and the wizard. I evade a giant, and raid a alchemical stockroom, outsmart a rat, and garlic-stake the snow witch’s vampire form. So far so good; 10 luck left, and still 16 stamina and 4 food. Then the tiresome bit of curses and traps and loot, and the snow witch in a snow globe — with two more TYLs for the battles and our escape. Luck is now 8, stamina 18 after eating 2 food leaving me 2 more.

During the journey home are 3 mandatory TYLs: bird men, a werewolf while camping, and the trolls at Stonebridge.

In combat, I’m feeling pretty great or even overpowered. My 12 skill, a +1 sword from the trolls, my +1 shield, and the +2 amulet of courage, gives me a kickass 16 attack strength. But with a luck of 6, I’m not feeling very confident.

But then that curse kicks in. I lose 2 skill, and am losing stamina on every page. I run into a critter in a cave with a skill 11, and it rips me down to 9 stamina, and cost me a TYL (failure would have been instant death, somehow I rolled a 5 and passed), then I run into a rattlesnake and a failed TYL kills me outright.

Yeah, I really don’t know what to think of this. Even cheating and house-ruling, the sheer number of lethal TYLs here, combined with a nearly-complete absence of healing and luck regen, makes it phenomenally unlikely to win with the best of stats.

Glass, Shadows, and Pulp

Spectral Stalkers… still. In my last update, I had found my way to the Ziggurat World and watched a silica serpent eat somebody alive, and befriended some sea creatures who think I can save their queen.

I have climbed the cliff to the second level of this world. I see some towers in the distance and head for them. According to the sea monsters they are inhabited by shadow creatures, and have a direct oath to the castle. That’s almost true: I try to awe the shadows with my Aleph, so they attack me and poison me, then tie me up and drink my blood down to 2 stamina. Not what I had in mind!

I wake up inside a force field, too weak to do anything about it, and am crushed to death as the shadows juice me for the last drops of my blood. My adventure ends here, in a pulp.