Category Archives: Fighting Fantasy

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.

Elf Sacrifices, Sea Monsters, and Glass Castles

Is this my fifth day of Spectral Stalkers? My sixth? I was excited to see Peter Darvill-Evans’ name on this, but the clip-show channel-flipping thing is really becoming tedious. So when the Aleph offered me the opportunity to just hurry up and move on with the quest, I took it.

This is likely a mistake, because so many of these FF books require that you’ve collected some obscure piece of kipple, and I have only a few such souvenirs.

I land right in front of Spectral Stalker. Fortunately my trail score is only 4 so it doesn’t see me. Far away, I see a giant castle on an impossibly tall cliff – I assume this is my destination.

For my next trick, I hide in the bushes and watch as some elves tie someone to a stake, and invite a dragon-centipede creature to devour them alive! Good grief, did our brave hero just cower and watch a human sacrifice to a dragon? I feel sick…

I slink off in shame, and find my way to a seashore. I can finally see the cliff side clearly, and a trail up it. I also see giant bubbles floating on the surface of the water. That’s weird, and also interesting because I’m collecting spheres here, so I go take a look. Turns out that they’re vehicles for some truly horrifying sea monsters, but I have a good feeling about them so I surrender. Turns out they’re quite nice, on account of a prophecy that a warrior from beyond will save their queen and themselves from Globus. Cool!

And now, up the trail of the cliff, toward the castle!

Drow and Davros

We continue being Spectrally Stalked as we travel the cosmos in a series of vignettes, courtesy of the Aleph. I have so far seen a giant library outside of the universe, a crappy version of my home world where I was almost robbed, a chess game in which I was a pawn, a clay golem, and a vampire. And now… I am in a drow elf temple.

Apparently there was a vigorous debate going on as to the existence of other worlds, and I have appeared here as proof of such worlds. The elves kick my ass pretty thoroughly (I’m down to 9 stamina) and chain me up with the fella who summoned me. They’re about to execute him by pouring a flesh-eating poison all over him, and now I get to join him in that fate.

No thanks! Aleph away!

In Doctor Who, the guy who created the Daleks… is right in front of me. He certainly seems friendly, glad to have a visitor. Turns out he makes maps on wooden balls – what a nerd. 🙂 He asks if he can ransack my collection of spherical things, but since the only one I have that he would find interesting is rumored to stop death magic, I’m reluctant to let him do so. He gives me a lecture about magical charms and superstition, then sells me a globe of my own world Titan, before he becomes bored with me and I wander off.

This time, the sphere gives me a choice: hurry up and finish the quest, consult a sage, or collect more loot. I’m fairly bored of this book already, so let’s just push on with the adventure.

A Deadly Game and Pottery Gone Awry

We are still playing Spectral Stalkers, in which I was given the entire universe inside a sphere, by Lucifer. Long story, don’t ask. By looking into it, I was transported randomly and now find myself standing on a chessboard… a living pawn!

The description here is quite vivid: the other pawns are either worn out and demoralized (my team), jubilant and battle-ready (their team), or dead and lying where they were killed (a bit of both, but mostly my team). The voices of gods boom out overhead, taunting each other over how the game is going… with real lives on the line!

They asked me to make the finishing move of the game, and fortunately it’s not really chess but a very simple puzzle. We win, I’m given a healing vitamin pill, and I’m sent on my way to another random adventure.

I find myself in a crummy run-down tourist town, where only one person remains, making a living by selling candles to Aleph-adventurers like myself. It seems that one by one, the entire town except for her has gone up the mountain looking for the potter who lives there, and not returned. Sounds like a job for, me!

It’s the usual story: the potter created a clay golem, it went out of control and held the potter prisoner in a cave, and basically the entire population of the town has gotten killed throwing themselves at it one by one. If I had a gold piece for every time this happened… He rewards me with a ball of clay full of life force, which will protect me from life-draining death magic should I run afoul of a wizard. Gee, foreshadowing much?

Gaze into the Aleph again, and… I appear on stage at a magic show, Ta Da! The magician looks like a vampire, and his assistant is a were-cat, so I just take off running. The mob pursues me, and eventually I lose them long enough to Aleph away again.