Category Archives: Fighting Fantasy

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.

Stalked by Spectres

I am taking a brief break from the Caverns of the Snow Witch, because frankly it’s ticking me off. I grab a book at random off the shelf, and… Spectral Stalkers.

I have played this one before, and already have it on the website. It’s written by Peter Darvill-Evans, and illustrated by Tony Hough – the same team that did Beneath Nightmare Castle. And I recall that this one was good, though a bit heavy on the clip-show thing of flitting from world to world randomly.

So I’m at the county fair, wasting money on a fortuneteller. Suddenly from the sky falls Lucifer, holding the entire universe inside a sphere which he gives to me. I have a sudden flash of two Futurama moments at the same time: when Farnsworth built a box that contains the entire universe, and when he places a device into someone’s hands while telling them not to let it fall into the wrong hands. Yeah.

I take a good look at the sphere, swoon a bit, and find myself in a library. There’s a dragon sitting at the inquiries desk, and the book asks if I want to attack the dragon. I don’t freaking think so! Instead, I sensibly ask for directions. I muddle about for a few hours, and run into the practical joker who is also the artifacts expert. He tells me that the sphere contains the entire universe, so I better be careful with it, and to look for circular things and let the sphere take me where it needs to go. Yeah, that worked great for the last guy!

I find my own way out, and find myself in… my own homeland, but a worn-out version of it. There’s a roguish looking man with a sword who insists that I stay at his hotel, and I’m not in the mood to argue. But I’m also not in the trusting mood to eat his dinner. That turns out for the best though, when some goblins sneak in in the middle of the night and expect me to have been drugged so they could just rob me in peace. This does not end well for them. On my way out, I notice that the hotel sign happens to be circular, so I steal it. Our hero, ladies and gentlemen!

What comes next? Let’s look into the Aleph.

It’s a Long Way to Stonebridge

In our last adventure, The Snow Witch went down without a fight, and I killed some critter guarding her loot, and the locals engaged in some lovely interpretive dance to express their joy of being freed from the witch. But now we need to keep moving forward, to find our way out of the Caverns of the Snow Witch.

Not a mind flayer not a “Brain Slayer”. Nope, totally not at all related.

We come across a casket, and my companion gets bitten by a snake. We run into a cave man in the hallway and have to kill him. Then we run into a Mind Flayer, one of the most dreadful and terrifying creatures of the Dungeons and Dragons universe! No wait… sorry, this is its cut-rate failure of a brother, the Brain Slayer. I pass a skill roll and kick its ass, then steal its loot (some sort of token, and a spell of protection from air elementals).

Long story short, I then encounter The Stabby Door, an air elemental, a shield worth +1 combat strength, an air elemental, a cave that drips acid, … and the Snow Witch this time trapped inside an adorable snow globe where she just yells at me and throws lightning. I huck a rock at it though, and it’s curtains for the Snow Witch again.

Another damn Test Your Luck roll later as the roof caves in, and we’re free of the caverns! (remember, there are a minimum of 5 TYLs so far, so I’ve already burned down my luck then the potion) And so begins the long trek to Stonebridge…

Like really long. And it’s not even an adventure, just a straight line of 8 more encounters: river ferry, bird men, trolls, etc. and we get to Stonebridge. High fives all around, and the dwarf takes off to join us in another adventure book earlier in the series. And, our adventure ends here… erm, no, I guess not…?

The elf I met in the caves, says that we need to go for a walk and he wants to tell me something. Our leisurely walk is interrupted by a fight with trolls (again), and the he breaks the news: we had a Death Spell cast on us back in the caverns, and it takes effect… NOW!

My adventure ends here.

What the heck?