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Let’s revisit The Temple of Terror

Let’s play a gamebook tonight! I randomly grabbed a green spine and… Temple of Terror. I played this one back in 2015, and I only vaguely recall anything. Mostly, I remember a brutal desert and a nearly-impossible sandworm. And I think this is the one with the angel of death leaving letters so you can spell your own death, yeah? Well, let’s find out.

Starting stats: 9 / 19 / 10

Chosen spells: Fire, Open Door, Creature Sleep, Create Water

The backstory so far: I’m a big damn hero. Remember that adventurer who braved the Forest of Doom and saved the dwarves of Stonebridge? Yeah, that was me. Yes, you can have an autograph then buy me a drink. Then that buzzkill Yaztromo shows up, and instead of bringing more margarita mix, he brings news that an ambitious wizard is about to acquire a pack of dragons, and we don’t trust that he’ll be very nice when he does. Well, you’re about to find out why they call me a hero.

Yaztromo’s crow guides me as far as the Catfish River, where I decide to take a barge downstream to Port Blacksand. The trip is uneventful and I find myself in the famous City of Thieves after a brief nap. Not long afterward, I find myself in a skeevy-looking tavern with skeevy-looking sailors, and quickly meet up with a ne’er-do-well ship’s mate and buy passage across the sea to the Desert of Skulls.

But oh man, what a crappy inn. Some jerk slugs me, trying to start a brawl, and picks my pockets clean. I wake up covered in bedbug sores, penniless, and pissed off… and find that the ship I’ve chartered is a pirate ship. Oh man, this day is not going to get any better.


A few hours later, the ship picks a fight with the first other ship they come across. We’re no match, and we’re sunk like a cinder block. I float away on a chunk of drifting wood, and drift for two days before I wash up on a desolate beach, at the edge of the Desert of Skulls. yay, I’m saved, I guess…

No, check that — the seashells come to life and form a seashell golem. What the heck? I take off running, and dive into the water to get away. It loses interest, and I eventually swim back to shore and decide that it’s time to head inland, into the Desert.

The bugs here are just awful. I run into a swarm of flies, and through a miraculously unfavorable series of dice rolls, and knocked down to 6 stamina. By flies. Our hero, ladies and gentlemen.

I continue my slog into the desert. Dead body carrying a gold key. A trader who doesn’t have any water. A sandstorm that causes me a permanent injury, -1 Skill point, bringing me down to 8. “I hate the sand“, as a wise Jedi once said. I eventually get a break, though, and find a trader who has set up camp. He’s a nice fella, and he feeds me well and lets me rest a bit. Ahh, much nicer. Unfortunately, thanks to Port Blacksand I don’t have any money and cannot buy any of these bizarre, mismatched trinkets that are almost certainly required quest items.

Eventually I have to hit the trail again, and I know what comes next… it’s that damned sandworm. Skill 10 versus my 8, and 20 stamina. This won’t take long…

16 stamina = 8 hits = My adventure ends here.


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First published February 28, 2020. Last updated December 15, 2020.