Won the War of the Wizards on my first try somehow
And, that’s another book won: War of the Wizards, book four of the Grey Star World of Lone Wolf series.
Somehow I won it on my first try, due to not meeting the Demon Master (I met him on a later playthrough) and also to figuring out that I should always sink 3 or 5 willpower into combat, since it multiplies damage I do and not the damage I take, and in the LW combat system the player takes damage (almost) every round so the fewer the better.
Honestly, by book four I was pretty tired of it. Like the other three, the path is almost completely straight and virtually every choice is merely a trick to see how much willpower you’ll spend to get to the same page with the same effect.
Seriously: Turn right = fight a few Shadakine and waste some magic on them, then turn left anyway. Fire at the demon = 2 willpower, flee the demon = take 2 damage then fire at the demon anyway.
Possibly the worst: You’re told up front that at some point you’ll get a choice when to teleport to Shasarak, as if there will be some pressure between gathering clues & materials vs getting to him in time before something happens. But no. After the Shadakine are destroyed, you’re given a choice to teleport and it even gives you three methods of how to teleport that don’t make the slightest difference. If you take it then, you meet a demon who just taunts you a little then ignores you as you head into your showdown with Shasarak. If you stick with the army and continue your advance, there’s one battle versus undead then “well, you decide it’s time to teleport anyway.”
Every game book has connection points, but many of them had more interesting divergences before meeting back up! These single-page non-divergences just to soak up points, are lazy writing and boring game play.
That aside, the series is overly-reliant on Alchemy as a required skill in order to survive. Without Alchemy you don’t get azawood leaves so the deathgaunts will kill you before you reach the forbidden city. Without alchemy you won’t get the philomel pods to give your wizard staff a +9 in combat, which you’ll need in the upcoming battle. In book 1, to get the priest’s blessing as he dies you need laumspur, and that means alchemy so you can visit the shop before you go to jail – this one at least is not required, but the first two are must-have.
So yeah, all in all I was disappointed with the series despite a few happy moments.
War of the Wizards did have its high points.
Samu! I come back from Daziarn and seven years have passed on Magnamund. Not only is Samu alive, but so are other Masbate so he’s on a throne again and we have a small but fierce group of warriors ready to join up… after I close a demon gateway for them.
The Kazim! Turns out the Kazim Stones are the hearts of Kazim, creatures made of living hills. They’re pretty pissed off about their hearts being stolen and enslaved and used for evil, and with the Moonstone’s help they’re ready to join the cause too.
The routing and destruction of the Shadakine army and its wytches. There’s a lot of tedious fighting, but ultimately the Freedom Guild and the Kazim rout the Shadakine army and kill the wytches. That feels really good after four books.
So, now to write up this last one, scan in my maps, and proofread… and I’m done with World of Lone Star: Grey Star the Wizard.