Revisiting Nightmare Castle

One of my favorite FFs to date has been Beneath Nightmare Castle, by Peter Darvill-Evans. So I thought I’d play it again, without referring to my own site here for notes, and see how far I get..

The story starts in the usual way: our brave hero is hiking while tired, and stumbles into a game trap, then wakes up in a dungeon. Yeah, I did that a lot in college, too.

A voice from the next cell offers to untie me, then I make a break for it since the cell door wasn’t even locked. The front door however, is locked so I fight 6 soldiers. They must be the least competent dregs they could find on Craigslist, with skills of 4 and 5, and I slice, dice, and julienne my way through the mob with only one scratch. Our brave hero, ladies and gentlemen!

I find my way to the inn, hungry and tired after hiking, jail, and wholesale slaughter. I flash my fancy jewelry and make some friends, and tuck into dinner while hearing a horrifying tale. The townfolks are terrorized by monsters in the night, and by the margrave’s new troops during the day. Speaking of which, nobody has seen the margrave in several weeks. The margrave is a friend of mine, so this comes as quite the shock!

The innkeeper advises me to lock my windows when I sleep, and to talk to a priest in the morning. I do exactly that.

The priest gives me some advice on sneaking into the castle, and invites me to climb a tree inside the temple, to gain the favor of the gods. By good fortune I do climb the tree, so I get +1 to my maximum Luck and Stamina. Thanks for the blessing — now I’ll have fun storming the castle!

I sneak around into the castle’s garden, and find a caved-in section of wall which is used to house compost. What a wonderful smell you’ve discovered! I also find a green glass orb, which starts to become frighteningly hot when exposed to air. Rather than ponder the interesting exothermic reactions which must be occurring in the surface material, I go back into the garden and find a second entry, this time into the cellars.

I am attacked by the weakest ogre of all time, and he goes down in 3 hits without inflicting a scratch. He’s wearing a turban filled with white slime, a slime which tells me to put on the hat, to merge with the hat… No!

Instead, I pound on the door and ask to be let in. Not usually a good idea, but today it was just the ticket. There’s a dwarf inside who shows me the rest of the way into the cellar. The wine cellar, as it turns out, and my hero being a reckless clod, he just digs right in to two of the casks. One is poisonous for -2 Stamina, the other is healing for +2 Stamina. Yeah, progress…

Then the door is kicked in by soldiers! I surrender, and am taken to see the margrave. Perfect! Unfortunately, he and his partner have this 24×7 Theoden and Wormtongue cosplay thing going on and he won’t break character to talk to home invaders nor old friends.

I break and run from the guards, and put up a good fight, until I step off the edge of a chasm and into a pool of living digestive slime. THE END.

Yep, this book was much as I remember, particularly the spooky and disgusting ways to die.


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