YOU become the hero of Oyster Bay. The prison of Fire Island was closed down officially, but the Lizard King who was contracted to run the prison, still means to turn a profit. And when there aren’t enough prisoners, Lizard Men raid the quiet town of Oyster Bay, kidnapping men to labor in the gold mines.
Join your old friend Mungo and save them, if you can!
Review and Opinion
While not particularly rich and atmospheric, nor particularly complex, Island of the Lizard King is a pretty solid adventure overall. Not an excellent adventure, but an amusing time.
There’s a lot of combat, and with a Skill under 10 you have little hope of getting far. Even the second page of the adventure, fighting a giant crab or a band of pirates, tore me up several times until I rolled up a Skill of 10. Fortunately, a +2 sword and +1 shield are out there somewhere.
There was only one really annoying part: a section of the book where there are 3 – 6 Test Your Luck checks in a row. Even if you had a Luck of 12, your chances of passing 6 TYLs in a row are slim. I thought that was annoying.
No new mechanics. No magic spells. A +2 sword that you must have. Pretty meat-and-potatoes, but still a good time. Fighting Fantasy had definitely found their place here.
I’ve never been sure how to treat the +1 sword and the +1 shield. The text says that they restore your Skill… which cannot exceed its starting value. This contrasts with later books in which such bonuses apply to your Attack Strength. I go with the latter approach, on grounds that it makes a lot more sense all around.
Layout, Tips and Spoilers
With the exception of a fire sword, you can make it through this adventure without a lot of required side quests. No hair-tearing-out combination of gems is suddenly required at the end, for example. Even the shaman’s help could be bypassed if you know what item to grab, either by luck or from a previous playthrough.
There’s a lot of Test Your Luck and not a lot to restore it, so I take the Potion of Luck as my starter. After you leave the mine, there are between 3 and 6 Test Your Luck rolls; even with a Luck of 12 you’ll get torn up here.
- At the pond, those red leather boots, serve only one purpose: to get you a +2 sword in the mine. You replace with with a +2 fire sword at the end, but it’s still nice to have on the journey.
- Taking a longer side track can get you a lockpick and a hand axe, but both of these are non-essential.
- The pile of random stuff outside the shaman’s place, is for offerings. It is not a flea market based on the honor system.
Written by Ian Livingstone
Illustrated by Alan Langford
Book 7 in the series
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