YOU continue your very long hike out of the Shamutanti Hills and into the infamous city of Khare. The way they describe it, sounds like Port Blacksand and Mos Eisley had a baby city, and raised it in Hell’s Kitchen.
You don’t even want to be here, but the local Chamber of Commerce has chosen to “improve resident retention” by keeping the North Gate locked to keep folks from leaving. So what should have been a simple walk across town, is instead a scavenger hunt for four lines of a poem/password/spell.
Review and Opinion
It’s a fun romp through a city of ill repute. In my plays, I suffered all sorts of ignominious twists and turns. I drank too much and got shanghaied, then had to name-drop to get free. I bought a moldy piece of cheese from a Treasure Claw machine for 2 gold pieces (eew), and had my pocket picked, and danced so hard I lost stamina. I got eaten by a mantis man (those are real?!?). I stole gold from a golem and made out with an idol. I crawled through sewers and graveyards. I got ripped off by merchants selling garbage. And of course… I got to the North Gate at the end, and didn’t have the complete spell.
And as a Brave Hero with a Very Important Quest, I had to do a few things I’m not so proud of. Beating Cthulhu to death in his own kitchen so I could steal his stuff. Using magic to rig a fight that I had bet on, cuz I needed the money.
Nice place. I think I’ll come back for vacation once my quest is done.
Aside from a couple of puzzles that didn’t make sense to me, really it was a fun time. Then again, I was playing with a Skill of 9 then +3 when using a sword in combat, so thugs and thieves were more a nuisance than a danger.
At the festival (244) you may run into Vik. He can lead you to Lortag the Elder, who comes earlier in the city before the festival. Thus, it is possible to go back to the festival. Since the book doesn’t specifically say not to, one could in theory run the fighting match repeatedly and farm gold.
Hints and Spoilers
- If you met Flanker in book one, there are exactly 2 spots where he comes up here in Khare. If you meet him at the street faire, he can get you to Lortag the Elder for the first line of the gate spell. If you meet him at the inn, he gives you some money.
- If you learned the name VIK in book one, you can drop his name in a few places to get out of trouble, e.g. if you get shanghaied.
- There are two distinct types of Lucky Charm you may find. One causes you not to lose a Luck point if your roll was unlucky. The other is far better, subtracting 1 from the dice roll when you Test Your Luck.
- The innkeeper’s death trap: release. The machine as depicted doesn’t follow a pattern I can tell.
- Lortag the Elder has a line of the poem. His puzzle is kind of silly and not at all what he says. Just pick the one with 1 rune on it. The idea is that there are a 2, 3, 4, 5, and a 6 so the 1 is missing.
- The priest of Slangg has a line of the poem, The puzzle (139) is simple: each son got 2n+1 gold. There are 6 sons, so 3 + 5 + 7 + 9 + 11 + 13 = 48 gold in all.
- The third line of the poem is in the crypt, meaning you must have a silver weapon. There is only one available in the book; see the map.
- The fourth line is had from the old beggar on your way out of town, combined with a clue from the temple near the end.
- Ultimately, you’re supposed to guess the sequence of the lines and get a three-digit number from it. That’s totally silly. It’s 214.
Written by Steve Jackson
Illustrated by John Blanche
Book 2 in the series