Replay: Midnight Rogue

I have played this one before, and I admit that I was not impressed. Aside from the town, the map is a simple straight line, and your choice of skills doesn’t really make a difference. But, let’s try it again and see if I like it better this time.

7 skill, 22 stamina, 12 luck. Ouch. No wonder the other thieves are sending me on a hazing.  They’re probably hoping that I’ll just get arrested or killed, so they don’t have to hang around me.

My mission is to steal a gem from a wealthy merchant. I’m given the choice of heading to the merchant’s house, to the merchant district where he probably has an office, or to the nasty part of town where other thieves hang out to see if maybe they have some ideas.

I elect to go to his house, since him keeping the gem in his office seems too obvious.  On the way there,  I run into  security guards and just take off running. Unfortunately, this is a skill roll. Fortunately, I roll 4 so even this incompetent boob manages to get away.

I find the merchant’s house easily enough, then climb around and peek in some windows because I’m just weird that way. Finally I go ahead and break into the house and head upstairs, find an office and break into it. I find a safe with two locks requiring two keys. I try to pick the lock and am bitten in the hand by a snake living inside the lock. What the hell? How does a snake live inside of a lock?

I continue lurking around the house a little bit, sneak into the merchant’s bedroom, and wake him up. Nice move. I take off as fast as I can, all the way back to the merchant district. Maybe I’ll have more luck at his office.

Not so much. I sneak around back and try to climb up to a window, and find that it’s guarded by a  gargoyle. I don’t stand a chance, but unfortunately the book doesn’t allow me a way to back off unless I own one of three items. In order to move forward, I lie and say that I have a black cloak with a hood — I’m a thief after all, so I probably do, right?

It doesn’t do me any good though. I try to bluff the gargoyle with it, and miss, and lose my footing. I fall to the ground, the gargoyle pounces on me and devours me.  My adventure ends here.

Replay: Return to Firetop Mountain

Ten years ago, back in book 1 ,some reckless clot killed Zagor, the Warlock of Firetop Mountain. Yeah, those were fun times.

Now Zagor is back as a lich, because that’s what happens when wizards die. They turn even eviler and uglier, and start kidnapping folks from nearby villages in order to construct a new body for themselves.

Naturally, when the villagers mention this, I whistle and turn away, and pretend that I have no idea who that adventurer was, who has incurred the sorcerer’s wrath.

I introduce myself as Randy Randerson, sword for hire. I have 11 Skill, 24 Stamina, and 9 Luck. Aww yeah!

As I take off down the road, I am alerted to track down a pair of Zagor’s servants and kill them. This goes without any trouble, and in the process I find a shield. Sadly, this shield doesn’t grant me any fighting bonus… doubly so, because I find a cursed scroll and my badass 11 Skill is reduced to a mediocre 9.

Thinking back to my days in the Scorpion Swamp, I remember that Yaztromo sells magical artifacts and that could be really helpful here. So I take a diversion the other direction. I get most of the way there, and find out that the Yazmeister is off doing sorciers sans frontieres helping to treat a plague. That’s okay, let’s go find him there anyway (why? all his stuff for sale would be at the shop!).

I hitch a ride up river, and it’s uneventful except for being attacked by a lone orc who kills a crewmember, and getting a note via carrier pigeon that there’s a doppelganger emulating Yaztromo so I gotta be careful. Evidently, “uneventful” doesn’t mean quite the same thing on Titan as it does here.

After a brief run-in with said doppelganger, the real Yazinator tells me that the key to re-killing Zagor is to collect all of his toy dragon statuettes. No other adivce, sorry, but at least he knows a guy who can fly me to the mountain to make up the time I wasted getting here!

The airlift doesn’t go at all well. We’re intercepted by a harpy halfway there, and it takes down my eagle in very short order. I and the dead eagle spiral and crash to my death far below. The End.



Escape and Death in a Far Away Land

Shadow in the Sand was so much fun, and I saw so little of the book last time, that we should do it again. This time I have 14 combat, and am loaded out as a tank: mindblast and healing, sword skill and a shield. Rawr!

We arrive in Barrakeesh to find the king dead, and replaced with a new one who wants to arrest me fresh off the boat. I am of the opinion that cowardice is the better part of discretion, so I dive into the water to escape. I have a brief talk with a floating blob monster asking him not to eat me, then flee into the bazaar district with the soldiers hot on my tail.

I try to blend in by buying a black sash of mourning and acting sad, as I crawl into a tavern to drown my alleged sorrows. The owner understands my grief and lets me hide in the basement, where I find a sewer grate and decide that it’s a great place to hide! A few stinky hours in the sewer, and I have killed several lizards and contracted a paralytic bacterial infection in my arm before I find my way out. It was a full, rich day.

I escape the sewers and fortunately find myself at the public bath house. I wash off and start looking for an herbalist to see to my arm. The only herbalist in town though, says that the king’s apothecary is the only one with access to Oede herb these days, so I guess it’s time to break into the palace!

This works out famously, as Our Brave Hero murders a passer-by to steal his clothing and travel papers, then sneaks into the castle and finds the apothecary fight away. Now that my arm is healed, time for the bad news… The new king is cutting a deal with the Darklords, and I’m part of the deal!

I take off running, and make it as far as the gate back to the garden. Then the Drakkarim warriors straight up shoot me in the back. As I fall forward onto the poisoned spikes, I think to myself that this is some serious overkill.

My mission and adventure, ends there.


Finding the Tomb of the Zakhan

In our last segment, Lone Wolf was in Vassagonia trying to find the Tomb of the Zakhan, in which the fabled Book of the Magnakai is said to lie. The Darklord Haakon is also looking for it, so as to destroy it and prevent other people from becoming Lone Wolf.

After a really surprisingly fortunate set of dice rolls, I escaped from Barrakeesh on a giant eagle and have joined up with an airship manned by a magician and a squadron of dwarven riflemen. Now that’s a team to have your back!

We’re headed south to Ikaresh, hoping to met up with a fella named Tipasa who knows exactly where that tomb is located. We walk the last few miles on foot so as not to attract attention, and meet up with a nice man who tells us where Tipasa lives. When we get into Ikaresh, we find that Tipasa has been taken away by the Darklords… but he did leave his diary.

I had to cheat to solve the diary because of misprints in this edition of the book. Yes really, I can take a photo to prove it.

Having arrived at the tomb, well, the entry and boss fight were super simple. I snuck past the only guard, and Darklord Haakon went down without a fight when he dropped his magic rock.

So yeah… My first playthrough and I won. The Book of Magnakai is mine. First playthrough.

But the good news, is that I’ve likely seen about half of the book. There are a lot of turns I didn’t take.


Treachery in the Desert

We’re still continuing through Shadow On The Sand, book 5. Lone Wolf traveled to the land of Vassagonia, only to find that there was no peace treaty at all but a new king making a deal with a Darklord.

The Darklord wants Lone Wolf dead of course, but also knows the whereabouts of the fabled Book of the Magnakai. That’s THE book with all of the Kai secrets, not just the 10 listed in the front of the book! That means Lone Wolf could start up a whole new Kai school, as well as learn a lot of new tricks. The Darklord wants to destroy it, and knows where it is, so better move quickly!

I’m spotted by a guard! There’s a frantic race through the castle, then I get the bright idea of stealing one of their giant hawks. You remember from Chasm, that the most bad-assed Vassagonian officers ride giant eagles into battle – seems like a good way to escape.

Through some phenomenally lucky dice rolls, I beat the bird into submission, hop into the saddle like a boss, and whoosh! Several soldiers whoosh after me as well, and it’s a long pursuit… until we come across an airship! A ship, in the air!

When my bird is shot down, I am rescued by the ship. We fight off the soldiers with swords and rifles, then veer south to make contact with someone who knows where the Book of Magnakai is located.

Flying off… into the sunset. Well, with the sunset to our right since we’re headed south.

Arrested in Vassagonia!

In my last posting, Lone Wolf had arrived as a peace envoy to sign a treaty. As we arrived in Vassagonia, we learn that the Zakhan (king) has died and that the new one is not at all well liked. He’s off my Christmas list on page 1, when he has me arrested.

I don’t put up a fight against 30 swordsmen and crossbow archers, and am bundled off to a jail cell minus my stuff. Fortunately, the guards aren’t very bright and when they come to check on me I kick both their butts, take their swords and their keys, and prowl around looking for my loot.

Luck is with me. I take the correct turn and find the armory, and collect my stuff, only needing to subdue one additional guard.  I even find the combination to the door up to the next level.

The next level is an overlook of the throne room (seriously, an assassination balcony overlooking the throne?) where I see the Zakhan talking with… a Darklord! Aw, geez, this just took a turn for the weird.



Far Away to Vassagonia

After a hiatus for other studies and duties, I don my green cloak and re-enter the world of Magnamund. In our last Lone Wolf adventure, The Chasm of Doom, an army from Vassagonia was in Sommerlund fighting for Lord Vashna.

The Zakhan (king) of Vassagonia was horrified to discover that a rogue warlord had done such a thing, and to make amends he wants to sign a formal treaty of peace and cooperation. So I hop a ship, a peace envoy to sign the treaty on behalf of the king.

Didn’t Battlestar Galactica start with a peace envoy?

After four weeks at sea, we get to Barrakeesh, the capital city of Vassagonia… and the Zakhan has died. We knew he was in poor health, but he timing just stinks. The new Zakhan immediately has me arrested. And that’s on page 1.


Still Mapping the Chasm of Doom

After nearly a month, I picked up the book to get back to mapping the rest of it.  This is four times in a row, out of four books, that I’ve been surprised and impressed with the amount of detail and the complexity of pathways which Joe managed to cram into each of these books.  After over a dozen playthroughs and two victories, I have two cramped pages of notes and maps, and still see pathways I haven’t explored yet. The previous books’ mapping, occupied 3 to 4 pages apiece as well. Nicely done, Joe!

So even though I haven’t been posting about every play through, I have been at it off and on, and I expect to have Chasm of Doom mapped out and written up in the next few days.



Rescued From The Chasm of Doom

In last night’s episode, our party was overwhelmed by a small army of bandits and driven into a mine.  My companions were wiped out by some vicious attack cats, and I was torn down very badly. I eventually found my way out of the mine and to the surface.

The city of Ruanon is  destroyed. Some soldiers are defending the last tower, and I make a desperate run to the tower with bandits and hounds behind me. I’m saved by Captain D’Val, leader of the previous search party that we were trying to find. However, I was rescued with only 4 endurance left, so this may be a very short reprieve.

I meet the baron, whose mind has snapped in the awfulness of the last month of siege. Unfortunately, the story he tells is entirely believable: he tells me that the bandits are being led by the warlord Barakka, who intends to sacrifice the baron’s daughter to call up an army of undead soldiers led by the big Dark One himself, Vashna. Yeah, this just got REALLY ugly.

There’s another attack on the tower, however this time it’s not bandits but soldiers. I only had 4 endurance points, and I’m killed a couple of pages later in the first fight.

Tough book so far. Multiple bandit ambushes whittled us down, but some bad luck when fighting the wildcats really cut me down. I went through 3 laumspur potions but just couldn’t recuperate quickly enough. I may need to pick up the healing skill next time; it’s so overpowered it feels like cheating, though. Hmmm…


Ambushes and Mines

Another run through Chasm Of Doom.  I reused my character from previously: 17 combat, 24 endurance, the usual ranger skills, short sword and mind blast.

Again, the strange man with the poem, but this time we decide to skip out on the performers and just stay on mission. Same for the tavern that gets rated by bandits: I know it’s our job to protect our subjects, but right now we’re busy. Come to think of it, I’m not sure that’s even our job; that’s the militia and we’re more special forces types…

The weather turned foul,  and a few of my scouts went missing when I told him to look around for signs of bandits. Not a good sign. We went looking for them, and found the entrance to a mine…  As well as a force of bandits that overwhelmed us, forcing us to retreat into the mine.

We do indeed find the bodies of the previous scouts, having fall into a pit to their deaths. Sad! We continue forward however, and find an underground river with a boat. It’s just myself and two men now, and we take the boat and head down river. We find a landing and stop to take a look. We subdue some guards in a convenient cut scene, then I open a door into a shelter for feral cats. Doesn’t sound too awful, but it kills both of my companions and knocks me down to 9 endurance. Bad kitty!

At this point, I stop to take my breath. I was forced into the mine by an army of bandits, not just a small band. I’m next to a spiral staircase that goes up and down, so that’s a minimum of three stories of underground structure. I’m not sure what’s going on here, but this is well beyond even a lucky or well-organized bandit party.

I decided I need to get out of here, so I take the stairs upward which I hope is towards the surface.  I climb for several minutes, then find a tunnel that goes on for several miles. Aside from avoiding one guard, not very eventful… Until I run into a crew of slaves and their driver. I make a run for it, and escape from the mine and into the trees.

What I see is not pretty. The city of Ruanon is burned to the ground, notwithstanding a small force defending one tower. I’m spotted by guards and I make a run for it.  Thanks to a few lucky dice rolls, I’m only lightly injured… And am rescued by Captain D’Val!



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