Rings of Kether

YOU become a vice squad detective looking to bust a drug ring on the remote planet Kether. Like the deadly Marijuana scourge of the twentieth century, this terrible drug is a threat to boredom and conformity and squareness around the world. Yes, the War on Drugs has reached out to the stars.

You’ll have exciting spaceship battles and brief laser blaster battles. You’ll get your butt kicked by gangsters. You’ll lurk about in warehouses and bars, wandering trying to find any leads as to who’s behind… the drug rings of Kether.

Review and Opinion

This one is really interesting, in the amount of play that does not involve the dice. At one point I did a whole playthrough (in which I died) and realized that I hadn’t touched the dice since rolling up the character. On another play, the boss fight was the only combat at all, and my third time touching the dice in that play was near the end. So, that’s unusual in the relatively low ratio of game in this game book.

I’m not saying that that’s bad. The writing was pretty decent, and thugs in bars was a welcome diversion from dungeons and caves.

There is so much in this book. It’s 400 paragraphs as usual, but the number of places covered is just unprecedented: warehouses, bars, spaceports, the moon, another spaceport, another warehouse, tenement apartments, a park and a car chase, a factory on an island and a factory in space, another space station… It’s just mind-boggling. I try to map out these books as I play them, but after 7 pages and a whole lot of loose ends, I just gave up on mapping this one.

RoK introduced some new mechanics. Most notably, there are two new ways to get killed: spaceship battles (in space!) and gun fights (with guns!). In both cases, it’s “roll 2d6, hit if less than your Skill” meaning that someone with a skill above 8 will hit relatively often. Fortunately there’s not a lot of fighting, because it’s swift and lethal. Unfortunately, that goes for a final boss fight at the end too, and combined with the sheer volume of content in here, it’s pretty demoralizing to get that far and then die.

I spent a month re-playing this book several times, and eventually gave up on both mapping it and being able to win it. Still, it’s a change of pace from the usual FF fare, and is fun with lots of replayability.

Errors

On 304 you get beaten up pretty badly, and “lose 2 Stamina points permanently.” It’s not clear whether this means to reduce your initial Stamina by 2, but I read it as such.

On 308 you “secrete” yourself, hiding out to wait for someone. Eeew.

On 44 you’re at a meeting with Mrs Torus. Depending on your path, you may have no idea who this is and the book doesn’t cover that.

Publication

Andrew Chapman

1985

Book 15 in the series

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