The Warlock of Firetop Mountain – Part 2

After the portcullis rose and the rumbling of its mechanism ceased, I stepped forwards into something ghastly. Boredom. A very dull section of corridors comprising a series of about five different junctions that didn’t lead me anywhere other than to another junction. A small respite was offered by a corridor that got smaller and smaller as I walked along it until it was so small I could go no further and had to double back, kinda like that bit in The Simpsons when Flanders investigates his re-build home after the hurricane. As I left I could hear the sound of faceless laughter ringing in the air, I can only assume the warlock is watching me. He has a weak sense of humour it seems.

Finally though, things picked up and I found something other than a corridor. A room was found behind a door, empty but for an elaborately tiled floor and a door on the opposite side. The floor tiles were made up of hands and stars, I elected to step only on the star tiles on my way across the room to the door. Nothing happened, so I assume I avoided something nasty by making this choice! The following corridor bent round until I reached a cavern in which an underground river flowed to the east. I took the opportunity to sit on the banks of the river, enjoy the cool, fresh air and enjoy some provisions. A giant sandworm had other ideas though, erupting from the earth like something out of a cracking 1990 B-movie.

Little of interest remained after it fell, so I took the only logical option and followed the river into the darkness. The cavern delivered me to a point I had been warned about twice now, a small dock on the south bank of the river where a boatman would not be out of place. Indeed, a bell hung from a wooden stand, a sign attached read ‘Ferry Service 2 Gold Pieces – Please Ring‘.

Given that I had previously been advised to ‘respect the boatman’, I decided not to steal the raft and rang the bell, although I only had 1gp at this time. Across from the north bank, a boat came out of the blackness, captained by a withered old man. Floating up to the dock, he informed me that due to inflation, the price would now be 3gp. Not having even the original fee, I had no option but to threaten the guy. Inexplicably, he then turned into a wererat. I’ll be honest, I didn’t see that coming. Regardless, I cut him down, took the 2gp he had in his pocket and stole his boat. How’s that for respect, Mr. Boatman? Curiously, the body of the boatman vanished as I reached the other side of the river…

On the north bank, three possible route opened up to me, but I went for the one heading north which took me through a door only for me to be clubbed over the head by an unseen assailant, knocking me out cold. What awaited me was a group of human corpses standing motionless in front of me, carrying a number of rudimentary weapons. An image which sticks with me from my original reading of the book, definitely another one that freaked me out a bit!

Attempts to talk to them were replied by moans, turns out that they were in-fact zombies. I thought I was done with those things? Still, the blood of these zombies (*puts on shades*) was soon flowing as they were easily killed by my immense skill score. Nothing of use was found in the room, but searching the body of what was presumably a previous adventurer gave me a small stash of gold and a silver crucifix. The latter of these two seemed to be a good find as moving on through the door heading north, I found myself in what appeared to be a crypt. Coffins lay around an altar, with what appeared to be blood spilled across it.

Carefully exploring the room, it didn’t take long for one of the larger coffins to open. Out walked a white-skinned man with wolf-like teeth, his face bristling with hate, he beckoned me over. Now, I’m no Einstein, I’m gonna stick my neck out here and take a chance, but I reckoned this guy was probably a vampire. My crucifix would have bought me time to escape, but killing him outright would have required a wooden stake, which I didn’t have. So, I drew my sword and took him down – old-school. The body aged before my eyes, turning into a shriveled old man before a small black shape burst through his chest, which turned out not to be a xenomorph, but a bat, which flew off into the dark. Searching the crypt gave me a stash of gold, a book and a Y-shaped stick; I had to leave one item behind for some reason, so I chucked the cheese I found on the dwarf in the torture chamber and ploughed on through a door to the west.

A few dead ends and some amusing Fantasia-style animated tools digging a tunnel later and I descended a staircase. I was greeted by a hideous, putrid stench emanating from a pile of corpses. I kicked one of them over and managed to loot 5gp from its pockets, the 2nd however, wasn’t quite dead yet…

And that is where we leave part two; a decaying human corpse, slashing at my role-playing face with its claws. Lovely stuff.

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Find of the day

Had a little luck today in a 2nd hand book shop, 95p for a 1986 Trial of Champions! It has just occurred to me that the book is actually called that though, until about 10 minutes ago I have always referred to it as ‘Trial of The Champions’. I’m an idiot.

Also, something I saw online that I have been meaning to order for a long while, and finally got inspired to do so, is this mounted print of the Deathtrap Dungeon cover, featuring the iconic Bloodbeast. I was very impressed when it showed up, very high quality print of an image that is probably the most enduring of any created for the Fighting Fantasy books. Only £10 too. Sadly though, it appears I may have bought the last one as the site now lists this one as being out of stock, but if you’re interested, I got it from here. Now just gotta frame it…

 

The Warlock of Firetop Mountain – Part 1

#1

The Warlock of Firetop Mountain

Your quest is to find the Warlock’s treasure, hidden deep within a dungeon populated with a multitude of terrifying monsters. You will need courage, determination and a fair amount of luck if you are to survive all the traps and battles, and reach your goal – the innermost chambers of the Warlock’s domain.

After acquiring a copy of book 1 at the end of last week, I’ve finally managed to dip into the book and explored the initial stages of Fighting Fantasy’s debut voyage. I have to admit to remembering next to nothing regarding the content of the book, only selective pieces of art ring a bell, but so far, things have been very simplistic, especially when I look at the map I have drawn so far. Understandable though given that it’s the first one, but there is still plenty of time for it to get more complex.

Things kicked off pretty positively with me genuinely rolling a 12/23/12 character, not a single moment of cheating required, the dice did it all for me. Setting the scene is a fairly basic task as there is relatively little information given, with the background section being a mere one and a half pages long. A warlock at the top of a mountain has some treasure and you’re an adventurer heading off to steal it. Base-camp for the adventure ahead is a nameless village where a few rumours are put forward, goblins are suggested as the initial line of defense employed by the warlock, but with much tougher adversaries found deeper within the mountain. I could have told them that. A two-day hike from the village and it’s well-wishing inhabitants and I was at the foot of the mountain, a cave across a clearing being my entrance to the warlock’s lair.

A quick word about the art; something I appreciate an infinite amount more now than I did back in the 80’s is the artwork of these books, they used to be just pretty pictures, now I notice the different styles I see in each book and realise how much my feeling and interpretation of the book was influenced by the style of art. I still have my favourites, and infact I have recently ordered a print of a very famous piece of Fighting Fantasy art that I will discuss when it arrives! Some of the work in Warlock of Firetop Mountain is very nice, the detail is so fine thanks to the line shaded style, but on a lot of the illustrations there is far too much plain white and it makes them look half finished and stark, but I’ll comment as I go if necessary. Now, back to the ’82 dungeon crawl…

My first choice was to make a total fool of myself. The dungeon opened up into a T-junction, at which point I took a right turn, heading east towards a locked door. No problem though, my Skill of 12 meant shoulder-charging the thing down was a formality and as I smashed through the wood I found myself flying through the air and landing at the bottom of the two meter deep pit that lay on the other side. Livingstone & Jackson must have been pissing themselves laughing, the Warlock too I imagine. What a start. Still, only lost 1 Stamina, plenty more where that came from.

Furthering what felt like a tutorial section, I rounded a corner to find a sleeping goblin sentry that I had to sneak past with a Luck test, which with my super lucky stat rolling, was impossible to fail. In hindsight though, I probably should have just killed the lazy good-for-nothing on the off-chance that he might have something useful to steal.

Following the path to the north, a door which emitted a lot of snoring presented itself along the left side of the wall, inside was yet another guard, fast asleep. Although this one appeared to be in a filthy barracks area, so could kinda get away with it I guess. A small box was pilfered with a luck roll with a gold piece and a mouse inside, kept the gold and sadly let the mouse go. The corridor continued north through the barracks area past another two rooms on the left wall of the passage. The first door revealed an unoccupied room, although investigating a small box revealed my first conscious opponent, a snake! The thing had 2 Stamina, so was chopped in half without missing a beat. The little guy was apparently guarding a key, which I took with me. The final barracks door was not emitting any snoring, but hideous singing. Naturally, I wandered in.

I would recommend that the warlocks security be upgraded. Presumably he’s paying these orcs to act as guards and they are completely drunk. Getting a +1 to my combat rolls because of their intoxication, I killed the two of them and a quick search of their den gave me a box inscribed ‘Farrigo Di Maggio’. Inside was a small book called ‘The Making and Casting of Dragonfire’, a book apparently written by Di Maggio which contained a spell called Dragonfire, used in combat with dragons. On reading the words aloud, they glowed and vanished from the page… I can only assume this will be pretty useful later, possibly if I encounter a certain type of enemy… hmm.

Again, walking north, a T-junction was reached and I took a right turn, heading towards a door taking me into a dining room. The warlock takes good care of his orcs. Sadly, I did not, as I killed all five of them. For my troubles, I found a large flat case which contained a bow with a single silver arrow, the case bearing the words ‘The giver of sleep to those who never can’. I’m sure that will make sense at the appropriate time. Continuing north, another door on the right emitted a large amount of screaming from what seemed to be a human, smashing the door open, I went to the mans aid.

I remember this image freaking me out a bit when I first read the book, but I can kinda understand why! Something rather unsettling about this guy. I’m fairly sure I instantly cut him down as he charged at me on opening the door as well, but this time I calmed him and told him he was free. Apparently the orcs had been keeping him as a ‘pet’ in his own filth, he had once been an adventurer just like myself and had been captured. He gave me some information (to give respect to the boatman and pull the right-lever at the end of the corridor) and I sent him on his way. I hope he didn’t wake the guards I left alive…

Again, a door on the right welcomed me as I headed further north, forcing the door open gave me access to a glittering armory. A crescent shield, allowing me to decrease damage taken by one on rolling a 6 on a D6, was my reward.

Surprise, surprise… heading north, yet another door was on the right side of the corridor. See what I mean about simple beginnings? Through the door, tortured screams could be heard, I entered what was indeed a torture chamber and discovered a dwarf, strung up, being stabbed and sliced by two goblins. The dwarf died just after I entered, much to the disappointment of the goblins. Fairly grim stuff for a 7 year-old to have been reading! Of course, I did the same to the goblins, but this time all I came away with was a lump of cheese. At the end of the corridor though was a large metal portcullis with two large levers to the side of it. Remembering the advice of the mad old man I freed, I pulled the right lever which caused a rumbling and set the portcullis rising…

The rest of the mountain awaits! See you in part two…

Blood of the Zombies getting a revision

Seems that Blood of the Zombies is getting a revision; from the horses mouth –

@ian_livingstone: Blood of the Zombies quickly out of print. The Zombies appeared to be winning so Initial STAMINA increased to 2d6+20 for the 2nd edition

Nice to see that they care about the product and are willing to take on board constructive criticism. Also nice to see that I wasn’t being a pussy in saying the book was too hard! I thought I’d maybe slipped behind the abilities of my 7 year old self when it comes to these books.

Three more on the pile!

Reached my days off work and pillaged the charity shops of Canterbury to see what I could find earlier today. I had a rather fine yield too as the Oxfam Books shop and a 2nd hand book shop I had never visited before turned up with the goods.

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All three for £1 each and mostly in superb condition. Oxfam gave me City of Thieves and The Trolltooth Wars, Star Strider from the 2nd hand book shop. Oxfam rather oddly had two copies of The Trolltooth Wars, a book I have never read, one edition slightly older than the other. I took the older one, which had foil lettering on the cover and was priced on the back at £2.99, it was in slightly worse condition than its twin though which lacked the foil lettering and was priced at £3.99. Oxfam also had a copy of Forest of Doom, but being one of the 2003 editions, it remained on the shelf. Similarly, the 2nd hand place had a 2002 edition of Citadel of Chaos, but scholars of my last posts infographic know the score here…

Tomorrow, I’m heading over to Ramsgate and its juicy vein of charity shops waiting just waiting for my wallet syringe. This could end up being as much fun as reading them!