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.