City of Thieves – Part 2

Back on the bridge we find ourselves, armed with the knowledge that the wizard, Nicodemus, resides below it. Before I could descend the stairs to find him, I decided to speak to the old man crossing the river. After promising I wasn’t going to rob him, the passage in the book informed me that I was asking where to find Nicodemus. Ok. Then I had to give the guy 2gp for the information that I already had… great! So, after this brief deviation from my goal, I went down to find Nicodemus’ hut hidden behind curtains and a ‘KEEP OUT’ sign.

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Initially roaring at me with displeasure, Nicodemus soon calmed at the mention of his friend, Owen Carralif, who had sent me from Silverton to kill Zanbar Bone. Nico then broke down the rules of Zanbar Bone, almost like Gremlins. Now we can feed Zanbar Bone after midnight without concern, but we can only kill him at night as during the day he exists on another plane. I was then presented with a shopping list of items; a white unicorn in a yellow sun tattoo on my forehead to protect me from his enchanting stare, a silver arrow to paralyse him and a compound made of black pearl, lotus petals and Hag’s hair which should be rubbed into his eyes. That’s a lot of encounters I’m gonna need to stumble across to find all those! Nico drew me a map of how to find Zanbar’s tower and I left him to his hut.

On crossing the bridge, I could head East down Candle Street or West down Harbour Street, opting for the former I entered a nearby building which housed a creepy looking man in a black robe and skull-cap who was seemingly running some kind of Russian Roulette style pill-popping game. Of the six pills presented, one was poisoned, the rest were not and if I wanted to play, I had to choose one to take. If I survived, he’d give me 20gp, otherwise I die and he gets my stuff. Electing to play, I had to avoid rolling a 1 on a D6, a ‘close enough’ moment followed as I rolled a 2 and walked away with 20 luxurious gold pieces.

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Here I decided to double-back and head west down Harbour Street, tossing 1gp into the cup of a beggar as I passed, gaining 1 Luck for sharing the wealth. Despite my good will, two wild dogs decided to try and tear my head off as I explored a nearby alley, and so they had to die. Back on the main route of Harbour Street, a thundering horse and carriage was charging down the street. ‘Make way for Lord Azzur!’ shouted the driver, cracking his whip. I’ve no idea who Lord Azzur is, but I’m sure he is some kind of gigantic bastard. Boldly stepping out in front of the carriage I was promptly feeling the thrash of the drivers whip as he flew past me, making me lose 1 Stamina. I’m not sure what I expected to happen.

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Harbour Street began to descend and soon lived up to its name as an area around a stone jelly boasted a large galleon pirate ship moored close to the Black Lobster tavern. Another wonderful illustration, bursting with life and hints at little stories, the couple outside the door, the little guy with the bag of swag on the roof… love this art! Anyway, I decided to take a little look at the ship…

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Having been playing a lot of Hitman over the past week, I snuck aboard, climbing up the ropes at the side and then taking the guard out silently with a successful Luck roll. Waste of time though as this appeared to be a slave-trading ship and all the boxes and containers on the deck had for me was rotten food and manacles. Descending to the lower decks, a corridor led down to two doors, one silent, the other was snoring. Trying the silent door first, I found myself in a bathroom featuring a steaming hot-tub. Being aware of the plots of some pornographic movies, I loitered in the background, waiting to see who was going to take a bath. Unfortunately  a large fat man entered, dropped his towel and plonked himself down into the water. Uttering a loud ‘Ahem!’ I approached from the shadows and held my sword to his neck. The petrified man had little for me other than information and on pressing him over items on my shopping list I found that a silversmith operated off Clog Street and may be able to help get this arrow made. Back into the corridor and through the snoring door, I found some rather sleepy pirates.

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A pack of cards and a bottle of rum made me think these guys probably weren’t gonna be waking up any time soon, so the pouch you see hanging from the top guys neck was a very tantalising proposition. Another successful Luck test let me cut it loose and I was very happy to find 6 black pears inside! Check one off my shopping list and give me 2 Luck!

Fat bathing mans information came into play next as I had the option to turn east onto Clog Street. The first thing I saw though was a small hooded child, groaning on the floor. Stooping down to help the kid, the little swine leaped up, flashing a dagger in my face and revealing himself to actually a small goblin. At 5/4 he was pretty feeble though and I was soon looting his corpse for 2gp, some knucklebones and a clove of garlic (vampire encounter at some point?).

A candle makers shop was the next point of interest I discovered and inside an elf was putting across how wonderful his coloured candles were, at 1gp a pop I decided to take three of them. He then asked if I would like to see his magic candle in the back room. Ignoring the plot to another pornographic movie that popped into my head, I followed him to see what was a magic candle, a number of purples ones in-fact. Sapped into a trance by their wonder, the elf proceeded to steal 5gp from me and two items of my choice. I decided to give up my stale bread and guards keys. My chump of a character snapped out of it, remembering nothing, thanked the elf and waved him goodbye with a smile.

At last, I found it. A sign reading ‘Ben Borryman, Silversmith’ hung abover a shop entrance and so I hurried inside. After a quick chat I hurled 10gp his way and a fine silver arrow was constructed for me right there and then. Make that two items off my list and I’m heading east down Stable Street.

Running from a nearby house was a small old man who approached me, displaying a prominent, fluffy wart on the end of his nose. He was offering me a swig of his drink for 2gp, a dirty bottle was presented to me inside a canvas bag. Now something similar once happened to me at Glastonbury and I declined, but this time I accepted and was able to add a refreshing 3 Stamina points and 1 Luck. Mmm, old man drink…

Further along Stable Street, I spotted a manhole cover. Now we know in Fighting Fantasy books these things are just begging to be pulled up and explored, so before you could blink I was climbing down into the sewer. I have to admit though that a vague memory from my childhood had come to me at this point, I was sure I would find another useful item down here… Reaching the bottom of the ladder I was in a North-South passageway and took the southern route first only to find myself getting attacked by a giant centipede, a slightly tougher than normal opponent at 10/5, but still one which was soon dead. Behind him I found a metal grill, and behind that I found a dark hole begging to have a hand inserted into it… out from which I pulled a mirror. Not bad, but not what I was looking for. Turning around and taking the northern portion of the passage, frantic squealing and splashing soon became three weak-as-hell rats, all of which I took out without sustaining any damage.

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Something was skulking in the shadows ahead… investigating further revealed what I half expected to find down here – the Hag! Coming straight at me, uttering demon magic, I was taken over by an illusion, terrifying skeletal faces tormenting me. A successful Luck test had me strike her with my sword by accident, breaking her spell and allowing me to fight her straight and without her magic, she wasn’t much of an opponent at 7/7 and within moments I was cutting a lock of Hag hair from her head. The items are piling up now… only a few more to find and Zanbar Bone is gonna be in trouble. Oh yes.

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2 thoughts on “City of Thieves – Part 2

  1. doubleblue02 says:

    You’re reminding me of how great the illustrations were in this book! I don’t remember much about my adventures within the city, so am reading this now without much of a clue about the coming encounters – which is cool.

    • Yeah the illustrations by Ian McCaig are fantastic, I’ve really enjoyed this book and his work has played no small part in that. He did the next book I’m going to read as well, so we’re in for a treat!

      I can’t remember much about the books either so it’s all a surprise to me as well!

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