So, we’re following a marsh hopper, a creature that I have already been warned will likely lure me into the lair of some horrific carnivorous creature. The marshland becomes thicker and I start to sink into the ground, the marsh hoppers agility sending it bounding ahead. Knee-deep in slime, I’m soon confronted by the inevitable conclusion to this hot pursuit. The water erupted around me and a giant hydra reared its ugly heads.
In the absence of a spear, I was forced to fight off both of it’s heads, which wasn’t easy with them both being a 9/9 opponent. No sooner had I sent the thing crashing down into the mire, a second slithery entity appeared out of the depths to try and eat me, a giant water snake was my next victim as I sought to slay all the islands wildlife. My only reward from these conflicts seemed to be the permission to advance further, the marsh hopper had long gone, the little shit. On the bright side though, the ground began to firm up and the jungle thinned, flowers and lush grass replaced the vines and mossy trees as I approached a gorge running between two hills. Chosing to keep a good vantage point, I climbed the side of the hill rather than walking the gorge below.
One shiny new Luck point was heading my way as a landslide suddenly kicked in on the opposite slope and sent boulders crashing down into the section below me. I thought I’d now have a look down in the bottom of the gorge and edged my way down the side of the hill, on my way I saw the words ‘Turn back or die’ etched onto some rocks, but not knowing which way ‘turning back’ would actually be, the sign was fairly useless to me! Evidence of a struggle suggested that the words might have meaning afterall as an absent parties footprints in the sand met the footprints of someone else and soon ended, seemingly being dragged away. Following the furrows left by the dragged body, I spied a shiny snuff-box in the sand. Popping it open revealed a gold nugget and a note which read ‘If you read this, it will mean I have failed in my attempt to escape from the mines of the Lizard King’, it continued to reveal the location of the writers hidden raft and route along a river that would take me to the lizard mens huts by the mine. A route to the kidnapped villagers perhaps?
As the ground became rockier, the footprints gradually faded and a distant rumbling reminded me of the islands brewing volcano… but before my mind could become too distracted, a giant lizard brought me back to the gorge as at 8/9, like most things seem to be on Fire Island, it was a tough opponent.
Respite seemed to present itself though as the gorge widened out to grassy plains and a watering hole became visible, presumably safe too as a number of birds were drinking from it. Naturally, a refreshing drink was in order, but as I leaned in to take a swig of delicious water, a streak of liquid shot from the wide, green mouth that had just emerged from the surface of the water. A successful Skill test sent me ducking below it and entering into a fight to the death with a Spit Toad!
After slaying the loathsome thing I did actually turn to the wrong page and found myself locked in combat with the Lizard King! A moment of confusion at my sudden advancement of the plot later and I was back at the pond, determined to have that drink. An extra Stamina point was mine, but more interestingly, through the water I spied a wooden box. Dragging it out of the pond I opened it up to find some boots, a pouch, a ring and a phial of liquid. So here we go then, which ones are going to screw me over? I elected for the pouch first and discovered it to be a pouch of unlimited contents, +1 Luck headed my way as well. The boots turned out to be just that, boots, no special running abilities or invisibility, just boots. The Phial of liquid I downed in one, of course it was a potion of clumsiness and now with every combat I enter I have to roll 1D6 on the first round and if I roll a 1, I drop my sword and instantly lose the first round. Not TOO bad I suppose. I wasn’t going to push my luck with the ring so I pressed on over the plains.
I was again punished for not having a spear as a succulent looking pig ran out in front of me and I had no means to go all John Locke on its ass. I’ll bet the spear was in that village I circumnavigated… oh well. Continuing west across the plains, I found a river and was reminded of the presence of a hidden raft as detailed in the snuffbox note. Before long I was sailing up the river like a boss. Nature tried to spoil the party though by sending a crocodile after me, breaching the water and almost knocking me from my beloved vessel, the thing thrashed and snatched its jaws at me. But anyone who has seen a cartoon knows their way out of this situation, the iron bar I took from the pirates at the start was just the perfect length to wedge the crocodiles mouth open and so I plunged that bad boy in there and left the crocodile to presumably starve to death. You did not die in vain, Mungo, you helped a sentient creature lose its life in a horrible, drawn-out fashion.
As I continued down the river my attention was soon drawn to a commotion on the bank where a desperate looking man in tattered clothes emerged from the trees along the bank, begging me to stop . I couldn’t really see how stopping to pick him up was going to result in anything other than unnecessary conflict with whoever was chasing him, so I ignored him like a man with a clipboard on a high-street and sailed on by.
Further downstream, huts started to spring up on the left bank and so I quickly made a move for the bank and hid in the undergrowth for a better look. It appeared I had discovered the mud huts belonging to the lizard men, and indeed some of the evil things were wandering around the camp.
The gold mines and their slaves can’t be far away now… and that means neither can the Lizard King. Ulp.