We took a trip to Fire Island then and managed to defeat the lizard king, but not without some issues! This book was nearly fantastic, but some of the niggles got in the way of it reaching that level. I think the pacing is slightly off, it took me a bit too long to actually get to the meat of the story, it felt like things only really got exciting when I found the lizard men encampment near the mine. Wandering through the jungle was a good place to start, it just could have been trimmed down a smidge in favour of a longer section exploring the prison fort at the end maybe? And maybe keeping Mungo on the journey for a little bit longer before his death would have helped the story, which was otherwise the best of the books so far.
My other problem was of course the combat difficulty, which I alluded to several times over the reading. I always thought you were able to get through a book regardless of your ability rolls, but I’ll bet the previous owner of this book who had a Skill of 7 didn’t manage to avenge Mungo. As I ably showed, a Skill of 9 wasn’t even enough for me! So many really tough standard enemies, I felt they could have been toned down just a touch. I mean, I missed the Grannits on my playthrough, I think Fire Island could have used some more Grannits, Grannits have a Skill of 4. I like Grannits.
As for my death itself, I think I touched on this when the Ganjees in Citadel of Chaos drove me bananas, but I’m here for the experience of remembering the books, any challenge is entirely secondary. Having said that, I am playing the books properly and if I die or have to replay a section to find a missing item, I’ll tell you guys where and why it’s happened. But unless something goes spectacularly wrong, I’m not going to start completely from scratch, I really don’t have the time! Whenever possible, I’ll be getting to the end of a book, I just can’t guarantee it will end as sweetly as this one did.
Illustrator Alan Langford generally did a pretty decent job for this book, I think I highlighted a few of the better images he created, but things did miss the mark here and there. I think my favourite of these was an encounter with a bear that I actually missed. Aggression is there in his posture, the claws are out, he’s reared up, but his eyes… he’s drunk isn’t he? I wouldn’t be scared of this bear, he’s clearly going to trip on that branch in front of him and start crying in the dirt.
I should also briefly apologise to fans of The Doors, I admit to only being a very casual fan myself and had entirely forgotten that Jim Morrison was known as the ‘lizard king’. I think my accidental party-crashing use of the hash-tag #lizardking possibly caused them some confusion on Twitter.
Anyway, here’s a map. It’s not very good! I think I was somewhat overwhelmed by the vast number of illustrations towards the end and stopped mapping properly, plus your decisions aren’t quite as diverse either really.
Now grab your wellies, swamp next.