The Crown of Kings – Part 5

It is now seemingly a theme that I start each post by covering up for my inadequacies displayed earlier in the adventure, and in this example of failure we return to moments before I threw myself into a raging inferno. This would be the third of three Throben Doors I needed to pass and to pass I needed the password. Retracing my steps to the second door, I left the kitchen alone and this time decided to try out the entrance guarded by two bird-men. Fortunately, they seemed to have pottered off and left me an opportunity to sneak in covertly. A long corridor stretched out ahead with doors either side and a weapon rack full of swords available to me. My stealthy entrance was suddenly at risk of falling apart though as I could hear voices coming down towards me. A quick decision saw me scramble blindly through one of the doors to my left, which fantastically took me away from a situation where I may potentially meet guards and put me in a situation where I was actually meeting guards.

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The three bird-men were somewhat confused by my sudden intrusion and this presented me an opportunity to think on my feet, I indulged them in conversation, taking the time to ask how their families were! ‘Our blessed mothers are well. But what business of this is yours?‘, was my reply. Safe in the knowledge that their mums were ok and amidst their confusion, I got out of there. My luck held up as the corridor was now empty, allowing me to proceed unchallenged. Three doors were ahead, all within a T-junction, I opted for the large metal door to my left. I was offered the option to try a key, but without one, I gave the door a knock. ‘Come in!‘, was the reply and as I opened the door a large spiked morning star came swinging at my head, requiring a successful Luck test to avoid, but still it managed to graze me, costing 1 Stamina. What I had wandered into was a torture chamber and the ogre standing before me was the tricksy scamp who had just recommended I walk straight into a deadly trap.

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Thanks to the serpents that avoided my attention in the last book, this guy knew exactly who I was and started spouting about the Analander, cracking his whip and laughing. I decided that the best course of action was naturally bribery, so I offered up 10 gold which brought about a Microsoft-style 180 in his attitude and he accepted! The Throben Doors was my number one topic to press him on as I had to find a way to pass this raging inferno. I complimented his fine torture room and he told me that the fire was an illusion and that the only way to pass it was to know and believe it was an illusion, I could do that by turning to page 399 at the relevant moment. Heading out of the torture chamber I could go left or right and so I chose right which took me back to the section which led onto the third Throben Door. Sure enough, the flames licked my sides and I walked through entirely unharmed only to find another door on the other side.

Above the door was a sign which read ‘Chamber of Night‘. I might hang a sign saying that above a door in my house and see how it works out. I opened the door to unsurprisingly, find it to be quite dark. Candles were an option presented by the text and as I’d bought some from the merchant earlier, I had the option of blood candles or normal candles, the blood candles lasting much longer. However, I had been warned by a serpent in the previous book not to use the blood candles, so I went with the regular ones. The flickering flame revealed a floor from which a number of sharp blades randomly protruded. What followed was a lengthy maze-like section, full of entries like, ‘You inch your way slowly across the room. For your next few steps, choose either 488, 341 or 359‘. Not a format I’m too keen on myself, but after a series of random choices, I eventually made it out by finding a reference I hadn’t seen before (52, if you’re wondering).

I stumbled through the door I had found into a very bright room and almost instantly, hands grabbed my wrists. Guards had been waiting for me on the other side and I had again been captured. They took their prize to their captain, Cartoum, who sat behind a large wooden desk, covered in paperwork. I resisted the urge to reach for my blessed hardwood spear and listened to what he had to say.

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The text informed me that within the picture there may be a clue to help get me out of this one. Unfortunately, all I could really be sure of was that there was absolutely no paperwork on his desk. The obvious choice thing to focus on however would be the girl in the picture, but I really had no idea who she was? Did I meet her? I’ll check that one out come Conclusions time… but for now I had to pick a different course of action. I made up a story about having a message to deliver to the Archmage, this obviously wasn’t convincing him in the slightest and he had the guards unhand me, presumably to run me through. At this point I went for a GOD spell that would ensure anyone around had a massive respect for me, a spell I could only cast thanks to the gold jewel I had obtained earlier. 1 Stamina point was the price and I was shown out personally by the apologetic Captain who gifted me a key with which I could use to open the next Throben Door. Now that is how you get out of a tight spot!

The next room on was made of marble and had a giant sheep statue as a center-piece.

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If I am certain about anything it’s that this thing is definitely about to attack me.

Using some sand, I cast a MUD spell and created an area of quicksand in front of the statue for 1 Stamina point, but all this would do was allow me to skip a Luck test I may or may not be about to take… Sure enough, about five paces into the room, the thing was up about and coming straight for me at full pelt. The thing careered past me at a thundering pace and smashed into the marble wall, not even phased a little bit, it turned to go for me again. Not having anything in my possession that could assist me, all I could do was run for the door. Another Luck test followed and even in succeeding it, I was still smashed by the thing for 4 Stamina points of damage and thrown across the room straight into another Luck test.It was a good job I’d obtained that lucky pendant earlier in the courtyard as I was again successful in my roll, but again got caught by the thing for another 4 Stamina. Only this time, I landed by the door I was aiming to get through. Using the Captains key, I deducted 17 from my reference as instructed and slipped through the door just in a nick of time to avoid being destroyed by the ram.

My mission was almost at an end, all four of the Throben Doors have been passed and all that lies ahead now is the Archmage and the crown. A spiral staircase led onward, I climbed to the top and opened the door onto what I expected to be an elegant study. What I saw was this…

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A sparsely decorated room, narrow slits barely providing any light through the stone walls and a bald, fat man in a (presumably) smelly, stained onesie. ‘It’s no use, I just cannot bring myself to do it!‘, he said, backing down from his intended course of action – smacking me over the head with his chamber pot. It was around now that I remembered a serpents warning that the Archmage may be in disguise when I meet him, so from going into the grand finale of Part 6 I would have to proceed with caution…

 

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The Crown of Kings – Part 4

It’s fair to say that we (and by which, I mean ‘I’) failed completely in the last part, reminiscent of the Gangees from Citadel of Chaos, I had nowhere to turn. Surrounded by guards, the only way for any progress was to find out exactly where I’d missed out on finding the blessed hardwood spear. So to my map I went and from the start of the book started exploring some of the routes I had not been down on my trek through the mountains to Mampang Fortress. Thankfully, this turned into a much easier task than I envisaged as the first piece if the puzzle was very early on indeed. After the initial section of picking a cave to sleep in I was offered the choice of taking a rickety bridge or climbing the mountain path further and I took the bridge. What I should have done was take the right-hand path and left the bridge well alone. It would have been down that path that I would have come across some hoof-prints…

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Yep, actual boobs on what basically looks like Joey Belladonna. These She-Satyrs were quite clearly carrying spears. Blessed ones made of hard wood? We shall see, but I was stopped dead in my tracks as a pair of them emerged from behind a group of rocks and chucked one of their spears at me. Being very aggressive, they branded me a ‘weak-bowelled cur’ and demanded to know what I was doing here, I went along with what they wanted. As we spoke they realised my accent was not that of a local and asked where I was from. I partially revealed my origin was in Analand and their attitude changed to one of fascination as they desired to learn more about the outside world and the events taking place there, it wasn’t long before they offered to take my back to their village for more story-time. It was here that things fell into place, I spoke with their leader Sh’houri and told her about my quest, a cause to which she was thankfully sympathetic and gave up much information. First she told me of the Throben Doors, I now know that there are four in total and so I believe I’d already made it through two of them? Next up she gave me a hardwood spear! I was told I could get it blessed by a man named Colletus. Now if you remember in Part 1 I had already picked up a clue about Colletus, knowing that he could be found at the Groaning Bridge. Sh’houri told me of a whistling technique that could be used to get his attention from within his hiding place, for which I had to deduct 30 from the relevant reference to reach him. Ahhh! Finally, I was offered a number of spell casting reagents which I could exchange for an item in my inventory.

Making a direct route onto the Groaning Bridge I did my little whistle and sure enough, out pops Colletus. The man was completely blind and confused as to who was calling on him, but on asking him of his skills as a holy man he was genuinely flattered someone had sought out his abilities and he was more than happy to bless my spear. Hooray! So, now that little puzzle is out of the way, lets jump back up to Mampang Fortress and back to the section where Ridd the Gnome had rushed me with a gang of guards…

This time, I wasn’t frogmarched away to a cell. This time, all 12 guards were dead within a few minutes as a simple touch with the tip of this spear can kill a man in an instant. As for Ridd the Gnome, a rather brutal end was his, instead of simply touching him, I rammed the spear straight through his throat! That is totally metal. My path to the next Throben Doors was now clear and I took the password I had learned from Valignya and they clicked open without frying me with lightning bolts or anything like that, which was nice. So NOW that’s two doors done. Through these doors I had progressed into the inner keep, a solid wood door to me left appeared to lead into the main keep, but was guarded by two bird-men.

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To my right was an unguarded door spouting steam and clanking noises, and that was where I headed towards. On closer inspection, this was actually a kitchen entrance. The unpleasant smell of todays special hit me, swine offal and lizard entrails. Lovely. Small nervous creatures scampered around, these minions serving the orders being barked out by a large hobgoblin cook, whipping them around the head with a sapling branch to get them moving. It’s all very Dungeon Keeper in here. Wonderful illustration too, that kitchen looks beyond dirty!

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Rather than sneaking through or mercilessly slaughtering all in my path I decided to announce my presence and have a chat with the cook, she couldn’t see very well and as soon as she’d finished beating her minions, through squinted eyes she asked me what I wanted. For some reason I decided that asking for some food would be a good idea. The best she could offer was pickled dung-beetles, having realised my error of judgement I tried to back out but this quickly angered her, so rather than cause a commotion I just agreed to sample something from the larder. Ant Meatballs seemed as good an option as any. I don’t know how much meat you get on an ant, but they were actually very tasty and restored my Skill and Stamina to initial values! As I went to compliment the chef on her work, she shrieked ‘Oh no! Not THAT jar!‘. She unfolded a crumpled piece of the jars label to reveal its actual content, ‘Mutant Meatballs’. Oops. I was told to roll two D6 to find out what my mutation would be!

My face started to ache. I reached out and was shocked to find my nose was growing and growing, hanging down my face like a proboscis! As well as making me look ridiculous, this made breathing a little difficult and so I had to reduce my Initial and Current Stamina by 2. Leading on from the kitchen was a passageway that presumably led onto the guards’ mess-hall, I say presumably as on making my way along here I heard gruff voices and the sound of chain-mail which led me to hide in the shadows where I unwittingly discovered an escape route. A dark, damp passageway descended below and then back up to floor-level, taking me to a door which opened out into an arched cloister. Three doors led out of here, one to the right, one in the opposite wall and another marked by a sign ‘Nylock- Merchant – Open‘. As merchants are always fun and I have a load of cash to spend, I had a look in there.

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Two things struck me about this image, our merchant friend has a very similar hat to Valignya, must be a cool style up here in Mampang. Also, the two framed pictures on the wall… is that supposed to be two of our favourite fantasy gamebook writers?? Anyway, I ignored the option to steal his wares and went to see how much it would cost to buy out his inventory. He had a supposedly enchanted, Rusty Cutlass (3gp); a set of candles, one made of wax, one blood (2gp); a variety of spell artifacts (5gp each); a birds nest containing a golden egg (2gp) and some silver pieces (4gp). I took the lot to varying degrees of success. The enchanted cutlass was actually just a rusty cutlass and would have cost me 1 Skill point if I had to use it, the candles and spell artifacts were as advertised, any function of the nest and egg was not yet apparent and the silver pieces screwed me over – they had infact burned a hole through my bag and I lost the third item written on my inventory, which I believe was some glue. I was then forced on by the text through another door leading into a widening passage that opened into a hallway. Here I had two options, a small ornate door and one huge double door. The latter I deduced was likely a Throben Door, so not knowing how to get that one open, I opted for the smaller door.

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Behind the door was a room empty save for a large piece of machinery made of brass and iron, it’s function seemingly to be some kind of metal-working apparatus. Having no idea how to work it I had to pass a Luck test to get it working, but when I did I realised it was a machine for sharpening blades! I got to work on my weapon and was able to add 1 to any of my future Attack Rolls. Back out into the hallway I had only one option, the double doors, which I’m 99% certain are about to kill me. Curiously, they sat ajar and as I walked over to them a huge fire flared up, behind the doors was an absolute inferno that I could not pass. Now rather frustratingly, I’d have quite liked to go back and explore some other areas, but the only option granted to me was to run head-first into certain death. Very single-minded this hero of ours. So yes, I took a run-up and blasted with heat, screaming wildly as my blood boiled and my body destroyed, my adventure was over. Told you.

The Crown of Kings – Part 3

Last time around we’d just taken in the story of an old pile of rags who was actually a human woman down on her luck, shuffling through her existence in the courtyard of an evil Archmage. I’d left her with the promise that I’d try and sort out the Sightmasters who had been giving her some trouble, so I moved on away from a group of guards towards a group of individuals who apparently seemed familiar to me. And would you believe it? A group of large-eyed beings that could only be Sightmasters, the guys who had sent me on my merry way all the way back in The Shamutanti Hills. These fellows were therefore likely traitors to the cause and they seemed to realise who I was. Damn those serpents. I was beckoned over went to see what they had to say.

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As expected, they talked to me as though they knew exactly who I was and my intent in Mampang, what wasn’t expected was that they were making out that they were trying to help me. I was offered a disguise in the form of a very heavy looking coat, held together by thick buckled straps. Now I don’t know about you, but this is something I would usually regard as a straight-jacket and was reluctant to wear it. Remembering my promise to rag lady I ignored their comments completely and launched straight into combat. A very easy fight awaited, they might be blessed with giant eyes or far-sight or whatever, but they can’t fight for shit. With stats of 7/4, 6/4 and 6/5 the battle was a formality. Many travellers must have been accosted by these guys as they had a nice little stash of loot for me to take away with me; 20 gold, some sand, a vial of glue, a ring of green metal and enough food for three meals were all mine for the taking. Remembering to deduct 100 from the reference I went back to tell rag lady. ‘You’ve made an old woman very happy‘, she sobbed and so the rewards kept flowing. Firstly this came in the form of a luck pendant which not only restored my Luck to initial value, but increased the value by one, taking me up to 12. She also gave me some holy water which could be used in a healing spell. Information was probably the key thing she handed over though, she told me that ahead lay one of the Throben doors and that I should in no way attempt to open them without the password. Valignya knows the password, but to get to him I would first have to contend with the Mucalytics. I have no idea who Valignya is or what a Mucalytic is, but I guess I’m going to find out pretty soon.

A small victory had been achieved in that I had now crossed the courtyard in one piece. That I had just slain three men in plain sight seemed to have gone unnoticed. I assumed that the two large wooden doors ahead of me were the Throben Doors that I had been warned of, so I steered clear of them for now and so was left with the option of exploring either a small door to the right or a perculiar-shaped metal pole in the ground just in front of the doors. Taking a look at the pole, I found it to be covered in ornate markings and had a number of weapons laid at the base. Not in a very trusting mood, I took the chance to try a SUS spell and of course a warning flared up so I left the weapons be and went over to the small door. The door came swinging open as I approached it and I was beckoned in by a short, stocky creature who asked if I was there to torment the Mucalytics. Well, I wasn’t, but if I had to torment something, then that’s what I’ll do, I just want to get past the things. He showed me to a door on the left whilst standing by a door to the right. I had no idea what was going on so I just went with it. I should have exercised more caution, but we’ll get to that later…

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So this is a Mucalytic then. A sort of cross between and elephant and the ‘stink god’ from Spirited Away. Slumped in a mess of slime and rubbish it stood up to about the size of a bear, holding a hand to its ear as though trying to hear what I was saying, even though I wasn’t saying a word. I wasn’t particularly interested in its opinions or smells and so I tried to leg it across the room to the door on the opposite side. A gunky arm swung out and before I knew it I was fighting this thing, 8/9 weren’t too shabby and I think it even landed a hit or two but I did manage to finish it off before it could get three hits in, which would have presumably had a negative effect based on the text. For some reason I had a sort through the slime afterwards I managed to actually find some useful items; a bone bracelet, two Goblin teeth and 5 gold pieces.

I continued through the door on the opposite side of the room and found myself in short corridor. To my left was an empty room with a table and chair, perfect for some food and drink, but a raised portcullis hung above the doorway. Ahead was another door bearing a sign – ‘Enter Only Those Who Will Pay The Price’. I decided to have a look at this crappy little dining room as I could do with a rest at this point. 2 delicious Stamina points were given along with a question – had I visited anyone called Shadrack on my travels? Well as you may remember, this very helpful chap met us in the desert at the very start of The Seven Serpents and as I sat at the table eating some dinner, a ghostly shape appeared in front of me and began to speak – it was Shadrack. Some exposition followed as he told me about the Throben Doors, the secret to opening them held by the Archmages most cunning followers. As we already knew, Valignya ( who Shadrack referred to as ‘the miser’) held one, Naggamanteh the torturer another, alas the final was unknown to Shadrack. Good news came in the knowledge that a group within the fortress known as the Samaritans of Schinn would be allied to me as they too opposed the Archmage and his desire for power – but specifics were unfortunately lacking. On asking why he had come to tell me these things, he sadly revealed that the Archmages men had paid him a visit two nights ago and that his body had died this morning, I was being visited by his actual ghost. I swore revenge on the bastard murderers of this friendly little hermit!

Curiously walking out underneath the inactive portcullis I ventured thowards the pay warning and before I could grasp the handle, a voice came from inside – ‘Inside! But do not waste my time unless you carry gold!’. Well at this point I had about 50 gold, so I think I’m about to blow this guys mind.

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I’ll be honest, keep the Crown of Kings, that guys hat is amazing and I’d hand over 50 gold for that thing right now, it is surely more powerful. But as this wasn’t an option I gave him a chance to speak. What he wanted was a single gold piece to actually converse any further, he mocked my ‘tawdry rags’ and doubted I had money at all. I had been under the impression that he was a merchant of some kind, but based on the advice of rag lady and Shadrack, I realised that having passed the Mucalytic, this must be Valignya the miser! Paying no real attention to his request I told him he could make use of me as a hired sword to help guard his finery. I was of course ignoring the fact that he had a large black jaguar sitting under his table doing just that. He heard my statement, which was now taken as a challenge and set me up against his jaguar to see who was the better. Naturally, I was the better, and despite being given the opportunity to spare the beast when it was reduced to 2 Stamina, I killed it in front of its master. ‘That was unnecessary!‘, he sobbed. Well so was making fun of my clothes. I grabbed his throat and demanded to know how to gain entry further inside the keep. Reluctantly he gave me the password to the next Throben Door – ‘Alaralaramalana’. Letting him go, I headed off to the doors.

Making my way back through the Mucalytics room, I could hear voices in the room beyond. Opening the door I found the short, stumpy character who ushered me in screaming at a group of at least a dozen guards, ‘There you are! I told you! The Analander! And when you capture the dog, remember to tell our master that it was I, Ridd the Ghome, who gave you this information’. The little swine. He had been very eager to get me in there, now I know why. Curiously, I was asked if I had a blessed hardwood spear. I did not.

I was totally outnumbered, with no chance at survival I was quickly pinned to the ground and then frogmarched out of the room, captured and unable to succeed in my mission.

It was at this point I started trying to figure out where I’d gone wrong, I retraced my steps through the last stages of the courtyard segment, the metal pole, through the Mucalytic and Valignya, yet every route ended up with me being rushed by a large group of guards and without this ‘blessed hardwood spear’, I had absolutely no way to progress any further.

For now, my adventure was over.

Out of the Pit 2! Beyond the Pit, a Kickstarter Project

I absolutely love Out of the Pit, a superb ‘toilet book’. I don’t think I ever gave it any coverage here, but it was picked up from eBay some time ago and I repeatedly go back to it to check something in my playthroughs or just simply to soak up some monster information.

 

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It seems a sequel is brewing over on good old Kickstarter!

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Now the book is already written and within two days it’s already reached a third of it’s goal! I’ve pledged for my copy, here’s a link for you to go and get yours organised…

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2036759092/beyond-the-pit-advanced-fighting-fantasy

I will be badgering you again about this, oh yes.

 

The Crown of Kings – Part 2

Gnarled spires, jagged walls and Demonic gargoyles lined the outside walls of Mampang Fortress, it held my goal and lay before me in this volcano-like summit hidden in the Zanzuzu Peaks.

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The grandiose nature of the event and indeed the architecture was not missed by my character either as I was told that until I was inside the Fortress I would have to deduct 1 Skill point. As you may imagine, the pass leading up to the doors of the fortress was actively guarded and so I was given the option of either stealthily creeping my way forwards or absolutely legging it and hoping I wouldn’t be spotted. Perhaps a little dumb, but I went for the latter option and dashed forwards. Thankfully I managed to make significant distance without being spotted, making for cover when I came close to a couple of guards who were taking a little break from their duties to the Archmage, the wine bottles strewn around the place told me they were quite clearly pissed. I figured I could take out a couple of drunks quickly, so I emerged from cover ready for a fight, and had I not failed my Luck test, I’d have taken them down without fuss; but I did. One guard reached for his sword, the other a horn. I had two Attack Rounds to kill the first guard before the 2nd could raise the alarm. His inebriated state left him with only 2 Stamina though, so this wasn’t such a big undertaking. The second was a bit tougher at 8/6, but he didn’t last very long either. Quickly scavenging through their belongings brought up 2 gold pieces and enough food to make up a single meal, also up for grabs was the giant alarm horn they tried to sound. I had to have it. Such was its size though, I was forced to leave three items behind, at this point I cannot for the life of me remember what they were, but I can remember they were spell-casting items at least.

Night was beginning to fall and I took the opportunity to rest one last time before entering the Fotress as a hidden cave in the side of the entryway had enough room for me and my new horn. As I slept, goddess Libra appeared to me to give me some good news and some bad news. Firstly, the bad. She would not be able to help me once I entered the Fortress. The good news was a tip-off that one of her followers escaped the Fortress using a secret passageway by speaking a secret password to open the door. At the moment I wished to use that password I was to deduct 92 from the reference I’m currently on. Taking her advice into consideration I took my last chance to summon up Libra to restore my stats before I entered this place as my next step was the front door. Being in a direct sort of mood, I strolled up to the giant wooden double-doors and knocked.

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Like some sort of ridiculous Scooby-Doo stunt, I jumped up to a ledge above the door and stayed there as one-by-one, guards started running out of the entrance, oblivious to me standing right above their heads. I waited it out until four had come out and started investigating the area together, not once looking back and seeing me perched there, elevated in plain-sight. Hoping that was all of them, I hopped down and ran in, luckily unchallenged! I found myself in an archway which led onto another set of large wooden doors, either side of these doors were two smaller doors. I opted for the smaller door to the right and could hear gruff voices coming from behind, a chair scraped along the floor – someone had stood and was inevitably going to come through the door I was listening at. Taking the upper hand I came charging through to face whoever was on the other side which thankfully turned out to be just two guards.

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My element of surprise earned me the slight bonus that any drawn Attack rounds in the combat would be taken as victorious for me – a very slight bonus indeed. But none-the-less, I emerged without a scrape and investigated their filthy room, turning up a single key on a metal ring in a table drawer. Taking it back to the archway, the key was a fit for the double-doors and so I could press on. What greeted me wasn’t another set of doors, but a large courtyard within which a large number of beings were milling around and I could see many ways in which I might be able to blend in. I suddenly realised that Crown of Kings is somewhat reminiscent of The Citadel of Chaos, also penned by Jackson…

My map goes a bit crazy here, so I’m trying to remember how my next move actually went! I had three options as I made my way across the courtyard. I could proceed on my way which was towards a group who were clearly watching me, one of which had just pointed at me, I could veer off to the left towards a pillory or move around the group whose eye I had caught, moving closer to another, less observant group. I now remember that I headed away from the group who were watching me, passing by another. These three thin, spindly figures were talking to one another, but with their eyes closed. Apparently, these were Red-Eyes and my character wracked his brain trying to recall my previous encounters with these guys. Sadly, neither he nor I could remember them! Did I meet them? I really have no idea now!

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Despite their apparent lack of attention, and their closed eyes, they had spotted my attempts to stay out of their way and one of them was openly mocking me! The other two called me over and not wanting to cause a scene, I obliged. Having the nerve to call me ‘fathead’, the three started to grill me on my origins, they didn’t believe I was a Mampang native and wanted to know where I’d come from. Doing my best to keep myself hidden, I said Khare. Given that they had referenced the god Courga, I should have known, but apparently they too were from Khare! Oh joy! They quizzed me further. Back to the Chapel their questioning took me, the site in the middle of Khare where the priest named Slangg tested my mental agility. These three annoying gentlemen wanted to know his first name. Pretty sure that the book had only referred to him as ‘Slangg’, I said I didn’t know. Happy enough with this answer, I was allowed to continue, apparently Slangg had never actually given his first name to anyone, so i was correct!

Three more choices now offered themselves up as my next move across the courtyard – to my left was a bundle of rags on the ground, to my right a group of strangely familiar creatures or I also had the option of proceeding straight ahead and ignoring both. I went over to investigate the pile of rags with the toe of my boot.

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However, in a stunning lack of respect for both the homeless and the elderly, this pile of rags was actually an old beggar lady. She woke up to the sound of my foot-steps as I approached, a sob story of her blindness and a request for a copper coin to buy some bread followed. Being quite flush and unsure how many shops I’m going to find in an evil fortress, I figured I’d spare her a gold piece. Deliriously happy, she thanked me and told me her name was Javinne. I pressed her in conversation and asked how she came to lose her sight. She told me a story of how she had been a young healer and lived in prosperity in the Fortress until the Archmage recruited a new type of troop to his army – the Mucalytics. These creatures were almost deaf and could only speak in whisper, a curse inflicted by the gods themselves and as such Javinne was unable to free them from this state. Her punishment was to have her sight taken from her. Since the day she lost her sight, another of the Archmages followers have been the bane of her existence, the Sightmasters. I had met one of these individuals in The Shamutanti Hills as I left Analand, but it appeared that some had defected to the Archmage in the promise of rich reward. To make her life easier, I offered to kill these Sightmasters, of which there were three. She promised vital rewards, the nature of which she could not reveal as nobody could know what she has. If I were able to kill them, whilst searching their bodies I was to deduct 100 from the page reference to tell Javinne of my good deed.

So let’s go find those mean bullys!