Dark forces are at work to unleash the awesome might of the Evil One, but their plans cannot be completed without the legendary Talisman of Death. YOU are the one who carries the Talisman, and only YOU can stop the Dark forces. YOUR mission is to destroy the Talisman before the dark lord’s minions reach you. But beware! Time is running out!
We begin Talisman of Death by waking from a state of unconsciousness in an idyllic cloud-dwelling castle, elaborately furnished and under beautiful blue skies. Unfortunately we have no idea at all why we are there but seem to have acquired a sword and the ability to use it very well, I had rolled a reasonably competent 10/20/9 character after all. Before long we are addressed by a resplendent song-bird, ‘Welcome, Champion of Fate. Do not be dismayed, you are not yet in danger.’ YET. The bird went on to tell me that this was the Garden of the Gods and I had been plucked from Earth to assist the world of Orband that his masters would tell me more. Descending a spiral staircase into a large circular room, two shimmering figures gave me my very non-specific reason for being plunged into this world without warning. ‘We have summoned you here to the world of Orb because we wish to prevent a fatal upset in the balance of nature… It is not right for us in the Garden of the Gods to set things right. We cannot fight him who would bring chaos to Orb. Rather we use men as our tools‘.
So they have pulled someone from Earth to do their dirty work… am I from present day Earth? Am I English? Why is my character not completely freaking out his mind right now? And who is ‘him‘?
‘We are sending you down to the surface of Orb. If you fall into the clutches of Death we cannot aid you. Do not fail us!‘, they continued. ‘Fail in what?‘, both my character and I asked. I did however note that ‘Death’ was capitalised… But then I lost consciousness again and was being sent down from the gardens to awake in a huge vaulted chamber on what I suppose is the planet of Orb. No windows lit the room, only dull flaming torches, which revealed two archways and very little else. Almost straight away I was disturbed by dreadful noises in the distance, infernal howling and clattering footsteps filled the air, I stood my ground and waited with my sword drawn to see what appeared from the gloom.
A perfectly set-up but desperate looking party of adventurers came crashing into view, apparently being pursued by whatever was making those howling noises. Equally surprised to see me the leader, a shield-maiden with a crossbow demanded to know who I was and what I was doing in ‘the Rift’. Deciding to go with the truth, I said I was from another world and with a little spell-casting, the parties priest was able to confirm I was telling the truth. ‘Perhaps this warrior was sent by the gods to continue the quest?‘, he correctly supposed. It seemed this band of four were trapped in this place by a pursuing force and they only had the ability to teleport one person out of this dead-end catacomb. It was at this point our new friend, the priest, laid down some knowledge and actually told us what was going on here. Long ago, the minions of the God Death created a talisman that would allow them to summon their god to the surface of this world when the time was right. That time is now and should they be successful, the world of Orb would be turned to dust. Thankfully, a band of crusaders, the party before me, had stolen the talisman from the depths of this evil place, The Rift. Unfortunately their plan seems to have gone awry as they’re now turning to me, a bewildered idiot who they’ve never met before. But the fact that I have come from another world excited them as if I could take the talisman there, it would be beyond the reach of evil. The wizard prepared to teleport me, advising I head west to the city of learning, Greyguilds-on-the-Moor, where I may be able to find a way to return. My new pals not only handed over the Talisman of Death, they even gave me 10 gold pieces spending money. They wouldn’t be needing it though as the last thing I saw as I was teleported to safety was a cave troll and a group of dark elves catching up with the party and cutting them down.
Suddenly blinded by light I was on the surface, stood on the edge of a blackened, rocky fissure which must be the Rift the crusaders told me about. Heeding their advice I set Greyguilds as my goal and had the option of taking a direct route across open ground or a slight detour under the cover of forest, not wanting to hang about, I picked the former. Treking across the open has it’s advantages as you can see your enemies coming, but sadly, they can also see you coming. The two armed groups of orcs and dark elves I spotted ahead of me were now coming straight for me, so I went full Monty Python and chose ‘run away’ as my solution. It seemed a good one too as the pursuing packs of goons collided with each other and started to fight amongst themselves, leaving me to continue on my merry way, rising and descending a hill into a verdant, fern-laden valley.
Being chased down by two armies after being teleported and knocked unconscious by gods several times is thirsty work, so I took in a good drink at a nearby spring underneath a willow tree. Of course, the result was that I fell unconscious again. Drowsily dragging myself out of the stupor it became obvious that this willow tree had been draining something into the water to catch its prey, two eyes had opened up in its trunk and I was being attacked by the branches of this enraged Willow Weird. Fairly tough thing it was too at 8/20, but after four successful attacks I was told to end the combat as I had cut through one of the trees branches and it recoiled in pain, giving in. My prize was some of the healing sap that oozed from its wound which I promptly use to restore the 4 Stamina points I’d lost in the fight.
Continuing my westerly direction I followed the water side until my luck ran out again, some of the dark elves that had been chasing me had caught up after beating orcs with their magic and one was pointing right at me.
I know I carry the tool to summon Death himself to destroy every living thing in the world, but will people just leave me alone for five minutes! I plunged into the river and crossed to the other bank, somehow managing to lose them again. My relief was momentarily in question again as I had crossed out onto a wide plain and could see figures emerging from a dust-cloud on the horizon, a guy with a death talisman can’t get a rest for 2 seconds on Orb. As they drew closer it became apparent that these were some sort of warrior-women band on horseback, wearing armour and looking decidedly unfriendly. Their leader circled me, demanding to know what I was doing there, so naturally I pretended to be deaf and dumb. I didn’t know how this course of action would pan out, but it actually did the trick as they immediately let their guard down somewhat and allowed me to mount a horse with them. My new gang were members of the Watch from Greyguilds, law-enforcers who apparently have issues with the leniency of the priestesses of the All-Mother. Suddenly though, a cry of ‘ambush!’ rang out, but remembering I’m supposed to be deaf and dumb, I chose not to react. Good thing too as it was a test by the Watch to see if I was true to my word. Ha. After riding a little further we came upon the gates to Greyguilds and they let me dismount and enter the city on my own. So now that we’re here, next goal is trying to figure out how to transport myself and the talisman back to Earth from an completely alien world. Can’t see that being too hard…