City of Thieves – Conclusions

I bloody loved this one. I’m learning that fond memories of Fighting Fantasy don’t always result in the experience matching up equally, but in this case, expectations were exceeded! As I’ve already discussed through the read-through, the atmosphere and art of the book are what make it so special, I want to carry on exploring Port Blacksand and find out all it’s filthy secrets. If only they could set a videogame in Port Blacksand with the Assassins Creed engine (but with none of that futuristic garbage)! I honestly can’t remember if any of the later books take us back there, but I would love to have another book set in Blacksand, as I told Ian Livingstone myself…

ian

…Twitter is great. So, you know what to do, get onto @ian_livingstone and tempt him!

Mr. Livingstone also provided some feedback on an image I posted on Twitter from City of Thieves. In an area I had missed on this playthrough, I noted a piece of artwork which appeared to feature a down-on-his-luck Rod Stewart.

cot 008

ian2

Amazing!

I don’t really have anything to criticise in the book, perhaps Zanbar Bone’s tower could have been given a little bit more page space, but the star of the show was of course Port Blacksand, so it’s understandable that the spotlight was put on that. The wonderful Ian McCaig art did bring back one horrible childhood memory though through the following image, which I managed to miss in my play-through, but I did find rather disturbing all the same. Something of a Yubaba look going on here I think.

cot 017

Aside from the setting think one of the things that made the book so fun was the amount of rewards on offer. If Blizzard have taught us anything, it’s that it’s fun to get loot. Personally tailored chainmail, new boots, brooches… I was getting new stuff on a regular basis and it made progression through the port all the more pleasurable. And as a handy segue, you can see my progression in my amazing map just below.

cot_map

So, there we go, a happy ending and a happy reader. And you know what? It’s only bloody Deathtrap Dungeon next!

ff-logo

Advertisements

City of Thieves – Part 3

Emerging from the sewer depths with a quite vile straggle of hag hair, possibly the worst kind of hair to take from a drain, I followed Stable Street round a sharp left turn only to find three men with red star tattoos on their foreheads blocking my path and apparently intending to rob me. Chucking a throwing knife at them I spectacularly missed and had to engage all three in battle, but at around 7/5 each, they fell easily, but only giving up a prize of 1gp. Oh well, I’ll be on my way then.

Walking through a section of street made of terraced houses, one stood out, being white in colour and having a large serpent carved into the door. Clearly nothing bad could be inside, so I opened up the door and had a look. Through silk curtains I heard a woman ask who it was, to which I replied I was delivering flowers from Lord Azzur. The woman then revealed herself to be a strange serpent/woman combo, like a horrible mermaid gone wrong, a snakes head on a womans body, but she seemed quite interested in the flowers Lord Azzur had sent her. Of course, this is where my ruse was ended as I didn’t have any flowers to give. So, she had to die. I left her abode 12gp richer for my troubles.

cot 018

A little further up Stable Street, I came across the titular stable in question and went over to have a peep inside to find a large, grubby, bear-chested blacksmith beating a piece of metal. For 20gp he agreed to make me a fine chainmail suit, being rather flush at the moment, I took him up on his offer and earned myself 2 Skill points! Or I would have if I weren’t already at my initial Skill value of 11… Waste of money! Walking along the street I was rapidly approached by a desperate looking man, disheveled and in chains, he begged me to cut him loose, saying he had been imprisoned for not paying Lord Azzurs taxes as he was robbed, but had just escaped! I tried to release his chains, but couldn’t break them with my sword and before I knew it, we were surrounded by guards. I took pity on the guy and despite their warnings that he was a murderer I bribed them with my unopened Stamina potion, but they would only agree to let me go. Sucks to be you, chained-guy!

‘Public Gardens: Entry Fee 1gp’ read a nearby sign… now gardens sometimes have flowers in them… ‘perhaps this might be where I can find the lotus I need’, thought I. So I stumped up my 1gp and got all botanical. Surrounded by animal topiary in the center of the garden was a large stone plinth which had a stone bowl full of lotus flowers on top! I’m a genius. Despite the ‘Do Not Pick the Flowers’ sign, I snatched one up, which of course caused the animal topiary to come to life and attack me as a giant bunch of leaves. As difficult an opponent as that sounds, at 6/6, I killed those… leaves… without much difficulty and went on my merry way with a lovely lotus flower.

cot 009

At this point, I was on the look out for one last piece of my Zanbar Bone killing kit, the tattoo. And so, on leaving Stable Street and walking onto Mill Street, I happened upon an side alley. Being a man with a few tattoos, this sounded like a good place for a tattoo parlour to be found, and my god, you know I was right? ‘Jimmy Quicktint: The best tattooist in town’ stated the sign hanging outside the shop, a fat, tattooed man answered the door and for a bargain 10gp, gave me my glorious forehead tattoo. This had better be worth it.

cot 015

Not quite believing it, I had managed to accumulate all the items I needed to kill Zanbar Bone! Quite genuinely excited that I might be onto a good ending here, I headed back down Mill Street only to be accosted again about a bloody merchant pass by two of Lord Azzurs guards. Still not having obtained one, I drew my sword and fought them one by one. Sourbelly and Fatnose were their names and bloody tough they were too, being 10/11 and 9/10 respectfully, and they managed to get me down to 7 Stamina before they fell.

cot 024

By now, I’d managed to gain quite a crowd of on-lookers and having just killed what were apparently two well-known guards, I got the hell out of there before more could show up. Despite this, the sound of shouting and footsteps came from behind me as town guards gave chase. To my aid came a young boy who told me to follow him, we ran towards a man on a horse and cart. ‘Uncle! This brave person killed Sourbelly!’ the boy shouted, his uncle urged me to hide under the hay in the cart. Giving it a bit of Ezio, I dived into the hay and stayed there until the guards were long gone. In fact, by the time I left the cart, so was Port Blacksand as I emerged from the hay to find we’d left town and were on the edge of a nearby wood.

cot 022

Following Nicodemus’s map, I made my way into the woods toward the guarded tower of Zanbar Bone. As light faded, I spent the night under an elm tree, my belly full of stewed rabbit and mushrooms, equating to 2 Stamina restored. When morning came, a nearby yew tree provided the wood I needed to make a bow for my silver arrow, but my practice with the bow was interrupted by a dove carrying a note from Nicodemus.

cot 020

Oh, you tit.

I had to make my decision here and now while I was undisturbed, so my basic logic was that black pearls are black and the night is also black and so the NIGHT Prince might be ok with having them rubbed into his eyes? So, lotus flower and hags hair it was. Suddenly, a random encounter appeared and a D6 roll dictated that I must kill a Giant Snake.

Marching north towards the tower, night began to fall and before I could open the doors to Zanbar Bones lair, I was set upon by two of his fabled Moon Dogs, which were damn hard at 9/10 and 11/9, but my immense Skill of 11 saw me through. Oddly, no illustration of these beasts was in the book given that they’re pretty central to the plot and just about everything else has an illustration! Predictably though, the front door to the tower was locked, but those with a keen memory will remember my astute purchase of a Skeleton key back at the very start of my adventure and that bad-boy let me right in, no fuss. The first thing I found in the entrance way were two shields, one featuring a unicorn crest, one with a tower crest. Given my unicorn tattoo, I figured that would be a good choice and so it was too, a shield once owned by ‘goodly knight’ was now mine and earned me +1 Skill, or it would if I wasn’t already at my Skill cap!

Ascending a staircase I found a pleasant looking bedroom and was given the option to have a rest. Sounding like an absurdly bad idea, I declined the option and plowed on up to the second floor. Another door presented itself and behind it was what was clearly a vampire chick, an inevitable eventuality given that I picked up a clove of garlic in part two of this read-through! Recoiling in horror at the tasty ingredient to any meal, the vampire chick lost her chance and I snatched the key and locked the door from the outside.

cot 023

Up to the next floor and another door led me to a pitch black room… unable to light it, I knew better than to try and explore it and again climbed the stairs to the next floor. Here things got interesting, ‘Oh foolish adventurer!’ cried a hidden Zanbar Bone, ‘I am following your every move, but you do not know where I am!’. Indeed I didn’t, Zanbar, but I had three options, a black door, a white door and yet more stairs. I took to the idea of the white door and inside found a very cold room containing a sarcophagus. Zanbar Bone seemingly trying to collect all the big movie monsters under one roof, a mummy came wandering out once I opened the sarcophagus and it was soon staggering around in flames as I had a lantern in my pack I could throw at the creature. Inside the sarcophagus lay the Ring of the Golden Eye, which supposedly allows its wearer to see through illusions and have excellent four-player death matches on Temple with grenade-launchers.

cot 025

Behind the black door lay a black room, full of macabre objects and paintings, a black cat, a black cloth, black candles, it was all really black is what I’m saying. On a table sat a chest, but as I approached it, my brand new Ring of the Golden Eye kicked in and told me it was all an illusion! In-fact, the black cat I walked past was in-fact Zanbar Bone! Before I could notch my bow, he pulled three of his teeth and cast them to the floor, creating three skeletons for me to do battle with and of course, utterly destroy.

cot 026

Zanbar Bone walked towards me, reaching out in an attempt to touch me and kill me with his outstretched hand, I rolled a Luck test and let fly my silver arrow!

cot 021

Boom! A successful hit to the chest paralysed Mr. Bone and so came my chance to rub my hag hair and lotus flower concoction into his eyes… ‘Congratulations – you have killed Zanbar Bone’, read the text and I was instructed to Turn to 400! Oh yes, I’m brilliant at Fighting Fantasy.

A hero’s welcome was awaiting me back in Silverton; battle weary and hungry, a feast was arranged with music and drinking in the streets. Owen Carralif made a speech, which I assume was about me and how I’m great, and then gave me a gold orb worth hundreds of gold pieces. The people of Silverton are joyous once again. Now, how do I get this bloody stupid tattoo off my forehead?

My adventure was over.

ff-logo

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.

cot 012

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.

cot 019

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.

cot 011

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…

cot 016

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.

cot 013

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.

cot 010

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.

cot 014

City of Thieves – Part 1

#5

City of Thieves

The prosperous town of Silverton is being held to ransom by Zanbar Bone and his bloodthirsty Moon Dogs. YOU are an adventurer, and the merchants of Silverton turn to you in their hour of need. Your mission takes you along dark, twisting streets where thieves, vagabonds and creatures of the night lie in wait to trap the unwary traveller. And beyond lies the most fearsome adventure of them all — the tower stronghold of the infamous Zanbar Bone!

So before we kick off, let me present another reminder to support the Turn to 400 Kickstarter. You like these?

You want this?

Then go here! Just imagine that I’m Bob Geldof and I’m angrily swearing at you if that helps.

City of Thieves begins with a bit of a juicier introduction than the previous books, the series taking shape and maturing as it hits it’s 5th volume I guess, the Background section spanning just shy of five and a half pages. What we learn is that your character is a renowned sword for hire, you’re a bit of a celebrity, a dragon-slayer no-less. After a long day of travelling I find myself in the trading town of Silverton, the local inn, ‘The Old Toad’, is my destination and its punters seem edgy. It isn’t long though before a banging at the heavily bolted inn door precedes the entrance of Silverton mayor, Owen Carralif, who wants to talk to me! The town was in the midst of terror. Spirit Stalkers, soulless skeletal creatures, had visited the settlement ten days prior and had demanded that the mayors daughter accompany them to reside with their master, the evil night prince, Zanbar Bone. The mayor had refused and ever since, the town is visited by Moon Dogs every night who break into houses and kill their inhabitants, so far leaving twenty-three dead. It is the mayors desire that I tackle this Zanbar Bone on his behalf as the town is on the verge of mutiny. He provides me with 30gp, an exquisite broadsword and the knowledge that the wizard Nicodemus, who can be found in Port Blacksand, may be able to help. Come dawn, I rolled up an 11/22/9 character and left for the port…

Making me feel welcome to Port Blacksand was an endless supply of black flags, heads on spikes, men hanging in cages and ultimately this nice chap. A sign of things to come as Port Blacksand was a rough place to say the least; it had been given the nickname ‘City of Thieves’ for a reason. He demanded to know my intentions in Port Blacksand, bewildered why I would come here uninvited. Not wanting to start off getting my arse kicked, I told him I wanted to see Nicodemus. A reasonable request I thought. He summoned two guards to come and escort me, but what he only announced at the last minute was that they were escorting me to jail! Unsure exactly why they were doing this, I elected to fight back and a successful Skill test later, I’d smashed their heads together, left the pair unconscious and had dashed off into the city.

Three streets with equally quaint little names were before me; Key Street, Market Street and Clock Street. Now, this isn’t a part of City of Thieves, but the Fighting Fantasy Wiki provides us with a Port Blacksand map, which I think is from one of the supplementary rule books I discussed in the prelude to this read-through. So here’s a scan for you to follow along with, dear reader.

Anyway, based simply on the logic that keys are something you often need in Fighting Fantasy books, I opted for the westerly Key Street. Sure enough, a shop sign stating ‘J.B. Wraggins – Locksmith’ was seen hanging above a shop door. I wandered into a  small shop decorated by many hanging keys which surrounded a dwarf sitting at a pedal-powered key cutting device. For a mere 10gp he agreed to cut a Skeleton Key for me. Job done. Nice one, Wraggins!

Key street took a right turn to the North after I left the locksmiths, the street lined by houses and a small boy dressed in rags came running out, passed me a piece of paper and then ran back inside. ‘Arrows from six bows are pointed at you’ it read, I was to leave 10gp in the street and keep walking or I would be in trouble. Not wanting to give up any money, I kept on walking. For my boldness I was to take 1D6 of arrow hits at a cost of 3 Stamina each; fortunatley I only sustained one hit abut even still I was told to also lose 2 Luck points. Bit harsh, I’d consider that outcome very lucky! Another child came running out of another building as the arrows died down and beckoned me to follow her in. An old man rose from a rocking chair and the little girl encouraged me to lie down on a sheepskin rug, the man began to remove the arrows and treat my wounds. ‘Such a nice man’, I thought, until he requested my broadsword as payment. Now this was a really nice broadsword, I mean like a really nice broadsword. In a passage that for some reason enthralled childhood-me, the Background section describes it thus –

‘…touching the edge of the blade, you are surprised to see a droplet of blood fall from your finger. You then examine the marvelously ornate gilded serpents twining around the hilt. You have never wanted anything so badly in your life before.’

I felt like jamming the arrow back into me and walking out. It was just one arrow! But no, my character can stand up to three heavily armed guards, but not an old man, so I handed over my sword, losing 1 Skill point and went on my not-so-merry way.

A little further down the street, I saw a ‘Welcome’ sign hanging above a doorway. Needless to say, I had a look at what I was being welcomed to. A painted red room greeted me, two glass bowls sat there, one containing a silver scorpion, one containing a gold scorpion. I warily took out the silver one and was told it was a regenerative brooch and would restore 1 Stamina after every battle! I decided to push my luck and tried the gold one as well… which turned out to be a lucky brooch, restoring 2 Luck! A flight of stairs took me to the upper level of the building and only as I turned the pages did I think, ‘I’m brazenly wearing two brooches I just stole from this very house and I’m going further inside?’. Of course, those brooches weren’t intended to be freebies, they were on sale, and the salesman was upstairs. He wasn’t a man though, he was a fire-breathing Lizardine, but he was no match for me despite his extra attack where he would do 1 Stamina damage for a D6 roll of 1-3 at the end of every turn. He left behind 4gp and a copper brooch, which I decided not to risk taking given the luck I’d had with the other two.

On leaving the building, I was jumped by two guards demanding to see my merchant pass. Not owning a pass, I found myself in another fight, but at 7/4 and 6/6, these guys were about as difficult to circumnavigate as the last guards and I killed them without taking a single hit. I took 7gp, their keys and their stale bread as trophies. Continuing down Key Street, I took another right turn to head in an easterly direction and couldn’t help but notice a nice pair of boots sitting on top of a pile of rubbish. Investigating further I spied that they were my size and on trying them out discovered that they were magic elven boots! 1 Skill point restored, I clicked my heels and headed onward.

The three original streets converged here and led on towards a market square where a rabble of people had collected to humiliate some poor guy in stocks. Unsure why he was there I did the only thing I could and hurled an egg in his general direction, much like I did at a festival one year, only the guy in stocks was Fallout Boy – I digress. Among the crowd I somehow managed to get pick=pocketed, but lost only a single gold piece.

A variety of food sellers, musicians and other bustling attractions filled the square, but one guy did catch my eye. A huge strong-man was trying to play ‘catch the cannon ball’ with willing volunteers for a bet of 5gp. Like any real man, I stepped up. The rules were simple, throw a D6 for each competitor in turn, the first to roll a 1 loses. I could barely stop laughing when I went first and rolled a six, he followed by rolling a 1. The tit. Just look at him.

Another event did get my attention though, a fortune teller. Despite clearly holding something back, she told me of my journey and I learned the Nicodemus lived below a bridge to the North. And that is where we leave part one, my arrival at this bridge over the Catfish River…

Vagabonds and creatures of the night lie in wait

Before we get going, Turn to 400 still very much needs your support, so please give up a little money to help make it happen. There are stories there waiting to be told that if you’re reading this blog, you’re surely interested in as much as I am, it would be a terrible shame if they never got told. So go on, back it!

But now, onto City of Thieves! Those who have been around here since the beginning will know that I managed to score an original copy of the book in great condition from Oxfam Books for 99p. So if you ignore Blood of the Zombies, this is my first non-eBay find to be covered. I am pretty excited to read this book as it sticks in my mind as one I enjoyed immensely, particularly the setting of Port Blacksand, the other hive of scum and villainy, being a wonderfully rich place to explore.

Port Blacksand brings up other memories as it lent its name to one of the Advanced rule books, Blacksand! That, combined with Dungeoneer, Titan and Out of the Pit  led me to create a campaign to play with a friend of mine when we were about 12. I’m fairly sure it ended up being an utter farce, but I remember having a great deal of fun all the same. I’m fairly sure some very cruel things were done to a large number of Jib-jibs.

Amazingly, this has just now reminded me that I did also  attempt to write my own game book when I was a kid! I believe this and the maps and notes from my campaign may still exist back home in Yorkshire… I shall investigate this Christmas!

I don’t own the Advanced rule books at the moment and my attempt to find a picture of them all together led me here.

Going back to City of Thieves then, one of the first things that struck me when I opened up this book for the first time was the illustrations. Unlike our last adventure, I will be scanning artwork from this book with great pleasure as some of the work in here is absolutely gorgeous. Finely detailed pictures, full of life and character that go a hell of a long way to help flesh out the dirty, filthy feel of Port Blacksand. Iain McCaig is the illustrator for this book, brought back after his iconic Shapechanger on the Forest of Doom cover. Looking into his work though, he has arguably fried some much bigger fish than Fighting Fantasy, he has a blog, with a personal website on the way.

Here’s a small taster; all those tiny filler images through the books that buffer the text? For the first time I’ve felt compelled to scan one as the detail and character of the scene are so vivid for such a small, throw-away piece.

I’ll be back soon with Part One, please keep an eye on Twitter as always to be kept up to date!