Down in the dark twisting labyrinth of Fang, unknown horrors await you! Countless adventurers before you have taken up the challenge of the Trial of Champions, but not one has survived. Devised by the devilish mind of Baron Sukumvit, the labyrinth is riddled with fiendish traps and hideous creatures of darkness to trick and test you almost beyond the limits of endurance!
Deathtrap Dungeon paints a picture in its introduction of a hysterically popular event created by Baron Sukumvit to promote his town, Fang. You can find Fang in the northern province of Chiang Mai, on the banks of the River Kok. Yes, Kok. With the help of the townspeople, Sukumvit created a vast labyrinth which to this date, has never been conquered by anyone who has attempted ‘the walk’, which is what those in the know call a trip into the dungeons depths. Our hero of the story, me, has decided that the challenge of a dungeon which has claimed the lives of all who have entered is too much to resist. The allure of a 10,000gp prize can’t be sniffed at either. Heading via Port Blacksand (‘that city of thieves’), we arrive in Fang to indulge in 3 days of celebration, being hailed as a superstar by the townsfolk, despite not having done anything of note yet, other than wearing a purple armband which denotes my status as a competitor. Hard to understand why they’re so excited though, it’s kind of like watching everyone go into the Big Brother house and then not being able to watch what happens inside.
Finally, the day to begin the walk arrives and we draw lots with the other five entrants, a ninja, an elf lady with some knives, some guy out of Dark Souls and a couple of bare-chested barbarians, to see what order we would enter the Big Brother House. Picking 5th, I waited for my turn.
My first impressions of the dungeon were good ones, we were off to a pretty start through a gloomy cavern lit by natural luminescence of large crystals hanging from the ceiling. Insects scurrying around the dripping pools on the floor perhaps hinting at the nastier things waiting below. After five minutes of walking through relative tranquility, a large stone table emerged from the dark. On top were six boxes, one for each of this years entrants to the dungeon. I found the one with my name on and popped it open. Two gold pieces welcomed me, along with a note from Mr. Sukumvit himself, he congratulated me on having the nouse to open up the box and warned me that I would need to collect several items to escape the dungeon alive. Relax, Baron-baby, I’ve played these things before…
The first real choice then faced me in the form of a east-west junction, one with a white arrow pointing west that was clearly the favoured choice of the four entrants before me as 3/4 sets of wet footprints took that direction. I decided that west was the better option as three people going before me was more likely to result in them getting killed by traps and monsters, softening things up for me. Logic you can’t deny in reality at least anyway.
Ignoring a northerly turn, taken by one of the wet footprint trails, I continued west through the darkness until I came across a large iron bell. ‘Lets ring this thing’, thought I, only good things can come of it surely? Well, apparently not because ringing the thing created such a cataclysmic din that I lost 2 Skill and 2 Stamina through the sheer pain of it all until I could dull the sound with my boot. Well, I still have my 2gp, right? Or do you want those as well, Livingstone? Pff.
A little further along the passage and I’d taken a northerly turn sending me right into the middle of two hobgoblins, seemingly locked in combat over the possession of a small brown bag on the floor. Before they could react, I’d killed one through my swift decision to engage them, the other was slain in combat, although I did take a few hits in the process. Inside the bag was a vial of liquid, which through the highly scientific method of dunking a bit of cloth into it, I deduced to be acid. Hopefully something needs dissolving later on… have half a mind to use it on that bloody bell.
A strange obstruction was around the next corner, a series of twelve poles, half a metre off the ground, spaced a metre apart. Clearly something weird was going to kill me here, so I decided to walk stay well away from all of them. Success in a Skill test seemed to have done the trick as I managed to step between all twelve poles without misplacing my footing and suffered no penalty. I had still been following two sets of footprints, but now as the corridor meandered on they began to fade from view, but my chosen oath had eventually brought me out in a large chamber, inhabited by a giant stone idol.
Eyes made of jewels, he sat there, flanked by two giant stuffed birds, just begging for me to scale his giant belly and take those eyes from him. And so I set off, up over his beautifully smooth gut, passing a Luck test in the absence of a rope in my inventory and triumphantly making my way up to his nose. Given the choice of taking the left or right eye, I used my skill an judgement to note that Mr. McCaig had chosen to draw the left eye glinting. So, I took the hint and went for that one, earning myself a nice big emerald. Unfortunately, but predictably, this removal triggered the two stuffed birds to come to life and attack! Losing 3 Skill due to my precarious position on the fat lads face, I very nearly got myself killed, going all the way down to 4 Stamina before the second bird fell. A few provisions methinks.
Down the following corridor a door to the left took me into what turned out to be a completely empty room, the door slamming shut behind me. An unseen voice spoke to me, asking me to pay my respects to Baron Sukumvit. Wanting to show my bravado in the face of potential doom, and partly because I remembered this bit from last time I read the book, I denounced Sukumvit as a worm. My insubordination was rewarded as a glittering gold ring appeared before me. No idea what it does, but I took it along for the ride. Continuing on my northerly path, the corridor was soon lit by a strange shaft of light bearing many laughing faces.
Walking through the light, the happy faces were replaced with the sad face of a small girl who read me a few lines of a poem. I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice to say that I need to go swimming at some point if I want to survive this thing. Further down the northerly stretch of corridor was a heavy stone door, behind it was another dark room, filled with a faint humming sound. Algae and moisture covered the walls of the room and in the middle appeared to be a small pit, within this was a sickening, writhing mass of giant worms undulating around a bejeweled dagger. Mine! I fished around in the pile of worms and eventually managed to free the blade, tucked it into my belt and went to leave the room. The humming sound I had heard then made its presence fully known as a giant fly came buzzing into my life in an attempt to see what I had just been stealing from her babies. A Luck roll helped me avoid her shiny black proboscis and then I hacked her to bits with my sword. Sorry, love.
Taking an easterly turn at the next junction and leaping over a pit I’m pretty sure I fell into in the iOS version of the book, I was soon heading north again as the passageway took a left turn and revealed a side-door which I just had to investigate. Inside was a large, candle-lit room full of stone statues and from behind one leaped a white haired old man, giggling like a loon. He claimed that I would be another stone for his garden. As one of the statues seemed to be the Dark Souls guy from the start, I quickly figured out what was going on. He did offer me a chance to escape though by solving his riddle, so I heard him out. Motioning towards the Dark Souls guy, he said ‘This man weighs 100 pounds, plus half his weight. How much does he weigh?’. Unsure how mathematically accurate this question was, I plumped for the 200 pound answer. Seemingly impressed for someone who had just missed out on creating another of his clearly beloved statues he wished me well and cast a spell increasing all my stats by one.
Following a bit of a pattern here, the corridors continues north before again presenting me with a door to open up, this one marked with a large X. Through the door sat a skeletal warrior clad in extensive armour and holding a parchment in his hands. You can see where this is going, can’t you? So yes, I took the parchment and the thing comes to life and then goes back to death as I battered it to the floor with my sword like a good little adventurer. In your face, Harry Hausen! Somewhat disappointingly, all the parchment could give me was a clue in the form of another poem. Apparently I’ll meet a manticore at some point and I have to watch out for his spikes. Good-o.
An alcove at the end of the room led down deeper into the dungeon and that is where we’ll be heading next time…