Island of the Lizard King – Conclusions

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.

lk 026

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.

lk 022

 

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.

lk_map

 

Island of the Lizard King – Part 3

Oh god, if I keep to my customary three-part write-ups, this might be a long one. I think at some point during this book, Ian Livingstone hit a giant red button marked ‘ILLUSTRATE EVERYTHING’ as I’ve scanned over 15 images for this part of the read-through, just about every encounter had a picture towards the end, which is cool enough, just means more work for me! It was quite an eventful concluding run too, so let us re-join our hero, me, on Fire Island after we had just discovered the lizard man camp along the river.

Declining the chance to sneak past the lizard men before me, I figured that they might have some keys or something of use to me, a successful Luck test later and I’d slain one after emerging from my hidden position and killed the second (9/8) in combat. And would you believe it, a set of iron keys. I’m a genius. Heading down a path away from the huts I found the entrance to the mine and descended out of the tropical sunshine into cramped, torch-lit passages. A left-right junction sent me left towards a long ladder that went even further into the gloom. At the foot of the ladder I found myself in another passage where I could hear the faint sound of singing in the distance, but also the sound of footsteps, which I attempted to conceal myself from. A lizard man was walking the corridor with a bucket of water, I having unfortunately drunk the potion of clumsiness earlier, I dropped my sword, but a good Luck roll meant he didn’t hear it and so I was able to stealthily take him out from behind.

lk 019

 

Cavernous dark greeted me at the end of the passage, save for the lights of the team of dwarves being whipped into shape by a supervising lizard man, I engaged him in combat, but after two round the spirit of revolution stirred in the dwarves as they took up their tools and battered their oppressor to death. Saved me a job anyway. Telling the dwarves of my quest, they agreed to lead me to where other prisoners were working and took me further into the mine. My Luck held up as I passed some lizard men, draped in a cloak, leading the dwarves as though they were my prisoners. Sure enough, they led me to an area being worked by a group of men and elves, guarded by two orcs. The orcs were soon beaten to death by the dwarves; I could get used to this. My new best friends told me of the main prison fort, being used as a base of operations for the lizard king, and so that was the destination for me and the 63 men I had freed. We took to the lizard mens huts and smashed them to pieces, killing anyone inside. Whilst a dwarf did a jig for the easily entertained onlookers, an elf told me of why my quest was going to be harder than I envisaged. The lizard king had been on an unnatural quest for power and immortality and so had allowed a powerful parasite, a Gonchong, to fix itself to his brain. A shaman hidden on the island knew how to deal with it however and I was advised to seek him out. My new army would make their way to the fort while I went to find him alone.

Setting sail again on the raft I’d ‘borrowed’, mosquito bites were initially the only issue, but they were soon replaced by a swelling Water elemental which I somehow managed to catch within my pouch of unlimited contents! Plus 2 Luck points! Unfortunately though, I couldn’t take him with me to do my bidding and instead decided to bury the pouch and leave the poor guy underground in a bag. My raft was starting to break-up now though after the struggled and I was left to progress on foot.

lk 011
Night was settling in and I had no provisions left, so a few bananas picked later and an additional 2 Stamina, I took a peaceful nights rest. A refreshing drink of rain water and I was off again the next morning, but it wasn’t long before I realised the shaman knew I was looking for him, a message was left on a rock telling me that if I came in peace to the shaman I should tie a feather in my hair. Okie-dokie, so a bird has to die, pronto. It seemed I was heading towards the volcano at this point, but my journey was interrupted by an aggressive, warty, drooling hill troll (9/9)… why does everything have 9 or more Skill on this damn island?? Still, I took a few hits, but he went down eventually. Good artwork for this one, I thought.

lk 027

 

What have we here? After my battle, a conveniently placed dead seagull lay on the ground. One feather was plucked and tied to my hair, that’s that sorted then! And what’s this? A cave entrance painted in bright colours with a skull on top? That sounds shaman-ey! Laaaarvley! I climbed to the entrance.

lk 024

 

Well, she didn’t look like a shaman. And she threw a spear at me. I guessed this wasn’t the shaman, so I killed her, which was a nice change of gear as she was fairly easy at 5/5. Her cave was largely empty though, save for rotten food and fur bedding. There was however a bowl of red powder which I decided to daub across my face. Apparently it was left by a wizard who had been imprisoned by the lizard king and it would make me immune to mind control, useful given that the lizard king can supposedly control his men telepathically with the power of the Gonchong, I was awarded 2 Luck points.

Eventually, I reached the base of the volcano, I trailed along the lower reaches until I came across a steaming hot, gaseous mud pool. Laid within were two bizarre looking eggs which I of course decided to poke at, and of course, something lethal came flying our and buried its teeth in my neck. A Razorjaw, which thankfully wasn’t as tough as the picture had me believe at 6/5 and it was dispatched without landing a blow on me. I crushed the second egg under my boot and continued up the side of the volcano.

lk 025

On a level piece of ground a stone circle surrounded a collection of fairly random items, thinking this was perhaps a selection of offerings for the shaman, I added the coil of rope I found way back in part one. A line of the rocks lit up red and indicated I go further up the volcano, which I did, only to be confronted by what must be the shaman who jumped out from behind a rock. And according to the picture, he lacks a neck.

lk 018

 

Seeing my feather, he spoke to me and I told him of the Gonchong and my desire to kill it and the lizard king. Clearly alarmed at the presence of a Gonchong, he agreed to help, but only if I could pass three of his tests; Luck, Strength, Dexterity, Fear, Revulsion and Pain. I picked up a big rock for the Strength test, hit an orange with a dagger for the Dexterity test and resisted some pain for the err.. Pain test, all fairly simple Skill-roll style stuff. I was given three pieces of information to defeat the lizard king…. 1. The Gonchong connects to his brain by its proboscis and this must be severed after the host is killed to prevent it switching hosts, 2. The host of a Gonchong can only be hurt by fire swords and the lizard king disguises these, his choice of weapon, under and illusion of rusty knives and 3. the lizard king is terrified of monkeys. Yes. Monkeys. I didn’t see that one coming either.

We bid our goodbyes and I headed back down the volcano to meet up with my awaiting army, however a ravine crossing blocked my way alongside a hobgoblin, but he was bribed into leaving me alone with the gold nugget I discovered in the snuff box. Quite a nice illustration too.

lk 020

 

Then it all went wrong. You see, I had only 10 Stamina left and then bloody Livingstone decides that combat with lizard men wasn’t tough enough and mounts them on bloody dinosaurs. I should have brought my army.

lk 021

 

Yep, that’s apparently a Styracosaurus and nowhere on Wikipedia does it say there is any archaeological evidence that they had a Skill of 11. The thing beat me down hard, I didn’t hit it once. It’s here that my adventure should have ended, but I’m not doing this entirely by the book, so if anyone asks, we killed the Styracosaurs, right? I put an extra 20p into the gamebook and hit continue for a full Stamina bar.

And then the 9/9 Mutant lizard man rider attacked me… it never ends! He was more on my level though and wasn’t such an issue to kill. I took his shield for +1 Skill, but as I can’t go above my initial Skill, I was still stuck at 9 – hate that rule!

Forcing my way through poison thorns for -3 Stamina, I found the next piece of the puzzle I’d forgotten I was even looking for. A monkey. And being a primate keeper at a zoo, I’m gonna say that’s a Golden lion tamarin, but don’t hold me to that. Anyway, I released the little guy from his dead master and he hopped up on my shoulder, just in time for end-game!

lk 014

 

Things got sexy then as Raquel Welch appeared behind me with a sabre-tooth tiger companion. Not wanting to have to fight something else that was gonna rip my throat out, I tried to communicate that I was friendly and that I definitely hadn’t killed one of her mates a little while ago. This seemed to do the trick though, she couldn’t understand me, but was happy for me to back away and leave her and kitty alone.

lk 013

 

As I approached the prison fort, it was clear that the part had already gotten started as my army of prison captives was in full combat with the lizard kings minions, I helped by cutting down a 6/5 hobgoblin. And does this count as an angry orc swinging something? Maybe this is more ‘brandishing something’.

lk 015

 

The battle wasn’t going well though and a number of my ex-con compardres had fallen, leaving me to pick up their spirits. Lacking the Horn of Valhalla which the text tempted me with, I had to kill one of the lizard kings big guys… a bloody big cyclops was nearly as bad as the dinosaur (10/10), but I was much healthier this time and used up a bit of Luck to bring him down quick. And I know it’s perspective, but I do like to think the lizard man to the left is a tiny little one…

lk 017

Spurred on by my bravado, the freed prisoners fought on again, pushing back the lizard kings men to the forts courtyard. I followed in and took the opportunity to enter the fort via a set of double doors. I had entered a prison area and before me sat a quiet old man who gave no reaction to me. I should have smelled a rat, but  I thought ‘why not?’ and let him free…

lk 016

 

But of course, not even freeing an old man can result in anything but combat with a very strong enemy in Island of the Lizard King, so he promptly revealed his true self, morphing into a Shapeshifter (10/10), one of the spiky green fellows we met back in Forest of Doom. I brought him down, but I was running low on Stamina and Luck by this point… I should never have given that dude in the tree all my provisions!

The iron keys I found earlier now proved their quality though as they opened up the nearby wooden door, taking me into the torture chamber. And what’s this? Rusty knives? Don’t you mean FIRE SWORDS!?! Haha, thankyou shaman, and screw you lizard king! An additional 2 Luck and 2 Skill were mine, except for, as discussed, the Skill points. I’m not bitter. Another door led me to a storeroom, I decided to drink from a bottle and was delighted to find it was water from an enchanted stream, restoring 2 precious Stamina points and a additional Skill point. Yeah, thanks for that.

Continuing my exploration through the fort, I found myself in the lizard kings laboratory, where he presumably creates all his awful evil things. Before I could search properly though, I was interrupted by a two-headed lizard man kicking a dwarf through the door. Not something you see every day. After killing him I set free the dwarf using the lockpick I traded all my food for. I got 1 Luck point. Woo. I’d have rather left him locked up and kept my dinner.

lk 012

 

Despite my resentment, I sent him off to join the raging battle outside and continued exploring the fort from the inside. A connecting corridor took me to a spiral staircase which I felt compelled to climb to a doorway. Opening the door slowly revealed that I was up on the battlements and was standing right behind the lizard king who was commanding his troops below from the high vantage point. He wouldn’t even look at me however, clicking his fingers to command his black lion to attack. I have to say though the illustration was a little disappointing compared to Ian McCaigs cover art; the lizard king looks unfinished and somewhat effeminate,  the lion is in the wrong aspect ratio.

lk 023

 

At 11/11 though, this was even worse an opponent than the Styracosaurs, but a series of stupidly lucky Attack and Luck rolls meant I scraped through by the skin of my teeth. The lizard king was just as surprised as me at my success and turned to face me, only to be utterly terrified by the sight of my monkey, who had somehow willingly sat on my shoulder through a number of harrowing conflicts. His cowering lowered his Skill to a pathetic 6 and so I was able to slice him up real nice with my glorious fire sword without taking damage. As soon as he fell I severed the proboscis of the Gonchong before it could leap to me. I tore the Gonchong off the lizard kings head and threw it to the courtyard below, my men cheering and the lizard kings men fleeing. I had freed the slaves and killed the lizard king.

Mungo would have been proud.

Or so the text says, they don’t know a dinosaur killed me, so shhhh.

My adventure was over.

Island of the Lizard King – Part 2

So, we’re following a marsh hopper, a creature that I have already been warned will likely lure me into the lair of some horrific carnivorous creature. The marshland becomes thicker and I start to sink into the ground, the marsh hoppers agility sending it bounding ahead. Knee-deep in slime, I’m soon confronted by the inevitable conclusion to this hot pursuit. The water erupted around me and a giant hydra reared its ugly heads.

lk 007

In the absence of a spear, I was forced to fight off both of it’s heads, which wasn’t easy with them both being a 9/9 opponent. No sooner had I sent the thing crashing down into the mire, a second slithery entity appeared out of the depths to try and eat me, a giant water snake was my next victim as I sought to slay all the islands wildlife. My only reward from these conflicts seemed to be the permission to advance further, the marsh hopper had long gone, the little shit. On the bright side though, the ground began to firm up and the jungle thinned, flowers and lush grass replaced the vines and mossy trees as I approached a gorge running between two hills. Chosing to keep a good vantage point, I climbed the side of the hill rather than walking the gorge below.

One shiny new Luck point was heading my way as a landslide suddenly kicked in on the opposite slope and sent boulders crashing down into the section below me. I thought I’d now have a look down in the bottom of the gorge and edged my way down the side of the hill, on my way I saw the words ‘Turn back or die’ etched onto some rocks, but not knowing which way ‘turning back’ would actually be, the sign was fairly useless to me! Evidence of a struggle suggested that the words might have meaning afterall as an absent parties footprints in the sand met the footprints of someone else and soon ended, seemingly being dragged away. Following the furrows left by the dragged body, I spied a shiny snuff-box in the sand. Popping it open revealed a gold nugget and a note which read ‘If you read this, it will mean I have failed in my attempt to escape from the mines of the Lizard King’, it continued to reveal the location of the writers hidden raft and route along a river that would take me to the lizard mens huts by the mine. A route to the kidnapped villagers perhaps?

As the ground became rockier, the footprints gradually faded and a distant rumbling reminded me of the islands brewing volcano… but before my mind could become too distracted, a giant lizard brought me back to the gorge as at 8/9, like most things seem to be on Fire Island, it was a tough opponent.

lk 009

Respite seemed to present itself though as the gorge widened out to grassy plains and a watering hole became visible, presumably safe too as a number of birds were drinking from it. Naturally, a refreshing drink was in order, but as I leaned in to take a swig of delicious water, a streak of liquid shot from the wide, green mouth that had just emerged from the surface of the water. A successful Skill test sent me ducking below it and entering into a fight to the death with a Spit Toad!

lk 005

After slaying the loathsome thing I did actually turn to the wrong page and found myself locked in combat with the Lizard King! A moment of confusion at my sudden advancement of the plot later and I was back at the pond, determined to have that drink. An extra Stamina point was mine, but more interestingly, through the water I spied a wooden box. Dragging it out of the pond I opened it up to find some boots, a pouch, a ring and a phial of liquid. So here we go then, which ones are going to screw me over? I elected for the pouch first and discovered it to be a pouch of unlimited contents, +1 Luck headed my way as well. The boots turned out to be just that, boots, no special running abilities or invisibility, just boots. The Phial of liquid I downed in one, of course it was a potion of clumsiness and now with every combat I enter I have to roll 1D6 on the first round and if I roll a 1, I drop my sword and instantly lose the first round. Not TOO bad I suppose. I wasn’t going to push my luck with the ring so I pressed on over the plains.

I was again punished for not having a spear as a succulent looking pig ran out in front of me and I had no means to go all John Locke on its ass. I’ll bet the spear was in that village I circumnavigated… oh well. Continuing west across the plains, I found a river and was reminded of the presence of a hidden raft as detailed in the snuffbox note. Before long I was sailing up the river like a boss. Nature tried to spoil the party though by sending a crocodile after me, breaching the water and almost knocking me from my beloved vessel, the thing thrashed and snatched its jaws at me. But anyone who has seen a cartoon knows their way out of this situation, the iron bar I took from the pirates at the start was just the perfect length to wedge the crocodiles mouth open and so I plunged that bad boy in there and left the crocodile to presumably starve  to death. You did not die in vain, Mungo, you helped a sentient creature lose its life in a horrible, drawn-out fashion.

As I continued down the river my attention was soon drawn to a commotion on the bank where a desperate looking man in tattered clothes emerged from the trees along the bank, begging me to stop . I couldn’t really see how stopping to pick him up was going to result in anything other than unnecessary conflict with whoever was chasing him, so I ignored him like a man with a clipboard on a high-street and sailed on by.

lk 010

Further downstream, huts started to spring up on the left bank and so I quickly made a move for the bank and hid in the undergrowth for a better look. It appeared I had discovered the mud huts belonging to the lizard men, and indeed some of the evil things were wandering around the camp.

lk 003

The gold mines and their slaves can’t be far away now… and that means neither can the Lizard King. Ulp.

Island of the Lizard King – Part 1

lk_cover

#7

Island of the Lizard King

Kidnapped by a vicious race of Lizard Men from Fire Island, the young men of Oyster Bay face a grim future of slavery, starvation and a lingering death. Their new master is the mad and dangerous Lizard King, who holds sway over his land of mutants by the eerie powers of black magic and voodoo.

Travelling south from Fang, we begin our story looking for a little rest after recent adventures, adventures that may or may not have taken place in a dungeon full of traps… of death. Amiright? Eh?? Anyway, Oyster bay is our chosen holiday destination, partly because it’s a quiet, lovely fishing village, partly because our brilliantly named friend, Mungo, lives there. I know I’d hang out with someone called Mungo, for sure. Alas, on arrival at Oyster Bay, things are clearly not right. Women and children and crying and when we find our friend, Mungo looks pissed. It transpires that the men of the village have been being kidnapped by lizard men and taken to nearby Fire Island by boat, Mungo supposes that they are enslaved within the islands gold mines. Fire Island was once a prison colony, managed by Prince Olaf who paid an army of lizard men to control the inmates. Unfortunately, the prisons filled and overflowed, Prince Olaf lost interest in the project and stopped paying the lizard men. One lizard man announced himself as king and he lauded over the island and it’s lizardy inhabitants, forcing the former prisoners to mine the land for gold.  The lizard king also went a bit Jimmy Page and experimented with the occult to reinforce his power, his myriad potions and black magic spilling out into the island, creating all manner of mutants and terrible creatures. And of course, the person to stop all this? Mungo. Yes, the fool is going to sail off on his own to rescue the kidnapped villagers, so we’d better go with him and make sure he doesn’t balls it up I guess.

lk 002

As we sail over on his boat, Mungo tells us old stories and we learn that his father entered Deathtrap Dungeon and was never seen again. It’s a small world. Our cheerful chatter was however broken by the sight of land, a sight dominated by a huge smoking volcano. Floating into a coastal inlet, we took a right, climbing rocks to a beach cover on the side of the inlet. The sight of six pirates dragging a treasure chest met us as we climbed the rocks, they of course had to die, that chest is mine! Slicing two down before they could react, Mungo and I took on two each. Having rolled up a 9/21/11 character, I might need to make use of that fairly high Stamina score, and that would start now as the 8/6 and 7/7 pirates managed to land a few blows before they went down. Mungo wasn’t so adept however as the final pirate thrust his sword through Mungos chest, leaving him dieing in the sand. Nice one, Mungo. You useless little man.  To be fair though, he had been bested by the 10/6 pirate captain who took my Stamina down even further; a tough start. My friend managed to ask for one thing before he died, ‘Make sure you get the Lizard King for me, won’t you?’. Well, surely the contents of this clearly valuable chest would assist me in this? Probably not, as Mungo had died so we could take a chest full of iron bars off the pirates. Brilliant. I took one anyway.

Up the side of the coastal cliff, a goat-track led up towards the jungle, with the smoking volcano to the west, I took the opportunity to rest behind some rocks and sleep for the night. On exploring the surroundings the next day, the jungle surrounding me was thick and humid and so I started hacking my through the dense greenery in an attempt to make my way to the other side of the trees and find our guys. Predictably though, I wasn’t alone. Three headhunters had been tracking me as I thrashed my way through their homeland, soon enough, the stood out in front of me and  took me on. The three of them weren’t that strong though and I took minimal damage and was able to regain 1 Stamina by eating some of the food they carried with them. Wondering how close I might be to their village, I climbed a nearby tree and did indeed see smoke rising from the south-west, the volcano sat to the north. I took a north-westerly path from here in the hope of avoiding the village, I’d had enough combat for now. On my way though, I stumbled across a long decomposed dead body with rope and a hand-axe laid nearby, so I took them along with me.

Further into the forest, hanging from a tree was a small platform with a vine suspended from it. I started to climb it, but an angry voice told me to go away, I persisted with my climbing and was pelted with coconuts, costing me 1 Stamina. Brandishing a bamboo pole and wearing nothing but canvas shorts was a nervous looking man at the far side of the platform. Figuring he may be of use, I tried to befriend him with some of my provisions. This did indeed soften him up considerably and he began to tell me how he had escaped from the lizard kings mines and had made this little tree-house his home. Handing over more food earned me a map, and reluctantly handing over a third portion of my provisions, I was given the lock-pick my now satiated friend had used to escape from the mines.

lk 006

More than five minutes had passed since something had attacked me, so a nearby giant dragonfly restored order by buzzing around me for a few seconds before being chopped to bits, its body hitting the floor near some interesting looking fungus. Because I’m an idiot, I decided to take the opportunity to eat some, as I broke off a piece, the top of the fungus opened up I was sprayed with a cloud of spores, irritating my skin and making me come out in lumps. Applying all my knowledge of dealing with stinging nettles, I grabbed some nearby plants and rubbed them over my sores to instant relief. Eating it didn’t seem like a good choice anymore, so I moved on.

Having circumnavigated the headhunter village, I headed west again and soon found a large clearing, a glowing crystal sitting in the middle. It was warm to the touch and restored a much needed 3 Stamina points. As I continued to hack my way through the undergrowth I was again reminded that I wasn’t alone.

lk 004

Before the pygmies could wipe me out with their poison darts, I attempted to communicate and offered them the hand-axe I’d found earlier. This seemed to please them as they began to chant, treating it as some sort of religious artifact. Idiots. Pushing my luck slightly, I motioned that I wanted something in return. They seemed amused by this and gave me some nuts and berries, restoring 2 Stamina points to me. Thankfully, that was the end of them as they scurried off into the jungle with their brand new axe.

Pressing further west, the trees began to thin and the ground became a thick mire which I soon found myself wading through. The jungle was turning to marshland that stretched out ahead of me, but before I could move on any further, a small reptilian creature suddenly darted out in front of me and I called to him. He was a marsh hopper, the text informed me that marsh hoppers were known for leading their victims off into the lairs of much larger carnivorous creatures in exchange for a little bit of the remains for themselves…

lk 008

So of course, the logical course of action was to follow him…

ff-logo

The young men of Oyster Bay face a grim future of slavery, starvation and a lingering death

Well there’s an intro for you. Those young men! Oh my! I do hope the voice in your head is Big Gay Al at the moment.

And I’m now trying to re-write this post after auto-save kindly saved only the first sentence I had written before last nights power cut.

Ok, that’s enough of that, Island of the Lizard King then, honestly not one that I remember with particularly great enthusiasm, not to say it was a bad book, I just don’t really remember anything particularly awesome about it. However, I can remember getting hold of the book for the first time. I think I must have been about 9 years old and was on a family holiday to Brighton on the south coast of England. My chosen book for the trip was Battleblade Warrior, but I polished that one off pretty quickly and needed something else to occupy me for the trip. So, off we went to WH Smiths so I could pick out a brand new Fighting Fantasy book, stupidly exciting times when you have yet to get one of those job things. I can even remember the kind of shelf it was on. See, I’ve forgotten all the maths and chemistry I learned, but I can remember a shelf I once saw. Thank you, brain.

My current copy of Island of the Lizard King has however come from eBay, my charity shop hits are really drying up! Anyway, it’s in pretty good condition really…

IMG_0522

 

We do have our first filled-out adventure sheet though! I’ve hoped to get a glimpse into other peoples experiences of the books through any scribbling they have made in the pages and in this one we find a reader who clearly made the adventure a little hard for himself with a somewhat iffy Skill score…

IMG_0524

 

I have actually lied though, as I can remember a little about the story, namely the thing on the Ian McCaig drawn cover art atop the lizard kings head, the Gonchonkoghonkaka as I believe it was called. It always creeped me out a bit though and in later years I could never look at one of these chaps without being reminded of it.

6fbb7cbd_ripley-vs-facehugger

And as seen as everyone else seems to be saying it at the moment, I wasn’t particularly shocked to see that Colonial Marines sucks either.

On reading the Wiki, an interesting tit-bit of Lizard King  theory reveals itself  –

The Hero starts his journey in Fang, the setting of the previous gamebook, Deathtrap Dungeon.[3] The Dungeon itself is mentioned by Mungo as the place where his father met his end.[4] While some have suggested it is possible that the Hero of this book is the same individual as that of Deathtrap Dungeon (and by extension, also that of City of Thieves), it is nowhere explicitly stated that he is.

But my guy is stuck forever working 9-to-5 for Baron Sukumvitz with a stupid tattoo on his fore-head, so that’s an end to that little bit of RP, from my perspective at least.

Before I head off to drink red wine and play Mark of the Ninja, I’ll also drop in another plug for Twitter here as I do have a habit of dropping stuff in on there that I don’t here and I’m forgetting what I’ve mentioned where now… but if you’d been following me of late then you’d have known that my favourite game of the last decade or so, Dark Souls, was influenced by Fighting Fantasy artwork and that there’s currently a full set of  Fighting Fantasy books on eBay at the moment, interested to see how much that gets. You can find me on @ff_project.

 

ff-logo