Having left the froggy ones in a rage at my failed attempt to slay their master I headed back to the crabgrass field and took the as yet unexplored southerly route. The path was lined with spiders webs and took me down into the next clearing, covered with even more webbing, and in the middle was a large silver pavilion in the middle of which sat a tall, bearded old man. My ring was going crazy with the level of sheer evil in the area, the silver amulet around the mans neck telling me that this was the Master of Spiders. Quite a bad-ass illustration too from Duncan Smith.
Bearing in mind the words of the Mistress of Birds I leaped straight into attacking him, despite my dwindling physical state. Thankfully, he wasn’t actually very strong at 9/6 and I used a little Luck to finish him off quickly as his poisoned wand would do an extra point of Stamina damage for each hit. I don’t know why he would use a wand in hand-to-hand combat, but he’s the Master of Spiders, he can do what he likes. As I took the amulet from his dead body, a spark flew from it and lit up the virtual cocoon of spiderwebs surrounding the clearing and the area started to burn to the ground.
Continuing to fill in some gaps in my map, I headed back north from where I met the orcs and took the easterly path which brought me to a pleasant looking glade, a sandy shore surrounded a crystalline pool of water. Trying to be cautious, I stood back and observed for a while before investigating the pool itself. A lizard wandered over and took a drink and that was all the proof I needed, so I went and had a drink from the water to regain 3 Stamina points. At last! I think I had a huge 8 Stamina at this point!
West was my next destination as I worked my way back up to the crocodile infested river I steered away from earlier. In this next clearing though, it was scorpions out to kill me, dozens of them, tiny little ones though. A Luck test and a Stamina test later and I was hopping over them to continue moving north without having to try and fight them off. My Luck was getting a bit low at this point too, must have been around 4 or 5 looking at my Adventure Sheet!
I had now made my way back up to the banks of the Foulbrood River, only now I had managed to find a bridge! A rickety old one at that, but it held up and took me to the opposite shore where I was face to face with a giant tree. Atop the tree sat a huge nest, which I could only presume belonged to the similarly huge eagle. Now, I was asked if I had the Bird Amulet… I had a fake Bird Amulet… that counts, right? I decided that it did. My hovvering eagle friend decided to leave me alone in the wake of this turn of events, so I was able to continue on my merry way to the east.
It was about time I got shafted again it seemed, so of course this particular clearing was full of quicksand that I couldn’t react to until it was too late. My Luck had run out on this occasion as I failed my roll and had to remove my armour to ensure that I could pull myself out of the quicksand. Through this I lost 2 Skill points and also 2 off my Initial Skill… so now I was down to a Skill of 6. Oh god. Nothing attack me. Please.
Moving on further north, I had my next encounter, this time it was a giant. Thankfully my ring was telling me he was friendly enough, but he was trying to be Gandalf, giving it some ‘YOU MAY NOT PASS’. I attempted to reason with the big man and a fairly amusing turn of events transpired as he started to cry. Apparently someone had stolen his handkerchief and he was worried that his wife would be mad at him, apparently it was red and very beautiful. Sounds a bit like the ‘cloak’ I took from the dead thief… and lo and behold, it was his hankie! He was delighted and offered me some advice, telling me that to the north and to the west are some gardens where the Master of Gardens might be found. We parted company much richer for the experience.
Again taking the northerly path, I emerged in another clearing of low shrubs where I soon became aware that two large wolves had their eye on me. Not having managed to get the Master of Wolves to come out of his shed, I had no option but to fight my way out of this one. Handily I managed to react quickly and took the head off one of the wolves and so I was only left with one at 7/6 to fight, he took a bit of Stamina off me, leaving me with 4 Stamina but a wonderful luck roll finished him off and took me down to 3 Luck. Some berries in the nearby shrubbery caught my eye and I took a chance at eating some, the gamble paid off too giving me an extra 2 Stamina and 1 Luck! Not sure how I feel about this style of illustration though… actually I do, it sucks.
This particular avenue was a dead-end though, so a little back-tracking took me to a cross-road just west of the giants location. Following his advice to find the Master of Gardens I went north from here through a narrow, boulder strewn path that quickly built up with fog. Soon emerging from this fog was a ranger. He asked me my business and I told him of my quest for Grimslade, which was obviously going to end in tears, but somehow I managed to pass a Luck test and got him to tell me I was on the right path for the Master of Gardens.
Taking the easterly path, the vegetation appeared well tended to and eventually turned into a beautiful garden which was being tended to by the amulet wearing Master of Gardens. I pulled out my last spell, Illusion, to laughably poor results. My spell disguised me as a plant, right before the Masters eyes. Brilliant. As he approached me I made a snatch for the amulet, the motion instantly breaking the illusion spell. Knowing I needed that amulet to get the target of three Grimslade had set me, I launched into attack. Confused and puzzled, the Master cried out ‘Why are you attacking me?’, grabbed a sickle and motioned his hands to cast a spell. This spell cost me 3 Skill points.
It was at this exact moment where I’d had enough. My characters stats now read 3/6/3. I have had a little look through Out of the Pit and pretty much the only creature I am now stronger than is a Jib-Jib. So, against the 7/10 Master of Gardens, for the first time ever, I used the option to Escape the combat and headed back South. I headed back South hard and fast, all the way back to Grimslades tower.
Instead of menacing evil, this time Grimslade had an air of eagerness about him, he wanted the spoils I had just gone out and earned for him. Boy is he gonna be disappointed! One amulet short of the three he asked for and one of the amulets I do have is fake! His expression darkened but thankfully he didn’t seem to notice the fake amulet, he muttered something about it being ‘better than nothing’ and gave me 250gp. Now this was considerably lower than what we’d agreed upon per amulet, but at this point, I couldn’t care less, I just wanted this to end. I took the gold, walked away, ignored the options to take issue with him, attack him… I wanted to go! I left the tower with my tainted gold; I’d killed unicorns, left myself half dead, assisted a horribly evil wizard and not particularly enjoyed any of it.
Thank christ, my adventure was over.