Shadow on the Sand

Shadow on the Sand, Attempt 2, Part 7

Initial note : The team at Hypnogoria did an excellent podcast on the life and work of Joe Dever.  Check it out.

So – the warrior monk / wizard combo are strolling through the outskirts of a desert town, looking for the ‘Dougga market’ which is apparently close to the object of our search : the home of the elusive Tipasa the Wanderer.

We are also apparently acting as unofficial collection agents for a goatherd!

Of course.

After traversing a dry river bed, we enter the town.

Tunez - Tunisia 2008

More specifically, we reach a town square with three other paths, marked by a signpost.  Once I see that one of the paths leads to the Dougga Market, I don’t have to think too hard, and we move in that direction (with, again, no input or comments from Banedon.  Did Joe Dever forget that he had come along?)

‘Forty paces’ down the street, there is a barracks to one side (with the obligatory soldier out the front), and a tavern to the other.  Taverns are usually the best sources of gossip, both in gamebooks and real life.  Plus, they might serve the miraculous Kourshah wine!

Here’s hoping, right?




Banedon actually speaks!

As I enter the tavern, he warns me to watch my purse, and makes a narrow distinction (and I criticise this as someone whose job is, in part, to make narrow distinctions) between the honour of this crowd (which can be trusted) and their ‘honesty’, the latter of which they apparently have very little.

Yeah, whatever, dude.

Inside the tavern, it appears that we have entered in the middle of a wedding celebration, with the tables drawn around the happy couple.  I’m just glad we’re not in the middle of a George R. R. Martin book, because weddings in those tomes just






Back to the story.

We note a quiet lady dressed all in black sitting quietly to one side.  In example of the delicate diplomacy for which Lone Wolf is rightly famous, I stroll right over and ask her (!) where I can find Tipasa the Wanderer.

Before the criticism of my insensitivity gets too deafening, it should be noted that this woman (named ‘Soushilla’ apparently) immediately seizes the opportunity to shake us down for cash, getting one Gold Crown from Banedon before he notices that his purse has been emptied by a pickpocket.

Banedon’s internal monologue right now :


Anyway, the greedy eyes of this ‘grieving widow’ turn to me, with a demand for a further five (!) Gold Crowns.  I hand them over…..grudgingly.

I am directed to a house with a blue door behind the stables in the Dougga market.  We leave, as Banedon continues cursing his lost funds, ignoring the fact that he owns a flying ship (!!) and its crew.

Briefly, we enter the market and then the stables.  Banedon, being out of money, bribes a stable-boy with his silver ring to confirm that Tipasa lives behind our current location.

Just as I’m worried that Banedon will soon be literally giving away the shirt off his back, we hear the stableboy shriek behind us, as the ‘silver ring’ melts away.

Aside : Seriously, what is with Banedon?  Slave-owner, fixer of gambling games, and now he uses magic to cheat a stableboy who hadn’t done anything wrong!  Furthermore, he KNEW that Lone Wolf had some money, because I’d just used some in the tavern!


After totally not pausing to consider our life choices, we follow the directions out the back of the stable.

We find Tipasa’s home, and his wife / girlfriend tearfully tells us that he is not present.

And not just because he’s gone ‘wandering’ – the Drakkarim have taken him prisoner!  Further, it seems self-evident that they will have used torture and other nefarious means to squeeze him for the location of the Tomb of the Majhan.

Luckily, Tipasa’s diary of his travels is still within the home, and Banedon convinces (!) the woman to hand it over to us.  When we open the book, we can see that the contents are full of coded phrases, presumably (according to Banedon) linked to star charts, which means we’ll need to check Banedon’s books back on the Skyrider.

Project Aon link – Tipasa’s diary

Naturally, there is no mention of actually seeking the woman’s permission to take the precious diary with us – we just do it.

Banedon’s ruthlessness must be rubbing off on me.

Back at our ship, Banedon consults the diary before, hours later, admitting defeat.

However, in an example of ‘the protagonist must be the one to solve every problem’, Lone Wolf is able to quickly discern that the seeming references to star charts are in fact a code for three numbers, which will give us (a paragraph number) route to the Tomb!

The puzzle is as follows, and any readers who haven’t done it before can try in the comments :

  1. Inspect this map of Vassagonia
  2. How many oases are between Ikaresh and Bir Rabalou?
  3. How many cities in Vassagonia?
  4. How many islands off the coast of Cape Kabar?



Base Stats : CS : 17, E : 20, GC 40

Modified Stats : CS : 29, E : 26

Weapons : Sword, Sommerswerd (+8 CS)

Backpack : 1 Meal, 1 Laumspur potion (+4E), Bottle of Kourshah (+4E), Prism, Hourglass, Silver Comb, Canteen of Water

Special Items : Gaoler’s Keys, Jewelled Mace, Copper Key, Map, Crystal Star, Shield (+2 CS), Sommerswerd, Padded Waistcoat (+2 E), Chainmail Waistcoat (+4 E) Blue Stone Triangle Pendant, Diamond, Ornate Silver Key, Dagger of Vashna, Brass Whistle

Kai Rank : Savant

Kai Disciplines : Camouflage, Animal Kinship, Tracking, Hunting, Sixth Sense, Healing, Mind Over Matter, Mindblast (+2CS), Mindshield

Paragraph : 331

11 thoughts on “Shadow on the Sand, Attempt 2, Part 7

      1. Nope, you’re just left flipping through the book, looking for text that indicates you’ve found the right passage. An activity that’s been lost as gamebooks change from books to apps, for better and for worse.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. Yeah, part of the problem with these types of puzzles in the books is that if you got the answer wrong, you read text you weren’t supposed to read. I like the format of Seventh Sense better in that it enforces the rules and doesn’t allow cheating. Spoken from experience, it was also tempting as a kid to just pretend that you won every fight or random number roll, instead of playing honestly. Seventh Sense keeps me honest. 🙂

    Likewise the illustrations themselves were big spoilers back then. As you were flipping through the book to turn from section to section, it was hard not to inadvertently see an illustration before you got to that section. The Project Aon versions at least (along with Seventh Sense of course) fix that problem.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Listened to the Hypnogoria episode. Glad to see Joe get some props from outside the normal circles.

    I love the host’s accent. His pacing and manner of speech reminded me of a documentary narrator. Which works well when you have a visual image accompanying you, but falls flat IMO with just audio.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Agree re the broadcast. Its a great obituary because he doesn’t just say “He was a great man who did this and this and this”, he goes into what was involved in things and the quality that was done. A very good plug for the Project Aon site as well. BTW, re his saying good riddance to 2016 I met a woman this afternoon whose mother in law died just before Christmas. 2016 may just be an arbitary marking off of time but it sure felt like a psychopath. As my wife’s best friends mother died on Friday (13/1) this year doesn’t seem to be getting off to a good start either.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. George RR Martin being unleashed on Lone Wolf would be … interesting to see. During the Kai series LW would have to leap out a window, but probably find he was three stories up, in the Magnakai series it would be accompanied by a world wide war (appropriately enough), while in the Grand Master series everyone would probably be sucked into either the Void or The Plane of Darkness. Would be fun.

    Not fun is Banedon’s behavior. Ok, so Nym90 and I argued long, eruditely and futiley that he wasn’t a cheating slavedriver and then he cheats a stable boy. Still remember being … not so much annoyed as puzzled as to WHY he did that way back in the 80’s. Gradually puzzlement has turned to anger. I think Joe Dever just did it for comic relief, but it does show a nasty streak in Banedon.

    But in fairness to the taking of the Diary, Tiapsa’s wife has no way of getting him back herself. She knows Banedon and knows that he’s her only hope, so she’d hardly go, “Wait, men with masks of death are sure to return my husband unharmed so he’ll want his diary waiting for him when he gets back”.

    As for the map reference, well you’ve already published the answer but I know it as well as my family home’s phone number

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree that the utilitarian action is to take the diary with us. But some flavour text about seeking her permission and / or input would have been welcome.

      And if George R R Martin was writing Lone Wolf, he wouldn’t simply use the anodyne term ‘Meal’. Each reference would be at least three paragraphs long!

      And Banedon’s actions are a standard trope, but usually after there has been a description of an incident where the stableboy has tried to cheat you, or has insulted you, or bullied another, or something similiar.

      Liked by 1 person

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