Shadow on the Sand · Uncategorized

Shadow on the Sand – Attempt 2, Part 8


How about that puzzle, eh?

Were you one of those, like me, that had ongoing struggles with how a ‘city’ should be defined?

Let’s look at that map again.

If we define city as…

  • Every named ‘mini-castle’ on the map, the total is…15
  • Every ‘mini-castle’ with a ‘flag’ (and consider the rest towns), the total is…6
  • Every ‘mini-castle’ with a ‘flag’ plus Kuchek, which, I… guess (?) seems slightly larger than the other towns, the total is….7.

So, yeah, the answer is 7, giving a total (with the two other easy components) of 373.


At paragraph 373, the gamebook gives a nominal location (rather than 373) in the middle of the desert, and Banedon assures me that we’ll be there by dawn.  Meanwhile I ponder the ‘friendly’ reception we are sure to receive upon arrival.

[Insert travel montage set to suitable elevator-style music]


As dawn breaks we safely tuck away (!) the skyship around twenty-five miles (!!) from the designated location of the Tomb.

Aside : I realise that we’re apparently in a mountainous area, but the book treats the concealment of an ENTIRE SHIP like we’re sweeping a few specks of dust under the carpet.


Project Aon link – Quiver with arrows

We attempt to travel on foot as far as possible before dawn (and again, twenty-five miles) and apparently make it by dawn (!!)


I don’t want to make too much of this, but a ‘brisk walking pace’ is around 3 miles per hour.  I’ll be generous and say that, notwithstanding the fact that we’re travelling in the dark, Banedon and I can move at 4 miles per hours.  That’s over SIX HOURS of travel time!  Heck with making it before dawn, we’d be lucky to be there by dinner!

Deep breaths.

We come across the tomb, or, to be more accurate, the ongoing excavation site.  There is a hive of activity, with thousands of Giaks being used as slaves (literally, not metaphorically) by a bunch of Drakkarim.

I wonder if Banedon is taking notes for future reference.

The bright side is, at least, that the continued activity means it is almost definite that the forces of darkness have not yet found the Book of the Magnakai.

That’s right, I –



More ominously, we see a resting Imperial Zlanbeast, the flying steed of choice for Darklords.  This probably means that the Darklord, as spotted previously in villainous conversation with Zakhan Kimah, is somewhere in the vicinity.

Getting into place to be my final obstacle, perhaps?

After all that fuss about getting here by dawn, we now conclude that an (unseen) approach is impossible in daylight, and that we’ll have to wait for sundown.

I eat a Meal (no mention of sharing with Banedon) and we agree that he will take the job of attempting to find Tipasa.

As I make my approach, the Giaks pose little problem, having been worked to exhaustion.  The Drakkarim are more alert, but with only a dozen patrolling the entire crater, I manage to evade the wandering patrols.

There is one specific Drakkar guarding the entry to the tomb / excavation.  In one of the oldest tricks in the book (literally, since it is presumably set out in the Book of the Magnakai) I use my Force skills (alright, Mind of Matter discipline) to shake a nearby shovel, distracting the guard and enabling my entry to the tomb proper.




As I walk down the entrance corridor, I see that trap after trap has been ‘sprung’ by luckless Giaks, who were literally forced forward to systematically lay down their lives for the convenience of their masters.

This is disturbingly similiar to the attitude of Dungeons & Dragons players as demonstrated towards their hirelings and henchmen.

See this classic Nodwick comic, for example.

Just as I was (ruthlessly) beginning to think that all my work would be done for me, I come to a (still) closed stone door, with a small triangular indentation next to the door.  I don’t possess a ‘Blue Stone Triangle’,  I do have my Blue Stone Triangle, but having picked it up so long ago, I ‘role-play’ Lone Wolf having forgotten all about it!  Luckily, I still have my Prism from earlier in the adventure!

In a scene clearly inspired by Raiders of the Lost Ark, my Prism diverts light coming from a hole in the ceiling into the indentation, causing the door to open!

I enter a large chamber, containing a throne (!)  The door closes behind me, and the throne turns to reveal….








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

Modified Stats : CS : 29, E : 26

Weapons : Sword, Sommerswerd (+8 CS)

Backpack : 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 : 289

11 thoughts on “Shadow on the Sand – Attempt 2, Part 8

  1. I don’t possess a ‘Blue Stone Triangle’, but I still have my Prism from earlier in the adventure!

    What happened to the Blue Stone Triangle on the Blue Stone Triangle Pendant you found in Kalte? The one that’s been on your Special Items list since October?

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I actually always really liked that the Blue Stone Triangle worked here as well as Ikaya. Mahjan is the Vassagonian word used to refer to the Shianti, who also built Ikaya… apparently Lone Wolf was lucky enough to find a Shianti master key 🙂

        It just seemed like a small but nice piece of worldbuilding that intertwined a bit with the gameplay.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Agree completely on the worldbuilding, and also on conveying the idea that this is a planet which has had more than one global civilization/society. That said, in Grey Star the Shianti seem this nice peaceful almost hippyish community but the layout of both Ikaya and The Tomb (and maybe The Graveyard of the Ancients) and the behaviour of those now living in both places imply that Shasarak was more the norm than the exception among them.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m falling behind on EVERYTHING in my life and you introduce me to another cartoon strip! Thank you ☺, who needs sleep after all.

    The number of cities in Vasdagonia is given in the poster you read if you run away from Maouk entitled “The Zakhan is dead, Long live the Zakhan”. I always just get confused with the map (for instance the Vassagonian cities and towns are all marked with Minarets whereas Teph is marked with a European style fortress). Well worked out.

    Even Avenger wouldn’t pretend to do a 25 mile hike in a couple of hours. Even in a world with magic, gods and true love that bit was simple unbelievable. But being able to say earlier in the book, “This is not the Kai Lord you’re looking for” would have made the going much easier.

    Gruesome fact, the Darklords practice of using Giaks to fill in pit traps was also used by the Japanese army during the Battle of Singapore. When the Allied artillery would make holes in the road the Japanese soldiers would move up another unit of POW’s to fill it in (from a life experience of one of the Japanese soldiers, not Wikipedia). People do things they come to deeply regret in war. Sorry for inflicting that on you, its being on my mind for decades.

    And as said before, thank you for yet another stunning photo of Ms Delpy. I can fully understand how you had a crush on her before meeting your superior Cristina.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fenrir! After a few posts had gone without comment by you, I was starting to wonder that you were on an extended break to the Cayman Islands, or that alternatively I had lost such facility with the written word as I had previously possessed. But I knew a Delpy picture would draw you out!

      The tactic of sending underlings forward to spring traps or fill roads is sadly all-too-frequent in both fact and fiction.

      The 25 miles thing really, really stood out, what with being in the same paragraph as the ‘get there by dawn’ phrase.

      Nodnick is awesome, particularly for those with a D & D past. I would also recommend Knights of the Dinner Table. Check out the online strips

      Liked by 1 person

    2. If I’d had a break I’d have been up to date with my posts. Just too many things at one time (and I’m speaking as a parent when I say that 😉 ). Got slightly lost in Nodnick, it was only the little voice saying “Up in seven hours, up in six hours, only five hours sleep max now!!!” which got me to stop. I remember reading some of Knights of the Dinner table years ago, didn’t know it was still going. Looking forward to the grand finale of the book and the Kai series … or your next death, whichever comes, after all a Darklord is only a Demi-God whereas you’re a poorly trained savant 🙂


    3. Never occurred to me a bit of propaganda like “Through the unity of the Seven Cities, he will lead his people to greatness.” would have helped me solve the puzzle. I was wrong to be mad at them for not properly defining a city in the map key; there was another way to get the answer.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. All this talk of fantasy-inspired web comics has reminded me that I’ve totally forgotten to read for months now. To the archives I go. Warning: sometimes Safe For Work, sometimes NSFW.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s