How about that puzzle, eh?
Were you one of those, like me, that had ongoing struggles with how a ‘city’ should be defined?
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.
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!
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.
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….
NO NOT JULIE DELPY THERE IS NO WAY LONE WOLF IS THAT LUCKY.
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