For those who need to know where I’ve been for the last few days, the answer lies in this picture of Port Fairy :
Was it worth the four hour train ride?
Anyway, back to Lone Wolf, and his rapidly depleting funds.
When we left our intrepid adventurer, it was less of a cliffhanger, and more of a….well, gentle slope-hanger.
I had just saved an old man from a bully and, like pretty much every gamebook ever, now expect a reward.
The old man introduces himself as Cyrilus, a magician (in our sense of the word), being a sleight of hand artist and trickster.
Aside : If you want to see one of my favourite sleight of hand masters, watch the amazing Ricky Jay go through a deck of cards :
Cyrilus mentions amusing the courtier of Varetta, which is my cue to politely request a further info-dump.
He then makes some vague comments about ‘legends’ and ‘lost for supposedly hundreds of years’.
Humph. If I wanted vague and unhelpful claptrap, I’d read the astrology section of my newspaper.
I identify myself as Lone Wolf, since the universally recognisable green cloak doesn’t seem to be working its mojo lately.
NOW I get my info-dump!
Aaaaand after all that, Cyrilus’ information is basically a carbon copy of the tales shared by the Varetta soldiers.
That round of drinks was a waste of money after all!
Cyrilus does mention that he knows a ‘wise man’ in Varetta who claims to know the whereabouts of the sceptre holding the Lorestone. In exchange for my company (and, presumably, protection) on the journey to Varetta, he will take me to this man. My ‘basic’ Kai Disciplines confirm the offer is genuine, and we agree to meet in the courtyard at dawn.
I don’t have the heart at this time to tell him about the life expectancy of travelling companions of a Kai Lord.
In the morning, as we ride together, Cyrilus gives me further information about the area. You’d think I would have done a bit of homework on this sort of thing before my departure, but no mind. In summary, these Stornlands are a perpetual stew of warring duchies, and presently ‘Lyris is embroiled in war with Magador, Delden with Salony, and Salony with Slovia’. I’m surprised Eurasia and Eastasia aren’t also somehow involved.
In mid-afternoon, as we ride through a small village, we note an advertisement for an archery tournament, where the entry fee is 2 Gold Crowns (enough for a flagon of ale!) and the prize is the Silver Bow of Duadon.
It is literally impossible for me to think of an archery contest without remembering this passage from one of the top three action-adventures of all time :
And yes, notwithstanding that this movie was made in 1938, Olivia de Havilland is STILL ALIVE.
At any rate, I’d enter this even if previous experience hadn’t taught me that if I manage to win, this bow comes in EXTREMELY handy.
Cyrilus, in a stirring offer of support, suggests that he………………….stay and mind the horses. I picture him saying this to his eight-year-old child just before their first soccer game, and die inside a little.
To progress to the finals, I need to score a total of 8 or more (including a +3 due to Weaponmastery) with three arrows. Shouldn’t prove to be too difficult, and I manage to get a total score of 10 even before adding my bonus.
As a mark of the quality (or lack thereof) of the competition, only one (!) other archer managed to attain this standard.
The early rounds must have been like fighting this guy :
My final foe is ‘Altan’, a ranger from the north.
The final contest is conducted like a ‘combat’ save that we both have 50 ‘Endurance’ points, and I cannot use my Shield Combat Skill bonus or, obviously, the Sommerswerd. I do get +3 to my Combat Skill for my Weaponmastery in Bow. I’m going to assume that I can use Mindblast during the contest, although that does seem slightly unethical.
After all that, it means that the resulting starting stats are :
Lone Wolf : CS : 22, E : 50
Alton : CS : 28 (!), E : 50
I wasn’t going to transcribe the whole battle, but let me just say that as I type this, Lone Wolf has 3 Endurance left, and Alton has 4.
We both hit zero on the same turn!
I’m going to make an executive decision that the tournament masters assign us to a rematch / tie-breaker.
This time around I win, while being reduced to 13 Endurance.
I am presented with the Silver Bow, which has the practical effect of adding a (further) 3 points whenever I use it.
I return to check on Cyrilus, who is, no doubt, checking e-mails and rating the passing hotties.
Base Stats : CS : 17, E : 20,
Current Stats : CS : 32, E : 26, GC : 32
Weapons : Silver Bow of Duadon (+3), Sommerswerd (+8 CS)
Backpack : Potion of Laumspur (+4E), Rope, Tinderbox
Special Items : Silver Bow of Duadon, 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, Quiver (5 arrows)
Magnakai Rank : Kai Master Superior
Magnakai Disciplines : Weaponmastery (+3 CS in Sword, Bow, Mace), Pathmanship, Divination
Kai Disciplines : Camouflage, Animal Kinship, Tracking, Hunting, Sixth Sense, Healing, Mind Over Matter, Mindblast (+2CS), Mindshield, Weaponskill (+2 CS in Short Sword)
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