The Jungle of Horrors

The Jungle of Horrors – Attempt 1, Part 4

Trapped in an unknown city as night speedily approaches….I suppose the choices are whether to go clubbing or hit the local casino.

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Less interestingly, however, the book informs me that we arrive at a ‘flagstoned’ quadrangle, with the noticeable landmarks of a massive temple bearing the appellation that it is the ‘Temple of the Sword’ and, elsewhere, the road leads up a hill to a watchtower, which looms over the town.

Aside : That word ‘looms’ is so delightfully ominous.  You never hear about water slides ‘looming’ over the surrounding amusement park, do you?

My Pathmanship skill helps me decipher a sign by the door of the temple which indicates that travellers are offered food, a stable for their horses and a room for the night.

With my options limited, I enter the temple.

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Paido and I are escorted inside, into a temple replete with the usual trappings, including red candles, and, more importantly, an oaken table with a delicious-smelling stew.

The old man who who has shown us in blesses the food with the words ‘Gaj kog zutag’ and, interestingly, the book makes a point of offering me the choice of whether to eat the food, eat a Meal from my backpack or to go hungry.

This whole set-up screams of suspicion.  Look at this :

  1. That blessing seemed to strangely specific, and contained too many Gs, Ks and Zs for my comfort.
  2. On a meta-fictional level, the fact that there is a specific point here, rather than a mere ‘you eat and retire for the night’ indicates that something is up.
  3. I do vaguely remember, from my youth, a set-up where someone tries to poison you when you stay with them for the night, although I have no idea what the context of that memory is.

In summary, this is me right now :

 

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With all that in mind, I risk being rude and eat a Meal from my Backpack (I can’t see how Huntmastery can be helpful in such an enclosed situation).

In an indication that I may have made the correct decision, the monks seem disproportionately upset by my refusal.  To be fair, this may be a cultural reaction to my rudeness (In Japan, for example, this sort of thing would be a mortal insult).

A saturnine man who appears to be the superior enters, and immediately asks (!!) if the ‘Vakeros’ [Paido] has eaten.  He is summarily given an affirmative, although it is also mentioned that ‘the Kai Lord refused’.

Before I can make any further deductions, my skill of Divination (which might have been helpful FIVE MINUTES AGO) tells me that I am in the presence of a ‘powerful evil’.

As I whip my bow out, the ‘menacing figure’ shouts to ‘Summon the brothers!”  I fell one of the two fleeing monks with a well-placed arrow, but the other escapes, slamming the door behind him.  My follow-up choice is to (1) Shoot another arrow at the head honcho (2) Attack with a hand weapon or (3) Demand (!) that he allow us to leave.

Yeah, (3) is a bit of a non-starter.  I think the chances of a peaceful resolution are gone….like tears in rain.

Hopeful of my MEGABOW coming through once more in the clinch, I fire another arrow.  Unfortunately, my adversary uses his staff to parry same, and I scratch another arrow off my chart.

What is Paido doing all this time?

 

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Aside : Shakespeare in Love is a MASTERPIECE, and far, far better than Saving Private Ryan.  I WILL NOT argue about this.

At any rate, my question is promptly answered, as Paido collapses, doubtless feeling the effects of the clearly poisoned stew.

The monk then comes up with a mental attack, and, lacking Psi-Screen, I lose EIGHT (!!) Endurance points.

The ‘monk’ now loses his disguise, and is now revealed as a Helghast!

 

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Do I have the Sommerswerd?

Why, yes. yes I do.

Given the enemy’s stats (see below), I quaff both of my Laumspur potions before the combat starts.

Lone Wolf – CS : 32, E : 31

Gnaag Helghast – CS : 38 (!!), E : 48 (!!!)

Yikes.

A small silver lining is that the enemy loses double Endurance due to the Sommerswerd.  A less silver lining is that I lose 2 Endurance points at the start of every combat round.  Even worse is the Helghast’s immunity to Mindblast.

Let’s go.

Round 1 :

R10 of 0!!

Lone Wolf loses 2 Endurance from the psychic attack, but does 9×2 = 18 damage to the Helghast!

LW : 29, H : 30

Round 2 :

Spoke  too soon, since my R10 of 1 means Lone Wolf loses 6+2=8 Endurance, while the Helghast loses 0x2=0.

LW : 21, H : 30

Round 3 :

R10 = 2!! Lone Wolf loses 6+2=8, Helghast 1×2=2

LW : 13, H : 28

Round 4 :

R10=4  Lone Wolf loses 5+2=7, Helghast 3×2=6

LW : 6, H : 22

This is getting serious.

Round 5 :

Alas, another R10 of 4 means that Lone Wolf loses another 7 points, which changes his mood from ‘Alive’ to ‘Dead’.

Getting 4 R10 checks of 1 to 4 in a row can reeeeally ruin your day.

For all those that wanted Lone Wolf to take the road rather than the barge, you may well get your wish!

 

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Base Stats : CS : 19, E : 25, GC 45 Lune : 20

Current Stats : CS : 34, E : 0

Weapons : Sword, Dagger

Weapon-Like Special Items : Silver Bow of Duadon (+3), Sommerswerd (+8 CS),

Backpack :Potion of Laumspur (+4E) (2), Rope, Lantern, Silver Box

Special Items : 1. Sommerswerd 2. Platinum Amulet, 3. Crystal Star, 4. Shield (+2 CS),           5. Padded Waistcoat (+2 E), 6. Chainmail Waistcoat (+4 E) 7. Blue Stone Triangle Pendant, 8. Giak Scroll, 9. Quiver (3 arrows), 10 Fireseeds (5), 11. Pass, 12. Silver Bow of Duadon.

Kai Monastery storage :

  • Backpack Items :
  • Special Items : Map of Tekaro, Diamonds (2), Boat Ticket, Power Key, Copper Key, Ornate Silver Key, Jewelled Mace, Dagger of Vashna, Brass Whistle.

Magnakai Rank : Tutelary

Magnakai Disciplines : Weaponmastery (+3 CS in Sword, Bow, Mace, Dagger, Spear), Pathmanship, Huntmastery, Divination, Invisibility

Lore-Circles : Fire (+1 CS, +2 E), Solaris (+1 CS, +3 E)

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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25 thoughts on “The Jungle of Horrors – Attempt 1, Part 4

  1. I happen to have a lot of respect for Rita Panahi. Her family fled Iran in the Islamic revolution, so she knows what she is talking about when it comes to how women are treated in Islam. ( It is on your Twitter Feed). I will insert a token reference to your post, so that you don’t think I am just trolling your twitter feed….how do you pronounce Paido? Is it like Pedo or Paydo? omg what a can of worms that opens up!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One of the many ways in which books are superior to movies or TV is that how to pronounce a name is left for you, the reader, to answer for yourself. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I will continue to pronounce it as Peedo, it makes him more contemptuous. I just want to add that my intent is merely to tease our author ( who I have the utmost respect for). There is no malice whatsoever.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Rita Panahi….[eyeroll]. At least now I know there is at least one atheist that you like. And by the way, she left Iran when she was seven, so I don’t think that gives her any particular moral authority about the area.

      And in my head I’ve always pronounced it ‘PIE-dough’.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. But I like you too. Her mother and Aunts bore the worst of the revolution. She knows exactly what she is talking about. Are you saying her arguments about the oppression of women in Iran have no basis?

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      2. Not at all. Woman are treated as second-class citizens in most countries of the world, and there is a pretty clear correlation between religious power and oppression of women.

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      3. what about China then? I would argue Communism/Socialism are just as detrimental to the status of women as any religion. I have always maintained, where Christianity has thrived, so have Women’s Rights as a whole. I challenge you to point out some other religion, where that is the case.

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      4. The purported veneration of Mary coupled with the treatment of other women by the Christian Church is the definite example of the sexist ‘madonna-whore’ complex. Hardly proof of your point.

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      5. In the case of the “madonna-whore” complex, I think “whore” is used as a pejorative to mean “woman who enjoys sex”, and not the traditional definition of “woman who sells sexual favors”. It’s not even necessary to throw the word around. Just having the attitude that women should feel shame or guilt for enjoying sex or even having sexual desires. Though this is certainly not limited to the devoutly religious..

        As an aside, I personally think religious constraints on having sex are ridiculous. There are many perfectly good reasons why men and women should be careful in their sex lives (unwanted pregnancies, STD’s, possible hurt feelings and relationships). Fear of punishment by a higher power is not one of them.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Two arguements going on here and they’ve been mixed up with each other.

        1) Does mother goddess worship, and its varients, translate into greater rights for women? Despite been widespread (Hinduism, Shintoism etc, I’ve even had Muslims proudly tell me the Koran says more about Mary than the Bible) there’s no evidence its ever translated into more peaceful or woman friendly societies (sorry lghr).

        2) Does Christianity, and before it Judaism, encourage better treatment of women? With references to wives being “your partner” (Malachi 3:14) and sayings Husbands should “lovetheir wives as their own body … for no man ever hated his own body but he feeds and cherishes it” (Ephesians 5:28,29) I think its safe to say that noone here would disagree with the quoted sentiments. Unfortunately the context of the Malachi verse shows the Jews of that time were ignoring this counsel as those who called themselves Christian so often did as well.

        So, yes, the teachings of Christianity gave women rights (and if anyone wants to challenge that I can provide lots more quotes) but in practice lands calling themselves “Christian” haven’t been that great.

        Nsfw addendum in lghr’s favor

        NOT a subject I want to think on BUT it must be added that female infanticide (including abortion of unwanted females) is more prevalent OUTSIDE the semi christian areas than inside. Argue about it how you will but thats the way the statistics work out. I feel sick now.

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    3. Kai, from Wikipedia it is pronounced kai, NOT key.

      Folliwing the same rule the Pai of Paido would be pronounced “Pai”. I admit it could be argued that the do part be literally prounounced “do” to rhyme with to, but given words like “Speedo” its more likely to be pronounced “dough” or “doe”.

      Therefore I argue for “Pie-doe” which is identical in sound to Aussiesmurf’s “Pie-dough” but uses 25% less letters making it more eco friendly with a smaller carbon footprint.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is where Joe Dever started overcompensating for the imbalance caused by the Sommerswerd: the Helghast actually has a significantly higher CS and E if you have the Sommerswerd than if you don’t. There is an in-text justification for the disparity, but it’s still annoying – and there’s worse to come.

    You may come to regret not having put some Alether berries into storage before visiting Kazan-Oud.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thankfully there is a way to acquire some Alether if you take the road. There is also a way to avoid the city of Tharro altogether (though IMO it’s much more interesting and satisfying to defeat that Helghast!).

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yup! Its better to grind an enemy into the dust on the third attempt (or thirty third if its a Horned Cyclops) than run around him and flee to the hills. Which is more practical in real life is another matter.

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  4. Nooooo!😦😢

    I have spent the last hour being 😱 (and without even drink to blame for it, maybe I had some of Pie-dough’s stew…), but this has me more upset. Ironically I came here to have something to laugh over before crawling back to bed (fot two hours 😩). Prior to three minutes ago I would never have thought thats how my priorities would go.😏

    On this occasion you do not want me near you so I’ll save sympathy gestures for later but will say condolences.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. A choice between clubbing or casino would not be a choice for me or lghr. Sadly in those times choices were limited (although you do get to try dancing in one part of Khare, although even that could be a trap).

    I’m not sure which is more worrying, that you can’t remember when someone tried to poison you (are you even sure this wasn’t real life) or that you can’t remember what Gaj Kog Zutag meant (I’ve been using it and Shegga ash Taag for decades, albeit not when people can overhear me).

    Um, if you provided an uninvited guest a fine meal and they instead took a ham sandwich out of their back pocket which they COULD have told you about before dishing the food I think you’d be upset too. I never killed the other monks because I thought they were all innocent apart from the Helghast but maybe not. Still at least Pai-do got to do what sidekicks do best and take damage even if you didn’t adk him to.

    And then the dice were against you and you died. Ouch! The Gnaag Helghast (new and improved version?) Is also more powerful than dear old Lord Zahda but with thst run on the dice …

    I’m probably still infectious but know I’dbe sending a Manly Macho Masculine clap on the Shoulder if it wasn’t more dangerous than that blasted stew.

    Liked by 1 person

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