The Cauldron of Fear

The Cauldron of Fear – Attempt 1, Part 2

Not much of a cliffhanger, but we left off last time with Lone Wolf being escorted to what was claimed to be the tent of a village hamlet’s shaman.

I figured that within I would either find further knowledge or a bloodthirsty ambush.

Aside : It could also be one of those situations where the inhabitant talks to you, helps you, advises you, and THEN tries to kill you.  Sounds ridiculous, but it has happened in books like The Shamutanti Hills.

Having said all that, I’m now not sure as to whether the encounter which is now described is completely ridiculous, completely awesome, or both.

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The shaman is sitting cross-legged on the floor of his hut while dressed entirely in feathers (!!)

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He then throws some scattered chicken bones into the air and purports to predict my future.  I guess taking some time out a month ago and predicting the invasion of his country would have just been too easy, right?

Project Aon link – Feather-coated shaman

Let’s now observe the use of some of the fortune-telling techniques known as ‘shotgunning’ as described here.

This all-seeing shaman tells me the following :

  • I have ‘many enemies’.
  • They are ‘powerful’
  • They intend to ‘prevent me walking my chosen path’
  • One enemy will tell me he is my friend, but will have ‘treachery in his heart’.

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As I leave the hut to rejoin Banedon, I feel humbled by the scope of his extremely specific prophecy and I straighten, conscious of the awesome power and wisdom granted to me by the advance knowledge provided by the shaman.

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Banedon and I ride on, and come to a fork in the road with the following :

  • There is a farmhouse, with a line of farmhands waiting to get their share of some foul-smelling soup.

Aside : I remember the time I deeply insulted my mother, as a 13-year-old, when I cheerfully informed her that her home-made soup looked and smelled like toxic waste…..ah, the harsh truthfullness of youth….

  • The highway continues on, while there is also a dirt track leading off to the side.
  • A sign indicates that it is 95 miles to Tahou, but interestingly, the sign points down the track, rather than the highway.

Luckily, my skill of Pathmanship confirms that, for whatever reason, the sign is wrong, and that the highway is, in fact, the correct route.

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I briefly chat with the farmhands, but they provide me with little help, apart from confirming the incorrect information provided by the sign, and offering to share their repugnant soup with me.  My skill of Huntmastery renders such a dilemma of etiquette as irrelevant, as I provide food for myself, leaving Banedon to consider the culinary delights of the farm.

After another five miles of travel, we come across another possible diversion – a dirt track leading off to the west, with a stone marker indicating that Sidara is (a further) five miles down said track.

Here’s another look at the (unhelpful, in this instance) map :

Project Aon link – Map of Anari

Let’s face it – If this was an ‘actual’ mission, I would charge on to my ultimate destination of Tahou without a second thought.  In a gamebook, however, these detours usually provide vital pieces of information or items.  So I ‘encourage’ Banedon to take a stroll down…..the Sidara way.

Hopefully the bars in this town carry Glenmorangie.

We reach a small river village, with no immediate evidence anywhere on the streets of any villagers of any disposition.

Let’s break out the classic, shall we?

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Sure enough, we hear the ‘harsh voices’ of Giak soldiers.

Keeping in the shadows, Banedon and I see a troop of Giak scouts loading their loot (as purloined from the town) onto the back of a Kraan, one of the pterodactyl-esque flying creatures of evil.

One of the Giak officers barks various commands, brandishing his sword for those who are reluctant to obey.

Project Aon link – Giaks and Kraan

In a comedy of errors, as they attempt to leave with their ill-gotten gains….

Mid-sentence aside : It is simply awesome how Lone Wolf is morally outraged at this looting, while also taking everything on his journey which isn’t nailed down

……two Kraan are overloaded, and they tumble to the ground shortly after take-off.  Their Giak passengers fall off right by our hiding-place, and we are spotted.

Aside : I suppose I should be grateful that Paido wasn’t here.  If he was, his Iphone probably would have loudly rung (probably with a Billy Ray Cyrus song) a few minutes earlier, guaranteeing our doom.

Back to our encounter.

I whip out my Bow, and take out both Giaks with two well-place shots.  (Technically, I need to make an R10 check for the second one, but between my Weaponmastery, MEGABOW and Divination skill, I can’t miss.

While muttering vague words under my breath about “Thanks for nothing, Banedon” and “No better than Paido.”, Banedon and I search the dead bodies.

Nothing really stands out except a Brass Whistle, and I recall that a similiar item is in storage back home.  I dump a Meal (since I tend not to need them) and pocket the Whistle.

We head back to the freeway and when we rejoin it, we see a sign advising that Taho is 90 miles away.

As a tribute to my wife, as Banedon and I get metaphorically and literally ‘back on track’ I give my readers this –

ryan-gosling

Ahem.

 

 

Base Stats : CS : 19, E : 25, GC 42

Current Stats : CS : 34/34, E : 31/31

Weapons : Sword, Dagger

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

Backpack : Wrist / Fingerguard, Rope, Lantern, Meals (1), Potion of Laumspur, Sacks of Silver (1), Flask of Boaza, Brass Whistle.

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

Kai Monastery storage :

  • Backpack Items : Sack of Silver
  • Special Items : Mao of Tekaro, Diamonds (2), Boat Ticket, Power Key, Copper Key, Ornate Silver Key, Jewelled Mace, Dagger of Vashna, Brass Whistle. Quiver (4 arrows), Pass, Vial of Clear Liquid, Crystal Star Pendant

Magnakai Rank : Principalin

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

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)

Paragraph : 145

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15 thoughts on “The Cauldron of Fear – Attempt 1, Part 2

    1. One of the nice things about books is that the answer to that question is left up to the reader, as opposed to being decided for you by the author.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. You were warned that Sidara was already taken by the enemy. Thankfully, your MEGABOW made such warning needless to heed.

    Also, this isn’t a Fighting Fantasy book….you don’t have to worry about being doomed to failure because you took the wrong path (usually with no hints available as to the right one to boot).

    As an aside, I like Fighting Fantasy. I think the point of them was that it was virtually impossible to win on the first try, and thus you’d get more value for your dollar by having to replay it many times before you eventually found the “true path”. I get the appeal of that, but I find Lone Wolf much more fair as a game. It breaks the sense of immersion to replay a book with prior knowledge of past lives, which the character himself of course wouldn’t have. I also prefer the fact that you get to play the same character across many books, building your stats and continuing one storyline as opposed to the disjointed nature of FF (Sorcery! aside).

    Oh and finally, while normally it would be wise to dismiss that prophet as no more a fortune teller than any other such scam artist here on Earth, in this case he has a 50% chance of proving prescient.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, I misremembered the name of the town that had been taken by the enemy (which probably reflects real life more often than we would like).

      I agree that Lone Wolf doesn’t have a lot of “if you don’t have this item you are automatically DOOMED”, usually there is at least a Discipline check as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The Lone Wolf books are more likely to arbitrarily kill you for not having memorised some trivial detail than for lacking a specific item, though even that doesn’t happen very often.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. As a kid I preferred Fighting Fantasy for just that reason. I loved Lone Wolf for the story and the ability to continue a character from one book to the next, but I always felt that they were a little too easy.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. FF certainly had a wide range of difficulty. For the style of playthrough I enjoy writing about, I didn’t like the idea of writing about the same passage through books again and again while trying to get it right. (Although having said that, you manage to keep that style interesting with a lot of skill)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. What do you mean “Not much of a cliffhanger”? We thought we wouldn’t hear from you for DAYS!!!

    That three part picture is very real for all husbands and boyfriends. In fairness to the bird man’s prophecy … actually I can’t say anything in fairness to him. But was interesting to learn about shotgunning, its not information I’m ever likely to use in real life but it was still interesting. To quote Mullah Nasruddin “Enjoy yourself, and try to learn something. If you do you will annoy someone; if you don’t you will annoy someone”.

    Cow dung is excellent fire fuel and doesn’t stink. My wife can remember when it was used as flooring in India (and probably still is in the deep countyside). Its a good slow burning low maintenance fuel and I feel so sorry for the Anari peasants being stuck with a stinky high maintenance fuel instead. (IMHO I don’t think Joe Dever did his research here).

    You accuse the map of being useless, it should be clear that there’s nothing nothing of importance down there.
    Despite having Huntmastery, Divination and Invisibility you are incapable of hiding from a pair of Giaks who make the Keastone Kops look like a model of efficiency.
    You then attempt to cover up your time wasting by criticising Banedon and Paido.
    We’ve a saying over here Lone Wolf, “A bad workman quarrels with his tools”.

    Aside: Lone Wolf’s moral outrage at the Giaks stealing and despoiling is perfectly understandable. They got first pick, of course he’s furious.

    But thank Kai you’ve got a brass whistle again. You just never know when you might find yourself as a referee at a junior league football match…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The refereeing was for the Victorian Soccer Federation – it wasn’t ‘at University’, it was just done during that time that I was attending University. It certainly helped with judgement and self-confidence.

        Liked by 1 person

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