The Cauldron of Fear

The Cauldron of Fear, Attempt 3, Part 5

Yes, I’m still alive, although greatly frustrated by the slow-moving machinery of the Court system in Australia.

Aside : It is never fun when you have to tell your client that they need to deposit $41,000.00 to pay for barristers, and that this deposit must happen within THREE DAYS.

And before you ask – that’s a third party expense – not directed at myself.

On a lighter note, Lone Wolf finds his way to the (unofficial) wizards’ tower of Tahou, and has a (literally) tearful reunion with Banedon.


In summary, Banedon mentions that :

  • The city has suffered several incursions, but that they have been repelled.
  • Both the President and Senator Chil have died.  Whether they died from CHOKING ON THEIR OWN TRAITOROUS WORDS is left unsaid.
  • The enemy continue to assault the city with all their remaining forces, although the flying Kraan have now been decimated.

I can now see the Vassagonian forces advancing on the city.  At their head is Zakhan Kimah, who you may remember from Shadow on the Sand.

More importantly from my perspective, he still has the Orb of Death which was given to him by Darklord Haakon in return for helping with my capture.

Aside : Pretty sweet deal for the Zakhan – the Darklords didn’t end up with myself or the Book of the Magnakai, but the Zakhan kept the Orb!…..He probably has a law degree, with that kind of negotiating success.


As I watch in (presumably) horrified silence, a defending soldier attempts to attack the Zakhan, only to be melted into ash.

More worryingly, the Zakhan uses his mystic powers to destroy the gates to the city, and enters brashly, together with the attacking soldiers.

Project Aon link – Zakhan entering the city

Since all others fall before him, I face him for the final battle.

Aside : I haven’t (as at the typing of this line) resolved this conflict, but I certainly have editorial comments on it.  Stay tuned.

I acknowledge that I do have the Sommerswerd, and the book smugly informs me that a bolt of ‘scarlet fire’ erupts from the orb.

Of course, I’m not worried, because the Lone Wolf wikia entry on the Sommerswerd specifically mentions that the wielder is immune to hostile magic, and therefore….

I’m sorry –


….the book informs me that,  LITERALLY RIGHT AFTER ASKING IF I HAVE THE SOMMERSWERD, the bolt catches me in the shoulder, causing the loss of 5 Endurance points.


Well, battle is joined.

Zakhan Kimah – CS : 39, E : 46

Well, that  isn’t so bad…..







Zakhan Kimah – CS : 39, E : 46

Oh yeah, he’s immune to Mindblast AND Psi-Surge.

Lone Wolf – CS : 32, E : (after that gratuitous energy bolt) 26


This could be…..interesting.



I won’t go through the entire combat, because it is too depressing.  I will say that my first three R10 checks were 3, 0, 0.

At that point, the Zakhan had been reduced to 29 Endurance while my score was at a (halfway) decent level of 20.

Subsequent R10 checks of 4, , 7 and 5 sealed my fate.


Alright – now I can say –


Making the final enemy have freakishly high combat scores doesn’t add to the ‘challenge’ – IT ADDS TO THE BOREDOM.


Even worse, in the original printing of this book, the Zakhan had a mind-boggling Combat Skill score of 44 (!!!??).

In any event, I do actually have some unorthodox ideas for trying to get over this final hurdle, although I will have to use some ‘meta-gaming’ decisions to defeat the book’s deterination to make life difficult.

Are you intrigued?

Well – stay tuned.

I say this…





Base Stats : CS : 19, E : 25, GC 0

Current Stats : CS : 34/34, E : 0/31

Weapons : Sword, Dagger

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

Backpack : Vial of Gold Dust, Lantern, Blanket, Altar Cloth, Flask of Water, Sacks of Silver (1), Flask of Boza

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. Psychic Ring 9. Quiver (5 arrows), 10. Fireseeds (6), 11. EMPTY 12. Silver Bow of Duadon.

Extra Special Item : Receipt

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, Nexus

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 : 128


12 thoughts on “The Cauldron of Fear, Attempt 3, Part 5

  1. 5:
    I think I died at least 4 times against this enemy. My first character had a CS of 12. After I rerolled it I got 17, but still got smitten easily. In the end I just cheated and declared that I didn’t have the Sommerswerd: after I was hit by magic (damage was limited by the Psychic Ring) I faced a Zakhan with a significantly lower CS. It was still a tough challenge, and I died once again, before finally triumphing over him. At the fifth attempt.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I was playing it on the Android app from Project Aon, so no chance to “cheat”! Had to go through all the book again and again! But luckily it’s pretty straightforward when you know the right choices.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. You declare your frustration at the slow-moving court system BUT when Gwynian fast tracked your own court appearance you cried fowl. You’d undoubtedly be happier with both your issues if you’d just stop viewing clients as human beings, please don’t. (I know there’s a world of difference between your job and helping a customer get some wine for their dad’s funeral, but yeah, you want to make things easier for someone who’s already going through plenty of pain but we can only do what we can do. If we’ve done what we can then we can still take pride in knowing we truely did all we could).

    Back to a world where it’s legal to kill our problems. (My word suggester suggested “mothers” instead of problems … I’m getting worried about my tablet.)

    Banedon’s tears are more to do with realising he’s in more danger with you near him, as subsequent events prove.

    Zakhan Kimah had the Orb, Darklord Haakon was dead, the Darklords were in civil war and when they came out of it Kimah had both the Orb and the second largest in Magnamund. Realpolitic wins every day.

    Ok, if you started either Flight or Fire with only 10 CS you would never have gotten the Sommerswerd, you may recall your inital CS being so low on you were thinking of rerolling with each book. Joe Dever claimed you could finish each book with abysmally low CS and EP but in the real world you’d have to be tough … like you were. Um. Ok. I know when I played I thought you could combine Weaponmastery and Weaponskill for 5 CS rather that three but with Kimah having an extra 5 CS that wouldn’t have made a difference. I remember this being a difficult fight but not THAT 😠😠😠. Guess I must have /sudden fit of coughing/.

    Third Manly Macho Sympathetic Clap on the shoulder of this book. Looking forward to seeing your master plan. Also all the best with todays Court Case (s).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So I’m starting to wonder– if you don’t have any special weapons but do have the Psychic Ring, you can disrupt the Zakhan’s shield and make him not only vulnerable to regular weapons but also vulnerable to Mindblast and Psi-surge. Shouldn’t the latter also hold if you do have the Sommerswerd? I mean, I doubt Lone Wolf needs to consciously use the Psychic Ring. It would be kind of difficult for him to focus on the combat if he did. But if its effect is automatic, it would make the Zakhan vulnerable to Mindblast and Psi-surge regardless of what else Lone Wolf is carrying.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, the flying Kraan have been decimated, have they? I guess they’re only attacking the city with 90% of their forces, then. Excuse the sarcasm, I know that language evolves and the original meaning of “decimate” is no longer the main one. But as someone pointed out, “devastate” is almost the same word and much more accurate. And thanks to the great fellow Wisconsinite Tony Shalhoub for teaching me that “decimate” means reduce by 1/10th, when Monk was fired and tried his hand at fact-checking (it was the first of MANY mistakes he found in one magazine).

    Your impassioned, all-CAPS plea, and Fenrir’s question to Krsnavada, leads me to ask (maybe for the second time if I’ve forgot), if anyone’s read Michael J. Ward’s DestinyQuest series. If you die in combat (and there’s no instant kills), you can return to the same page immediately and fight again (with some exceptions). You have all your health restored, though so does your opponent, and you only lose any potions or backpack items you used in that battle. In fact, you always have full health restored after a battle (again with exceptions). If you don’t want to immediately return to the fight, you note the entry number so you can go back to the fight, go to a town and buy potions and such, or go on a different quest to upgrade your equipment (and you ALWAYS have options for new gear after you win a battle). Oh, and you can choose which quests you can go on and when (with some quests having prerequisites). And they’re color-coded by difficulty, so you don’t go in blind.

    There’s story-related reasons why your character never dies for long and fully heals between battles, though the “return to the battle you lost immediately or whenever you want, it’s cool” part might require some suspension of disbelief, story-wise. But they’re excellent books, and practically eliminate the problem you just had. Good thing, because the fights can get BRUTAL, but are also fun and exciting. The DestinyQuest series stalled after three books (#1 is great, #2 is amazing, #3 is the worst and still really good, and all try new stuff), but Mr. Ward says he almost certainly has a new book deal and will start writing in July, with maybe a new book next year.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve actually played through the Destiny Quest series (at least the ones that exist so far). One of the things the author there mentioned in a blog post or an interview early on is that he doesn’t like how in series like Fighting Fantasy and Lone Wolf your chances of success are affected dramatically by the initial stats you roll. His way of dealing with this is to have you start with all stats (other than health) at zero and have them increased only through items or special abilities acquired over the course of the adventure. I definitely like it as an innovation, but I think it only works because the books are so long (typically 900+ sections) and so combat-intensive (the point is to get powerful and win combats, as opposed to FF or LW where the point is to get to the last section).


  5. This book’s ending would have been far better if the player were given the choice of whether to use the Sommerswerd or not, followed by an explanation that Kimah ups the power from his orb to counter the Sommerswerd as justification for why his stats are so much higher fighting him that way. It thus would have been a strategic choice with a logical explanation as to why choosing not to use the Sommerswerd is the right, albeit counter-intuitive, move.

    Absent that, it makes very little sense.

    Interestingly there is actually another way to not have the Sommerswerd for the final fight. If you had been arrested and broken out of prison, it is possible to not find your weapon-like Special Ittems as part of your escape, and not have them returned by Gwynian either if you don’t get caught after escaping. They are then returned to you at the end of the book after your victory. But if that happened, you wouldn’t have the Dagger of Vashna either, and thus would have had to use the Psychic Ring to fight Kimah, albeit with reduced stats.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep. I couldn’t see any way (while obeying the strict rules of the book) to take the Sommerswerd with me and then not to use it in the final confrontation. The ‘cascading’ options are painful. There is a well-known example in Caverns of the Snow Witch, where having the ‘first’ items results in a difficult battle, while having the ‘second’ item results in avoiding the battle altogether!


  6. Are you using a d10, a random number generator, or pointing at the Random Number Table with a pencil? The latter method is a great equaliser in these situations, particularly if you note where the 0s and 9s are clustered…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am not fond of forcing LW to use the sommerswerd if he has it, despite it leading to a much harder fight, but realistically, the hero wouldn’t, without the foreknowledge granted by previous attempt, choose to use another weapon. Maybe the Dagger of Vashna as a throwing weapon, but never in hand-to-hand battle. Unless givent a hint before.

    Liked by 1 person

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