The Masters of Darkness

The Masters of Darkness – Attempt 1, Part 1

As my readers know, Lone Wolf is about to embark upon a critical (well, THE critical) mission to the heart of the enemy’s homeland.

The book states that I, therefore, spend the time prior to my departure ‘resting and reviewing the mission in fine detail’.

But we all know what really happened!

Training montage!

More importantly (as if ANYTHING could truly be more important…) Banedon gives me two things prior to departure :

  1. A ‘Golden Amulet’, that will protect me from the heat and poisonous atmosphere of the Darklands (yet another Special Item that is not subject to the 12-item maximum).

Project Aon link – Golden Amulet

2. In something straight out of a Bond movie, I also get an envelope to be handed to the Captain of the ship after we breach the blockade.  The papers within confirm my identity and give him orders to drop me off in Aarnak.


Hope the crew have their employment health cover paid off in full…

Having said that, they are effectively in the navy, so….bad luck, I guess.

My ship is called the Intrepid, and the Captain’s name is Borse.

Aside : Call me boring, but when I hear that name (Intrepid not Borse), I immediately think of the two-time America’s Cup defender.

Second aside : Every Australian got interested in the America’s Cup in around 1983 and found it boring again in or around February 1987.

In any event, as we start to near the open sea, I decide to offer my services as a lookout, and, when I reach the deck, I discover the captain in earnest conversation on the deck with some ‘Kirlundin’ marines.

While ignoring their gossip about Taylor Swift’s latest exboyfriend, my Huntmastery helps me detect five enemy vessels on the horizon, and I quickly urge the captain to change direction.

I need to make an R10 check, with my Spirit Lore Circle adding 3 to the total :

My score of 4 (+3) = 7 is enough for the successful outcome, which on a practical level means we are able to steer a course clear of the Darklord Ironclads.

Aside : Ironclads? These vessels were steam-propelled, which makes the whole technology level of these books difficult to pinpoint.  The dwarves from Book 5 had quasi-guns, but these were really dismissed as magic.  I don’t know where post-Industrial Revolution stuff comes in…

Project Aon link – Darkland Ironclads

Long story short, we are able to round the ironclad at the end of the blockade, and start to get hopeful about overcoming this initial obstacle on our journey.

What was that about tempting fate?


And….there it is.

Some kind of blue-white fiery projective soars across the sky towards us.

My R10 check of…..[3]…means that….

…………..the missile misses all important parts of the ship and explodes harmlessly on the surface of the ocean.

Image result for missed by that much gif

The crew cheer at, once more, surviving the blockade, and the captain asks the first mate to show me to my cabin.

Before he can go belowdeck, I hand him (the captain) the envelope with his super-secret orders.

Weirdly, he refuses to accept the envelope, insisting that it can wait until morning (!!).  I can either accompany the first mate to my cabin, or stay on watch with the lookouts.

Given the telescopic vision granted by my advanced Magnakai Disciplines, it appears sensible to help with the watch for enemy vessels.

During this time, I gossip with the lookouts, only to find that their home of the Kirlundin Isles has been devastated by the Darklords.


For no reason in particular, I am now informed that I realise it is ‘best’ to get some shuteye before dawn, and I go to my cabin.

And then, after all these vague portents of doom, I go back onto deck after a few hours to find the captain reading the orders, and immediately ordering a change of course to the direction of my destination…?!

Aside : Did Joe Dever need to fill out a few paragraphs to get to the 350 number?  That whole little interlude seemed singularly pointless….


In any event, on the third day of our voyage, we are confronted by a fog which, combined with a lack of wind, renders our ship temporarily becalmed and lifeless.

And, because you just KNEW it was coming, the one Magnakai Discipline which I don’t have suddenly becomes relevant.

A shoal of carp (!) breaks the surface.  My lack of Animal Control doesn’t seem to heed this warning, because….

….a literal sea monster breaches the surface, looking hungrily at the crew and myself.

Project Aon link – Xargath menacing the crew

Aside : for some reason, even though this sea creature is portrayed as being beyond my experience or knowledge, I am somewhere aware that it is called a ‘Xargath’.


In any event, the Xargath starts demolishing the ship, and I can either use a Bow or the Sommerswerd.

Since the Bow was mentioned first, I decide to fire off an arrow at the beastie’s head (also aware of my massive bonuses due to the MEGABOW and my Weaponmastery.

However, as the beast lunges at me, I am unfortunately aware (again!) that I don’t have the skill of Animal Control.

I am therefore literally rolled over by the beast’s breath (!) losing 2 Endurance.  I manage to ready my MEGABOW and can choose to fire at the beast’s eye, mouth or ear.

I always think an eye is the most vulnerable, particularly given the description of the beast’s powerful breath.

Unforunately, the beast apparently has a ‘stone-hard cornea’ (??!!) and my arrow shatters.



As I scramble around to dodge the beast, it temporarily lodges its head in the deck, as it desperate tries to, you know, eat me.

Looks like it is a hand to hand combat….

Or MEGASWORD to……something.

The plus side is that the beast has a nominal Combat skill, given that it is buried in the deck and nearly helpless.  The down side is the Endurance of, well, see for yourself…

Xargath – CS : 10, E : 100 (!!!) (immune to Mindblast)

Lone Wolf – CS : 36, E : 34

Did I get an R10 of 9 in the first round, signalling an instadeath??



See you next time!!


Base Stats : CS : 22, E : 28, GC 22

Final Stats : CS : 39/39, E : 34/34

Weapons : Sword, Dagger

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

Backpack : Rope, Lantern, Potion of Laumspur (+4E), Meals (3)

Special Items : 1. Sommerswerd (+8 CS) (with Korlinium scabbard) 2. Platinum Amulet / Gold Amulet, 3. Dagger of Vashna 4. Shield (+2 CS),     5. Padded Waistcoat (+2 E), 6. Chainmail Waistcoat (+4 E) 7. Blue Stone Triangle Pendant, 8. Psychic Ring 9. Quiver (6 arrows), 10. Fireseeds (6), 11. Crystal Explosive 12. Silver Bow of Duadon.

Kai Monastery storage :

  • Backpack Items : Sack of Silver (3)
  • Special Items : Map of Tekaro, Diamonds (2), Boat Ticket, Power Key, Copper Key, Ornate Silver Key, Jewelled Mace, Obsidian Seal, Brass Whistle. Quiver (4 arrows), Pass, Vial of Clear Liquid, Crystal Star Pendant, Receipt, Invitation, Signet Ring

Magnakai Rank : Archmaster

Magnakai Disciplines : Weaponmastery (+4 CS in Sword, Bow, Mace, Dagger, Spear, Quarterstaff, Broadsword, Warhammer, Axe), Pathmanship, Huntmastery, Divination, Invisibility, Nexus, Psi-Screen, Psi-Surge, Curing

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

Kai Disciplines : Camouflage, Animal Kinship, Tracking, Hunting, Sixth Sense, Healing, Mind Over Matter, Mindblast (+3CS), Mindshield, Weaponskill (+2 CS in Short Sword)

Current paragraph : 35


12 thoughts on “The Masters of Darkness – Attempt 1, Part 1

  1. You don’t think, perhaps, that you know it’s called a Xargath because the lookout shouts “Xargath!” in the first paragraph of the section where it appears?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The bad guys always have a higher technology level. Apparently in a fantasy world industry is BAD BAD BAD and unless you are living a bucolic life, you are evil and any attempt to progress beyond that makes you evil. What’s the first thing Saruman did in the Lord of the Rings films when we found out he was bad? Build a bunch of factories, that’s what. Unfortunatley, this is never really explored in many heroic fantasy books. It seems that if you are willing to experiment and/or progress something beyond medieval level technology, you are evil, or you are messing with stuff that is evil. I know that they might do this beause industrial level technology produces pollution and it looks like the bad guys don’t care about disrupting nature, but no one knew about global warming until well after the industrial revolution and after reading the medieval machine, a great book on medieval industry, even the medieval people weren’t averse to sticking 60 smithies around the Forest of Dean to use the wood as fuel or throwing chemicals from tanner shops into the rivers or burning sea coal, which is very sooty and causing all kinds of smoke (which, to be fair, the queen at the time did complain about – yes, the first complaint about air pollution was in 1273). However, experimenting and progressing in other areas seems to make you evil.
    In the LW books, Vonotar got kicked out for experimenting with Right Handed Magic (the bad kind, which is the opposite to what is normally symbolised) and trying to mix it with left handed magic. But what’s the difference between a left handed lightning bolt and a right handed firebolt? Nothing; they both kill people. But that still makes him evil for some reason. If done badly, it makes the “good” guys look like closed minded luddite witch hunters.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yeah, the whole ‘some things better for mankind not to know’ trope has been around since at least Doctor Faustus in the Elizabethan era.

      Isaac Asimov wrote an excellent introduction to one of his collections of Robot short stories where he emphasised that, although technology will always have risks, fiction writers often ignore the fact that inventors / developers will usually use their best efforts to impose reasonable safeguards and precautions to mitigate the risks of such technology. Hence, the famous Three Laws of Robotics.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “The bad guys always have a higher technology level.”

        Zombie’s don’t for starters. Judge Dredd usually has higher technology and skills than his foes, he’s just outnumbered. Bad guys have to have some form of superiority, otherwise its not exciting (who would remember David and Goliath if David was 9 feet tall and Goliath was a midget?)

        “in a fantasy world industry is BAD BAD BAD”

        “Guardians of the Flame” by Joel Rosenberg has been described (by his wife) as “basically a million-word love letter to the industrial revolution” because the people who love playing such games would hate to live in such worlds. Again, the enemies have to have some form of superiority, whether its magical, numerical, political, economical or, of course, technological. This really applies to all forms of entertainment (The Death Star was the most powerful force in the Galaxy and the Jedi preferred Lightsabre’s to Laser Guns, that doesn’t make Star Wars anti-technology).

        “the first thing Saruman did”
        The objection wasn’t to him making industry. It was to his attacking the Ent’s forests (in the film Treebeard comments that many of the tree’s cut down had “voices of their own”, that is they were intelligent and communicative). As for Saruman later making a factory as part of the Desolation of the Shire, the complaint against that was that it was a factory but that all it seemed to produce was pollution,

        “the medieval machine”

        WOW! Can I just say sincerely “Thank You Stuart”. That was a fascinating and informative section and why I wanted to comment on the rest. Yes, its true that developing technology has resulted in cleaner ways of doing things, the problem isn’t the technology, its do people apply the proper safety procedures (when the Fukushima Nuclear Plant Disaster took place there was knee jerk anti-nuclear power announcements made by various governments which TOTALLY IGNORED that the real problem had been criminally incompetent design features /basically the surrounding wall was ridiculously small so the Tsunami went right over them and the emergency generators were on the ground floor so they then got flooded, both of these could have been avoided).

        I wish I could give you several thumbs up for your comment, I may not agree with all of it but the information you gave was great.

        “what’s the difference between a left handed lightning bolt and a right handed firebolt? … But that still makes Vonotar evil for some reason”

        We’re going mainly on the novels here, and John Grant (AKA Paul Barnett) does give Magnamund a Technological age although he seems unhappy to do so. That said, the Left Handed Mages are not portrayed as automatically good and wise just because they use the Left Hand but the NadZiran Right Hand definitely leads to evil (Vonotar is declared evil for his actions, not his use of Right Hand. And if Right Hand Magic wasn’t affecting his brains then why did he think it was a good idea to go the The Darklords of all people???). Basically if an author says one type of magic is definitely evil then unless you get evidence to the contrary then we can believe them.

        But thanks again for the info on medieval pollution.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. “Things mankind shouldn’t know” reminds me of the creed of medieval Japanese feudal lords to keep their subjects subject “Shirashimu bekarazu, yorashimu beshi,” meaning, “Keep them ignorant and dependent”. We’ve brains designed to probe, discover and invent and should use them.

        “inventors / developers will usually use their best efforts to impose reasonable safeguards and precautions”

        In Fallout 3 there’s a sub-quest where you have to deal with a science experiment that’s raged out of control. If you’re own science is at a reasonable level you can berate the Scientist in charge for not having proper precautions in place and he’ll get all ashamed and admit you’re right. Mistakes happen, usually we learn from them AKA The Person who doesn’t make mistakes doesn’t do anything..

        Liked by 1 person

  3. “Ironclads? These vessels were steam-propelled, which makes the whole technology level of these books difficult to pinpoint.”

    In fairness look at our own world history. The first Ironclad was built in 1859. 18 years later General Custer’s CAVALRY regiment was wiped out against a foe armed with arrows and lances. Steam power itself goes back 2000 years. The Darklords would have to invest a lot of resources into fuel to keep the fires burning but the Drakkarim have been in Magnamund for about two and a half thousand years by now so there’s been time to do the research, its just putting it into practice. There was a “clash” over whether Magnamund would have a technological age but who can top Stuart Lloyld’s comment on that.

    “For no reason in particular, I am now informed that I realise it is ‘best’ to get some shuteye before dawn”

    You’ve just been informed that their homeland has been destroyed, they “fear that they may never live to see their islands free again”, the fact that they now count as you’re companions guarantee’s they won’t live to see anything again, and “a brooding silence descends on the deck”. Face it, Lone Wolf was the party pooper here.

    “this sea creature is portrayed as being beyond my experience or knowledge”

    Are you using a real copy of the book for this one? You’re using phraseology slightly different from the Project Aon version. I have a copy of that at family home, I’ve just grown lazy using Project Aon instead of cluttering up an already cluttered up house. Also may I ask are you a Strictly Ballroom fan or did you just use the “That was unexpected” gif? My mum was at a meeting one time and quoted a line from that movie, “A life lived in fear is a life half-lived!”, she’d meant it to be encouraging but another member immediately yelled “I object to that personal and insulting remark from Vivette”. Well, we’d known there was something off with him…

    I look forward to making pointless and inane comments on the next post.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You have to watch it at least twice. There’s so much you catch the second time as you know more about what’s going on. Actually I have to watch it again soon, wonder if son is old enough to enjoy it yet….


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