Just to recap – Lone Wolf has just successfully hidden in an alleyway from enemies of the Darklord whose insignia he wears.
I’ve now read paragraph 48 several times, and I’m become convinced that Joe Dever wrote the first half, went and had lunch, and then wrote the second half. The paragraph goes like this:
I wait ‘in silence’ in the alleyway, until I am ‘sure that [I am] not being followed’.
I then continue through the streets of Helgedad, after a while coming across a cul-de-sac which leads to a ‘square tower’. A creature stands guard at the tower, holding an apparently magical stave which ‘crackles’ with blue fire.
All of the sudden the sound of ‘howling screams’ behind me warns me that I am ‘being pursued’?!
Didn’t the book confirm a couple of paragraphs ago that I had waited in hiding until I was sure that I wasn’t being followed? And how could the mere sound of howling indicate pursuit? Aren’t unfortunates being attacked and tortured every five minutes in this hellhole?
I am informed of my decision that, rather than face these pursuers, Lone Wolf will attempt to seek refuge in the guarded tower (!)
I whip out my MEGABOW, and, with an extra bonus given for my high rank of Huntmastery, even an R10 of 3 is high enough to get me the best possible outcome, which is an arrow TO THE FACE of the enemy and entry to the tower.
Quickly searching the body of the guard on the way through, I see a Black Cube and a Black Key.
Aside : I’m strongly reminded of the 1960-1990 period of comic books, when (seemingly) every African American character had to have ‘Black’ as the first word of their name – Black Panther, Black Bolt, Black Vulcan, Black Lightning, Black Eagle, Black Talon….
You get the idea.
Yeah, yeah Luke Cage – not you. You were too busy being called ‘Power Man’ and having a catchphrase like ‘Sweet Christmas!’.
Back on track, Lone Wolf.
My skill of Divination helps me identify the Black Cube as an explosive device, which (and this is important) can only be activated by creatures of the Darklands. That sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, so I leave the Cube behind and just take the Black Key.
Again, the internal consistency is lacking. Finding the first couple of rooms vacant, you would think that if Lone Wolf just wanted to hide from his pursuers, he’d hang out here, waiting for the pursuit to go on by. But instead, and without any options, I somehow decide that I wish to investigate further this tower in the middle of my enemy’s biggest city!
I descend some stairs to a basement level, and find the room at the bottom deserted.
I then follow this subterranean tunnel for….
wait for it….
Apparently this tunnel, beneath a tower which I randomly dashed into, leads to the Imperial Sector of the city, as evidenced by sighting Darklord Gnaag’s symbol at a crossroads of tunnels.
I’ve heard of railroading, but this is more than slightly ridiculous.
In any event, I continue on, seeing that the tunnel ends at a large steel door, guarded by two creatures of dubious repute.
There is also a smaller, less obtrusive door in the wall to my left.
Do I have a Black Key?
I unlock the door, and enter something that seems like a cross between a mad scientist’s laboratory and an H.P. Lovecraft short story.
See for yourself
My attention is drawn to an arrow-shaped rod, suspended above a workbench by a field of electrical energy, with such energy emerging from two surrounding plates of metal.
While noting another door at the rear of the room, I first examine the rod more closely.
For some reason (presumably because of my Magnakai skill in Bow) I can now identify the rod as a Zejar-dulaga, a poisoned arrow with magical accuracy!
Do I want to take it??
Rather than go back the way I came, I check out the door at the back of the room.
It opens into the Imperial Armoury!
Interestingly, I am asked at this point whether I possess that Black Cube, which you may recall I decided was too dangerous to take with me. I may never know whether that was a good move.
The book doesn’t allow me to take any weapons or other goodies, but rather simply notes that I pass by some of the dark wizards testing torture devices on unfortunate victims.
Lone Wolf appreciates the greater importance of the larger mission and doesn’t intervene.
In another ‘who’da thunk it?’ moment, I emerge from the underground tunnel literally right at the entrance to Gnaag’s headquarters, the Tower of the Damned.
The Imperial Zlanbeast parked at the top of the tower suggests that Gnaag is inside and I move with resolve towards the entrance…..
[Insert ominous music]
Aside : How I spent Friday night
Second aside : How many pop culture references can you spot in this first trailer for Ready Player One?
Base Stats : CS : 22, E : 28, GC 22 (Kika 28)
Final Stats : CS : 44/44, E : 32/32
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), Black Key.
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. Bronin Vest (+3 CS, +1 E) 7. Blue Stone Triangle Pendant, 8. Psychic Ring 9. Quiver (6 arrows including Zejar-dulaga), 10. Silver Bracers (+2 CS, +1 E) (6), 11. Crystal Explosive 12. Silver Bow of Duadon.
‘Extra-Special item’ – Green Mask
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 : 320