The Masters of Darkness

The Masters of Darkness – Attempt 1, Part 10

As those of my faithful readers (who have been waiting for several days) will know, I am now approaching the headquarters of the final boss (aka Gnaag), who is no doubt shivering with…..

200

Aside : Tim Curry is just the absolute best, and not just for his awesome first name.  See also Clue, Hunt for Red October, Annie, Gabriel Knight, IT (minisieres) and the Three Musketeers.

In any event, as I approach the tower, the expected guard appears, and points a shard of crystal (?!) at me, while demanding that I state my name.

My basic Kai instincts inform me that he is not overly suspicious, given the number of checkpoints anyone would have to penetrate to reach the tower.  I am expected to give the name of the unfortunate whose outfit I have borrowed.

In between my daydreams of Rose Byrne, I remember that I was addressed as Cagath on my journey to Helgedad, and I give that name.

Disguise level – perfect : like this guy…

polar-bear-disguise_o_842656

The guard directs me towards a beam of blue light, which serves as a Star Trek-esque transportation device.  After I step out from the light, I find myself before Darklord Taktaal, who is described as ‘smooth ice-white head’ atop a ‘fur-covered snake body’.

tenor

I quickly remember that Ghanesh, the Darklord to whom I supposedly owe allegiance, is the sworn enemy of Taktaal.  Taktaal demands to know what brings me here.

I can either state that I want to defect to his service, or claim that I have information vital to bringing Ghanesh down.

I think the latter answer will give the impression that I hold some value, since a single soldier wouldn’t make too much difference either way.

So I give the second answer.

Immediately my head is filled with pain.  Either someone started playing a Limp Bizkit song, or Taktaal is trying to scour my brain for information.

Unfortunately, although my Psi-Screen Discipline effectively protects me from harm, it is not able to stop Taktaal discovering my true identity, and I must prepare for the worst.

tenor1

I can use :

  • The Sommerswerd;
  • Either the Dagger of Vashna or Helshezag;
  • a Bow and a Zejar-dulaga Arrow;
  • A ‘normal’ weapon.

I think the Sommerswerd will need to be saved for Gnaag.  This may be my last chance to use the MEGABOW, and I draw it melodramatically, loading it with my MEGAARROW!

Without even the need for an R10 check, the arrow lodges deep into Taktaal’s throat, and he collapses, dead.

That would be 4 Darklord-shaped notches on my belt, thank you very much.

I barely have time to beat my chest before I hear a voice sneer that “Ghanesh will be proud of you!”

I turn and face my destiny….

Project Aon link – Darklord Gnaag

Aside : I was going to stick a Julie Delpy picture in here, but this moment of confrontation is so bad-ass, I thought it best to skip it.

As my adrenalin flows before this epic encounter, I can restore my Endurance to its original level.

Hmmph.

I politely inform the book that this gesture isn’t necessary.

As Gnaag realises my true identity (possibly from the MEGABOW I just used) he summons some kind of misty phantom winged monster.

4a8c02a2b7d47c78f3795101108e630b-angels-and-demons-dark-angels

My Divination Discipline helpfully (!) informs me that this creature is growing stronger by the second and, like Pennywise, it is feeding on my fear.

I try to erect a psychic barrier to prevent this leeching of my emotions.

I need 7 or higher on my R10 check, and my completion of the Spirit Lore-Circle adds 5 to my raw number…..

Result is – 0!!

edmbk

Panicking about the possibility of an insta-death, I am relieved when I turn to the next paragraph to rather be told that I must now fight the ‘Mind Reaper’.

Note – Because this is a battle with a spirit creature, I can double any Mindblast or Psi-Surge bonuses.

Mind Reaper – CS : 30, E : 36

Lone Wolf (using Dagger of Vashna & Psi-Surge) – CS : 42, E : 32

With an R10 of 8 in the first round, The Mind Reaper is vanquished, with Lone Wolf only losing the 1 Endurance point.

Gnaag, seeing my victory, attempts to make his way to the Transfusor, in an attempt to summon the other Darklords back to Helgedad.  Seeing that he can’t make it in time, he draws his (awesomely-named) sword Nadazgada and turns to face me.

Project Aon link Gnaag (thumbnail picture)

NOW the Sommerswerd comes into play!

After being confined for so long, I draw the sword and………..

………………..

………………………………

 

a surge of energy bursts from the tip, obliterating Gnaag before I can even say ‘anti-climax’.!

Just to rub it in, the book confirms that Gnaag has been converted to ‘sightless atoms’ (!)

I turn to 350 (!) and summarise this final paragraph in one beautiful series of bullet-points :

  • I set the Crystal Explosive to the Transfusor.
  • I steal yet another mount, riding Gnagg’s Imperial Zlanbeast into the night air.
  • The Explosive…well….explodes, turning Helgedad into ‘a fiery holocaust of shattered granite and twisted steel’
  • I certainly hope that every single being that lived in that city was evil, otherwise…..
  • The chain reaction destroys the Darklords, along with their armies (?) throughout Magnamund.
  • I return to Sommerlund a ‘conquering hero’, and my exploits will inspire future generations of the Kai.

victory-1

Although I don’t remember my original copy of this book having a sequel hook, the Project Aon version does in fact confirm that the adventure continues in Book 13!

 

 

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 (5 arrows), 10. Silver Bracers (+2 CS, +1 E) (6), 11. EMPTY 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 : Grand Master

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 : 350

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19 thoughts on “The Masters of Darkness – Attempt 1, Part 10

  1. What’s the better punchline for drawing your “sword” and “a surge of energy bursts from the tip”:

    1) (Lone Wolf in shamed, defensive voice) “I swear, this has never happened to me before!”

    2) That’s what thoughts of Julie Delpy and Rose Byrne will get you.

    I don’t know, I think there’s a much better one, but my mind can’t reach it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. So you made it!!! I think it’s the first time you feel yourself so powerful using Sommerswerd to destroy an evil creature (in this case Gnaag, with no tricks in the next paragraph putting off you, as used for the Sultan in Book 9, for example). This victory makes you feel really good even if you are 30, 40 or more…no age for a victory like this!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. There wasn’t a specific reference to book 13 in the original publication of The Masters of Darkness, but the ending of section 350 is still quite sequel hook-y:

    “Yet the saga that is the story of your life does not end here. In future times the chronicle will tell of the adventures you undertook during your Kai Grand Mastership.”

    Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been sorting out a load of old stuff I have in storage. Just this weekend past I happened to dig out my copies of gaming magazines GM and Games Master International, a couple of which contain articles of some relevance here.

    Volume 1 No 1 of GM (cover date September 1988, less than half a year after Masters came out) contains an interview with Joe Dever, in which he says:

    “I conceived the idea of Freeway Warrior mainly because I wanted to do something completely different, a complete change after Lone Wolf had finished,”
    but goes on to state that:
    “I want to go back to Lone Wolf as well with a thing called the Grand Master series. I’ve outlined eight episodes.”

    In issue 3 of Games Master International (cover date October 1990) is a then-exclusive preview of Plague Lords, with introductory text to the preview which states that:

    “Ever since Masters was published, back in April 1988, Joe Dever has been inundated with literally thousands of letters from Lone Wolf fans all over the world, urging him to keep his promise to continue the saga of the Kai. Well, this is exactly what he’s done.”

    So there was always an opening for a follow-up series, and fan response was sufficiently enthusiastic that, once Freeway Warrior was out of the way, Dever went straight back to Magnamund.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Congratulations on defeating the Darklords (except Vashna, but more on that in four books’ time).

    I thought about commenting on the previous post that there wouldn’t be much point in rescuing the torture victims Lone Wolf saw, considering what happens when the Transfusor is destroyed, but I didn’t want to spoil the climax.

    There’s no need to worry about last-minute random instant deaths in the Magnakai series; Joe Dever saved them for the Grand Master books. But that’s a concern for another day. For now, just bask in your total victory.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good point about the city destruction – hadn’t really thought about that in retrospect. Interesting that Dever took care to make sure that you didn’t run into a single sympathetic creature in the entire city of Helgedad.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. He tried that in Castle Death (well there’s the Vakeros you can rescue but he just goes to the home for sidekicks in the sky) but got a backlash over how he handled it. This time he kept the torture victims as mindless lizards.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Is there an explanation for how the Sommerswerd can fire the beam when it couldn’t in Book 5, due to being out of the sun? Maybe the korlinium scabbard?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. As I recall, it’s essentially that the Sommerswerd’s energies have been building up while the scabbard has been containing its power, and the moment you draw it, that concentration of power is instantly released.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It couldn’t in book 5 because of being underground, being out of the sun wasn’t a problem when in the Caverns of Kalte or inside Ikaya or in the sewers of Vassagonia. This time you’re in a tower so it works fine. Sea level may have an effect as it also works in the Ruanon mines.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. @Ed. In all places its a sword with hefty CS bonus and double damage against the undead but Shadow when you try to use it as a Laser Cannon it emphasises in ref 353 “you are below ground” whearas here you’re at the top of a tower, although I admit the examples I gave weren’t actually relevant.

        Rereading references to the Sommerswerd though I think more relevant is the comments earlier in Masters, namely your getting a surge of power when Gnaag arrives as you’ve finally a chance to get rid of the Darklords, which is the purpose of the Kai Lords (50), when it flashes you’re told “Until now the power of the sword has been held in check, locked and subdued within its divinely crafted blade” (214), and it was sent to Magnamund and the Sommlending specifically to destroy the Darklords. So basically its a fulfilment of purposes moment with no reason to hold anything back. It can also be called a Deus Ex Machina situation (which admittedly is often criticised as a plot device).

        Liked by 1 person

  6. So with a couple of fibs (its not lying when the other side isn’t entitled to the truth, this however happens a lot less than people pretend), a twang, one of your few failed rolls, a single slash and then a flash (in the face). You can definitely say of the Darklords Veni, Vini, Vici.

    Roll on reading what you said next.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “Tim Curry is just the absolute best, and not just for his awesome first name.”
    Agreed, I have waited 17 days to add this youtube ref (don’t know how to do it on the tablet). Its Tim Curry doing “I am a Pirate King” on The Royal Variety Show in 1982 (while he’d already established a major name for himself with things like The Rocky Horror Picture Show), as I was only 12 at the time this was my first experience of Tim Curry.

    Liked by 1 person

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