Sunday, 19 July 2015

Dysartes vs. The Warlock - Round 1

Time to do battle with the Warlock
While at UK Games Expo last June, I attended a seminar hosted by Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson (no, not the Munchkin Steve Jackson), where they recalled anecdotes of their time setting up Games Workshop, along with the history of the Fighting Fantasy series of books.

Following the seminar, there was the obligatory book signing, and I was fortunate enough to acquire - and get signed - a copy of the 25th Anniversary printing of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain from Ian's stash.

Having bought it, and had a flick through it, the book as been sat on the table in my living room ever since. Recently, I've been looking into games I can play on my own, as opposed to attending a gaming group or having people over. While I've picked up a couple of games, and will be taking a look at them in later posts, it occurred to me that the Fighting Fantasy books were a good example of that sort of thing. They also have a big advantage over board games in terms of being very compact, and only needing a couple of additional items to be usable - some scrap paper, a pencil and a couple of six-sided dice.

Creation dice.
The books work fairly simply, but there is a little administration to take care of. Firstly, I needed to generate my character's statistics. One small handful of dice, cast as shown to the left, and my ratings for Skill, Stamina and Luck were determine, as shown in the table below:

StatisticColourHow to determineResult
LuckGreen & whited6+612
SkillBlue & goldd6+610
StaminaSmoke & white2d6+1217

Not a bad spread - getting the maximum result for Luck should prove to be very useful, given how the Test of Luck mechanic works - roll 2d6 and try to get equal to or below your current Luck statistic. I'm less sure about the Stamina score, only rolling a 5 on my 2d6, but hopefully my starting Skill will keep me safe for a while.

The final thing I need to do is determine which of three potions I'm going to take with me into the dungeon - given the options are Luck, Skill and Stamina, I'll take Stamina, as I figure I might need to refill that first.

With all that sorted out, it is time to make my way into Firetop Mountain, and try to defeat the Warlock. I don't expect to get there on my first try, but we'll see how I get on. I'll record the location reference for each stage, along with notes of my choices and what happened. As a general rule, I'll be investigating as much as possible, to experience as much of the dungeon as I can. After all, to quote GI Joe, knowing is half the battle...

1Enter the dungeon, and head East.
278Turn around, and head West.
N.B - I remembered this choice from the one time a friend of mine tried working through the book, so knew not to try to barge the door down.
92Continue past the entrance, and carry on heading West.
71Found a sleeping Goblin - tried to sneak past him.
Test my Luck result - Pass. -1 Luck.
301Heard snoring from behind a door - decided to open the door.
82Find another Goblin asleep on the straw. Sneak into the room to try and grab the wooden box he has under the table.
Test my Luck result - Pass. -1 Luck.
147Back in the passage, I opened the box. Inside, I find 1 piece of gold, and a small mouse, which I release.
Additional gain - 2 points of Luck.
208Carry on north up the west corridor to another door, which I listened at. I decide to try to open the door.
397Find another small box under a table in the room, which is unoccupied. Time to open the box...
240...and get attacked by a small snake. Some flailing, and my first experience of the combat system later, and the snake is defeated!
145Turns out that during my flailing at the snake, I dropped the box, and a bronze key had fallen out of it. On closer inspection, there is a 99 inscribed upon it. I tuck the key in a pouch, and head along the corridor.
363Having followed further up the corridor, I find a door in the west wall, with some terrible singing (or, at least, I think it is meant to be singing) coming from behind it. I decide to investigate.
370I seem to have interrupted the drinking session of two more of these Orcs. Despite being outnumbered - mainly because they're drunk - I draw my sword and attack.
116Cue the fight scene!
378Thanks to the combat advantage of fighting drunken opponents, I manage to defeat them handily. After checking the room, I find a box with a brass nameplate reading "Farrigo Di Maggio" on it, and decide to open it.
296Inside the box I find a journal of some kind, and after reading it am able to memorise the Dragonfire spell. Given I'm a bloke with a sword, I really hope I'm not going to need an anti-dragon spell, but this place must be called Firetop Mountain for a reason...

Time to move on.
42Heading back into the corridor, I follow it until I reach a T-junction at the end, and choose to head west.
257The corridor to the west finishes at a wooden door after only a short walk. I can hear angry shouting of some form from behind it, and decide to pop my head around the door to investigate.
168Given he has been beating his servant, I'm going to assume the Orc Chieftain I've just disturbed has never heard of Dignity and Respect at Work. I draw my sword to attack the Chieftain, in the hope his minion will aid his rescuer over his abuser.
65Apparently the servant is suffering from some form of Stockholm Syndrome, as he grabs a club to attack me, rather than his abusive boss. Oh well, this fight may take longer than I first thought...
372Parry, parry, thrust, thrust - good!
21I manage to defeat both Orcs, but take a hit from the Chieftain (-2 STA). Taking a breath, I spy a strong-looking chest in a corner of the room, and decide to see if I can force it open.
339A bit of brute strength does for the lock, and opening the chest reveals a small heap of loot!

Unfortunately, it also triggers a trap of some sort, and the poisoned dart drains some of my strength (-4 STA).
201Removing the dart, I decide to take this opportunity to eat a meal (+4 STA), as well as to examine the loot from the chest. I'm not sure about the glove, but I may as well take it all and sort it out later.

Loot: 25 Gold Pieces, 1 measure of a Potion of Invisibility and a black glove. 
293Leaving the Chieftain's room, I return to the junction, and head east.
113Arriving at another junction, I decide to continue heading east, rather than turning north.
78The passage ends at another closed wooden door (I wonder why none of these doors are ever open...), with metallic clattering sounds coming from beyond it.Time to investigate further...
159More Orcs! In this case, five of them, enjoying a meal of soup. Given the plan of "Attack them all!" has worked so far, I draw my sword and, well, attack! How bad can it be?
365Surprisingly, the Orcs form an orderly queue, and I am able to fight them one at a time - maybe I fell back a little, and used the door to prevent flanking.
183Worse than I thought - a couple of lucky blows got through (-4 STA), though I'm able to defeat the group. Searching the room, I eventually find a thin, yet long, leather case, and decide to open it. I also feel quite proud of my victory, regaining 5 STA.
266Inside the case is a bow and a single silver arrow. The case also features an inscription, which reads "The giver of sleep to those who never can." No idea what that means, but the bow might be useful later, so I take it with me.
237I leave the dining room, and head back to the last junction, heading north.
285As I head up it, I find a well-used door on the east wall, with a man's screams clearly audible from beyond it. I can't be doing with torture, so I try to open the door to put an end to it...
213Locked. Rats. Time for a shoulder charge to break it down.
36The door bursts open - surprisingly, no torture is occurring, but there is a crazy old man charging at me with an improvised club.
263Shouting at him seems to jar him out of his mental state, and he calms down - a good thing, as I'd rather not kill a prisoner. I pick up a few useful tips before he leaves the room to make his way back out of the dungeon.
314I continue heading north, until I find another door in the east wall. Despite listening closely, I can't hear any sound from beyond it, but decide to investigate anyway.
223Locked again? Time to try to force this one open.
53Charge at the door...
155...and knock it down. I find myself in the armory, by the look of things, though most of the items fail to take my fancy. There is an interesting-looking shield, but in the end I decide it looks to heavy to carry, and leave it where it is.

At this point I feel I've reached a good point to take a break. I've been reasonably lucky thus far, and picked up a reasonable amount of loot. My character sheet now looks like the following:

Meals remaining9
  • 26 gold pieces
  • Bronze key with 99 engraved upon it
  • 1 use Potion of Invisibility
  • 1 black glove
  • A bow with a single silver arrow, in a case with an inscription
Spells knownDragonfire, thanks to Farrigo di Maggio

I'll pick up from this position for a second session in the near future - I've enjoyed the book thus far, and can see how if my statistics had been different - or my luck with the dice worse - it would be easy for me to have died already given the route I've taken. Equally, I wonder if not taking that shield may prove to be a bad decision, or if any of these items I've picked up are red herrings - the black glove being an item of particular interest in that regard.