Saturday, 9 January 2010

#53 - Spellbreaker

Reading some of the previous reviews of Spellbreaker, I think a better title for the book might be 'Gamebreaker'. Luckily, I didn't knowingly come across any of the multiple bugs it has, nor did I notice when I owned it the first time around. Probably 'cause I always cheated.


Anyway, so you're some guy who unwittingly lets the Titan equivalent of a Sith steal some magic book from a woefully undefended monastery, which in four nights will allow the demon pictured on the right (I assume) escape the snug, overheating coffin he's been trapped in. With the help of Skeletor, it would appear.

And despite the fact you've rolled a SKILL score of 7, it's somehow up to you to retrieve the book. Okay, maybe you didn't, but I did. Luckily (pun intended) I rolled a LUCK score of 12, which staved off the inevitable just long enough for me to have enough material to write this blog entry.

So, book thief guy left a parting gift in the form of a demon, one I had to fight in the very first paragraph. With a SKILL of 7, I was facing the very real probability I'd set some kind of FF record for lameness. I got through it, and Brother Hugo, whom I picture to be a cross between Desmond Hume (in his monk phase) and Hugo Reyes, healed my wounds. But only some of them.

The next morning, it was time to pursue the thief, who was probably using dark magic and his day in advance to hightail it back to Evil HQ. Still, I took a few minutes to check out the herb garden, on the monks' advice. They only had three herbs, which is kinda lame for an old-timey religious order. I thought they were smashed the whole time. I chose this lame herb harden over the library, thinking I only had time for one. An hour later, after waiting for some old fat bitch I'd agreed to escort in exchange for cash (escort in the traditional sense, not the naughty sense - I'd need a lot more than 10 gold pieces for that), gamebook mechanics meant I had to spend it sitting about grumbling about how shitty the herb garden was, instead of reading essential information about the plot-to-be in the no doubt awesome library.

The woman has an entire entourage of bodyguards, but she's paying me, with my epic SKILL level of 7, to defend them all? She's stupider than she is fat. The gaudy pimp rings should have tipped me off. Her name is Attana. I call her Fattana.

Anyway, not long after heading off I fail to spot an ambush by brigands, who almost kill me and make off with Fattana's jewellery box. I don't really care, but she tells me if I find it I can have what's inside, and gives me a key marked '252' - the year of her wedding. She's older than I thought.

Ditching that hapless crew, I venture into a small town, and hit up the local bar. If you've read my previous entries, you'd know this is a regular feature of this blog/FF gamebooks. Found some guys who were having a storytelling competition, so thought yeah, I've got some great stories, I'll enter.

Unfortunately, the book didn't give me the option of telling the story about that time I biked 100km through a gorge or woke up one New Year's Day in a tent wearing someone else's shirt, so I lost. I had to roll two die beneath my SKILL level instead. How does my swordfighting prowess affect my ability to tell a good story? Fuck knows.

Anyway, the next day I went to the markets to waste some more time, and a guy asked me if I wanted to buy a hawk. That's not a question that needs asking. Of course I want to buy a fucking hawk. Unfortunately, I'd already bought some cheap Shroud of Turin knockoff, and couldn't afford it. I could afford a whole backpackfull of cheap 'herbs' though, and made my way west towards the city gates.

Came across some religious morons, which the book's description led me to believe they were a cross between the Hare Krishna guys who dance through the CBD here in Auckland every Friday around 6pm, and Opus Dei, as they appeared in The Da Vinci Code.

Turns out I was kind of right - they were the 'Acolytes of Pain'. If I ever form a black metal/goth rock band, it will be called the Acolytes of Pain. They think I'm some kind of heathen (really? No wai!) and try to kill me. I'm already low on stamina, so wolf down three meals and jump the city walls. If I could do that in real life, I would have moved out of Hamilton long before I did.

On the outside though, I don't last long. I survived a werewolf attack through liberal use of LUCK and some of those crazy herbs, but am soon torn apart by werewolves.

If it wasn't werewolves, it would have been the plague tormenting the next town on the road anyway.

Soooo... thanks to my workmate Dan #2, who has loaned me this book and a bunch of others - non FF, but a few Lone Wolf ones and some others that look like Mad Max. I've still got to get through the last two Sorcery! entries at some point too... I should get reading.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good to see you back, Dan, you've been missed!

Anonymous said...

Nice to see you back to your reading/reviewing Dan!

オテモヤン said...

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qrter said...

Yeah, great to see you're back on the job, so to speak.

The Lone Wolf series was also excellent - actually, they were better than FF, I feel.

Avinguda Diagonal said...

FF#55 and #56 are available as pdf files that can be downloaded from some random russian site.

i'm not sure of your stance on such downloads, but i can point you to them if you have no qualms.

foadiron said...

A fight on the very first reference? One which you have to lose 2 skill points for?

Away with you!

James said...

Yeah, this one is crazily difficult, as are Jonathan Green's other FF efforts. You need a lot of very lucky dice rolls to get through, and also buy the exact right things on your very limited budget.

There's also one vital artefact that you can only get through losing a fairly easy fight as well- given that you also need to fight several SKILL 12 opponents and win, this is pretty much a dick move on the part of the author.

It's a shame, as the witchcraft-y setting is very atmospheric, and there are some very good uses of background information giving you subtle clues as to which direction to go in. I also really like the way the gang of bandits is used as a secondary set of villains which intersect with the main plot (slightly reminiscent of how your path intersects with the other competitors in Deathtrap Dungeon). With less boneheaded game design, this could be up there with some of the greats.