Saturday, 13 March 2010

Sorcery #4 - The Crown of Kings

Eight hundred pages - twice that of a normal FF book. Epic. But only if you finish it, of course.

And I highly doubt The Crown of Kings is able to be completed without completing the three before it. I guess.

Regardless, the book begins as the others did - with the assumption your character, if not you, has completed the previous three. It's a little disconcerting, considering there's no explanation in the intro, bar the usual blurb familiar from The Shamutanti Hills.

It's like dropping in on Arrested Development two seasons in, or Lost at any point that isn't the pilot.

So, night's approaching, and I have to choose from three caves - small, medium or large. Who am I, Goldilocks? Still, I chose the smallest cave, because you know, it felt just right. Or something.

There's a monster of sorts in there - I can't see it, but it sounds horrific. Time for a spell! No matter I can't remember what does what - come on, I've died how many times now? Can't expect my memory to be that great. HOW! Don't have an orb crystal. KIN! No gold-backed mirror. Fuck it, I'll just use my sword.

It's a jib-jib - the tribbles of the FF world. Great. Still, for some reason it's guarding a parchment I can't read.

The next day, I leave, taking some dust and three - and only three - pebbles with me. Heading on across a rope bridge, I'm soon confronted by a bird man. It won't translate the scroll for me - so I blast it with a magic fireball and stab it to death. That's how I've decided to roll - at least till I run out of stamina to waste on awesome magic tricks.

I stop to rest in another cave, this one has a message from a guy called Colletus (the slack-jawed yokel?), who's hanging out by the 'Groaning Bridge', apparently.

After a non-moaning bridge, I'm confronted with a ridiculously dangerous landslide. I know it's ridiculously dangerous, because it took me four lives to get past. Yeah, I died. Four times. But I didn't think any Fighting Dantasy entry should be fewer words than pages in the book being reviewed! I tried HUF - pretending my reanimated corpse still carried the Galehorn from The Seven Serpents - and died. Tried ZIP, and died. Tired NIF, mostly because it was on offer, and died (it creates a pungent smell. I'm not sure how it would have worked - perhaps the smell would attract a pterodactyl, Riddling Reaver or deus ex machina who'd whisk me away to safety?) . ROK? Um, rocks are already rocks. Dead.

WAL is the one.

Moving on, we're pretty much outside the fortress. Stabbed a couple of guards as they drunkenly slept, ate their food, usual Saturday night stuff in the suburb I live. Although they obviously had grog and food, they must've had nowhere to sleep, 'cause I had to sleep in another cave. Not sure where I found a cave at the gates to the fortress of Mampang.

Anyway, Libra came to me in a dream (no, she couldn't translate my scroll either). "At each stage of the journey, you have been successful." LOL. Anyway, she says she can't help me once I'm inside the fortresses - so I take the luck and stamina bonuses now.

Just as well too - at the actual gates there are four guards, none of them sleeping. I DUM one of them into a stupor, and narrowly slay the other three. Five stamina points left.

Once in the gates, it's as if I'm back in the land of the three bears - three doors to choose from, etc. Except this time, I choose... poorly. I found three Black Elves (who couldn't translate my scroll either). So far so good. Being on only five stamina points, I thought I'd try and befriend them. So far again, so good. But then...

I wasn't asked to test my skill or luck or anything. It was just assumed this would be my attempt at befriending a group of Black Elves.

"So, how do you black-skinned creatures keep from bumping into each other at night?"

Oh dear. They were apparently "deeply insulted" by my "harmless remark". I'm not at all surprised they kill me. I guess it was 1985, and it was still cool...

Weird way to end the series, huh?

Anyway... the link I mentioned last night is now tidied up. As in, if you click it, you get my current musical endeavour's website, etc. The album's free to download in some formats, so go nuts. Can't say it has a huge FF influence, though the next one - almost done already - might.

Oh wow.

I just realised a couple of links on my site are woefully out of date, haha! I've upgraded some, but the banner at the bottom of the site will have to wait till the morning.

Yes, you can still access my 'personal' blog on Livejournal, but nowadays it's just a feed from the blog on my website, - another link I had to get into the 211th decade (210th?). I dropped the old musical moniker last year, to start anew.

It's late here, so that one at the bottom - if anyone ever dared scroll down 20 entries and click on a banner ad - will have to wait till tomorrow.

If you've read this far, you must really love this blog, so where do you think I should go from here? We're running out of FF books, and it's been 19 years since I tried to host an Advanced FF game. An awesome workmate has lent me some Lone Wolf books, and a couple of others, is this the new (old) thing, you reckon?

Anwyay. If you're itching for a FF fix in the meantime, you should check out Fighting Fantazine. Alex, a fellow Kiwi, has done an awesome job getting this webzine together, it's a few issues old, and includes edited-for-typos, swearing and nonsense-versions of entries from this blog.

Watching season six Lost, I'm almost convinced a re-do of this entire blog is needed - done as if the continent of Titan was under the water. WOAH

Friday, 5 March 2010

Sorcery #3 - The Seven Serpents

Much like John Locke, death can't stop the hero of the Sorcery! series, and so here we go again, with part three - The Seven Serpents.

It's been a while since I did part two, enough time to go back to Hogwarts and get a bit more magic training done. Well, a skim through the back few pages before beginning.

So, onto the book. The bad guy's got some magic winged serpents who've found out your on the way to wreck his evil shenanigans, so they're on their way to tell him. All seven. And they're magic. Not so magic they can just magic themselves back to bad guy HQ (which despite the fantasy setting, I like to think resembles Globex Corporation). Or fly.

The seven serpents are kind of based on the elements. And the sun and moon. And time. If they aligned themselves with Captain Planet, we could've knocked this climate change business on the head a long time ago. That 'heart' kid really screwed things up.

So, into the Baklands. Right on the first page there are storm clouds, the region is unmapped, and there's a big fuck-off scary bird illustration. Great. Turns out they're Nighthawks (fighter of the Dayhawks?) and they're here to fuck my shit up. I think hey, I know my magic spells, having just read my spell book prior to my resurrection, and cast WAL (it makes a wall). They fly around it.

Luckily, an even scarier bird turns up and frightens them off, and it has a message for me - the serpents are on their way, blah blah blah. It then leaves, under a cloak of invisibility. Doesn't offer to give me a ride to my destination or anything.

Moving on, I stop to eat and a talking tree tells me to go east, where a hermit will give me some advice. Ents don't lie, right?

This one didn't. I came across Shadrack, a hermit in the middle of nowhere that knew all about my journey. Come on! If a hermit in the middle of the Baklands, which no Analander has ever successfully crossed, knows about my mission... I'm again wondering how important it is to kill these serpents. Word about my mission is probably all over the Old World Twitter by now.

The next bunch I come across don't know me though. A group of Centaurs tell me there's a snake charmer nearby, so I head off in search of him. Maybe he's managed to lure some of these supposedly magic serpents.

He hasn't, it turns out - he's just got a bunch of ordinary snakes, which he controls with his magic flute. No, neither of those was a euphemism. I cast SUS, quickly work out he wants to know what's in my pack. Nothing he wants, it turns out, so in true FF tradition, a fight breaks out. He's a good snake charmer though - his six pets attack me one at a time. I don't know, I've never had to train a snake before, but they don't strike me as the kind of animal you can get to fight in sequence.

Maybe I found a really, really narrow hallway?

Anyway, I barely win, and have snake bite poison running through my system. Still, I pick up his magic flute and some holy water for my troubles. Isn't it convenient that everyone in Titan carries magical items on their person?

The poison will kill me by sundown if I don't find a cure, so I trek on quickly. Despite my efforts to avoid another rumble, considering I'm bleeding stamina points at double the normal rate, I'm soon attacked by an Internet Explorer. Wait, I mean a Firefox. If it was an Internet Explorer, I'd probably have been hit with a virus on top of my poison. BA-DOOM-TISH!

It eventually kills itself - no joke. Every time I hit it, it explodes into fire, risking my wellbeing, but losing 1 skill and 1 stamina itself. Not being the brightest creature, it exploded into fire on a single stamina point. If it was Internet Explorer, the book itself probably would have crashed.

Night soon came. I decided to trek on, in the hope of finding some snake poison antidote before the morning, and in doing so, lost 4 stamina points instead of 2, which killed me. I like to think I walked myself to death, rather than died from poison. It's somehow more noble.

The next book, The Crown Of Kings, is something like a million pages long. It's gonna take some mental preperation to dive into that. I've had Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged sitting on my bedside table for about two or three weeks now - that's where I put it when I got home from the library, and that's likely where it will be when I have to return it. It's just so... epic-looking. Well, that, and apparently it's a sickening book no self-respecting liberal kind of guy should ever take seriously.

We'll see which I get to first.