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[Let's Play] Fighting Fantasy 34 - Stealer of Souls
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What should be the name of our Hero?
Harry Balzac
42%
 42%  [ 3 ]
Dick Hertz
14%
 14%  [ 1 ]
I.P. Freely
14%
 14%  [ 1 ]
Grabsack Moorcock
28%
 28%  [ 2 ]
Total Votes : 7

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SGamerz
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2015 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Quote:
You cast your spell, and the spider shrinks back with a high-pitched, shrieking whine - but then it advances again; this illusion is so powerful that your spell has weakened it, but not destroyed it . You must now deal with it; turn to 175 and, if you must fight it, you may subtract 4 points of STAMINA from the spider's score thanks to the effects of your spell.


Well, it's better than nothing. With all the hype about how powerful this illusion is, let's take another meal before combat (STAMINA to 13).

Quote:
Are you wearing a headband? If you are, turn to 198. If you aren't, turn to 394.


Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)


Quote:
You are now fighting a Spider-Illusion, and if your sword is not a match for this dread creation, your adventure will end here!

SPIDER-ILLUSION SKILL 8 STAMINA 12 8

If you win, turn to 269.


Turns out that the stats aren't that scary!

COMBAT LOG:
Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)


Quote:
You stumble across the rocky chamber and into the passageway beyond. Stone steps lead up to a well-lit chamber - the lair of Mordraneth himself, you guess. You stride into this huge, palatial chamber, resplendent with stone pillars, statues and wall-hangings, and lit by flaming braziers; you stand in a hallway with a balcony at the far end and stone steps on either side of you leading up to that raised area. On the balcony stands Arch-mage Mordraneth himself, tall and dark, dressed in flowing black robes. A trace of crystalline dust glitters as it falls from his hands to the floor, and he mutters an incantation - he is going to attack you with a spell! Will you:

Cast a 'Speed' spell (if you can)?
Cast a 'Fire Globe' spell (if you can)?

Race up the left-hand set of stone steps?
Race up the right-hand set of stone steps?


This is the Big Boss! Eating another meal now (not much point saving them further).

We have no spells left, so.....yeah, back to random left and right options!

Adventure Sheet:
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angelfromanotherpin
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Joined: 07 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2015 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Left is always right!
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"Now that we've determined that up to π angels can dance on the head of a pin, how do we determine the specific number (or fraction) of angels dancing?"
"What if angels from another pin engage them in melee combat?"
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Darth Rabbitt
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2015 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Yeah, and I'll add that we should probably use up our last LUCK powder. And possibly stuff our face again.
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SGamerz
Duke


Joined: 16 Jun 2014
Posts: 2096

PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2015 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Quote:
As you run up the steps, you realize that some magical force is retarding your progress; it feels like running through water! You grit your teeth and struggle on, and you'll get there in the end - but just now a smoking ball of fire is streaking from Mordraneth's hand to strike you down. Are you wearing a bronze ring? If you are, turn to 47. If you aren't, turn to 318.


Looks like left isn't always right, after all.

Still, since we're apparently taking some time to get up there, we have more than enough time to chew on another meal. And snuff our last bit of LUCK powder (the view should be mildly amusing).

Quote:
Your magical Ring of Fire Resistance minimizes the damage you take, so you have to deduct only 1 STAMIN A point. You're nearly hall-way up, but you can see your enemy preparing another attack!


"Hey Mordraneth, thanks for helping us heat up our food with that fireball!"

Quote:
You still can't reach Mordraneth; as he chants, a whirling bolus of black threads materializes above his head and whirls through the air towards you Are you wearing a silver ring? If you are, tum to 79. If you aren't, turn to 252.


Another magic ring unlocked by our trusty Ebony Key!

Quote:
As the whirling magical bolus whistles through the air towards you, your silver ring seems to absorb it into itself. The ring, which felt so dead and lifeless, must be able to absorb at least some kinds of magic - and may have just saved your life! Now you race to the top of the steps and you can fight the wizard.


Meanwhile we casually chow down our last meal.....just enough to restore our STAMINA back to full score!

Quote:
At last you are fighting with your sword against the evil Arch-mage! But he is swift and deadly as a warrior too, and uses his sword well. His green eyes glitter in the flaring light of the smouldering braziers as he attempts to slay you. Will you triumph or be slain at the last?

MORDRANETH SKILL 10 STAMINA 17

If you win, tum to 400.


Once again, we're faced with an almost-even fight! And we can (for the first time) fight with our full SKILL of 10!

COMBAT LOG:
Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)


Nice string of rolls for our last battle!

Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)


Quote:
As Mordraneth falls at your feet, a great sigh is audible all round you, as if from hundreds of thousands of souls freed from a dreadful imprisonment of endless torment. Around you colours shimmer and grow pale, leaving only bare grey stone as the evil one's illusions decay and fade. Beyond the balcony, you now male out a passage, leading upwards to the fresh, clean air of the open world under the heavens, and you believe you can almost smell the sea. Perhaps Captain Garaeth will already be waiting to take you back to Pollua, to the glory and rewards you have so richly earned. Sheathing your sword for the last time, you stride upwards to find out.


And that's a wrap!

Thanks for sticking through with this playthrough to the end. I can sense the interest waning at some point, and I have to admit this book design doesn't feel as fun as I remember it to be when I played it over a decade ago.

I'll wrap up with some of the stuff we passed over tomorrow, but as usual, if you have any questions, feel free to ask.
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angelfromanotherpin
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2015 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

This seems like a beginner's book. It's quite forgiving, and has no challenging concepts. Unfortunately, it's pretty dull by veteran standards, mostly because it's also trite and predictable. There are no plot twists, there are no really distinct fantastic elements, it really does seem to be just 'go place, stab face.' Compare the similarly 'for beginners' Talisman of Death, which is running over with cool weirdness. Fuck, even Warlock of Firetop Mountain had the key-collecting sidequest.

Finally, the copious blind choices are still just bad writing. I can see an argument that if the consequences are minimal (such as a choice of hazards), then it can evoke the sense of being lost in unfamiliar territory. But even if it's true, it's still boring and disempowering, and at least one of those has to go. Just off the top of my head, I'd expect an illusionist's lair to be full of sensory cues that were false. You come to an intersection, one path echoes with sexy lady giggles, the other smells like baking bread, and neither lead to the kind of encounter those would indicate. It's effectively a blind choice, but it's much more engaging in the moment, and the result is more intriguing and disorienting than bland left vs right.
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"Now that we've determined that up to π angels can dance on the head of a pin, how do we determine the specific number (or fraction) of angels dancing?"
"What if angels from another pin engage them in melee combat?"
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MisterDee
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2015 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Incidentally, was there a logic to the colormaze, or is it just blind pick after blind pick?
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SGamerz
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2015 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

MisterDee wrote:
Incidentally, was there a logic to the colormaze, or is it just blind pick after blind pick?


I don't think there's an optimal path through the colour maze, and if there is, like I said the difference is probably minimal. Other than the rainbow section where some mysterious soul sacrificed himself to heal us, there's only one other section that was purely beneficial (we can stop to pray for some dead souls and regain stat points). Every other section contain some sort of obstacle that we can get past with the right item or spell, so whether those sections are the 'right' place to go depends entirely on what items or spells we picked up earlier.

And as is usually the case, even if we don't have the right items or spells, the penalty is usually not serious, like a few points of STAMINA loss (that rats section, for example, there were several ways to get past it....the Speed Spell, Dispel Illusion spell, an ivory statuette of a cat will all get us past that, but even if we don't have any of those, we just get bitten for 2 STAMINA before we run away), so it really doesn't matter too much which path we take to reach Mordraneth.

There are a few sections where we can get killed outright if we don't have the right item or spell, but those are extremely rare. Actually, there's only one of those I can remember in the colour maze, and we can escape from that with either a spell or an item (we had the crowbar, so we would have survived that one too).

angelfromanotherpin wrote:
This seems like a beginner's book. It's quite forgiving, and has no challenging concepts. Unfortunately, it's pretty dull by veteran standards, mostly because it's also trite and predictable. There are no plot twists, there are no really distinct fantastic elements, it really does seem to be just 'go place, stab face.' Compare the similarly 'for beginners' Talisman of Death, which is running over with cool weirdness. Fuck, even Warlock of Firetop Mountain had the key-collecting sidequest.

Finally, the copious blind choices are still just bad writing. I can see an argument that if the consequences are minimal (such as a choice of hazards), then it can evoke the sense of being lost in unfamiliar territory. But even if it's true, it's still boring and disempowering, and at least one of those has to go. Just off the top of my head, I'd expect an illusionist's lair to be full of sensory cues that were false. You come to an intersection, one path echoes with sexy lady giggles, the other smells like baking bread, and neither lead to the kind of encounter those would indicate. It's effectively a blind choice, but it's much more engaging in the moment, and the result is more intriguing and disorienting than bland left vs right.


Can't argue against that. Smile I think the reason I had such fond memories of it is probably because it's one of the books I read it as a "beginner" to FF and gamebooks in general, probably in the same way a lot of FF fans would have fond memories of Warlock of Firetop Mountain (which I read much later and didn't care much about). The fact that I read it after absolutely failing to solve Creature of Havoc and House of Hell probably helped too, back in a time I was naively still trying to play the FF books legitimately and win fairly.

Anyway, with regards to the rest of the book that we missed......I don't think there's many that I'd go into detail. Mostly, they're the standard encounters that involves a fight, finding a plot coupon, or encounters that require the use of a plot coupon, sometimes a combination of 2 or 3 of the above. The first part of the dungeon, similar to the colour maze, contain many possible routes, but I think the "optimal" one involves going through them in such a way that we basically pass through ALL but one encounter (hence netting us every single possible plot coupon). But since, like I said before, missing a plot coupon is never lethal and seldom too punishing, it's not really necessary to go that route. There isn't any opponent I can recall with a SKILL above 9 other than Mordraneth himself. There's only one straight insta-death-trap that I know of in the entire book, and that's basically the "singing in the wind" that the scroll warned us about (which we never encounter in this playthrough). Basically, if we weren't warned about it and decide to follow the singing, it's immediate game-over.

At the crossroad before we entered the dungeon (where we chose to follow the feathers and encountered the tribesmen), we skipped one encounter, although that one terribly important either. Alkandis warned us about seeing Hobgoblin down that route, and he wasn't lying:

Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)


If we manage to stay out of sight, though, we can just let the dueling Hobgoblins kill each other, and rescue his prisoner:

Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)


He doesn't really have anything to offer us, though. If we show him the scroll, he just refers us to Alkandis. The only small benefit we get for that path is that we pick up a few extra gold for our shopping list with the tribesmen.

Speaking of which all the gold we picked up after entering the dungeon serve zero purpose. Money is only important for Alkandis' shopping list and nothing else.

We didn't really make the optimal picks for the shopping lost, although we probably got the most important one (Ebony Key). In fact, it's so important that the author decided to give us a chance to get it even if we don't have enough gold. Remember when we gave the tribesmen a gold upon the first encounter? That option would be important if we decide not to buy anything from Akandis later. Basically, if we refused to buy anything, Alkandis isn't happy about it and give us shabby lodgings.....unless we already gave the tribesmen a piece of gold, in which case we can avoid offending him by convincing him that we have no Treasure left. And he will offer us a return gift....which is the Ebony Key.

Personally, for the shopping list, I would have gone for Key, oil (gets us the healing incense blocks later), and the cat statuette (useful against the rats) or gem (gets us past the statue with LUCK bonus). The rope can actually be found in another part of the dungeon (although we missed that encounter), while the silver feather doesn't actually give us any material benefit. If can be used in an encounter, as a gift to this Bird Guy:

Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)


In return he basically gives us some information about the Razorbeak bird and hints about some treasure in its nest....which we still won't be able to access with some rope and grappling hook anyway (the grappling hook is found near the first part of the dungeon, where we'd have to fight a couple of weak Ratmen). Nothing we really need, though.

One minor difference in this book from standard FF is that several of the quest coupons can be used in more than one encounter. The Ebony Key unlocked 2 doors and 1 box for us. Our silver medallion could also help us destroy a certain Giant Beetle Illusion, although we didn't encounter it. The Bronze Ring protects us against the heat in the Red section of the maze as well as Mordraneth's fireball. And there was a bunch of keys that we could have gotten by killing a Troll in the dungeon. That's the bunch of keys that could have helped us free the pair of prisoners we encountered earlier, and also unlock Alsander's shackles. Speaking of which, here's the picture of Alsander smacking the torturer with Fire Globe:

Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)


Lastly, of course, there's the encounter with Mordraneth. Apparently, he didn't have enough time to trap both stairs with spells (despite knowing that we're there for some time), so if we picked the right stairs, we'd only need protection against the fireball (Bronze Ring) before we reach him. He won't have time for a second spell.

If we had Fire Globe, the spellcasting contest will be conducted like a single round of combat. Whomever wins the round gets to smack his opponent for 6 STAMINA before we then proceed up the stairs (if we survived).

If we used Speed, again we have to conduct it like a round of combat to determine if his fireball hits us before we finish our spell. If we succeed in casting our spell, we can run up one of the stairs. Picking the right stairs means we run up so fast that he has no time to cast any further spells, and we get a free hit on him before we proceed to normal combat. If we pick the trapped left stairs, then our speed spell counteracts his slowing spell, and he still gets to throw one more fireball at us before we reach him, but we still get a free hit because we reach him faster than he expected.

And that's it, I think.....the writing and design here is too standard for there to be much memorable encounters, so there's not much more I can add.

I've been thinking about whether to run another FF playthrough after this......would anyone here be interested in one of the new Wizard-published books. The one I have in mind is Night of the Necromancer by Jonathan Green (who seemed to be the only FF writer besides Livingstone still actively writing for the series). This one is anything but standard, with the player in the role of a recently-murdered guy who has to not only identify the mastermind behind his murder, discover his own powers of as a ghost, look for allies within the remains of his household and find out which of them are still loyal to him, and of course seek revenge for himself, while protecting the last surviving member of his family from the murderer. Let me know if you're interested!
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