Wednesday, 20 June 2018

LP Lone Wolf: #1 - Flight from the Dark (Part 2) - Iron V The Giant Reptile

And we're back.

Welcome to Part II of my massive Lone Wolf 'Let's Play-Review', of gods know how many. There's 28 of these fucking books, and 17 endings in this first book, Flight From the Dark, alone. But I do enjoy Flight From the Dark. Published in 1984 it set the standard for gamebooks at the time. And the story (which is basically structured as one big escape sequence, like a version of Fury Road set in Yorkshire) is well paced and opens up organically. The challenge is, therefore, quite comfortable. Especially when compared to the later books which kill you just for having a shit haircut.

There's a lot to get through, so if you want to catch up see the previous instalment here. If not, let's begin.

Section 155: Last time we encountered a group of scruffy refugees on the road. Now with Lone Wolf books, you've got to treat it as though your at a house party surrounded by strangers; you've got to avoid everyone in case they share their boring story with you. But unfortunately, we can't do a Trump and just lock these needy refugees in cages.

I chose to approach the group. Luckily these people turn out to be some of the few people in this game who don't want to kill us. They recognise my green Kai robes and seem relieved. One of the men greets us thusly:

‘My Lord, we had heard a rumour that the Kai were destroyed. Heaven be praised that it is not so. We feared all was lost.’
Looks like he bet on the wrong horse. We keep the destruction of our order a secret, and learn that the Northern port was attacked and the King's garrison is outnumbered. There's nothing else to do here so we move on and go to (70).

Section 70: We see a small bridge over a stream. A track follows the stream East, or a narrow track goes South into the thick forest.

I have literally no idea where I am. I'm like one of those clueless berks who get killed off at the beginning of a slasher film. Fortunately, we have our 6ixth Sense (with Colin Fry) to shed some light on the matter.

The choices are: Use Sixth Sense, (turn to 8)

                           Go East, (turn to 28)

                           Head South, (turn to 157)

Using Sixth Sense makes sense here. Unless it's going to make me see dead Bruce Willises everywhere, there's no draw back. I use Sixth Sense (8).

Section 8: My Sixth Sense tells us that a battle is raging South. This also happens to the quickest way to the Capital. Thanks, Sixth Sense. We go to (70) to make our choice.

Section 70: Based with this fresh information we again stand at the bridge. It'd make more sense to take the safe route. But the thing with Lone Wolf books is that sometimes it's best to take the obviously dangerous route. The safe route will invariably lead you to some greater danger (like when you hide at school to avoid the school bully and end up in the clutches of the school pedo). Plus as we established last time, my Lone Wolf is reckless and thick. Like Conan the Barbarian without the beefcake muscles. We go South into the forest (157).

Section 157: After making our way through the forest for some time, the trees begin to thin out and there is a road ahead. Along the road are scores of refugees, also heading South, and their meagre possessions. What is it with this book and refugees? This reminds me of the token feminist-guy on my Creative Writing course who wrote literature about 'life' and 'Syrian refugees'.

From here we can:

                                 Join the refugees and learn what happened in the North, (turn to 30)

                                 Or, continue South but hidden amongst the trees, (turn to 167)

I'm going to remain hidden in the trees. There's no obvious benefit to joining the refugees. They're not in any real danger, and if I join them there's the very real possibility I'll be forced to endure more exposition. We go to (167).

Section 167: After travelling for a mile, we stumble across some legs sticking out from behind a boulder. Perhaps it's one of those abandoned blow-up dolls people come across occasionally.

We can: Take a closer look, (turn to 88)

              Do a runner, (turn to 264)

             OR use Sixth Sense, (turn to 178)

I've played enough Dark Souls in my time to know that an obvious trap is an obvious trap. Sure, I could take a look and risk having my face torn off. Or, I can just use Sixth Sense yet again. This is like when you first realise you can wank more than once a day. We go to (178).

Section 178: My Sixth Sense shows that the legs belong to a King's Solider. He's either wounded or cottaging. I'm going to go with wounded.

We can: Aid him, (turn to 88)

             Leave him, (turn 264)

He's probably too far gone. But, we'll try to help him. That way I can still rob him blind if he dies. We go to (88).

Section 88: The man lays on his side. A shield and spear are by his side. The Prince of Sommerlund's emblem, a white Pegasus, adorns the shield. His left arm is deeply wounded. ‘Heal me, my lord,’ he begs. ‘I can barely feel my arm.’

If I possess the Kai Discipline of Healing, I can go to (216) and heal him.

But I don't. I have limited telekinesis instead. So this guy can fuck himself, I guess. We turn to (31) instead.

Section 31: We do what we can for him. But he's out for the count. We cover him with his cape and go deeper into the forest and turn to (264).

Shit, I forgot to rob him. Ah well, next time.

Section 264: I've noticed the pages are getting shorter and shorted, the choices more rapid and quick fire. I quite like that as it gives the book and nice pace and brings forth the atmosphere that a battle is looming in the distance.

Speaking of which, we can now hear the sounds of a fierce battle raging to the West. Likely the very same battle we heard earlier. We're given no other information, so it could be a bunch of cats having a massive territorial brawl for all we know. These Lone Wolf books can be rather light on detail, which is annoying.

We are given the following options:

                                                          Follow the sound, (turn to 97)
                                                          Continue South, (turn to 6)

At this juncture, I'm tempted to rush towards the battle. We know the Prince must be nearby. Plus my Lone Wolf is a reckless idiot. He's probably dying to rush in and get his nob chopped off. We go towards the battle (97).

Section 97: So as curious as the Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, I venture towards the sound. As I get closer, the clash of steel and cries of men and beast alike becomes apparent and I see the two parties battling over a stone bridge. The King's son, Prince Pelathar, is battling a Gourgaz (which can be seen above), an overgrown lizard. Hmm...Gourgaz. That sounds like something to describe cumming in your pants after eating delicious gourmet food. Hard to take it seriously now.

Suddenly the Prince falls. He has taken an arrow to the knee his side.

We can: Defend the Prince, (turn to 255).

Save ourselves, like a true champ, and flee to the forest, (turn 306).

Now obviously if I were playing as myself, I'd leave the privileged prick to get bummed by the foul hordes of Mordor (or wherever they're from). But I'm not. So I will chivalrously charge to section 255, and to the rescue.

Section 255: 


Iron Stats: Combat Skill = 16,   Endurance = 21,   Weapon: Quarterstaff

Gourgaz Stats
: Combat Skill = 20,   Endurance = 30,   Weapon: Black Axe

Modifiers = None
. I don't have Weapon Skill and the Gourgaz is immune to Mind Blast.

First things first in combat is that we need the Combat Ratio. The Combat Ratio is the difference between my Combat Skill and the Gourgaz's.

My CS of 16, vs Gourgaz's CS of 20 = 16 - 20 = -4

Combat Ratio is - 4.

With the Combat Ratio you go to the Random Number Chart Everything in the back of the book. The top row is for the Combat Ratio. -4 and -3 share the same column. This combat will revolve around the highlighted column below.

Now how combat works is that each round I will roll a d10. The number on that d10 determines which row I pick on the Random Number side of the table. For example, if I rolled a 1, I would find 1 on the left hand side and go to the section of that row which is in the Combat Ration column. In this case we'd have 1/6. The number in the left section of the square is damage to the enemy, and the number in the right section is damage to me. In this case 1 damage to the enemy, and 6 to me. Phew, fortunately that was just an example. Got that? Good, cause I'm not going over it again.

Roll 1: Result is 6. Table shows 6 damage to Gourgaz, 3 damage to me.

Gourgaz EP = 24 - Iron EP = 18.

Summary: For opening blows to the battle, that was decent. I hammered him one with my Quarterstaff and only got a minor slash from the axe in return. Unfortunately, he has way more endurance than I do.

Roll 2: Result is 5. Table shows 5 damage to Gourgaz, 4 damage to me.

Gourgaz EP = 19 - Iron EP = 14.

Summary: Considering Gourgaz is a goddamn giant from the Swamp of Death Farts of whatever, my Lone Wolf is holding his own so far. But if I don't start getting better rolls, he'll do me in. The Gourgaz can afford to run the battle out.

Roll 3: Result is 9. Table shows 9 damage to Gourgaz, 0 to me.

Gourgaz EP = 10 - Iron EP = 14.

Summary: What a turn for the books! With a single whack of the Quarterstaff to the Gourgaz's fat scaly bollocks, I have managed to turn the battle around. As long as I roll 5+ from now on, I'm guaranteed to win.

Roll 4: Result is 4. Table shows 4 damage to Gourgaz, 4 to me.

Gourgaz EP = 6 - Iron EP = 10.

Summary: Cocking hell. The Gourgaz isn't going down without a fight and manages to close the gap with his black axe (not a nob joke). The battle should still be with me. But the worrying thing now is how close it'll be.

Roll 5: Result is...10! Critical hit. Table shows 10 damage to Gourgaz, 0 to me.

Gourgaz EP = - 4 (Dead) - Iron EP = 10.

Conclusion: With a final swing of the Quarterstaff, I go full Negan and cave the Gourgaz's head in. That was close but to be expected with my low EP. Add a few lucky rolls, and I finish the battle with (hopefully) enough to survive the next battle.

We go to, (82).

Section 82: Gourgaz is dead, its underlings flee to allow the Prince to give his dying speech. He requests we go to see his father, something we were planning to do anyway. In his speech he mentions "the King must seek that which is in Durenor or all is lost", which is a plot hook for the next book if ever I saw one. Probably the Sommerswerd, this setting's go-to in case the world becomes shitty. The Prince gives me his horse - and vastly underestimates my capacity for robbing dying men - and bids me to go to the Capital.

I head South along the forest path, and turn to (235), as the fighting breaks out again. Excellent timing.

To be continued...

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