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Messages - Richard

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Film & TV / Re: Star Trek: Strange new Worlds
« on: 27 May, 2022, 03:06:22 PM »

Off Topic / Re: RIPs
« on: 26 May, 2022, 05:55:52 PM »
Damn, I liked him.

Games / Re: Gamebooks
« on: 26 May, 2022, 05:51:15 PM »
Yes, the best way to deal with the Ganjees is not to visit the Citadel in the first place!

Caverns of the Snow Witch -- playthrough 2

This time I max out my stats, and follow the same route I took last time, up to the elf with the obedience collar in the Caverns. This time that encounter goes better, and he gives me his cloak to disguise myself, and tells me which way to go at the next junction so I don't fall into the goblins' pit.

This means I get to go straight to the kitchen, where despite the hospitality of the chef I decide to murder the kitchen staff for no real reason, and then burgle the place. This turns out to be a good move, because I find the artifact I needed to kill the Snow Witch last time but didn't have. Hooray! I also find a flute.

Next up is the Ice Demon, and because I have the elf's cloak nobody bothers me. I rescue the annoying dwarf again, and he gives me the weapon I will need to defeat the giant later. I then meet the Illusionist, and this time I have an option I didn't have before -- to bluff my way past him by pretending I'm on my way to play the flute for the Snow Witch's entertainment. This backfires somewhat, as he tells me that to get to the Snow Witch I must take the left door, but I don't want to do that! I want to take the central door, since that route worked pretty well last time. After some pondering, I decide to fight him. But this time I manage to correctly guess which of the three images is my real opponent, and I defeat him without loss of stamina.  I follow my tried and tested route to the Snow Witch, and easily kill her with the rune stick I stole from the kitchen.

So far this adventure has been a roaring success. I even defeated the Crystal Warrior really easily, who clobbered me so badly last time. I still have high scores. I easily beat the next encounter, a magical sentinel who is guarding the Snow Witch's treasure. I am given the option to steal up to 600 gold pieces, at the cost of discarding one item of equipment for every 50 gold pieces. I identify seven items which I have already used or appear to be useless, and take 350 gold pieces! (I suspect that how much treasure I take will not really matter in the grand scheme of things, it's probably just a devious trick to make me get rid of something important, but I think I've been careful! Anyway, money is the whole reason I came here, so it wouldn't really make sense for me to leave empty handed.)

The book moves into the next phase: escaping from the caverns, with my two new acquaintances, an elf called Redswift and a dwarf called Stubb. They are not particularly helpful,* but their presence does sort of add a sense of a plot developing. (They last a lot longer than poor old Mungo from FF7!) But from this point on, my fortune changes and I start to fuck up. Within just a few more paragraphs I have lost 3 skill points and 12 stamina! I then pick up a dagger which turns out to be a magic booby-trap, and it forces me to stab myself to death, despite the completely ineffectual efforts of my two crappy companions trying to disarm me.

* There's even an encounter where the book says I tell them to leave this fight to me and they can go on ahead, and instead of saying "no, all for one and one for all!" they just fuck off and leave me to it. Then when I catch them up they have both fallen into a trap. Twats.

Playthrough 3

Rather than start again, I just go back to where I found the dagger, and I leave it well the fuck alone. Next I am compelled to share my provisions with Redswift and Stubb, who haven't done anything to earn them. Then there's another "left or right?" choice with no info about either, and I head right purely on the basis that that has been working well enough so far. We find a parchment written in another language, which only Redswift can read, and he looks very troubled and won't tell us what's wrong. (This is presumably the Death Spell which we will learn about in phase 3 of the book.) But I never find out what that's all about, because the very next encounter is the bloody Snow Witch again! Although physically deceased, her spirit now resides in a globe, and this scene is the one depicted in the front cover of the Puffin edition. I watch her kill the orc in that picture, and then I fail a skill roll and she instantly kills me!

Playthrough 4

Carrying on from where I died, I assume that I pass the skill roll, and I attack the Snow Witch. My attack is completely ineffective. She conjures up two zombie replicas of Redswift and Stubb, who both have 9 skill points -- the same as my drastically reduced skill score -- and more stamina than me. The result is a foregone conclusion, and I am killed again.

I could have easily got further than this if I hadn't lost three skill points getting here. I'm not sure I've ever come across a more brutal penalty in a gamebook before! This one is tough.

Film & TV / Re: Star Trek: Strange new Worlds
« on: 26 May, 2022, 01:48:34 PM »
Do you have to watch it on YouTube, or is it available on tv in the UK?

Games / Re: Gamebooks
« on: 26 May, 2022, 11:28:31 AM »
I love that you stuck to your keep right advice, even knowing IRL that your first right turn was the wrong way!

Film Discussion / Top Gun: Maverick
« on: 25 May, 2022, 11:32:16 PM »
Just saw this in IMAX, and I think it's actually better than the original. Definitely worth seeing in cinemas.

Announcements / Re: 2000 AD - The Ultimate Collection
« on: 25 May, 2022, 02:10:48 PM »
The Dead is brilliant and I'm glad it about to be introduced to a new audience.

The art on Revere is great. I didn't like the story so much, but I know that others did.

It hardly seems fair to put these two against each other! A very silly comedy series vs. a grim war horror story. I like both.

DR & Quinch does comedy better than all the other comedies in the prog. Glimmer Rats does war better than Rogue Trooper did.

Just wave them both through to the next round!

Games / Re: Gamebooks
« on: 24 May, 2022, 04:53:55 PM »
Thanks guys!

By the way, Steve Jackson's new book Secrets of Salamonis will be illustrated by the prog's Tazio Bettin!


General / Re: Forthcoming Thrills - 2022
« on: 24 May, 2022, 10:48:52 AM »
What was the problem with the Ennis version?

Games / Re: Gamebooks
« on: 23 May, 2022, 09:16:17 PM »
Caverns of the Snow Witch

Well, I got precisely one encounter further than Dark Jimbo before perishing! Here's how it went.

I start with Skill 12, suprisingly, and Stamina 19. Unfortunately I only get 7 Luck points, so I choose the Potion of Luck.

Setting off after the Yeti, I avoid the ice bridge over the crevasse because I just assume nothing good will come of crossing it. I encounter a woolly mammoth with 10 skill points, which at the start of the adventure feels a little harsh, but with my own amazing stats I make short work of him. I then trudge through a blizzard, losing two stamina points before I take the hint and stop to build an igloo for shelter. After the blizzard subsides, I enter a cabin and basically treat it like it's my own place, like one of the bears in the Goldilocks tale. I eat someone's food and steal his weapons, a spear and a warhammer. But he won't be needing all that stuff anyway, because I find him just in time to witness him being killed by the Yeti.

I attack the Yeti with the spear, which reduces its skill from 11 to 10 (as I learn later by looking to see what would have happened if I hadn't -- it's not really cheating if I've already made my choice!), and then kill it in a fight, by the end of which my Stamina has been reduced to 12. (Foolishly, I forget to eat anything after the fight, for which I will kick myself later on when it is suddenly reduced to 6.) I avoid an avalanche by successfully testing my Luck, and find the entrance to the Caverns of the title. I am immediately asked to choose between turning left or right, with no information about either option. Fuck you, Sir Ian! I go left.

I meet the Elf with the obedience collar, and basically make the exact same choices as Jimbo because I forgot what he told us about this bit. So in the course of this encounter I lose 2 Luck points, and I now have a Luck score of 4! I drink the Potion of Luck, which increases my Luck score to a massively underwhelming 8.

This time, the next choice of direction tells me that there are footsteps running towards me from one way, so I cautiously head the other way and fall into a pit. Losing half my Stamina, I regret my failure to eat any provisions since fighting the Yeti. I manage to escape from the Goblins who pull me out of the pit at a cost of 2 more Stamina points, so I decide to investigate the kitchen, where a friendly gnome gives me some cake. That only restores one Stamina point, so I eat my own provisions as well, restoring my Stamina to a still pretty nerve-wracking 9, just in time to meet an enormous Ice Demon. I assume I'm about to get absolutely clobbered by it, but luckily it's just a statue, and I only have to deal with the weirdos who are worshipping it. I just run away from them.

At the next junction, I head in the direction some cries for help are coming from, and I rescue the Dwarf. He gives me a sling and some iron balls, and then we part ways. I eat some more provisions, and then head off to meet my next encounter, some dipshit illusionist. I fuck his shit up, meet the pointless Genie, and leave via the door in the shape of a skull.

I am now in a room occupied by a Frost Giant who, as far as I can tell, hasn't seen me and who has done me no wrong. I could just sneak past him. But as this is an Ian Livingstone book, I assume I will probably need to steal his stuff, so I unethically knock him out with the sling and an iron ball and search his gaff. I find three rings. The first one I choose gives me the power to resist the freezing cold, which is obviously quite handy in the ice caverns. I assume that at least one of the other two rings must be a booby prize, so I decide not to push my luck any further and I leave them.

The next encounter is with the Crystal Warrior, who is invulnerable to edged weapons. That's fine, I think, as I wield my trusty warhammer. But I am actually penalized for having the hammer, because now I have to fight it, and it has 11 Skill points and more Stamina than I do -- whereas if I didn't have a hammer (or if I was given the option of doing something else), the Genie would have come along and made me invisible and I wouldn't have had to fight it at all! Fucking Genie! Fucking Ian!

The fight is quite brutal, and I only just survive. I stagger, bleeding and concussed, to a junction where I have to choose again between left and right with no information about either. Left went badly for me last time (the goblins' pit), so I go right. I meet a zombie with Skill 6, Stamina 6, the easiest fight in the whole book so far, and I am given the option to Escape, also for the first time. This seems suspicious to me, as whenever a gamebook is this keen to give you every opportunity to leave, it usually means you are in the right place. The illustration of the zombie also shows lots of stuff behind him. So I fight him, win easily, and come across an absolute goldmine of wicked stuff! I'm only allowed to take three things with me. Do the four dragons' eggs count as one item or four? To be on the safe side I write "Dragon egg(s)" on my Equipment List. I also take some garlic, because I remember from my original playthrough that the Snow Witch is a vampire, and a jar containing some ground minotaur horn, because it sounds like the kind of thing that might be an ingredient of some healing potion or something, and I remember that there's a guy called "the Healer" later on in the book so it might come in useful?

I eat some more provisions, so I now have 9 Stamina points. In the next room I encounter the White Rat the Dwarf warned me to watch out for, and I am asked if I have any ground minotaur horn! I do! I sprinkle some over the rat as it is beginning to transform into something else (the dragon that did for Jimbo, although the text doesn't tell me that), and it stops the transformation and forces the rat back into its original shape. We've made progress guys!

In the very next paragraph I encounter the Snow Witch! She's a vampire, and I have some garlic to ward her off, but I don't have any vampire-killing weapons to fight her with. She overcomes her fear of garlic, and it's an instant death paragraph for me!

This is quite a fun book, and it has some really good illustrations, the wood-cut effect is pretty cool. I'll give it another go soon.

General / Re: Forthcoming Thrills - 2022
« on: 22 May, 2022, 11:53:28 AM »
Yeah because they're always releasing new Dan Dare stuff all the time.

General / Re: Forthcoming Thrills - 2022
« on: 22 May, 2022, 10:54:41 AM »
How do the Dan Dare Corporation expect to make any money? Tossers!

General / Re: Forthcoming Thrills - 2022
« on: 21 May, 2022, 11:07:38 PM »
That seems like an argument against creator-owned copyright, in that it actually makes it less likely that stuff gets reprinted.

General / Re: Forthcoming Thrills - 2022
« on: 21 May, 2022, 03:43:26 PM »
I vote for a complete run of "Burp the Smelly Alien" from Oink!

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