Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
 

Author Topic: Gamebooks  (Read 16561 times)

JayzusB.Christ

  • Member
  • Bionic Fingers
  • *****
  • Posts: 9433
  • Squealing meat.
    • View Profile
Re: Gamebooks
« Reply #375 on: 14 July, 2022, 10:50:42 PM »
This is great stuff; keep 'em coming! 

I loved the WotT books, even though I probably never played one without loads of cheating.  I do real ninjutsu these days, and probably wouldn't have thought of it if I'd never picked up Avenger, Assassin and Usurper as a kid.  (I am of course pretty shite at martial arts, but what the hell, it gets me out of the house and gets me jumping and rolling about with ninja weapons.)
“Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest”

Richard

  • Member
  • Battle Hardened War Robot
  • ****
  • Posts: 3367
  • Beast Code WWW
    • View Profile
Re: Gamebooks
« Reply #376 on: 14 July, 2022, 11:03:17 PM »
You're not a real ninja until you've poisoned someone by stealthily dripping scorpion venom down a thread into their mouth while they're sleeping!

Barrington Boots

  • Member
  • Posting Machine
  • ***
  • Posts: 1516
    • View Profile
Re: Gamebooks
« Reply #377 on: 15 July, 2022, 09:17:30 AM »
Have you learned the skill of poison needles yet JBC? That's the one that really captured my imagination as a kid!
You're a dark horse, Boots.

JayzusB.Christ

  • Member
  • Bionic Fingers
  • *****
  • Posts: 9433
  • Squealing meat.
    • View Profile
Re: Gamebooks
« Reply #378 on: 15 July, 2022, 01:02:10 PM »
Heh!  It's the wire garrotte I remember most from WotT, and how you make it slice neatly into some guard's throat. 
Also it could have been WotT where I first heard of the manriki-gusari, a weapon whose name made me and my mates laugh like a drain for some reason when we were 12.  I recently had a class on how to use one (I still can't).  I am delighted to say I can throw a knife with some degree of accuracy these days though, something I thought was a flight of fancy when I saw Dredd do it.  I would struggle to hit a Judda in the windpipe from a horizontal position, though; or bury a judge's shield in a perp's forehead whilst hanging from a hook over a munce-grinding machine.
“Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest”

Barrington Boots

  • Member
  • Posting Machine
  • ***
  • Posts: 1516
    • View Profile
Re: Gamebooks
« Reply #379 on: 17 July, 2022, 04:02:28 PM »
That cliffhanger ending to Overlord has been ticking over in my brain all week, so last night when Mrs. Boots went out to see The Prodigy, I stayed in and played a gamebook from 1986. Such a cool guy.

Way of the Tiger book 5: Warbringer!
Part 1

First off, this book has easily the worst cover of the series, with a derpy-looking mind flayer fighting Avenger, who is in full ninja gear but riding a massive white warhorse - something generally not done by ninjas. I’m pleased to see, in the rules at the front, my inner force, shuriken and endurance have all been restored to maximum although I’m still permanently on reduced inner force and strike modifiers.

So I begin on the palace rooftop. Irsmuncast is ablaze, and all appears lost before this part of the tale has even begun. I’m given the option to examine the orb and sceptre and (because the book has only just started) decide to stick the orb into my eye socket where it immediately replaces my old eyeball and restores my sight (the book makes no mention of this restoring my strike modifiers: doing so would be logical, but I don't want to count on it) as well as giving me limited vision into the spirit world, something that seems significant but actually isn’t.
Hearing Orcish voices below I try to use my climbing skill to get off the battlements but the area below is also full of orcs, so I dart downstairs and battle a huge troll, a fight I barely win. Utilising my skills of arrow cutting I fight free of the palace and into the city where the streets are littered with the dead and the gutters run red with the blood of my subjects. Scaling a windmill I spot what remains of my army: in the Square of Seasons a force still holds out with several of my old allies present including Gywneth, Greystaff and the Demagogue, leading a ragged force of militia, shieldmaidens and priests. I rejoin them and rally them - Greystaff heals me (phew) whilst I am appraised of the situation. The enemy army is led by Shadazar, a rift dweller whose deads are so infamous we know her name: elsewhere Golspiel’s lieutenant Antocidas still holds the barracks with his mercenary forces, and the Temple of Time still stands but predictably has done nothing to help. I have the option of heading to the palace or joining with Antocidas: I choose the latter and we attack the dark elves besieging the barracks from both sides. Their commander has a magic sword, which I shatter with inner force: the dark elves are crushed, our forces are joined and so reinforced we head to the palace. Shadazar is on the battlements calling down magic upon our troops, and a squad of trolls hold the gate. I elect to let my guys handle the trolls whilst I head into the palace and what follows is easily my worst WotT death yet: a failed fate roll lightning bolt startles a horse, which knocks a flower pot onto my head knocking me over and a troll then stamps on me. DEATH.
As I was fully healed by Greystaff not a few paragraphs past I restart here and enter the palace. Stealing onto the battlements I find Shadazar in the midst of summoning some dreadful spell and elect to use my shuriken over a garotte (although I nearly did this just because JBC loves a WotT garotte) or a simple ‘hey you’ - the throwing star buries itself in her brain and pitches her over the battlements where she is impaled on the spears of her own troops! This grisly end is enough to rout the Rift forces, and the city is retaken!
Three days later the fires have been extinguished but Irsmuncast is in a bad way. Hundreds are dead and the city is semi-ruined: furthermore Golspiel and his merchants are dead or fled, The Lord High Steward is also dead and my spymistress Foxglove has vanished, meaning the Order of the Lotus is no more. I’m genuinely disappointed Foxglove is gone, bit the other two are no loss.

Before we can really take stock a minstrel arrives with news: Honoric, leader of the Sword of Doom, who I have had run-ins with a couple of times, has sworn to kill me for what I did at Quench-Heart Keep in book 1 and has mustered a grand army against me that will march from Doomover on a day sacred to Vascho-Ro, God of War. I must call a council of war.

My council comprises three of my old allies in Gwyneth, Greystaff and The Demagogue; the perennially unhelpful Solstice; Antocidas, leader of the mercenary forces, Lackland, the New High Priest of Nemesis who commands what’s left of the Usurper’s forces, and Hengist, who now leads the monks of Kwon in place of Parsifal (assassinated in book 4). It turns out Onikaba, leader of the Samurai, is now dead and the rest of my Samurai have returned home. My army is looking weak, whilst the forces of the Rift took relatively small losses in the previous attack and Honoric’s force will be massive. We must seek aid, and fast, and I have several options. There follows a selection, similar to the Star Council parts in book 4, where various parties offer advice - this is generally the format for a lot of the choices coming up, but here it's trickier to judge who has the best advice on offer. Once again the choices bear thinking about - and not just the choice, but who suggests it - and generally, careful thought comes through.

The Demagogue suggests heading to The Spires of Foreshadowing, home of the heroes of fate and ancient enemy of Doomover, although I have been previously warned that should they join with me the Legion of The Angel of Death from Mortalvon would surely join Honoric.

Hengist suggests Wargrave Abbas, to recruit more monks of Kwon and other followers of Dama, but this city is far too far away.

Antocidas suggests Greydawn, home of the savage beastlings, who live for war: we could bribe them with land between us and the Rift, allowing them to establish their own settlement there that would provide further bulwark against the Rift’s incursions.

Gwyneth suggests Serakub, city of my ancestors, where the Shieldmaidens of Dama hail from.

Solstice suggests going even further to get even more allies, but I discount his idea as literally everything he has said is toxic. (out of interest I later looked back to see what his suggestion entailed, and it's an auto-death decision. Solstice really sucks)

This is a tricky choice. I elect to go with The Spires, as it is closest, and easily journey there and speak to the High Priest at the temple of fate. It’s incredibly easy to get them onside and pretty soon I am back in Irsmuncast with 4k footsoldiers and 500 cavalry of the wheel, the elite troops of fate, as well as The Four Tools of Fate - legendary heroes - and then further reinforcements from the city of Fiendal, an ally to fate, in the shape of 3k foot and 500 medium cavalry. This is all very nicely described - the livery of the troops of fate and the Water Margin-esque heroes - and I really feel like we have a chance. There is more to come as well: Glaivas, my old ranger friend, with 20 rangers, and a force of 200 wood elves from Sundial. They bring grave news however: a force has marched from the Rift, splitting into two: a smaller force to ally and reinforce with Honoric, now on the move from Doomover, and a larger force heading straight for Irsmuncast. Gwyneth suggests waiting for the siege so we have advantage of the walls, but this seems a terrible idea, given my force composition and that of the enemy: instead I take Glaivas’s advice and send my fastest cavalry to annihilate the smaller Rift army - something quickly accomplished with the aid of my old Paladin chum Dore from Usurper who also joins us along with four other fanatical paladins. Finally Greystaff produces a guy simply called the White Wizard, who hilariously wears white robes and a conical hat, and is apparently the only battle-mage he could rustle up. This guy sounds amazing although sadly there is no picture of him.
Our only choice, it seems, is to march out and meet Honoric in open battle, hoping to defeat him whilst the Rift forces attack Irsmuncast. Gwyneth still favours a siege and Lackland suggests leaving my strongest forces, the Shieldmaidens, to hold the city but I decide to follow Antocidas’s advice and leave Lackland’s forces and the citizens militia to hold the city. Leaving Lackland in control seems risky, but his troops are by far my weakest and so will benefit from being behind walls when the battle comes. With much fanfare I march out of Irsmuncast to battle… and to be continued!
You're a dark horse, Boots.

Dark Jimbo

  • Member
  • Bionic Fingers
  • *****
  • Posts: 8184
  • Grobbendonk spoke gibberish, a fringeworld dialect
    • View Profile
Re: Gamebooks
« Reply #380 on: 17 July, 2022, 05:23:27 PM »
...a failed fate roll lightning bolt startles a horse, which knocks a flower pot onto my head knocking me over and a troll then stamps on me. DEATH.

Really? 😆
@jamesfeistdraws

Funt Solo

  • Member
  • CALL-ME-KENNETH!
  • *****
  • Posts: 10289
  • Research Monkey
    • View Profile
Re: Gamebooks
« Reply #381 on: 17 July, 2022, 09:37:22 PM »
With much fanfare I march out of Irsmuncast to battle… and to be continued!

Genuinely got me on the edge of my seat here. I mean, I sort of know what's coming because I played these on their original release - but I'm really enjoying being reacquainted with the plot beats via your experience.
++ map ++ thrills ++ coma ++

Barrington Boots

  • Member
  • Posting Machine
  • ***
  • Posts: 1516
    • View Profile
Re: Gamebooks
« Reply #382 on: 18 July, 2022, 08:38:59 AM »
Genuinely got me on the edge of my seat here. I mean, I sort of know what's coming because I played these on their original release - but I'm really enjoying being reacquainted with the plot beats via your experience.

Thanks! I was wondering if this giant writeup was too long. There's a lot of detail though, and I'm so invested! I'll try and get back to more sensible length reports when I go back to FF.
I'll post the second half in a bit.

Really? 😆

Totally! This Jack Burton-esque goofy death must be some kind of authorial in-joke, because it's so daft.
You're a dark horse, Boots.

Barrington Boots

  • Member
  • Posting Machine
  • ***
  • Posts: 1516
    • View Profile
Re: Gamebooks
« Reply #383 on: 18 July, 2022, 10:37:46 AM »
Way of the Tiger book 5: Warbringer!
Part 2


I’ve marched the bulk of my force out to meet Honoric in open battle, hoping the Demagogue and Lackland can hold Irsmuncast against the Rift forces. Five days out and with us close to Honoric’s huge army, I decide it’s time for a bit of ninja skills (something very lacking in the first half of this writeup) and don the black to go scout Honoric’s camp which is huge, numbering forces from Doomover, Mortalavon, Aveng and Greyguilds. I easily infiltrate the camp using my poison needles to liberate a uniform and discover not only is there some disunity amongst Honoric’s alliance but that his army also contains Wyverns. I’m spotted but am able to escape, using my disguise rather than brute force to get out of the camp.
Next morning there is another council of war, this one regarding our battle tactics. My army numbers roughly 10k, whilst Honoric’s over 18k - his force is listed in terrifying detail and I can’t tell you how much my heart sunk to see this on the page:



Honestly, the detail here is lovely, especially the unit names (The Rain of Doom!) and seeing old enemies such as monks of the Scarlet Mantis in the ranks.
Again I am given counsel, with Gwyneth and Glaivas offering a defensive plan, refusing one flank: Dore and the Wheel of Fate favour an offensive one, and the general from Fiendil and Antocidas offering a slightly more balanced one. Decades of Warhammer playing had me feeling refusing one flank would be unwise when the enemy had so much cavalry, and Dore’s plan seemed crazy given we were outnumbered, so I settle for the centre ground using the terrain to our advantage, with the Shieldmaidens holding the bridge, troops from Fiendil holding the ford, the Elves holding the wood, the men of the spires in between, the mercenaries in reserve and the rangers as my bodyguard. I also warn everyone about the Wyverns, and the White Wizard of Avatar says he’ll sort that out and he also remains with me. This is then all depicted in a little map:



I especially like the fact that this map looks exactly like the sort of thing I would have drawn back in 1986.

There then follows the real meat of this gamebook: a massive battle.
(I suspect the individual player's enjoyment of this next bit would hinge on how they feel about battle descriptions. After I finished the book I read around it a little and found a few people saying they hated this bit: it was too impersonal, and they also seemed to find it a bit random. Personally I loved this bit - again, it seems fairly unique - and the decisions again bear thought, but it did mean referring back to the map a few times. Anyway….)

Before the battle starts however, Honoric issues a challenge: one on one combat, with me. I know Honoric, though evil, is honourable, so I accept and we meet by a ditch between the two armies. As ever he wields the spell-sword Sorcerak. I use acrobatics to gain an early advantage and this is then a standard, if tough, battle: I use kicks to wear him down and deflect Sorcerak with my arrow cutting skill before he is rescued by his own troops, cursing them for besmirching his honour. My healers restore most of my lost endurance and the battle is on.

As the battle is joined I realise my deployment is less than ideal: The Doomover levies are lined up against my best troops and simply hold their position, whilst we dare not advance. We are holding the centre, but The Rain of Doom is wreaking havoc on the right flank with their superior discipline before suddenly pulling back allowing the entirety of the Legion of The Sword of Doom to smash into our flank. The White Wizard battles the Wyverns, killing them and all but expiring himself, but the monks of the Scarlet Mantis infiltrate Wickerwood and flank the Spire troops there as they engage the cavalry from Horngroth and the Wings of Death: I am forced to send the Rangers to their aid. Elsewhere The Legion of the Angel of Death has crossed the ford to engage the Shieldmaidens, the men of Fiendel are faltering at the ford and we are beset on all sides. I elect to deploy the mercenaries to reinforce the ford - they will only do it for extra money, the dicks - and lead the reserves into a charge on the flank myself. We route the troops from Horngroth and rally momentarily, but success is short lived - I am challenged by The Old One, the supernatural evil from the front cover and must fight it in single combat. This is a wretched battle for me, not least because I am mainly skilled in kicks but elect to fight on horseback, meaning I can only punch or swing my sceptre whilst it wallops me over and over with a mace. Ultimately I am defeated and the battle is lost. DEATH.

I elect to restart at the point where I left for aid, as the Legion of Death troops from Mortalavon seemed especially dangerous in the battle and I was unable to counter them. I decide to try Greydawn, but to reach it I must pass close to the rift and am ambushed by a posse of Dark Elf sorcerers who summon lethal executioner spiders to attack me. This is by FAR the hardest bit in the book: I am killed five times here by the spiders as almost any choice leads to death (oh for immunity to poisons). Eventually I find a way to beat this encounter, which is basically throw all four of my remaining shuriken at the spiders and then roll 6 on 1d6, as all other paths kill me. DEATH x 5.
Eventually beating the spiders and reaching Greydawn, the Beastmen here seem eager to help and full of warlike promise, but my Shin-Ren skill tells me they are untrustworthy and will betray me, so I do a bunk and instead make for nearby Serakub. The government here is The Boule, a sort of council of all the various faiths and sects that make up the city. I must address the Boule and start by warning them of the Legion of the Sword of Doom, as there are many faiths here that oppose Vasch-Ro, the War God, including a strong temple of Dama. I don’t slag off Nemesis (who is represented here, as well as in my own city) and I sway several of the factions. Hivatala, Swordmistress of Serakub and leader of the Shieldmaidens of Dama, will herself command 2k shieldmaidens to my aid, five hundred cavalry, almost another 2k volunteers from Serakub of various faiths as well as 600 Swordsmen from the Army of Myriad Possibility (these names rule)

From here, things follow a similar tack as the previous playthrough: the rangers, Elves and paladins arrive: I let my cavalry smash the smaller Rift army, preventing it reinforcing Honoric, and I leave Lackland and Demagogue to hold the city whilst we march out. This time Honoric’s army is ‘only’ 16k and I select a different tactic: refusing the left flank with the Elves in the Wickerwood, Glaivas and his rangers concealed at the bridge, a force of men of Beatan, from Serakub, holding the Old Farm and the mercenaries in reserve, with the rest of our troops strung out with Fell Farm at the centre like so:



Once again we are beset: The Legion cross the stream and clash with the Shieldmaidens - they are thrown back but the levies are supporting them and they begin to fall back. The Scarlet Mantis enter the wood where they skirmish with the elves, and the Rain of Doom are peppering my troops at the farm. I order the mercenaries to support the left flank (again needing to bribe them to do anything) - Glaivas and his men return from the ford with heavy losses, with enemy troops beginning to cross, and I can either redirect troops from the farm there or lead the charge myself into the levies: this is a no-brainer as the farm cannot fall, and I know levies are crap so I do that, routing them, and again come into battle with the Old One. This time I triumph (on a meagre 2 endurance and 0 inner force)
By now the battle is going poorly again: the levies are off the field and the Legion and the troops from Horngroth forced back, but they are rallying whilst the men of Aveng and Mortalavon are flanking the troops of Serakub and the mercenaries at the farm. Again I have a number of choices and decide to lead my cavalry quickly to support Antocidas on the left as that seems the greatest risk, ignoring the rallying troops and leaving the Shieldmaidens to do their own thing. This is the right decision as we hammer into the weaker troops there - they withdraw, and by the time they have reformed the Shieldmaidens have arrived to reinforce the mercenaries and we mop up. Elsewhere the Legion are thrown back three times by the Warrior Women of Serakub and soon Honorics army is in full retreat!

I give pursuit: as a final ploy, the Legion deploy an 8-metre tall titan, a monster wielding a replica of Sorcerak. I luck out here, as I have the options of leading Dore and my best men into a charge or falling back: simply on the basis that I am on 2 endurance I choose to retreat and the elves arrive and finish it off quickly with no dice roll needed. I pursue Honoric to the manor house where he has NOT been reinforced by the small army from the Rift I previously destroyed. Honoric and the remains of the Legion fight to the last man: to my relief no combat for me, and eventually Honoric’s body is brought before me, his brutal features relaxed in death. Finally my old enemy is no more.
This is basically the end - my exhausted troops return to Irsmuncast, where the walls hold, and the Rift army just immediately retreats. I return to the city in triumph! VICTORY.



So another awesome book. Despite this giant writeup it felt quite short - I think this is probably because there are so many paragraphs taken up with the various branching possibilities in the battle. It was incredibly engaging although as I said above, I think the battle part could be a big drag if you’re not interested in such things, or able to really visualise what is going on. If I was to criticise I’d say this book is now very far from it’s ninja roots - I did a small bit of ninja-ing at the enemy camp but that’s it - and there was no epic battle such as the ones against Yaemon, Grand Master of the Shadows etc - in fact, I only fought three combats (the troll, Honoric, and The Old One) in the whole book and made just one fate roll. If you prefer a more dice-heavy book then this is not for you.
I loved it though. I’ve heard some bad things about the last book in the original series - Inferno - although there is now also a book 7, Redeemer, that apparently wraps up the series in a more satisfactory manner.  In all honesty, the series could end here: everything is resolved, all the villains have been trounced, and things are wrapped up quite neatly - a longer closing segment would have finished the series very nicely indeed.

I’ve found it impossible to get an original print copy of Inferno unless I get it from the US, so this is the last of Bob Harvey’s work for me on the series which is a shame. I’ve ordered the new editions of both book 7 and book 8 and I’ll have a go when they arrive, First though I really will play Temple of Terror. If you read this far, I'm sure Kwon smiles upon you for doing so!

You're a dark horse, Boots.

Dark Jimbo

  • Member
  • Bionic Fingers
  • *****
  • Posts: 8184
  • Grobbendonk spoke gibberish, a fringeworld dialect
    • View Profile
Re: Gamebooks
« Reply #384 on: 18 July, 2022, 10:42:03 AM »
Wow! I adore the field-of-battle maps. I really, really have to play this series one day.
@jamesfeistdraws

Barrington Boots

  • Member
  • Posting Machine
  • ***
  • Posts: 1516
    • View Profile
Re: Gamebooks
« Reply #385 on: 19 July, 2022, 03:46:43 PM »
It's boiling hot and Temple of Terror is kicking my ass today.
You're a dark horse, Boots.

Richard

  • Member
  • Battle Hardened War Robot
  • ****
  • Posts: 3367
  • Beast Code WWW
    • View Profile
Re: Gamebooks
« Reply #386 on: 19 July, 2022, 03:49:16 PM »
Well it's the right weather for that book!

JayzusB.Christ

  • Member
  • Bionic Fingers
  • *****
  • Posts: 9433
  • Squealing meat.
    • View Profile
Re: Gamebooks
« Reply #387 on: 20 July, 2022, 02:34:11 PM »
Loving these accounts of the FF and WOTT books - think I'm getting more entertainment ourt of your commentaries than I used to do from playing the gamebooks themselves.

Some recent episodes of Hypnogoria, the podcast that led me to inadvertently start this thread, involve a walk through of City of Thieves, and it's loads of fun.   Favourite quote, on finding a black pearl: 'Yes! I'm coming for you, Bone, you bony-headed nonce!'
“Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest”

Funt Solo

  • Member
  • CALL-ME-KENNETH!
  • *****
  • Posts: 10289
  • Research Monkey
    • View Profile
Re: Gamebooks
« Reply #388 on: 20 July, 2022, 03:11:30 PM »
Citadel of Chaos

Skill: 9      
Stamina: 22      
Luck: 11
Magic: 15


Craggen Rock. Shit. I'm at Craggen Rock. I'm on a mission, which is better than sitting around the Forest of Yore growing weak while the monsters out here grow stronger. It's time to end Balthus Dire, and end the threat he poses to the Vale. One alone has more chance here than armies on the field. Dire has … powers. But so do I. I don't know if they'll be enough.

My cover story gets me past the hideous mutants guarding the gate and into the large, crowded courtyard at the base of the tower – serving currently as some kind of encampment for Dire's growing forces. Blending in with the miscreants I make it to the tower's main door and bluff my way inside. I trigger an alarm and, blundering to find a hiding spot, tumble into darkness, awaking in a cell.

Despite my incantations, the Calicorn jailor is unmoved and I realize my fate is sealed. Perhaps another assassin will succeed where I have failed. They will have sent more than one.


Post-Match Interview

Seems like I was (in that situation) missing a key spell – but perhaps not getting jailed in the first place would've been the better option. I'd tested my luck three times up to that point and succeeded each time, so I was feeling fairly confident till I tried the wrong door. I got in no fights at all.

I was clearing out some nerd-papers and found a map I'd made ages ago of Citadel, so I conquered it using that on a second playthrough with the same stats. Following a path like that, it's a really short adventure - unlike, say, Island of the Lizard King.
++ map ++ thrills ++ coma ++

wedgeski

  • Member
  • Prog Stacking Droid
  • ***
  • Posts: 721
    • View Profile
Re: Gamebooks
« Reply #389 on: 20 July, 2022, 03:37:37 PM »
Ditto with the enjoying of the play reports. I might have to seek out that Way of the Tiger series, it sounds incredible!