Saturday, May 13, 2017

No Tunnels nor Trolls, just a lot of death.

When my wife and kids are away for the weekend, what do I do? What ultimate chaos do I get up to?

I open a beer, break out a role playing game book from my youth and start rolling those dice with mad abandon.

Out of control I am, I tell you...

(Now in case you're wondering what beer goes well with an afternoon of revisiting rpg memories, you can check out my write up of Mornington Lager here.)

Yes the last time I had a flick through a similar gamebook to this one I was Maybe 12. Which makes this a revisit of 25-27 years in the making. So would it be a rose tinted glasses walk down rpg lane or more than likely a chore complete with pen and paper?
It was indeed the latter...but there was a reason why:


Unlike my childhood where I flat out ignored any rule or book event I didn't like, this time around I followed things to the latter. So I had to accept my stats no matter what, took the opening gold I rolled and only bought the equipment that my fighter could wield properly, could afford and could carry....which wasn't much. So instead of the armed to the teeth war wagon of justice, my first Rook walked into the nearest dungeon with a mid ranged sword and a metal cap. Not even cheap leather or cloth armour because there wasn't any money left over. 

So I was well and truly behind the eight ball before I ever started.


Only to be met by a grinning pair of skeletons. Now any RPG player worth their magic powder will know that skeletons are supposed to be a warm up on the way to bigger and more dangerous things but no, these were a bit of a time sink. Using a bladed weapon meant any damage I caused would have to be halved and with my basic stats, I wasn't about to create massive wounds straight out anyway. So killing these things took quite a while. I came out unscathed (must have been the metal cap) but gah, what a chore. I ventured into a corridor, open the door and walked into impending doom..


Which took my sword and metal helmet right off. So I pushed the lever the wrong way and it propelled my gear into the nearest wall, obliterating them both. Great. So I tried the switch the other way hoping a mythical Gatling gun to drop from the ceiling. No such luck - two hungry orcs appeared from a hidden door and murdered my bare fisted and bare headed idiot. That was quick...

An ad for this game the same year I was born...


So I rolled up another character and this time decided to try the second part of the book, the Arena battles. And wouldn't you know it, my idiot this time around managed to fail his very first Luck saving throw on the first page, got caught by slavers, had all of his equipment taken off him (including the shield I wisely bought for him) and then got thrust into the arena with just a short sword and some cheap leather armour (well at least that was something). Incredibly I managed to roll up a massive ogre with a club the size of Texas as my opponent and I was destroyed before I could say 'Man, I haven't even started this beer-'


So what started off as a fun mission back to my childhood ended up as a long winded battle with skeletons and a book that wanted me to suffer with every page turn in record time. And unlike all my favourite role playing games on PC and Xbox 360, I couldn't just restore an earlier save point. In the second case I spent more time creating my character than actually using them. So much writing, recording and rolling and it can all be undone by turning to the wrong page number. I might give it one more go for old times sake before the book goes back to the bookshelf but it better be nice to me next time...  


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