Monday, 18 March 2013

More to Find Than Can Ever Be Found

Proteus 5, Caverns of the Enchantress, had a different cover artist to the preceding issues, and that wasn't the only change. The magazine had also gained a Letters page (their capitalisation), added Mark K. Dunn to its stable of interior artists, and made its rules more FF-like. More significantly, though this last detail was the easiest to overlook back then, it was the first to be written by Elizabeth Caldwell, who would go on to be one of the magazine's most prolific contributors.

It was definitely a school day when I bought my copy. I remember starting to read it in the small hall outside the CCF armoury where the RPG group tended to gather at break times, then I was in the school library when my character encountered the incongruous coffin-dwelling Werewolf, and I'd returned to that little hallway by the time I sought the wisdom of the intermittently petrified Lion King Elaam. I think I wound up failing on account of missing the only essential item that could be missed.

My character is another itinerant adventurer, and the adventure starts when I gain the favour of the Sorcerer Pelorath by leaving some money in return for the food I took from his home. He gives me a third of a golden disc, and tells me that the whole disc will lead me to a great treasure. The missing two thirds can be found in the Caverns to the north. Pelorath also gives me three enchanted oak leaves that can provide protection against evil. I'm likely to need them, as my character only has
Dexterity: 8
Strength: 19
Fate/Fortune: 8
Told you the rules were FFier here.

Anyway, I trek north until I find the cave mouth. The winged demons carved on either side of it have my character wondering if I will encounter anything similar inside (actually, the demon that will probably shred my character if I get far enough to encounter it has no wings), and remind me the reader of a rather tedious computer game I played some years back.

Mind you, that cave had doors.

I help myself to one of the torches conveniently stacked just inside the entrance, and head along a tunnel. Before long the passage turns east, and I trip on something, but just manage to keep my balance. The item that caused me to stumble turns out to be a human skull, strangely black in colour. My character wonders if it's a bad omen, and I remember that the background to FF book 5 ended with my character almost tripping over a black cat and having similarly superstitious musings.

A little further on there's a door set into the south wall. I open it, and find what looks like a long-abandoned guard room behind it. A rusty key hangs on a hook, and I help myself to it, then continue east to a crossroads. I stick with going east, which takes me into a cavern where I am attacked by Skeletal Vultures. Perhaps because of the speed of the attack, I don't get to use any leaves, and the Dexterity penalty I incur for not being able to fly is just enough to lose me the battle.

I should probably have fudged character creation, but I remembered that the adventure contains a magic weapon which adds to Fighting Power, and thought that that might be enough to make up for a below-average Dexterity. Wasn't expecting to get killed before I got anywhere near Skull-Cleaver.

On an unrelated note...
As of yet nobody's shown any interest in contributing to the madness going up on this blog a fortnight from now. The input I seek should only take 5-10 minutes to put together, and can be done at any time over the course of the next two weeks (but really, the sooner, the better), so if you'd like to have a hand in the strangest adventure I play (at least until Sky Lord), please email me at edwardtjolley at gmail dot com.

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