Another April 1st, another not-so-serious Tunnels & Trolls adventure. Rick Loomis' Solo for the Intellectually Challenged (aka Solitaire for the Intellectually Challenged aka Solo Adventure for the Intellectually Challenged aka Solitaire Adventure for the Intellectually Challenged - all four titles occur once within the book) is one of three adventures included in book 24 of the Flying Buffalo solo adventures range. As with every other post-20 adventure, I got it on eBay.
In the introduction, Mr. Loomis points out that most gamebooks penalise players who make stupid decisions, often with fatal consequences for the character. As this is liable to put off that proportion of the player base that likes making stupid decisions, he wrote SftIC to cater to them. Practically every option offered within the adventure is blatantly idiotic, and a lot of the fun of playing is in finding out how the outcome will be logical(ish) but nowhere near as catastrophic as you'd expect. The first time I played it, my adventure ended when I drank the contents of a bottle marked with a skull and crossbones, as a result of which my character was transformed into a pirate and went off in search of a more ocean-based adventure.
Not that it's likely to matter, but I'll roll up my stats anyway.
Not a bad fit for this challenge, if not quite as sub-par as would be ideal.
My character is a sheep-herding peasant somewhere in the Blue Mountains. One morning I happen upon a cave, with a sign over it. It warns that there's a Dragon in the cave, and anybody who enters will die. This is clearly my chance to become a Great Hero, so I enter the cave. Someone has walled off its depths with rocks and mortar, but a rusty door is set into the wall. On the door is a glowing lock. I reach for it, and feel a strange tingle in my hand. The hairs on the back of my hand stand up, and the tingling grows in intensity as I get closer to the lock. There's clearly something very interesting going on here, so I grab hold of the lock to find out more.
It comes off in my hand. I pocket it, as there's probably a wizard somewhere who'll pay good money for metal that does such interesting things. The door opens with an appropriate creaking noise, and I see only darkness beyond. They (whoever 'they' are) say it's always darkest right before the dawn, so walking into the dark should make it get light, right?
I trip over a bone, quite fortuitously, as it turns out, since that causes the blow aimed at my head by some unseen assailant to miss. In the course of attempting to get back up, I manage to stumble into a hole in the ground, which turns out to be the mouth of a chute leading to a brightly lit cavern. The cavern is full of treasure, but after grabbing a few precious stones, I get distracted from the valuables by other features. There's the potion bottle I mentioned before, a rope with a sign reading 'alarm', and a scorched and bloodstained altar festooned with gargoyles and arcane runes, which looks as if it could be a handy stepping stone for getting the glowing sword with the letters 'E.V.I.L.' on the hilt that hangs above it.
An alarmed Dragon will probably get careless, so I pull the rope in the hope of improving my chances in the fight that must be imminent. But I have misinterpreted the function of the rope, which summons a yellow-skinned, blue-haired creature known as Larm, who offers to grant me a wish. Though tempted to laugh at his hairstyle, I decide that this is too good an opportunity to waste, and wish for a sandwich. Not just any sandwich, though. One with roast beef in. Larm grants my wish (and takes my lunch).
Now that I have the sandwich, I clamber onto the altar and take the sword. A spark of static causes me to overbalance and fall off just before a bolt of electricity strikes the altar, and the sword falls beside me. A tall, muscular man with a beard and armour introduces himself as Edgar Victor Ichabod Lodz, and tells me to hand over his sword. I hand it to him, hilt first so as to keep him from thinking I'm attacking, and thereby discover that the blade is sharp enough to cut my hand.
Lodz tells me there's a bottle of healing potion behind me, but I ignore that and demand a reward for finding his sword for him. He offers to cast a spell that will give me good health for the rest of my life, but I have to close my eyes and turn round before he'll cast it. I tell him I'm not interested in such a dull reward, and he laughs and walks off.
Five guards with crossbows and spears burst into the cavern and call me an intruder. I offer to share my sandwich with them. It's got roast beef in, you know? They find this highly amusing - so much so that they forget to frisk me for stolen valuables before forcibly ejecting me from the cave. So I never did get to fight that Dragon, but I end my first adventure as this character sufficiently well-off that I can buy some decent adventuring gear and continue my endeavours to become a Great Hero some other day. You have been warned.