Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The Different Accidents of Life

I have already told of my initial experience of The Curse of Frankenstein, the second of J.H. Brennan's Horror Classics. One thing I didn't mention previously was that my memories of reading part of it at an employment agency came from a diceless attempt at the even-numbered sections - like the other Horror Classics book, Curse contains two intertwined adventures, each with a different viewpoint character, and the even-numbered sections cover the adversities and absurdities experienced by Baron Viktor Frankenstein in the Arctic wastes.

I'm here to track down and destroy the creature I was lunatic enough to give life with my Mad Science (capitalised because Mad Science is one of my special abilities, though given the (at least) 1 in 6 chance of it proving fatal to use, I doubt that I'll do much with it in the course of the adventure).

It is unlikely that I will succeed, in part because so few of Brennan's gamebooks actually offer a remotely decent chance of winning, but also because I have some pretty dismal stats.
Life Points: 100 (the default starting score)
Speed: 1
Courage: 1
Strength: 6
Skill: 4
Psi: 1 (further reducing the likelihood of my using Mad Science)
Still, even with such a mediocre Speed and Courage, surely I can't fare any worse than I did when playing Count Dracula (see the third of the above links). Can I?

Before setting off, I can pick six items from a list. The ice pick and 50ft rope seem obvious choices. Vague memories incline me towards taking the box of matches and the copy of The Manchester Guardian. Given its medicinal properties (at least in this adventure), I'd be wise to take the bottle of laudanum. And a tent is probably going to be of more use than a pair of warm socks or a pith helmet (though with Brennan you never can tell).

All four points of the compass look equally uninviting, so I go east. Mainly because I didn't go that way much when playing as the monster. Nothing catches my attention, and I get the option of changing direction, but I might as well try to be systematic and thorough, so I'll keep going east until it's no longer an option or something happens to make another direction look more promising. As I continue, rocky outcrops block off the south and west (eh?).

Suddenly I catch sight of the monster. Throwing caution to the wind, I lunge at it, and find myself grappling with a snowman built by the monster to lure me into a snowdrift. My survival here depends on a roll of the dice, and while I don't roll low enough to drown, I don't roll high enough to keep myself from freezing to death, either.

Rather a humiliating demise, but I think it's a better death than I had as Dracula. Just.

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