Resuming my attempt at Hand of Fate, Kieran Coghlan's mini-adventure from issue 10 of Fighting Fantazine (the first part of which can be found here, in case you need clarification on any whos, wheres, whats and wherefores), I leave Zengis, and immediately get asked if I have Sussurus with me. I do, so when I speculate on the advisability of seeking out Pen Ty Kora (aka the Healer) on the grounds that he must know the best way to get to Vatos, the Ganjee politely indicates that I have fallen into the logical fallacy of assuming that expertise in one field automatically confers knowledge of completely unrelated topics. No, just kidding: he insults the Healer, the wizard who trained him (also my erstwhile mentor), and me, and tells me of a convenient magical teleporter about a day's walk from here.
There's no stat for keeping track of the passage of time in this adventure, so it's possible that I could call on the Healer anyway and still be in with a chance of thwarting my enemies, but I'm not sure it's worth it. He's hardly likely to be able to replace my missing hand, and antagonising my primary source of information could lead to additional unpleasantness, so I'll check out the teleporter.
The ruins where the teleporter is situated are in the depths of Elwood Forest (which was called the Forest of Fiends back in Armies of Death. I wonder if the nearbyish Forest of Night has been renamed Jake Forest). As I penetrate into the depths of the forest, I catch sight of a group of Goblins huddled around something, and decide to take a closer look. They attempt to screen whatever had their attention from my sight, and ask what I want. I'm only given a choice between demanding to know what they're hiding or attacking straight off, but I guess any attempt at diplomacy is going to be doomed the moment Sussurus speaks up.
The Goblin leader has a short sword, and if I end up fighting and killing him and don't get to arm myself... Well, the 'zine is on pdf, so trying to fling the adventure away in disgust would either entail printing it out first or require me to get my computer fixed or replaced afterwards, so I guess I'd have to settle for a strongly worded post at the Fantazine forum. I'll try talking first anyway.
They move apart to reveal what appears to be a life-like statue of a cowering Goblin, and explain that it is a friend of theirs, turned to stone by a 'Big Lizard' that lives in some nearby caves. I deduce that the creature must be a Basilisk before Sussurus points it out. Perhaps if I offer to help, the Goblins might provide a weapon. Nope, they assume that I can defeat the monster single-handed and unarmed. Sussurus heaps scorn on me for my 'suicidal altruistic pursuit', but offers no advice when the tunnel leading into the cave forks.
The slime on the walls of one passage may have been secreted by the Basilisk, so I take that route. Before long I hear the sound of something rapidly approaching, and my sub-par Luck score determines what happens next. And for the second Fantazine mini-adventure running, I fail the adventure by rolling way above the relevant attribute. This means that I forget to cover my eyes (not even 'react too slowly' - forget!) and get turned to stone, much to the annoyance of Sussurus.
So what happens to the Juggernaut key if its bearer dies by a means other than 'honourable combat'? Have I just thwarted my enemies by dying again?
Well, this time round I didn't find Hand of Fate as annoying as on my first attempt. But the opening remains a bad idea, and the text still intermittently gives the impression that the author shares Sussurus' low opinion of my character's mental capabilities, so I still wouldn't call myself a fan.