This means that my ability to complete the collection and finish the playthroughs is going to be seriously hit as well. And I had only 9 books to go to complete the set. The problem is, one of them is Magehunter, which will now be out of my price range, delaying the playthrough of it by.... I don't know how long.
If you can help at all, I have an amazon list set up at http://www.amazon.co.uk/registry/wishlist/HMJ186YV6YSQ if anyone wants to send any books as a donation. Naturally I don't feel right asking people to buy things for me, but if you happen to have any of the books that I'm currently missing, please please please send them in (especially Magehunter if you have one), and I'll dedicate the entire playthrough to yourselves. As a bonus, you'll also be able to guest-write a playthrough of any gamebook you choose.
Right, so now that I've got that out of the way, let's get on with Deathmoor.....
"The dagger held at your throat cuts deep. Your adventure ends here." That's section 400 in this adventure. I read ahead. Was just curious, you see. Something tells me that this book is going to be a tricky one, and not in a good way.
The princess of some back-water kingdom in the arse-end of nowhere has been kidnapped by a group of nasty gits, who want all the gold in the kingdom for her return. But the quest isn't given to the eponymous YOU this time, it's been given to your rival adventurer, Fang-zen of Jitar! Oh well, he got the contract first. I'll just sit back and wait for the next job to come in... oh no, wait, that would result in a very short adventure. Guess I'd better give chase and rescue the princess before he does, then.
I manage to roll up pretty much the most average stats possible for my stamina, skill and luck, and head off in pursuit of Fang-zen. And I stumble off into the wilderness, no idea where to go to find the kidnappers, and die in a gutter somewhere.
Anyway, I insult Fang for a bit and challenge him to that game in which people stab their fingers with knives, you know the game. I manage to not stab myself too badly, and Fang loses, handing over six gold coins and, on my insistence, the contract. It's funny, I never really imagined that being a brave and heroic adventurer involved so much paperwork!
I wasted the rest of the night going to another pub and buying some 'lucky' heather from an old hag, which was a con as it was not remotely lucky. I had a random fight later that night with two fish-people who had a grudge against me due to some previous adventure, and the next morning I stopped in at the local market to buy some rope. Rope is always useful. Having wasted enough time, I read the details on the contract, and went off to the arranged meeting point with the kidnappers.
And no sooner have I set foot into the moors, than Fang-zen shows up and lobs a spear at me. I can't say that I'm surprised at this, and frankly it's quite nice to have this plot thread tied up. Having got quite tired of his silly antics, I beat him over the head my sword for a while, and loot the body. While I steal all the gold and silly sandals that he's got, I notice that the ogre I've been tracking has escaped. I'm nowhere near skilled enough to keep tracking him, so I head to a small village outpost that's aptly named Outpost.
The villagers there are slightly more friendly than the villagers at Khare, because they don't shoot me with laser eye-beams or try to drown me with poo. But they do refuse to give me anywhere to stay for the night, all but one of them, who demands both gold and a free meal before he'll even let me crash on his sofa for the night. He does mention that he doesn't trust outsiders because a little old lady in a house nearby was murdered by a giant the night before... wait, that must be the ogre!
We trudge along through the moors until we get to a river, where we are attacked by two Blackhearts - creatures of mixed orc and dark elf heritage. Which makes me wonder how that pairing came about. Did an orc bonk a dark elf at some point? Is that a regular thing? Are they both physically compatible? Which one carries the child? Wouldn't an orc be a little, erm, over-sized for an elf lady? And... y'know, I don't know why I'm even thinking about this. I kill them both.
The whatever-they-are have a special amulet which signifies that they're loyal members of Arch-thingie's army of goons, and a map leading to their camp. The book then actually asks if I want to go to their camp, which seems like total suicide to me. So I do it. Sadly it seems that these two chaps I've killed were the camp's only inhabitants, so after searching the place until I find bits of broken stones and rotten food (joy of joys), I decide to head south along the river.
I'm attacked by an acid-spitting snake, which I kill, and proceed to cross the river. Mid-way across I'm attacked by yet another monster, this time it's a Granochin. The book doesn't tell me much about what this thing actually is, so I have to work off the artwork, which indicates that it's a kind of angry fish-thing with clawed hands or something, I dunno. By the time I get to the other side of the river, I notice that my stamina's rather low and chow down on some provisions.
Unfortunately, some stupid bugger built their house right on top of a Tantaflex, which is a giant shoggoth-type monster who has caused the skeletons in the area to come back from the dead. After I carve my way through four of the skeletons, the shoggoth awakens and gnaws on my lower intestine for a while. The book outright says 'in the unlikely event that you survive'. But I do survive. Barely. I survive with one stamina point.
I promptly die while attempting to climb up the side of the ravine in order to get out of the valley, by losing one stamina point due to minor scratches and bruises from loose grit and pebbles. I'm the greatest hero in the known universe.
If Deathmoor was a cake, it would be low-fat lemon cake. It's bland, but not criminally so. If you had the chance, you'd go for something a bit more tasty.