Friday, 22 May 2015

Lone Wolf 3 - The Caverns of Kalte playthrough

(You can follow Justin McCormack on Facebook and Twitter.
You can also support Justin on Patreon and receive exclusive content including an advanced preview of next week's Fighting Fantasy playthrough, "The Crimson Tide"!
Justin is the author of two bestselling novels, a collection of horror stories - "Hush!: A Horror Anthology", and the young adult coming-of-age comedy "Diary of a gay teenage zombie".
The first in his newest series of books, "Tales of Monsterotica" - a series of erotic comedies, is available now.)


 "The Caverns of Kalte", written by Joe Dever, illustrated by Gary Chalk.

A year has passed since the last book, since Lone Wolf bravely defeated an entire evil army by zapping the chieftain with lightning from a mile away. Word has spread throughout the world of my victory, and the king has been nice enough to give me the ruins of my old home as a gift. He tells me that it's to let me rebuild it to it's former glory, but secretly I suspect that he just doesn't want to pay the cost of having all the rubble removed. It's on the morning of the first anniversary of my Darklord zapping (known throughout the land as 'char-grilled Tuesday') that I get a letter delivered to the monastery - well, to the smouldering ruin where I'm living, that is.

Reports indicate that the great ice barbarian of the north has been overthrown, replaced by none other than Vonotor the traitor, the wizard who was last seen fleeing in screaming, blubbering panic from the mess I'd made of his armada of ships. It's thought that he fled to the north, insinuated his way into the ice barbarian king's court, and then took control - probably by treachery, given his namesake.

My working theory is that when he introduced himself to the ice king, he said "Nice to meet you, my liege. I'm Vonotor the tra- erm... the nice guy." So, the king send me off to capture Vonotor the nice guy. I pack my Sommerswerd, as much meals as I can pack (because this book hates the hunting skill) and my new special ability, tracking.

This adventure begins, much as the previous one, with my character boarding a ship and sailing off towards his target - this time around, that is the frozen lands of Kalte. No sooner than we begin, we need to make accommodation for the brutal winter weather, and I'm forced to decide which route to take. Opting for the longer, safer route around Storm Giants Pass (certainly sounds safe, doesn't it!), we make landfall and start our trek towards the ice barbarians castle.

The next day, myself and my three guides are trekking along (across the universe, on the starship enterprise under captain Kirk) when we're attacked by a Baknar. Due to how the book is edited, I've not actually been told what this creature actually is, but it nevertheless dies fairly readily, and running myself in its oil keeps me warm for a while.

Things seem to be going quite well, until the next morning, when we are assailed by a hunting party of ice barbarians, who ski around us while their children (carried in their backpacks) fire arrows at us. Like any noble, heroic figure, I knock one of the locals over and threaten to murder his child if they don't do as I say. Damn, people complain that Superman got violent!

Having fled the ice barbarians and jettisoned my hostage, I shelter for the night in some caves, which lead downwards into a vast network of caverns. After crossing an underground river, I find two indigenous people sitting in a cave, eating dinner. I promptly chase them away and steal their food, while the book goes to great length to tell me how slanted the people's eyes are. Feeling that I'm about to get a call from the police for some kind of racial crime, I quickly pocket their treasure (a portable fire in a ball) and hurry away, feeling rather ashamed of myself.

The portable fire proves useful in convincing a nasty venomous snake to leave me alone, and before long I manage to find my way to the basement level of the ice barbarian's castle. Before I can get through the cellar door, though, a giant snake made of crystals attacks me, because crystals work like that. It also has a small silver key lurking in its, uh, gut.

I kill the thing, only to find that the door that it's guarding is locked by some kind of missing jigsaw piece. I initially forgot that I even had this blue pyramid key sitting in my inventory, having picked it up from some of the locals who I'd killed earlier. It fits into the door, and I hurry into the basement of the fortress proper.

It’s curiously warm inside the fortress of the ice barbarians. Or, perhaps it makes sense that it’s warm, I’m not sure. I take off my gloves and make my way through the store rooms. I quickly find a box containing a number of multi-coloured potions. There’s a rather useful healing one, which I pocket, and a black potion which I’m very curious about. I don’t take that one, though, as the book doesn't allow me to, because I didn't go to the scary graveyard in book one. Damn, I knew that graveyard was important!

But never mind that, because not much further into the castle, I find a chest. Unlocking it with the silver key, I find a magical Silver Helmet which raises my combat skill score, which is damn nice. Feeling quite confident, I push onwards, quickly finding a guard room. The guard has three massive doomwolves, all of who are asleep. I’m given the risky option to sneak through the room and jump the guard before the wolves can awake, but the moment that I enter, the wolves all wake up and join the guard in savaging me relentlessly.

I survive the fight against all four enemies, but my endurance is into the single digits. Even with the potion and my healing skill, it’s going to take a while for me to feel better, so I push onwards through the castle until I eventually find a prison cell. It contains an old man who is kneeling on the floor, facing away. I immediately expect that he’s a monster of some sort, but he assures me that he’s just a normal old man. Given that he can talk, and doesn't have a scary monster face when he turns to look at me, I put my fears aside and help him.

Immediately, he turns into a helghast and kills me. You see, I had forgotten that they were shape-shifters. I was even given another chance to detect that he wasn't human, by asking him who the ruler of his hometown was (the town we visited in the previous book). I expect that he answered that wrongly, but I wouldn't have known as I’d also forgotten the name of the town’s ruler. Yay me.

After the previous book in the series, this one feels a little bit of a let-down. While previously we had traveled across a range of locations, here it is simply a tundra, a cave, and a castle. The encounters we have tend to be a little more unusual, with the ice barbarians themselves being more than a little goofy. On the plus point, though, the book makes far stronger use of the skills, and the continuity from previous adventures is very good, such as the question you can ask the helghast, or the black potion.

Now, tune in again in two weeks time for the next book in the Lone Wolf series, The Chasm of Doom, only available here!

Lone Wolf Statistics at this point
Combat Skill – 15, Endurance – 25
Kai Skills - hunting, healing, sixth sense, mindshield, animal kinship, weaponskill swords (+2 CS), tracking
Special items – Map, Crystal Star Pendant, Sommerswerd (+8 CS), Firesphere, Blue Stone Pyramid, Silver Helmet (+2 CS)

(You can follow Justin McCormack on Facebook and Twitter.
You can also support Justin on Patreon and receive exclusive content including an advanced preview of next week's Fighting Fantasy playthrough, "The Crimson Tide"!
Justin is the author of two bestselling novels, a collection of horror stories - "Hush!: A Horror Anthology", and the young adult coming-of-age comedy "Diary of a gay teenage zombie".
The first in his newest series of books, "Tales of Monsterotica" - a series of erotic comedies, is available now.)


7 comments:

  1. You couldn't escape the Helghasts forever! How close are we to the Fighting Fantasy full walkthroughs?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Still quite a while away, I'm afraid. But we'll get there!

      Delete
  2. Isn't the Sommerswerd an insta-win against the Helghast even if you do release it? At least, that's what I remember from my playing of this book.....well, couple decades ago, I admit, so my memory may not be that accurate,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a massive boost, but not an instant win. I'd have won it easily if it weren't for the damage from the previous fight.

      Delete
  3. hey there... not sure how to contact you, just wondered if you could give me a quick review if your interested of my android app (fighting fantasty sheet thing)
    heres a link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=uk.co.rossmarks.ff_sheet
    all the best
    cheers :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I was not aware it was possible to get both the Firesphere and the Silver Helmet. I've tried many times.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I just finished this one up myself, and am getting ready to write it up.

    I agree that Caverns didn't have the same breadth of settings as the previous adventures, e.g. no hustling at a casino hoping to work up cab fare. But Caverns has some complexities and "hidden" bits that made it quite interesting and difficult. There are four distinct entrances to the Caverns, for example, and a point where you can make the wrong decision and guarantee failure, yet keep playing for some time before dying.

    That boss monster, though - a very Lovecraft-style abomination from outside the dimensions that we know. That thing was great! Even though it's near-impossible to kill in five rounds without the Sommerswerd or REALLY lucky rolls.

    Now that we're up to 3 books, calibrating the difficulty on them is getting easier. Bring up my veteran character with a 19 combat and the Sommerswerd, ... or roll up a newb to see how far he gets.

    It has been a fun series so far!

    ReplyDelete