I now have the option of continuing along the road, or entering the cave.
Dark and mysterious cave, did you say? Sold!
I enter the cave, walk down some steps and then get trapped behind a portcullis (metal gate, for non-afficionados of medieval castles).
I wait in this seeming trap for hours before I am freed, realising now that the other end of the tunnel opens into some kind of gladiatorial arena (!!!)
A group of soldiers poke me out into the arena, stating that “Only one of you can become the king of the castle and live”.
Well, that was…..random.
The arena has sections of grass, ice, swamp and desert. I’m not sure I want to know how the heck they can all co-exist. Probably one of those unsolved mysteries all the other ninjas gossip about around the water cooler. At the centre is a tower with a hobgoblin brandishing a trident. I guess he’s the carryover champion. Is he risking a motorcycle for the chance to win a cash jackpot?
There are other competitors – a ‘dark elf’, a knight and a ‘man in flowing robes’.
In the desert section there is a man with the ‘swaying head and neck of a cobra’. Aha! So they weren’t taking him to the zoo!
My platform is descending, and I must choose between the grass (with two lions looking at me with hunger) and the ice (with a ‘Snow Giant’).
Snow Giant it is! (‘He’s ‘snow’ giant’ is the obvious dad joke to make at this stage.)
Given the tricky footing, I use the classic ‘Iron Fist punch’. The Snow Giant is no pushover. In fact, I decide to use a point of my ‘Inner Force’ to attempt to end the fight. I luckily connect, and, knowing that I double my damage, roll a damage score of 6. That 6, doubled to 12, sends the Giant to an Endurance of 1, and I finish him off next round. My Endurance is down to 9, though, and I’ll need to be careful.
I see that the knight and Dark Elf will not be returning to next week’s show on account of death while the enigmatic ‘man in flowing robes’ is making his way across the moat to the central tower. I follow suit by floating over on a piece of ice.
The man is described as young, and introduces himself as a magician. He offers a deal to co-operatively kill the Hobgoblin and then ‘let the crowd decide who shall live’. He suggests we shake on it.
I KNEW that saving a young boy would pay off!
Poison Needles, once more into the fray! I need a 5 or over on two dice to poison his arrogant wizard self and roll a…….5. Score one for treacherous poison! He falls into the moat and is stripped to the bone by the ravenous piranha-esque ‘Floating Mouths’! Cop that!
Aside : It would be great if he was just like the young boy’s kind father, and the boy was using me as an instrument for revenge because the boy had been sent to his room without dessert or something similiar.
OK. Mano-et-hobgoblino. Carry over champ versus ninja.
I elect to use the ‘Leaping Tiger Kick’, noting that his Endurance is double that of mine.
Luckily I land my first two blows, reducing him to parity with me. His trident then finds its mark, but I successfully block the blow. One more mighty kick TO THE FACE and the Hobgoblin collapses, dead. I find a vial called ‘Essence of Firenewt’ on his body and, making my way outside, get showered with flowers and offers of employment as a bodyguard.
A stranger tugs my sleeve and asks “Do you come from the Island of Tranquil Dreams?”
SUMMARY : Endurance : 9, Punch Modifier : +1, Inner Force : 4
Awesome names : Mortavalon sort of sounds like a country village with an air of menace behind it.