I should clarify that the door into the Throne Room was actually a secret door, activated by pulling down a torch on the wall. That just gives you an extra Dungeons & Dragons feel to the whole thing.
At any rate, I enter the Throne Room and see that it is not only decorated with the insignia of the Usurper, but also my father’s coat of arms and a statue of Dama, the ‘shieldmaiden of the gods’.
The Usurper meets my gaze, and I note that he has ‘cold eyes’ and a ‘cruel yet handsome face’. I’m picturing David Niven, or perhaps Adam Sandler (except for the handsome part).
He is alone and unarmed, and ‘all’ I have to do is kill him.
I somehow get the feeling that it won’t be as easy as all that.
I can use a Poison Needle, martial arts or a Shuriken.
Poison Needles, don’t fail me now!
The good news is that the needle embeds itself in the Usurper’s face, causing (I’m told) 6 damage. The bad news is that, before my eyes, this ‘man’ reveals his true self, being a monstrous Duke of Hell, called Astaroth, with huge bat-like wings, claws, fangs, and a face of ‘hellish evil’.
Well, we always wondered what Adam Sandler would look like without Photoshop.
Avenger curses Fate for making it his destiny to battle such a monster. I unleash Kwon’s Flail, and dare this ‘thing’ to do its worst.
Just to spice things up :
- Astaroth breathes (!) a jet of hail at me, causing 4 damage that I can’t dodge.
- Astaroth has 33 (!!!) Endurance (now 27 because of the Poison Needle) and does damage of 3 (!!) dice with each blow.
With my Kick Modifier, I need a 6 on 2 dice to hit, and Kwon’s Flail does an extra 2 damage.
I manage to hit, but then I get the added good news that just touching Astaroth does 2 damage to me (reduced to 1 because I have the saint’s locket – thanks Grizell!). Further, my blows only do half damage! I’m going to wear my lawyer’s hat, and say that although the book states that all blows do half damage, it does not say that I suffer the 1 damage every time I hit. So that’s how I’m going to play it.
I guess the house always wins, hmmm?
Just as things were going so well, Astaroth hits me with his ‘mighty claws’. Luckily :
- The ruby circlet reduces damage by 4.
- The saint’s locket also reduces damage by 3.
Astaroth gets an 8 on 3 dice, which means the final damage is 1.
In the second round my kick fails to make its mark. Astaroth again hits and does (9-7) 2 damage.
Astaroth now throws me against the wall, and I lose ANOTHER 3 Endurance. My total is now 9.
For some reason, as if he wasn’t absolutely kicking my backside already, Astaroth summons another demon named Scourge. Amazing how these guys are never called “Luckyclover” or anything. In any event, here’s what this friendly little fellow looks like:
The tail is a particularly charming touch. To quote Indiana Jones, why does it always have to be snakes?
So now I get to fight this guy. Oh, and Inner Force doesn’t affect him. Super.
Round 1 :
Due to my Kick Modifier, and the fact that’s he’s such a ridiculously huge target, I only need a 3 or more on 2 dice to hit. The worse news is that he has 22 Endurance and does 2 dice + 2 damage.
The slightly better news is that my two sacred relics are still in play, reducing 7 from any damage done by Scourge.
I hit, but only do 3 damage. Luckily, Scourge rolls a 4 and fails (he needs an 8 on two dice) to mark my beautiful face.
Endurance : Me 9, Scourge 19.
Round 2 :
I hit (duh) and do a healthier total of 6 damage. I then get another handy roll, as Scourge misses again.
Endurance : Me 9, Scourge 13.
I am now slightly nervous, because the book says that after two rounds I must go to another page….
You’ve gotta be kidding.
Astaroth and Scourge summon yet another two demons, and just when things were getting (slightly) less awful. For those who care, their names are Hazarbol and Mazarbol, and they apparently look like two demonic hyenas.
But wait! Dore le Jeune, the helpful paladin from (much) earlier, comes riding in to save the day. In an absolutely AWESOME entrance line, he cheerily declares that he ‘smelt evil’ and takes on Astaroth, Hazarbol and Mazarbol AT THE SAME TIME.
Sorry, Togowa, I have a new hero!
This does leave me to do the business on Scourge.
Round 3 :
I hit, but yet again (!) do the minimum damage of 3. Scourge hits (drat!) but I succeed in blocking the blow, though it reduces my chance at a follow-up attack.
Endurance : Me 9, Scourge 10
Round 4 :
Now needing a 5 or more to hit, I roll a….4. Yeesh.
Scourge hits, I fail to block and he does (13-7) 6 damage. One more like that and I’m a goner.
Endurance : Me 3, Scourge 10
Round 5 :
I hit and do the maximum – 8 damage! Scourge rolls a…..3 and misses. Yes!!
Endurance : Me 3, Scourge 2
Round 6 :
I hit again, and do only the minimum 3 damage – but its enough!! Scourge drops dead!!
Actually, I hadn’t yet read the next sentence, which says that Scourge is not dead, but is rather banished ‘to the spirit plane’. Whatever. Take a hike, loser.
My new hero Dore has successfully disposed of Hazarbol and Mazarbol, and has reduced Astaroth to an Endurance level of 6.
Aside : The rules here are a little unclear. I’m not sure whether my blows still do only half-damage to Astaroth. I’m going to assume that they do, and will proceed on that basis.
For those that have forgotten the details from up the page, Astaroth does 3 dice of damage, minus 7 for my holy relics.
I have no choice other than to use the Iron Fist Punch. With my Punch Modifier, I need a 7 or more to hit. There is no mention in the text of Astaroth being immune to Inner Force, so I unleash one of my two remaining points….
and roll a 5. Astaroth, needing a 9 to hit, also fails to connect.
Endurance : Me 3, Astaroth 6
I use my last remaining point of Inner Force, and roll a….
The doubling of Inner Force cancels the halving out, but I only roll a 2. Luckily Astaroth misses.
Endurance : Me 3, Astaroth 4
I hit with my Iron Fist punch, and roll a 6 (!) for damage. Halved that equals 3, putting this Duke of Hell on the road to salvation… (or not). Now on the brink of death, he rolls a 4, coming no-where near hitting my ninja self.
Endurance : Me 3, Astaroth 1.
I roll a (5+5) for a 10!! Doing 5/2 = 2.5 damage is enough!!
Amazing how satisfying a success in these books is when you’ve played it completely straight and still triumphed.
At any rate, Dore, who has now recovered slightly, goes off to fight the Cave Trolls I evaded earlier, while I realise that I still have an hostile army that my allies need to defeat.
Stats : Endurance : 3, Punch Modifier : +2, Kick Modifier: +3, Throw Modifier : 0, Fate Modifier : +1, Inner Force : 0