Well, that was difficult, but eventually immensely satisfying.
Firstly, I should say that Usurper! is a book where there are two equally interesting independent paths you can take which converge around the time you meet Dore near the Rift.
The path which I didn’t take in this playthrough has several difficult (almost unrelated) encounters. There’s another tiff with Honoric (remember him?), a ritual duel with a Vile supporter named Aiguchi and a nightmarish battle with a resurrecting Golem.
As usual, what makes this book isn’t just the game mechanics but rather the writing and ‘colour’ that makes Orb comes alive. I make fun, but its all done with love. I adore these books. The path through the Valley of the Lich-Kings is suitably bleak and ominous, whereas the other road is more like an explosive action movie, with climax after climax.
The final path to victory is suitably difficult while not being impossible. The final battle is a great sequence, where trial after trial is piled upon Avenger’s head (almost literally) until it seems that almost all hope is lost. There are a few ways to even the odds, with Dore’s timely intervention being only one of them.
The negotiation and attempts to rally support for the coup are also a far cry from some of the basic ‘hack and slash’ tactics of other gamebook examples.
Well, I’ve managed to survive, bruised but unbroken. My budding political career is about to take off!