Alright, this is it.
After literally decades of waiting, the cliffhanger with Avenger lying helpless in the web of the Black Widow will finally be resolved.
Aside : Mad props if paragraph (1) of Redeemer simply stated. “The Black Widow eats you alive. You will never make it home. Psych!”
Hopefully that’s not the case.
In any event, a careful reading of the preliminary rules yields the following initial points.
- Notwithstanding the recent Twitter exchange between myself and Jamie Thomson, the introductory notes specifically confirm that my Inner Force still has only a maximum of 4 due to picking up (in Book 4) the cursed Amulet of Nullaq.
Aside – Now that’s a sentence that a non-gamebook fan would need subtitles to understand.
- Appparently, while falling into the dark, Kwon has restored my Endurance and Inner Force. No word as to Kwon’s motivation for not helping when a spider tried to set up camp in my brain, but there you go. Endurance : 20, Inner Force : 4
Aside : This, even more, speaks to how useless to the overall narrative the confrontation with Tyutchev was, near the end of Inferno! But I’ll try to be restrained with regard to criticisms of that book. Ancient history, baby!
Alright – paragraph 1! (Deep breath.)
My Torch of Lumen remains dark, and the only illumination is a ‘pale, sickly white light from above’. That could be a magical light, or just the reflection from a vampire slumber party. In any event, my friends and enemies alike are all trapped in this massive spider’s web. I confirm that my eye / Orb is still intact and that Foxglove is (absolutely, definitely not) my companion.
Vespers (the warrior from the four stooges) attempts to be a hero, in that he frees himself (using his sword ‘Manmaster’) from the web and confronts the Black Widow.
This would be a heroic last stand, except for the fact that the book has just begun.
Yeah, well I said that before I turned the page. Vespers’ head is (literally) bitten clean off. Yikes.
Welcome to Book 7, my friend.
In a wonderfully atmospheric piece of text, I am ‘showered’ with blood. I guess my shambler’s disguise just isn’t going to cut it anymore.
My first real choice!
I can :
- Pray to Kwon;
- Try to jam my little vial of the Blood of Nil into the maw of the Black Widow;
- Command my Torch of Lumen to flare with light;
- Two other non-options (using a token I don’t have, or using the Feigning Death skill, which I also don’t have).
I feel sure that the author of this (much delayed) sequel threw the Feign Death option in as a bone to those who have seen this skill sadly unused through the six previous books.
Since Kwon has literally restored my Endurance and Inner Force about five minutes ago, I think it might be pushing the friendship to ask for further help so soon. Given that the Blood of Nil is a one-use-only item, whereas the Torch of Lumen will continually flare with light on command, I try to keep my one-shot poison until later and try to shine a light from the Torch of Lumen into the Black Widow’s face.
I turn to the correct paragraph and….
Alright, firstly massive props to the author(s) for using the term chelicerae correctly with regard to the spider’s mouth. My admiration is short-lived, as I manage to make the Black Widow rear in shock (due to the flare of light) but her ‘flailing limb’ lashes out, catching my left leg.
I lose 4 Endurance (which is tolerable) but apparently, my leg is so injured that I suffer a -2 (!!!!!) to my Kick modifier!
Incidentally, I also can’t use my (non-existent) skill of Acrobatics until further notice.
Yeah, like that’s my main concern.
To paraphrase the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, its times like this when I have a crippled leg, am miles underground, am facing a massive spider, and have a miniature spider in my brain, that I wish I’d listened to my mother when I was young.
For the second part of that story, you’ll just have to wait.
Stats : Endurance : 16, Punch Modifier : +2, Kick Modifier: +1 (!!), Throw Modifier : 0, Fate Modifier : +1, Inner Force : 4