[Buckle in, this might go for a while]
I enter the throne room.
Before I do, I listen to this song because it never fails to get me fired up, prior to a contest of any kind.
Seriously, Manowar are so over the top as a band that they go all the way around and become awesome again.
A figure who closely resembles me sits on the [my] throne in silence. He then launches into a classic villain monologue. In summary :
- He was one of the ninjas who witnessed the aftermath of my triumph against the Grandmaster of Shadows in Book 4.
- He, along with his compadres, swore vengeance, rather than thinking ‘Holy moly, this guy has taken out our Grandmaster, maybe we should steer clear of him’.
- He literally agreed to have one of his eyes put out (!!), so that an illusion equivalent to the Orb could be cast upon the empty eye socket (10/10 for devotion to the cause, minus several million for good sense). In an awesome moment, he notes that, due to use of the illusion, it was completely unnecessary to physically put the eye out
- After I killed Mandrake (Book 4, for the curious), the priests of Nemesis apparently managed to take from the dead body the belt of illusion (the device which allows you to mimic another) along with a swordstick enscribed with my name, meaning that that only one blow will result in my death (!!). When this corpse-robbing occurred is anyone’s guess.
- He assumed my place in Irsmuncast and then, when hearing of my return, spread rumours of an ‘imposter’ attempting to take his place.
I have the choice of initial strategy :
- Poison Needle!
- Flash powder into a nearby torch, followed by an attack;
- Throwing a shuriken, followed by an attack;
- Simply attacking.
I remember from my duel in Book 2 that ninjas who follow Nemesis have a disturbingly high likelihood of being immune to spiderfish venom (which coats my Poison Needles). A shuriken may or may not succeed, but my lack of positive modifier in this regard renders me wary. Simply attacking lacks a certain panache, so I go for the flash powder!
The flash powder works (!) and a lash of acid from the imposter’s swordstick falls short of my attacking form.
I can add 2 to my modifier for my next attack!
I get my choice of attacking moves, and go for Kwon’s Flail, the move which is generally unknown to Nemesis ninjas!
Given the defence of the Imposter, I actually automatically hit! I elect to use Inner Force, which negates my Yubi-Jutsu skill, but doubles damage!
The Imposter’s Endurance is 14.
Damage roll is………..5+2 = 7.
What’s 7 doubled???
I think it is!!
Actually, after collapsing before me, the imposter was apparently only feigning death, and in a move worthy of Halloween (the movie, not the day) lunges at me in a last attempt to cave in my skull.
Iron Fist punch, anyone?
Yes, and before you ask, it made solid contact
Nemesis imposter ninja – 0,
Avenger – 1.
I hear a commotion outside, and wait for whomever it is to enter.
Lackland, the high priest of Nemesis charges in (together with orcs and followers), and sees me standing triumphant over the dead body of the (Nemesis-worshiping) imposter ninja, and starts to cast an attacking spell.
Meanwhile, Gwyneth and her supporters attack his lackeys from behind.
This may well be the final test of the book.
Lackland has 13 Endurance and I am locked in, apparently, to using the Cobra Strike punch against him. He has a magical mace (say that five times quickly), but he will rather, every time I miss, cast a spell that will, apparently, do 4 damage automatically every time that I miss (!!!)
Luckily as long as I keep successfully hitting, I can just keep going until he drops.
As against that, I only get to miss once before things get really ugly.
Luckily, I still have three points of Inner Force left, and I use one for my first blow.
I need 5 or more on 2 dice to hit.
In a spectacular example of overkill, I roll an 11. More importantly, my damage roll is…..
Yikes. Doubled that means 4.
Endurance – Me : 7, Lackland 9
I use another point of Inner Force (after this, only 1 left)
And I roll a……9 (to hit).
And for damage, I get a…..3.
Yeesh. Doubled that takes me to 6.
Endurance – Me 7, Lackland 3.
I use my last point of Inner Force.
To hit roll is…..8!!!!!
Tempting fate, I note that if I get anything but a 1 on my damage roll I will be triumphant!
I get a……
[I swear to FSM I typed that sentence before rolling]
Endurance : Me 7, Lackland 1
Alright, this is it.
As long as I get a 5 or more, my final Cobra Strike punch TO THE FACE will end this combat.
On two dice I roll a…..
1 [freaking hell]
[excuse me, need a scotch]
OK, I’m back.
I am a little nervous that the next paragraph is not the fabled 420, but rather a middle-of-the-book paragraph.
We’ll see tomorrow whether my final triumph is, in fact, at hand.
Stats : Endurance : 7, Punch Modifier : +2, Kick Modifier: +3, Throw Modifier : 0, Fate Modifier : +1, Inner Force : 0