Thursday, May 24, 2012

Lone Wolf: Reborn - Episode 10

Well, the prophecy was wrong about me making the Monday post. Stupid prophecy. I trusted in you!

In case you've missed past episodes, see these links...
Lone Wolf: Reborn - Episodes 123456789

Descending the ridge into a misty depression in the earth, you slowly approach the ominous Graveyard of the Ancients. As you enter the mist that keeps this place in a perpetual gloom, your horse shies and whinnies. Soon, he absolutely refuses to go further. You dismount, and the white horse quickly gallops back up out of the valley. You are on your own now.

Thorny graveweed tears at your clothes and cuts your legs as you press on into the murky graveyard. Gravestones loom out of the gloom like shadows, startling you with the strange and terrible faces carved into the stone.


As you fight back a gagging sensation from the foul gasses that seem to rise from the earth here, suddenly the ground cracks and splits, sagging beneath your feet. You freeze, your heart racing in panic as you realize how unstable the ground is beneath your feet.

Carefully, you shift your weight to step backwards--when the earth gives way completely beneath you, and you fall into darkness.

When you gather your wits about you, you find that you are coughing from the stirred up gravedust, but otherwise unharmed. Striking a torch, you are startled by a large sarcophogus looming in the shadowy light. You step forward, extending your hand to investigate, when the Sixth Sense of the Kai Lords screams at you to leave! leave! leave!

Judging it best to follow the wisdom your masters worked so hard to teach you, you leave the sarcophogus alone and press on, exiting the chamber via the only visible door.

The walls are dank and slimy. The stale air chokes you and cobwebs brush across your face. You can feel panic grip your stomach, as the tunnel gets darker and darker.
You reach a junction where the tunnel meets a corridor leading from north to south.

If you wish to turn north, go to 26.

If you wish to go south, turn to 100.

[I usually skip directional choices, but this one seems appropriate. It's a dark, dank tomb; being lost is part of the fun! We have now had time to fully heal, so we're as prepared as we can be for whatever dangers we may face down here. May good luck guide your choice! Save point: 104.]

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Lone Wolf Reborn: Episode 9

Apparently it's taken Lone Wolf a full week to make up his mind. That Giak sure is a patient fellow...

In case you've missed past episodes, see these links...
Lone Wolf: Reborn - Episodes 1234567, 8

Before the Giak can reach you, you turn and swiftly shimmy into the undergrowth. Just as the Doomwolf and it's rider come around the bend, you stop moving and look back with half-lidded eyes. You can hear every chuff and whuff of it's breath, and see the evil features of the rider as it goes by, but they do not sense your presence.

[Here I would like to include one of the beautiful illustrations by Gary Chalk.]


Once the danger is past, you carefully back away further into the trees. When you judge yourself a safe distance from the road, you mount up and ride east. [I'm making some of the boring choices for us here, guys.]

The Prince's horse is a fine one. Despite treacherous ground and long hours, he carries you with confidence, nimbly stepping over rocks and tree roots. By the time evening falls, you have reached the edge of the forest.

Here you see a large road, the north-south thoroughfare between Port Toran in the north and the capital city of Holmgard to the south. The road is eerily empty, with neither refugees nor enemies abroad. Grateful for the peace, you ride through the sunset until the light becomes too treacherous to continue, then grab a restless few hours sleep by the side of the road.

You awaken to the sound of Kraan calling above you, but they fly off northwards--they do not seem to have seen you. Stretching out aching bones, you press on. The road curves south now; the capital shouldn't be much farther. Soon, you come upon a high ridge. From here, you should be able to see the King's City. As you ascend the ridge, a startling sight greets your eyes.

Before you are the tall grey-white walls and glimmering spires of Holmgard, the city’s banners fluttering from the battlements in the fresh morning breeze. Stretching out towards the west, the River Eledil traces its course from the mountains of the Durncrag Range to the Holmgulf. But below the mountain peaks you can see a vast black army marching relentlessly on towards the capital.

With a sinking heart, you consider your options. At top speed, you could make the gates of the city in an hour, but you and your horse would cut a fine figure for the sweeping armies of the Darklord that are approaching. Alternately, if you abandon your horse, you could try to swim up the River Eledil, using the riverbanks for cover. Or, one final option: you could attempt to navigate your way through the deep and uncertain terrain of the Graveyard of the Ancients, which stretches across several miles to then northeast of the city. You would likely be safe from the army, but who knows what other unknown horrors might await you in that dark and foul place?

If you will try your luck by the highway, turn to 202.

If you feel that you stand a better chance of reaching the capital via the river then turn to 135.

Or if you are brave enough to risk the unknown perils of the Graveyard of the Ancients, turn to 329.

[Not much happened for quite a few entries. The good side of this is that gave us plenty of time to heal up. We've regained 7 Endurance, bringing us to 25 (I mis-spoke last time; our total max is 28, not 24). We're moving into the final stretch here, and this choice will determine what climactic encounters we must face. Choose wisely! Save point: 153.]

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Lone Wolf Reborn: Episode 8

In case you've missed past episodes, see these links...
Lone Wolf: Reborn - Episodes 123456, 7

Turning the Prince's white horse southwards, you kick your heels into the flanks and leave the battle, and the dying Prince, far behind you. You ride for hours before coming to rest beneath a tree, where you stop and eat a Meal (mark 1 meal off).

Upon resuming your journey, you travel for several more miles before reaching a junction where the trail leads east and west. The sign has been hacked down, but looking at your map, you determine you must travel east to get to the capital, so you follow the road in that direction.

You have ridden about three miles when, in the distance, you spot the unmistakable silhouette of five large Doomwolves. Riding on their backs are Giaks. They seem to be going on ahead to where the path leads down into an open meadow. Suddenly, one of the Giaks leaves the others and begins to ride back along the path towards you.
If you wish to hide in the undergrowth and let him pass, turn to 176.
If you wish to fight him, turn to 340.

[Short entry this time, but this seems like a relevant decision to put to the group. After eating that last Meal, we are now out of food. It's only been two paragraph sections without combat, so we've regained 2 Endurance, but we're still rather injured (18 out of 24 Endurance.) Hiding might be safer, but this Giak might have plot. What do you think? And... save point this time is 32.]

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Lone Wolf Reborn: Episode 7

Off to a great start folks. Here I am, less than a week in, and already behind a day. Thank you, thank you. I'll be here all week.

Hey, better late than never, right?

In case you've missed past episodes, see these links...
Lone Wolf: Reborn - Episodes 12345, 6

Chasing the sounds of battle, you burst into a clearing, where a fierce battle rages across a stone bridge. At the heart of the bridge, Prince Pelathar battles a massive, ugly Gourgaz in an epic clash. Pelethar thrusts, drawing blood from the Gourgaz--but with his sword extended, he does not see the Gourgaz's massive, black axe rising above him.

You cry out a warning, but it is too late! The Gourgaz slams his axe down, and the Prince only barely ducks aside to avoid the worst of it! Blood sprouts from his shoulder, and the Prince is down!

You rush forward, racing between the thinning ranks of the Prince's men. Just as the Gourgaz raises his axe for the finishing blow, you dart in and catch that deadly blow on your sword. Sparks fly, and the Gourgaz looks up to see who challenges it now. When it sees your face, its tongue darts out and its lips pull back in a deadly grin that shows all its teeth.

You must fight to the death!

[Okay, we have Weapon Skill 19, and the Gourgaz has Weapon Skill 20. We have some skills that *can* help in combat, but none that currently *do*. We're still wielding an axe, so don't get the bonus from our specialization with broadswords. And Mindshield won't help this time, because he doesn't have any mental attacks. Here goes!]

Round 1: You lunge in, hoping for a quick kill, and you score a deep wound--but the Gourgaz punishes you with a blow from his axe before you can get back out. Neither of you came out ahead in that exchange, but the monster is bigger than you. If it comes to a battle of attrition, you're going to lose. You'll have to do better than that. (-4 STA each)

Round 2: Fighting more cautiously, you still can't keep the Gourgaz off you. But now it's your turn to make him pay--while you take a glancing blow, you cut a deep, bleeding wound into the beast's side. You half-grin, but you know the fight is long yet. (-6 to him, -3 to you.)

Round 3: As the blood gets flowing, you find your pace. Your old training comes back to you, and you see how predictable the Gourgaz' movements are. With a surge of confidence, you swing your blade in an eloquent movement to trick the monster into thinking he has an opening. He falls for the bait! Your blade bites deep, while you take no more than a scratch. (-9 to him, -1 to you.)

Round 4: The Gourgaz is bleeding heavily, and for just a second, you relax your guard, thinking the fight almost over. But the beast lunges for you with startling speed, his strength undiminished by his injuries! You barely fend him off with a counteroffensive. The two of you trade wounds, blow for blow, then part back again, each of you panting heavily. You know this fight will test your skill to its limit--and your limit is growing frighteningly close. (-4 each)

Round 5: Narrowing your eyes, you sharpen your mind. There is no more room for mistakes. The Gourgaz lets out a roar of battle, the elation of combat thrilling in its voice. It grips its axe and charges. You see its motions play out in your mind. You grip your sword, lower yourself and race forward to meet its charge. Blood puffs from its snout with each breath. Time seems to slow. The axe descends, and you can see every notch on its blade--a blade that carries a promise, an offer, of your death. Politely, you decline the offer, ducking slightly lower so that the axe whistles harmlessly past your head. Using the strength from your bunched knees, you push up, spinning your body to swing with all your force. Your own axe meets the Gourgaz's midsection with enough power that you almost don't feel the resistance. You complete your spin, seeing bits of monstrous scale, bone and intestine spraying away. (-10 to him, -0 to you)

When you complete your step, you look back over your shoulder to see the Gourgaz, now split almost in two by your blow, shuddering to its death at the center of the bridge. A ripple goes through the Darlord's creatures as they see their leader follow, and they fall back to the trees with cries of rage and panic.

The Prince's white-armored men move up to form a shield wall around their fallen leader. You kneel by the Prince, and immediately see that he does not have much time left. He clasps your hand, but you cannot help but notice the pool of blood beneath him spreading, even as he tries to speak.

The dying Prince looks up into your eyes and says, ‘Kai Lord, you must take a message to my father. The enemy is too strong, we cannot hold him. The King must seek that which is in Durenor or all is lost. Take my horse and ride for the capital. May the luck of the gods ride with you.’

Sadly, you incline your head and promise that you will do so.


[No choice this time. Didn't want to keep going when the scene is clearly over. We ended on page 82 after a difficult fight. We're down to 16 STA, back up to 18 after the death scene with the Prince, due to Healing. More tomorrow!]

Monday, May 7, 2012

Lone Wolf Reborn: Episode 6

I put this game on hold during April while I did the April A-Z, but now I'm ready to pick it up again. And since I'm running out of ideas on Gamebook Theory, this may be my primary staple of the blog for a while. (With other random thoughts on writing, stories or games thrown in once in a while as well.)

As it's been a while, I'll give you...

The Story Thus Far: Our hero, Silent Wolf, was out gathering wood as punishment for misbehavior when his monastery was attacked by agents of the Darklords. After a millenia-long absence, the Darklords have returned in strength, attacking towns and strongholds all across the land in a massive surprise attack. But their first and greatest blow was against the Kai Monastery, home to their ancient enemies.

As the last of the Kai Lords, YOU must brave perils and monsters to journey to the capital city and warn the king. YOU may be the land's only hope...

In case you've missed past episodes, see these links...
Lone Wolf: Reborn - Episodes 1234, 5

Upon seeing the stream of refugees on the road, you decide that it would be too dangerous to expose yourself there. You fade back into the trees and continue your journey on foot through the wilderness.

After some hours passing under the trees, using your survival skills to find your way south, something catches your attention. Looking more closely at a large boulder nearby, you see two legs sticking out from behind it.

You are about to move on, when your Sixth Sense warns you [Sixth Sense Skill Used] that this person is loyal soldier of the King. He is wounded, and he needs help. You rush to his side, to find the soldier lying next to his spear and shield in the mud.

On the shield is the painting of a white pegasus—the Prince of Sommerlund’s emblem. He is one of the Prince’s soldiers, and he is only just conscious. His uniform is badly torn, and you can see that he has a deep wound in his left arm. As you move nearer, his eyes flicker open. ‘Heal me, my Lord,’ he begs. ‘I can barely feel my arm.’

You quickly apply what Healing skill you posses [Healing Skill Used].

Placing one hand on his forehead and the other on his wounded arm, you feel the warmth of your healing powers leave your body and give strength to the injured man.

He thanks you weakly, introducing himself as Trimis. Then remembrance comes back into his eyes, and he grips your arm, saying, "Prince Pelethar! Kai Lord, my prince is under attack, to the south. A great force of the Darklord's creatures are attacking him near the bridge of Alema. I was carried by a Kraan to this place, and dropped to die. You must help him!"

As you make the man comfortable and prepare to continue on your way, you dwell upon your options. If the Prince is under attack by a large force of the Darklord's creatures, it could be very dangerous to get involved. How much difference could you really make? And yet, can you leave him to his fate in good conscience?

What is more important, saving the Prince, or making sure to complete your mission to reach the King? As you journey on to the south, you hear sounds of battle near Alema bridge. What will you do?

If you wish to follow the sound, turn to 97.
If you would rather continue south, turn to 6.

[Save Point: 264. We are fully recovered from our Wounds, thanks to the Healing Skill. And our combat skill is quite good. But as I recall, this is a very tough fight, if we choose to take it. What do you think?]

Storytelling Festival!

First of all, thanks to all the wonderful people who stopped by due to April A-Z! I had a wonderful time participating (even if I didn't make it all the way through!)

From here on forward, I would like to get active again with the blog. I would like to plan on posting three times per week at this point, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Most of these posts will be fairly simple things. At this time, these posts will consist primarily of continuing my way through the Lone Wolf adventures. But once in a while, instead of (or in addition to) the story posts, I will also write other thoughts or announcements about events.

In this case, I just want to share with you about the Ojai Storytelling Festival, which I attended this weekend. It was a beautiful weekend, with some amazingly talented people. Kevin Kling is a genius; I recommend his book "the dog says how." It will have you laughing out loud within a few pages. And then on the verge of tears a few pages beyond that--then back to laughter.

I was blown away by the masterful performance of the Chameleons. I've never seen mime-work that I enjoyed so much before. They combined the physical art of miming with a sophisticated storytelling technique to sweep the audience away.

My other favorite was the great storyteller Baba Jamal Koram, who just has such an amazing presence and connection with the audience. You feel as if he could be your own grandfather, using folklore to tell you about yourself and your people. I'm not black. There's not a single soul from Africa in my ancestry. We came over on the Mayflower. But Baba Jamal's words gave me that tradition. He gave me those stories and made them my own. Thank you Baba Jamal.

Storytelling is something I've always had an interest in. It's something I love, and a skill I hope to develop myself. This is about the fourth Ojai Storytelling Festival I've been to, and I think, after this one, I might be about ready to start trying it myself. Wish me luck!