First of all, I apologize for my tardiness in getting to the third book of the Sorcery! Saga; my father has been in hospital, and while everything is going very well, it has taken up all of my time for the last week. However, things are settling down now, and I am in a position to launch myself into the fun that is the 'Seven Serpents'. I still think that my character is a bit bonkers. He's left the safety of Khare – yes, safety – and is now wandering around the wilderness. I do have a few useful items, notably the Silver Serpent Ring, which allows me to force any Serpents I meet to give me useful information. That sounds suspiciously like a 'must-have' item. In bad news – I'm still half-wounded. After the Shamutanti Hills, I was restored to full health prior to entering Khare. This time, I have not had that luxury.
Taking a deep breath, I walk out into the Badlands and am immediately attacked by Nighthawks. I look around, wondering again whether I could just go back home, but decide to draw my weapon and attack these evil miscreants. Fortunately, they turn out to have the combat prowess of a Great Tit, so I am busy swatting them when an Eagle arrives to bring me a telegram from Analand that basically tells me that the King told his golfing buddy about the mission, who told his tennis partner, who told his barber, who told his brother the taxi driver, who told his wife...essentially, the Archmage now knows that I'm coming. Sigh. Apparently he will send his Seven Serpents to get me. Other than that, everything's fine, and why haven't you got the Crown back yet.
I walk back to the walls of Khare, hitting my head on them until the pain stops. Then I turn east again (see, I know where I'm going now) and set off on my quest. I sit down to eat some of my provisions – that's half of them gone already, not a good start – when a tree tells me that some guy I've never heard of can be found at some place I've never been. I shrug and head for him – and he offers me food! Good in that I get Stamina back, bad in that I could have saved my rations. Not only do I get to spend the night in his cave...for free...but he tells me that each of the Serpents has a weakness I can use. The Air Serpent turns into a puff of gas, so all I need to do is turn on my wind machine, and...yeah. Presumably this will be useful later on. He gives me his horn and then sends me on my way. I think it's a spell component, so I drop it in my pockets with all the other junk.
I go about three steps when I fall into a pit, faced with a hideous beetle! I get in a good hit, and find out that it is a Giger-Beetle, with acid for blood! Not being Ripley, I stand back and pelt it with the magical darts I got in Khare, not wanting to have to touch the damn thing. Walking over its corpse, I take its treasure. Stone dust. Sigh. No gold, provisions, magic. It's 'loot' is a pile of dust. Shrugging, I take the dust, stuff it into my pockets, and set off down the trail again.
Soon I find another monster lurking in the shadows, this one luring my in with a hypnotic gaze. It's another Deathwraith, but I still have my silver arrows, so success for me! After wasting three arrows, I find out that it is just a guy playing a practical joke. Being a hero, I threaten to beat him up unless he tells me everything he knows. Turns out he doesn't know anything, but he gives me money, a chakram, and some yellow dust. Then he dies. It wasn't me, honest guv! I swear it wasn't me!
Nope, it was the first of the Serpent, the Moon Serpent. I know what you are all thinking. Yes, I thought it too. Remembering the ring, I demand of him his secret, and he tells me. No, I won't tell you, it's a secret, but here is a hint – it has a number in it. I have a feeling that's going to come in handy. Then I get to fight it. With fire, because apparently it sits and waits for me to make fire with a tinderbox. Either it is as slow as a snail, or it is too busy laughing at me to fight. Presumably that's what gives me the big bonus, but I manage to kill it with three blows, collecting a Crystal Orb. Huh. That was easy...worryingly so.
After killing the serpent, I head north until I see an Elven caravan, and wanting food and shelter, I approach, offering the money the fake wraith gave me. I get a cup of herbal tea, some funny soup and home-made bread, but it costs me more than half my gold, and I suspect that I am being thoroughly fleeced here. I smell a trap brewing, but what the hell, at least they've fed me first, and I can hold on to my one remaining Provision. Mental note – set up a fast-food place in the Shamutanti Hills with my reward money. Definitely worth it. What do you mean, what reward money? That damn King...
I put on my one-man stand-up comedy act, which has the Elves in hysterics – apparently they love Goblin jokes. As a reward, I get half-rates at their store, and one item for free! Who knew it, comedy is the way forward. Maybe I can slay the Archmage with a well-placed Knock Knock joke. Of course, all the items on sale are numbered. I then find out he will take anything I will offer him on a successful Skill roll. I have a lot of junk in my pockets and a Skill of 11. Let's start with the stone dust. Which is worth nine gold, apparently. The green wig? Six gold. That useless compass? Seven gold. I've basically tipped my pockets out onto his counter and come away with everything in his shop – an axe, four (!) meals, a pendulum, chainmail, and a pearl ring. Success. This has been a fantastic encounter, and I even stay the night – though I am almost out of money again, as they won't accept trade for that.
Heading off in the morning, I stop to eat Provisions as a wind picks up, and for the first time, I don't worry about running out. I have more food than I have ever head, even if my pockets are stuffed full of rubbish. I spot a dust devil, but ignore it – heading on into the wilderness. I guess I still have six serpents to find. I spot a two-legged creature, and immediately worry that it might be that damned Minimite back again. Nope, it's a gnome with a serpent-shaped stick. Worse. I decide to give him my horn, and she immediately turns into a female sorceress, who offers me the use of her stick. Strapping it to my back, I thank the gods for my luck – it's basically Serpent Kryptonite. After a short walk, I find that I have left the Baklands...that didn't take long.
There's a nice, pleasant village ahead, and I quake in fear. Turns out they are barbarians, eating a rat on a stick. I hope they don't charge me much. Oh, they want me to fight a duel with their leader. No problem, I can do that. I've got an effective Skill of thirteen now. Even with my broken sword; with a good one, I'd be on fourteen. I get scratched, he gets dead, and I leave the village at once. I stop for a rest in the Forest of Snatta, regaining my lost Stamina after the meal of roast god-knows-what in the barbarian village, and set off in the morning, remembering my axe that cuts down everything. Lying around, I find enough nuts and berries for two more meals...my god, I've learned how to live off the land! (Actually, this is pretty pleasant so far, after the insta-death attempts after Khare. No sign of any more Serpents, though.)
Oh wait, here's one. A little snake, crossing my path. I follow it to a tree, and look up, immediately suspicious of shenanigans. Then the tree explodes into fire. Sigh. Another Serpent. I hold up my ring and smirk, and he tells me his secret, before I attack him. It's a damn tough battle, but I win by the skin of my teeth, and I continue on into the forest. Two Serpents down, five to go. I eat some Provisions, and then am attacked by a bear – I guess he wants my picnic basket! Another pitched battle, but despite some terrible rolls, I manage to kill the beast.
Reaching the shores of a vast lake, I settle down for a nap, and in the morning, try and find a way across. There's no sign of a boatman or anything, but I wait, and wait, and wait, and finally realize that I don't know how to get across. My adventure, apparently, ends here, with me waiting on the riverbank. Sigh. This was close to a book-toss, I must admit, but I set out to finish this series and I'm going to. I will figure that my character – as he isn't dead – just walks back to Khare and decides to start again from there, keeping all his kit. So this one has a Part II, like the last...
Skill: 9/11 (+2)
Gold and Treasure
Equipment (Provisions: 5)
Sword (Dented, -1 to Skill)
Bow and Silver Arrows
Key, Numbered 111
Key, Numbered 206
Ragnar's Armband of Swordmastery (+2 to Attack Strength using a Sword)
Essence of Bark
Silver Serpent Ring (130 in Book 3)
Chakram (Can throw at enemy before battle, test of Skill)
Hewing Axe (227, Book 3)
Brass Pendulum (93, Book 3)
Pearl Ring (124, Book 3)
Secrets of the Baklands (203, Book 3)
Chainmail (153) - +1 to Skill, 1 in 3 chance of reduced Stamina loss
Glass Vial to affect the Sleepless Ram
Bonuses, Penalties, Curses
Four guards guard the entrance of Mampang.
Eat not from the larder of Throg.