Sunday 20 October 2019

Battle Quest Book Playthrough – Caves of Fury - Part 2

Battle Quest Book Playthrough – Caves of Fury - Part 2

By Casey Douglass

Caves of Fury

Welcome to Part 2 of my adventure through the Caves of Fury, a Battle Quest book where your choices decide the fate of your own hulking barbarian adventurer. If you haven’t read the first part, it’s the best place to begin. If you don’t, you’ll still be able to understand what’s going on, but are you strong enough to begin something on Part 2 when the beginning post is just a click away? I know I wouldn’t be able to. Just saying.

At the end of Part 1, I saw my barbarian take a wound from a nasty ape-monster thing, then take flight, running haphazardly down the tunnel, squealing and generally not very happy. I hoped he’d knock himself out and have a bit of a nap, but I doubt anything so pleasant will have happened to him. With how his luck was going, he’d wake up tied to a roasting spit being turned by cannibal goblins. Anyway, let’s open the book and see...

He’s still running down the tunnel. That’s quite a few days if I take a “real-time” view and imagine he’s been running since I closed the book. I guess fear gives you quite the energy boost. The tunnel he is careening down eventually splits into three. I opt to take the middle one again, what with my always liking the middle path; walking between extremes. It’s not long after taking this route, that I come to a cave that branches off from one side of the tunnel. An elderly robed man is sitting with his back to me. A table is in front of him, containing all kinds of objects, from a skull and a large leather-bound book, to strange glassware bubbling with garishly coloured potions.

Without turning, he speaks. He thinks I’m the new novice Cragcliff has sent him, but just to be sure, he wants the password. Shit. Why are these types so paranoid? I don’t know the damned password, and I don’t have the password scroll to look it up. Well, I mean I do, I can see it in the pile of stuff that comes with Caves of Fury, but I’m too honest to cheat. Where’s the fun in that? The book gives me three options for the password, and I choose the middle one: TAGEL. If it works for tunnels, it can work for passwords. Maybe. (Out of curiosity, I just Googled TAGEL, the first result was for a Cornish dictionary that gave the word’s meaning as “fleshy appendage”. This amuses me more than it should. I mean, fleshy appendages, tunnels... it’s all very rude if you think about it).

‘TAGEL’ I exclaim, trying to sound confident. The man turns and looks at me for the first time. He sees that I don’t really look like a novice and demands to know who I am. I try to tell him that I mean no harm, that the sword on my back is purely decorative and these muscles are just water weight, but he blasts me with a spell. An arc of violet light hits me in the centre of my chest. I scuttle away, embarrassed once again, and a little unnerved by how hungry the smell of my own roasted flesh is making me. I’ve lost another Strength from my counter! Only four left now. One third of my health gone and nothing to show for it! Well, a wounded arm and a scorched chest that will be the subject of all manner of jokes at the next Adventurer get-together.

I soon find myself in a cavern, my rumbling stomach finally getting the message from my brain, that it’s entirely inappropriate to lust after your own cooked flesh. This place is full of stalagmites and stalactites, and I occupy myself by trying to remember which is which, “uppy from floory” or “downy from roofy”. Whichever is which, it feels a bit like being in a stone cage. This feeling is enhanced by the snarling monster looking back at me from between the ‘tites and ‘mites to one side. It’s even holding them in massive fists, like someone who was on probation who happened to get caught one too many times thieving and is now looking at hard jail time. I get the fleeting impression that we are two food-scraps stuck between a dragon’s teeth. I can fit through the “bars” though, this monster can’t. It’s another muscular ape creature thing. I didn’t do well against the last one so I take the option to skip this fella.

Caves of Fury

As I move through the cavern, another creature hisses at me. Is this some kind of prison for the monsters that misbehave? It’s starting to feel that way. I get the impression that the book really wants me to have a go at beating one of them. This one is half-gorilla, half-humanoid. Mmm. Sharp claws and drool too. Interesting. The glimmering of a diamond catches my eye. Fuck it, let’s do it! I turn to the correct page and almost squeal with delight. This monster is slain in two wounds!

The joy doesn’t last long, as I really don’t fancy my luck. Losing to a creature that needs eight wounds to die has a bit of honour to it, but two? If I don’t manage that, what sort of barbarian am I? What sort of dice roller? I push through the feelings of inadequacy like an arachnophobe rushing through a cob-web strewn attic. I’ve not lost yet after all. I roll the dice and see the all too familiar result of my shield being raised at the creature’s face. Oh hell, not again! (See part one for how excruciating this is for me). Roll two has the same result. Can I just throw away my shield book? Please?

Roll three sees an epic sword swing from my good self, one that cuts a nasty gash in the creature’s side. Oooh yeah! Roll four... well let’s just say a shield is involved again. Roll five... sigh. On roll six I lop off its head! I take a few moments to fully process that I’ve actually slain a monster. Get in! I watch its body gurgle on the cavern floor, then quickly pick up the diamond before the thing’s blood reaches it. My first treasure! I proudly put it in my loin-cloth, as it has a secret pocket that not only hides my ‘valuables’, but also makes me look like I have more than I really have... ahem. I set my Treasure Counter to one! A glorious moment!

Caves of Fury

I decide to close the book at this point, to make that moment of triumph last as long as it possibly can. All too soon I’ll be back in the Caves of Fury, and it would be nice to once, just once, end a session with a win. There’s plenty of time for the wheels to all fall off later. I just hope that my barbarian doesn’t pick at his chest. He’s very hungry and he's been doing all sorts of running, fighting and over-thinking after all.

If you enjoyed reading about my adventure so far, join me again soon for Part Three of my delve into the Caves of Fury, coming out next weekend.