Thursday, 17 March 2011

Ian Livingstone Tells Fibs

"The one true way involves a minimum of risk and any player, no matter how weak on initial dice rolls, should be able to get through fairly easily".


There are two parallel routes through to the desert city of Vatos where our dungeonbash and scavenger hunt awaits. The route that appears to lie upon our "true way" still involves a Save or Die special whereby we have to Test Our Skill succesfully or drown in a shipwreck.

The other one which doesn't involve a Save or Die involves, at best, a fight against a SKILL 7 STAMINA 9 Pterodactyl and at worst the same encounter whereby it has a SKILL of 8. That doesn't sound too bad but we have to fight it by proxy with a Giant Eagle of SKILL 6 STAMINA 11 and we die if it loses (we are flying on it's back and will do a Wile E. Coyote impersonation our mount runs out of STAMINA).

And then, on the unavoidable path to the dungeon we hit this:

OH SHIT! Get to the Ornithopter!

And there's no option to avoid it by walking in an irregular rhythm nor by planting a thumper in the sand some distance away.


Yes, that's unavoidable, we haven't even got to the titular Temple of Terror yet and in comparison the BBEG of the entire game is a "mere" SKILL : 10 STAMINA : 18

If we do beat it (i.e. cheat or had the good genes to be born with a SKILL of 11 or 12) and control the Spice and therefore control the universe we get a kris knife Giant Sandworm tooth which is a nice souvenir. And then later on, reference 73 asks us if we have a Giant Sandworm tooth, so it appears that that nice Mr. Livingstone didn't even realise he'd done this.

Suffice to say I've abandoned plans on doing this one with the dice. I do hope your playtesting at EIDOS Interactive is a bit better than this Ian...

(That said, playing sans dice is still good fun as it is an imaginative gamebook with great atmosphere. And Giant Sandworms.)


  1. Skill 10 opponents are a pain in FF and they're almost impossible to beat with a skill of 7. Extemely tough with a skill of 8 and highly damaging with a skill of 9.


    Also, if you walk to the temple rather than take a boat to Blacksand you can't get the brass telescope to trade a dragon artifact with a gnome and LOSE! Even though I think that the overland trip is more interesting.

  2. This is simple combat difficulty. Trial of Champions, though - what are the odds of getting all those freaking rings?

  3. I've been meaning to try and transform this gamebook into a D&D adventure. In fact it would probably fit well in a Fomalhaut campaign Melan.

    Nice to see a Father Jack quote there Coopdevil. :-)

  4. Ahh, Temple of Terror, I remember it well; one of my first, and the first one I cheated on (although I did get through Master of Chaos without cheating, which I am still quite proud of). I'd forgotten quite how many ways there were to do it wrong, though...

  5. Isn't this the one with the Messenger of Death? The monster that leaves notes which kill you. Yes indeed, Mr Livingstone, very fair.

  6. SLloyd14 - And of course to get that telescope you have to take what is clearly the "wrong" option which has TRAP written all over it. One of two counter-intuitive decisions that turn out to be correct on that route, the other being that when swimming from the wreck of a pirate ship you are better off swimming towards the Man-Of-War that sank you rather than away from it when anybody with any sense would assume that the crew of the M-o-W would just spear you in the water assuming you were a pirate. To be fair, the overland route is so unforgiving it's clear that you are not intended to be on this route if you are looking to complete the game.

    Melan - I quite like difficult gamebooks where the difficulty comes from picking the path - that adds a lot of replay and in doing that you explore a lot of the game. I seem to be out of kilter a bit with modern gamebook readers who don't like this whole "turn left at the start and you can't find the geegaw" thing. I may expand this thought out into a later blog post.

    Austrodavicus - I am mapping ToT as I go along (looking for that true path) so perhaps I ought to post the maps when complete.

    Von - Some of the mechanical penalties are ridiculously harsh and I guess it is set up so that walking across the Desert of Skulls (clue's in the name...) without the Create Water spell will probably kill you or just leave you at death's door when you arrive at Vatos (which you won't manage because of the Giant Sandworm)

    Kelvingreen - That's the one. Personally I quite like the idea, needs writing up for a D&D Megadungeon!

  7. I've got a map floating around somewhere, but here's one that's much nicer than my messy job.

    Don't look if you're worried about spoilers.