Sunday, 6 March 2011

Lets Play - Proteus #13, The Shadow of Shargan

OK, noisms over at Monsters and Manuals has done this sort of thing before so lets have a go here. I'll copypasta from the OCR copy I have and handle all the dice-rolling, the decisions are made through a purely democratic method of you the readership commenting upon which choice to take, majority wins.

This is PROTEUS #13 The Shadow of Shargan. It's 225 paragraphs long so is similar sized to the adventures published in Warlock. (PROTEUS was a UK magazine putting out short gamebooks through the newsagent distribution chain - I did a blog post about it a while back)

Mighty infodump follows;

This is a story about a world where science and magic
exist hand in hand. Sorcerers work alongside Scientists
without conflict. Dragons fly through a blood red sky, while
androids and robots populate the world below. You are a new
member of the Promethean Guild, a secret organisation
whose aim is the elimination of evil. The tasks you had to
undertake to prove yourself worthy of entry into the Guild
tested your skills and strength to the limit – but it was worth
the effort. The way is now open to you for adventure and
wealth, and you have the friendship and trust of the other
members of this elite body. Before you begin, you must
discover how swift, strong and skilful you are.

tl;dr - It's like He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.

PROTEUS uses a FF-rip off gamesystem with DEXTERITY and STRENGTH replacing SKILL and STAMINA. In this adventure SKILL is actually FF's LUCK but doesn't decrease with each test. There's an extra complication in that we have a laser-sword

If this is the first
round of fighting, and you have fired your laser-sword,
subtract six Strength points from its Strength score at that
moment. For all subsequent rounds, subtract two Strength
points. If the creature’s Fighting Power is greater than yours,
it has wounded you – subtract two points from your current
Strength score (unless told otherwise in the text)



OK, out with the dice and our mans has
LUCK SKILL :12 (woot!)

We also have six PROVISIONS RATIONS each of which restore 5 STAMINA STRENGTH therefore suggesting that food in the future of science-fantasy is much better than that found in Allansia.


The kingdom of Aarlach is an insignificant little
island, far to the East of the more scientifically
advanced countries of your world. Magic still
rules there, and the Laws of Science which now
exist hand in hand with Magic over most of your
planet, have hardly touched Aarlach’s distant

That, you realise, is the sum total of your
knowledge of Aarlach, as you stand facing
Guildmaster Kreen and the Aarlachian emissary,
Kai-Tul, in a derelict building on the outskirts of
the city of Talsheen. Kreen has just introduced
you to Kai-Tul, a tall, thin man, dressed in black,
who scrutinises you with yellow, cat-like eyes.

“The kingdom of Aarlach wishes to hire you,”
Kreen explains. “Their emissary contacted me
this morning and explained the situation to me before you
arrived. I feel that you are the most suitable member of our
Guild for the task.”

He turns to Kai-Tul. “Is this
Guildmember acceptable to you?”

“The reputation of the Guild foregoes the need for any
testing,” the dark emissary hisses. “I know of the trials that
all who wish to enter the Guild must undertake.”

“The King of Aarlach will pay you 50,000 gold pieces if
you succeed in this mission,” Kreen tells you. “It is the
maximum amount he is prepared to offer and it is not
sufficient for the hire of one of our more experienced Guild-
members. Although you have only recently entered our
Guild, you show great promise, and it is my wish that you
undertake the task. The Guild will never force you, however,
and the choice is yours alone – but you cannot make that
choice until you know the situation. Kai-Tul?”

The Guildmaster invites the dark man to speak.

“Our land has recently fallen under the shadow of an evil
power,” the emissary begins. “The Sorcerer Shargan, who it
is said is also well versed in the Laws of Science, has
harnessed the power of a Fire Elemental, and with it has built
himself an underground fortress inside Mount Villpus, a
dormant volcano, which last erupted many centuries ago.
Mount Villpus is situated at the heart of our island kingdom,
and towers above all our lands. We believe that Shargan is
using the energies in the heart of the volcano for the building
of some terrifying weapon. I have told Guildmaster Kreen
here, that such a weapon could mean not only destruction for
Aarlach, but I believe for the rest of the world also.”

“Of that last point, I am not sure,” Kreen butts in. “But
whatever the case, it is clear that Shargan and the threat he
poses must be eliminated.”

“Many of our people have tried,” Kai-Tul continues. “All
have failed. Our people are not great in number and they are
filled with terror of Shargan and none will fight against him.
We need someone of great courage, skill and strength to deal
with him, a warrior who is familiar with danger and knows
how to deal with such power and evil. Are you that person?”

Are you? If so . . .

tl;dr - Go to volcano, kill man.


The next morning, you rise early and pack the few things
that you will need for your journey. Then you make your
way to the inn where you agreed to meet the Aarlachian
emissary, only to be told by the innkeeper that Kai-Tul is not
here. Something in the innkeeper’s expression arouses your
suspicion, and in one swift movement, the blade of your
laser-sword is at his throat. Swallowing nervously, he finally
admits that Kai-Tul was murdered in his sleep, and pleads
with you not to tell anyone or it will ruin his business. You
leave in disgust and head for the boat which you know Kai-
Tul had hired to take you both to Aarlach.

You tell the Captain of the emissary’s misfortune, and the
man is instantly filled with fear, saying it was demons sent by
Shargan that killed Kai-Tul. The Captain himself is a native
of Aarlach, and although it is obvious that he too fears
Shargan’s rage, he still agrees to take you to his country, for it
is in you that the hopes of his people lie.

The voyage to Aarlach will take three days, and all
proceeds smoothly and without incident until the night of the
second day. In the early hours of the morning, you are
awakened by an unearthly shrieking from the deck of the
ship. You spring from your bunk and grab your laser-sword
before racing up onto the deck, to discover six, winged,
demon-like creatures attacking the three crew members who
were set on watch. As you rush to their aid, one crew member
collapses, the life ripped from him by the miniature demon’s
dagger-like claws! The two demons who were attacking him
notice you almost instantly, and race towards you, shrieking
wildly. Praying that the remaining two crew members can
defend themselves against the other demons, you activate
your laser and attack! The second demon hovers, as you
battle with the first.


If you defeat the first demon, turn to 11.

Relatively straight forwards fight, we get 18 against the Demon's 15 in first round so shoot him square in the face for 6 damage. Round 2 we get 14 against his 17 but Round 3 we get 16 against his 15 and finish him off having lost 2 STRENGTH in the fight. Then we go on to paragraph 11.


At once, the second demon dives at you – only to be impaled
on your blade. As the demons die, their bodies vanish in a
cloud of black, foul-smelling smoke, and you turn to see that
with the aid of the other crew members, the rest of the
demons have been similarly disposed of. The white, fear-
filled faces of the Aarlachians tell you that they believe these
were demons from Shargan, but nothing is said and you
return in silence to your tiny cabin.

The rest of the journey is without incident, but the fear and
tension amongst the crew is very strong. On the afternoon of
the third day, however, the boat arrives safely in the
Aarlachian port of Isar, and you are met by a fat, balding little
man called Lai-Ti, who says he is an official in the Court of
the King of Aarlach, come to take you without delay to
Mount Villpus.

Will you trust him and go with him? If so, turn to 2. Or,
say that you would prefer to make your own way to Shargan’s
lair? Turn to 21.


  1. (An evil mastermind building a weapon inside a volcano? If we don't get to bed an exotic beauty with an unusual name, I'll be disappointed.)

    Lai-Ti is clearly a spy, but let's see where he takes us. I vote 2.

  2. Follow the fat, balding little man named after a cocktail! What could possibly go wrong?

    Turn to 2.

  3. Kill the bald man and take his stuff. Oops, no, wrong game. Make our own way: 21.