PROTEUS 12 - The Weaver of Nightmares. This puzzle has left me baffled since 1987 and I only discovered the answer today - and that was from a long Google search for it following several abortive searches in the past.
(That's not the titular Weaver BTW, that's actually a wise woman called Frowellyn who helps you out. In exchange for gold. The actual Weaver looks like a gay social worker who ran the youth club for problem children and tried to turn them against "Fatchah".)
Balthus Dire's Curtains the Weaver's henchman Dreadthread (Yeah, mon!) has hidden seven metal tokens around Chez Weaver that you will need to in order to tell the Weaver exactly how many of the men of Glengantha he has hostage. If you can't tell him he will kill you. If you can tell him he will errr... attempt to kill you.
(Does any of this make sense to you? If so you may have accidentally banged your head on the headboard when getting out of bed this morning and could still be concussed. Seek medical aid.)
I'd tell you where to download all this nonsense yourself for a more in-depth look but last time I did that the PROTEUS people came out of retirement to go all DCMA and similar batshit on me. If only there was some of form of well-respected Internet site that automatically catalogued web pages and offered some form of textual searching on those catalogues. Why by now, it would have a number of pages that surely must number in the googolplexes!
Right then, each token has a few letters on it. The tokens are
And one of ZEOBEB, ZEO or ZEOPSAJ. Why the ambiguity? Because of this paragraph.
Right then, that's either so blindingly obvious that you've twigged it already or you'll be stuck for a quarter-century.
And furthermore, I'll actually give you the answer since it's easy to brute force a 225 paragraph long gamebook (hey, it was good enough for Inside UFO 54-50).
Which probably makes life even harder as the BritOldSchool Examiners Board really wants to see the workings.
Get on with it, leave your thoughts in the comments remembering that the target audience for this magazine was probably about 10-14 years old.
(You could Google and find what I believe is the only webpage with the answer on it, but please don't spoil it for any others who are scratching their heads unless you can work it out yourself).
TIME FOR JOESKY TAX!
Straight out of The Weaver of Nightmares, the SPEARWING basically a flying Cat-man Furry bat-winged-with-unicorn-horn thing. Illo by Gary Harrod.
P.S. Blogger, owned by Google, has a spellchecker that flags up "Google" and offers no alternatives. I find this almost as amusing as the fact that auto-correct on my iPhone, masterminded by a fellow atheist, doesn't auto-capitalise "god".