Khare for me, closely followed by Shamutanti, then Crown, then 7Serpents as an also-ran. Khare is just such a cool place - a real sh*t-hole, so grubby, grotty, but so exciting and atmospheric with a wonderfully multicultural feel. Shamutanti is brilliant for the reasons you say - it's like a fantastic walking holiday in the Himalayan foothills. Crown is fun, but just doesn't have the same atmosphere, and I've never quite bonded with the 7 Serpents.
I'd love to do more adventuring in Khare, and have written a few mini scenarios, Fabled Lands style, for it, which you might have seen on Titan Rebuilding, and have planned out the most of an adventure provisionally titled 'Murder in Khare', where you must hunt down a serial killer preying on the great and good (or not so good) of the city. Still to write it though.
Post by thealmightymudworm on Nov 30, 2013 15:27:38 GMT
I think it's a close call between Khare and Crown, but Crown maybe trumps it in terms of the plot-twist at the end. Seven Serpents was a bit of a disappointment given that you can "complete" the adventure by only killing two serpents, and one serpent you don't even have to kill!
"Your progress has been watched, foul creature of destruction!"
Post by thealmightymudworm on Nov 30, 2013 15:29:04 GMT
I found Crown of Kings to be the most enjoyable, not only because of the extra detail and encounters from increased references, but because there are significantly more horrible ways to meet your doom along the way!
Khare - I enjoyed the cityscape and denizens. Unlike Blacksand (following its Gascoigning), one got the feeling that Khare was a viable city. And huge; if it took a couple of days to cross, it must have been a few miles wide. Doubtless from trade bringing the fish from Ilklala down to the trade routes through Shamutanti to Analand, or down the Jabaji to the coast and around to Ruddlestone. Plus the chaos warping over the plains allowing all sorts of interesting things to be caravanned in and processed/taxed.
Once you read the Blacksand! book you wonder why everyone doesn't just up and leave. With Khare, there seems to be a bit more give & take, and sufficient protection to enable everyday living. The First Lord seems laissez faire.
Kharé - such an evil, dangerous, slit-ya-throat-for-a-turnip place. Yet it's also great fun. Took me many heroes to find the four spell lines, then another couple to correctly figure out the combination. Love the way how things have gotten so bad in the area that it has become part of everyone's everyday life. Three cheers to the Red-Eyes and Mantis Men! 8/10
Oddly enough, my second fave is Seven Serpents, but that's cos I'm up for challenges not lousy shortcuts to the finish line, so I tend to go for as many serpents as my character can cope with. Gameplay is well balanced throughout and most of the serpents have sum very fancy powers, esp the Earth Serpent. On the down side, it does give birth to some seriously bad jokes that are only topped by Dave Holt's choke-on-yur-liver blasphemies on his site. 7/10
Crown is a decent finale to an epic journey with sound writing and at last, the discovery of the ZED spell effects. However, since gameplay to me is as important as the story, I was slightly disappointed with its simplicity throughout. No hard battles, esp with the H. spear, not even a challenging boss fight. Like Creature of Havoc, I found it somewhat frustrating to get in to without the enjoyment of challenging combats. Still good, but could hav finished so much better. 6/10
Shamutanti is my least fave, again for the above reason. This is slight offset with the oh so unfair Manticore fight if you are a warrior. Bad thing is, if you beat it using a warrior, you will be so overpowered for the rest of the journey, cept till you get to Mampang where Instant Death paragraphs are likely to catch up with you. It IS better with a learning wizard but the story is too short with not enough juicy bits involved. 5.5/10
There's no book in the series that I dislike; I just like some more than others. Its spellcasting feature is without a doubt, the most inventive in the FF series.
I went for Kharé for the amazing atmosphere. I dreaded the city. Plus that disgusting dismembered corpse. But it might be a lot of nostalgia talking for me; for a long while I only owned Shamutanti Hills and Kharé. Plus I've only done the whole adventure once. Soon I'll be playing them again, after that I might change my mind, but for now Kharé wins.
Post by thealmightymudworm on Nov 30, 2013 15:37:32 GMT
Khare without a doubt. It has such a wonderful atmosphere, being very dirty and gritty yet makes a lot of sense in terms of everyday life. The people you encounter are well thoughtout both in how they live and how they respond to you, so just love this book.
Post by thealmightymudworm on Nov 30, 2013 15:37:59 GMT
As a kid, I absolutely adored The Seven Serpents so I still have a soft spot for it. That said, the best of the 4 has to be the big finale. For some reason, I never got into Khare quite as much as the other 3.
Mine would be the Seven Serpents. The Baklands are such a wonderfully weird place. It's also the one that most encouraged me to complete the story in the best way, because the advantage it gives you in volume 4 is well worth the effort. But most of all it's the atmosphere. The Shamutanti Hills and Kharé were weird, but Serpents gave me the vibrant feeling of being in a place that is completely dominated by weird sorcery, and it did so without overdoing it
I love the Seven Serpents, simply due to the powers of the serpents themselves and the fact that you have to kill them all (well you don't, but you get a nice bonus if you do). It's like the Fighting Fantasy version of the Ninja Scroll film.