The Trickster strikes again, but the Man in Blue is able to dodge this second strike also.
The Man in Blue strikes back at the Trickster, rolling a 7(!) which misses due to the Trickster's special ability.
The Man in Blue looks up at the Trickster in disbelief, just as a huge sword pierces through his armour, skewering him. The Warrior has killed the Man in Blue.
End of Combat
Spurting blood, the man slides to the floor. Clawing at the tablecloth as he falls, he pulls dozens of china plates and goblets down on top of him with a crash. Strangely, no one in the room seems to take any notice except for a fellow in a black domino cape. You gaze around in astonishment. A hunched man in a gold tunic is pouring himself a glass of wine, oblivious of the disturbance. A man in a green wig goes on laughing at a friend's joke as though he had not noticed the battle at all. A masquerade jester proceeds with his antics, and a man adorned in the laurel wreath of a Sage of Ancient Selentium has eyes only for the serving girls.
One of these men is Balhazar. Which one?
The man wearing the domino cape (turn to 178), the hunched man (turn to 527), the man in the green wig (turn to417), the jester (turn to 123) or the Selentine Sage (turn to 277)?
You identify Balhazar and stride over to him. 'My lord Magus,' you say, giving a curt bow, 'you need look no further for champions.'
'Excellent,' says Balhazar, standing and removing the hood of his cape. 'You have found me among all these images ...' With this he turns and, waving his hand, murmurs a spell. The partygoers fade from sight. 'They were all illusions,' explains Balhazar, 'except for the Assassin you cunningly rooted out and dealt with. I am impressed - and since he might have taken my life, I am even indebted to you. Such obligation is not seemly towards one's employees, so I shall discharge the debt at once by rewarding you ...'
He claps his hands, and a servant scurries in at once carrying a silver sword studded with emeralds. This he hands to you (if there is a Warrior in the party, Balhazar will hand it to him or her). 'It is Blutgetranker - the "blood-drinker" - made out of a sliver from the legendary sword of the god Frey.'
You cut the air with this fabulous weapon. It seems light, but hums with deadly force. Add one to your Fighting Prowess when fighting with it. In combat against any giant (that is, a creature specifically described in the text as a giant) you add one Die to the damage you inflict with a successful blow.
Turn to 134
A just reward for the Warrior who slew the assassin! Always remember that you may only have 10 items at a time, so if you drop an item you need to post it etc.
'I need consider no more champions,' says Balhazar. 'Now it is time to equip you for the contest tomorrow.' He hands each player in the party an opal medallion; record it on your Character Sheets. Balhazar tells you that this will allow him to monitor your progress through the Battlepits, and possibly intervene with magic or advice when you are in trouble. He also gives the first player in the battle order [that would be the Warrior] a strange item - an octagonal glass prism. He's not sure what it does, but thinks you will find a use for it. Then a servant shows you to bedchambers where you may get some rest.
You are up before the dawn, practising your combat techniques and preparing your ming for the ordeal to come. Balhazar and his guards take you out. The streets are full of bleary-eyed revellers - many of them have been up all night - jostling one another for a better view. You see the curtained litter of Magus Vyl, who obviously does not enjoy the dawn, accompanied by the three dark-robed Assassins who will champion him. Several other magi stand upon a dais in urgent consultation, making last-minute deals and alliances before the contest begins.
You are escorted across the cold tundra. Other groups are also filing away from the citadel. Among them you notice a group of bronze-armoured Barbarians employed by Magus Tor and the Master Warlock, Icon the Ungodly, who carries the pennant of Magus Uru. At last you reach a huge portal set into a hillside. Balhazar ushers you in, and you step through into the greatest adventure of your life ...
Turn to 201.
With Balhazar's standard, you advance into the first chamber of the underworld. Torches flicker in brackets around the grime-encrusted walls. At the centre of the room, a vast marble table has been laid with a luscious array of sweetmeats and succulent viands. Balhazar watches you proceed through the heavy door as his servants swing it shut. 'Succeed in your quest to find the Emblem of Victory and I will reward you lavishly,' he says. 'But fail, and ...' His last words are drowned out by the deep clang as the doors swing shut.
If there is a Sage in the party, he or she can inspect the food (turn to 413). Otherwise you can eat (turn to 273) or leave the room, either by a corridor at the far end (turn to 326) or by entering an alcove to your left (turn to 13).
Balhazar has provided excellent fare for you to begin your journey. Any wounded character who eats his fill restores one Endurance point. You may gather up some of the food to take with you. The portions you take (each healing one Endurance) can be stored in a backpack, and each counts as one item of encumbrance. You may eat one portion after any combat. Now you are ready to move on.
Will you enter the corridor leading from the far end of the room (turn to 326) or the alcove in the side wall (turn to 13)?
Let me know how many portions your character will take with them. Also you might want to throw away items for better ones i.e. now that the warrior has a new sword, does he throw away the old one to make room for more food? Decisions, decisions...
I've got the prism and happy to hang on to it as I don't have to lug about bow and arrows. I'll also dump my old sword and fill all my empty slots with food. That leaves me with: 1. Chainmail 2. Money pouch 3. Opal medallion 4. Blutgetranker 5. Octagonal glass prism 6-10. Food
The alcove is not very deep and is covered with a beautiful array of gold and blue mosaics that sparkle in the torchlight. You step into it, hoping to find a hidden door or niche. Instead you are momentarily blinded as the mosaics let out a blinding flash of light. You feel the room spinning uncontrollably. Lights dance and whirl across the walls, and there is an instant of confusion. You realise, too late, that you have walked into a Teleportation spell.
In an instant the spinning ceases and you are now in an ornate garden under a roof of coloured gems. Sitting on the edge of a gently bubbling fountain is an elfin-featured girl wrapped in a toga of green silk.
If you wish to attack her, turn to 524. If you try talking to her, turn to 274.
She does not open her mouth, but her musical voice rings inside your thoughts. She is speaking to you telepathically. 'I am Larisha - called, by the ancients of Krarth, the Gift-Giver. Now that you have stumbled into my little bower, I am obliged to render a single gift to you.'
She reaches into the sparkling waters of the fountain and holds up a silver poniard. 'This is the Dagger of Vislet, the Prince of Thieves.' She allows it to fall into the water and then pulls out another item. This is the Golden Snuff Box used by the savant Shormiano, and this -' she drops the snuff box and takes a large gem from the water '- is the last breath of Astarandel the Dragonlord.' You notice a flicker of light in the green depths of the gem. 'The fiery energy of Astarandel's breath is contained by a mighty spell,' explains Larisha. 'The spell takes the form of this gem, and if you were able to find some way of negating the spell you would unleash the searing flames of the Dragonlord's last exhalation.'
Choose the item you will take - either the Dagger of Vislet, the Golden Snuff Box or the Dragonlord Gem - then turn to 453.
You tell the strange woman which gift you have decided to accept and she hands it to you. Your words of thanks are cut short by a dismissive wave of her slender hand. 'Do not trouble to thank me, for I am a creature without a soul and I merely perform the duty that the Fates have assigned ... Now, I must return you to the Battlepits.'
If there is a Trickster in the party who wishes to do something, turn to 147. If there is an Enchanter who wishes to act, turn to 414. Otherwise turn to 203.
Each of you gets to pick what you want, then I will roll to determine who receives the item (if you get it, you get the item you wanted). Of course you can trade items at any time (assume the Enchanter is fine trading anything too - within reason).
I also forgot to mention that the Enchanter picked up 2 Food Portions to take with him. He doesn't like getting crumbs on his robe.
The dagger would probably be a good weapon for the Trickster but it doesn't sound particularly powerful. No idea about what the snuff box might do. I would opt for the gem as I imagine it could be a powerful weapon against any tough enemy that lurks in the Battlepits.
The Enchanter rubs his hands with glee as he requests the Golden Snuff Box.
'Shormiano was a genius! With this box, I hold the mysteries of life and death!'
Taking the box, he places it in the folds of his robes.
(TRICKSTER) 'Why, this is nonsense!' you cry, quickly turning on your charm. 'How can you describe yourself as soulless, you who are more lovely than any earthly woman? Regard your exquisite reflection in yonder fountain. Tell me whether it is not the face of a vibrant elemental persona, a passionate beauty who laughs in the face of the spiteful Fates!'
Larisha looks startled for a moment, then turns to regard herself in the crystal-clear water of the fountain. 'Why, you speak true,' she murmurs. She uses her real voice now, not her power of telepathy, and her tones are so chillingly cold that you could well believe she has no soul. 'Let us spite the Fates then - those hideous crones! I'll give you another item as well, not because I must but because I choose to do so ...'
You now have two of the following: the Dagger of Vislet, the Golden Snuff Box and the Dragonlord Gem. When you have decided which additional item to take, turn to 203.
The Trickster takes the Dagger of Vislet (as requested initially).
If you have the Dagger of Vislet, turn to 214. If you have the Golden Snuff Box, turn to 323. If you have neither of these items, turn to 93.
The Dagger of Vislet can be used in any combat. It can be thrown - an action like the shoot option available to Sages and Tricksters.
The player who wishes to throw the Dagger can do so at any opponent without having to be in an adjacent square to him (or her, or it). To hit, the player must roll Fighting Prowess or less on two Dice. The Dagger inflicts 1 Die damage if it hits, then returns to its owner's hand ready for throwing again next Round.
If the Dagger misses its target, it does not return to its owner. In this case it cannot be used again until the combat is over and you have a chance to retrieve it. (And if you flee, then you don't get to retrieve it, of course.)
Like the shoot option, the throw option is not open to a player who is under attack.
If you also have the Golden Snuff Box, turn to 323. If you don't have the Snuff Box (or already know what it does), turn to 93.
You can open the Snuff Box at the end of any combat that you won. You cannot open it after fleeing from a combat, nor at any other time. When you open it, each player rolls one Die. On a roll of 1 or 2, the player loses one Die Endurance. On a roll of 3 to 6, the player gains one Die Endurance. The Snuff Box then shuts itself and cannot be used again until you win another battle.
If you also have the Dagger of Vislet, turn to 214. If you do not have the Dagger (or if you already know what it does), turn to 93.
Larisha stands up, trailing her silk toga like a shadow. 'Return now to the magi's labyrinth,' she says, lifting her hands to display dozens of jewelled rings. 'If I possessed a soul, perhaps I would wish you well ...'
Colours and sounds jangle and swirl about you. For a moment you are jerked off your feet, then you settle down on to a carpeted floor. The confusion of lights fades to reveal that you are now in a corridor lined with mirrors.
Turn to 326.
You are walking in what you judge to be a northerly direction along a red-carpeted corridor lined with gilt-edged mirrors that cast dim reflections from your torchlight. The carpet muffles the sound of your feet as you move along, sending up small puffs of the centuries-old dust that covers everything.
If the party includes an Enchanter, he or she may wish to use a Prediction spell; if so, turn to 287. If the party includes a Sage and he or she wishes to try ESP here, turn to 362. Otherwise you continue along the corridor, a vague sense of unease growing with every footstep (turn to 216).
Note that the Enchanter is currently busy with his new Snuff Box and isn't interested in casting a Prediction spell at this point, though he has prepared a White Fire spell.
If there are minds to be read, I shall attempt to read them. 362
(Greenspine - If you later are encumbered, you may consider dumping your Bow and Quiver then passing me your remaining Arrows. Since you are mostly a frontliner and have the Dagger, it'll be no real loss...unless you miss with the Dagger of course.)
(SAGE) You are attempting to use your psionic power of ESP. Like many of your powers it is unreliable. It depends upon a number of abstract symbols and mind-sets that you must meditate upon. To determine the success of your attempt, turn either to 498 or to 258.