Thursday, April 28, 2011

April A to Z - X is for Xakhaz

I'd hate to be his tailor.
Appears in:  Beneath Nightmare Castle (Fighting Fantasy 25) by Peter Darvill-Evans.

Background:  Was an archmage of the despicable gods of Zagoula.  He was defeated three centuries ago and his spirit was sealed beneath the city of Neuberg.  He has been awakened by a sorceress who has gained control over the ruler of Neuberg, Baron Tholdur and has moved into his castle.  He is now sending lots of disgusting beasts into the town and killing innocents.

Prominence:  Almost all of the encounters in the book are because of Xakhaz.  The swordsmen are there because they want to raise Xakhaz from the dead.  The Lovecraftian monsters are Xakhaz's creations.  There are many other sadistic encounters such as being attacked by Baron Tholdur's daughter who is wearing a crazed suit of plate mail or by a crazy goo driven robot who calls himself Skarlos (the hero who slew Xakhaz three centuries ago).  Xakhaz clearly likes to revel in his insanity.  9/10

It's not a barrel of laughs.
Hardness:  You have to pass a willpower test to fight him.  If you do, you will realise that the huge mound of limbs that is Xakhaz is way more powerful than even the strongest adventurer - skill 14, stamina 32.  He can be killed or severely weakened if you have both the Talisman of Loth and the green glass globe.  There are also several skill enhancing items so you can even the odds a bit as well.  8/10

Ambition:  Wants to become lord of all Khul.  9/10

Style:  Xakhaz is Lovecraftian through and through.  Neuberg Keep his not his place, but he's making it his own with his tentacled horrors, diseased mutants, 'head juice' to drink and general terror that could snap you sanity at any point.  Unlike most other sorcerers, he is a huge mound of limbs and other body parts that have been sewn together.  Great.  9/10.

Diabolical genius:  Xakhaz's ways are defeating you are unique in the sense that death is one of the better options.  Madness is his main weapon.  Xakhaz has also created his own unique monsters that can drive someone insane as much as tear them to pieces.  In fact, Xakhaz doesn't kill many people unless he wants some body parts.  He's actually quite efficient.  He also has a sick sense of humour.  Instead of locking up the baron's daughter he puts her in a suit of plate mail which attacks people.  He lets Senyakhaz control the baron's mind and he creates a mockery of his former killer.  What a joker.  9/10.

Total score:  Xakhaz is great.  Most evil sorcerers like to cause terror and mayhem but most evil sorcerers also prefer to have the boring bipedal body structure and just employ orcs to do their dirty work.  Most evil sorcerers are also not completely insane.  These sorcerers have a lot to learn from Xakhaz.  44/50

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