Monday, January 17, 2011

Your adventure ends here - who you gonna call now?

Here is an ending from Night of the Necromancer by Jonathan Green.

'Quick, Streng,' Van Richten calls to his companion, 'deploy the spirit snare!' His henchman responds at once, hurling the modified trap towards you.

Your first reaction is the trap will pass straight through you but then it snaps shut, its silvered teech snagging your ethereal form.  You let out a blood curdling scream of agony as pain like you have known only once before - when you died - shoots through you.

'I have a suitable receptacle ready,' the Ghost Hunter says.

As you struggle to free yourself from the spirir snare , Van Richten unstoppers a silver flask and mutters something incomprehensible under his breath.  You suddenly feel the world around you is swelling in size beyond all reason and there is a pop and you hear the squeak of the bung being pushed back into the neck of the bottle.

Van Richten holds the flask up to his face and peers at you with undisguised disgust.  'That's another one dealt with,' you hear him say before he stows the flask in the strongbox.  There is no way out of the ghost trap and so yor adventure must end here.

Why I like this paragraph

You know what I thought when I read this?  Titan has its own version of the Ghostbusters. 

Sure there's only two of them and they're darker, a lot less comical and they're not prepared to have a friendly ghost for a pet as you have just found out.  Instead they set upon you before you have a chance to tell them of your plight. 

These two versions of the ghostbusters do have similarities.  Both of them have their own versions of ghost traps.

Functional but not very elegent.

Far more classy.  And glassy.

I love the description you get of being left in a bottle trap - hearing the squeak of the bung and seeing your opponent's face from inside the bottle.
You might end up in one of these traps if Van Richten and his companion, Streng both get hits on you in two consecutive combat rounds.  

How did I get into this mess?

In Night of the Necromancer, you spend most of your time as a ghost.  When you see Van Richten, you get the idea that he may be able to help you.  However, if you do reveal yourself to him, you realise that he really can't see past the fact that you're a ghost.  You don't have much time to think about how judgemental and exclusive he is as he and his companion are attacking you with silver weapons.

What have I learnt from this?

In gamebooks, even death paragraphs can be entertaining and have pop culture references.

In Night of the Necromancer, being beaten in combat or being banished is usually not the end, as you are then whisked off the Earthly plane and may be able to to return to another place to continue your adventure. 

 However, it sometimes I should have an actual deadly combat or situation to make sure that the hero does not become complacent and it still gives the reader a sense of danger.


  1. Glad you liked it. And yes, the Ghostbusters reference was entirely intentional.

    There are all sorts of other pop culture references in my other recent gamebooks - everything from Transformers to Hamlet.

  2. I love the references, Jon. It makes me feel smart for recognising them.

    Thanks for taking an interest in my blog :).