Saturday, April 2, 2011

April A to Z - B is for Balthus Dire

Do you work out?
Appears in:  Citadel of Chaos (Fighting Fantasy 2) by Steve Jackson, The Trolltooth Wars (Fighting Fantasy novel) by Steve Jackson.

Background:  Lives in a citadel, surrounded by chaotic creatures and wants to attack the Vale of the Willow.

Prominence:  You don't see him until the very end.  None of the inhabitants of the citadel seem to attack you on his orders.  Some of them are friendly towards you.  You can placate even his wife if you have a hairbrush.  1/10

Hardness:  When you enter Balthus's room, you must first dodge a flying trident and then fight a clawbeast, which is a difficult fight, especially as you lose you wepon when you hit it four times.  However, both of these obstacles can be negated if you have the correct spells.

Balthus is a powerful sorcerer, though, unlike other sorcerers, he is not so powerful that he can kill you with a single spell.  However, his stats are a very respectable skill of 10 (12 with his ring) and a stamina of 19 which means that he can beat most warriors is straightforward combat.

He does make some mistakes, though.  He stores a powerful magical sword in his room, ready for you to steal and use against him.  You are able to steal his ring and reduce his skill and he also dies if exposed to sunlight.

Now the last problem does not necessarily stop you being a great villain (vampires really do a lot of damage for example), but it's a fatal mistake if you make your home in the top of a tower with only curtains between you and certain death.  In fact, when you are offered the option of pulling down the curtains, it offers the idea of throwing them over his head, giving the impression that no one would think that a powerful sorcerer would  be that stupid.

If you have the correct spells, then you are able to kill Balthus Dire without any problems.  6/10

Ambition:  Invading a city state.  7/10

Style:  Lives in a quite normal (for a villain) dungeon/castle called the Black Tower (pretty normal name for a villanous base).  However, he does buck the sorcerer trend towards robes and beards and works it well.  4/10

Diabolical genius:  There are some weird things in the Black Tower, but most of them are not Dire's doing.  However, he is quite diabolical in your confrontation with him (unlike Agglax who runs away and calls for his bodyguards because mummy Sith isn't around).  3/10

Total score:  His plan is unsophisticated, his servants (and wife) don't really respect him enough to really try to kill you and he lives in a place that will kill him if a curtain rail falls down.  23/50


  1. I like your blog. Even though I can't call myself a gamer, I did play GURPS one summer with some friends. I don't think I have the patience for extensive gaming, but I do think it's incredibly creative, not to mention amazingly fun to watch.

    This particular character sounds like an idiot. One wonders how he hasn't managed to kill himself by accident.

  2. Thanks for the kind words, Callie!

    I have only done a little gaming too, but would love to do more as it is fun.

    I agree with your assessment of Balthus. The villains do get better, though.

  3. Balthus Dire official artwork is available on the Art Gallery of Le Grimoire Publishing:

  4. Awesome blog man, Balthus Dire is one bad mofo.