Wednesday, April 13, 2011

April A to Z - K is for Karam Gruul

His pedicurist gave a
glowing report.
Appears in:  Moonrunner (Fighting Fantasy 48) by Stephen Hand.

Background:  Karam Gruul was a powerful but little known general in Brice during the War of the Four Kingdoms.  He is responsible for the deaths of thousands through murder, inquisition or deadly traps.  He was declared dead at the end of the war but he has made a reappearance and wants to start another War of the Four Kingdoms.

Prominence:  Gruul's agents are all over the place.  You can trust no one.  The only people you can trust are probably dead.  One of his assassins kills the only person who knows why you are here and makes you look like the killer.  And that is paragraph 1.  He is the brains behind the a cult, an army of Brician criminals a reign of terror by strange monsters and undead creatures, the local insane asylum (as a way to get rid of enemies) and pretty much any organisation in Blackhaven.  He has managed to infiltrate every group in Blackhaven and control it.  Only a few individuals dare make a stand against him.  9/10

Hardness:  When you encounter Gruul, he is surrounded by his army of war criminals, disguised as his lieutenant, Radu.  If you manage to fight your way through them, you can then only get close to Gruul if you have one of two skills out of a choice of nine.  If you don't, you die.  If you do manage to confront him, he then unleashes his magic upon you.  If you do not have the right wards and if you roll a 1 or 2, your adventure is over (either immediately or in a few paragraphs time).  Even after his magical onslaught, he will try to turn you into a moonrunner, a beast that he turned you into years before.  If that fails, you have to make sure that you get him to Royal Lendle.  If you make the correct decisions and have a high enough stamina, chances are you will win.  7/10.

Ambition:  He wants to start another war between four countries.  8/10.

Style:  Karam Gruul has style.  He's an evil sorcerer, but his magical technique is his own.  He also knows many many ways to kill you, including traps of his own design (my favourite being the pit filling with water with a ladder which has razor blades on it), poisoned envelopes, poisoned food, carriages that flood and many more.  He also likes to trick you by sending false messages in order to divert you and if he does capture you, he puts you in a sadistic torture device where rats gradually eat you.  10/10

Diabolical genius:  Karam Gruul epitomises diabolical genius.  First of all, he is almost impossible to find as he hides behind a secret organisation hiding behind a secret organisation hiding behind a tavern.  He spends most of his time disguised as someone else and has a mandrake to look like him.  He has killed of most of his enemies quickly and efficiently.  He leaves deadly traps all over the city for you to stumble into.  His servants are not just ordinary mooks - he has a squad of acrobatic assassin sorcerers, an undead monster, an unkillable guard and many many more great monsters.  You get the feeling that you will only succeed by the skin of your teeth.  11/10.

Total score:  Karam Gruul is the epitome of evil genius.  He has everything worked out and you will only stop him by the skin of your teeth.  45/50.


  1. I've only recently started looking at gamebooks. I very intrigued with this genre. I'm stopping by from the A to Z challenge and I look forward to reading more from you.

  2. Hehehe he sounds diabolically awesome! ^_^

  3. @Sylvia - Thanks for stopping by. Your comment has given me the idea that after the A to Z, I should write a 'gamebooks for dummies' post for any followers who have not read many gamebooks.

    @Misha - thanks for your post. :). I agree with you. Karam Gruul is my favourite gamebook villain. Unfortunately, he does not come top in this little competition.