Sunday, February 16, 2014

Four seemingly stupid decisions that you can make in gamebooks with surprisingly good results

One of the reasons that some gamebooks are frustratingly hard is that some of the choices you make seem very arbitrary and fly in the face of common sense or even what the gamebook rewards you for.  Here are four seemingly stupid choices that actually have positive results.

Not taking the bow and silver arrows in Khare - Cityport of Traps.

You need a silver weapon to kill the deathwraith and you can buy a bow with silver arrows from the market.  However, this gives you a difficult combat.  As well as having to kill a skill 9 stamina 8 opponent (which you need to because it knows one of the lines to the spell to open the north gate), every time you win an attack round, you have to roll under your skill on two dice to hit it and you only have ten arrows to use.  If your skill is 8 or less, you don't stand much of a chance, so I suggest not buying the bow and calling upon Libra for this situation. 

Not taking the hammer in Caverns of the Snow Witch (but taking the spear)

You find both the hammer and the spear while you are hunting the yeti and are told that you must take both.  The trouble is with that is that if you don't have a spear, then the yeti is a skill 11 stamina 12 opponent.  If you do, it becomes a skill 10 stamina 9 opponent.  

That's good so far.  

However later, you come across a crystal warrior (skill 11 stamina 13) which you must fight if you have a hammer.  If you don't, you are able to get around it if you have a genie friend that makes you invisible.  

So if you take both the hammer and the spear, you have to fight a skill 11 opponent no matter what.  If you take neither, that is also true.  But if you just take the spear, then you win.  However, you still have to fight a skill 12 stamina 14 white dragon.

Killing the man who makes bone rings in Crypt of the Sorcerer

There are very few non hostile people in Crypt of the Sorcerer.  One is a man who offers to give you a ring which repels werewolves.  Very useful.  However, unless you want to fight a Gargantis - a skill 12 stamina 24 opponent, you have to kill him.  Even though you take a luck penalty.  It's because he has a skull ring which raises skeletons from the ground but also uncovers half of a magic rod of paralysis which can be used against the gargantis.  

Trying to throw a curtain on Balthus Dire's head

Let's be honest, if you were facing a powerful sorcerer with a skill of 12 and a stamina of 19, even if you had used up all of your spells, throwing a curtain over his head would not be the first thing that springs to mind.  You would probably be thinking about breaking into his weapons cupboard or trying to steal his magical ring, but strangely enough, that would not be the most effective way to kill Balthus Dire because when you pull the curtain down, you expose the sorcerer to sunlight, which turns out to be lethal for him.  So Balthus Dire is vulnerable to sunlight and lives in a room with a window and you think it is a good idea to throw a curtain on his head.  I don't think it would be appropriate to say that you are the smarter of the two here.  I think it's better to say that you are the less dumb out of the two of you.


  1. However, you still have to fight a skill 12 stamina 14 white dragon.

    That fight is avoidable with the right item. The only Skill 12 opponent you have no chance of evading combat with in CotSW is the Birdman.

    Another seemingly stupid decision with a beneficial outcome is eating the sludge on which the Chaos Mutants feed in Master of Chaos. Instead of mutating or poisoning you, as you might expect, it provides a Stamina boost.

    And then there's the 'ignore the big clue you were given at the start of the adventure, break into the wrong house, and get rewarded with an item that substitutes for a special skill' silliness in Midnight Rogue...

    1. Good point, I had forgotten about the powder. Many thanks for the other situations :)