Monday, 9 May 2016

I Had to Stop for the Night

This is the third part of my playthrough of Keith Martin's Revenge of the Vampire, which commenced here and continued here. Considering what happened on at least two previous occasions that I got this far through the book, it may well be the last part, too, but if I correctly remember the specifics of what got my character killed on those earlier attempts, the odds of my surviving it this time round should be in my favour. Only slightly - around 55%, assuming nothing bad occurs beforehand - but that's still a better chance than some gamebooks offer.

After several days on the road, I reach the village of Fendringham, which is just an hour's walk from Mortus Mansion. Which does leave me wondering why, if Harquar was supposed to be keeping an eye on the house, he was living in Farleigh rather than here. Maybe staying that close to the place would have been a bit too obvious, but judging by the assassination attempt from which I had to save him, the added distance didn't really make him any safer.

It's late afternoon when I arrive, so if I carry straight on to Heydrich's home, it'll be close to sundown by the time I get there, and wandering around a Vampire's lair during the hours of darkness is pretty much asking for a terminal bout of anaemia. Consequently, I'm willing to pay the price (in gold and Blood Points) to spend the night in the local tavern, the 'Rat and Bat'. The other patrons being neither intelligent nor fragrant, I soon turn in for the night.

Just as I'm about to drop off, I hear the floorboards outside creaking. The two hired thugs who subsequently burst into the room to attack me must be slow-witted even by local standards, as I have time to get out of bed, grab my sword, and put on my leather armour before they actually smash the door open. I manage to position myself in a spot where they can only attack one at a time, and kill the first man without any bother.

The second fight is less straightforward, even though both ruffians have identical stats. The thing is, the outcome of the fight varies depending on whether or not I bring his Stamina below 4 without actually killing him. As he starts with a Stamina of 7, killing him outright is not easy. Indeed, unless the book includes an opportunity to acquire a weapon that does extra damage prior to this fight, the only way to do it is to use Luck twice in the fight, being Unlucky the first time, and Lucky the second.

Unsurprisingly, I do not kill the second ruffian outright, and when I have hit him a couple of times, he drops his weapon, drops to his knees, and begs me not to kill him. This is a trickier decision than you might think. One the one hand, I know that killing an unarmed opponent who's just surrendered is the sort of action that can lead to a Faith penalty. On the other hand, I know that sparing his life will lead to the situation that's already brought more than one of my previous attempts at the book to a premature end. And on the Beeblebrox hand, taking the risk of letting the man live (albeit briefly) provides a lead that might be useful or even essential, and I'm not aware of any other way of acquiring that information.

I don't kill the grovelling thug. He tells me that a huge brute with a hideously scarred face came to Fendringham last night, told him and his companion of my approach, and paid the two of them to get rid of me. Then, acting like a man possessed, he grabs a poisoned knife from a concealed sheath and stabs me in the stomach with it. To survive this attack, I need to roll no higher than my Stamina score on four dice. Given the damage from the blow, that means I have to get 14 or less. Regrettably, the total of the four dice is slightly higher than the total of the five dice I had to roll back when I created this character, which means that yet another of my Revenge characters has succumbed to the venom on the blade.

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