Monday, 16 July 2012

Warlock of Firetop Mountain

Not that one

I had a cunning plan the other day. Holdenstein Jr. is terrible at reading, and really terrible at reading aloud to me. It's not that he's actually bad at reading, he's quite good, he just hates it. Then while trundling around blogs followed by blogs that I follow I came across an interesting genre. The Fighting Fantasy playthrough blog. Honestly I don't know who came up with the idea first, but it is both simultaneously genius and the saddest thing I have ever seen.

That gave me an idea: I have a box full of game books upstairs and a son who won't read to me, so I embarked on playing Warlock of Firetop Mountain with Holdenstein Jr. The rules were simple. No cheating (except in the annoying Maze of Zagor- and only then to ignore irritating repositions), re-roll on skill of 7 or 8, Holdenstein Jr. gets to roll the dice for us in combat, and every couple of entries we swap reading duties. I'll also make the map. Thus the project is both entertaining and informative. I make him add up his attack strength too- that's maths covered as well as English.

So on to the book report. First things first, the reading trick works like a charm. HJ read without complaint, I was able to correct things when he went wrong, make him pause when he hits a full stop, and he was able to ask me what various words mean. I still don't think that he knows quite how badly he's been played. Don't worry he'll never find out- I told you he hates reading.
And this is just like our copy...

We played though with Skill 10, Stamina 23 and Luck 12, we had a re-roll on the Skill (originally 7). As much as I hate cheating, there's always been very little point in playing with a Skill of 7 or 8. I remembered quite a bit of the book and we wandered along collecting gold, jewels and keys. Holdenstein Jr was up for a fight most of the time, especially with non-humans, but that's about right for successful completion of a Fighting Fantasy. We missed out some of the encounters that I remember fondly such as the orc master with the whip and the Skeleton boathouse, but eventually made our way through the annoying Maze of Zagor with just three keys. We polished off the dragon and warlock without actually fighting (who knew about the jewel- I didn't, or I forgot) and then tried our three keys. Holdenstein Jr. added up the numbers, turned to the passage, got the message to turn to another passage, thought we had lost and then...

We won! Amazing, and not what I had imagined would happen, not the first time round at least. It also occurs to me that The Warlock of Firetop Mountain is probably a good nickname for a fat ginger bloke. I'm also amazed that I never thought of that at school in the 80's...


  1. That was quite a good idea!

    AND you won!! Wooohoo!!!!

  2. Thanks SIWOC.

    The winning will soon be coming to an end as the next book up is the notoriously tricky Citadel of Chaos. Mind you we have 12 Skill so maybe not...