Monday, 11 January 2010

Fighting Fantasy Monday: Seas of Blood

Here's a little experiment. We (me, the writer of this blog; you, the collective reader) are going to play us some Fighting Fantasy. The way it's going to work is this. Every Monday I will post a "turn", with the options given at the end. You, the gentle readers, will then comment on the entry voting for the option you would like to go for. Over the course of the week I will collate this data, and post again the following Monday with the "move" which gathered the most votes. And so on until completion. The book we'll be using is Seas of Blood, and its thoroughly fantastic cover is provided for your enjoyment below. (Weirdly, the Japanese title translates as Pirate Ship Banshee [Kaizoku-sen Banshii-gou]. Not nearly as evocative, is it?)

Here is the blurb:

The seaport of Tak is the largest den of thieves, pirates and cutthroats the civilized world has ever seen. In this city of corruption there are two pirates known for their ruthless greed, their daring raids and their countless skirmishes with death. One of these infamous men is Abdul the Butcher. The other is YOU!

Only one of you can be King of the Pirates, but who will it be? A bet is made that the first to reach the distant Isle of Nippur with the greatest amount of gold wins the crown. But beware! The seas are treacherous, and many horrible dangers
await you. . . .

Two dice, a pencil and an eraser are all you need to embark on this thrilling adventure. YOU decide which route to fol low, which dangers to risk and which monsters to fight.

Yes, you, I tell you. YOU!

First things first, we have to determine the nature of our slovenly pirate crew. The key attributes here are CREW STRIKE (how good we are in ship battles) and CREW STRENGTH (the manning level on board our ship, the Banshee). And I rolled a 6, followed by a 5 and a 6, giving us a CREW STRIKE of 12 and a CREW STRENGTH of 17. Not bad at all. Abdul the Butcher stands no chance. I only hope I haven't squandered all our good luck on the ship.

Next, it's our (YOUR!) abilities. Skill, Stamina, Luck, as with all FF books. And I rolled a 6, a 3 and a 4, and another 6, giving us a Skill of 12, a Stamina of 19, and a Luck of 12. This is some seriously good dice rolling. It's pretty much impossible to complete most FF books if you don't have a skill of at least 10 (there's usually a guaranteed fight with a Skill 12 monster at some point) so we're good to go.

Finally, the book tells us we also need to keep a Log. This is a record of how many days our voyage has taken; this is a race, remember.

And off we go. Here's the intro:

The city of Tak, at the northern end of the Inland Sea, is the greatest den of thieves, criminals and cut-throats the civilized world has ever seen. Every form of vice and illicit activity is not only permitted, but even encouraged, in this city of scum. This, your home town, is where your adventure begins.

Of the numerous pirates drawn to Tak, you and Abdul the Butcher are recognized by all as being the kings in daring and greed. However, neither of you are particularly wealthy, as your love of gambling consumes all the riches that you bring back from your journeys against the enemy cities of Lagash,
Marad and Kish.

The infamy that the two of you have bred is also the source of a great rivalry; you each try to outdo the other in increasingly dangerous but breathtakingly successful raids. Your goal - the title of King of Pirates, the Sacker of Cities, which is never bequeathed, but only earned.

One evening, while dicing against each other in one of Tak's gambling-pits, somebody suggests that the two of you should have a contest to determine, once and for all, who is the greatest pirate. The idea appeals instantly to your audacious spirits. 'Yes,' says Abdul, 'let us have a race of speed and treasure.' You agree upon the terms of the contest. Each will take only one ship and, sailing from Tak on an appointed day, will head for the distant isle of Nippur, which lies deep in the great Southern Sea.

The journey must be completed within fifty days and, at the end, whoever has the greatest amount of gold wins the bet.

With shaking of hands all round and much toasting, the deal is sealed. Your journey is about to begin.

[In case you're wondering, no, I'm not typing all this out. Don't be silly. I scanned it and copy-pasted.]

And here we come to our first choice:

On the day appointed for the beginning of the race, you take the Banshee out of the towering granite bay of Tak and into the Inland Sea. Abdul the Butcher's Haveldar cuts quietly through the water beside you.

Far to the east is the hostile but rich port of Lagash; to the west is the Scythera Desert, across which the caravan routes to the cities of Kish, Calah and Assur run. To the south is the mountainous isle of Enraki.

Will you:

Head towards Lagash for a dangerous but daring raid against its coastal shipping? Turn to 55
Travel to the Scythera Desert to plunder the rich western caravans? Turn to 20
Patrol the Inland Sea via the isle of Enraki? Turn to 76

So have at it, readers. 55, 20 or 76? You decide. Then tune in next Monday to find out what happens...


  1. I fancy me some caravan plundering! Let's sharpen our cutlasses, splice the mainbrace, head for the Scythera Desert and get our hands on some fat merchant's riches!

    Aha, me hearties!

  2. I vote 20! Let's plunder some caravans. And I don't want to hear any mutinous rumbles!


    The only thing I remember is that during the lizard races, you have to bet on Wazi-Bijn.

    Also, I believe you need more than 400 gold to win.

    Also, I vaguely remember winning the first time I read it and vaguely recall going for the Daring Raid.

  4. I say also we must do the Daring Raid on Coastal shipping -use that ship-to-ship combat system. I read this and loved it when i was young(er). I really liked the books with the two-tiered combat system. Armies of Death was the best one of those. Nothing else seems to have captured the particular atmosphere of motley gonzo the FF books had.

    Is this the book with the prolonged hand-to-hand combat with the cyclops conducted in brutal step-by-step detail? If so don't bite him, It isn't good for your teeth.

    wv. moundish: of short, stocky physique

  5. Live dangerously or die trying! page 55!

    FYI my OSRIC game could use some more characters-- the current ones have been bitten by lycanthropes, eaten by trolls, and are about to become slave laborors to Orcs!

  6. No spoilers! Sheesh!

    Let's live fast, die young. 55!

  7. I vote we just flip through the book to look at the illustrations, jump ahead to paragraph 400 to read the ending first and don't even think of starting the quest until we have rolled up a character with a SKILL of at least 11.

    Well, it always worked for me in the past :)

  8. Christ, at this rate I may have to bump up the frequency to twice a week.

  9. "Pirate ship Banshee! On to Lagash on page 55!" (but really, I'm with Coopdevil on this one)

  10. Whats the point of having a pirate ship if we ain't going pirating? "Lagash ho!"

  11. arhg! you poor, poor, poor reckless fools! you have doomed us all! all I say. Lagash is ill-omened destination!

  12. No, no, no. It's totally baiting you to go for 55.

    Head into the unknown... go to 76!

  13. Ah, ye lily-livered swabs, ye've fallen for the lure of Lagash, have ye? Well, ye'd best have yer wits about ye, for I hear tis the wildest, most dangerous port east of Tak. If sail we must, then sail we shall, but I'll say this - last one to the plunder gets a lick of the cat, aharrr-harrr-harr!

    I'm just off up the Old Seadog.

    Can't wait for September 19th.

  14. It's a pirate ship and we have an option of heading for the desert?!

    True fantasy pirates run on weird and rum - 20 it is!

  15. i want to go everywhere.
    we have a bet and a race to win, sooo i dunno.
    If such a thing were possible; First the Lagash option: either have great victory or will need to run away very fast. either way this seems like and in and out job.
    Then to the desert, either for safety cause we are running away or for celebration.
    Which hopefully leaves us with LOTS of treasure, and time
    and to the island out of curiosity and chance for oportunisticness.


    or we could just go to the desert...

  16. This sort of makes us a pirate with a severe case of multiple personality disorder. Which is, of course, one of the best flavours of pirate.

    I think I remember the best route through this one, so I won't make any suggestions, but I'll be following with interest nonetheless. Are you going to run the fights properly, or cheat like everyone did back in the day?

  17. I vote we head for the desert, 20.

  18. My vote's for cheat the hell out of it! heh heh

  19. There'll be no cheating and I'll run the fights properly. This is OLD SCHOOL Fighting Fantasy, bitches!

  20. I vote for plundering the Lagash coast! Desert caravans are for lily-livered landlubbers!