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Friday, 1 October 2010

Spells and tats

This last of the Eye of Heroes fellowship was, I'm pretty sure, written by Jamie himself, as Targdaz was one of his own characters in our Tekumel role-playing campaign. Nobody called him "the Magnificent" then, as that Targdaz, although a sorcerer, bore few similarities to the character in the FL books.

Appearance: Targdaz wears baroque red and orange robes of almost preposterous ornateness, and every inch of his skin is tattooed. His nose is hooked, and he sports a magnificent black beard. Targdaz carries a mysterious wand of green metal shaped somewhat like a television aerial.

History: One of the mightiest spell-casters in recorded history, Targdaz the Magnificent served as royal sorcerer to seven of the great kings of Harkuna. His studies into the inner mysteries of magic inspired generations of mages, and he is recognized as founder of the first college of magic in Dweomer.

Targdaz famously cajoled the god Molhern into teaching him the secrets of higher magic, the essence of which he trapped inside his Casket of Imponderables. So great was the power of higher magic that no mortal could wield it: the astral vibrations would simply tear their body apart. By siphoning the power through specially created valves in the casket, Targdaz was able to leech a little for himself. Even in such small measures, it was stronger magic than any mage before or since could muster.

Targdaz left the court of Harkun with his casket and retreated to his citadel in the northern steppes. But a shaman sent by the Horde of a Thousand Winds tricked Targdaz, and imprisoned him inside a block of solid ruby. With the wizard trapped, the shaman foolishly opened the casket. The magical storm that billowed forth killed him instantly, and scattered the tribes of the steppes forevermore. Targdaz remained trapped inside his ruby for hundreds of years, until one day a questing adventurer broke into the tower and released him.

Targdaz served as the adventurer’s personal sorcerer until he deemed his debt repaid, and then disappeared from history once more. Some say the wizard was slain by Badogor the Unspoken. Others reason that his spirit has left our earth to resume his studies in the court of Molhern. The truth is somewhat more mundane: Targdaz simply died of old age.

Character: Targdaz is proud and boastful, but shockingly intelligent. He is always happy to demonstrate his wisdom, and tends to look upon others as ill-informed children. He likes to think of himself as the father of the group.


  1. Off Topic but...

    So glad to find this. I bought the books as they came out and they were fantastic. Streets ahead of any other gamebooks. Very excited to see it will be coming to the iphone. And as for a Fabled Lands RPG - cannot wait. I remember playing the books with my friend - me reading it out for him as he played through. Good times. The freeform nature of the adventures is an incredible achievement. Thanks for many hours of fun - both in the past and now the future.

  2. I don't know if I've acknowledged it elsewhere, but those FL books owe a debt to Eric Goldberg's Tales of the Arabian Nights boardgame (recently reissued). Our roleplaying games were always open-structured like that, but it was only when Jamie and I were playing TotAN that we saw how we could create a series of gamebooks to reflect that same sandbox experience.

    A big part of that was the streamlined but (we hope) evocative descriptions, so that the prose never broke the flow of the adventure or the sense that you could go anywhere, do anything - which I demand of any roleplaying game I'm in.

    It's interesting how many people play the books like you did, James, as a kind of springboard into roleplaying. So in a way it's surprising that it took us 15 years to get around to the FL RPG!