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Monday 31 December 2012

Castle of Lost Souls part four: "The Evil Eye"

Maybe you were playing the original White Dwarf version of The Castle of Lost Souls and you thought I'd forgotten all about you? It has been over a year since the last instalment, after all. Well, um... Better late than never. Oh, and happy New Year. Jamie and I are looking forward to the spring, because 2013 is when a lot of our gamebooks are coming back into print - not to mention digital formats. Exciting times ahead!


You are the Champion of the Greengosh family, chosen by its head, Hogron. He hired you to rescue his father’s soul, captured and taken to the castle of the demon, Slank. To do this Hogron told you that you needed some magical boots, a teardrop, a fragment of armour from the most chivalrous knight, a four leaf clover, the ashes of a saint and the hair of a nun. All these items you have collected in your journeys and have already undergone many hardships to reach the castle of Slank.

If you have not played previous instalments in this adventure (go here for part one, part two and part three) you will begin this instalment with an Honour score of 7, and should note on your Character Sheet that you have: chainmail armour, a sword, a dagger, a bow with six arrows, a lantern, flint and tinder, a Potion of Healing, 40 gold pieces, magical boots, a little girl’s teardrop, a fragment of a chivalrous knight’s armour, a four-leaf clover, a saint’s ashes, a crystal ball, and a nun’s hair. If you did play the earlier instalments then, of course, you have the equipment and attribute scores earned there.

The rules are here. When you are ready to begin, go to 1.

1: You stand at the very threshold of the Castle of Lost Souls. The mists of the swamp seem to shrink away from it. Its presence is awesome. You cannot grasp any sense of its size; it seems endless, eternal. The walls tower dizzyingly above you into the glowering, dull red sky. Perhaps in the castle’s unreal and inhuman architecture you glean something of the twisted mind of its master, Slank. You notice a twinkling light. A solitary candle burns in one of the windows – to the left of the doorway, apparently on the first floor. All else is shrouded in darkness.

The castle is not guarded. None of the tortured souls that enter ever leaves. With weapon in hand you advance slowly across the drawbridge. You reach out – does your hand tremble just a little now? – and push open the heavy mahogany door. Turn to 12.

2: After a short distance the corridor turns to the right. At the corner there is a low, fire-blackened door with a pewter handle. If you wish to open the door, turn to 73. If you wish to ignore it and carry on, turn to 6.

3: You dip your hand into the pool and take the stone bottle. Will you remove the stopper from it? If so, turn to 63. If not, note it down and turn to 44.

4: Your eyes are off him for only a moment as you reach for your backpack, but when you look again he is no longer there. Strange and inexplicable things are obviously commonplace here – you will have to be vigilant. You turn back; go to 41.

5: You double up in sudden and intense agony. For long minutes you crouch there by the fire, incapacitated by the terrible pain. At last you are able to rise, but you have permanently lost a point from your initial Constitution. You can now open the larder (turn to 22) or go through to the next room (turn to 58).

6: A little further along the corridor you come to a large oak portal with an iron latch in the shape of a bat. You push it open and survey the room beyond. Directly opposite is a high arch leading from the room. Staring down from above this arch is a rather noxious bas relief of a sneering inhuman face.

A low whimpering draws your attention to the occupant of the room – presumably one of the poor souls Slank torments for his pleasure. She is a slender woman with light brown hair, her wrists bound by leather thongs to a wooden beam above her head. Her feet rest on a red-hot metal plate. You can see the sick ingenuity of the arrangement. She is able to lift her legs clear of the plate, but eventually her arms ache so much that she has to stand on it again and get burned. She sees you and starts pleading for you to release her. If you do, turn to 53. If not, turn to 37.

7: Did you leave either the clover or the teardrop on Slank’s mask? If so, turn to 75. If not, turn to 43.

8: You could try to heat the knife using your lantern, which might help to cut the ice. If you do that, turn to 86. If you have a jar of salt, go to 55.

9: You find a twisting flight of steps leading up out of the dungeon. To your immense relief, the door at the top is not locked and you emerge into the candlelit entrance hall. You decide to try the stairs-turn to 34.

10: It is exhausting work, but you eventually manage to dig the mask out of the ice. Turn to 35.

11: The rauchwurm dissipates into the smoke from which it formed. You reach out and grasp the golden hilt of the sword you have fought for. Certainly it is a worthy prize: as you swing it through the air it follows your intentions with an almost sentient precision. You add 1 to your Fighting Prowess while fighting with this weapon. Seeing nothing else of value in the room, you decide to leave - and you are incidentally saved from electrocution a second time by your magic wristband. Turn to 6.

12: You step into a shadowy, cloistered hallway that reeks of funeral incense. All is bathed in the guttering, smoky light of myriad black candles. A wide staircase leads up to the first floor. Over to one side of the hallway you see double doors carved with arabesque designs. Will you open the doors (turn to 49), or proceed up the stairs (turn to 34)?

13: You walk along a short tunnel and enter a circular room with a pool in the middle. There is one other exit from the room: a door to your left. You can go back and take one of the other doors – either the one with the copper plaque (turn to 88) or the one with the bronze plaque (turn to 70). Or you can cross the room (turn to 83).

14: You leave the newt’s eye in the eyeslit of the demon mask. There seems to be nothing else you can do here, so you cross the icy floor to the archway and step through. Turn to 18.

15: You gulp back the magic potion. For the duration of your fight with the undine, you can strike three times in every combat round. Turn to 50.

16: Before you can go further you need a source of light. Will you take down the pine torch (turn to 25), or would you prefer to light your lantern (turn to 67)?

17: You can use the crystal ball (turn to 66) or the three strange silver coins (turn to 24). If you have neither of these, or decide not to use them, turn back to 37 and open one of the doors.

18: You are at the foot of a rough stone stairway that winds up around the walls of a narrow, circular tower. Staring into the gloom, you discern a crimson glow far above. You climb up and up – hundreds of feet, it seems. At last you reach the top of the tower. There is only one door off the landing -a heavy iron portal with a glowing, gloating red face inscribed into it. It swings back as you approach and you pass through into what must be the topmost chamber of the tower. Outside you can see massive, ponderous storm clouds against the starless night sky. There is a curtained alcove on the other side of the chamber. As you cross over to it, a sibilant voice seems to speak from within you, extolling the virtues of an eternity in service to the demon. If you have any Honour, try to roll equal to or less than your Honour score on two dice. If you succeed, turn to 46; if you fail, turn to 27. If you don’t have any Honour, turn to 74.

19: Chuckling humourlessly, he closes his grip on you. You cannot move. ‘Quite wrong,’ he says. ‘Clearly your riddling skills leave much to be desired, but perhaps they will improve when you’ve been a guest at my castle for an eternity or two!’ By his duplicity, the archfiend Slank has captured you. You are his prisoner forever, and the adventure ends here.

20: Do you have the ashes of a saint? If so, you scatter these over the demon’s body; turn to 89. If you don’t have any ashes, turn to 84.

21: He reaches into a pouch at his belt and produces a number of wicked-looking devices. ‘Pilliwinks is a game played with the fingers,’ he explains as he fixes the thumbscrews onto you. Paralysing pain shoots up your arms. Through waves of agony you see the figure before you dissolve and alter. He is no longer an old man, but a tall figure clad in black robes.

‘A generous soul is a lost soul,’ says Slank with a demonic smile. ‘Allow me to welcome you as my castle’s latest guest.’ Your adventure has ended, but the torment is just beginning...

22: Human torsos dripping with gore hang on rusted meat hooks along the larder walls. You can see maggots crawling on some of them. Slank obviously likes game adventurers. Ranged on wooden shelves you can see a number of jars and bottles. You lean closer to read the faded labels; they contain all manner of ingredients. There is a jar of newt’s eyes, another of frog’s toes, one contains a pickled dog’s tongue and the next holds fillet of fen snake. One bottle has no label, but its contents are unmistakeably lizard legs. Among the more normal ingredients, you notice red pepper, parsley and salt. You can take up to three jars if you wish - note them down on your Character Sheet. Feeling your gorge rise at the sight and stench of the demon’s awful larder you continue on your way (turn to 58).

23: ‘Oh. Well, at least you must have the ashes of a saint?' If you do, turn to 72. If not, turn to 33. (Gorbran was not a saint, by the way, if you met him in the previous instalment.)

24: You toss the three coins down on the floor in front of you. One lands with the unicorn’s head uppermost, the other two with the serpent’s head. Does that give you any ideas? You can retrieve the coins if you wish, then turn back to 37 and choose which door to open.

25: As you take the torch from the bracket, you set off a trap! A hatch you had carelessly failed to notice opens beneath you and you plummet some thirteen feet onto a cold stone floor. Somewhat dazed, you stagger to your feet and look around. In the bleary light and choking dust you can just make out a figure chained to the wall. As you approach with the torch you see he is an old man with a clouded, sightless right eye.

‘I am Vimbol Greengosh,’ he tells you. ‘Are you the champion my sons have sent to rescue me? If so, help me out of these chains and your reward will exceed anything you can imagine.’ If you wish to do as he asks, turn to 60. If you would rather leave him chained up, turn to 9.

26: You pull the folds of the rug around you. It is comfortably warm and you are glad you had the foresight to bring it. Will you now try to get at the mask (turn to 77), or leave through the archway (turn to 18)?

27: Slank is trying to convince you to serve him. You dimly realize that he is probably using magic, but you cannot resist. You have always been the sort of half heartedly unethical person who is easily led by those of strongly good or evil character. Slank is very definitely in the latter category. He steps from the alcove and you feel the last of your will desert you as you kneel before him. Now and forever, you are his cringing thrall...

28: You pound the door with your fist, producing a booming echo. After a few moments a small panel is slid back and the occupant of the room examines you. You see his eyes alight on the talisman Hogron gave you; immediately he gives a cry of delight and starts to clear his barricade from the other side of the door. You wait nervously in the passage, praying that all this noise won’t alert the demon. Finally the door opens and the old man ushers you in. The place is a vast, vaulted library with books and pamphlets lining every inch of the walls from floor to ceiling.

‘You’ve come at last!’ says the old man, crying with joy. ‘I knew my lads wouldn’t let me down –I’m Vimbol Greengosh, of course.’ He shows you to a leather armchair by the fireplace and thrusts a glass of tawny port wine into your hand. Obviously, although Slank’s prisoner, he is not completely without creature comforts. He takes down a musty tome and opens it at a chapter headed Dealing With Demons. ‘Now listen carefully, for there isn’t much time. You should have a number of items, and this book describes how each item will affect Slank. Firstly, a four leaf clover will have much the same effect on him as a crucifix has on a vampire – he won’t want to touch it or go anywhere near it. Second, if you throw my daughter’s teardrop into his left eye you’ll blind him completely, as I’ve already managed to destroy his right eye. Now, do you have the fragment of knight’s armour and the hair of a nun?

If you have both these items turn to 64. If not, turn to 23.

29: Somehow you manage to drag yourself the last few yards and slump through the archway. The coldness is presumably a magical effect restricted to the last room, for after a few minutes you stop shivering. Rubbing the circulation back into your sword-hand, you look around you. Turn to 18.

30: ‘That’s right!’ he says,’ his tone of surprise veiling a slight irritation. ‘I didn’t expect you to get that one. All the same, I don’t see how you could have cheated, so I suppose I’ll have to let you go for now...’ Suddenly he spits in your face! You blink and rub your eyes, and when you look again he is nowhere to be seen. You go back to the top of the stairs and try the other direction. Turn to 41.

31: As Slank flails about blindly, you raise your bow and shoot the specially prepared arrow straight into his evil heart. He falls dead at your feet. Turn to 20.

32. You descend a flight of stairs into what seems to be a pillared ballroom with a floor of polished white marble. There is a shadowed archway across on the other side of the room. However, as you walk warily towards this, you make a startling discovery – the floor underfoot is not marble at all, it’s solid ice. Several inches below you, frozen in the ice, you can see a bizarre demonic mask. As you peer down at this you suddenly realize how cold the room is getting. Your hands are turning blue and your teeth chatter uncontrollably. Do you have a bearskin rug? If so, turn to 26. If not, turn to 59.

33: Vimbol shrugs. ’Too bad. Still, maybe you can finish Slank off anyway. You’ll just need to be that much more careful. Now, I wish you good luck.’ He shows you to the library door and the two of you shake hands. As you continue along the corridor you can hear him replacing the barricade on the other side of the door. Turn to 2.

34: You climb up to the first floor landing. From here you can go left (turn to 41) or right (turn to 61).

35: The mask is of black-laquered wood decorated with silver, and could be a fanciful representation of a demon’s face. You have seen its like at several masquerade parties, although never crafted with such chilling effectiveness as this. Curiously, the mask has only one eye – the left – and that has a quartz lens set into it. Will you touch the mask (turn to 47), take out one of your items (turn to 79), or depart through the dark archway (turn to 18)?

36: You pour a little of the oil from your lantern onto the surface of the pool, thereby calming the troubled waters. The undine immediately becomes quiescent and sinks back into the pool. You cautiously dip your hand into the still water to take the stone bottle. If you wish to unstopper this now, turn to 63. If not, note it down on your Character Sheet and turn to 44.

37: After a brief, uneasy : glance at the bas relief, you pass through the arch and make your way along a narrow, twisting passage that leads deep into the heart of the castle. You pass through a succession of gloomy chambers and finally climb a worn flight of steps to a landing where three doors face you. Each of the doors bears a plaque with an inscription on it:

Copper plaque – To slay me you must pass through this door.
Bronze plaque – You should not pass through this door.
Lead plaque – The correct path is not beyond the copper-plaqued door.

You grit your teeth. The demon is obviously toying with you. His mistake. You could open one of the doors–the door with the copper plaque (turn to 88), the one with the bronze plaque (turn to 70) or the one with lead plaque (turn to 13). Or you could take an item from your backpack (turn to 17).

38: You enter a large, low-ceilinged room with no other doorways. In the centre of the room stands a tall man in voluminous robes. He wears a patch over his right eye and stands by a pool of blood which is flowing from a gash in his arm. If you want to talk to him, turn to 82. If you want to take an item from your backpack, turn to 4.

39: You lift the ladle and sip a little of the mixture. Roll five dice – if you score equal to or less than your Constitution, turn to 5. If you score greater than your Constitution, turn to 68.

40: You stand over the fallen body for several minutes, half expecting Slank to rise a second time, and ready to renew the battle at once if he does. But he used the last of his sorcerous power against you; this time he stays dead. Turn to 89.

41: You advance along a narrow corridor illuminated by the amber glow of oil lamps. Shortly you come to a door in the left-hand wall. You can try the door (turn to 51) or continue on along the corridor (turn to 2).

42: Do you have the Wristband of Lightning? If so, turn to 62. If not, an electrical discharge as you try to step into the alcove hurls you back across the room. Deduct 4 points from your Constitution; if you are still alive you decide to leave and continue along the corridor – turn to 6.

43: Smiling viciously, Slank steps from the alcove and stands before you, huge and awesome and casting no shadow. You hear the rumble of the approaching storm, drowned out by Slank’s laughter. His surcoat and boots and vambraces are as black as the night and trimmed with silver; his pale skin has a translucent gleam. At first glance the face might almost be considered handsome – but then you see the clouded, sightless right eye, the face around it scarred and mutilated by terrible burns. The good eye shines with an awful, corrupt light and the expression twisting those fine features is one of utter evil.

Slank holds a lacquered mask in his left hand, and he brings this up now to cover his face. The mask has a quartz lens which shields his good eye, so even if you have the teardrop you cannot use it. Neither is there time to draw your bow–you must fight him. Turn to 48.

44: Will you leave the circular room through the door to your left (turn to 58), or will you return to the landing and open the door with the copper plaque (turn to 88) or the door with the bronze plaque (turn to 70)?

45: Which of the following will you use against the undine? The Ring of Light (turn to 80); the Potion of Dazzling Speed (turn to 15); your lantern (turn to 36). If you decide not to try any of these, turn to 50.

46: Slank is using his foul magic to try and persuade you to serve him, but no demon will ever corrupt an honourable and undaunting spirit like yours. Grimly, you push the curtain aside. Turn to 7.

47: The mask is so cold that it burns your fingers. You try to wrap it in your cloak, but you can still feel the unnatural chill of it sapping your body heat. You cannot take it with you, then. Will you take an item from your backpack (turn to 79), or leave the room (turn to 18)?

48: Slank advances on you -. with a panther’s grace, his robes fluttering in the breeze. There is a cold, damp, earthy smell like a waiting grave. The talons of his right hand are almost a cubit long; they sparkle like crystal and are razor-sharp.
SLANK: Fighting Prowess: 12; Constitution: 23; 3-pt armour.
If you manage to defeat him, turn to 20.

49: Beyond the double doors you see a dimly lit room. A pine torch burns in a bracket on the wall. The same heavy incense you noticed before lingers here. At the far end of the room you can just make out a darkened archway. There is blackness beyond. Will you return to the hallway and go upstairs (turn to 34), or cross the room to the archway (turn to 16)?

50: You are fighting an undine, or water elemental. Every time you hit it you must roll your Magical Fortitude or less on two dice – failure to do this means you lose 1 point from your Fighting Prowess, down to a minimum of 4:
UNDINE: Fighting Prowess: 6; Constitution: 5; no armour.
If you win, turn to 3.

51: The door seems to be barred or barricaded shut. Will you knock (turn to 28), or carry on to the end of the corridor (turn to 2)?

52: The correct answer is ‘peerless’. If you answered this, turn to 30. If you answered anything else, turn to 19.

53: You slice through her bonds with your knife and carry her over to a corner of the room where you gently set her down. Gain 1 point of Honour for your charitable action. The woman nurses her blistered feet for a while, then looks up at you and speaks. ‘I was a witch, and I sold my soul to the demon in return for knowledge and occult power. For helping me, I will give you what little aid I can.’ She puts a catskin pouch around your neck – increase your Magical Fortitude by 1 above its initial level for as long as you wear this. She also gives you three silver coins. ‘These may show you the way,’ she murmurs cryptically. Each has a unicorn’s head on one face and a serpent’s head with a forked tongue on the other. You are about to question her further when you see that she has passed out. You moisten her lips with a little wine, then pocket the coins and leave. Turn to 37.

54: Curse the luck! Your knife breaks. If you didn’t have a sword then you are now without any weapon at all, and must subtract 2 from your damage rolls from now on until you find one. If you do have a sword, you are certainly not going to risk breaking its blade on the ice. You decide to leave the damned mask where it is and go through the archway. Turn to 18.

55: By pouring salt over the ice you lower its freezing point; it starts to melt, and you now have little difficulty in digging down to the mask with your knife. Turn to 35.

56: Before continuing on your way, you could take either the poleaxe or the now-lifeless rug. You cannot take both because they are rather bulky items. You then proceed to the double doors at the end of the room. Turn to 32.

57: You leave the teardrop in the mask’s one eye and then cross the room to the archway. Cross the tear off your Character Sheet. Turn to 18.

58: You enter a long, oak-beamed dining hall with fading portraits high up on the walls. Ignoring two smaller doorways, you make your way along the table towards the double doors at the far end of the room. You pass a wide stone hearth where a raging log fire crackles and spits. Over the hearth hangs a great poleaxe and on the floor in front of it there is a fine, white bearskin rug. You can either go over to the hearth (turn to 76) or carry on to the double doors (turn to 32).

59: You panic and run for the archway, but your feet slip on the ice and you scramble frantically on all fours. Roll four dice, attempting to score equal to or less than your Constitution. If you succeed, turn to 29. If you fail, turn to 65.

60: You have no trouble in breaking the rusty manacles from his wrists. ‘What a generous soul you are!’ he exclaims, favouring you with a rather peculiar smile. ‘How about a game of pilliwinks?’ Will you accept his offer (turn to 21), or decline to play (turn to 71)?

61: You walk along a short passage and come to a low door. If you want to go through this door, turn to 38; if you want to turn back and go the other way, turn to 41.

62: An incandescent bolt arcs across the alcove entrance as you step through it, but the energy is absorbed by your Wristband and you are unharmed. The sword hangs on the wall before you. The rubies glitter and the metal gleams in the wan light of the two braziers to either side of the alcove. As you reach for the sword, thick smoke billows up from these braziers and coagulates into a dark serpentine form in the air above your head. With a shock, you realize this smoke-creature is alive and intent on fighting you!
RAUCHWURM: Fighting Prowess: Constitution: 8; no armour.
If you win, turn to 11.

63: An emerald vapour issues from the open neck of the bottle. When it clears you find a tall figure with green skin standing before you. Arms folded across his barrel-like chest, he bows low. ‘Greetings, master!’ he booms. ‘I am Ghilbee, and for releasing me I can grant you skill, stamina or knowledge.’ If you choose skill, he will restore your Fighting Prowess to its initial level. If you choose stamina, he will restore 4 points of your Constitution. If you choose knowledge, he gives you a clue to defeating Slank (turn to 69 to find out what it is). After performing whichever of these services you request, he vanishes. Turn to 44.

64: Following instructions in his book, Vimbol affixes the sliver of armour to the point of one of your arrows. He then restrings your bow using the nun’s hair. ‘This will kill Slank at once if you shoot him through the heart,’ he explains. ‘Lastly, then, do you have the ashes of a saint?’

If you do, turn to 72. If not, turn to 33. (Incidentally, if you completed the previous instalment of this adventure and burnt Gorbran thinking he was a saint, you were wrong.)

65: You are only a few J. yards from the archway, but the terrible cold numbs your limbs and you slump down on the icy floor. You cannot feel any pain, but you realize you are dying. You note with dispassionate wonder the curious sighing sound your breath makes as it freezes on the air. Strangely calm, you surrender to the eternal dark.

66: The doors do not look any different when viewed through the crystal ball. Turn back to 37 and think again.

67: Holding up your lantern, you crossover to the archway – only to find that the passage beyond ends in a blank wall after only a few yards. You search in vain for a secret panel, but you are finally forced to accept that it is a dead end. Puzzled, you return to the hallway and try the stairs. Turn to 34.

68: The effect of the brew hits you like a poleaxe and you fall to the floor. This is the favourite soup of the demon, but to any mortal it is a virulent poison. The life ebbs from your pain-wracked body. Your quest has ended in failure.

69: Before he disappeared, the genie told you cryptically that ‘the eyes have it’ and suggested that you go back to the landing and try another of the doors. Turn to 44.

70: You open the door into what seems to be a kitchen. It is full of smoke and steam and is almost unbearably hot. Looking around, you see a cauldron bubbling over the roaring fire and a small doorway to one side that presumably leads to the larder. Directly across the kitchen from where you entered is a copper-bound door stamped with odd runic designs. You can look in the larder (turn to 22), look in the cauldron (turn to 85) or go to the next room (turn to 58).

71: He shrugs and seems to fade away into the shadows. You are alone. Go to 9.

72: ‘Excellent. After killing Slank you must scatter the ashes over his body. Now, I wish you good luck.’ You shake hands before taking your leave of him and continuing along the corridor. Behind you, you hear pushing the library furniture back against the door. Turn to 2.

73: The room consists of a hexagonal main chamber with a large alcove off the far end. Hanging on the wall in the alcove you can see a gilded longsword decorated with rubies. As you step closer, you notice an acrid smell in the room and a blue-white glow flickering across the alcove entrance. Will you step into the alcove (turn to 42), or continue along the corridor (turn to 6)?

74: You are one of the most disreputable and unprincipled degenerates of all time. Slank is trying to convince you to become his servant, but no way are you going to take orders from an upstart like him! You sneer and rip down the curtain. Turn to 7.

75: Smiling viciously, Slank steps from the alcove and towers over you in his robes as black as night. At first glance his face might almost be considered handsome – but then you see the clouded, sightless right eye, the face around it scarred and mutilated by terrible burns. The other eye shines with an awful, corrupt light, and the expression twisting those fine features is one of utter and inhuman evil. From outside the tower comes the rumble of distant thunder, and Slank answers it with triumphant laughter. If you have Perterra Greengosh’s teardrop, you can cast it into his eye – turn to 87. It you don’t have this item, you must fight him – turn to 48.

76: As you step forwards, the rug comes to life and rises up, challenging you with an eerie, hissing growl.
BEARSKIN RUG: Fighting Prowess 5; Constitution: 7; no armour.
If you defeat it, turn to 56.

77: You attack the ice with your knife blade, but it is refreezing as fast as you can chip it away. If you are determined to reach the mask you will have to think of something else to try – turn to 8. If you are ready to give up and go through the archway, turn to 18.

78: Slank can scent your fear and almost hear your racing heartbeat. Although blind, he is yet dangerous. He lunges at you with the long, sparkling talons of his right hand, using them as a fencer uses a sword.
SLANK: Fighting Prowess: 7; Constitution: 23; 3-pt armour
If you defeat him, turn to 20.

79: If you have them, you can use: the four leaf clover (turn to 81); the daughter’s teardrop (turn to 57); a newt’s eye (turn to 14). If you do not have any of these, or do not wish to use them, you now leave the room (turn to 18).

80: Your ring emits a blinding pulse of light, but this has no effect whatsoever on the creature. It strikes you with a watery fist as you fumble for your weapon – roll one die to determine the damage from this blow, then turn to 50.

81: You leave the clover in the mouth of the demon mask. That should prevent Slank from touching it. You trudge across the icy floor to the archway and step through. Turn to 18.

82: He comes over and lays his hands on your shoulders – apparently in a gesture of friendship, but you feel as if you are bound in shackles of cold iron. He fixes you with his one good eye and says, ‘I have a riddle for you. My first is equality, my last is inferiority, and my whole is superiority –what am I?’ Decide on your answer (think carefully!) and then turn to 52.

83: You notice a bottle of grey-green stone at the bottom of the pool. Before you decide whether to reach in and take it or not, the surface of the pool starts rippling and heaving like a lake in a storm. Suddenly a watery being rises up out of the turbulent pool. Will you draw your weapon (turn to 50), or find some other way to fight it (turn to 45)?

84: Hushed, whispering voices seem to call from outside the tower. ‘Awake, master. Death cannot hold you.’ You go to the window and look out, but there is nothing but the night and the howling wind.

Something stirs behind you. You freeze at the sound, then slowly turn... Slank has risen again, but altered now to his true form – he is much smaller than before, stooped, almost frail. His face is grey and lined, twisted and misshapen such that the hollow sockets of his eyes are not level. The effect is even more horrible than his previous appearance.

‘I still have one life left,’ he snarls. The voice is a strangled, halting croak. His power is greatly diminished, but you will have to fight hard to prevail against him.
SLANK: Fighting Prowess: 7; Constitution: 18; 2-pt armour
If you beat him, turn to 40.

85: You gets whiff of the stuff in the cauldron when you are only halfway across the room, and it almost puts you off taking a look. When you do look, you wish you hadn’t – it is a green, slimy broth full of unmentionable ingredients. If by any chance you want to drink this foul brew, turn to 39. Otherwise you could continue on into the next room (turn to 58) or investigate the larder (turn to 22).

86: Roll one die. If you score 4 or less, turn to 54. If you score 5 or 6, turn to 10.

87: The little girl’s teardrop is like an acid to Slank. He screams in rage and pain and clutches at his eye. Did Vimbol Greengosh explain to you the purpose of the armour fragment and the nun’s hair? If so, turn to 31. If not, turn to 78.

88: You pass along a winding tunnel and enter a vaulted room lit with a sombre green radiance. A dark silhouette takes form in front of you. A tall, majestic woman. She is – magnificent. You stand in awe. A watery green hue dissolves from the room as she lifts the veil covering her face and you stare into the unfiltered light of her eyes. They shine like polished jade. You try to turn away, but, try as you might, you cannot break her mesmerizing gaze.

Mournful voices seem to echo in your head, greeting you  – the voices of a hundred stony victims entrapped by the gorgon to become her companions and lovers. They stand in shadowed alcoves all about. Your world is with them now. Share silence...

89: From an upper window, you watch the exodus of the thousands of souls Slank had kept imprisoned here, some of them for aeons. They file from the castle and out across the swamps, where they fade from your mortal sight as they pass into the afterlife. You scan the milling throng for Vimbol Greengosh, and finally catch sight of him – capering merrily, he dances away from the castle towards whatever fate the afterlife reserves for merchants...

At last you are alone in the castle. You descend through the empty halls and stride away across the marshes. You do not look back until you reach the Mungo Hills, and by then there is no sign of the castle.

As you make your way back towards the town, you find that seers and wizards have already learned of your success. Balladeers roam the villages singing epic songs which tell of the archfiend’s destruction and which refer to you as Demonslayer, or Knight of Souls, or several other rather flattering titles.

Hogron and his brothers have invited the whole town to an alfresco party in your honour. You are carried shoulder-high through the streets to the main square, where Hogron delivers a long-winded speech and then presents you with a chest containing 700 gold pieces and a suit of enchanted chainmail!

Your quest is ended. But keep your Character Sheet somewhere safe, for who knows what great deeds yet await you?