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Subject: Exhuming an Oldie: A Journey into the Citadel of Blood. rss

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Michael Lavoie
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Nashua
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I've been reading through the rules for SPI's old Swords & Sorcery, which reminded me of this game, a small dungeon-crawl game set in that same world. My gaming time being limited these days, I decided to give the short game a quick run-through. This is what happened.

It was a trying time in the Valley of the Great Sword, what with the invading Empire of Man threatening the Free People. Even worse, Roc Deathsinger (now known as X the Unknown, having sacrificed his True Name in a demonic pact) had found the evil artifact known as The Hellgate in his stronghold. The Heroes of the Elves and Dwarrows summoned the Heroes of Men to a Great Conclave.

23 Heroes came. They decided to put aside their differences and send a small party to the Citadel of Blood to kill X the Unknown and destroy the Hellgate. Three volunteers stepped forward: Gislan the Rock, doughty Dwarf warrior and sorcerer; Theregond, the Excellent Enchanter, a Human mage as handy with a sword as with a spell; and Logarithm son of Algorithm, the Elven archer known to the rest of the world as Linfalas {a great start, I've randomly drawn three of the better heroes}. Each Hero brought with him an Initiate, making a party of six. Joining them were Ilsa (a Human sorceress), Mercy Milde (an Elf skilled in both bow and spell), and a Dwarf warrior named Smedlakar, known to his friends as Smedley the Deadly.

The auguries were favorable, with the Red Sun being in the ascendant {the first of a slew of 1s that I'd be rolling during this game}. Since all the party's spellcasters were at their peak with the Red Sun dominating, it was decided to attempt the assault on the Citadel immediately.

Upon passing through the Gateway of Evil, the party was almost immediately confronted by a Medusa. The Heroes made short work of the monster {despite all the 1s I rolled in combat}, and nobody was turned to stone. Gathering up a juicy haul of treasure including 5 jewels, the group continued to explore. Slowly making their way through the dark, dusty corridors, the adventurers soon came upon a stairway leading into the deeper levels of the Citadel. They filed this knowledge away for later and moved on.

In the very next room,they found a magical mirror that was guarded by three Skeletons. Gislan was wounded slightly in the battle, but the monsters were dispatched with dispatch. The mirror proved to be a vital clue to the location of X and the Hellgate, revealing that the objects of the quest were on the Citadel's third and deepest level. Armed with this knowledge, the party returned to the stairway and immediately descended into the depths.

Good fortune continued to be with the Heroes, for they quickly found another Mirror that showed them how close they were to the object of the mission. After successfully negitiating an agreement of truce with the two Evil Heroes that occupied the room, the aventurers looked into the mirror and found that the Hellgate was close by indeed {six map segments}. Cautiously, the party moved on.

The first two sections of corridor they passed through were empty, but the third was occupied by a pair of gargoyles that offered battle. Smedley and Theregond each suffered a couple of wounds before the gargoyles were defeated, but were healed by the party's spellcasters. Among the treasure was a magical sword which was promptly given to Theregond. Thus armed, and warned by the difficult battle, the Heroes continued deeper into the dungeon. No other encounters ensued until they saw a room emanating a hellish red glow. They had found the Hellgate.

X the Unknown welcomed the intruders with a laugh and a sneer. Indeed, things looked bleak for the Free People. They faced not only the mighty Mage, but also five bound demons and the awesome power of the Hellgate itself. The battle was joined, and Theregond immediately decided to go for broke. Recognizing that X was the main danger, he cast a spell of sleep upon him. The party was elated when Theregond's gambit succeeded {X had a 4-in-6 chance to resist the spell, but I thought it was worth a shot}. With their leader down, the demons put up a good struggle but were eventually overcome,although several of the party members were grievously wounded. Healing was passed around as Theregond {easily the Most Valuable Hero in this game} rsked his life to destroy the Hellgate and did it on the first try {a 50-50 shot}.

Elated by their success, the party fled the Citadel. They had to battle the two Evil Heroes from the mirror room, as well as another wandering Medusa in the stairway room on the first level, but nobody was killed and much treasure was amassed. Finally, the party of six returned to the surface and the glow of the Red Sun. The mission was accomplished, the evil X the Unknown was dead, and the Hellgate was destroyed!
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Eric Vannoy
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Royal Oak
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What a great adventure… put into words quite nicely. I own and love Citadel of Blood and consider it a gem. Its good to know other people are still enjoying their copies.
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Alan Laird
United Kingdom
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Excellent, I have plenty of fun with this game. Usually my g/f and I play it however we use the stats from SnS rather than CoB as IIRC in CoB Magic Users can die simply by casting spells?
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Michael Lavoie
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Casting spells in this game is indeed risky, as it costs stamina to do so.
 
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