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Friday, 1 December 2017

Dealing with demons - part 3

Now, these demon lords. The fact is they were originally devised for Medra, the campaign world of my 1980-82 Oxford campaign. So if you’re wondering why the names don’t sound very much in keeping with other Questworld material I’ve posted here, that’d be why. If we’d got as far as publishing the book I’d probably have changed that, but it was a rush job to write half of White Dwarf and get that QW book finished. Gosh, I was prolific in those days. That’s the energy of youth for you..

Anyway, here’s the final part of “Dealing With Demons”. Next time, as it's just about acceptable to mention Christmas now that we're into December, we'll have something to get you more in the holiday spirit.


The demon lords and princes are individual beings of immense power who rule the demon planes. They have, of course, been summoned far less frequently than the lesser demons, so no exact canon of knowledge is available as with the latter. A summoner who does some research may find suggestions and theories as to how to deal with the demon lords (“Rokash the Pious records that the powers of the Lord Eldyr are diminished by bright light...” and so on), but exact wards—if any—are a matter of conjecture.

Similarly there is some uncertainty as to the precise levels of power of the demon lords. Tsienra’s stats are given here as a guideline, but referees must design these creatures to suit their own campaigns. They should be virtually impossible to overcome with raw power alone, and if your campaign abounds with 150%-plus Rune Lord-Priests then the abilities of Tsienra and the others should be increased accordingly. When the demon lords have suffered defeats in the past it has been through the summoner’s quick wit and daring rather than from spells and swords.

As a general rule all demon lords will have a personal POW of between 80 and 100, and can draw on unlimited POW reserves from their home dimension for casting battle magic. They are hostile about 20% of the time and otherwise neutral. They will only be friendly if there is a very good reason why they should react favourably to the summoner— Umalu prefers Chaotic berserkers, and so on.

The Gifts
While not precluding the possibility of striking completely unique bargains with a summoned demon lord, there are two types of deal which are ‘commonly’ made. These are the Lesser Gifts—minor exertions from the demon’s point of view, made in exchange for characteristic POW from the summoner—and the Greater Gifts, which are permanent abilities bestowed on the summoner in exchange for a soul-pledge.

A soul-pledge means the summoner gives the demon 1 POW point to seal the bargain and promises him a further 3d10 POW later. These further points are intended to be collected on the summoner’s death, but there is a 2% chance the demon will arrive if it feels the summoner’s life-force is burning low—in game terms, whenever the character’s hit points or POW reach 2 or less. Once the demon arrives nothing can stop it from devouring the POW promised to it. These POW points are permanently lost to the character, at which point the soul-pledge is ended and he loses the Greater Gift. If he survives the POW loss he can later bargain again for a Greater Gift with the same or a different demon lord. A character can buy any number of Lesser Gifts from demon lords (if he can spare the POW), but it is only possible to have one Greater Gift at a time. Note that to receive any gift at least 200 Wheels or equivalent must also be offered.

The Demon Lords
There are a number of other demon-lords that could not be listed here—among them Pazuzu, Lord of Fevers, ruler of the lesser demons commonly called by his name; Bakshuro the Screamer, who inhabits a dimension so hostile that only he can live there; Valladolyn of the Emerald Eye, who sees all; and Lady Kleshkala of the Pit, whose face is so terrible that merely to summon her is to court insanity.

The three important parameters for each demon lord are his or her Resistance to Summoning, Resistance to Binding, and Cross Pentacle ability. The last is applied as a negative modifier to the summoner’s chance of correctly drawing the Pentacle of Protection.

The Lord Tsienra
Screaming Metal Spirit, Demon of Ferocity
Tsienra usually appears as a metallic figure, something like a huge tiger armoured in intricately patterned plates of tarnished silver and with a violet light burning behind his eyes and gaping maw. He embodies the lightning attack, the unrelenting ferocity of battle, the prowling spirit of savage death. Possession by the spirit of Tsienra gives great speed and grace to the recipient’s fighting prowess.

Greater Gift: Tsienra can give the power of ferocity. When a character with this power uses it, his STR and DEX are effectively increased to species maximum for combat purposes, 35% is added to his Attack chance and 10% is subtracted from his Parry. The character expends 2 points of battle magic POW to go into ferocity and then another point for every full turn he keeps it going.

Lesser Gifts: For the sacrifice of 1 POW point, Tsienra will teach his summoner the battle magic spell The Talons of Tsienra. For 2 POW points he will use his skill at stalking between the planes to take the summoner within a few miles of any location he specifies, now matter how great the distance. For 3 POW he will enchant any sword with a permanent bladesharp 2.

The Talons of Tsienra
POW used: 4 points
Type: passive, unfocused, temporal
This battle magic spell causes 30cm talons of red light to spring from the caster’s wrists. He can fight with these using either Fist or Dagger skill. The talons do just 1d4 damage (no STR/SIZ bonuses apply), but the only effective defence against them is the Rune spell shield, which absorbs one point from the talons’ damage for each point of shield. The talons are immaterial, so parrying a weapon with them will damage but not deflect it. The spell can only be learned from Tsienra himself, and if the character tries to teach it to someone else then Tsienra will materialize unbidden and kill him.

Tsienra can make one bite attack and two claw attacks in the same round. These do not all have to be against a single opponent. By splitting his attacks he can make even more strikes in one round, of course. Like most demon lords he can cast any standard battle magic spell by drawing POW from his home plane. When he casts a Rune spell he pays for it using his own POW, just as a normal being would pay for battle magic. Like all demon lords, Tsienra is immune to non-Runic weapons.

His Fell Highness Eldyr
Prince of Deceit, Demon of Persuasion
Eldyr is overlord of Incubi, Succubi and Gremlins. He can pass in any guise he chooses, the better to advance his wiles, but will always eventually cast images aside to reveal his true (perhaps true) self. In the Chronicles of the Conjunction, Eldyr’s own description of himself is recorded: “My hair is like black silk, my skin is burnished copper in the moonlight, my eyes are sapphires and my robe embraces the starry night…” This description was for the benefit of the sorceress Cordelia, who had wisely blindfolded herself before the summoning. Without defences such as this, all in time succumb to Eldyr’s charms; the evocator must attempt to banish him at once, therefore, if he begins to use his powers in a hostile fashion.

Greater Gift: Eldyr can give the power of harmonic spirit. This is a combination of charm and blind luck. It costs nothing to activate this power, but each morning the character must roll POWx5 or less on percentile dice to see if the power works for that day. The chance is increased by 15% if the power was working the previous day, and decreased by 5% if it was not. Any luck roll the character has to make has a 50% chance of working automatically without him having to roll for it; on a roll of 05 or less he may have quite incredible luck – a 20m fall broken by some bushes, for instance. He gets a CHA bonus of +4 and can use his CHA as an Incubus or Succubus does. Finally, he gets an Oratory bonus of +35%.

Lesser Gifts: For 1 POW point, Eldyr will aid a character in an attempt to persuade others of something. He gives the character a 45% bonus to his or her persuasion chances for one use only–and this must be some matter where the character’s chance of persuasion was at least 10% in the first place. The bonus is reduced to 10%-30% in attempts to bargain with demon lords because Eldyr’s powers work only erratically against his peers. For 2 points of POW Eldyr will give a luck ring. This silver ring has 100 charges and each charge can be used to change the chance of something happening by 1%. The event to be influenced must occur within 100m of the wearer and have at least a 10% chance of happening in the first place. You can’t make a healthy warrior suddenly die of a heart attack, for example. The wearer must declare how many charges he is committing before the roll is made. When all charges are expended the ring permanently tarnishes and is powerless thereafter.

The Lord Umalu
The Whip of Chaos, Demon of Pain
The spirit of Umalu is that of glorying in the inflicting of pain. He is a fierce, powerful demon who hates Lawful creatures with an intense passion and is little better disposed towards being of Chaos. Umalu manifests himself as a 3m tall muscular black giant with a long mane of white hair, face perpetually contorted in hatred. He wields a glittering whip which can bestow Reverse Chaos features and an envenomed shortsword which inflicts terrible wounds.

Greater Gifts: Umalu can bestow chaos on a character, giving him or her a Chaotic feature. He can also give the power of excruciation, so that any wound the character inflicts has a 20% chance of dealing an extra 1d8 damage to the victim’s hit point total owing to extreme pain.

Lesser Gifts: In exchange for 1 point of POW he will teach a character an extra 20% in the Torture skill. For 2 POW points he grants the Rune spell curse of anguish (see below). For 3 POW he will personally torture a captive to obtain information on the summoner’s behalf.

Curse of Anguish
Range: 160m
POW used: 2 points
Duration: Permanent, Non-reusable, Not stackable
The caster of the Rune spell is able to inflict racking pain on a victim if he can overcome their POW. He can alter the victim’s hit point total at will to represent the pain, and can thus force the victim into unconsciousness, vary the pain so that they must fight at a disadvantage, or merely threaten them with the effects. The curse of anguish cannot kill– its victim will merely lapse into a coma if the pain level is increased too far. This spell does not affect undead, elementals or other creatures which do not actually experience pain.

Torture is a manipulation skill with a base score of 15% and is learned at the rates 200/400/800/EXP. Normally a character must join the Guild of Torturers to learn the skill. A successful Torture roll means that the torturer has extracted all or part (40%+ 1d6x10%) of the truth from his captive, failure means that he has got false information. A fumble means that the captive has died. Torture can usually be used only once a day on a given captive – each extra use in the same day doubles the chance of a fumble. Captives can use their CON +POW as a ‘Defence’ against the Torture ‘Attack’ if they wish.

His Demonic Majesty Adelmar
Lord of the Vaults of Eternity, Monarch of Demons
Summon the terrible Adelmar only when you plan such grand designs of mayhem and destruction as would make lesser demons quail, for he is a proud and potent force and should not be summoned lightly. Standing about two and half metres tall, he is ebony-black with the lower body of a serpent, a human torso, and an armoured, horned head like that of a triceratops. He wields enchanted scimitars in each hand. One scimitar feeds on the blood of victims, the other on their souls. Adelmar is said to dwell in a labyrinthine castle on an island in an unknown lake. When Adelmar is summoned, the evocator and his party (up to six others) are carried to this castle to petition the demon.

Greater Gifts: Adelmar has a limited power over time itself, and can give the ability of temporal navigation. This enables a character to cross up to ten years either into the past or future, arriving within 1-12 weeks either side of the required date. Each use of temporal navigation costs the character 1d4 from characteristic POW.

Lesser Gifts: For 1 point of POW Adelmar will open the veils of time to uncover some secret at the summoner's behest. For 3 POW he will send an army of demonic warriors – equivalent to five thousand elite cavalry–to fight in one battle beside the army of the summoner or his employer. Adelmar can also add to a character’s lifespan— five years for 1 POW, ten years for 2 POW, and so on. A character can only petition for this gift once. During the added years the character does not age, but the deal must be phrased with exceptional caution or Adelmar will surely twist things to the summoner’s detriment.

The Lord Akresh
Spirit of Thunder in the Mountains, Demon of Invincibility
Akresh represents steadfast strength of purpose, the glowering look that intimidates a foe, the essence of power that cannot be assailed. Possession by the spirit of Akresh is called waiting-within-a-fortress; it hardens the will, shields the body from harm and augments the recipient's physical might. Akresh himself can only be evoked in mountains, where he usually appears as a shadow against the sky and a booming echo between the peaks.

Greater Gift: The power that Akresh can grant is indomitability. A character with this power must roll POWx5 or less on d100 whenever he wants to use it; once activated, the power costs 2 points of battle magic POW for each full turn the character wishes to use it. While indomitable the character remains fixed in position waiting for attacks. He can automatically sweep aside all attacks made at 25% or lower, including missile attacks; his STR increases to species maximum; he gets a +20% Parry bonus and any parries he makes do an extra 1 d4 damage to the parried weapon. Finally, he gets an extra point of armour protection.

Lesser Gifts: For 1 point of POW Akresh will teach two points of the battle magic spell parry (usually available only to Humakti). For 2 POW he can enchant any shield so that whoever carries it has a permanent protection 1. For 3 POW he will summon mountain storms that can throw whole armies into confusion, or block a pass with landslides.

Her Eldritch Highness Sarasathsa
Princess of Mystery, Demon of Paradox
Sarasathsa has sovereignty over things impenetrable or unknowable. Possession with her spirit-essence renders the recipient immune to spirit combat, as spirits will recoil from her terrible mysteries, but is double-edged in that the recipient could become sunk into lethargy and pensive introspection (roll POWx5 or less when coming out of possession to avoid this. Sarasathsa may have many forms, but is often described as a very tall (2½m), slender, graceful woman in blue and green robes. Her skin is pale and mottled in a serpentine pattern, and the right side of her face is concealed behind a fantastical mask in the form of an embryonic dragon. All summoners describe her as cold and disdainful and rather draconic in temperament.

Greater Gift: Sarasathsa can grant morphetic counsel. Whenever the character has some problem to solve or mystery to uncover she will whisper clues to him in his dreams. This acts as though the character had 80% in the General Knowledge skill, and also allows him important visionary dreams at the referee's discretion.

Lesser Gifts: For 1 POW she will answer any three yes/no questions about the past or present with 99% accuracy. For 2 POW she will convert any powered crystal into another type which the summoner specifies (the crystal's POW is diminished by 1 by this process. For 3 POW she grants a character a permanent 5% bonus on POW gain rolls.

The Lord Kojuro
Who is One with the Sword, Demon of Fighting Skill
Kojuro appears as a slender man with greyish skin and sharp white shark's teeth. He wears white and grey cotton robes and carries a number of swords and throwing knives. His province is skill in combat, particularly swordplay.

Greater Gift: Kojuro can immediately raise a character's skill with swords to 80% or by 15%, whichever is greater.

Lesser Gifts: For 1 POW point Kojuro will increase a character's score in any fighting skill by 5%, to a maximum of 75%. For 2 POW points he will place a single-use truesword spell on a blade; this spell can be activated at any later time by whoever wields the sword. For 3 POW he will increase the skill of an entire army by 5% for a single battle.

The Lord Kesh
Jewelled Serpent, Demon of Confusion and Terror
Kesh embodies the transfixing gaze of a snake. He causes awe by his presence alone, a massive bejewelled, serpentine shape coiling about the Pentacle and rearing up to the roof of the summoning chamber–the summoner must roll POWx5 or less on d100 or lose all power to bargain with the demon. Looking into Kesh's eyes causes demoralization.

Greater Gift: Kesh grants the power of intimidation. Given two rounds in which to talk to foes before he fights them, a character with this power can threaten with such unholy force that those hearing him must roll POWx5 or less on percentile dice or be demoralized. In combat, the character's gaze can transfix like a vampire's.

Lesser Gifts: For 1 POW point Kesh will reveal the location of an ancient treasure hoard of at least 90 treasure factors. For 2 points he will set a giant demonic serpent to guard your treasure for you. For 3 points he will teach you how to brew any venom or acid up to potency 15.

The Lord Engala
Gatherer of Darkness, Demon of the Undead
Engala is usually characterized as the zombie spirit, embodiment of unrelenting attack, but in fact he is the lord of all undead creatures. Engala appears as a dull-eyed, expressionless man with dead white skin, robed in grave-soiled black raiment. His movements are slow and languid, like a corpse underwater, and when he speaks his lips hardly move to his hollow, emotionless tones. Those possessed by his spirit will fight until cut apart.

Greater Gift: Engala can make a character into a vampire or mummy. The customary pledge of POW is useless to Engala because he is an undead being, so instead of that pledge he imposes a peculiar condition on his Gift. Every ten years the character must find a champion to play Engala's representative at a game not unlike chess. If the champion loses, Engala drains him of POW and destroys him. If the character cannot find a champion he must play Engala's representative himself – in this case, if he loses, Engala will come and take the character as one of his personal servants.

Lesser Gifts: In exchange for a powered crystal Engala will give a lead amulet which grants the wearer some protection from undead – hostile undead act neutrally and neutral undead will be friendly, as per the Runequest response table. Occasionally he may give favoured summoners a zombie or skeleton guard to serve them.

The Lord Kyrax
Blizzard Flame, The White Lord, He Who Descends from the Storm
Kyrax is one of the oldest demons. He has the form of a giant white wolf, or sometimes a man of feral aspect. He is the master of stealth and guile, can cause invisibility, blizzards and darkness and particularly aids those who were once mighty, for he is the demon lord of regathering old powers.

Greater Gifts: Kyrax can grant a character 70% in all Stealth skills or raise these by 20%. Or he may personally aid a character in a single master plan.

Lesser Gifts: For 1 POW point he will increase a single Stealth or Tracking skill by 10%. For 2 POW he will give a one-use Rune spell to summon thick mist in a 160m radius; the caster can see up to 30m in this mist but for others the visibility is under 10m. For 3 POW he will summon a blizzard or turn a character invisible for eight hours.

His Excellency Hragahl
Minister of Lightning, Demon of Intellect
This bizarre and ancient demon lord is master of all matters connected with logic and philosophy, and if he is impressed by a summoner's ability in these areas he will have a friendly reaction to him. Hragahl materializes as a giant (1 m) bald, fanged head with silvery-blue skin, incandescent white eyes, and giant wings springing from his temples. He has a tongue of flickering lightning which can snake out up to 20m.

Greater Gift: Hragahl can transform a staff or weapon of the summoner's so that it has powers of a Stormblade [WD39, Runeblades].

Lesser Gifts: For 1 POW point he will summon up a Storm Demon and place it under the summoner's control for fifteen minutes. For 2 points of POW he will give a 5% bonus in General Knowledge (to a maximum of 45%). For 3 POW he can increase a being's INT by one point or summon storms to confound an enemy.

Final Notes
A word of warning: campaigns where demon lords get summoned up every weekend and every other character has a Greater Gift are going to get dull very quickly. Scenarios could involve a demon lord's influence without requiring him to make a personal appearance – player characters could battle a small cult worshipping one of these entities, or inadvertently break a chain of events set in motion by a demon lord long ago.

Bear in mind that even the Lesser Gifts of a demon lord are powerful and hard to come by. There is a high risk factor in any summoning, and the demon lord must have a favourable reaction to the summoner if any deal is to be struck. Few generals would care to swell their army's ranks with demon warriors, even if they can seek out one of the demonologists powerful enough to make such a bargain. Only three cases of military use of demonic powers are recorded in Questworld's history – each time by the extravagant, whimsical Ancients, for whom normal caution and logic seem meaningless.

Lastly, words of thanks to everyone who might have inspired or actively fed me with demonic ideas – in particular, Steve Ditko, P Craig Russell, Richard Lupoff, Miyamoto Musashi, Yvonne Newnham, Mike Polling, Jack Vance, Oliver Johnson and William Burroughs. Vance's short story “TheMiracle Workers” directly supplied the idea of possessions, and gives a vivid account of their effects. For a host of further demons, Professor M A R Barker's Book of Ebon Bindings is recommended. It details, with many colourful anecdotes, creatures designed for Barker's world of Tekumel but usable in any setting.


  1. So, for the sake of transparency, I'll ask... are we going to get a reply to the updates from Mikael just made to the Fabled Lands 7 kickstarter page?

    I assume there's two sides to the story, but some of it does seem legitimately worrisome -- like vastly overpaying for cover art that doesn't match in any way with the art of the other six Fabled Lands books.

    1. I haven't read Mikael's comment, Joe, but everybody knew what Kev Jenkins was getting paid for the cover. It was specified by the art meter that Richard Hetley designed for the Kickstarter campaign so that backers could see all along how much of their money was going to the artists.

      As for it not matching the earlier books... Well, it's by Kev and he painted the first six covers, and he specifically chose a style for book 7 that would match with the rest of the series. As he's an internationally renowned artist, much in demand for movies like Star Wars and Thor, I'm going to go out on a limb and say his artistic judgement might trump anyone else's on this subject.

    2. He really laid into you guys, I guess you won't be working with megara again. Hope this doesn't effect future books, I still hope for FL8 and beyond.

    3. We already intended that Kickstarter campaigns for any future FL books would be run by Fabled Lands Publishing, so Mikael's comments won't change that. And life's too short for me and Jamie to start suing people for libel... probably.

    4. Maybe you could squeeze enough out of him to pay down the costs of FL8-12, but I doubt it.

    5. I don't think the cover matches the first six books at all. And as to your statement about being an "internationally renowned artist"...well, all I can say is that the same George Lucas who gave us the original Star Wars also gave us episodes I, II and III.

    6. And the same Ridley Scott who made The Duellists and Blade Runner also perpetrated Prometheus and BR 2049. Yes, fair enough. I don't think Kev is "old and cannae hack it anymore", though. He is busy and he earns more in a week than I do in a month, so we have to accept that he has limited time. He wasn't paid to do a wraparound triptych like the first six covers, and we didn't ask him for one because we couldn't have printed the book with fold-out covers anyway. As for the argument that we could have used cheaper artists -- no we couldn't, because the Kickstarter campaign was predicated on getting art from Kevin and Russ. If we'd switched after the campaign closed, that would have been fraudulent.

    7. I think one point that's worth noting is that it really is a shame that you and Jamie didn't write this book yourselves. Would have loved to see more writing from the original authors. I know you guys are rusty, but if there's a good chance we'll get books 8-12, then it might be worthwhile to get back in the game.

    8. Back in the summer of 2001 I wrote started writing a bit of Harry Potter fan fiction. It concerned the idea of Voldemort hiring a muggle assassin to kill Harry and his friends. Also involved was a UK spy agency. It could have Harry Potter meets James Bond but over all it was closer to Harry Potter meets Michael Caine's Harry Palmer. I wrote three chapters and a few tangential stories that got good reviews on

      And then I pretty much lost interest and haven't looked back in the intervening 16 years. I doubt seriously you could pay me enough money to go back and finish that thing and I doubt you could pay Dave and Jaime enough to turn away from the stuff they care about to go back to something that mostly fell by the wayside two decades ago.

      Honestly, even if we could pay them enough, I wouldn't want to. If you paid me enough to finish that Harry Potter thing, it wouldn't be a labor of love or interest. It'd be work for hire.

      While Dave and Jaime are surely and justifiably proud of Fabled Lands (they named their company after it). That world isn't really a ruling passion for them. If it were, you'd see it. Next week's Christmas scenario would be set in Sokara or Golnir, not in Legend. But that's okay. I'm glad that we're getting Book 7. And that there's a really good chance we'll get Book 8. Beyond that, I'll just hope for the best.

    9. You're dead right, John. For Jamie and me to go back to writing FL books now would be like asking Ridley Scott to do a sequel to Alien -- and we all know what happened there. Also, the series is better served by opening it up to other authors, who will bring fresh ideas and tropes to future books.

      After all, Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson probably only wrote about 15% of the FF series, Joss Whedon personally wrote only a couple of Buffy scripts per season, and so on. The creative mark is still there running through those series even so.

      Btw I really like the notion of Harry Potter meets Harry Palmer. It gives me an idea for the next summer special I'll run for my gaming group.

    10. It wasn't exactly a direct meeting of Harry Potter and Harry Palmer, more a kind of theme. Bureaucratic infighting. One-upmanship. That kind of thing. As it turns out, the damned thing is still floating around on even after all this time. Here's the link if anyone cares:

    11. I like it. And I agree strongly with your point about ordinary people being able to rise to unexpected heights. (That's one of the themes of my Mirabilis comic too.) I've always found the strange sort of pure-blood born-to-greatness idea in things like Harry Potter and Star Wars to be disturbingly fascistic.

    12. I dimly recall another HP story I really liked but can't find. Basically Harry Potter is left with the Dursleys as an infant and is raised by them to be a cultist of Azathoth. So, he's actually far more evil and terrifying than Volemort could ever hope to be.

    13. That sounds a lot like Alan Moore's take on the character in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, too.

    14. Alan Moore did a take on Harry Potter? Damn, I need to locate that sharpish.

    15. Did you not rate BR2049 then, Dave? Prometheus and Alien Covenant were a little disappointing I would agree, especially the latter.

    16. After Prometheus I didn't bother with Alien Covenant, Andy. As for BR2049 -- it added nothing, in my view. Where the first was a magnificent reworking of the themes of Frankenstein and the Epic of Gilgamesh, this one was basically Pinocchio reheated using the tedious Hollywood 3-act paradigm. And lord, was it long. I was nodding off by the time of the big fight. And how did he get his car back btw? And how did he know which car Deckard was in? And why weren't the Nexus-6s helping? And... nah.

    17. Fair enough. Not one I feel strongly enough about to put in a argument for the defence, albeit I enjoyed it. Nothing will every reach the collective nadir of Star Wars I, II and III at least! Your opinion on Mad Max Fury Road, purely out of interest? Have ordered Mr Vampire and A Chinese Ghost Story btw. The other one you mentioned was a bit pricey so will get that if the others are any good.

    18. Fury Road? Loved it. Proper Mad Max, and it takes a confident film maker to throw us right into the action and do the set-up, characterisation and storytelling alongside that. In a perfect world Max should have been older and grizzled -- and poor Tom Hardy seemed lost -- but there was so much other good stuff in the mix that I could live with that.

      What was the other movie? A Touch of Zen?

    19. Magic Cop at £35 (it had been a cheaper when I looked a month or so back). So you've just given me another one for my list!

      I had a suspicion you wouldn't like BR2049 when I initially asked and by virtue of originality if nothing else, you would like Fury Road. I'm still not sure several years on whether I think Fury Road is genius or overrated. Initial viewing at cinema was the former. Subsequent few viewings have depended on how much wine I've had! Not helpful my DVD player (or TV) can't seem to handle the frame rate speed thing the Director did, so viewing is a bit "juddery". Do you rate it higher than Road Warrior though?!

      I've just finished watching the Ninja Trilogy. By goodness they were awful. Absolutely love 'em! Only a ninja can stop a ninja, Dave! I do hope that doesn't transpire to be another one of my film misquotes.

    20. I have to admit I've only seen Fury Road once, so maybe a second viewing might not hold up so well. And is there a black-&-white version or did I dream that?

      I haven't seen Road Warrior in twenty years. I need to rectify that. But I did see it about four times in the first month of release, so I suspect it will always have pride of place. Just don't let's mention Beyond Thunderdome.

    21. Would agree with all that. Not sure about a black & white version.

      I won't even get us started on Alien vs Aliens!

    22. Probably very wise :-)

  2. Dave can I just say demons are already quite in the Christmas spirit; ‘‘tis after all a Pagan- festival, the season for reading Lovecraft and ghost- stories and demons must like all those crackling fires and the colour red I suspect.

    1. John, you're going to love the seasonal Legend scenario we've got coming up.

  3. Replies
    1. It's our own group's game from last Christmas, Gavin. We make sure to have at least one session a year in which we revisit our old Company of Bronze mercenary characters (who later became the Iron Men, mentioned from time to time in old posts) for a seasonal special. Last year's was by unanimous assent the best yet, so it should be quite a treat for all Legend fans.

  4. At the risk of further derailing your original post Dave, would you ever consider writing a new Infinite If / VR book? You'd obviously have a free rein of setting and story, plus the opportunity to stretch your writing muscles more than the FL style allows. Any interest in that?

    The question is partly inspired because I'm reading the series again now (as I do most years) and they're just fantastic. Well, 4 of the 6 anyway. :). Reading them always makes me feel inspired to write one myself, before I realise that I'd never be able to match the heights of yours. Is it sacrilege to prefer them to Blood Sword?

    1. Heart of Ice is my personal favourite of my own gamebooks, Michael, and Down Among The Dead Men is a close runner-up -- so no argument from me on that score.

  5. In terms of prioritization for the next Fabled Lands book -- while I do very much enjoy having top tier artists on the books, I'd take perfectly good middle-tier artists in exchange for getting the book a year sooner any day of the week.

    Either way, just happy to see the thing being successfully written!

    1. Despite some of the comments made on Facebook, I don't think it would have made a lot of difference. Kevin delivered the final cover only a month or so after I'd done the interior layout. Although, that said, if Paul had been paid properly to write it -- and if Richard hadn't ended up having to run the Kickstarter and edit the book for nothing -- then possibly it could have been a little quicker.