We were very sorry to hear the news, late last night, that the prolific RPG writer, author, and parapsychologist, Carl Sargent, has passed away.
Carl will be better known to Fighting Fantasy fans the world over as Keith Martin, author of seven gamebooks in the series, written between 1988 and 1995 - Stealer of Souls, Vault of the Vampire, Master of Chaos, Tower of Destruction, Island of the Undead, Night Dragon, Legend of Zagor, and Revenge of the Vampire.
However, his work appeared under his own name when he collaborated with Ian Livingstone on the quartet of four short novels - Firestorm, Darkthrone, Skullcrag, and Demonlord - which featured the exploits of three heroes from Legend of Zagor*.
Just as he enriched the worlds of Greyhawk, Warhammer, Shadowrun and Earthdawn with his work, the world of Titan would have seemed a much smaller place without Carl's contributions.
And so tonight we shall be raising a glass of fine Mortvanian claret, drawn from the cellars of Castle Heydrich, in his memory, and our thoughts remain with his friends and family at this difficult time.
In memory of
* Which was itself based on the board game designed by Ian Livingstone and published by Parker Brothers.
You may remember that at the end of the summer we ran a competition for budding dungeon designers to concoct a trap for that most notorious of underground labyrinths, Deathtrap Dungeon! Well today we are pleased to announce the winners, who each receive a pair of complimentary Steam keys courtesy of Tin Man Games.
So, in no particular order...
DEVIOUS TRAP by Pat O'Neill
Simple trap design for tunnel or corridor of any decent length: halfway along, a fireball shoots out of the wall behind the hapless victim, and continues along the tunnel, making the victim either try to run to the end and avoid it, or brace for impact.
As it turns out, the fireball is an illusion, and does no harm. The hidden spiked pitfall trap a couple of feet further down the tunnel, however, is quite real.
TRIAL BY LEGO by Lawrence Bowyer
THE HUMAN WALL by Paul S
The idea of the wall demands the hero collect the diamond/gem located at the centre which is an item necessary to obtain the true ending.
The nature of the trap is to suck the hero onto the wall which keeps one frozen in time once attached. The wall itself has previous adventurers on it already doomed to spend their eternity stuck. My drawing includes 14 but it can be an infinite number. The hero cannot collect the diamond/gem without allowing him or herself to get sucked onto the wall.
My plan for the hero being allowed to escape the human wall involves memorising a word of release from a tome found earlier in the adventure which of course would have to be classically decoded via turning letters to numbers and adding them and turning to the new paragraph. Of course if the paragraph makes no sense it is incorrect.
The human wall floats inside a dungeon and only appears to the hero once they arrive at the location which triggers it to appear. It looks like a membrane wall red in colour with pulsating veins throughout of a blue, pink and violet colours.
Due to the multiple races that the hero can be in a Fighting Fantasy adventure, the human wall will appear to the hero as the race that they are. For example dwarf wall, elf wall, etc.
DEATHTRAP TRAP by Leigh Cooper
It’s simple really, you show the player the entire trap complete with:
Crushing spike wall
Spinning circular saw blade wall
Barrels of highly explosive black powder
A vat of dragon breath fire that melts even the hardest metal and stone
A vat of plague acid that corrupts/melts even the most valiant of heart
And above all this? A trapdoor (of course) holding back 1000s of gallons of toxic bilge water (a la Creature of Havoc) housing a giant lamprey beast of doom.
It’s really simple, there is a plain button in the centre of the room, they have the choice to push it or not and here’s the non-twist, if they push it? They obviously die horribly... but I bet players push it, I know I would. If they don’t? The go on their merry way... but have they missed something?
As a huge fan of Creature of Havoc I would possibly put in a secret ‘favourable’ end to the room but have it hinge of finding an item or code (like when you use the ‘add 50 to the page number’ mechanic if you have this item).
THE TREASURE ROOM by Matthew Ward
You arrive at a bit where there is a long tunnel leading down to a room, the tunnel has spiked hurdles high and low you have to jump/duck under, as you start forward a massive vat of boiling water/acid above you tips forward and you have to run for it. Throw a dice for each of the obstacles (6 - 10 in total, it's up to you), you jump the first one, duck the next, jump, duck, jump, duck etc, on the jumping ones a 2-6 means you jump it, a 1 means you hit it and stumble, on the ducking ones a 1-5 means you duck it, a 6 means you hit it, when you hit the obstacle you lose 1 or 2 stamina, if you hit three hurdles the water/acid catches you and you die.
When you make it down to the bottom there is a pit to jump, test your luck to make the jump across, if you fail you fall in the pit with the water/acid falling on top of you and a painful death, if you do make it the water / acid falls down the pit and you are safe, for now! When you walk forward you trigger a trip wire and hear a noise, roll a dice as a poisoned dart has been fired out the wall (or an axe swings down from the roof, i like either), a 1 means you move out the way just in time, a 2 or 3 means it snicks you causing 2 stamina loss, a 4-5 means it hit you hard losing 4 stamina, a 6 is a direct hit to the head and you die.
Past this there is a big room with a handle on the wall, there is a treasure chest on the far side guarded by a constantly changing ball of energy, a voice says "You are welcome to the contents of the chest if you can defeat me, pull the handle to reveal my true form" Roll a die:
1 - Snake, stamina 2
2 - Orc, stamina 6
3 - Ogre, stamina 10
4 - Dragon, stamina 16
5 - A reflection of yourself (with the same stats)
6 - Some kind character who wants to help you, restores your stats to initial value and gives you some special equipment
When you win you find something useful in the chest to help later on, some provisions, or maybe some gold.
Carl Jackson of Nomad Games holding the TIGA Heritage Award.
Based on the Deathtrap Dungeon trilogy by Ian Livingstone - featuring the gamebooks Deathtrap Dungeon, Trial of Champions and Armies of Death - you can play as a novice adventurer and rise up through the ranks to saviour of the world in this epic tale of deadly traps, fearsome monsters and devious adversaries.
Congratulations to Carl and the team at Nomad Games! Enjoy a mug of Skullbuster on us - but just the one mind.