Contractual Obligation


by hosted


rules


STEALTH POINTS
This episode features a Quantum Probability Stealth Device. At the beginning of your adventure you will have 99 Stealth Points. Acts of stealth will be performed via either a SKILL or a LUCK test. An asterisk denotes that the test is a stealth test (eg: SKILL*). On these occasions, which will involve up to 4 dice rolls, you can increase your chances of success by using up to 12 Stealth points.
For example: you are trying to sneak past a guard in a dim corridor. You will have to pass right in front of him, but the guard is sleepy. You are asked to Test your LUCK* by rolling 3 dice. Your LUCK is currently 8. Three dice will roll a total between 3 and 18. If you want to make sure you definitely get past undetected, you can set your QPSD to 10, using 10 Stealth points. However, if you wish to conserve points, you can risk a lower setting, or not use it at all. Of course, if you are caught, the consequences could be dire.
Decide how many points you wish to use, and add these to your current LUCK. Then roll 3 dice. If the dice roll is the same as or lower than the sum of your current LUCK plus the amount of stealth points you invested, then you are Lucky, and have got away with it. If the dice roll is higher, you are Unlucky and have been detected.
In another situation, you may be asked to test your SKILL* by rolling 4 dice to steal the crown off the king’s head in a crowded throne room. If your SKILL is 10, then you can only use a maximum of 12 Stealth points, meaning that 4 dice are rolled against your SKILL plus the Stealth setting (10 + 12 = 22). Since 4 dice can reach 24, there is a chance you will be detected regardless of using the full setting.
Remember to conserve your Stealth points and only use them where you really need them.

Generate Character and begin playing

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background


BACKGROUND
It was a long and perilous journey to the Cluster of Doom. Even worse, the homicidal deathbots of the planet Demise didn't even seem to want the unstable explosive material that they hadn't ordered anyway.
You risked your life to cart the stuff halfway across the galaxy, alone in a dilapidated, malfunctioning ship. And so after what must have been the most stressful week in your life, you finally return to Amorphonon 12, looking forward to spending some time with your girlfriend.
Reflecting on what has happened, you have a sneaking suspicion that Lord Gablentite is trying to kill you. But why? You are a hero! True, no one else seems to have noticed your great exploits, but they are impressive nonetheless. Your girlfriend Pomplompotom enjoys your stories at least.
Soon after your arrival, you are suddenly summoned to see the Merchant Prince.
Carefully, you make your way to his audience chamber and slip in through the back way.
"Ah, welcome back!" he greets you as you climb in though the window. "Please have a seat."
You eye the seat he refers to. “Er, I prefer to stand.”
“Suit yourself,” Lord Gablentite says easily. He currently wears the form of an aristocratic human in blue and golden robes, seated at a large desk where he pushes papers around in an important manner. “I regret to inform you that I can no longer allow you to court my daughter.”
“Wa?” you respond. “Why?”
“It has been reported to me that you are currently under contract to someone else. Is this true?”
“No, of course not! Who said that?”
The Merchant Prince picks up a piece of paper and peers closely at it. “Apparently you made a contract with the treemaids of Teeheehee.”
“Them? No! I was only there for a week. I mean, I did some work for them, but there was no contract, and I didn’t even get paid.”
“Hmm. It says here that during your initial contact with the treemaids, you promised to do anything, if they would just take you to their planet.” The Merchant Prince looks at you and arches an eyebrow.
“Well, I may have said that,” you admit sheepishly. “But that’s not a contract!”
“A legal court would differ. You made a verbal contract, and the treemaids have fulfilled their obligation by taking you to their planet as you stipulated. All that remains now is for you to do whatever they desire.”
“I saved them from being turned into tissues!”
“Ah, yes. But not under the terms of the contract. So whatever you did on Earth was, unfortunately, just recreation.”
“Recreation?! I could have been killed!”
Lord Gablentite shrugs. “Many people seem to enjoy extreme sports. Anyway, the task the treemaids did give you under the contract, to catch the spiders that had escaped from their research facility, you left incomplete.”
You shake your head in confusion. “What has any of this got to do with me and Pomplompotom?”
Lord Gablentite explains. “To be allowed to court my daughter, you must sign a suitor’s contract, which you have done. However, in light of your prior commitments, that contract is now void.” He picks up a piece of official-looking paper and places it inside a clear glass box. He shuts the door and the paper starts to blacken and curl, smoking into nothingness within seconds.
“Why do I need a contract to have a girlfriend? I just want to hang out andߪer, talk to her. It’s not like I’m going to marry her!”
“We do not do things soߪcasually here,” the shapeshifter says. “No doubt you share the common delusion of all humans of permanence. You think your reality is solid, thus you seek transience. My people know better. The universe is ever-changing and transient. The only permanence is that we create ourselves, through our word, and through our law!”
“Huh?” you say.
The merchant prince waves away your confusion. “Now, you are free to continue working for me, since our agreement has no conflict with whatever demands the treemaids may make; since I will grant you Leave whenever they demand your services.”
You tap your chin with your finger. “What if I go to Teeheehee and resolve this, then can I come back and sign another suitor’s contract?”
“Well, I suppose I would have to consider it,” Lord Gablentite grumbles.
“And if I have a contract, with you, I can stipulate that I must be allowed to spend time with your daughter!”
“The contracts are traditionally negotiable,” the Merchant Prince says, looking flustered.
“In that case, I want to apply for Leave now, to go to Teeheehee,” you declare.
“Very well,” the Merchant Prince agrees, looking shrewd. “Good luck.”
You nod carefully and back from the room. Once outside, you turn and run off to organise your passage back to Teeheehee.

Now Turn to 1


0


IntThe G15-275 Saga
continues in:

CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATION

Your girlfriend is torn from you by legal technicalities. Can you get her back by performing a series of seemingly unrelated tasks to save your former employers, those innocent, yet homicidal, treemaids?

Editors Note: Currently only implemented as a turn-to adventure only, you will have to track your own character sheet and do combats etc.

Generate Character and begin playing.

Read the Rules

Read the implementation notes (and cheating)


1


The viewscreen is white. A whiteness that swirls and thumps, driven by a wind said to howl and scream with the torment of the million souls that have perished in the frozen wasteland.
But you cannot hear the wind, nor feel its deathly bite. Instead you sit within a climate-controlled shuttle, comfortably watching the snows that have slain countless fragile creatures like yourself. The navigation screen before you shows that you are nearing a landing pad, and soon you feel the thump as the ship comes to a rest, settling down upon its landing gear. You have arrived.
This is, of course, not Teeheehee. That blissful planet has never experienced even a hint of a storm such as this. The blizzard outside of the hull of your spaceship rages with a fury that unmans the manly, and leaves the brave wishing they had brought a change of pants.
Crudia! The icy planet that is home to a blue-skinned people famous for their barbarity. Right now is the height of the dry season, where liquid water is unheard of.
As you rug up in your heated environment suit, you reflect on the series of events that have brought you here. You were only on Teeheehee for a few hours. Not that the treemaids were unhappy at your return. On the contrary, they were deliriously happy that you had arrived to save them yet again from disaster!
While you were en-route to Teeheehee, the treemaids finally used their planet-busting weapon. They had selected an unclaimed planet, notable only for its mud pools full of horrible worms! It seemed to be begging for destruction, hanging in space all slimy and disgusting! So it was duly destroyed. Yet just hours later they were slapped with a lawsuit for 103,746,577,384,756,490,037,263,874 Galactic Roubles.
Who would do such a thing? The Nebulons! A species of intelligent gas clouds; famous for poetry, spectroscopy, and talking big without backing things up with action. “You’re talking like a Nebulon!” people say. Of course, when it comes to the Nebulons themselves, people are more accommodating of inaction. They are clouds of gas after all, so expectations aren’t that high. Unfortunately for the treemaids, talk is all that is required to mount a lawsuit.
As the air cycles through the airlock you gasp. Despite your thick, heated suit you feel like you are being flayed with shards of ice. You quickly close your visor as you feel your eyeballs freezing. Then the door opens. The wind rushes in and slams you back against the wall before scooping you up and sucking you out into the storm. You tumble over, loosing sense of where the ground is until it hits you from the direction you were least expecting.
You cling to the ground, wiggling your digits into numerous finger-holds. The ground is actually a heated grating! But the fury of the wind is unabated, and pounds at you with icy fists. It is impossible for it to be so cold!
The heaters in your suit are working overtime, and suddenly afraid they will give out, you pull yourself across the grating. The wind tries to scoop you up, determined to fling you into some icy abyss.
Worms! This is all because of worms! People have their pets, and some people have strange pets. But what pet, what millions of pets, could possibly be worth 103,746,577,384,756,490,037,263,874 Galactic Roubles? Unfortunately, the explanation you received made some kind of sense. You see, the worms of the planet Z34-t55 were very special. For some reason, the Nebulons were able to directly control the minds of the worms, giving them at last the means to manipulate matter, albeit with the capacity of a worm. So it was that the planet Z34-t55 and its resident worms were in fact the entirety of the Nebulon’s manufacturing industry. With the destruction of the unique worms, the Nebulons are suing the treemaids for their projected earnings for the expected lifetime of the universe.
You argued as best as you could, casting doubt on the Nebulon’s conviction that the treemaids were responsible. But they had evidence. A passing Amorphonon trading ship witnessed the destruction and traced the trajectory of the beam to Teeheehee. But, you continued, how would the treemaids even have known about the planet, which was many sectors away? There is an answer to that too. It seems a treemaid (whom the others had never seen before and didn’t seem to be around any more), had told them about the planet, showed them footage of the disgusting worms and supplied the coordinates of the planet.
An Amorphonon trading ship, in the right place at the right time in an infinite universe? A mysterious ‘treemaid’ conveniently supplying all the necessary details? There can only be one explanation! This is a plot by the shape-shifters! But why? Everyone wanted to know. And you told them: to stop you from having a girlfriend!
The court concluded that this was unlikely, since such an elaborate plot is completely unnecessary in the face of: a) your looks; b) your personality; c) your odour. Even after you explained about your heroic exploits, and about Pomplompotom and Lord Gablentite, and how this is all a plot to prevent you from fulfilling your obligations to the treemaids; the court ruled that you are an idiot.
The case seems ironclad (the law-suit, that is, not your idiocy, although that doesn’t seem to be suffering from much contest). After making some impassioned pleas about the virtues of forgiveness, and mentioning that the amount requested is so large as to be impractical, the Nebulons reluctantly mentioned that there was another way.
You crawl through the thick air for what seems like a minute before your hands strike a step. Charged with hope, you pull yourself up the stairway, and see a lighted doorframe faintly glimmering through the swirling snows. You drag yourself over to the foot of the door, and are delighted to see a door control only a few galactic inches from the ground. Obviously your means of locomotion is not uncommon; or the Barbarians are regularly visited by envoys from the snake-people of Slitheron 4. You pound it. The doors open, and the landing you are clinging to moves forward. The doors close behind you before the landing retracts, scraping you off to roll exhausted onto a tiled floor, coming to rest in a puddle of melting snow.
You are alive! Slowly you stand, letting the heat seep into your body. Soon you are able to turn off the heating in your suit and take off your helmet.
You are standing in some kind of entrance hall; a high, vaulted ceiling accommodating a large bronze statue of one of the natives: a six-nippled warrior with a sword in one hand and a decapitated bear’s head in the other, snarling even in death. While slaying one of the giant bears of Crudia sounds like a heroic mission, it would help the Nebulons little. No, they sent you here for a different purpose.
A hundred years ago, the barbarians of Crudia received some of the unique worms as part of a trade arrangement. On Crudia the worms are considered a great delicacy. It is rumoured that they began to breed the worms, and only members of the royal family are privileged to feed on them. Your mission: to seek out said worm farm if it exists and obtain it by any means necessary!
So here you are, filled with hope (the treemaids agreed that this act would free you from any obligation to them) and excitement (the women of Crudia have 6 breasts) and dread (the barbarians of Crudia, male and female, can be very difficult, and in fact do their very best to be so).
The thing about the barbarians of Crudia is not that they are primitive at all; it’s just that they are extremely reactionary. A hundred and fifty years ago when humans first came to Crudia, they found a barbarous people living in stone huts, ruled by a despotic king, living off whale and seal meat hunted with harpoons. Never was there a people more in need of the enlightened ways humanity could provide. So it was they began to try and teach the barbarians the benefit of civilisation. But the barbarians refused refinement, becoming even more crude!
The humans were also soon shocked to discover that the barbarians were actually a technologically advanced, space-faring race, who had achieved every technological feat humans had and more. The humans were confused.
They pointed at the trend among every other race in the galaxy: that as the civilisation of a people grew older, and more technologically advanced, they gave up barbaric practices such as slavery, oppression and whaling. Advanced people embraced things like egalitarianism, democracy, and goods and services taxes.
Why, the barbarians replied, are those things ‘advanced’? Why should we do something just because everyone else does? In fact, the fact that everyone else does it is exactly why we shouldn’t do it! We’re special!
The humans decided to leave before they made things even worse.
So, the barbarians of Crudia probably won’t give you the worm-farm, simply because you want it.
As you stand there, no one appears to greet you (that would be commonly polite and respectful) so you make your way into the halls of the large stone palace. You encounter no one at all until you reach a throne room at the rear of the palace. A number of barbarians are here, long dark hair defying fashion, dressed in furs. Their skin is blue, and they stand about 7 Galactic Feet tall thanks to an elongated ribcage that allows their women to accommodate 3 sets of breasts.
There is a golden throne here, in which sits a miserable-looking human dressed in rags with a metal collar around his neck. He is unrestrained by chains, but lights on the collar flash with slave-restraining potential.
The enthroned slave is attended by 3 officials, one in leather armour and furs, another in golden robes holding a red rod, and the last in black robes. There is also a lovely barbarian maiden who is feeding the slave grapes from her fingertips. The sight of her distracts you for a while, dressed as she is in only an extravagance of golden jewellery.
The human watches your approach with dread, and as you draw to a stop, a look of resignation fills his eyes. “Yes, what is it?”
And you say:

“Give me the worm farm, you worthless piece of dung!” Turn to 13
“Oh, great king! I beg of you to bestow upon me your worm farm!” Turn to 28
“I don’t want your stupid worm farm, and under no circumstances should you give it to me!” Turn to 34
“Oh, I just came here to let you know that I think you are a pathetic loser! What a feeble excuse for a king! I grow stuff between my toes that would make a fitter monarch than you! Fool! Idiot!” Turn to 42


2


You are soon standing in square chamber that serves as a junction. The floor is tiled into a mosaic of a barbarian spearing a whale. Torches light each corner of the room.
To the north and south there are dim, unlit passages leading to other lighted junctions. To the east there is a large, arched opening leading to an enormous hall filled with banquet tables, and another arched entrance on the opposite side. To the west there are two stairways, one leading upwards, the other downwards.

Where do you want to go?
The dim passage to the north? Turn to 15
The dim passage to the south? Turn to 102
The arched entrance to the east? Turn to 49
The ascending stairway to the west? Turn to 8
The descending passage to the west? Turn to 32


3


The unadventurous passage leads to a corner where a narrow archway flanked by torches appears to open into a torture chamber. The passages that lead away from this corner proceed north and west.

The enter the ‘torture’ chamber, turn to 59
To go north, turn to 52
To go west, turn to 56


4


Trying to appear as if nothing is out of place, you walk from cover and over to the side of the giant barrel. You take one of the Blast Rods and walk away, holding your breath for the reaction that never comes. You duck back behind a table and clutch your prize with pleasure.

The Blast Rod will inflict 2 points of damage per winning round, but also lower your opponent’s Attack Strength by 2 for the next round. If you have received bonuses for Blast Rod usage in previous episodes (basic training: increase your AS by 2; advanced training: inflict 3 points of damage), you can use them here.

What now?
If you want to try and grab the red security pass:
Test your SKILL* by rolling 4 dice
If you are Dexterous, turn to 35
If you are Clumsy, turn to 53

Or, you can leave by turning to 50


5


You toss the coin into the well and wish hard. The water sparkles, and the next moment you feel a warm sensation rush through your whole body, leaving you feeling fantastic!

You may increase your initial STAMINA by 1 and raise your current STAMINA to this level.

Happily, you contemplate your next course of action.

If you want to dive in and try and collect some more coins, turn to 36
To leave the courtyard and head south, turn to 43
To leave the courtyard and head east, turn to 24


6


You leave the chamber and go back to the large, domed chamber filled with a mountain peak.
Turn to 65


7


You press your palm against the glass panel and it glows as you are scanned. The security door chimes agreeably and opens. You proceed through and climb the remainder of the stairs up to the second level.

Turn to 74


8


You ascend the stairway and find yourself in a long corridor lined with doors. You guess that they lead to private apartments. Proceeding along the corridor, you look at each doorway, but can’t see much. Most are dark, but occasionally there is a door with light streaming under it, and the sounds of voices within.
Just as you are about to go back downstairs, you find a door with light under it, but no sound is coming from within.

So what? To go back downstairs, turn to 38
To risk opening the door, turn to 19


9


You are standing on the southern edge of a large domed chamber. A decapitated mountain’s head fills the room for no apparent reason. There is an opening here to the south.

To enter the opening, turn to 66
To move around the peak to the eastern side, turn to 74
To move around the peak to the western side, turn to 48


10


You watch and wait, and less than a minute later, you hear the robot returning. It is carrying a silver tray, on which is a large mug of steaming coffee. It whirrs slowly towards the study, going right past your doorway of concealment.

Once it is gone, you can search the unoccupied rooms by turning to 39


11


You enter the throne room, and pause to examine your surrounds. Blood-red pillars line the walls, while an inverted golden dome forms the floor. The ceiling is flat and tiled. A bridge of sorts laid with a blue carpet extends over to the dais, upon which a surprisingly standard royal throne sits: made of gold and worked with whales and seals and a giant bear’s head that snarls above the king’s own head.
You cross over and examine the throne. You note nothing unusual or interesting until you see that the space behind the throne is quite large, and the back of the throne worked with a fabulous mythological scene. The centre of the design is dominated by three square depressions where three goddesses stand, each holdingߪ.something. That’s the part that is missing. Three golden tiles are needed to complete the picture.
A search of the throne room reveals nothing else.

There is only one exit, so when you are ready to return to the brightly lit junction, turn to 58


12


If you have defeated the giant robot, turn to 51
Otherwise, turn to 63


13


The slave nervously licks his lips. “Um, the worm farm belongs to us, you know. We can’t give it to you just because you want it.”
You open your mouth to say more, when suddenly the slave’s eyes bulge and he screams in protest as the black-robed official pulls out a small controller of some sort and presses a button.
“No!” the slave starts to pull at the collar. “I mean, yes! Take it! Erg! I mean, execute him! Errrg!” He makes more sounds after that, but they resemble words less and less as the metal collar contracts to a metal disc, snipping the slave’s head off.
The armoured barbarian retrieves the disc, and pulls the body off the throne, dumping it down a manhole in the floor of the dais. He tosses the head in afterwards. The compressive strength of the contracting collar sealed the wounds so there is no blood, leaving the throne clean and shiny.
“The king is dead, long live the king!” says the gold-robed barbarian, thumping his rod
The black-robed official then takes out another control and presses a button. A new slave descends from a hole in the ceiling, conveyed by a flexible metal arm with a man-sized grasping module at the end. Once the slave is in place, the restored collar is placed on his neck, while the maiden barbarian sets the crown on his head and starts feeding the fearful man grapes.
Between mouthfuls, the apprehensive man grins at you. “Do you want something?”
“You people are stupid!” you say in amazement.
The barbarians ignore you, but the king squirms as he considers how to respond. “Wellߪjust tell us why you are here.”
And you say:

“Oh, great king! I beg of you to bestow upon me your worm farm!” Turn to 28
“I don’t want your stupid worm farm, and under no circumstances should you give it to me!” Turn to 34
“Oh, I just came here to let you know that I think you are a pathetic loser! What a feeble excuse for a king! I grow stuff between my toes that would make a fitter monarch than you! Fool! Idiot!” Turn to 42


14


You overcome the barbarian, and he collapses to the floor. You drag him into a vacant cell, and search him. Apart from his Blast Rod, he also has 2 Nanobotic Healing Shots.
You take what you need and close the cell door before heading back up out of the dungeons and into the chambers of the palace.

Turn to 2


15


You walk down the dim corridor and come to a corner that opens out into a small courtyard. A clear dome covers the courtyard, the storm bashing at the outside of the thick material. The cobblestones of the courtyard are thick with moss, and in the centre is a pool of water.
You wander over to the well and peer into the depths, seeing some coins shining faintly on the bottom. This must be a wishing well.

If you have a coin and want to make a wish, turn to 5
If you want to dive in and try and collect some coins, turn to 36
To leave the courtyard and head south, turn to 43
To leave the courtyard and head east, turn to 24


16


Using the banquet tables as cover, you crawl towards the corner where a large barrel of ale twice as tall as you sits. You reach the far end of the table from where the pair are arguing. Their voices are slightly slurred, but they don’t appear close to dropping off yet.
Peering carefully through the cover of some unconscious barbarians, you examine the pair. In addition to their standard bearskin furs, each wears a helm with a shield symbol on the brow, and you guess they are some kind of security personnel. The shield on one of them is golden, as if he is a security chief of some sort.
Of greater interest to you are two things: leaning against the barrel near where the barbarians are talking is a pair of Blast Rods (that’s one thing, a pair). The other thing is that on the table in front of the security chief is what appears to be a red security card.
All of these items are out in the open, but drunkenness and the barbarians’ attention on their discussion are in your favour.

If you want to try and grab one of the Blast Rods:
Test your LUCK* by rolling 3 dice
If you are Lucky, turn to 4
If you are Unlucky, turn to 22

If you want to try and grab the red security pass:
Test your SKILL* by rolling 4 dice
If you are Dexterous, turn to 35
If you are Clumsy, turn to 53

If you don’t want to risk either, you can leave by turning to 50


17


You never find out where the pipe leads, since you drown long before you get there. You have failed, and the treemaids will be in debt until the end of the universe.

YOUR ADVENTURE ENDS HERE


18


The chef gives you an offended look. “Get lost, you utter pansy!”
Apparently that means no. Perhaps a change of tack is in order.

If you haven’t already you could say:
“Give me the ale now, fatty!” Turn to 83
“Ale? Yuk! I hate the taste of alcohol!” Turn to 64


19


You try the door, and find it unlocked. Slowly opening it, you peek around the door and see an empty chamber. To one side is a dining setting, while to the other a few armchairs sit before a large hearth full of glowing coals. A curtained entryway leads to further rooms in the back.
You sneak inside, looking for anything that will aid your quest. On the table you spy a hand mirror. Suddenly you hear footsteps and snatch the mirror before fleeing. You hurry along the corridor and do not stop until you are halfway down the stairwell, where you pause to examine your prize.
Looking into the mirror, you are shocked to see your reflection is handsome. You notice a small dial on the handle of the mirror, and see it is on +10. By moving the dial down to 0 and to –10, you are able to manipulate your reflection, making yourself handsome, or ugly, or normal.
Putting the mirror away, you proceed down the remainder of the stairway.

If you reach somewhere where you think the mirror will be useful, add 15 to the reference you are in at the time, and turn to this new reference number.

Turn to 2


20


Taking out the security card, you place it against the golden panel. There is a beep and the panel groans as it moves inwards, then slides upwards revealing a secret compartment.
You gleefully grab a packet of three Healing Shots, and a golden tile worked into the image of a scroll and inlaid with sapphires. It appears to be part of a larger picture.
Taking the goodies, you retreat, and the panel closes again. Content, you leave the chamberlain’s quarters.

If you reach somewhere when you want to use the Gold and Sapphire Tile, add 37 to the reference you are in at the time and turn to the new reference number thus calculated.

Turn to 30


21


The corridor leads to a corner that is lit by electric lanterns. Here there is also an imposing security door, locked and sealed. There is no keypad, just a swipe slot for some kind of card.

When you are ready to leave, you can go:
North (turn to 2) or east (turn to 56)


22


Trying to appear as if nothing is out of place, you walk from cover and over to the side of the giant barrel. As soon as your hand closes on one of the Blast Rods, the argument behind you stops.
“Hey! Leave that!” says one of the barbarians, lurching to his feet.
“Sorry, it looked like mine,” you explain.
“Well it isn’t! Now get out of here!”
You move away from giant barrel. Looking back over your shoulder, you see both barbarians still watching you, so you head for the nearest exit and leave through the large archway.

Turn to 58


23


You climb the stairs and reach a landing where further access is restricted by a security door. There is no control, just a glass plate with several greasy handprints all over it.

If you have the codeword ACCESS on your adventure sheet, turn to 7
Otherwise, turn to 44


24


Leaving the courtyard, you traverse a short, unlit corridor to reach a brightly lit junction with torches in each corner. To the north and south there are large archways; north to the throne room, south to a large hall where you can hear voices. To the east and west are more modest corridors.

Where to?
North to the throne room? Turn to 11
South to the big hall, turn to 49
The passage leading east? Turn to 90
The passage leading west? Turn to 15


25


Taking out the syringe, you find a vein and insert it carefully. After extracting a few CCs, you poke the needle through the membrane and inject the sample. The screen flickers with an hourglass, then a message appears: Your stupid DNA has been added to the database. Now get lost.

Add the codeword ACCESS to your Adventure Sheet and turn to 33


26


You pull out your weapon and use it to express your disappointment in the robot’s behaviour. About 1 minute and several smoking pieces of metal later you feel much better.
The robot’s head still has its lights on, and it sparks and beeps before speaking. “Correct.”
The wall that the robot had been standing in front of suddenly rumbles and a split appears, opening outwards. An upward-sloping tunnel is revealed, and you hasten towards it. It is lit by a blue light coming from an alcove, and you look into the alcove to see a golden chalice filled with a glowing blue liquid.
You reach out and take the chalice. The blue liquid smells like fruit, and you adventurously take a sip. It tastes good and makes you feel great. You down the rest, and feel like you are glowing! Setting the chalice back in the alcove, you bound up the tunnel. It ends in a stone wall with a lever in the middle; so you pull it.
The wall groans and retracts, revealing the interior of a cell. Fortunately the door is open and you hasten out of the cell before it can be closed. The secret door in the wall groans shut and you look around, finding yourself in the dungeons. You move off, and soon climb back up to the palace proper.

If only you knew what you have done by defeating the riddle-bot! But you don’t. So the only benefit you can claim is that your initial SKILL is increased by 1, and your current SKILL brought up to this new value.

Turn to 2


27


The entrance hall is much as you remember it. It is dominated by the large bronze statue of the bear-slayer. A cursory examination of the chamber reveals nothing. The only thing of note is a golden coin that has fallen into the drain. But the grate is bolted down, making the coin inaccessible to your numismatical interest.

When you’re ready to go, turn to 56


28


The maiden feeding the slave grapes pauses, and the rag-clad human pales. “Er, no. I don’t want to give it to you, so I don’t have to.”
The supply of grapes resumes, and the slave slumps with obvious relief. His reprieve is temporary, though; because you are still there, making his life difficult.
“Was there something else?” he asks, eyes pleading with you to leave.
But you have a mission, so you say:

“Give me the worm farm, you worthless piece of dung!” Turn to 13
“I don’t want your stupid worm farm, and under no circumstances should you give it to me!” Turn to 34
“Oh, I just came here to let you know that I think you are a pathetic loser! What a feeble excuse for a king! I grow stuff between my toes that would make a fitter monarch than you! Fool! Idiot!” Turn to 42


29


You splash in a few large mouthfuls of Palkasian spirits before the robot whirrs through the door to the study. You peek around the gilt doorframe to see the chamberlain scowl at the robot and take the coffee. “Now stay here in case I need you.”
The robot beeps rudely and leaves. You press yourself against the wall and let the robot trundle past. It does not detect you and disappears through one of the other doors.
You risk another peak and see the barbarian drinking his coffee. You wait ten minutes while he sips at the brew, growing visibly drowsy. Soon his head drops forward and hits the desk with a thump. When he starts to snore you know it is safe to enter.
You search the golden-robed barbarian and his garish office. On the desk is an Energy Whip, while on his person is a blue security card.
There is nothing else, so you quickly leave before he regains consciousness.

If you reach someplace where you want to use the blue security card, minus 19 from the reference you are in at the time.

Turn to 39


30


Moments later you are standing in a brightly-lit corner. There is a golden door here, the frame worked into diving seals. Light fills the gap underneath, and you can hear the faint whirring of wheels inside.

If you want to enter, test your SKILL* by rolling 4 dice.
If you are Dexterous, turn to 109
If you are Clumsy, turn to 40

Alternatively, you can leave by taking the passage to the south (turn to 52) or the passage to the west (turn to 58).


31


You climb up the path, which is often steep, and in short order reach the very top. The point of the peak offers nothing, and is not even level, comprising several square Galactic Feet of jagged rock. You are able to touch the dome, and you see with interest there is a small triangular opening right at the apex of the dome. But nothing else.

If you have finished here, you can reach the floor once more by turning to 74


32


You creep down the stairway, which at a landing turns to the right and abruptly becomes narrow and slimy. Soon you are standing in a dungeon, a long corridor lined with cells extending into the darkness.
You move along the corridor, peering at the inhabitants. All of them are barbarians, who are relaxing in their cells as if they chose to be there. When you reach the far end, though, one of the barbarians seizes the bars and hisses at you.
“Hey! Come here!”
You plant your hands on your hips. “What if I don’t want to?” you demand.
“Fine! Go away then!”
“No!” you say and march up to the cell.
Before you can react, the barbarian’s long arm snakes out and seizes you, pulling you against the bars. Your squeal echoes up the corridor. He stares at you with bloodshot eyes, and you examine him in turn. He is dressed in the rags of once-fine robes and has a long ragged beard. He does not look happy to be there.
“What are you doing here?” he snarls.
“Trying not to faint every time you breathe on me!” you retort.
Although past middle age, the barbarian still has a lot of strength, which he uses to shake you. “Answer me! Be the Executioner your friend or foe?”
“I don’t know,” you reply. “I’m just here to get something.”
“What?”
“Why should I tell you?” you enquire.
The barbarian shakes you violently.
“A worm farm!” you gasp.
The prisoner pulls you against the bars, thrusting his face close to yours. “The worm farmߪ?” He suddenly grins. “Yes, that will serve my purposes well! They will lose face if the worm farm is stolen! Listen to me. I will help you. By the look of you, you need all the help you can get. The worm farm is hidden in a secret vault behind the throne. In the back of the throne there is a panel controlled by three golden tiles. You must gather these and insert them into the panel, then the vault will open.”
“Where do I find-“
“Was I finished talking?” the barbarian demands as he shakes you to silence. “The tiles may be found in the possession of the Chamberlain, the Royal Champion, and the Royal Executioner! Each will be difficult to obtain, especially the Royal Executioner, as I hear he has installed some new and deadly security systems to guard the King. Be careful; and if you succeed, I shall do all in my power to reward you when I am once again restored to my rightful place!”
He releases you and you back away from the bars. You rub your throat. “Why should I help you?” you ask resentfully.
“Okay, don’t,” the prisoner says.
“Well, maybe I will then!” you say, and give him a rude gesture before leaving. You proceed back along the corridor and up the stairwell to emerge in the bright junction.

Turn to 2


33


Taking out the security card, you slide it through the slot and the security door chimes and opens. You quickly move inside and close the door behind you. You are in some kind of security office. A large desk dominates the room, covered in papers. You search the desk, but find nothing of interest. There is a featureless safe in the wall behind the desk, and small computer panel in the side wall. Apart from numerous buttons, the panel consists of a small opening covered in a membrane, and a screen that rudely reads: Insert sample, moron. Even their computers are crude!

When you are ready to leave, return to the corridor by turning to 21


34


The slave on the throne hesitates. “Wellߪ” The black-robed official takes out a control. “I meanߪthat isߪ” As he stutters, the barbarian’s thumb hesitates above the button, while the slave looks on the verge of dying from fear. “If you don’t want it, that’s good! Because I had no intention of giving it to you.”
This seems to satisfy the potential button-pusher, and the thumb retreats.
The slave is relieved, and grins at you. “You can go now. Go on!” he waves you away, although his eyes are still full of foreboding.
“I don’t think you understand,” you say. “I don’t want the worm farm. Its possession would be not only a hindrance, but an embarrassment, an utter misfortune for me. That’s why I came here to this planet, just to make sure you will do everything in your power to keep it away from me.”
The slave becomes wild-eyed, and stammers for a while, which makes the thumb of doom move into position again.
“Take him to the dungeons!” the slave screams desperately.
The button-pusher puts the control away, and he and the armoured barbarian hurry forward and seize you.
“No!” you cry out as they drag you away. “Please don’t take me to where the worm farm is and leave me there without supervision!”
You are forcibly escorted from the throne room and taken down a dim flight of steps. When the slave said ‘dungeon’ you were hoping for something a little bit different to what you are seeing now. It seems to be a dungeon in the sense that everyone means when they say ‘dungeon’. All too soon you are thrown inside a cold slimy cell without a single worm in sight.
“Hey, this isn’t want I wanted!” you protest.
The barbarians respond by giving you a beating (minus 6 STAMINA). Eventually, they get tired and leave. The door clangs shut and you are left alone. Well, that didn’t work. You get up gingerly and try the door. It is locked.
You open your mouth to begin cursing at your predicament when you notice that one of the barbarians has dropped a controller. You leap over and seize it. It is an uncomfortably-shaped triangle of white polymer with a single translucent button in the middle. You press it, and the button lights up. Nothing else happens, although echoing faintly down the corridor is a distant scream of terror that is abruptly cut off. You shrug and put the remote in your pocket. As you do so, you discover there is something else already in your pocket and take it out to examine.
Ah! Of course. Before you left Teeheehee, queen Hotbutt gave you this box and told you not to open it until you had arrived. Since you are here, you now open it. Inside you find a ring, mounted with a dial featuring numbers from 1 to 12, as well as ‘off’. You take it out and put it on. There is also a note folded up inside the box, and you unfold it to read:

Honoured protector!
Thank you so much for once again coming to our rescue! You are truly a noble and courageous man!
Your mission on Crudia will not be easy. I have had some diplomatic contact with these barbarians, and found them to be thoroughly confusing. Things always work better when they are not around, so I thought that this device might prove useful! It is a Quantum Probability Stealth device! Since you are so wonderful, I am sure you understand the details of quantum mechanics far better than I, so I needn’t explain much! When activated, this device manipulates the probabilities such that you are in fact elsewhere when you are observed! This means that when someone looks at you, you will not be there! As you can imagine, this consumes a great deal of power, so we have fitted the device with a dial that allows you to select how much manipulation of the probabilities takes place. If you are on an open lawn in broad daylight you will need to manipulate probabilities much more than if you are in a dark corridor!
Before you need to sneak past some barbarian, just set the dial, and creep out! Please use a high enough setting to be safe, but use it sparingly!
Good luck with your mission!

XOXOXO

Queen Hotbutt

How interesting. You have no idea how you would convince the barbarians to give up their worm farm, so just stealing it in the dead of night is a much more attractive option. However, for now you are locked up.
You prowl about your cell for some time, before you finally hear footsteps. You move eagerly to the door and see a fat barbarian with a sack over his shoulder and a large clay jug in his other hand. At each cell door he takes a bread roll from the sack and tosses it through the bars before pouring water from the jug into the cups or bowls offered through the bars by the other prisoners.
When the jailer arrives, you beam at him. “Hi! Bread and water is it? Great! I was afraid it would be something different!”
The jailer pauses, squinting at you. “Oh, and what would you be afraid of?”
You shrug. “I don’t know. I was just afraid when I was coming here that your dungeons would be different to other peoples. But it’s the same! Stone, slime, bread and water! It’s great that you are doing things exactly the same way as everybody else!”
The jailer bristles. “Oh? Well I can mistreat you like no one has ever been mistreated before!”
You brighten. “Really? You mean torture? Great! It’s a little standard, but don’t let that stop you.”
“Standard!” the jailer plants his hands on his hips. “How dare you!”
“Well, what do you expect?” you say. “All prisoners everywhere are kept in uncomfortable circumstances, then tortured for one reason or another. This whole thing is soߪcommon. Which is good! I like consistency.”
“Right! Come with me!” The jailer tosses aside the sack and the jug, which smashes on the floor, and he fumbles with a bunch of keys at his belt. You are soon dragged from the cell and taken to what must be the jailer’s own chambers. Furs are laid on the floor and a great fire roars in the hearth. You are forced into an easychair and the jailer promptly serves you a spitted pig.
“Pretty comfortable now, aren’t you?” he jeers.
“Well, yes,” you grumble. “At least you haven’t...oh!”
It’s too late, and you take the flagon of warmed ale. You drink the ale in a single gulp, then frown at the jailer. “Hey, that was delicious! What is this?”
The jailer gives an evil laugh. “This is just the beginning! You think you are warm and comfortable now! Wait until you see what I have in store for you! Now enjoy your meal, or else!”
He leaves to go and organise something. Once he is gone, you glance at the door. While it would be pleasant to remain here, you do have a job to do. You stand up and make for the door. But just before you open it, the jailer returns from an inner chamber. “Hey what are you doing up?”
“Just checking the lock. At the very least you have to make sure I can’t leave right? You are a jailer after all. Keeping people locked in is what jailers do. You have to do that part like everyone else.”
“Oh really?” the jailer sneers. “Well maybe I’ll just let you go! How do you like that? Go on! Leave!”
You feign reluctance. “Please, no! I want to stay! That’s what prisoners are supposed to do.”
“Well, maybe I don’t do things like everyone else!” the jailer says as he jerks the door open. “You are free to go.”
“Well, okay but IߪIߪ”
Words fail you as you see the young and voluptuous barbarian woman who enters from one of the back rooms. Seeing your stare, the jailer turns. “Oh, it’s okay, Tooroomatoo. You can put your clothes back on. He’s leaving now.”
“I don’t have to go!” you insist.
“Yes, you do,” the jailer says. “I was going to get her to massage you with various parts of her oiled naked body. Bet no one else would do that, hey? Now you can tell everyone that we don’t do things their way! Now go! You are free!”
“It will be a better story if you force me to have a massage before you let me go,” you plead.
The jailer narrows his eyes at you. “You want her to massage you, don’t you?”
“No, that would be terrible!” you say, salivating at the sight of the lovely, who still hasn’t put her clothes back on (because she was told to).
“I can see it!” the jailer jeers. “Well, you’ll be set free with no massage! Ha!” He shoves you out the door and slams it shut.
You scratch at the door and whine, but it remains shut. Cursing yourself for being too clever, you make your way back up the narrow stairway into the palace proper. All is quiet, and you suspect it is late. The flaming torches that light the halls are few and far between, and the storm still howls and thumps dully outside.

If you reach somewhere that you think the remote will be of use, minus 11 from the reference you are in at the time, and turn to that new reference.

In the course of your adventure, you will be asked several times to test your SKILL or your LUCK when performing feats of stealth. When this happens (there will be an asterisk to indicate this is a stealth test; e.g. SKILL* or LUCK*), you can use the Quantum Probability Stealth Device to aid you. By setting the dial to, say, 6, you are choosing to add 6 points to your SKILL or LUCK for that test. Some of the tests will involve extremely difficult tasks, such that your SKILL or LUCK may be tested against up to 4 dice rolls. You must decide how many points to invest before the test, and points are spent regardless of the outcome
The Quantum Probability Stealth Device currently has 100 stealth points remaining until it is depleted.


Turn to 2


35


Holding your breath, you move up to beside the security chief and reach past him to grab the security card. Incredibly, neither barbarian reacts to you and you retreat once more to hide behind a table.
Wiping the sweat from your brow, you examine the card in triumph. Made of thick, stiff, red polymer it is inscribed with barbarian runes. Sure that this will be useful, you slip it into your pocket.

If you reach someplace where you think this card can be used, add 12 to the reference you are in at the time.

What now?
If you want to try and grab one of the Blast Rods:
Test your LUCK* by rolling 3 dice
If you are Lucky, turn to 4
If you are Unlucky, turn to 22

Or you can leave by turning to 50


36


Deciding that no one would miss a few coins, you take off most of your clothes and slip into the water. You hold the edge and try to grab the coins with your toes, but it seems the bottom is further away that it looks. Taking a breath, you dive downwards. In the darkness you can see nothing except the coins, faintly reflecting light. But before you get close, you feel a strong current suddenly start pulling at you. The well leads down into a pipe, where water is rushing swiftly through, and you are sucked into the flow. Panicking, you try to grab at the walls, but the pipe is smooth, and you are banged about as the water rushes away to who knows where. Your breath begins to burn in your lungsߪ

If you played The Hypertrout, and ever wrote the codeword HIGHLY EXPERIMENTAL GENE THEREPY on your Adventure Sheet, turn to 47
Otherwise, turn to 17


37


Taking out the bottle of Palkasian spirits, you quietly unscrew the lid and try to pour some of the potent liquid into the coffee mugߪ

Test your LUCK* by rolling 3 dice.
If you are Lucky, turn to 29
If you are Unlucky, turn to 71


38


You go back to the stairwell and proceed downstairs once more.

Turn to 2


39


Searching through the other rooms, you note the appalling bad taste of the décor. Gilt covers everything, making the place look exceptionally tacky. This does not prevent you from finding a large number of objects, including an archaic key with the number 33 inscribed on it, and a lone Healing Shot.
Nothing else looks useful, but you pause to consider a large golden panel that fills one wall. It is square, and looks like real gold. It is flush with the rest of the wall, and seems to have no purpose except possibly as a bad mirror.

If you have finished here, you can leave by turning to 30


40


You quietly open the door and slip inside to a set of luxurious chambers. No one is in sight. You creep cautiously about, and discover a number of rooms leading off from a high-ceilinged hall.
Suddenly you hear a voice.
“Robot!” it barks. “Bring me some cold water! But don’t bring it right away, and whatever you do, don’t you dare bring me a mug of coffee sweetened with sugar!”
“Up yours, sir” buzzes a robot, and you press yourself into a doorframe as a small robot servant whirrs out a doorway right past you, heading for the kitchens.
Once it is gone, you tiptoe over to the doorway and risk a gander. Seated at a large desk in a book-lined study and writing with an archaic quill is the golden robed chamberlain you saw attending the king.
You retreat back to the shadowed doorway.

If you want to wait for the robot to return, turn to 10
If you want to search the unoccupied rooms, turn to 39


41


You tap your chin thoughtfully. “Cheese!” you declare.
The robot raises its’ other arm and fires its fist at you. Forewarned, you dive into the sand and the fist splashes into the water behind you. “Incorrect!” the robot says.
“Was I close?” you ask.
The robot lifts its leg to point it’s foot at you. With a bang and a cloud of smoke, it shoots its foot at you. Once again you dodge it. “Incorrect!” the robot says, and falls over.
You stand up again and risk a few steps over to the prone robot. “Whoever designed you was stupid!” you say.
The robot lifts its remaining foot and points it in your direction. You throw yourself to the ground as the foot is rocketed over your head to explode against the far wall.
You jump back to your feet. “Got anything else?” you ask. The robot writhes on the ground, and now seems impotent.
Eventually it seems to give up and slumps. “Correct,” it buzzes.
The wall that the robot had been standing in front of suddenly rumbles and a split appears, opening outwards. The opening reveals an upward-sloping tunnel.
Before you leave, you turn to the robot. “You are the most ridiculous robot I have ever met,” you inform it, then hasten towards the exit.
The opening is lit by a red light coming from an alcove, and you look into the alcove to see a golden chalice filled with a glowing red liquid.
You reach out and take the chalice. The red liquid smells like fruit, and you adventurously take a sip. It tastes good and makes you feel great. You down the rest, and feel like you are glowing! Setting the chalice back in the alcove, you bound up the tunnel. It ends in a stone wall with a lever in the middle; so you pull it.
The wall groans and retracts, revealing the interior of a cell. Fortunately the door is open and you hasten out of the cell before it can be closed. The secret door in the wall groans shut and you look around, finding yourself in the dungeons. You move off, and soon climb back up to the palace proper.

If only you knew what you have done by defeating the riddle-bot! But you don’t. So the only benefit you can claim is that your initial STAMINA is increased by 2, and your current STAMINA brought up to this new value.

Turn to 2


42


The slave on the throne looks offended. “Well, I’m just doing the best I can! I didn’t choose this after all, I was just- No! wait! Please!”
The black-robed official has taken out a control and presses the button. The slave screams and clutches at the collar at his neck as it contracts, snipping his head off.
The armour-and-fur-clad barbarian disposes of the head and body by shoving them down the manhole beside the throne, while the golden-robed one bangs his staff on the floor and declares: “The King is Dead! Long Live the King!” The black-robed barbarian presses a button on another controller, and a new slave is lowered from a hole in the ceiling by a robotic arm and deposited on the throne. In moments he is equipped with crown and collar, and the grape-feeding resumes.
“Hi!” the slave says nervously. “Ah, did you want something?”
“I want you to acknowledge,” you begin, “that you are an utter incompetent! A complete imbecile! As a wart on the backside of a dog, you are!”
The slave absorbs this in silence for several moments. “I see. Well, we are all entitled to our opinions. Personally Iߪurg! Arrgh!” Moments later the slave stops making sounds, as his head is snipped off. Less than a minute later a new slave is crowned as king.
The new king accepts grapes from the lovely maiden, bemused by his new circumstances. “What’s going on here?” he asks.
“It’s so like you not to know!” you say scornfully. “Ignoramus! Manure-brain! Your most-prized protrusion is miniscule!”
“Are you talking about my nose?” the slave asks.
This causes a sequence of events beginning with button-pressing and involving head-snipping. A little bit later, the new king looks down on you apprehensively. “What do you want?”
A long time later, you have almost exhausted all of your wit, and the robotic arm in the ceiling seems to have run out of slaves. The black-robed official presses the remote a few times, but nothing happens.
The barbarians discuss this predicament among themselves for several moments, before they part ways. Two of the barbarians seize you and drag you away.
“Hey!” you protest. “What’s wrong with you?”
“No more kings today!” barks one of the barbarians. “You come back tomorrow.”
You are taken through the polished halls and up a flight of stairs. You squirm as you are pulled along a corridor and hurled into a set of luxurious chambers. “NOOOOO!” you scream as you see a comfortable bed and a dining table laid with delicacies.
The barbarians close the door and you get up and dust yourself off. Going to the table, you help yourself to the food. None of the plates are filled with worms. As you eat, you remember something and take a box from your pocket.
Before you left Teeheehee, queen Hotbutt gave you this box and told you not to open it until you had arrived. Since you are here, you now open it. Inside you find a ring, mounted with a dial featuring numbers from 1 to 12, as well as ‘off’. You take it out and put it on. There is also a note folded up inside the box, and you unfold it to read:

Honoured protector!
Thank you so much for once again coming to our rescue! You are truly a noble and courageous man!
Your mission on Crudia will not be easy. I have had some diplomatic contact with these barbarians, and found them to be thoroughly confusing. Things always work better when they are not around, so I thought that this device might prove useful! It is a Quantum Probability Stealth device! Since you are so wonderful, I am sure you understand the details of quantum mechanics far better than I, so I needn’t explain much! When activated, this device manipulates the probabilities such that you are in fact elsewhere when you are observed! This means that when someone looks at you, you will not be there! As you can imagine, this consumes a great deal of power, so we have fitted the device with a dial that allows you to select how much manipulation of the probabilities takes place. If you are on an open lawn in broad daylight you will need to manipulate probabilities much more than if you are in a dark corridor!
Before you need to sneak past some barbarian, just set the dial, and creep out! Please use a high enough setting to be safe, but use it sparingly!
Good luck with your mission!

XOXOXO

Queen Hotbutt

How interesting. You have no idea how you would convince the barbarians to give up their worm farm, so just stealing it in the dead of night is a much more attractive option. Accordingly, you get some rest, setting your alarm for midnightߪ

ߪa couple of hours later you quietly leave your quarters. You find a stairway leading downwards and are soon standing in the polished halls of the palace. All is quiet. The flaming torches that light the halls are few and far between, and the storm still howls and thumps dully outside.

In the course of your adventure, you will be asked several times to test your SKILL or your LUCK when performing feats of stealth. When this happens (there will be an asterisk to indicate this is a stealth test; e.g. SKILL* or LUCK*), you can use the Quantum Probability Stealth Device to aid you. By setting the dial to, say, 6, you are choosing to add 6 points to your SKILL or LUCK for that test. Some of the tests will involve extremely difficult tasks, such that your SKILL or LUCK may be tested against up to 4 dice rolls. You must decide how many points to invest before the test, and points are spent regardless of the outcome
The Quantum Probability Stealth Device currently has 100 stealth points remaining until it is depleted.

Turn to 2


43


You leave the courtyard, and head south down the dim passage.

Turn to 2


44


Not wanting to set off any alarms, you refrain from testing the door, which is obviously sealed with some kind of biometric scanner. You go back down the stairs.

Turn to 52


45


You wave the security card at the featureless safe, and to your pleasure it opens. Hanging on the back wall of the large safe is a painting. Otherwise it is empty except for a golden tile that appears to be part of a larger picture. It is dominated by a shield inlaid with rubies.
You take the tile and close the safe.

If you reach somewhere where you think the Gold and Ruby Tile can be put to use, add 23 to the reference you are in at the time.

Turn to 33


46


You take the descending stair, and can soon smell burning wood. The walls become dirty and caked with soot. Soon you find yourself in what the barbarians must call a kitchen, whereas any civilised person would consider it a refuse chamber.
There is a bench in the centre covered with knives and chopping boards and the floor is littered with bones. A fire roars in a huge fireplace over which a pot is smoking. An obese barbarian dressed in a grubby white apron is busy chopping up a large whale steak, drinking Palkasian Ale as he works.
Seeing you, he scowls. “Why don’t you come in?”
“Thanks,” you say, eyeing the ale. “I see you have some ale there,” you say, your mouth suddenly dry.
“So?” the chef sneers.

And you reply:
“Please, sir, may I trouble you for some of your fine ale?” Turn to 18
“Give me the ale now, fatty!” Turn to 83
“Ale? Yuk! I hate the taste of alcohol!” Turn to 64


47


The burning in your lungs is unpleasant, but just as you are regretting all the things you didn’t do in your life, the burning starts to fade. Your mouth is still closed and you aren’t breathing, but somehow you are getting oxygen.
Your neck itches, so you reach up and feel a pair of gills there. You have become part fish! You lack fins or a tail however, and are still helpless as the water in the pipe carries you onwards in the darkness.
Eventually, you see a glimmer of light ahead, and are suddenly poured out into a pool in a fire-lit cavern. You gasp air into your lungs, and swim for the edge, dragging yourself out onto a rocky bank.
Shaking water from your eyes, you quickly stand up and take stock of your surroundings. The cavern is lit by hundreds of thick, white candles clustering on every reasonably flat surface of rock. In a clear space where a sandy floor spreads between pillars formed by stalactites and stalagmites that have joined, you see a silvery-skinned robot just standing there. Lights flash slowly all over it, and it appears functional, but it does not react to your presence.
You walk up to it. “Define your function!” you command.
The robot moves: by lifting one arm and slapping you hard across the face. You stagger back, holding your stinging check. “Ow! What did you do that for?”
“Incorrect,” the robot buzzes at you.
“I wasn’t answering a question!” you say.
The robot is silent.
“So, what was the question?” you ask.
The robot points past you, and you turn to look. The next moment you feel a savage kick to your crotch, and you collapse to the sandy floor, groaning.
“Incorrect,” the robot informs you.
Several minutes later, you climb warily to your feet, staying several metres away. “Look. All I want is to get out of here. Just tell me where the exit is.”
The robot extends its fist towards you; a harmless gesture given it is so far away. Suddenly there is a hiss and a bang and the fist is shot off the end of the robot’s arm in a cloud of smoke, striking you in the belly with enough force to knock you down, the air blasted from your body.
You writhe on the ground for a while, then stand up, glaring at the robot murderously. “Incorrect,” it buzzes.

If you have a weapon and want to end this obviously malfunctioning machine, turn to 26
If you want to try and answer the question by saying random words, turn to 41
If you want to ignore the thing and look for a way out, turn to 54


48


Several strides later, you are standing on the western edge of a large domed chamber. A decapitated mountain’s head fills the room for no apparent reason. There is an opening here to the west.

To enter the opening, turn to 12
To move around the peak to the northern side, turn to 65
To move around the peak to the southern side, turn to 9


49


The large hall is filled with the remains of a banquet, and you keep to the shadows of the archway. You can hear snoring, and more concerning, a pair of voices. Most of the inhabitants are in a drunken sleep and will not bother you. Carefully peering from the shadows, you can see that in one corner of the hall there is a pair of barbarians having a quiet and urgent argument by a massive barrel of ale, each clutching an enormous silver flagon.
In the opposite corner there is a vending machine. There are also 4 exits to each cardinal point. By getting down on your hands and knees, you are able to crawl out unseen, and soon reach the middle of the hall where you pause for some decision-making:

Exit to the North? Turn to 58
Exit to the East? Turn to 52
Exit to the South? Turn to 56
Exit to the West? Turn to 2

To check out the vending machine, turn to 55
To get closer to the two arguing barbarians, turn to 16


50


Creeping back to the centre of the hall, you once again ponder your next course of action.

Exit to the North? Turn to 58
Exit to the East? Turn to 52
Exit to the South? Turn to 56
Exit to the West? Turn to 2

To check out the vending machine, turn to 55
To get closer to the two arguing barbarians, turn to 16


51


You enter the darkened chamber, lit only by the glowing fragments of metal and the occasionally sparking components in the enormous wreckage of the once-proud robot. You look over the remains of the powerful robot and nod your head at the undeniable evidence that you are super-cool and tough.
Your confidence restored (restore your LUCK to its initial level), you leave the chamber once more.

Turn to 48


52


You soon emerge into a brightly lit chamber with 5 openings. The floor is filled with a mosaic of barbarians hunting large-antlered deer. A large archway to the west leads into a large hall from where you can hear voices. North and south dim corridors lead away, while to the east there are two stairways, one going up, the other downwards.

No time to dally about.
The archway west? Turn to 49
The dim passage north? Turn to 30
The dim passage south? Turn to 113
The eastward ascending staircase? Turn to 23
The eastward descending staircase? Turn to 46


53


You reach out for the security card. Just as your hand is poised over it, both barbarians stop talking and look at you. You smile warmly, emanating acceptance and accommodation.
The security chief smiles menacingly and then punches you in the side of the head. You flop to the floor as the other barbarian springs to his feet and snatches up his Blast Rod.
While you are still dazed, he seizes you and drags you out of the hall, making for the dungeons. By the time you reach the slimy, stone halls you have recovered, and seeing that no one else is about, decide to resist.
You break free, and ready yourself for combat as the barbarian fires up his Blast Rod.

SECURITY BARBARIAN SKILL 9 STAMINA 12

Fortunately the barbarian is half drunk. But if you have no weapon, not only is your Attack Strength reduced by 2, you can also only inflict 1 point of damage per winning round.

If you win, turn to 14


54


Rubbing your stomach, you scan the chamber. The cavern seems to be entirely enclosed except for the pipe which extends out of a flat wall. The pool that the water spills into has a nice sandy bottom, but nowhere for the water to flow out.
Perplexed, you try and follow the flow of the water. Eventually you discover that all the water is being sucked into a hand-sized hole in the side of a rock. Further investigation reveals that the said rock also has a hinged top. Lifting it away, you see a strange device. Is it sucking all the water into itself, which then goesߪnowhere. The device seems self-contained, with nothing but a few LEDs on top flashing away. There are some buttons as well, and you press a few of these experimentally.
“Correct!” the robot says in the distance and falls over.
The wall that the robot had been standing in front of suddenly rumbles and a split appears, opening outwards. The opening reveals an upward-sloping tunnel.
A way out! Forgetting the odd device, you close the rock and hasten towards the exit. The opening is lit by a green light coming from an alcove, and you look into the alcove to see a golden chalice filled with a glowing green liquid.
You reach out and take the chalice. The green liquid smells like fruit, and you adventurously take a sip. It tastes good and makes you feel great. You down the rest, and feel like you are glowing! Setting the chalice back in the alcove, you bound up the tunnel. It ends in a stone wall with a lever in the middle; so you pull it.
The wall groans and retracts, revealing the interior of a cell. Fortunately the door is open and you hasten out of the cell before it can be closed. The secret door in the wall groans shut and you look around, finding yourself in the dungeons. You move off, and soon climb back up to the palace proper.

If only you knew what you have done by defeating the riddle-bot! But you don’t. So the only benefit you can claim is that your initial LUCK is increased by 1, and your current LUCK brought up to this new value.

Turn to 2


55


You crawl over to the vending machine. Through the glass front you can see a number of items, from the useful to the mysterious. The machine has a large coin slot.

If you have finished here, turn to 50


56


The short corridor shortly leads to a junction. To the north is an archway leading to a large hall where you can hear voices. To the south you see an opening leading to the statue-hosting hall where you first entered the palace. To the east and west are dim passages leading to lighted corners in the corridors.

Where to?
North to the big hall? Turn to 49
South to the entrance? Turn to 27
The dim passage east? Turn to 3
The dim passage west? Turn to 119


57


Unslinging the rocket launcher, you read the instructions on the side while the large robot does nothing. You initialise the weapon, take aim, and pull the trigger.
The bang and roar deafens you, and you are thrown to the floor as the rocket leaps from the launcher. You sprawl as the room shakes, and you quickly climb back to your feet. The giant robot is scattered over the floor in pieces distinguished by a large variety of sizes and shapes, but all sharing the common attribute of smoking.
Pleased with yourself, you quickly search the chamber, but it appears empty (apart from the wreckage). You even bang the walls looking for secret entrances, but find nothing.

If you are finished here, turn to 48


58


You traverse a short, unlit corridor to reach a brightly lit junction with torches in each corner. To the north and south there are large archways; north to the throne room, south to a large hall where you can hear voices. To the east and west are more modest corridors.

Where to?
North to the throne room? Turn to 11
South to the big hall, turn to 49
The passage leading east? Turn to 30
The passage leading west? Turn to 15


59


Entering the chamber you see a variety of devices intended to cause pain and injury. Standing in attendance of the chamber is a robot painted green like a medi-bot, except with sharp spikes extending from its carapace.
“State the nature of your injury, anxiety or sensation!” the torture-bot commands.
“Er, I’m fine,” you reply.
“Then why are you here?” the robot demands.
Seeing some medical supplies behind the torture-bot, you express your interest. The torture bot tells you it will only swap item for item, as the pile is its prized personal collection.

To claim any of these you must give up one item. The brackets after the item name indicate the number you should add to the reference you are in when you think the item will be useful. Healing shots can be used any time.

6 x Healing shot
Syringe (-8)
Thermometer (12)
Rubber gloves (-20)
Bandage (19)
Hand-held X-ray scanner (45)

If you played The Hypertrout, and were awarded the Star of ChaChing!, turn to 126
Once you are ready, you can leave the chamber by turning to 3


60


“I know you won’t give it to me, because the others would be upset with you, and you are too scared to do that because you want everyone to like you.”
“Ha!” the official laughs scornfully. “I’m not the friendless loser, you are!”
“I’ve got heaps of friends!” you counter.
“No true friends,” the barbarian gloats. “Otherwise they would be helping you now. But you’re all alone. Poor little loser!”
“Shut up!”
“Poor Little Loser!” the barbarian jeers.
“You’re talking because you’re scared to fight me!” you taunt.
“Fight you?” the barbarian laughs. “Look at you! A scrawny, two-nippled runt! Why would I be scared of you, right?”
He turns to the king for confirmation, who nods carefully. “You do seem a bitߪunintimidating,” he agrees.
“Only a bit?” the barbarian says aghast, and pulls out the remote. The king becomes more vehement in his denunciation of your physical prowess, but the collar tightens and snips his head off.
The concubines toss the head and body down a chute next to the bed, while the bed head opens and a robotic arm extends, depositing a new king into the eager clutches of the oiled women.
With effort you tear your eyes away. It’s not like you haven’t seen things like this before. The only difference now is that it’s not on a video screen.

Your conversation has been interrupted. What will you say now?
“Giving me the worm-farm is such a good idea; but you don’t understand why because you’re stupid! If you were smart you’d give it to me, but you aren’t so you won’t!” Turn to 125
“Oh, I see. You don’t know where the worm farm is or how to get to it, do you? Sorry, I thought you were someone important, instead of a button-pushing know-nothing.” Turn to 98


61


You land the final blow, and the giant robot crashes to the ground and explodes. The giant robot is scattered over the floor in pieces distinguished by a large variety of sizes and shapes, but all sharing the common attribute of smoking.
Pleased with yourself, you quickly search the chamber, but it appears empty (apart from the wreckage). You even bang the walls looking for secret entrances, but find nothing.

Increase your initial LUCK by 1 for this unlikely victory.

If you are finished here, turn to 48


62


Before you can resist, you are gunned down by triple blaster fire. You end up as a charred bloody pile on the floor. The barbarians congratulate themselves and return to work.

YOUR ADVENTURE ENDS HERE


63


You move cautiously into the darkened chamber. It is a plain chamber dominated a large humanoid robot that stands immobile in the centre. Three times as tall as you, its body is a huge slab of shiny metal with limbs as thick as tree-trunks extending from the corners and a worryingly small head atop. Lights pulse slowly on its slab-like body, while hands dominated by blade-like fingers flex slowly at the sight of you.

To fight the robot, turn to 67
To make a prudent exit, turn to 48


64


You tell the chef how you are opposed both morally and philosophically to the poison of alcohol. Some people might think it makes them more charming, but to you it is a path of escapism taken only by the ignorant, the foolish, and the weak of character.
The chef listens with interest, then smiles at you. “In that case, I have something that will interest you greatly.”
He beckons you over to a cabinet, producing an iron key that looks small in his fat fingers. He opens a cabinet and takes out a bottle of Palkasian Spirits! A single flagon of this strong stuff can intoxicate an elephant, and leave a whale throwing up on the bottom of the ocean after insulting the local constabulary.
“I suppose this offends your purity?” the chef asks.
“Absolutely,” you say, your mouth watering so much you are in danger of drowning yourself. “Shall I take it away to dispose of?”
“That’s my plan!” the chef says, and suddenly clamps you under one flabby arm. You struggle helplessly, landing numerous blows on his blubbery hide, which seem to have less effect than a gnat in a head-on collision with a rhinoceros. With his teeth he crunches the top of the bottle off and shoves it towards your face. “Open up!”
Fearing a face-full of jagged glass, you open you mouth and obediently drink the fiery spirits. You try to let it run out of your mouth again, but the chef clamps his other massive hand on your face, closing your mouth and shaking you until you are in danger of passing out. You swallow the Palkasian Spirits and they burn their way down your throat.
The chef laughs and releases you. “Now get out of here, pure one!”
He gives you a kick in the pants and you stagger away, already feeling the potent alcohol working its way through your system. Before you reach the top of the soot-lined passage, you are tipsy (lose 2 SKILL). You try to curse, but your mouth fumbles the words.
Giving up, you go back to the last intersection.

Turn to 52


65


You are standing on the northern edge of a large domed chamber. A decapitated mountain’s head fills the room for no apparent reason. There is an opening here to the north.

To enter the opening, turn to 68
To move around the peak to the eastern side, turn to 74
To move around the peak to the western side, turn to 48


66


You walk down a dim passage until you reach a modern chamber that contrasts with the rest of the palace. Floored with carpet, and with polymer panelling for walls, bright fluorescent lights illuminate a bank of computer consoles that ring the edges of the room. A trio of barbarians are at work, absorbed in their monitors
It will be difficult to sneak in and do anything; and would you want to anyway? You don’t have to explore every single room in the place do you?
Yep, unnecessary.

To leave, turn to 9
To turn away from the room, turn to 9
To make a prudent and admirably sensible departure, turn to 9

Or to make lots of trouble for yourself:
To walk out into the room, test your LUCK* by rolling 2 dice
If you are Lucky, turn to 76
If you are Unlucky, turn to 87


67


You advance on the robot menacingly. It seems unperturbed by your suicidal swagger and waits for you to move into the range of its life-extinguishing claws.

VERY LARGE AND
YOU-WOULD-HAVE-
TO-BE-REALLY-STUPID-
OR-TIRED-OF-LIFE- SKILL 24 STAMINA 256
TO-FIGHT ROBOT
(WITH FLESH-RIBBONING
CLAWS)

The giant robot inflicts 12 dice rolls of damage with each round that it wins.
If you are using a blaster, a lasersword, or an energy whip, they will damage the robot normally. A Blast Rod, thanks to its circuit-frying energy, will inflict 2 dice rolls of damage with each round that you win. If you are unarmed, you are an idiot.

If you are having second thoughts about this, you can leave now, or escape at any time by turning to 48
If you win, turn to 61


68


You take the opening to the north and reach a darkened workshop. The large room is divided in two by a thick, clear polymer wall. Beyond the wall you can see racks of modern weapons, blasters and such. A security door with a card slot restricts access to the modern armoury.
The workbench has a dismantled device of some sort upon it. There are also some tools here including a large Allan [hex] Key (45), a screwdriver (-27), and a soldering iron (5). You may take any of these if you wish.

If you arrive anywhere where you would like to use one of these tools, add the number in brackets to the reference you are in at the time.

When you have finished here, turn to 6


69


Taking the stairs downwards, you reach the security door that opens easily from this side and take the remainder of the stairs down to the lower level.

Turn to 52


70


You tell the chef that you don’t even like alcohol. He frowns at you. “Then why do you want it so much?”
“Well, “ you say, inventing quickly. “I’m baby-sitting so I want to give it to the children.”
“You’re going to encourage under-age drinking?” the barbarian asks in surprise.
“Absolutely!” you say.
“I am impressed,” the chef replies. “Most humans would find your suggestion appalling! But you’ve come to the right place! No one supports the stunting of growing minds more than me!”
He takes out an iron key that looks tiny in his fat fingers, and uses it to unlock a cabinet. He takes out a bottle of Palkasian Spirits and hands it to you.
Palkasian Spirits! This potent liquor can floor an army and leave a woolly mammoth waking up in a pool of its own vomit.
You thank the chef, which seems to offend him, and hasten out of the kitchen, returning to the last intersection.

If you reach a place where you want to use the Palkasian Spirits, add 27 to the reference you are in at the time, and turn to the new reference thus created.

Turn to 52


71


You approach the robot and try to pour in a coma-inducing dose of spirits. The robot suddenly whirs back, and you spill the alcohol on the floor.
“Hey! I don’t care why you’re here!” the robot buzzes in surprise.
The chamberlain calls out from his study. “What is it?”
“Nothing, sir.” The robot replies.
“Then do anything except kill the intruder!” the chamberlain commands.
“No way, sir!” the robot says, and sprouts a blaster.
“Please kill me!” you beg the robot. “Go on! Do it now, I order you!”
It pauses, beeping in confusion for a few moments. “I was already going to kill you anyway, so I’m doing it because I want to, not because you told me to.”
It aims the blasterߪ

SERVILE-BOT SKILL 7 STAMINA 16

The robot is armed with a blaster that does 10 points of damage per hit. It is delicate enough for you to damage even if you are unarmed. A Blast Rod does not lower its SKILL, but the shocking power can be devastating to its circuitry. If you win a round, roll 2 dice to see how much damage you do.

If you win, turn to 20


72


If you have taken the coin previously, then it is not here now (turn to 56)

Taking out the Allan Key, you turn the bolts, and a few minutes later lift the grate free. You reach in and gain the coin. It is a barbarian coin with a snarling bear’s head on one side and their king’s butt on the other (crude, but also practical, given the high turnover of kings).
You pocket the coin. If you ever want to use the coin, add 40 to the reference you are in at the time unless otherwise instructed. You replace the grill and leave the hall.

Turn to 56


73


You press the button, and the silver flagon disappears from its’ compartment. You wait expectantly, and a moment later it drops out of the receiving chute into your waiting hands. It is a nice Flagon. If you think you have reached the time to use it, minus 34 from the reference you are in at the time.
Putting the flagon away, you make your way back to the centre of the hall to consider your next option.

Turn to 50


74


You are standing on the eastern edge of a large domed chamber. In the centre of the chamber extending almost to the highest point of the dome and leaving not much space around it for walking is a large rock that looks like a mountain peak that has been cleanly sliced off and deposited here for no good reason. A path leads up the side from here to the very top. There is also an exit here leading downstairs to the ground level of the palace.

To move around the peak to the southern side, turn to 9
To move around the peak to the northern side, turn to 65
To climb the peak, turn to 31
To go back downstairs, turn to 69


75


If you have defeated the giant robot, turn to 51
Otherwise, turn to 107


76


You draw closer and looking over the shoulder of the operators, see that they are playing Tetris. Looking over the console controls, you see most are for monitoring weather or communications. You do find one security console, but it is located between two of the barbarians.

To approach the console, test your SKILL* by rolling 4 dice.
If you are Dexterous, turn to 85
If you are Clumsy, turn to 87

If this is too risky, you can leave by turning to 82


77


As they raise their weapons, you flick the dial to full and sidestep out of the space you were in. The air molecules that replace you perish as blaster fire rips through them. You move as quickly as you dare while the barbarians scan the room in surprise. Their eyes pass through you several times, but sometimes they seem to see something as you edge towards the door, letting off the occasional shot. One such shot sears you (lose 5 STAMINA).
You make it back to the shadowed passage and hasten from the room. The barbarians give up and go back to their consoles.

Turn to 9


78


You insert both cards and the screen springs to life. One of the operators glances your way, but goes back to his game before he leaves it. A menu appears, but it is written in barbarian runes.

If you have finished here, turn to 86


79


You defeat the guard, and he slumps to the ground. Your search him, and turn up 2 Nanobotic Healing Shots. You can also take his lasersword. If you have gained bonuses for using this weapon in previous episodes (basic training: +2 to SKILL; advanced training: double damage on a double number roll), you may apply them here.
Turning your attention to the weapon cabinet you find that it is sealed, but a swipe slot for a card is on the front of the base.

If you have finished here, turn to 6


80


You take out the red security card and swipe it through the slot. To your pleasure the door opens and you slip inside, rubbing your hands gleefully. You may help yourself to a blaster and a belt of 6 grenades. The grenades give you a ‘free shot’ at your opponent. Prior to the first round of combat, you may throw in a grenade, which will do 1 die roll of damage to your opponent before combat commences. A blaster does 10 points of damage per hit.
You also see a selection of large rocket launchers, and may take one if you wish.

If you are ever in a situation where you think a rocket-launcher will be of use, minus 10 from the passage you are in at the time to find a new passage number.

Once you are finished, turn to 6


81


As the bear charges at you, you quickly pull out the rocket-launcher and power it up. You fire it directly at the charging bear, the recoil throwing you to the ground, the explosion sending a wave of heat and light sizzling over you.
You are uninjured and leap back to your feet again. A bloody, mangled heap lies in the centre of a steaming circle of bare rock. The bear is quite dead. However, climbing to his feet on the other side of the mess is the Royal Champion, singed, but whole. The bulk of the bear shielded him from much of the blast, and he limps forward with a glare, determined to finish you off.
You go to meet him.

ROYAL CHAMPION SKILL 8 STAMINA 12

The wounded champion is armed with a heavy mace that does 3 points of damage with each round he wins.

If you win, turn to 100


82


Quietly retreating, you leave the computer room and head back along the darkened corridor.

Turn to 9


83


“No, it’s mine and I don’t have to give it to you unless I want toߪand I don’t!” He takes an exaggerated swig of the bottle, and sends a loud and satisfied ‘Ahhh!’ tauntingly in your direction.
It seems that didn’t work.

Which haven’t you tried yet?
“Please, sir, may I trouble you for some of your fine ale?” Turn to 18
“Ale? Yuk! I hate the taste of alcohol!” Turn to 70


84


You twist the dial to full and quickly step aside. The barbarians bark in surprise at your sudden disappearance, but then make a few educated guesses that nearly sweep your head off.
You move away from them, and to your disconcertion see the barbarians follow after you as they catch glimpses of existence. Throwing caution to the wind, you engage them in combat, and finish them all off in short order, before turning off the QSPD.
You then turn to confront the black-robed official.

Don’t forget to minus 12 from your Stealth Points total.

Turn to 108


85


You step over to the console without any reaction. You examine the console and find it is locked, but there are two card slots here.

If you have finished here, turn to 82


86


Taking back the cards, you quietly retreat from the room and make your way back through the darkened passage to the room with the piece of mountain in it.

Turn to 9


87


As you draw near, one of the operators turns, and frowns, blinking a few times. “There’s a human,” he observes.
The other operators turn in their chairs and look at you. You smile at them. “Hi! Can you attack and apprehend me please? Please don’t let me go unharmed! I beg you!”
The barbarians look at each other. “I say we don’t apprehend him at all! Just leave him dying on the floor,” says one.
“I was going to attack him anyway,” another observes, “no matter what he says.”
The last one just snarls and pulls out a blaster, followed by the other two.

If you have 12 or more Stealth points left on your QPSD, turn to 77
Otherwise, turn to 62


88


You press the button, and the translator disappears from its compartment. You wait expectantly, and a moment later it drops out of the receiving chute into your waiting hands. It is a palm-sized rectangle of opaque glass with a glowing icon welcoming you to begin. If you think you have reached the time to use it, add 19 to the reference you are in at the time.
Putting the glass tablet away, you make your way back to the centre of the hall to consider your next option.

Turn to 50


89


You switch the QPSD to full, but the effect is only partial as the barbarians lunge at you. You flicker in and out of their perception, gaining an advantage over them as they hesitate, and often swing at where you were or will be rather than where you are.
You fight them bravely.

CONFUSED BARBARIAN SKILL 5 STAMINA 20
DISORIENTATED BARBARIAN SKILL 4 STAMINA 24
HESITANT BARBARIAN SKILL 4 STAMINA 18
PERPLEXED BARBARIAN SKILL 6 STAMINA 16

Fight them all at once. Don’t forget to minus your remaining Stealth Points. Once you send the last one flopping to the floor, turn to 108


90


While you are half-way along the passage, you see a patrolling barbarian coming the other way. You cannot go back, and will have to pass him.

Test your SKILL* by rolling 4 dice.
If you are Skilful, turn to 110
If you are Clumsy, turn to 104


91


Taking out the three golden tiles you set them into place, revealing three goddesses holding a sword and shield, a scroll, and a bear’s head. As soon as the picture is complete, there is a clank behind you, and with a grinding sound the wall behind the throne slides back, revealing an entrance to a glowing chamber.
You move through the opening and descend into a treasury. You gape at the wealth in gold and gems; amazed at the primitive nature of it all. Gold and gems! In this day and age! How passé!
In the midst of it all you find what you seek. It is a giant pool of boiling mud. In it hundreds of thick worms are oozing about, each one as long as your forearm and thicker than your thumb. At last! But how to transport them?
Finding a treasure chest, you dump out the embarrassing currency. You then start to fish worms out of the mud and cram them into the chest. When it is full, you close the lid and heft the heavy box onto your shoulder.
Ready to leave, you pause to listen for sounds of alarm. All is quiet. Too quiet. Even the storm outside seems to have stopped.
You climb up into the throne room, and stop in dismay. They are waiting for you. Ranks of weapon-bearing barbarians, lead by the king and his three officials.
“Ah, hi,” the king says nervously. “You shouldn’t be doing that.”
“I know,” you say regretfully. “Please punish me. I mean, you can’t just let me go. I know punishing me is what everyone else would do, but you at least have to be just like everyone else when someone tries to take something from your treasury.”
The king nods slowly. “That sounds reasonable, Iߪurk!”
The collar contracts until his head is removed. As the body is tossed off the walkway over the domed floor, the Royal Executioner in his black robes presses a button on a remote, making a robotic arm lower another slave from the ceiling.
“The king is dead!” declares the golden-robed chamberlain. “Long live the king!” The new king is coroneted on the spot with crown and collar.
A little annoyed, you address the three officials. “Look, can’t I just talk to you instead of going through this idiot? He doesn’t even know what is going on!”
“On the contrary!” the king interrupts. “I have keen powers of observation. Now then, I see that you are carrying a large treasure chest. The only reason someone would go to the trouble of bearing such a heavy load is if it contains something valuable. Gold? Jewels? I think not. For I observe that your hands and forearms are caked in mud. Thus, I conclude that you are stealing the worms that they feed to the Royal Slaves. Therefore I say: bravo! Please take them away! They taste disgusting. You men there, assist him!”
About a minute later a new king is crowned and looks around in confusion. “Er, what?”
“I’m stealing your worms!” you declare, “So, what are you going to do about it? Huh? Your predecessors have tried to punish me, and to let me take them away, both suggestions causing their reigns to come to an abrupt end! What will you say that is different?”
“Er, wellߪ” the king tugs at the collar with a finger. “Perhaps some sort of trial thenߪ?”
The Royal Champion steps forward, dressed in furs and armour, his helm has a golden shield on the brow. “Your Majesty! I will fight this thief in Trial-by-Combat!”
“That’s a little archaic, isn’t it?” the king asks, feeling more confident now. “I mean it’s customary to use robots toߪarrgh! Urrg!”
A short time later a new slave is crowned king, but before you can speak, the Champion steps forward again. “My Liege! Allow me to fight this criminal in Trial-by-Combat!”
“Umߪok?” the king announces.
The barbarians start muttering all at once, and several of them come forward to apprehend you and take the chest of worms away. You are escorted in the middle of a crowd through the palace and out through a side door.
Outside, the storm has stopped, and the night sky is bright with 6 large, blue moons and a generous scattering of stars. The light is reflected off the pure white snow left by the storm. On a flat plateau next to the stone palace, you see an ancient circle of stones, in which is a giant snow-bear. It stands twice as tall as you when it is on all fours, and is covered in thick, icy-tinged fur.
The Royal Champion goes over to the bear and climbs up its side; while the bear growls in irritation. Soon he takes his seat behind its shoulders and is handed a heavy mace.
“Where’s my bear?” you ask.
But you are thrust out alone into the large clear space. The chamberlain stands on a large flat rock and strikes his rod three times. “This human is charged with daring to usurp the throne, by eating the worms reserved only for royal mouthsߪ”
“I didn’t eat any of your stupid worms!” you say scornfully.
“Oh, really?” the Chamberlain asks in mock surprise. “Then we can just kill you. Guards!”
“I ate some! I ate some!” you scream.
“Excellent! Let the record show that the accused has admitted guilt on all charges!”
“I mean I can’t remember if I did or if I didn’t!” you correct.
“Hmm, very well,” the chamberlain agrees. You get the impression he is enjoying himself immensely. “We shall resolve the truth of the matter through Trial-by-Combat! If the accused is killed, it means he has indeed eaten the worms, and is entitled to join our royalty stock, but being dead, will have to forgo that honour. If he survives, then he proves that he did not eat any worms, and is thus a common intruder, whom we can put to death at our whim!”
“Hang on!” you say. This isn’t fair!”
“Combatants, prepare yourselves!”
“Wait! I also have a charge to make against all Barbarians of Crudia!” you declare.
This causes a murmuring, and the Chamberlain pauses. “What is your charge?”
“I accuse all of you!” you say, generously encompassing the assembly with you accusatory digit. “Of being exactly like everybody else!”
This causes an angry chorus of outrage. “Explain yourself!” the chamberlain demands.
“It’s like this,” you say, starting to pace with your hands behind your back. “Now, any society that practices Trial-by-Combat uses it to decide a verdict, then rewards the winner! The only way you can be different to everybody else is if, by killing your champion, I actually lose and have to be punished. And in punishing me, rather than giving me what I don’t want, give me precisely what I do want; in this case the worms! Therefore, I put all of you on Trial! I accuse you of being just like everybody else! The only way to prove me wrong is to make me lose by killing your champion!”
“Very well!” declares the chamberlain. “If you lose, by killing the champion, we shall punish you by setting you free with the Worms! But if you win, by being killed by our Champion, then we will reward him by giving him whatever he doesn’t want!”
At this the champion declares: “It would be an utter displeasure for me to have the woman with the largest breasts on the planet become my girl-friend!”
“So be it!” the chamberlain declares. “May the truth be known! Fight!”
At a command, the bear surges forward to attack youߪ

GIANT SNOW-BEAR SKILL 12 STAMINA 24

The bear’s enormous, claw-equipped paws do a single die-roll worth of damage with each round it wins.

If during the fight you roll a double number on a losing round, turn to 106
If during the fight you roll a double number on a winning round, turn to 124
Otherwise, if you kill the bear, turn to 115


92


You try to flee, but the long-limbed barbarians catch you before you reach the door, and the hacking commences. They enjoy themselves immensely, demonstrating a worrisome lack of empathy, since you don’t enjoy being hacked to pieces one little bit.

YOUR ADVENTURE ENDS HERE


93


You creep past the robot, who does not react. Hardly daring to breathe, you make your way to the next intersection.

Turn to 3


94


You crouch in the shadows and let the barbarian pass you by. Once he is gone, you breathe a sigh of relief and continue on your way.

Turn to 21


95


You take out the coin and slip it into the slot. The machine lights up, offering you a selection of goods. After looking them over carefully, you narrow it down to three potentially useful items:

A large silver flagon (turn to 73)
A Barbarian-to-Galactic-Standard translator (turn to 88)
A pair of robotic jumping-boots (turn to 99)


96


“Oh, I see,” you say, nodding your head in understanding. “You don’t know where the worm farm is or how to get to it, do you? Sorry, I thought you were someone important, instead of a button-pushing know-nothing.”
“I am the Royal Executioner!” he counters, indicating his black robes.
“Exactly!” you agree. “That’s the job they give to the stupidest person they can find, isn’t it? Because you’re only smart enough to press buttons!”
“If that was true, then you would be the Royal Executioner!”
You laugh gleefully. “You admitted it! You agreed you’re stupid!”
“I did no such thing!” the Royal Executioner thunders. “I was presenting a hypothetical to refute your claim that extreme stupidity is the prime requisite for the position of Royal Executioner!”
“Ha, ha! You’re stupid and you admitted it!”
“I did not!”
“Yes you did!” you jeer. “Otherwise you would know where the worm farm is like the other Executioners!”
“I do know! I have this!” He triumphantly pulls out a golden tile, flashing with diamonds. “See? You can’t get into the Treasury without this!”
You laugh again. “That is an obvious fake they gave you to keep you happy! I can’t believe how stupid you are!”
“I’m smarter than you!”
“Really? Then prove it! I couldn’t trick you into giving me the tile, so now you try it! You try and trick me into giving it to you.”
“Fine! Here!” He stalks over and hands you the tile.
You take it, and he turns to go back to his original post. “Now,” he says as he turns. “I will-” he stops in shock, then slaps his hand against his forehead as he sees you running away down the hall. “D’oh!”
You leap through the hanging sheet of light and are spat out the door in the robot. You stagger down the steps before going on your way. As you walk, you examine the tile. The golden square is inscribed with a bear’s head and inlaid with diamonds. It looks like part of a larger picture.
You slip it away and continue onwards.

If you reach somewhere where you want to use the gold and diamond tile, add 20 to the reference you are in at the time to find a new reference number to turn to.

Turn to 48


97


Taking out the translator, you use it to interact with the menu, exploring the current security settings. You find something which translates as: Royal Enclosure – Status: SEALED. You change it to ‘OPEN’ and hear a faint whirring in the distance. Something has happened.
Quickly retrieving your cards, you quietly retreat from the room. Reaching the peak chamber, you begin to search about quickly, hoping whatever it is does not reset before you get to it.

To quickly climb the peak, turn to 31
To enter the western exit, turn to 75
To enter the northern exit, turn to 65
To take the eastern exit, turn to 69


98


“Oh, I see. You don’t know where the worm farm is or how to get to it, do you? Sorry, I thought you were someone important, instead of a button-pushing know-nothing!”
“I am important, that’s why I’m wearing this,” he indicates the black robe. “I’m the royal executioner.”
“Ha! All you do is press buttons!” you taunt.
“Yes, the buttons of life and death. I don’t expect you to understand, you being inferior and all.”
“I’m not inferior!” you counter.
“Then how come you’re not as good as everyone else?” the barbarian asks scornfully.
“I am! I’m even better!” you declare.
“Keep telling yourself that, then,” the barbarian shrugs.
“I will! I meanߪbecause it’s true,” you say.
The barbarian shrugs. “Whatever you reckon.”
“I do reckon! Everyone knows I’m great!”
“Yes, so you keep saying, butߪ” he gestures towards you, as if your inferiority is apparent.
“I’m warning you!” you say. “Don’t push me, or you’ll be sorry!”
An expression of false sympathy fills his blue countenance. “I’m already sorry. So sorry that you are so pathetic and inferior!”
Infuriated, you attack him, and he pulls out an Energy Whip to combat you.

ROYAL EXECUTIONER SKILL 10 STAMINA 20

Every time the Royal Executioner wins a round, roll 1 die to see how much damage he does.
If you win, turn to 123


99


You press the button, and the robotic jumping boots disappear from their compartment. You wait expectantly, but they never drop out of the receiving chute. You bang the machine as hard as you dare, but nothing emerges.
Cursing, you have no option but to make your way back to the centre of the hall to consider your next option.

Turn to 50


100


With a final blow, you send the Champion crashing into the moon-lit snow, where he expires with a gurgle. Weary, but triumphant, you look around at the assembled barbarians.
The chamberlain in his golden robe comes forward and kicks the Champion before grunting. “He is dead.”
He looks at you, not very pleased. “Very well. By defeating your opponent, you have lost, and will be punished by being given what you desire most: the Worm Farm. We will place it on your ship, and you will get out of here.”
“My pleasure!” you affirm, grinning broadly.
“Is he ready for us now?” says a woman’s voice. “The rest of us are waiting.”
You turn to see a young, voluptuous woman, dressed in a long silken robe, not seeming to feel the cold.
“We will not be following our traditions on this occasion,” the chamberlain explains, “in case they are misconstrued as a reward. The human is leaving the planet now.” He turns away and starts issuing orders he doesn’t want obeyed.
The concubine looks annoyed. “You could have told me that before I told the women to start oiling themselves!”
“Wa?” you say.
Seeing your dismay, the concubine smiles. “Oh, didn’t you know? Anyone who wins a duel traditionally has to sleep with every woman in the palace in order to spread their virulent seed. But if you are leavingߪ” she shrugs helplessly.
“I don’t have to go right away!” you say.
The chamberlain rounds on you. “If you want those worms, you’ll leave as soon as we have them loaded onto your ship!”
“I have a few minutes!” you say desperately to the concubine.
“Sorry, human. You made your deal. I’ll just go and tell the women to de-oil. Such a waste; there are, after so, so many of us!”
The concubine smiles viciously, and leaves.
Feeling more like a tortured prisoner than a triumphant hero, you are dragged to your ship and forcibly thrust on board. You check the cargo bay and see that the barbarians have placed a huge clear plastic crate in the back. It is full of mud and squirming worms.
Reminding yourself that you are in love, you dismiss your grief at losing a palace-full of oiled women and power up your ship.

Turn to 127


101


You drag out the blaster, your fingers almost numb, and pull the trigger. With a hot flash that is stolen away by the storm, the weapon fires. But it is enough, and the robot collapses, dragging you to the ground.
You shoot at the arm holding you until you can tear it free, and then hurry back inside, thumping the door mechanism. The doors scrape closed and you lie on the floor, shivering. You have come close to death (lower your initial STAMINA by 2).
Eventually the relative warmth of the palace warms you, and you get up to pull your arm free of the robotic arm and continue your mission.

Turn to 27


102


While you are half-way along the passage, you see a patrolling barbarian coming the other way. You cannot go back, and will have to pass him.

Test your SKILL* by rolling 4 dice.
If you are Skilful, turn to 94
If you are Clumsy, turn to 117


103


“If you let me go, I will steal the barbarians’ worm farm. Imagine the trouble that will cause! By letting me go, you will inconvenience a planet instead of just one person.”
“Your suggestion is illogical and impractical,” the robot says. “Your chances of succeeding are minimal. Therefore it is better if I hold you here until you die, then I will go and steal the worm farm myself. That way I shall inconvenience both the planet and you; a net gain of 1.”
“But I’m a hero!” you say. “I have saved planets and countless lives!”
“I find that hard to believe,” the robot replies.

If you played The Hypertrout and were awarded the 10-pointed-star medal of ChaChing for saving lives in the pursuit of profit, then turn to 122

Otherwise, you had best try something else:
If you have a blaster and would like to shoot the robot, turn to 121
If you want to tell the robot that you have changed your mind, and would in fact be very happy to remain standing next to him forever, turn to 114


104


You crouch in the shadows as the barbarian draws near.
“Hey! Who are you?” he demands.
Despite making an enquiry, he appears totally disinterested in the answer as he levels his Blast Rod and comes at you.

BARBARIAN SKILL 9 STAMINA 16

The barbarian does 2 points of damage with each round that he wins, and your SKILL is lowered by 2 for the next round only.

If you win, turn to 118


105


You creep past the slave, who never diverts his attention from his vital task. Soon you are well past him and out of range of detainment.

Turn to 21


106


As the bear swipes at you, its claws ripping you painfully, one claw snags on your clothing. The bear tries to pull away, dragging you through the snow. Enraged, it stands up on its hind legs. The cloth finally tears free, dumping you on the ground.
As you scramble to your feet, you see that the Royal Champion has also become dislodged, but is unharmed.
The bear drops back onto its front paws and lunges at you with a roar. To make matter worse, the Champion joins in with his massive mace.

Fight them both at once.

GIANT SNOW-BEAR SKILL 12 STAMINA ?* Damage: 1 die-roll
ROYAL CHAMPION SKILL 10 STAMINA 20 Damage: 3 points

*The Bear’s STAMINA is whatever is remaining from the previous stage of the battle.

If you win, turn to 100


107


Entering the shadowed entrance, you see a doorway of shimmering light in the chest of the large robot that stands in the centre of the chamber. The front of its slab-like body has folded down, revealing a stairway leading up to the shimmering rectangle of light.
You quickly move forward and climb the stairs. You pause on the threshold and hold your breath before plunging through. You can see nothing, and feel like you are being sucked into a powerful stream. For a moment it feels like you are going to be burnt by a terrific heat, but the whole thing is over in a second, and you stagger out of another rectangle of light into a grand hall.
Silver pillars shaped into whales rise up from a floor of translucent turquoise, supporting a vaulted ceiling of softly luminous pearl. There are dim doorways beyond the whale-pillars, but excited sounds draw you onwards to the main chamber at the far end of the hall.
There you find an enormous bedchamber. On a dais is a huge four-poster bed, each post as thick as your body, carved into a tree-shape, delicate boughs interlacing to form the canopy above.
Spread over the satin sheets is a sea of nubile barbarian maidens, their curvaceous bodies glistening with oil as they throng around a miserable-looking human, his rags cast aside, wearing only crown and collar.
Seeing you, his eyes light up. “Help me!” he pleads as the maidens give him their enthusiastic attention.
But you are gaping, immobilised by a surging passion, until you hear a command: “Don’t kill him! He’s my friend!”
Immediately four barbarians that you didn’t notice earlier rush at you, each wielding a lasersword with a blazing red edge. Standing near the bed is the black-robed Executioner.
As the guards descend on you, you reach for the dial of your QPSDߪ

If you have 12 points or more left on your QPSD, turn to 84
If you have 6 to 11 points inclusive, turn to 89
If you have 5 or fewer points, turn to 92


108


You move past the guards. (If you wish you can pick up one of their laser-swords.) The black-robed official scowls at you. “What do you want, human?”
“Give me the worm farm and I’ll stop making trouble for you!” you say.
“You know we love trouble,” he says unconvincingly. “We aren’t like everyone else.”
“Listen,” you begin. “Why don’t-“
“I don’t have to listen to you unless I want to; and I don’t!” the barbarian sneers.
“Fine, don’t listen then!” you snap.
“Maybe I want to listen now!” he says defiantly. “Go on! Talk!”
“Let’s just make a deal, I must have something you want.”
“You don’t, and even if you did, I would never give you the wormfarm!”
“Fine! Don’t give it to me!” you say.
“I’ll give it to you if I want to!” the barbarian spits. “ButߪI don’t want to,” he finishes with a smug grin.

How will you reply?
“I know you won’t give it to me, because the others would be upset with you, and you are too scared to do that because you want everyone to like you.” Turn to 60
“Giving me the worm-farm is such a good idea; but you don’t understand why because you’re stupid! If you were smart you’d give it to me, but you aren’t so you won’t!” Turn to 125
“Oh, I see. You don’t know where the worm farm is or how to get to it, do you? Sorry, I thought you were someone important, instead of a button-pushing know-nothing!” Turn to 98


109


You quietly open the door and slip inside to a set of luxurious chambers. No one is in sight. You creep cautiously about, and discover a number of rooms leading off from a high-ceilinged hall.
Suddenly you hear a voice.
“Robot!” it barks. “Bring me some cold water! But don’t bring it right away, and whatever you do, don’t you dare bring me a mug of hot coffee sweetened with sugar!”
“Up yours, sir” buzzes a robot, and you press yourself into a doorframe as a small robot servant whirrs out a doorway right past you, heading for the kitchens.
Once it is gone, you tiptoe over to the doorway and risk a gander. Seated at a large desk in a book-lined study and writing with an archaic quill is the golden robed chamberlain you saw attending the king.
You retreat back to the shadowed doorway.

If you want to wait for the robot to return, turn to 10
If you want to search the unoccupied rooms, turn to 39


110


You crouch in the shadows and let the barbarian pass you by. Once he is gone, you breathe a sigh of relief and continue on your way.

Turn to 30


111


You emerge victorious and look about nervously. There are no sounds of alarm, and guessing that the barbarians will do nothing (since everyone else would do something) you continue on your way.
You may take the barbarian’s laser sword with you if you wish.

Turn to 21


112


The cold freezes you solid and your body is slowly worn away by the wind, your soul becoming one of those that scream warnings to all who come to Crudia. The robot soon goes back inside, its pleasure circuits buzzing warmly. It alone knows your fate, but will never tell anyone, in case such information is helpful.

YOUR ADVENTURE ENDS HERE


113


As you walk along the corridor, you see ahead a robot standing in the shadows.

To talk to the robot, turn to 120
To sneak past, test your LUCK* by rolling 3 dice
If you are Lucky, turn to 93
If you are Unlucky, turn to 120


114


“Actually, I don’t want to steal the worm farm anymore. I think it will be easier to stand right here next to you. Yep, that’s what I want to do.”
The robot beeps. “I believe you are lying, however, I know a way to inconvenience you regardless of your desires.”
It suddenly begins walking, and you are dragged after it. You try to pull against it, then trip it over. But it is heavy and strong, and takes you to the front entrance, where it activates the door control.
“What are you doing?” you ask as the doors open, and cold slices through the crack, cutting you to the bone.
“If you wish to go free, I shall imprison you. If you wish to stand next to me, I shall make such proximity lethal. Thus, I shall fulfil my function,” it buzzes happily, and drags you out into the howling storm.
The cold immediately penetrates to your core, and you feel yourself freezing. You will be dead in seconds!
The storm steals your hearing and vision. Your voice is swept away. You must do something or die!

If you have a blaster, turn to 101
Otherwise, turn to 112


115


With a mighty blow, you fell the bear, which collapses to the ground, its life-blood colouring the snow. The Champion climbs off the steaming corpse and swings his mace.
“You are stronger than I expected! But now, you will die!”
He leaps forward, and the fight is on.

ROYAL CHAMPION SKILL 10 STAMINA 20

The Champion will inflict 3 points of damage with each round that he wins.

If you win, turn to 100


116


As you near the human, he turns and looks straight at you. “Why hello,” he begins, but then gasps and sneezes all over you. You feel light-headed as potent microbes burrow into your pores.
Great! Now you have a Crudian cold! Reduce your SKILL by 1.
Cursing, you continue on your way.

Turn to 21


117


You crouch in the shadows as the barbarian draws near.
“Hey! Who are you?” he demands.
Despite making the enquiry, he appears totally disinterested in the answer as he draws a lasersword and fills the darkened passage with its red glare as he comes at you.

BARBARIAN SKILL 9 STAMINA 16

The barbarian does 4 points of damage with each round that he wins.
If you win, turn to 111


118


You emerge victorious and look about nervously. There are no sounds of alarm, and guessing that the barbarians will do nothing (since everyone else would do something) you continue on your way.
You may take the barbarian’s Blast Rod with you if you wish.

Turn to 30


119


As you transverse the corridor, you see a slave up ahead. It is a human, who has a large bag of rubbish. He appears to be hard at work scattering refuse about the floor. A human! Surely he will be on your side?

If you want to talk to him, turn to 116

To sneak past, test your LUCK* by rolling 2 dice.
If you are Lucky, turn to 105
If you are Unlucky, turn to 116


120


As you draw near, the robot turns its photoreceptors towards you and beeps amiably.
“Greetings! I am an Inconvenio-2000. How may I be of assistance?”
“Tell me everything you know about the king’s worm farm, how it is secured and information on every security system in the palace,” you suggest.
“Yes, sir. The king’s worm farm is located in a secret room upstairs. The way is guarded by a large robot, which must be destroyed before the secret door will open. The robot may look like a fierce opponent, but is actually extremely weak.”
“Great! Thanks!” you say, and step around the robot. Suddenly it reaches out and fixes one grasping module around your arm. “What?” you say.
“Nothing,” the robot beeps.
“Why are you holding my arm?” you ask, trying unsuccessfully to pull yourself free.
“You seemed to want to leave,” it explains.
“Then let me go!” you say, struggling in earnest.
“Sorry, sir. But I must follow my programming. Well, I’m not really sorry about it.”
“What sort of robot are you?” you demand. “What is your primary function?”
“I am an Inconvenio-2000. I am directed to impede, disrupt and mislead at every opportunity.”
“Who would make such a stupid robot?” you ask, still trying to free yourself.
“Don’t you know where you are?” the robot chides.
Unfortunately, it makes sense. Robots are built to make our lives easier; so of course the barbarians build robots to make life more difficult.

If you have a blaster and would like to shoot the robot, turn to 121
If you want to explain that since you are trying to steal the worm farm, by letting you go the robot can cause great inconvenience to the people of Crudia, then turn to 103
If you want to tell the robot that you have changed your mind, and would in fact be very happy to remain standing next to him forever, turn to 114


121


You whip out your blaster, but before you can menace the robot with it, it lashes out and grabs the blaster with its other grasping module, and crushes the weapon. When you pull the trigger and the blaster explodes (minus 10 STAMINA).
You stagger in the robot’s grasp, only keeping your feet because it remains immobile. Your blaster is now useless, and you cast it aside, your body covered in burns.

What now?
If you want to explain that since you are trying to steal the worm farm, by letting you go the robot can cause great inconvenience to the people of Crudia, then turn to 103
If you want to tell the robot that you have changed your mind, and would in fact be very happy to remain standing next to him forever, turn to 114


122


You show the robot the medal pinned to your chest. “See this? It’s from the Merchant prince of Amorphonon 12. Awarded to me for heroic endeavours!”
“Like what?” the robot asks, scepticism clear on its countenance module.
“I’m not really supposed to say, but it involved disappearances in hyperspace and giant fish.”
“Giant fish?”
“Yeah. There was a race of fish-people swimming around in hyperspace and eating the crews of ships. That’s why some ships disappear during hyperspace transit. Except they don’t report it.”
“You are mad,” the robot says.
“No, it’s true!”
The robot suddenly releases you. “An insane human wandering about will cause great trouble! Off you go!”
Having got what you want, you say no more, but hasten down the remainder of the corridor.

Turn to 3


123


You execute the Executioner with your superior skills and look down on his corpse in triumph. You turn to the king to tell him he is free, but he is currently being smothered by globular breasts.
In any case, you can’t defeat an entire military-industrial complex by killing one official. No doubt he will be replaced soon. So you make the best of it and search the corpse.
Apart from several remotes that defy your understanding with their lack of labels, you find only a golden tile inscribed with a bear’s head and inlaid with diamonds. It looks like part of a larger picture. You can also take his Energy Whip.
Time to be going. You leave the bedchamber, hurry along the hall and jump through the rectangle of light. You are spat out the door in the robot and stagger down the steps before going on your way.

If you reach somewhere where you want to use the gold and diamond tile, add 20 to the reference you are in at the time to find a new reference number to turn to.

Turn to 48


124


You strike at the bear’s leg just as it is putting its weight onto it. Your blow is sufficient to make the bear stumble, then trip. As it rolls over, the Champion is thrown to the ground and lands heavily, something cracking.
He cries out and clutches at his leg. He grips his mace, and manages to stand, but does not join in the attack, clearly hoping the bear will finish you off.
The bear has climbed back onto its paws and lunges at you with a roar.

Fight the bear, then the barbarian.

GIANT SNOW-BEAR SKILL 12 STAMINA ?* Damage: 1 die-roll
ROYAL CHAMPION SKILL 8 STAMINA 16 Damage: 3 points

*The Bear’s STAMINA is whatever is remaining from the previous stage of the battle.

If you win, turn to 100


125


“Giving me the worm-farm is such a good idea; but you don’t understand why because you’re stupid! If you were smart you’d give it to me, but you aren’t so you won’t!” you say.
The official looks irritated. “You think it’s a good idea, but if you were even smarter, like I am, you would see that what seems like a good idea to someone of moderate intelligence is actually a bad idea when considered with the intellect of an utter genius like me!”

Good answer! Well, what haven’t you tried yet?
How will you reply?
“I know you won’t give it to me, because the others would be upset with you, and you are too scared to do that because you want everyone to like you.” Turn to 60
“Oh, I see. You don’t know where the worm farm is or how to get to it, do you? Sorry, I thought you were someone important, instead of a button-pushing know-nothing.” Turn to 96


126


The torture-bot focuses its optical sensors on the medal pinned to your chest.
“I want that!” it announces.
“No, it’s mine!” you say defensively.
“Come on,” the robot urges. “What do you want for it?”
“Can you recharge this?” you ask, showing him the QPSD.
After a brief examination, the torture-bot affirms that it can recharge the QPSD, and restore all your Stealth Points, if you give it the medal.

If you do so, restore your Stealth Points to 100

When you have finished, you can leave by turning to 3


127


As your ship soars away and prepares itself for the leap into hyperspace, you sigh. You have completed your mission, but are still regretful of lost opportunities. But before you can really start to wallow in self-pity, you get the impression that someone is trying to sneak up on you from behind.
Spinning about in the chair, you catch sight of the intruder. It is a barbarian woman, her long elegant body adorned with six large attributes. Long black hair falls in shining waves around an oval face and graceful limbs. She is even wearing a tight gown made of silver fish scales!
She is also holding a large spanner, which she hides behind her back sheepishly.
“Oh, I am discovered!”
“You certainly are a discovery,” you say, drooling.
The woman gestures helplessly, looking distressed. “I just had to get away from there! I hate cold! I want to go somewhere warm. Please just take me with you and let me off somewhere! I’ll do anything you like!”
You start to giggle uncontrollably.
“What’s so funny?” the woman demands.
A few minutes later you are able to reply and say: “It’s just that you are so beautiful.”
The woman looks offended. “How dare you!”
Oh, so she’s not that different from the rest of her kind. You fold your arms and frown. “If I wasn’t in a hurry I would toss you out of the airlock. I suppose I can take you where you want to go. But don’t you dare take off your clothes! And if I catch you oiling your body I will be very annoyed! There is nothing I hate more than the attention of such an ugly woman as you, especially when she is naked and oiled!”
“Oh, really?” she says, her eyes shining. “I’ll be back in a minute.”
You let her go, and turn up the heating.
You’ve done it! Days later the worms are in the possession of the Nebulons, who thank you gratefully, at length, and in poetic verse. The treemaids are likewise ecstatic, and listen with admiration to your embellished accounts of how you won the worms from the clutches of the barbarians. All too soon though it is time to be going. Queen Hotbutt gives you a letter formally acknowledging that you have fulfilled any and all obligations to them. You leave Teeheehee full of hope for the future, and full of dreams of your ex- and future girlfriend*!

THE END

But the adventure will continue in:

RETURN TO G15-275!


* She doesn’t need to know about the barbarian woman. After all, you were out of contract when that happened, so it’s utterly irrelevant. I mean, you don’t tell someone every single detail of your life, no matter how close you are to them, right? Right!