More from the party's attempt to recover the Crown of Kings...
The climb up the slopes of Xamen was relatively straightforward. You know the kind of uneventful session. One that begins with a terrible rainstorm, which leaves the party seeking the shelter in a cave. And in true Fighting Fantasy style the party have the option of three cave entrances; one so small it would need to be crawled through, one reeking with a terrible musky stink, and one with a path of tottering hoof-prints leading inside. And that’s the one that they chose, within which they found a dead SHE-SATYR, body distorted by terrible muscle spasms. The party innovated with the materials at hand, and decided to prop the rigid body up in the cave entrance to serve as a kind of scarecrow. Unfortunately, the She-Satyr had crawled into the cave to die from a terrible disease, and the party contracted the Dire Tremblings (which slowly began eating away at their SKILL). Yes, that kind of straightforward; contracting a deadly disease within twenty minutes or so of starting play!
Knowing that there was a village of She-Satyrs somewhere higher in the mountains, the party decided carry the body with them, and amazingly (for these players) engaged respectfully (respectfully?!) with the village shaman. The She-Satyrs were careful not to touch any of the diseased party, but gave them hospitality and a few gifts - including a spear - before ushering them out of the village before nightfall. They were advised that Colletus, a holy man living higher in the mountains might be able to help. And, sure enough, in the rough alcove within which the party sought shelter after dark there was a message from Colletus. Written on the stone, it advised travellers to turn back, but that if they must go on they could find him near the Groaning Bridge.
After resting there for the night, the party pushed onwards and upwards. They soon came to a vast crevice, along the edge of which the path continued towards Mampang. There was, however, what appeared to be a rope swing that could take them across the chasm. The party discussed the safest way to use the rope swing, before inspiration struck: they don't HAVE to try to mess with every thing they encounter - certainly not in a game built on a Steve Jackson gamebook!
The party soon arrived at the Groaning Bridge. With rare appreciation of the treacherous nature of Titan, the party decided that they should tie a rope to Ho Lee and send him, cautiously, across. Sure enough, the bridge made a human groaning sound which grew loader and more agonised with every step, until - POP! - the bridge vanished beneath Ho Lee's feet. He dropped down, before the rope grew tight and swung him against the crevice wall. But he twisted his body [making a SKILL roll] and absorbed most of the blow. Mopsy and Cramer hauled Ho Lee out of the hole and, after catching their breath, decided to call out across the chasm for Colletus.
The blind holy man - eyelids painted with startlingly staring eyes - appeared from around a corner, mere yards further up the path. He tried to persuade them to turn back, that Mampang contained only death and misery, but the party were insistent. Convinced by their noble cause, Colletus led them across the crevice so that they could talk in safety. He cured them of the Dire Tremblings, before providing them with advice on the interior of the Fortress of Mampang, warning them of the deadly Throben Doors. However, it had been many years since his own attempt to kill the Archmage, and what he could remember was vague. Seeing the spear given to the party by the She-Satyrs, he enchanted it so that it would be particularly harmful to the evil residents of the Fortress [though as no-one has the Spear Special Skill, going 'by the book' it will still be hard for the PCs to hit anything particularly scary with it - perhaps I should have had Colletus enchant their swords...]. He then gave the party directions that would allow them to approach Mampang by a little used route.
The Fortress of Mampang sits within the crater of a dormant volcano. The party approached a narrow tunnel through the crater wall. From inside, they could hear snoring. Cramer, the most stealthy of the party, took a look inside; four guards slumped asleep, discarded jars of wine scattered on the floor. After discussing for some time on the best way to sneak the whole party past the sleeping guards, Cramer - devotee of Slangg, God of Malice, remember - decided to sneak up on the sleeping guards and slit their throats. The party stole the black and silver armour of the Mampang guards, but Cramer's reward for her 'heroism' was to be disguised as a prisoner and 'dragged' by Mopsy and Ho Lee to the vast, foreboding doors of the Fortress.
The party near their goal...