Lone Wolf Begins

After playing through quite a bit of the Fabled Lands “Fighting Fantasy” style choose-your-own-adventure module, I decided it was not a good choice for our collaborative effort.

So instead I special ordered a copy of the old “Lone Wolf” series of similar games, the very first in the cycle, called “Flight from the Dark”, by Joe Dever and Gary Chalk. So break out your nightlights, check under the bed, and get ready to flee the night, my friends.

You are the sole survivor of a devastating attack on the monastery where you were learning the skills of the Kai Lords. You swear vengeance on the Darklords for the massacre of the Kai warriors, and with a sudden flash of insight you know what you must do. You must set off on a perilous journey to the capital city to warn the King of the terrible threat that faces his people. For you are now the last of the Kai — you are now LONE WOLF.

Apparently when you graduate to being a Kai Lord you get to have your name appear in all caps. Which is quite the honor, believe me.

Using the random dice roller provided by Wizards of the Coast, I’ve randomly outfitted us for adventure. Our “Kai Disciplines” are Camouflage, Sixth Sense, Weaponskill: Spear, Mind Blast, and Animal Kinship. I suspect we were a rough-and-tumble frontier kid, trained as a poor but elite warrior with both weapons and psionics, a link between the gross material world of animals and men, and the more refined world of the mind.

Or something like that.

We’ve got an axe and a mace (apparently all that mental wizardry didn’t lead us to picking up our chosen weapon of a spear, but whatever), a map of the general realm, a belt pouch with a whopping One gold crown (hence the poor part), and enough food for one meal. We’re good with combat and somewhat hardy.

Here’s “The Story So Far”:

In the northern land of Sommerlund, it has been the custom for many centuries to send the children of the Warrior Lords to the monastery of Kai. There they are taught the skills and disciplines of their noble fathers.

The Kai monks are masters of their art, and the children in their charge love and respect them in spite of the hardships of their training. For one day when they have finally learnt the secret skills of the Kai, they will return to their homes equipped in mind and body to defend themselves against the constant threat of war from the Darklords of the west.

In olden times, during the Age of the Black Moon, the Darklords waged war on Sommerlund. The conflcit was a long and bitter trial of strength that ended in victory for the Sommlending at the great battle of Maakengorge. King Ulnar and the allies of Durenor broke the Darklord armies at the pass of Moytura and forced them back into the bottomless abyss of Maakengorge. Vashna, mightiest of the Darklords, was slain upon the sword of King Ulnar, called “Sommerswerd”, the sword of the sun. Since that age, the Darklords have vowed vengeance upon Sommerlund and the House of Ulnar.

Now it is in the morning of the feast of Fehmarn, when all of the Kai Lords are present at the monastery for the celebrations. Suddenly a great black cloud comes from out of the western skies. So many are the numbers of the black-winged beasts that fill the sky, that the sun is completely hidden. The Darklords, ancient enemy of the Sommlending, are attacking. War has begun.

On this fateful morning, you, Silent Wolf (the name given to you by the Kai) have been sent to collect firewood in the forest as a punishment for your inattention in class. As you are preparing to return, you see to your horror a vast clopud of black leathery creatures swoop down and engulf the monastery.

Dropping the wood, you race to the battle that has already begun. But in the unnatural dark, you stumble and strike your head on a low tree brnach. As you lose consciousness, the last thing that you see in the poor light are the walls of the monastery crashing to the ground.

Many hours pass before you awake. With tears in your eyes you now survey the scene of destruction. Raising your face to the clear sky, you swear vengeance on the Darklords for the massacre of the Kai warriors, and with a sudden flash of realization you know what you must do. You must set off on a perilous journey to the capital city to warn the King of the terrible threat that now faces his people. For you are now the last of the Kai — you are now the Lone Wolf.

You must make haste for you sense it is not safe to linger by the smoking remains of the ruined monastery. The black-winged beasts could return at any moment. You must set out for the Sommerlund capital of Holmgard and tell the King the terrible news of the massacre: that the whole elite of Kai warriors, save yourself, have been slaughtered. Without the Kai Lords to lead her armies, Sommerlund will be at the mercy of their ancient enemy, the Darklords.

Fighting back tears, you bid farewell to your dead kinsmen. Silently, you promise that their deaths will be avenged. You turn away from the ruins and carefully descend the steep track.

At the foot of the hill, the path splits into two directions, both leading into a large wood.

Can’t wait to see which way you all want to go!

(All quoted words, concepts, and art ©1984 by Joe Dever and Gary Chalk. I highly encourage you to go out and buy a back copy of these books for yourself if you enjoy the samples you’re getting!)

12 Responses to Lone Wolf Begins

  1. I used to love these books. Can’t wait to kill some Giaks.

  2. I haven’t ever read them before, Nate, I’m looking forward to it. Glad to hear it gets an endorsement from you!

  3. Sadly, this series goes off the rail a bit in the second adventure when Lone Wolf gets the Sommerswerd (weird spelling). That gives him a +8 to +10 bonus to his combat skill, which meant all but the climatic battles were no trouble. They tried to balance that out by adding in climactic battles with highly-skilled bosses in each book and putting you in situations where you temporarily lose all your possessions, but it still felt unbalanced because nine times out of ten you could kill anything in your path. It’s like you went from being a padwan Jedi to Obi-Wan way too fast.

    They kind of beat that problem with the Grey Star series (which is much shorter – four books to Lone Wolf’s twelve), where the protagonist never had too much power.

    Yeah, I’m a geek who read these too many times. Here’s someone who is worse tha compiled an encyclopedia on all things Magnamund:
    http://www.lw-oasis.org/oasis-archive/

  4. Interesting they just worked on and released a “Multiplayer” derived version of the Lone Wolf game rules. (Mongoose Publishing, along with Joe Dever.) It’s still pretty much the same system but with a few tweaks. I’m waiting on the Magnamund Companion since it will add more classes than just the Kai Lord.

    I adore the books. Anyone familiar with Project Aeon? Or the Re-releases? Mongoose managed a Hardcover IIRC>

  5. @TheNate: Spoiler alert, please!

    I know that I’m over-thinking this. First thing would be to head straight for the capital without using Kai. Call it what you want: “seek and destroy”, “clean and sweep”, “mopping up.” Any army, magical or no, will send in a clean-up crew. They would be looking for signs of survivors. They’d spot your aura then call in an airstrike.

  6. AtomicPunk – These books have been out for 20 years. If you haven’t read ‘em yet, that’s on you.

    Sixth sense takes almost no time and doesn’t leave a signature. The one second it takes could save you hours from going in the wrong direction.

  7. “Silent Wolf (the name given to you by the Kai) have been sent to collect firewood in the forest as a punishment for your inattention in class”

    “you stumble and strike your head on a low tree branch”

    “With tears in your eyes you now survey the scene of destruction.”

    So… basically… our character has Attention Deficit Disorder, got his butt kicked by a tree branch and then he cried …

    Is it just me or this game is gonna rock?!

    ;)

  8. Oh heavens does it rock. :D

  9. A spear we need a spear! And some vodka for our low spirits.

  10. Normally, TheNate, I’d agree that 20 year old books don’t need spoiler alerts, but since we’re actually playing through the book (and if it goes well, we could be playing more of the books)….

  11. No point in havign psychical powers if ya don’t use ‘em!

    I only ever played a book of the Road Warrior series by Joe Dever. Ah, good old ‘the eighties’! Never had to wait long for another post-apocalyptic book/game/movie/comic.

  12. Good choice, Jeff. These books do indeed rock.

    @TheNate: there are actually 28 Lone Wolf books, but only 20 were/are available in the States. I heare there’s plans to release 4 new ones, also…