|Series:||Hero's Challenge: Sagard the Barbarian #2||Authors:||Gary Gygax|
|Illustrators:||Richard Corben (American cover)|
Leslie Morrill (interior)
|Summary:||You are the only survivor of a Ratikkan trading expedition to the southern city of Suthorp. Once you arrive in the city, you are offered a mission to venture into an ancient tomb and destroy an evil hydra.|
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|The first part of this book, which involves a trek though a marsh and some encounters in the city of Suthorp, is very much like the first book. Fights are not too tough (though in some cases bad strategy may seriously hinder the player) and hit points are replenished after every battle, so difficulty is once again low (except for one non-mandatory battle which, in contrast, is almost impossible to win, also marred by a badly-explained mass combat system). The routes through the first part do not offer much in terms of meaningful variety. Things get a bit more interesting once the city is reached, with a few interesting choices and puzzles. The final part of the adventure, however, is radically different from the rest. It involves a dungeon-crawl, and this time the player's health is not constantly replenished. Even though many healing items and power-ups will ensure this part of the adventure is not too hard to get through, it's still more interesting than the rest of the book. The player has freedom to navigate the dungeon using a map, and if the route is not chosen carefully, it is possible to become trapped and fail. In spite of this, the dungeon is not too hard.
Despite the fact that throughout most of the book the encounters are designed for a Level 3 character, it's easy to reach Level 4 in this adventure, which only contributes to its easiness.
In this book the player character develops an attachment to a female character, which is only for the better. While in most fantasy gamebooks the only passions that seem to move characters are fighting and collecting treasure, it's good to see human relationships being explored here, even if it's done in an amateurish and crude way.
Leslie Morrill's illustrations are better than those in the first volume, and contribute greatly to the setting's detail.
This book shouldn't take more than one or two tries to get through. Even though I'm not really pleased with the challenge level, I must admit this adventure offers a detailed setting, and the dungeon part is rather well done even if it could have been much better with a higher difficulty. Overall, while far from being at the level of the Lone Wolf series, this is a better book than its predecessor and something of a boost in quality in this rather weak series.
|Special Thanks:||Thanks to Guillermo Paredes for the plot summary.|
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twar: American edition, with store stamp on first page, otherwise in great shape.
Hero's Challenge: Sagard the Barbarian #1 - #2 Character Sheet
Hero's Challenge: Sagard the Barbarian #2 Hydra Tomb Map
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