The Reliques of Tolti-Aph — 25 of 57

Graham Nelson

Release 1

Section S(d) - The Broken Lane and the Spiders

The Broken Lane is north of Fallen Tree. "This must once have been a north-south thoroughfare, but now it is as cracked as a fishmonger's face. Even the old paving has given out, and its place is taken by stolen tombstones."

Instead of going nowhere from the Broken Lane, say "Though the humps around the lane - half-masonry, half-tree boles - must once have been public buildings, they are impenetrable now. Perhaps further on to the north."

The stolen tombstones are scenery in the Broken Lane. The description of the stolen tombstones is "These tombstones have clearly been dug up, carted here and thrown carelessly down into something that somebody very careless might, charitably, call a roadway. Frankly, they are a mess, broken up like so much biscuit." Effect of casting mend at the stolen tombstones: record outcome "which make a half-hearted attempt to set all right, but the task is way beyond so basic a spell"; if the broken half-brick is fixed in place begin; now the broken half-brick is portable; move the broken half-brick to the player; end if; rule succeeds.

The broken half-brick is fixed in place. The half-brick is clay.[1] Understand "brick" as the broken half-brick.

The flame-blackened door is west of the Broken Lane and east of the Sunken Courtyard East. The flame-blackened door is a closed openable door. "Set into the slab-sided [if the location is the Broken Lane]western cutting of the lane[otherwise]eastern apex of the courtyard[end if] is a flame-blackened door, no more than four feet high." The flame-blackened door is lockable and locked. The flame-blackened door is wood. The matching key of the flame-blackened door is the eight-legged key. Effect of casting mend at the flame-blackened door: record outcome "which gives off an air of superiority - in so far as doors can do such a thing - and somehow communicates to you that it [italic type]likes[roman type] being flame-blackened, thank you very much. Gives a door a certain air, a certain rakehell dash"; rule succeeds. The eight-legged key is metal.

The flame-blackened door is inscribable. Check writing it on: if the second noun is the flame-blackened door, say "In paintings of ruined cities, bronze-limbed shepherds stand around pointing nobly at the sunset while half-fallen viaducts and temples of perfect white marble complement the sward. Typically, they are not seen scrawling graffiti over the remains, and neither are you."

Knocking on is an action applying to one thing. Instead of knocking on something, say "That would accomplish little, beyond the pleasures of percussion." Understand "knock [something]" or "knock on [something]" as knocking on. Instead of knocking on the flame-blackened door, say "You knock, but - and perhaps this might have been foreseen, since the city has been abandoned for uncountable centuries - apparently nobody is home." Instead of taking the flame-blackened door, say "I sense that you'd really like to be the proud owner of this somewhat charred but otherwise presumably STILL WOODEN piece of wood: unfortunately, it is fixed in place."[2]

A room can be werespider-infested. Sunken Courtyard East, Sunken Courtyard North, Sunken Courtyard West and Sunken Courtyard South are werespider-infested. Effect of casting detect trap at in a werespider-infested room: record outcome "but really, the whole place - scuttling with eerie shadows and scratchings - is so obviously a trap that no spell could be needed to tell you so. Hideous, half-blind werespiders must be everywhere"; rule succeeds.

The Sunken Courtyard East is a room. "This is the eastern corner of a sunken courtyard, perhaps fifty yards on a side, which is surrounded by impenetrable walls of masonry so that it might as well be an arena. A disconcerting thought, to be sure: but not quite so disconcerting as the wispy strands you recognise as the tell-tale signs of werespider incursion. This is a dangerous place. The central fountain-grove lies west, while the shadowy edges of the courtyard extend northwest and southwest." Before going from Sunken Courtyard East for the first time, award 10 points.

The Sunken Courtyard North is northwest of the Sunken Courtyard East. "This northern apex of the Courtyard is ruinously overrun by webs, husks, and a whitened compote of bones and chitin." In Sunken Courtyard North is some ring mail.

The Sunken Courtyard West is southwest of the Sunken Courtyard North. "Is it a coincidence that this western apex of the Courtyard is the only one retaining some semblance of its original purpose? A flight of steps leads southward and up to what looks like an old workshop."

A person can be poisoned or unpoisoned. Every turn when the player is poisoned: if the location is the Sanctum Sanctorum begin; now the player is unpoisoned; say "With profound relief you realise that entrance into sanctuary has purged your blood of poison."; stop; end if; decrease the strength of the player by 1; if the strength of the player < 5, say "You feel weakened by some inner corruption. Only the peace of sanctuary can cure this."; if the player is killed, end the game saying "You have been poisoned".

The Apothecary's Workshop is above Sunken Courtyard West. The Apothecary's Workshop is south of Sunken Courtyard West. "Many hundreds of tiny bright eyes follow you from the shadows of this ancient workshop, which seems once to have been where the local apothecary mixed, ground and filtered his wares. At least, that was his day job; you have a sneaking suspicion that his hobby may have been the collection of exotic species of spiders..." A closed openable trapped transparent container called the glass bottle is in the Workshop. "Most of the detritus is rubbish, and almost surely deadly to touch, but a glass bottle with a scroll inside it catches your eye." In the glass bottle is a scroll called the cobwebbed scroll. The inscribed spell of the cobwebbed scroll is web. Instead of opening the bottle, say "There is no obvious way to open the bottle short of breaking it." Instead of attacking the bottle for the first time, say "As you heft the bottle, ready to smash it, you notice a tiny red spider inside - just for a moment - and, although it vanishes almost at once, it gives you pause for thought." Instead of attacking the bottle: now the player is poisoned; now the cobwebbed scroll is in the location; remove the bottle from play; say "As the bottle smashes almost into powder - the glass must be ancient - and the cobwebbed scroll falls out, you notice an almost imperceptible stinging sensation on your forearm." After dropping the bottle, say "Miraculously, it doesn't break."

Instead of inserting the glass bottle into the arrowslit: now the player is poisoned; now the player carries the cobwebbed scroll; remove the bottle from play; say "A wild arrow smashes the bottle almost into powder - the glass must be ancient - and the cobwebbed scroll falls out into your hands, so that you barely notice a slight stinging sensation on your forearm."

In the Apothecary's Workshop is a strength potion called the turquoise vial. The turquoise vial has additional strength 3d4+3.

A short sword called the short sword called Bliddforn is metal.[3] The to-hit bonus of Bliddforn is 1.

The Sunken Courtyard South is southeast of the Sunken Courtyard West. "This southern apex of the Courtyard is ruinously overrun by webs, husks, and a whitened compote of bones and chitin." A dead goblin lord is in Sunken Courtyard South. The dead goblin lord is flesh. "The victims are not all from ages past, as the body of a dead goblin - a lordly one, at that, to judge from the cut of its loincloth - gapes stupidly at the world in a rictus of poison." Instead of taking the dead goblin lord, say "The body is far too heavy to move. Goblins are light on their feet, but heavy on their backs, no?" Instead of searching the dead goblin lord for the first time: now the player carries Bliddforn; say "Ransacking the body takes little time (just as well, given the surroundings): but it pays dividends as you retrieve Bliddforn, a short sword which must have been a goblin heirloom." Instead of examining the dead goblin, say "It certainly is much less repellent to examine the goblin than search it."

Effect of casting mend at the dead goblin lord:

record outcome "but the corpse does no more than twitch convulsively, once";

rule succeeds.

The Sunken Courtyard East is northeast of the Sunken Courtyard South.

The Sump of the Fountain-Grove is west of the Sunken Courtyard East.

The Sump of the Fountain-Grove is east of the Sunken Courtyard West.

The Sump of the Fountain-Grove is south of the Sunken Courtyard North.

The Sump of the Fountain-Grove is north of the Sunken Courtyard South.

Instead of going from a werespider-infested room to the Sump of the Fountain-Grove, say "As you gingerly approach the centre of the sunken courtyard, a restive threshing of the tendrils which drape around the fountain makes you abruptly aware that the undergrowth is - well. There are giant spiders, and then there are spider-giants. Never let one see you approaching!"

The spider tendrils of the undergrowth is a backdrop. The tendrils are in Sunken Courtyard East, Sunken Courtyard South, Sunken Courtyard North and Sunken Courtyard West. Instead of pulling the tendrils, say "It would be safer to pull the hair of the Princess Vl'tasha. (Slightly. She's thirteen and a psychopath.)" Instead of examining the tendrils, say "You really do not think it best to get any closer." Understand "spider-giant" or "giant spider" as the tendrils.

Five werespiders are in the Sump of the Fountain-Grove.[4]

After going from a werespider-infested room to a werespider-infested room:

say "You tread warily around the periphery of the sunken courtyard. ";

if the player is affected by silence:

say "But the silence charm holds true, and you do not disturb the werespiders.";

continue the action;

if a saving roll of 17 by the player to "tiptoe past the werespiders" is lost:

repeat with legsy running through the alive werespiders:

move legsy to the location;

now legsy is hostile;

say "The werespiders, with ears on all eight knees, are not fooled!";


say "Thank the gods for that.";

continue the action.

Rule for dead body disposal of a werespider (called the victim) when the location is a werespider-infested room: restore the health of the victim; move the victim to the Sump of the Fountain-Grove; continue the activity.


[1]. Another tricky-to-find clay focus, in case the player didn't find the clay pipe.

[2]. Wooden objects can be used as the focus for spells like "magic missile", so are much in demand.

[3]. Thus it is referred to in play as "the short sword called Bliddforn". Named blades with extra vorpalness are more or less obligatory for this kind of game.

[4]. The sump is not in fact visitable; it exists as a dwelling-place for the spiders while they wait to pounce.