On the Solo Play

Fighting fantasy? Cool that there's digital versions now, fun to play! Choose your own adventure? Sweet, done a lot of that.

This? This is something else.

In Dragon Magazine, there was a solo adventure, unlike any other.


Your quest? Recover at least six opals to seal the gate!

You played a 4th level fighter/magic-user. You have a small selection of spells, including a scroll of fireball. You possess basic gear and a magic sword that detects gold and silver.

Here's an example of the first room with the key.


Enter the Cavern

After entering the cavern, you hear the guards who escorted you taking up posts outside the door, preventing you from immediately escaping. With a sigh, you begin walking down the twisting cavern. After a few minutes the walls of the cavern become more regular and the stalactites disappear from the ceiling. You seem to be entering an area tunneled out of the rock. Ahead of you a doorway is visible, and through it you can see the flicker of torchlight.

Not related to the actual room description.
Description of the room

When you look into the room, you see that it is a chamber approximately 30’ x 30’ x 20’ high. The floors and walls are grey rock, except for a patch of black 6 feet across in the center of the room. On this patch of black is a chest. Your sword detects silver in the chest. On each wall is a torch. These four torches seem to have been recently lit, although no one is visible in the room. On the far wall is a door with a table next to it. On the table are what appear to be several sheets of paper. One is rolled up and sealed with wax, apparently a scroll. Another paper appears to have been partially burned. There is a scorched area directly in front of the table. The breeze coming into the room from the doorway ahead tells you that this is the path to follow.

Preparations (choose one)
A-1: Take out sprig of garlic.
A-2: Light your torch.
A-3: Throw in fireball, then cross.
A-4: Draw your sword.
A-5: Take out vial of holy water.

Actions (choose one)
A-11: Cross to door and exit, avoiding chest and table.
A-12: Examine and open chest, remove silver.
A-13: Examine all open papers on the desk, but not the scroll.
A-14: Open and examine scroll.
A-15: Attempt to remove one of the lit torches from its holder.

Well what do you do?

Do you know what's going on with the room? Can you figure it out?

The Solution

Room 1 Preparations
A-1: Has no effect on anything that occurs.
A-2: Halves damage taken from black pudding if A-12 or A-15 is also chosen.
A-3: Destroys all of room’s contents; player crosses to next room with no damage.
A-4: Swords don’t work against black puddings. Increase damage taken to 4 points if A-12 or A-15 is also chosen.
A-5: Has no effect on anything that occurs.

Room 1 Actions
A-11: Reach exit with no gain or loss.
A-12: Attacked by black pudding under chest. Take 3 points damage before it is killed (see notes under A-2 and A-4).
A-13: Find nothing of interest; go to next room.
A-14: This scroll is explosive runes. Take 4 points damage; you’re after opals, not scrolls.
A-15: This triggers an attack by the black pudding under the chest. Fire is the best way to fight them, and the torch is magical. You easily defeat the pudding, taking only one point of damage. All of the torches go out when the one you chose dies.

I played through the entire thing, and did ok! The amazing thing was, the puzzle nature of the rooms meant my knowledge of the game was related to how well I performed in solo play. 

A text adventure that tested my player skill!? Amazing. 

Another room example


After another 100 yards of travel, the narrow tunnel opens into a wide natural cavern. The floor of the cavern is covered with dust. In the dust can be seen the footprints of a dragon. After following the cavern (and the footprints) for another 200 feet, you come to a larger cavern. The cavern is too long to be seen in full and is at least 150 feet wide. Barely visible at the distant end is an opening. 

On the left side of the cavern is a lake which seems to extend out below the level of the cavern. Near the edge of the lake, which fills over a third of the floor space, is what appears to be a large pile of metal coins. Starting to approach with care, you see the dim reflection of a large coppery or bronze object at the top. 

When you get near enough to make out details, you realize that there is a dragon sitting on top of what your sword tells you to be a pile of gold and silver. The dragon appears to be asleep. Just in front of its jaws you notice the familiar glint of a fire opal. This one appears to be hanging from a chain that is around the skull of one of the dragon’s earlier victims.

Silently you approach to within 20 feet of the sleeping dragon. Part of the chain appears to be under one massive claw, but the other part is temptingly close to the edge of the pile. The dragon continues his deep, regular breathing.

Preparations (choose one)
0-1: Light a torch to see better.
0-2: Sneak up closer, quietly (needed for 0-11).
0-3: Throw a Fireball at the sleeping dragon.
0-4: Announce yourself and try to wake the dragon.
0-5: Move quietly away; try to continue onward before being noticed.

Actions (choose none or one)
0-11: Strike as strongly as possible to get the first blow while the dragon still sleeps.
0-12: In a loud voice, challenge the dragon to a fight for the opal.
0-13: Attempt to tie the dragon’s mouth closed, then attack.
0-14: Attempt to steal the opal without waking the dragon.
0-15: Try to be friendly; explain your mission and ask the dragon for the opal.

Room 14 Preparations
O-1: The light awakens a bronze dragon who was asleep atop its treasure pile. Add 3 points damage if O-11, O-13 or O-14 was chosen; otherwise no effect.
O-2: Needed for O-11 or O-14; otherwise no effect (the dragon does not wake up).
O-3: You kill the bronze dragon without taking damage, but you also destroy the opal. Go to next room.
O-4: The dragon wakes up and eyes you curiously. Add 3 points to damage taken if O-11, O-13 or O-14 is chosen; otherwise no effect.
O-5: You succeed in getting away without harm, but also without the opal.
O-6: Needed for O-13; otherwise no effect.

Room 14 Actions
O-11: The creature is a bronze dragon who is lawful good and wouldn’t have hurt you, but now it’s mad. Take 5 points damage in the fight you started, and get the opal from the dead dragon.
O-12: The dragon will ask you, in lawful good, why you need the opal, and after you explain your plight, it will gladly give you the jewel. Take no damage, go to next room.
O-13: You succeed in tying its mouth shut, but the dragon awakens when the first blow is struck. Before the dragon dies, it gives you 4 points damage. You lose your rope and gain an opal.
O-14: It’s impossible to steal something from the dragon’s treasure hoard and then steal away. It attacks you from behind as you sneak off, causing 6 points damage before you get away with the opal.
O-15: The dragon is lawful good and is glad to help. It gives you the opal and wishes you luck.

Hack & Slash
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