Today, I’ll be turning my eye on Resurrection of the Dead, a 200 paragraph adventure written and illustrated by Alexander Ballingall which first appeared in the first Fighting Fantazine magazine back in September 2009. If you do not know about or have not read Fighting Fantazine, then I urge you to do so now. Not just number 1, but all of them.
As well as writing Fighting Fantasy adventures, Alex is the founder, editor of and contributor to Fighting Fantazine, writer of its blog and is also
the founder a massive contributor to (thankyou, Paltogue) Titannica, the Fighting Fantasy wiki. He is also a prominent contributor to the unofficial Fighting Fantasy forum and the Titan Rebuilding yahoo group .
In Resurrection of the Dead, you are a retired adventurer turned merchant who returns home to hear of strange goings on which have driven your friend, Karl, mad. Your investigations uncover plenty of foul deeds as you have to inspect every corner of the town from the monastery to the thieves’ guild to the heath. The solution is elusive and it will take a few goes to work out the correct path to victory or even work out what you need to do to achieve victory, making the adventure a satisfying challenge.
The setting for this book the Old World where some familiar sorcery may make an appearance. The adventure takes place in a town with undead crawling around in the darker, more hidden corners. It is not safe to just wander around. There are plenty of characters to interact with from monks to thieves (Vannix ‘sticky fingers’ gets a shout out here for helpfulness and having an amusing nickname). Alex has a very in depth knowledge of the Old World (who knew about the Dryaden race?) and there a plenty of Titan references in the book.
Alex has included illustrations from full page pictures to small pictures between paragraphs. The illustrations are clear and cover the essential elements of the creature or item that appears in the picture. I particularly like the flesh golem.
The book provides you with plenty of options and plenty of places to explore. There are also a few secret places which you need to discover in order to achieve victory. You also need to pay careful attention to the information that people give to you as it will help you win.
I enjoyed the challenge of working out how to win, but there are a few unavoidable difficult combats for anyone who does not have a skill of 11+, especially since you do not start with a weapon. There is also a fight with the six parts of a living corpse which can get tedious as they all have low skills and you have to roll a die to see which one you hit rather than choose your target. That battle could go on for some time. There might be some ‘ignore the combat’ activity needed to actually get to the final paragraph.
The descriptions and the interactions are good and well thought out. Most of the characters in the book see you as a merchant and treat you with disdain for your investigations, especially since you have no weapon to start with. There are some good details dropped in (Titan references and the relationships between yourself and the other characters).
The rules are the standard Fighting Fantasy rules – you have skill, stamina and luck and provisions restore 4 stamina points. If you fight unarmed, you have a -3 penalty to skill. You will have a character ready in seconds. There are no other scores to keep track of or instructions that involve you rolling lots of dice. Everything is nice and straightforward.
Resurrection of the Dead is an engaging and challenging adventure written by someone who knows Fighting Fantasy like the back of their hand. You may need to fudge a few dice rolls to finally win, but it is satisfying to work out what the path to victory actually is. In tiger terms, there is plenty here to get your teeth into, but some of the bits might be too tough to chew up without some help (i.e the combats) so they might need to be skipped.