Hey guys, another FF book completed and ready to review =)
#11 Talisman of Death
This is exactly what I needed after House of Hell! I had forgotten how much I like this book!
Something very special happens when Mark Smith, Jamie Thompson and Bob Harvey get together. This combination of writing and drawing talent is also responsible for bringing us the incredible 'Way of the Tiger' series of gamebooks, a collection of books very dear to me. If you haven't read them yet; bloody well go and do it!
The adventure is actually set in the same world (Orb) as the later 'Way of the Tiger' books, so I guess they were just feeling things out? This is a first for the FF series as every other 'Fantasy' setting has been on the FF world of 'Titan'. This is also only the second time a writer/s other than Ian or Steve (GB) has contributed to the series (the first instance being Steve Jackson (US) with Scorpion Swamp)
The links to 'Way of the Tiger' are very strong, there are even a couple of characters that reappear from 'Talisman of Death' to try and thwart you as a Ninja in those books!
And to be honest, characters are what this story is all about. Its brimming with them!
Thats not to say that Messrs Smith and Thompson cant set the scene; the world of Orb is an interesting blend of Eastern and Western medieval ideas and well rounded, believable locales. Its just that there are so many fantastic peeps running around in this book! Look at this!
There are all sorts. Warrior Women, thieves, sorcerers, monks, Dark Elves, scholars, High Priestesses, messengers of Death, dinosaurs, orcs etc etc. Its all done very well and any GM worth his notepad would be proud to have populated his game with any of them.
The story itself plays excellently. There were at most a couple of sections that didn't quite work or made you flick back to get an idea of what it was you had just gotten yourself into. But in its entirety it all read very well with a plethora of options to choose from and loads of character interaction.
The story is of a linear 'find the thing and take it somewhere' model but has a few different lines you can approach the end with, so I found a replay was def called for =)
The cover is supplied by Peter Andrew Jones (Starship Traveller) who blends one of the books encounters with the idea of 'Death' being your harasser and adversary. I love PAJ's work so I think it's awesome =)
Bob Harvey provides the illos and he is the Man. Period. The matching of his artwork to Mark and Jamie's writing is perfect. This book has the same memorable visuals and well put together feel of 'Deathtrap Dungeon' or 'Scorpion Swamp' Its just a combination that works.
I love it =)