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Item - Shadowcastle

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Online Full Text: Internet Archive
Series: Fantasy Forest — no. 3
Author: Gray, Michael
Illustrators: Caldwell, Clyde (cover)
Macari, Jr., Mario D. (interior)
Date: October, 1983
ISBN: 0880380616 / 9780880380614
Length: 76 pages
Number of Endings: 8
User Summary: You and a halfling travel to Shadowcastle, an evil place created by Nightshade, to rescue innocent captives.
Demian's Thoughts:

This book seems kind of redundant; it contains many of the same characters and situations as the previous story without really being much different. It's no better or worse, though; just overly similar.

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Kveto's Thoughts:

In this adventure, you play the role of Molly, a young farm girl, who meets a halfling named Thistle and decide to accompany him to Shadowcastle to rescue his brother, a prisoner of the wizard, Nightshade. You meet Gregor the good Paladin along the way.

As Demian mentions, it's interesting that this is basically the same story as other books in the series. I read #5 Dungeon of Darkness first, but this follows the same arc and characters. I wonder if it was an attempt to create some lasting characters: Gregor the good Knight, Quickarrow the elf, etc. You wonder why they didn't just use Strongheart, Elkhorn, and the other established D&D characters. Oddly, it even has the same monsters, such as an Umber Hulk and spectre. It feels almost as if the author's received the same writing assignment and characters to feature.

That said, it's not a bad book and it does rather well in its purpose, making a kid-friendly D&D story. I'd say this one is a little better than #5 because it's a more realistic adventure for a young girl, as you make decisions for yourself rather than giving commands to a party of warriors. And when you meet the Good Knight, he more responsibly tells you to go home rather than asks your advice. And even the bad endings are fairly tame, the worst that can happen is you get turned into a spectre.

The cover art is excellent, by Clyde Caldwell. The interior art is really cartoonish but it grew on me after a while and fits the tone of the book.

More reviews by Kveto

Users Who Own This Item: Andys80s, Ardennes, Crazyscotsman, dave2002a, duckhugger, EegahInc, Erikwinslow, exaquint (tsr info on cover), Ffghtermedic, Garrick Muttley, jdreller, katzcollection, Khellendros, kinderstef, knginatl, LordJR, ManxAlleyCat, mattender, mlvoss, NEMO, ntar, outspaced, Trumpetwall, waktool (1st printing)
Users Who Want This Item: exaquint (no tsr info), Nomad, Pseudo_Intellectual, twar, wonderfly
Users with Extra Copies: dave2002a
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