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Item - Sceptre of Power

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Series: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Gamebooks — no. 7
Translated Into: Ceptro do poder (Portuguese)
El cetro del poder (Spanish)
Maryoku no tsue [魔力の杖] (Japanese)
Lo scettro del potere (Italian)
Author: Simon, Morris
Illustrators: Parkinson, Keith (cover)
Barr, George (interior)
Date: March, 1986
ISBN: 0880382856 / 9780880382854
Length: 190 pages (244 sections)
Number of Endings: 26
User Summary: You are Carr Delling, son of an incredibly powerful (but long deceased) mage. Following the death of your mother, you set off in search of your father's legacy to you.
Demian's Thoughts:

This, the first part of the Kingdom of Sorcery Trilogy, is only an average gamebook. The story moves right along, which is a good thing, but there are far too many arbitrary deaths (and little challenge other than the avoidance of these deaths) to make it terribly entertaining. There are multiple paths to the ending, though, so at least the replay value is fairly high.

More reviews by Demian

Guillermo's Thoughts:

(review based on the Spanish translation)

After the disaster that Prisoners of Pax Tharkas was, Morris Simon delivers the first volume in what was called "The Kingdom of Sorcery trilogy," which is a major improvement over his debut book. This trilogy, which comprises books seven, nine and eleven in the main series, casts you as the son of a very powerful mage, who died under mysterious circumstances. Your task in the trilogy is to progress from being an apprentice to becoming an archmage and eventually facing a group of arch-villains who want to conquer the world.

This book covers for the most part the player character's journey to the academy of magic, the experiences during the first few days of his stay there, and the final confrontation against his father's murderer. Gameplay is balanced enough, taxing all the character's skills, with enough interesting ones to keep the reader engaged.

No matter which path you take through the book, it consists at first of dangerous encounters on the way to the academy of magic, and secondly of playing through the learning process of your few first magic spells. This learning process is always challenging and often involves personal risk. The book's main strengths, however, do not reside in its gameplay, but in the complex plot that develops and always keeps the player on her / his toes, as well as in the interaction with nonplayer characters, both allies and antagonists, which are as well developed as those of any TSR fantasy novel.

Like the Harry Potter series of books which came out years later, this book is good both at recreating the tribulations of college life and at telling a coming of age tale, though its limitations are certainly noticeable. It feels frustrating to spend an entire adventure learning spells and then having very few chances to use them afterwards. Nonetheless, the book is playable and entertaining enough that its strengths are enough to outweigh its flaws. Recommended.

More reviews by Guillermo

  • Continuity: In the beginning of the book, you do not get Ulrik's cutlass if you attempt to use magic on him. Yet, you use the cutlass throughout the rest of the book.
  • Continuity: When you meet Thayne, you accuse him of sneaking into the alley. But, if you reach the alley after encountering the pirates, you hear him enter the alley through a door.
  • Continuity: Even though section 169 goes to section 97, the text does not explain how you get from one point in the story to the other. There needs to be a brief passage in between the sections.
  • In section 185, the path to section 239 should lead to 16.
  • In section 160, the path to section 241 should lead to 105.
  • In section 226, the path to section 267 should lead to 26.
  • In section 28, the paths determined by a dice roll, sections 10 and 179, are backwards.
  • In section 10, the paths determined by a dice roll, sections 190 and 208, are backwards.
  • Special Thanks:Thanks to Jerry Wang for the errata.
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