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The Vanishing City

Series: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Gamebooks #15
Translated Into: A cidade desaparecida (Portuguese)
La città scomparsa (Italian)
La esfinge (Spanish)
Den forsvundne by (Danish)
Adapted From: Five Coins for a Kingdom (Role-Playing Material)
Author: Varney, Allen
Illustrators: Caldwell, Clyde (cover)
Chaffee, Doug (interior)
Release Date: November, 1987
ISBN: 0880384344 / 9780880384346
Length:192 pages (245 sections)
Number of Endings:18
User Summary: You are Sir Theobold Redbeard, a great fighter who rules the dominion of Lighthall. When extradimensional magic takes your city away from you, you must gather magical coins and combat a sorcerer to rescue your subjects.
Demian's Thoughts: This book, based on a D&D module called Five Coins for a Kingdom, is a very entertaining adventure. It's non-linear, replayable and full of more-interesting-than-usual (if stereotypical) characters. The book's biggest flaw, however, is that it is quite easy to successfully complete in very little time. Replayability largely makes up for this problem, but a little more challenge might have been nice.

More reviews by Demian

Guillermo's Thoughts: This book tries to do something similar to the author's previous effort, Through Six Dimensions in the Marvel Super Heroes series. It features interplanar travel and gives the player character plenty of freedom of movement, meaning the adventure locations can be explored in any order. There are also several different ways to complete the adventure, the book is well-written and entertaining, and unlike Trail Sinister, this book actually gives the player some interesting choices to make while interacting with non-player characters. All these qualities, however, are not enough to counter the fact that this book's challenge level is nowhere near as interesting of that of the author's previous work. All the paths through the book are very easy and straightforward, requiring few meaningful choices and even fewer challenging skill checks. Through Six Dimensions, on the other hand, was masterfully designed so that every one of its victorious paths presented some level of interesting challenge. Even though this book is presented as an epic-scale quest for a high-level character, the truth is its easiness makes it feel unsatisfying even if you go through the trouble of finding all the victorious paths. Overall, this is a subpar effort for its author and yet another mediocre entry in the series.

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karalynn's Thoughts: An entertaining but slight entry, where the first word out of your mouth is "Balderbash!" and you're accompanied by an old friend, Theona, of whom you often find yourself thinking, Wonderful woman, for her stalwart loyalty. The story itself is even more shallow: your city vanishes, and you must retrieve three coins to restore it. It's your standard fetch quest, where you could substitute any noble cause for bringing your city back.

Mechanics-wise, there's not much here either: you barely need to make any rolls or fight any battles, unless you go into an encounter looking for combat. Quite often you can get someone else to do the fighting for you, which is a bit disappointing for the venerable warrior your character is supposed to be. And the coins offer magical get-out-of-jail-free-card uses--even multiple uses in some cases--which drastically reduce the amount of challenge you face.

I suspect what held this one together for me was the strong flavor of the writing; not necessarily deft or skilled, by any means, but it was unafraid in charging ahead with strange accents and even a touch of romance. I don't mind having played it, but don't feel the need to do so again.

More reviews by karalynn

Kveto's Thoughts: In this one, you play the high level ruler of a kingdom, Sir Theobold Redbeard, who must go on a dimension hopping journey to get Mcguffins to restore his kingdom.

I feel a bit odd reviewing this one as I never finished it. I barely got into it. I found the hero unrelatable, an old man who rules a kingdom. There is even a love interest, an old lady cleric who looks a lot like my mum. So the romance angle is even odd.

It is based on the module Five Coins for a Kingdom, which is often a good model for success. It just didn't click with me at all. Cannot recommend it on that basis. But the cover art is quite cool. Probably why I bought it as a kid.

More reviews by Kveto

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