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Item - Quest for the Dragon's Eye

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Series: Swordquest — no. 2
Author: Fawcett, Bill
Illustrators: McPheeters, Neal (cover)
Byert, Teanna (interior)
O'Malley, Gerald (Jerry) (cartography)
Date: July, 1985
ISBN: 0441697097 / 9780441697090
Length: 98 sections (plus prologue)
Number of Endings: 2 (one bad ending led to from 25 places and one victory)
User Summary: Ceddwein, a thief turned guardsman, must travel with his military unit to recover a magical gem in order to defeat a demon.
Demian's Thoughts:

This book is much like the last one; it's a highly linear adventure featuring a mediocre design but a better-than-average story. Bill Fawcett is a rather uneven writer -- sometimes his text is downright boring and confusing, but other times it's inspired and evocative. Fortunately, his strengths more than make up for his weaknesses. This is unashamedly cliche-filled high fantasy, but it still manages to have a flavor of its own and to introduce some interesting ideas here and there. Too bad the writing is let down so much by the pointless, tedious game design. There are very few choices in the book of any consequence; most branch points involve winning or losing combat or succeeding or failing in skill rolls. Most non-fatal failures simply deal some damage and then reconverge with the successful path, and several perfectly good opportunities for decision-making are completely ignored. This means that replaying after failure is dull and frustrating, a situation made worse by the same plodding combat system seen in the previous book; the odds of anyone hitting anything are so low that I can't help but suspect the book was originally designed with a twenty-sided die in mind but that this was replaced by three six-sided ones at the request of the publisher. One nice touch which can potentially reduce the tedium of replaying the book over and over is the fact that the failure paragraph suggests increasing Ceddwein's skill level to make the book easier -- this is reminiscent of a similarly-motivated mechanic used in the second Knuckleduster Interactive Western Adventure several years later.

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Naniyue's Thoughts:

Not a bad little game book. The writing is okay, with some nice illustrations, and, above all, fair dice rolls! Even a low luck roller like myself managed to win this one only after a small number of tries. This series is also inexpensive to acquire, at least when I bought them, so go for it!

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Errata:In a rather dramatic oversight, somebody appears to have accidentally put the back-of-book text from the previous volume on this one as well! In a less dramatic but more annoying oversight, Ceddwein's character sheet neglects to mention what kind of sword he is armed with. Finally, though probably correct, the transition from section 70 to section 65 is awfully abrupt.
Special Thanks:Thanks to Ken G. for the back cover scan.
Users Who Own This Item: Alatar001, Ardennes, B0N0V0X, BarefootJimmy, bookwormjeff, Crazyscotsman, CSquared, dbriel, desdichado66, Dronak, Eamonn McCusker, EegahInc, Erikwinslow, Ffghtermedic, Fireguard, greyarea13, hoops4ever, horrorbusiness, jdreller, katzcollection, kinderstef, knginatl, le maudit, Malthus Dire, mlvoss, Naniyue, nelsondesign, Nomad, Oberonbombadil, opeth2112, Pessimeister, peterm2, Pseudo_Intellectual, qazplm, redpiper05, Robert Mammone, Sheridan77, Sir Olli, sireeyore, spragmatic, StagQuests, Tremendez, twar, waktool (US 1st printing)
Users Who Want This Item: Cyan, Gartax, NEMO
Users with Extra Copies: Ffghtermedic
twar - 1 copy with creased/slightly rougher cover, with penned name on the inside cover. No other markings; usable copy.

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Play Aid

Swordquest #2 Character Sheet