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Item - Sword for Hire

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(Tunnels and Trolls edition)
(Tunnels and Trolls edition)

Combined Summary

Series: Tunnels and Trolls — no. 11
Platform: Adobe Acrobat (Tunnels and Trolls edition)
Adapted Into: Sword for Hire (Digital Gamebook)
Author: Wilson, James
Illustrator: McCrary, Brian
Dates: 1979 (Tunnels and Trolls edition)
1986 (Tunnels and Trolls edition)
February 24, 2008 (Tunnels and Trolls edition - eBook)
castiglione's Thoughts:

Sword for Hire was the first T & T solitaire adventure I ever bought and played and it prompted me to purchase the T & T boxed set; before I obtained the rules to T & T, I played Sword for Hire using a bunch of "house rules" cobbled together from my D & D Basic Set.

In Sword for Hire, the player's character is hired by a wizard to explore and map out the caverns beneath his tower. As such, the adventure is yet another dungeon crawl. However, where Sword for Hire departs from the previous T & T solitaires is that it provides you with a "side kick" who accompanies you on your "mission" and generally lends a helping hand (and the occassional wise-crack) during the adventure. Before Sword for Hire, authors of T & T solitaires took the word "solitaire" quite literally and one's character was generally assumed to enter the adventure alone (although there were exceptions where the player was permitted to bring in a PARTY of characters, i.e. Overkill). Sword for Hire was the first adventure that provided an NPC character who followed you around and did what side-kicks generally do, i.e. help you out in fights, make cutting remarks when you make an ass of yourself, provide the occassional clue, etc. The side-kick concept proved popular and a sequel (Blue Frog Tavern) followed in Sword's wake.

I remember this adventure having a different "feel" than the others that came before it. Much of the atmosphere in previous adventures was whimsical and somewhat tongue in cheek. Even rather grim adventures like Naked Doom had their light-hearted moments due to the narrative and/or illustrations. Sword for Hire seemed more "serious" and more sombre than the others despite the antics of the rock demon side-kick.

This adventure (like Naked Doom) also suggested that once the player had exhausted all the possibilities and knew the dungeon inside and out, he could still play it by randomizing his decisions and seeing what happens! T & T solitaire adventures weren't the long drawn 400 paragraph long quests that were typical of the Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks, so it is conceivable to pass an amusing 15 minutes or so by playing them randomly (I shudder to think how long it would take to play a Fighting Fantasy Gamebook via random decision making, assuming, of course, that one survives the battles long enough to wander around endlessly). I'm not sure how much interest this would hold for the average gamer (especially if he has other solitaire adventures in his collection that he could play), but I guess, for some, it beats playing Patience with a deck of cards.

More reviews by castiglione

Special Thanks:Thanks to Ed Jolley for letting me scan his copy.
Users Who Own This Item: bigcobra, castiglione, dave2002a, Ed, kinderstef (in pocket, and in large format), nerelax, pelle (PDF), rebeltech2, Sir Olli (small original), twar
Users Who Want This Item: NEMO
Users with Extra Copies: rebeltech2

Known Editions

Tunnels and Trolls edition
Tunnels and Trolls edition (in Sword for Hire and Blue Frog Tavern)

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