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Vault of the Vampire

Series: Fighting Fantasy #38
Contained In: The Best of Fighting Fantasy (Collection)
Translated Into: La cripta del vampiro (Italian)
A cripta do vampiro (Portuguese)
A maldição do vampiro (Portuguese)
Upírova hrobka (Czech)
Le Vampire du château noir (French)
Vampyrens slot (Danish)
Author: Martin, Keith (pseudonym used by Sargent, Carl)
Illustrators: Edwards, Les (cover)
McKenna, Martin (interior)
Release Date: March, 1989
ISBN: 0140328777 / 9780140328776
Length:400 sections
User Summary: The people of a tiny village turn to you when one of their own is carried off by an evil vampire.
Fireguard's Thoughts: As I reviewed dueling werewolf books from two series earlier in the month, here I am now reviewing dueling vampire books from the same series (the other being Master of Ravenloft, if you missed it). In premise they're all but identical: you, a hardy warrior, must explore the decrepit castle inhabited by a powerful vampire and his army of the living dead. You need to assemble an arsenal of magic doodads to achieve this lofty task, and if you're not careful bad things can happen to you. In Vault, unlike Master of Ravenloft, these bad things don't manifest as the loss of experience levels, but as various Afflictions. One for instance, is lycanthropy, but this is Vault of the Vampire, not Howl of the Werewolf. This was an interesting thing to include, although there's just so many possible afflictions in the castle it starts to feel silly after you discover the third or fourth one.

There's also the Faith score, which is how you defend against fear and mind-control attacks. For a book where your enemies are predominantly undead and ghostly in nature, this was a pretty good idea. It's like your Luck stat, but it only goes down if you fail, which makes sense.

Ultimately, Vault feels simplistic, but I found it satisfying anyway. I enjoyed hunting for the lost arsenal, slaying the undead guards and learning who was and who wasn't worthy of my trust. The main thing I don't like is the lack of replay value. Once you've conquered the vault, you've seen it all.

More reviews by Fireguard

Special Thanks:Thanks to Fireguard for the plot summary, Nicholas Campbell for the cover scan and Ben Nelson for the character sheet scan.
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Fighting Fantasy #38 Character Sheet