Wednesday, 13 June 2012

The Pen is NOT mightier than the Sword

For those of you expecting an exciting playthrough of Portal of Evil, you'll have to wait just a bit longer, I'm going to be doing that tomorrow or Friday depending on how my Maths revision goes. Instead, this quick update is devoted to a rant about a fairly useless saying. Despite the Joker's best efforts to prove otherwise, (and yes I am aware it's a pencil; it is still a writing implement) claiming that a pen is mightier than a sword is pure bollocks. This especially applies to the world of Fighting Fantasy; I know as a fantasy series it is designed to take us to amazing places and all, but the day I can slay Balthus Dire by throwing a pen at his face is the day I stop playing FF!

What item could take you up to Skill 24 anyway?
I doubt even the Elder Wand could make you THAT badass!
On that note, I understand by the nature of FF books that used copies may have some notes in pencil on the adventure sheet, but at least these can be rubbed out easily if they are unwanted (although the merit of making your own adventure sheet on A4 is very underrated). So when my copy of Island of the Undead arrived through the post, I was expecting perhaps a few pencil marks here and there, but I was in no way prepared for the sheer ineptitude of the previous owner using a pen to fill in their adventure sheet. What kinda prat writes in a book with pen, preventing not only him or herself from using that adventure sheet again, but also buggering it up for future owners (i.e ME). To make matters worse, this same previous owner appears to be completely unaware of the rules, as their warrior has a mammoth 24 skill, which would make them by far the most skilful inhabitant of the entire Fighting Fantasy universe. Yeah, perhaps not... I hope the previous owner reached their end by passing a Skill test they had to fail in order to survive, in a similar vein to an encounter I recall in one of the visits to Deathtrap Dungeon. I shall pretend they did anyhow, the thought gives me a grin like the Cheshire cat.

Anyway, rant over. I shall bottle my anger at today's happenings, and unleash it upon the Portal of Evil in the most-likely vain hope it will improve my chances. One thing I have decided on is an extra feature for all my playthroughs: at the end of each post shall be a moral for life learned through the adventure, and I shall start with this post. The moral of this story is simple: He who arms himself with a pen is far more dead than he who arms himself with a sword. Hey, I didn't say they had to be clever, philosophical morals did I?!!?!


  1. Oh god, not pen! That's a real nuisance. I swear, at least 1 in 5 of the second-hand FF books I owned as a kid had stats filled out in pen.

    I use pen myself though - but on a bloomin' notepad, not in the actual book!

  2. I never defiled a single one of my FF books with pen or pencil - I never understood why anyone would want to write all over something they would potentially read again and again. I used to draw up my own adventure sheets, allowing myself ample space to track my stamina's inexorable decline to zero without having to erase anything. For my recent playthroughs I've designed an Excel adventure sheet as I seem to spend every living moment attached to a computer of some description.

  3. Annoying.

    I probably did fill in adventure sheets as a youngster but that practice stopped after I realised that I would need it more than once and that I was ruining the paper.

    I like the stats that the previous player gave themselves. I would like to know what dice they were using.

    For some more amusing grafitti in gamebook stories, I found this little thread:

    Looking forward to Portal of Evil!

    1. Glad to see my rage is not owned solely by myself. I have now spent the past 10 hours playing Portal and writing about playing it. Suffice to say I am now completely knackered. Hope everyone enjoys it!