The lead-up to Christmas always makes me nervous, so it was a pleasant diversion when some friends came over a few days ago and indulged me by asking to bust out my painted set of 2nd edition Talisman. We decided to do the full catastrophe, including the Talisman Dungeon, Talisman Timescape and the Talisman City. What followed was a rude and raucous afternoon.
Any lingering anxiety about the holiday season was more or less dispelled when I was assigned the Ninja as my character. Nothing says "I am going to win this magical quest game from the 1980's" like being a Ninja. Other cast members included the Halfling, the Leprechaun, the Gladiator and the Astropath (who was played by Mrs. Oldenhammer-in-Toronto.)
Here's the starting board...
I immediately did what I do best: aggravating all of my friends by trying to kill them. In rapid succession I used the Ninja's "secret strike" capability to wound the Halfling, the Leprechaun and the Gladiator. I would have assaulted the Astropath, but she was in another plane of existence. So I had to content myself with beating up some local wildlife...
|The Ninja Makes a Nuisance out of Himself by Assassinating Flora and Fauna
Well, the Astropath was having her own adventures. Traversing the strange dimensions of the Timescape, she was finding the tools that she would need to storm the Crown of Command, including the mighty Psi-Helmet. But it wasn't all cake and ale. She was detained by the Judges at the Sentinel Outpost, stalked by a Star Predator, and beaten up by a warband of Space Orks in the Negative Zone.
Perhaps it was time to escape from the Timescape...
|The Astropath wanders an Unfriendly Multiverse
My favourite moment of the game was a complex confrontation that occurred in the Talisman City. Wandering in search of healing, the Astropath found herself Conscripted by a press gang. Her only hope of escaping servitude was to find another character to take her place as a galley slave. So she tried to attack the Halfling who was nearby and (vainly) attempting to make a name for himself at the Anarchist's guild.
Her attack looked like it was going to come off, but the Halfling escaped by dispatching his Dancing Girl (his only follower) to distract the Astropath. Apparently, not even a blind Astropath can't resist a gyrating blonde.
|A Dancing Girl Breaks up an Unusual Duel between a Hobbit and an Astropath
The Gladiator was having a hard time making progress. He found no one to train. Talisman can be a cruel game.
Meanwhile, my Ninja followed the Leprechaun into the Talisman Dungeon, hoping to finish him off. God, don't we all hate Leprechauns. Well, I lost the little bugger in the twisting caverns. Only at the end of a long, dangerous journey did we meet at the Dungeon's branching exit. The Leprechaun emerged in the Temple... and I rolled a 6 and emerged smack dab on the Crown of Command. It was the Ninja's lucky day!
|The Ninja Gets Lucky after Chasing the Leprechaun through the Long Dank Dark
Only the Crown of Command wasn't the Crown of Command. Using the random endings from the Talisman Adventure, I discovered instead... Pandora's Box. As the rest of the characters tried to struggle toward the Inner Region, I used the awesome power of Pandora's Box to harry them with spells, monsters and misfortunes. In just a couple turns, I finished off the Leprechaun with 3 fireballs, 2 dragons and a partridge in a pear tree.
|The Finished Table, in all its glory
The other characters were weak or dying, so we called it a day. Many insults had been exchanged. Many wounds dealt and repaid. Many cries of victory, and lamentations of defeat. It was all a self-respecting Ninja could want for the holidays!
Merry Christmas everyone! And a Happy New Year!