Sunday 13 March 2016

The Lord of Shadow Keep

During my last time in Montreal, I gave myself a few nostalgic and geeky gifts: some medieval fantasy gamebooks, like the ones I used to buy with my pocket money when I was a child. I used to get through as many of them as I could and it is my love for them that got me into Dungeons & Dragons. Among the books I bought in Montreal was The Lord of Shadow Keep by Oliver Johnson. As a child I had always wanted to read it, because of the gorgeously sinister cover picture. I've seen a more recent cover on Amazon, quite nice, but too adult. This one is classic. The book is part of the Golden Dragon series. I don't know for the original English, but in the French book there is an introduction saying that you are the titular Golden Dragon, a seasoned adventurer who gained a great reputation through many great deeds... although nobody in the books ever refer to you by that surname or even mentions this reputation you have. And the books are independent from each other. In fact, they are so independent from each other that you seem to have a completely different background in every one of them.

In The Lord of Shadow Keep, you are a member of the elite Imperial Guard of King Valafor of Lalassa. After the king gets cursed by an ageing spell and the kingdom is taken over through witchcraft by Arkayn Darkrobe, the Lord of the Shadow Keep from the title, you set out to right wrongs and save the once prosperous and happy kingdom and free its sovereign from the curse. Simple, classic stuff, a bit naive maybe but enjoyable all the same. And the motivation for your character is merely that, a motivation, so you can start the adventure and engross yourself in the atmosphere. Because Oliver Johnson is great at writing good atmosphere and making you feel like you are living it. So until my next game of D&Dr, I have this to keep me entertained.

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