You are Grand Master Lone Wolf, the sole survivor of a massacre that wiped out the First Order of the Kai—the warrior élite of Sommerlund.
It is the year MS 5080, thirty years since your brave kinsmen perished at the hands of the Darklords of Helgedad. These champions of evil, who were sent forth by Naar, the King of the Darkness, to destroy the fertile world of Magnamund, have themselves since been destroyed. You vowed to avenge the murder of the Kai and you kept your pledge, for it was you who brought about their downfall when alone you infiltrated their foul domain—the Darklands—and caused the destruction of their leader and the base of his power that was the infernal city of Helgedad.
In the wake of their destruction, chaos befell the Darkland armies who had been poised to conquer all of Magnamund. This disorder escalated into a mutinous civil war, which allowed the Freeland armies of Magnamund time in which to recover and launch a counter-offensive. Against the odds, a swift and total victory was secured over the feuding Darkland armies.
For ten unbroken years, peace has reigned in Sommerlund. Under your direction, the once-ruined Monastery of the Kai has been rebuilt and restored to its former glory, and the task of teaching a New Order of Kai warriors the skills and proud traditions of your ancestors is also well established. The new generation of Kai recruits, all of whom were born during the era of war against the Darklords, possess strong latent Kai skills and all show exceptional promise. These skills will be nurtured and honed to perfection during their time at the monastery so that they may teach and inspire future generations, thereby ensuring the continued security of your homeland in future years.
Your attainment of the rank of Kai Grand Master brought with it great rewards. Some, such as the restoration of the Kai and the undying gratitude of your fellow Sommlending, could have been anticipated. Yet there have also been rewards which you could not possibly have foreseen. The discovery that within you lay the potential to develop Kai Disciplines beyond those of the Magnakai (which were thought to be the ultimate that a Kai Master could aspire to) was truly a revelation. Your discovery has inspired you to search for the wisdom and power that no Kai Lord before you has ever possessed. In the name of your creator, the God Kai, and for the greater glory of Sommerlund and the Goddess Ishir, you have vowed to reach the very pinnacle of Kai perfection—to attain all of the Grand Master Disciplines and become the first Kai Supreme Master.
With diligence and determination you set about the restoration of the Kai Monastery and the training of the New Order recruits. Your efforts were soon rewarded and, within the space of two short years, the first raw recruits had graduated to become a cadre of gifted Kai Masters who, in turn, were able to commence the teaching of their skills to subsequent intakes of Kai novices. The Kai Masters rose readily to their newfound responsibilities, leaving you free to devote more of your time to the pursuit and perfection of the Grand Master Disciplines. During this period you also received expert tutelage in the ways of magic from two of your most trusted friends and advisors: Guildmaster Banedon, leader of the Brotherhood of the Crystal Star, and Lord Rimoah, speaker for the High Council of the Elder Magi.
In the deepest subterranean level of the monastery, one hundred feet below the Tower of the Sun, you ordered the excavation and construction of a special vault. In this magnificent chamber wrought of granite and gold, you placed the seven Lorestones of Nyxator—gems of Kai power which you had recovered during your quest for Kai knowledge. In this vault, bathed in the golden light of those radiant gems, you spent countless hours in pursuit of perfection. Sometimes alone, sometimes in the company of your two able advisors—Banedon and Rimoah—you worked hard to develop your innate Grand Master Disciplines, and grasp the fundamental secrets of Brotherhood and Old Kingdom magic. During this time you noticed many remarkable changes taking place within your body: you became physically and mentally stronger, your five primary senses sharpened beyond all that you had experienced before, and, perhaps most remarkably, your body began to age at a much slower rate. Now for every five years that elapse you age but one year.
In the years since your victory over the Darklords, peace has reigned victorious and the peoples of the Free Kingdoms have rejoiced in the knowledge that the evil which once threatened to destroy them has been banished from the face of Magnamund. Men have readily exchanged their swords for hoes and their shields for ploughs, and now the only marching they do is along the ruts of their freshly furrowed fields. Few are the watchful eyes that scan the distant horizon in fear of what may appear, although there are still some who maintain their vigilance, for the agents of the Dark God Naar come in many guises and there are those upon Magnamund who wait quietly in the shadows for the chance to do his evil bidding.
Already your newfound skills have been tested against Naar’s agents and you have, on each occasion, acquitted yourself admirably. Yet your continuing victories have enraged the Dark God and inflamed his lust for vengeance. Three years ago, you and your new Kai kinsmen achieved a glorious victory over a host of deadly Lavas. These dragon-like horrors were sent by Naar to destroy the Kai Monastery and lay waste to Sommerlund, and yet, despite their supernatural strength, they were defeated in battle by the sheer courage and skill of the New Order Kai who fought magnificently under your leadership.
After the ignominious defeat of his minions, Naar retreated to the Plane of Darkness to plot and scheme anew. Victory at the monastery had won for you a respite in the Dark God’s war against Sommerlund and the Kai. The following three years were peaceful for your homeland, yet elsewhere on Magnamund the agents of Naar continued their insidious work. On several occasions your special skills were sought by envoys from foreign realms whose leaders were desperate to rid themselves of Naar’s minions. Courageously you undertook many of these dangerous missions and, by succeeding where no other mortal could, you brought fresh glories upon yourself and your fellow Kai.
In the summer of MS 5080, during a return voyage by sea from a successful quest to distant Dessi, an act of sabotage very nearly wrecked the sailing ship that was transporting you home. Only fair weather and skilful repairs by the Sommlending crew saved the ship from being lost in the Gulf of Durenor. When the damaged craft limped into its home port of Anskaven, more than two weeks late, the reception you received was far from welcoming. The normally cheerful seafaring folk of this busy port were in a strangely sullen mood. Clearly they all recognized you, yet none cheered as you disembarked on Anskaven quay. The crowd was quietly hostile. Before you could determine their reasons, the uneasy silence was shattered by a troop of heavily-armoured cavalrymen who came galloping along the quayside, their gleaming swords drawn. The crowd scattered as the horsemen drew up in a circle around you. Their leader, a nervous young lieutenant whose coat bore the black eagle and three hearts motif of Avan Caldar, Baron of Anskaven, curtly ordered you to lay down your weapons. Not wishing to provoke these city troopers, you obeyed the command and allowed them to escort you to Baron Caldar’s castle where you felt sure their inglorious mistake would be swiftly punished.
Baron Caldar formally received you in the Great Hall of his castle. You had met previously on many state occasions at King Ulnar’s court in Holmgard and had always held each other in high esteem. Yet Caldar, flanked by more than a dozen armed bodyguards, could barely bring himself to conceal his contempt. He spoke to you as if you were a hated criminal. You asked why you were being treated in such a manner, but your pleas fell on deaf ears. Without further explanation, he ordered that you be taken immediately to the dungeons and placed in irons.
Later that evening, using your mental Kai Disciplines to help loosen the tight-lipped resolve of a dungeon guard, you learned the reasons for your apparent fall from grace.
‘You first arrived in Anskaven by ship eighteen days ago, as expected,’ said the gaoler, in response to your psychic commands. ‘Baron Caldar met you personally at the quayside and gave you a horse and six of his best troopers to escort you to Toran. During your ride to that city, they say you murdered his men and burnt their bodies. On arriving at Toran, you tried to assassinate Banedon—the Guildmaster of the Brotherhood of the Crystal Star. He survived, yet much of the Guildmaster’s Hall was destroyed by your doing. To cover your escape from the city, you poisoned the wells causing hundreds of deaths. At first it was said that a Helghast had adopted your likeness to gain entry to the Guildhall, but Guildmaster Banedon refuted these claims. He is convinced that you are possessed by the spirit of Naar. The Guildmaster dispatched the Toran militia to spread this message across Sommerlund. A few days later at the forest village of Durnfallow, near Tyso, the Fryearl of Durnfallow was murdered and his manor house was torched to the ground. The villagers say they saw you riding away from the blazing ruins, howling like a crazed wolf. The people are terrified by the thought that Naar has corrupted you—their greatest hero—and turned you against your own. They are scared and they are demanding swift justice. King Ulnar has bowed to their will; he has sent all of his Border Rangers to Tyso with orders to find and kill you on sight.’
The news of your alleged crimes comes as a bitter blow. You are sure that it is all the handiwork of an agent of Naar, and you resolve to find and vanquish this impostor at the first opportunity. However, as you cast your eyes around the damp walls of the castle dungeon, you can only pray to Ishir and Kai that the Baron and his guards will believe your story and allow you a chance to reclaim your honour.
You keep a record of your adventure on the Action Chart.
For more than ten years, ever since the demise of the Darklords of Helgedad, you have devoted yourself to developing further your fighting prowess—COMBAT SKILL—and physical stamina—ENDURANCE. Before you begin this Grand Master adventure you need to measure how effective your training has been. To do this take a pencil and, with your eyes closed, point with the blunt end of it onto the Random Number Table. If you pick a 0 it counts as zero.
The first number that you pick from the Random Number Table in this way represents your COMBAT SKILL. Add 25 to the number you picked and write the total in the COMBAT SKILL section of your Action Chart (i.e. if your pencil fell on the number 6 in the Random Number Table you would write in a COMBAT SKILL of 31). When you fight, your COMBAT SKILL will be pitted against that of your enemy. A high score in this section is therefore very desirable.
The second number that you pick from the Random Number Table represents your powers of ENDURANCE. Add 30 to this number and write the total in the ENDURANCE section of your Action Chart (i.e. if your pencil fell on the number 7 on the Random Number Table you would have 37 ENDURANCE points).
If you are wounded in combat you will lose ENDURANCE points. If at any time your ENDURANCE points fall to zero or below, you are dead and the adventure is over. Lost ENDURANCE points can be regained during the course of the adventure, but your number of ENDURANCE points can never rise above the number you have when you start an adventure.
If you have successfully completed any of the previous adventures in the Lone Wolf series (Books 1–18), you can carry your current scores of COMBAT SKILL and ENDURANCE points over to Book 19. These scores may include Weaponmastery, Curing, and Psi-surge bonuses obtained upon completion of Lone Wolf Kai (Books 1–5) or Magnakai (Books 6–12) adventures. Only if you have completed these previous adventures will you benefit from the appropriate bonuses in the course of the Lone Wolf Grand Master series. You may also carry over any Weapons and Backpack Items you had in your possession at the end of your last adventure, and these should be entered on your new Grand Master Action Chart. (You are still limited to two Weapons, but you may now carry up to ten Backpack Items.)
However, only the following Special Items may be carried over from the Lone Wolf Kai (Books 1–5) and Magnakai (Books 6–12) series to the Lone Wolf Grand Master series (Books 13–onwards):
During your distinguished rise to the rank of Kai Grand Master you have become proficient in all of the basic Kai and Magnakai Disciplines. These Disciplines have provided you with a formidable arsenal of natural abilities which have served you well in the fight against the agents and champions of Naar, King of the Darkness. A brief summary of your skills is given below.
Now, through the pursuit of your new skills and the further development of your innate Kai abilities, you have set out upon a path of discovery that no other Kai Grand Master has ever attempted with success. Your determination to become the first Kai Supreme Master, by acquiring total proficiency in all twelve of the Grand Master Disciplines, is an awe-inspiring challenge. You will be venturing into the unknown, pushing back the boundaries of human limitation in the pursuit of greatness and the cause of Good. May the blessings of the Gods Kai and Ishir go with you as you begin your brave and noble quest.
In the years following the demise of the Darklords you have reached the rank of Kai Grand Defender, which means that you have mastered four of the Grand Master Disciplines listed below. It is up to you to choose which four Disciplines these are. As all of the Grand Master Disciplines may be of use to you at some point during your adventure, pick your four skills with care. The correct use of a Grand Master Discipline at the right time could save your life.
When you have chosen your four Disciplines, enter them in the Grand Master Disciplines section of your Action Chart.
This Discipline enables a Grand Master to become supremely efficient in the use of all weapons. When you enter combat with one of your Grand Weaponmastery weapons, you add 5 points to your COMBAT SKILL. The rank of Kai Grand Defender, with which you begin the Lone Wolf Grand Master series, means you are supremely efficient in the use of two of the weapons listed below. For each book that you complete in the Lone Wolf Grand Master series (Books 13–20), you will gain mastery of an additional weapon. For example, if you complete The Plague Lords of Ruel and have the Grand Master Discipline of Grand Weaponmastery at the beginning of the next Lone Wolf Grand Master book, you may choose an additional Weapon to gain mastery of.
If you have the Discipline of Grand Weaponmastery with Bow, you may add 5 to any number that you pick from the Random Number Table, when using the Bow.
Grand Masters have considerable control over hostile, non-sentient creatures. Also, they have the ability to converse with birds and fishes, and use them as guides.
Grand Masters are able to use their healing power to repair serious battle-wounds. If, whilst in combat, their ENDURANCE is reduced to 8 points or less, they can draw upon their mastery to restore 20 ENDURANCE points. This ability can only be used once every 20 days.
Grand Masters are able to effect striking changes to their physical appearance, and maintain these changes over a period of a few days. They have also mastered advanced camouflage techniques that make them virtually undetectable in an open landscape.
Grand Masters are able to see in total darkness and have greatly heightened senses of touch and taste. If you have chosen the Discipline of Grand Huntmastery as one of your skills, you will not need to tick off a Meal when instructed to eat.
Grand Masters are able to resist entrapment by hostile plants and have a super-awareness of ambush, or the threat of ambush, in woods and dense forests.
When using their psychic ability to attack an enemy, Grand Masters may add 8 points to their COMBAT SKILL. For every round in which Kai-surge is used, Grand Masters need only deduct 1 ENDURANCE point. When using the weaker psychic attack—Mindblast—they may add 4 points without loss of ENDURANCE points. (Kai-surge, Psi-surge, and Mindblast cannot be used simultaneously.)
Grand Masters cannot use Kai-surge if their ENDURANCE score falls to 6 points or below.
In psychic combat, Grand Masters are able to construct mind fortresses capable of protecting themselves and others. The strength and capacity of these fortresses increase as a Grand Master advances in rank.
Grand Masters are able to withstand contact with harmful elements, such as flames and acids, for upwards of an hour in duration. This ability increases as a Grand Master advances in rank.
This Discipline enables a Grand Master to spirit-walk for far greater lengths of time, and with far fewer ill effects. Duration and the protection of his inanimate body increase as a Grand Master advances in rank.
Under the tutelage of Lord Rimoah, you have been able to master the rudimentary skills of battle-magic, as taught to the Vakeros—the native warriors of Dessi. These skills include the basic use of Old Kingdom Spells such as Shield, Power Word, and Invisible Fist. As you advance in rank, so will your knowledge and mastery of Old Kingdom magic increase.
Under the tutelage of Guildmaster Banedon, you have mastered the elementary spells of Left-handed magic, as practised by the Brotherhood of the Crystal Star. These spells include Lightning Hand, Levitation, and Mind Charm. As you advance in rank, so will your knowledge and mastery of Left-handed magic increase, enabling you eventually to craft new Kai weapons and artefacts.
If you successfully complete the mission as set in Book 19 of the Lone Wolf Grand Master series, you may add a further Grand Master Discipline of your choice to your Action Chart in Book 20. For every Grand Master Discipline you possess, in excess of the original four Disciplines you begin with, you may add 1 point to your basic COMBAT SKILL score and 2 points to your basic ENDURANCE points score. These bonus points, together with your extra Grand Master Discipline(s), your original four Grand Master Disciplines, and any Special Items that you have found and been able to keep during your adventures, may then be carried over and used in the next Lone Wolf Grand Master adventure, which is called: The Curse of Naar.
You have in your possession a map of Sommerlund and the Wildlands and a pouch of gold. To find out how much gold is in the pouch, pick a number from the Random Number Table and add 20 to the number you have picked. The total equals the number of Gold Crowns inside the pouch, and you should now enter this number in the ‘Gold Crowns’ section of your Action Chart.
If you have successfully completed any of the previous Lone Wolf adventures (Books 1–18), you may add this sum to the total sum of crowns you already possess. Fifty Crowns is the maximum you can carry, but additional Crowns can be left in safekeeping at your monastery.
You can take four items from the list below, again adding to these, if necessary, any you may already possess from previous adventures (remember, you are still limited to two weapons, but you may now carry a maximum of ten Backpack Items).
List the four items that you choose on your Action Chart, under the appropriate headings, and make a note of any effect they may have on your ENDURANCE points or COMBAT SKILL.
There will be occasions during your adventure when you have to fight an enemy. The enemy’s COMBAT SKILL and ENDURANCE points are given in the text. Lone Wolf’s aim in the combat is to kill the enemy by reducing his ENDURANCE points to zero while losing as few ENDURANCE points as possible himself.
At the start of a combat, enter Lone Wolf’s and the enemy’s ENDURANCE points in the appropriate boxes on the Combat Record section of your Action Chart. The sequence for combat is as follows:
This process of combat continues until the ENDURANCE points of either the enemy or Lone Wolf are reduced to zero or below, at which point that combatant is declared dead. If Lone Wolf is dead, the adventure is over. If the enemy is dead, Lone Wolf proceeds but with his ENDURANCE points possibly reduced.
A summary of Combat Rules appears in the back of this book.
During your adventure you may be given the chance to evade combat. If you have already engaged in a round of combat and decide to evade, calculate the combat for that round in the usual manner. All points lost by the enemy as a result of that round are ignored, and you make your escape. Only Lone Wolf may lose ENDURANCE points during that round (but then that is the risk of running away!). You may evade only if the text of the particular section allows you to do so.
The following table is a guide to the ranks and titles you can achieve at each stage of your journey along the road of Kai Grand Mastership. As you successfully complete each adventure in the Lone Wolf Grand Master series, you will gain an additional Grand Master Discipline and progress towards the pinnacle of Kai perfection—to become a Kai Supreme Master.
As you rise through the higher levels of Kai Grand Mastery, you will find that your Disciplines will steadily improve. For example, if you possess the Discipline of Grand Nexus when you reach the Grand Master rank of Grand Thane, you will be able to pass freely through Shadow Gates and explore the nether realms of Aon and the Daziarn Plane.
If you are a Grand Master who has reached the rank of Kai Grand Guardian (5 Disciplines), you will now benefit from improvements to the following Grand Master Disciplines:
If you are a Grand Master who has reached the rank of Sun Knight (6 Disciplines), you will now benefit from improvements to the following Grand Master Disciplines:
If you are a Grand Master who has reached the rank of Sun Lord (7 Disciplines), you will now benefit from improvements to the following Grand Master Disciplines:
If you are a Grand Master who has reached the rank of Sun Thane (8 Disciplines), you will now benefit from improvements to the following Grand Master Disciplines:
If you are a Kai Grand Master who has reached the rank of Grand Thane (9 Disciplines), you will now benefit from improvements to the following Grand Master Disciplines:
If you are a Grand Master who has reached the rank of Grand Crown, you will now benefit from improvements to the following Grand Master Disciplines:
The nature of any additional improvements and how they affect your Grand Master Disciplines will be noted in the Improved Grand Master Disciplines section of future Lone Wolf books.
You are about to face an adversary who possesses skills and abilities commensurate with your own. Even though you have returned to Sommerlund, the land of your birth, you should remain wary and on guard at all times. Your enemy is cunning and ruthless; you can expect no quarter from him whatsoever.
Some of the things you will encounter during your adventure will be of use to you in this and future Lone Wolf books, while others may be red herrings of no real value at all. If you discover items, be selective in what you choose to keep.
Pick your Grand Master Disciplines with care for a wise choice will enable any player to complete the quest, no matter how weak their initial COMBAT SKILL and ENDURANCE scores may be. Successful completion of previous Lone Wolf adventures, although an advantage, is not essential for the completion of this Grand Master adventure.
May the light of Kai and Ishir be your guide as you strive to defeat the agents of Naar.
For Sommerlund and the Kai!