|◄Eamon adventure #204►|
|EDX set||The Sam Ruby Adventures|
|Native format||Apple DOS 3.3|
In his previous adventure The Boy and the Bard (1989), Ruby added an "encumbrance" system to better reflect how the way an adventurer carries their gear affects their combat ability, describing some of the particulars in his adventure notes. With Sanctuary Ruby expands and refines this system, which he calls Advanced Combat and Encumbrance or ACE. His extensive notes detail the changes and special coding he made to support the system, including info on how characters can be converted to use it, changes to artifact and monster records, and changes to the attack routines of the Main Program.
Five generations ago a ruthless enemy declared war on your people and attacked their ancestral kingdom in the west, driving them from their lands and forcing them to seek exile in the lands of the east. There they've lived ever since, trying to rebuild their strength and keep their culture and religion alive. You've never felt much connection to this history, focusing instead on adventuring in the east and south, but one day a cleric comes seeking your aid.
The cleric tells you that the people are finally strong enough to return home and battle the invaders who over many years have grown complacent and overconfident. However, there's one invaluable item the people need to ensure their victory: the Staff of Retribution, a holy weapon that can bring the enemy to their knees. It was kept in a distant mountain temple known as Sanctuary, the last stronghold of your people, and was never found after their defeat, so the cleric asks you to lead a small party of priests and fighters to enter the temple and locate the staff. You agree and set out.
As you near the temple your party makes camp and you and your friend go to catch some fish in a nearby river, but a mysterious creature in the water attacks you and pulls you both in. You struggle with the creature but can't save your friend and barely escape onto the riverbank where you collapse. When you come to the next morning, you find that the camp has been destroyed and the other members of your party killed, leaving you the only survivor. Alone you must now infiltrate the temple, find the staff, and win victory for your people.
For five generations, your people have lived in exile amongst the kingdoms of the East. The Elders keep the secrets of old; the Priests remember the ancient tongue; the children learn of their distant homeland and their heritage. For though the lands of the East have been welcoming and kind, you are a people of a different religion, a different culture, and throughout the generations, all have guarded the hope that some day, they, or their children, will return to the land that was once theirs.
Living in exile, dispersed across several foreign lands, your people have had no state, no government, no king. The priests and the ancient learning have kept them together. After five generations, your numbers have grown considerably, though still a fraction of the original populace. The younger generations have never seen the old kingdom, but they have inherited a strong feeling of displacement and alienation towards their current surroundings.
More importantly, they have not inherited the fear and despair that plagued the survivors of the war that drove your people into exile. They are strong, restless, and ready to reclaim the lands that should be theirs.
And you? Well, you have never strongly identified with your people, choosing instead the life of the Adventurer. You have traveled throughout the East and the South, across the seas, even to other realms of existence. The ruined, evil-infested ancient kingdom in the West has never held much of your attention. And while most of your people have kept to the ancient learning, the religious rites, and (those that have trained as priests) the spiritual magics of healing, revelation, and the destruction of Evil, you have kept to the ways of the warrior. Your holy symbol is your sword, and battle is your worship and prayer.
Your people are all formidable warriors, but none are your equal. That is why, when you are visited by a number of the young clerics that have recently been elevated to the leadership of your people, you expect that they have come to enlist your aid in battle, which could only mean one thing.
"You are correct," the cleric says, "That time has finally arrived. Our people will soon cross the Great Mountains and launch the campaign to reclaim the Homeland.
"For over a year, in secret, many of us have infiltrated into the West already, scouting roads, gathering information, finding strongholds, and recovering whatever artifacts that may be of use to us.
"We realize that the odds are against us, and victory, even if we can achieve it, will take at least ten years and perhaps more. Though our numbers are strong, they are not even half of the great armies of the kingdom that were nearly obliterated by our Enemy five generations ago. But we have two advantages that give us the courage to undertake this war.
"First, the Enemy does not expect us. When we begin our campaign, he will be overconfident. In his ancient memory, little time has passed since his terrible victory; he will think he is facing the sad remnants of a crushed people, whom he can crush with ease as he did before. He will be very wrong, but in his arrogance he will be slow to realize it. And this arrogance will buy us time, and many victories. His minions have lived lazily, dropped their guard, and have not tasted battle for more than a century, while we are hardened and sharp.
"Second, our people are strong in spirit. The Enemy has had his time; now the tides are turning, the Clerics have felt it. The Righteous are stronger this time, I think; the Good shall prevail.
"Yet we fear one thing, or the lack of one thing. An object of the greatest Power, an object that could be employed to bring the enemy to his knees, if we could recover it.
"As you know, in all our years in exile, there has been no High Priest. The office has been vacant because in the war, we lost the great Artifact that must be passed on to a new High Priest to ordain him — the Staff of Retribution that was given to one of our saints a thousand years ago by the gods.
"The Staff was in the possession of the High Priest at the temple outside of which the final battle was fought: Sanctuary. And it is there that we must go before we can declare war."
Though "Sanctuary" is a legendary place, you explain to the clerics that you are not very familiar with it, or the events of the final year of the war before the kingdom fell.
"Centuries ago, when the Kalosan religion was relatively young, a priest had a dream that sent him journeying through the forested mountains of the North, far away from what was then the kingdom. Eventually he came to a wondrous place at the end of a valley, where there was a great round lake surrounded by high cliffs on almost all sides except for south, which led into the river valley. Above these cliffs were numerous rivers which emptied into this lake in the form of towering, thundering waterfalls."
"In the lake, towards the north side, there was a small island. The priest was commanded by a vision to establish a temple on the island as a haven from evil, a sanctuary. And so he did."
"In the final year of the kingdom, it was decided that the remaining forces would take refuge at Sanctuary, which had remained hidden from the enemy. They successfully evacuated to the north without being seen by the enemy. There they camped out on the great plain that lies on the southeast shore of the lake, where they built a small Keep for the King. The leadership of the Clergy stayed on the island in the temple."
"But after a month, they were found. The enemy's troops, aided by hundreds of foul creatures and a host of golems, marched up the valley, broke through the defenses that had been set up, and, on the plain by the lake, dealt the final blow to the army of the kingdom. The King was slain, and when the temple was assaulted, even the powerful clerics were overwhelmed."
"One thing bothered our black foe in his triumph. The body of the High Priest was never found, nor was the hated Staff that had struck down so many of our foe's hellspawn. He assumed that the priest had been slain, and, having won a total victory, soon dismissed this worry. Except for the pathetic survivors of the southern campaigns who had crossed the mountains to the East to live in exile, there was no one left alive."
"We cannot simply march our army up to Sanctuary. It is too far away; we would be destroyed before we could reach it. We must send a small force, one capable of evading detection. That means a few priests (who will have an easier time identifying things in the temple) and a few warriors. We hope that you will be one of them. Because the Staff is our object, the priests will be in charge once you reach the temple, but for the most part, you will lead the expedition, if you accept.
Well, of course you do, so you soon find yourself traveling with several priests, archers, and warriors, first west across the mountains, then north. It is a long journey.
Eventually, you find the south end of the river that leads to the lake, and you head north through the valley. One day, one of your scouts returns with thenews that Sanctuary is two days north.
He draws this rough sketch in the dirt and points out these features:
ISLAND <LAKE> <LAKE> _________ / / | / P /| | <KEEP> | L | | | | A \| | <RIVER>| I \ | | N - | - - - - - - <BROKEN WALL> | | | <VALLEY>| | | | <US> |
Your company moves on. Just as night falls, you reach the outer wall that stretches from the river on your left (west) to the cliff face on your right (east). You decide to make camp here and enter Sanctuary in the morning.
As the company is low on food, you and another person decide to head over to the river to see if you can catch some fish. You spend some time there, and finally your friend catches something...
Suddenly he is yanked into the water. Some underwater creature has got a hold of him. You grab his arm and, with your sword, hack recklessly at the water in front of him. But he is pulled into the water, you along with him.
For the better part of half an hour, you wrestle with your underwater foe, trying to free yourself. Your friend is carried under and does not surface again.
Finally, half-drowned, you manage to escape to the shore, where you collapse.
In the morning you awake in the mud and stumble off through the trees towards the camp, hollering. No one answers you.
When you get there, you find the camp in shambles. All the useful equipment is gone. And the company has disappeared...
...but there is blood everywhere.
Eventually you find a single body of an archer behind a rock. You sit down, gaze into the valley northwards, and fear the worst. You are the only survivor.
You will have to complete the mission yourself. But who, or what, attacked the company?
- Eamon Adventurer's Guild Library Master List
- The Interactive Fiction Database: Sanctuary
- Interactive Fiction Reviews: Sanctuary