Escape from Khosht is a solo adventure for Tunnels and Trolls, 5th edition. Without giving too much away, your character is one of a trio that has just swiped the fabulously valuable Eye of the Beast, a diamond the size of a hill giant’s fist. The theft doesn’t go unnoticed, and soon you’re running for your life, just happy to escape the city of Khosht with your hide and your soul intact.
I’ve been critical of a lot of the Tunnels and Trolls solos that have been recently published. They look to be quickly written, incredibly short, and not well thought out. The writing itself, is uninspired, and quite flat, leaving little to spark the reader’s imagination.
None of that is true in this adventure’s case!!!!!
I love a lot of things about this adventure!!!!
One, the author engages you right away, with engrossing prose that sets the scene marvelously. It is easy to tell the writer, Andrew Greene, was enthusiastic about writing the adventure and it shows in each of the passages.
Here is just one example:
Radnoff’s voice is pleading. “We tried to heist the Eye of the Beast. We need your help.”
“Help?” Ludor asks, offended. “Leave here at once!”
Radnoff’s mouth falls open. “What?”
“Get away from my house.” Ludor looks up the street. “You hear those hounds? On the other end of their leashes are Night Patrolmen, man-beasts who are more bloodthirsty than the dogs they command. If they realize you’ve been here, they’ll kill me.” Ludor leans over the fence and snarls, “But not before I kill you.”
A dark, murderous glare trickles into Radnoff’s coal-black eyes. “Have you forgotten your oath, Old Man?” he asks between clenched teeth.
“To the deepest hell with the oaths I took as a thief..."
That was an intense moment. For me, passages like that lent a lot to the overall enjoyment of the gamebook, and made me feel immersed in the experience.
Second, you’ll meet a lot of intriguing NPCs and monsters in this adventure. There are no standard, “vanilla” monsters to fight here, such as goblins or orcs. The NPCs come alive with personalities. These are not cardboard cut-outs just waiting for you to kill them or be killed by them.
Some technical comments: the adventure is for mid-level characters, 9th level or thereabouts, with approximately 100 adds. You can be play by any of the classes in T&T 5th edition: warrior, wizard, rogue, or warrior-wizard. A nice set of “house rules” are provided at the beginning of the adventure that handles thrown weapons, and most of the spellcasting in the game. There are also options provided in the text when some of the other, more exotic, spells can be cast. Three pre-generated characters are provided at the back of the book, a warrior, rogue, and wizard, as well as details on two of the game’s NPCs, for use in other adventures.
What some people may not like: The passages aren’t scrambled. The options, particularly at the beginning, follow on after the other. This isn’t usually the case in solo adventures, but if someone is going to cheat and read ahead, they’re going to cheat regardless. Also, the font could have been larger, making reading a bit easier.
Those things, however, have nothing to do with the writing. The quality of writing is the main thing in solo adventures, and there is quality here in SPADES!! Add that to a beautiful cover design and exceptional pieces of art scattered throughout the book by Jeff Freels (including a nice rendering of the lovely NPC, Chi-Chi) and you’ve got a winner.
In short, pick up "Escape from Khosht," even if you don’t play Tunnels and Trolls, but are a fan of the gamebook genre. There is a lot here to like. Did I mention it's fee?