Friday 4 July 2014

[RFM] Lone Wolf: Eclipse of the Kai [4/4]

Part 4: The Eclipse of the Kai

Zarganna mounted on a great Imperial Zlan beast, cicling high above the fray,  Arrows whizz past,  sword-clashes, distant shouting, the steady drums of war beating down. Actually the assault on the Kai Monastery works brilliantly, and is absolutely the best bit of the whole tape, a joy to listen to in all its gory detail.

It also helps if, whilst listening, you stare at this magnificent photo:

The Darklords Assault the Kai Monestary (from the Magnamund Companion and White Dwarf)

Along with the Maganmund Companion, this photo also appeared in White Dwarf 62 where no mention of the Kai Monastery is made, it does identify the fire-ball casting chap as the Chronicle Shaman (N12 Hobgoblin Shaman?). However it is noted as "playtesting Warhammer 2nd Edition" which seems a bit odd actual playtest wargame would have bases, no? I suspect marketing shenanigans. Intriguingly the WD states that both this image and John Blanches WFB2 cover are available from Citadel as a poster - quick, to the Tardis Lucy!

The audio version of the battle places much more emphasis on the circling flying troops -  Zlann beasts, and no mention of the wolves evident in the diorama. Magnamundian mythology shifts over time, the tale grows in it's telling...

Alyss returns once again surrounded by warm synth strings with her seemingly infinite powers "but cannot interfere from history" (fixed points in time the plot and all that guff that comes with superpowered mary sue types... 'spoilers') and engages Vonotar in psionic combat. It's another example of how close to AD&D the Lone Wolf world really is.  Evoking synethesia, and the emotional draining of psionic blast. The scene starts off well, but veers off into realms of psychedelic mechanical insects, envoking Ian-Miller esque cyberinsectoid warfare, which dosn't really make all that much sense, and it drags on and on, only to smugly reveal that Alyss was simply delaying Vonotar's arrival at the battle to stop him from killing Silent Wolf.

psionic combat - it all gets a bit trippy | Ian Miller

As he nears the ill-fated Monastery with his message of doom Banedon realises he is to late, and hides amid in ancient ruin of temple stones in a forest and it dawns on me we've caught up with events in the gamebook... 
Banedon - Gary Chalk
Silent Wolf wakes up from a half-dream somehow hacked into by Alyss, and returns from slacking off from kitchen duties to view the bloody carnage and gruesome devastation of the Kai Monastery, before turning round and running off into the forest. Catching up with Banedon, and as the cassette spool runs out, finally takes for himself the name Lone Wolf...

Lone Wolf / ZXS Spectrum vsn / Gary Chalk

And there endeth he audiobook advenutres of Lone Wolf. Overall a highly enjoyable listen, some nice faux-medieval digital soundtracking by Joe Dever, some great delivery by Edward DeSouza, nice production values, but unfortunately some of the narrative that didn't work for me (anything regarding Alyss - too high-powered, too cliched).  Shame they didn't continue with the series really. I'm guessing it didn't sell too well, a cassette only release in the days of CD means the platform wasn't cool, and the at the very tail end of the gamebook boom (which itself was fueled by the D&D boom) probably meant it wasn't at quite the right time. A re-release these days on MP3 through digital channels, with the resurgence of digital gamebooks and the continuing expansion of the Lone Wolf brand through books, games (both tabletop and digital) etc. might prove popular. Until then, it can be dug up from Amazon or just don't forget to check the audio section of your local charity shop when hunting green spined books and the little lead men...


  1. Another great little mini-series, although I still find myself wanting to know what beer you drank while you listened to each part... ;)

    1. I've no idea what I was drinking 2 years ago, but shall raise a glass to the memory of Joe.