Voyage Of The Moonstone
by Joe Dever, fantasy (1994)
Red Fox, £3.99, ISBN 0-09-925271-6

Voyage Of The Moonstone is the twenty-first in the interminable Lone Wolf series, but it is the first gamebook in the next phase of the series which does not let you play as Lone Wolf.

You play some random Kai Grand Master that have been trained in the newly rebuilt Kai Monastery in Sommerlund and you played a part in the recent defense of the Monastery from the forces of Naar. In this campaign, Lone Wolf entrusts you with the Moonstone and tells you to return it to the Shianti in their hideout the Isle of Lorn in Southern Magnamund. He will naturally divert the attention of the enemies to somewhere else while you do all the dirty work. Your quest here involves making your way to Elzian, the capital city of Dessi, safely with the Moonstone.

The gameplay and combat system remain the same as previously. You start out with four New Order Grand Master skills, but there are some new skills here. Okay, calling them "new" may be inaccurate, as some "new" skills are actually abilities splintered off from established old skills. For example, Herbalism is a new skill that allows you to identify useful herbs and prepare potions out of them. It used to be that you only need to master Deliverance to do this. Likewise, Bardmanship - which allows you to sing and speak in various dialects and languages - seems suspiciously like a splinter from Grand Pathmanship, which in the past allowed Lone Wolf to read and decipher text in languages foreign to him. Astrology and Elementalism round up the new skills. Not to spoil anything, but if you decide to create a Kai Grand Master using the four new skills as your starting skills, I wish you best of luck. Those skills are poorly thought-out as they turn out to be of less use than the old skills.

Back to the campaign, this one is really dull especially for this series. The campaign is very linear with very few choices that would allow you to deviate from the script, and you find yourself pretty much playing babysitter and bodyguard to some personality-free Vassagonian wench who wants to avoid an arranged marriage for a considerable portion of the campaign. You will also need to plan your budget wisely, as there are many options here that require you to pay up the dough. The campaign basically see you encountering random dramatics and combat encounters as you make your way down south to Elzian. There is very little story arc here, just a series of episodes that have little to do with each other.

Voyage Of The Moonstone may be a decent introduction to the series for newcomers, but chances are, veterans who have stuck with this series from the beginning will find little that is fresh and exciting here.

One oogie! One oogie!

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