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Literature / Bloodbones

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Hoist the colors!

Bloodbones is the 61st entry in the Fighting Fantasy series of gamebooks, written by Jonathan Green, and has an infamous history amongst the fandom as a Missing Episode; it was originally intended to be published as part of a relaunch of the Puffin range in 1995, but would not see publication until 2006 as part of the Wizard range.

Long ago, the dreaded pirate captain Cinnabar sailed the oceans with a crew of dangerous buccaneers and cutthroats, spreading death and pain wherever they went. The evil, voodoo-worshipping captain was responsible for a raid on Clam Beach, during which your parents were killed. Furious, you grew up intending to avenge them and kill the pirate captain. Years later, you enter the Port of Crabs, looking for information about your nemesis, only to learn that Cinnabar was apparently killed in battle 6 months earlier, his body lost at sea and his ship abandoned. However, an old, half-drunk mariner approaches you and tell you of a rumor circulating in the port: Captain Cinnabar isn't really dead, but has returned as a zombie thanks to the abominable powers of the Voodoo God he serves, and now his companions have been spotted in the streets of Port of Crabs, plotting something. As you leave the inn, the rumors are proved based when some pirate thugs ambush you. Starting from there, you will have to undertake a long and dangerous mission to find your nemesis and stop him before he returns from the dead to plague once again the seas of Titan.

Bloodbones follows Green's standard adventure format, dependent on Plot Coupons and codewords to proceed in your quest, though this time in a more interesting, piratey setting, starting from the shady streets of Port of Crabs to pirate galleons to jungle island and voodoo temples.

It's available as a freebie in the Fighting Fantasy Classics content pack on Steam.

Bloodbones provides examples of:

  • Affably Evil: For a dangerous, murderous voodoo pirate, captain Cinnabar is rather affable.
  • Anchors Away: The Anchorman, appropriately enough, swings a massive anchor like a flail to kill you.
  • Androcles' Lion: If you rescue the tribesman from the giant mantis, he will talk about your worth to Queen Zyteea and she will accept you in the tribe instantly.
  • An Arm and a Leg: As you fight your way out of Cinnabar's ship, you cut off the arm of a Pirate Girl, which is later revealed to be Cinnabar's right-hand woman.
  • Battle Boomerang: If you have Nightsdeath and help the Usai tribe against the spirit beast sent against them, their Queen Zyteea will give you the Bolarang, a cross-shaped weapon with curved blades at each end. The Bolarang will always return to your hand when thrown before a fight, though you'll only have time to attack one opponent with the Bolarang.
  • Big Bad: Captain Cinnabar, infamous pirate, returned from the dead thanks to the powers of his Voodoo God Quezkari.
  • Bodyguard Babes: Silas Gallows, one of Cinnabar's pirates, is escorted by the beautiful Khulian swordswoman Wu-Lin.
  • Cannibal Tribe: Subverted with the inhabitants of Bone Island, who are rather nice and affable if you get on their good side, and gladly help you against the local Voodoo Sorcerer Ramatu.
  • Cavalry of the Dead: If you defeat the Ghost Pirate Captain Velyarde, you can enlist his help to pursue Cinnabar's ship, the Virago.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Scrimshaw the lonely, half-insane hermit living on Bone Island, who can direct you to a cavern where a treasure is hidden.
  • Cool Sword: Nightsdeath, a magic cutlass made of bone which flares up with azure flames when his name is called and can harm even spirits.
  • Continuity Nod: The climatic confrontation against Bloodbones' crew have you resurrecting a skeletal army to aid you in combat - much like one of the good endings available in the earlier book, Demons of the Deep.
  • Death by Materialism: In the treasure cavern where you find the Bone Sword, trying to take the other treasures inside will turn you into a statue made of gold.
  • Delicious Distraction: Averted with the Nine-Tails, you're given the option to distract him with food, but he won't buy it.
  • Dem Bones: In order to overcome Captain Bloodbones' army, you will need to find the means to resurrect an army of skeletons to aid you in battle.
  • Diabolus ex Nihilo: Just as the Fortune is about to reach the Virago before it can land on Bone Island, the dreaded, Leviathan-like Behemoth appears and swallows the ship, causing you to jump into the ocean to save yourself.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The final battle has you dueling the Voodoo God Quezkari with Nightsdeath and vanquishing him once and for all.
  • Dirty Coward: If you reveal to Cinnabar the clay idol containing his heart, he will immediately panic and beg for mercy without shame.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Ramatu, the Evil Sorcerer voodoo priest who must be defeated to rid Bone Island of his influence and proceed to chase Cinnabar.
  • The Dragon: Mirel the Red, Cinnabar's competent right-hand woman who recovered his body after the battle against the Fortune and had it revived with voodoo powers. Also, Ramatu the Voodoo Sorcerer can be see as one for him, despite not being a member of the crew.
  • Drop-In Nemesis: At one point, when you're running away from the enemies in the Voodoo temple, you run into a cave full of webs where you're attacked again by the Scarachna.
  • Drowning Pit: Upon capturing you, Cinnabar takes you aboard the Virago and puts you into such a trap. You need the shark teeth bracelet to get out.
  • Fat Bastard: Bladderwreck, Cinnabar's obese, cannibal cook who attacks you with scalding water and a cleaver.
  • Final Boss: After killing Cinnabar, Quezkari will emerge from the Netherworld to deal with you personally.
  • Ghostly Chill: One room in the Ghost ship you can visit contains an icy wraith called "Chiller" who tries to kill you with his incredibly icy aura.
  • Ghost Pirate: Not to disappoint, this game has Cinnabar himself, who's a Zombie Pirate for some time before being resurrected again though with a Soul Jar, Captain Valyarde the cursed and actual Ghost Pirate you can defeat so that he can join you and finally the optional Jolly Roger, who's a Vampire Pirate.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: The risk of passing through Crab Reefs is, well, being attacked by giant crabs.
  • Giant Spider/Scary Scorpions: The Scarachna is a grotesque hybrid of spider and scorpion with massive fangs and the ability to spit web. You must fight it twice on Bone Island, though apparently he's the only member of his species.
  • Golem: This book has probably one of the most original and, in retrospect, brilliant examples with the Treasure Golem guarding the pirate treasure inside a cave.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Quezkari is actually directly involved in the story and will step into the frontlines when his champion Cinnabar is defeated.
  • Hero of Another Story: Bounty Hunter Conyn, captain of the Fortune, the man who killed Cinnabar and routed his crew, can be encountered and will help you on your quest. Too bad his ship is sunk by the Behemoth.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: If you win two consecutive rounds against the Anchorman, he will fall backwards, getting his feet tangled in the chain and dropping the anchor, which you promptly shove in the nearby water, delivering your assassin to a watery grave.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: Cinnabar is an avid practitioner of Voodoo sorcery and has a Witch Doctor in his crew. Voodoo magic performed by Ramatu and bestowed by Quezkari is what revived him in the first place.
  • Hungry Jungle: Most of Bone Island is covered in monster-infested jungles, with some clearings for marshlands, cliffs and beaches.
  • Luck-Based Mission: One of the worst in the entire history of the books, as besides the standard required Luck checks to obtain critical items/clues, on the path required to win at one point you take a check by rolling a 1d6, and if you roll a 1 you simply die, regardless of items, skill, stamina or luck.
  • Mad Doctor: Cinnabar's personal medic, Doctor Malefact, is a skilled physician who, in the free times, performs Cold-Blooded Torture and insane experiments mixing voodoo with science.
  • Magic Antidote: Zigzagged, while antidotes can heal you if you're infected with deadly poisons, against poisoned weapons or enemies (which usually deal extra damage per hit) you can drink a dose of antidote to decrease by half the damage take by poison.
  • Ocean of Adventure: You take the role of a sailor who is traveling over the twelve seas of the old world in order to stop the dreaded pirate lord, Bloodbones. During your adventure, you're required to travel to distant islands, explore treasure caves, and encounter underwater enemies such as sharks and krakens, culminating with a climax where you lead a skeleton army to defeat the evil Bloodbones.
  • Our Spirits Are Different: Spirits can be employed by voodoo sorcerers to do their bidding, and of course can only be harmed with magical weapons. Quezkari himself is referred to an Arch-Spirit masquerading as a God.
  • Plot Coupon: Mostly consist in information required to proceed, but there's a fair share of vital items such as the shark-teeth bracelet or the Bone Sword.
  • Race Against the Clock: During the first part of the game, you have a limited amount of time to find out where's Cinnabar's hideout in the Port of Crabs and how to infiltrate. If you waste too much time, the Virago will leave and you fail your mission.
  • Red Baron: Cinnabar is known by his nickname of Bloodbones, and the same goes for most of his crew members like "Gallows" Silas and Mirel "the Red".
  • Right-Hand Attack Dog: Old Crivens sends his pet monkey to rake your face during your fight against him, while Cinnabar himself tells his parrot pet Jezebel to go for your eyes in combat.
  • Sea Monster: The Behemoth resembles the classical, fish-like sea monsters depicted on old maps.
  • Slaying Mantis: On Bone Island you can run into a native attacked by a giant mantis, which is a though opponent, even though slaying it will allow you to instantly gain the trust of Queen Zyteena.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Threatening Shark: If you escape the Virago, there's a mandatory underwater battle against a great white shark. Not only the enemy is tough, but you have a malus and can only duel for a limited amount of time before drowning.
  • Visual Pun: The Nine-Tails is a literal, monstrous giant cat with nine, scorpion-like tails.
  • Voodoo Zombie: The ones reanimated by Ramatu to guard his temple are rotten, bloated corpses covered in massive wooden masks. They can be killed by Zombie Powder.
  • Wooden Stake: In order to make sure that Jolly Roger dies for real, you have to improvise one from the nearby broken railings.
  • You Killed My Father: The reason why the hero is going after Captain Cinnabar.