Up to four players can participate in this game; the Hero, which is the Game Master, who narrates the story for three or more players — each with their own SKILL, STAMINA and LUCK stats — and sets up scenarios, events, and battles for the players on a long, hazardous mission to confront the cunning Riddling Reaver.
The Riddling Reaver works with the basic rules of gameplay set out by Fighting Fantasy. This book will requires the Game Master to be at least a seasoned player of Fighting Fantasy and having access to Titan The Fighting Fantasy World and Out of the Pit for further information to enhance the gameplay.
The adventure is divided into four "acts":
Act One: The Curse of Kallamehr
The first stop of adventure is the southern city of Kallamehr, previously seen in Slaves of the Abyss, where upon arriving the players discover Baron Bluestone (husband of Lady Carolina Bluestone, previously featured in Abyss) battling the Reaver. Unfortunately, the players arrive just in time to see Bluestone being flung off his tower by the Reaver. The heroes then set off to pursuit the Reaver; but for reasons as-yet unknown, the Reaver seems to be tempting the heroes to follow him, since he left behind clues of his whereabouts in a magic riddle box.
Act Two: Voyage of Enigma
The heroes' pursuit of the Reaver reaches a magic ship, the Twice Shy, decked in Kallamehr harbor. But upon getting aboard, the heroes discover the voyage won't be a pleasant one: the Twice Shy is filled with monsters, spirits, and various traps, all summoned by the Reaver himself.
Act Three: The Pendulum of Fate
Disembarking the Twice Shy, the heroes lands in a beach somewhere in the jungles of southern Allansia. Saving an explorer named Waxley, he became a companion of the players and will direct them to a mysterious shrine housing an artifact of great power. After an intense jungle trek filled with battles against monsters and killer plants, the heroes discover the shrine is actually alive; it's an ancient monster waiting for sacrifices to unknowingly enter its stomach and the artifact, the Pendulum of Fate, is the very heart of the creature. Unfortunately, the Riddling Reaver appears yet once more to steal the Pendulum from the heroes.
Act Four: The Realm of Entropy
The heroes pursue the Reaver to prevent him from using the Pendulum for his own nefarious reasons. His lair, "The Reaver's Roost", is nearby, but this place is not like any other villain hideout the heroes may have come across in past adventures: full of traps, dangers, an ever-increasing army of Replicanths, the heroes braces themselves to stop the Reaver in an intense final battle.
The Riddling Reaver is out of print and rather difficult to obtain a copy these days, but its still readily available on the internet in downloadable pdf form.
The Riddling Reaver provides examples of:
- Actually a Doombot: The Riddler has made several fake Riddlers to adorn his hideout. They're usually filled with nasty surprises for all those who try to hack at them.
- Adventurer Archaeologist: Waxley Speed, whom players can recruit in Act Three. Too bad he is actually the Riddling Reaver in disguise.
- Ambiguous Ending: The Final Battle scenario is not determined by the book, but the player acting as Game Master; Being the climax of the game, players are given the free liberties on battling the Reaver's Replicanth army and besting the Reaver in battle.
- Ambiguously Human: The Reaver, given his abilities, there is no telling if he's a human or a magic creature.
- Anomalous Art: On board the Twice Shy, players risk getting attacked by a portrait of the Reaver.
- Antagonist Title
- Attack Backfire: If a Mage botches a spell roll, then the Game Master is advised to have the spell backfire on him (for example, the cloning spell creates a temporary Evil Twin of the caster).
- Attack of the Monster Appendage:
- Baleful Polymorph: Accidentally pissing off a genie on the Twice Shy will have a player character turned into a monkey. He can still fight though, but with their SKILL greatly reduced.
- Born of Magic: The Reaver is allegedly created by Logaan the Trickster God Himself.
- Boss Arena Idiocy
- The Devlin's cage is located in a room containing pails of water, the only element it is weak against. Justified, as according to the description, he's used a a lighthouse source of light, and the buckets are there in case it breaks free.
- Cast from Hit Points: In a Call-Back to Sorcery!, spells works using this principle as well.
- Comeback Mechanic: Even if a player's STAMINA reaches zero, they can still be brought back with assistance of other players.
- Continuity Cavalcade: And how! Numerous enemies from previous installments of Fighting Fantasy shows up in this adventure to challenge the players.
- Jib-jibs from Sorcery! shows up on the Twice Shy. Players can choose to capture it if they want.
- The Mucalytics which previously appeared in the same book series shows up as well, in the Womb Level.
- Another Imitator, which previously appeared in Deathtrap Dungeon, shows up on the Twice Shy, this time disguised as a dinner table. In fact both imitators have the exact same SKILL and STAMINA stats.
- Crossing a jungle infested by monsters and killer plants, and hunted by evil Lizard Folk? Sounds like Island of the Lizard King or Battleblade Warrior...
- The temple where the Pendulum Artifact is located is guarded by Eye Stingers, similar to that from Temple of Terror.
- Iron-Eaters, which earlier on appeared in Temple of Terror, Crypt of the Sorcerer and Deathmoor shows up again in the Womb Level. This time they attack en masse however.
- The Reaver can sic another Fire Demon, similar to the one from The Forest of Doom, Trial of Champions, Fangs of Fury and Tower of Destruction on the players. Once again they're Fire Sword-wielding enemies which can breath fire and uses whips as their sidearms.
- Wheelies from The Citadel of Chaos shows up in the Reaver's lair in Act Four.
- Cool Airship: The Riddling Reaver has one which he use as a getaway vehicle at the end of Act Three.
- Cool Sword: Searching the main room of the Shrine reveals a magic Sword which can be used for a juicy bonus.
- Cutting the Knot: Averted with a puzzle box the players can obtain in Act One; it is explicitly stated that the box cannot be smashed open, and can only be unlocked by solving the riddle required to open it. The answer to the riddle is water; therefore the box may open if players immerse the box in liquid.
- Death Is Not Permanent: If a player's STAMINA reaches 0, he is merely knocked out; he will come back a few paragraphs later with 1 STAMINA point remaining (at which point the player would probably wolf down Provisions and potions to bring his STAMINA back up).
- Deader Than Dead: If a player's STAMINA somehow reaches below -1, they are officially out of the adventure!
- Delicious Distraction: If the players run into a hungry Sea Monster on the Twice Shy, they can lose him by tossing barrels of salted fish overboard.
- Delighting in Riddles:
- The Reaver's clues are all riddles, which he will leave behind for players to indicate his next move.
- Various NPC, such as Bhorizz the scholar, Dappa the Guide, and inexplicably a Sea Giant, will quiz the players with riddles as well, and most of the time solving their riddles will reward the players with gold or supplies.
- Dem Bones: Replicanths are, essentially, animated skeletons coated in brightly colored jelly to facilitate the animation spell.
- Dungeon Bypass:
- In Act One, if one of the players is a wizard, they can avoid climbing the Baron's Tower by simply smashing down the entrance doors with a Strength Spell or float the entire party upstairs with a Levitation Spell.
- The Sea Giant battle can be avoided by simply answering a riddle.
- In Act One, it's mentioned that if all the players are defeated by the thugs and forcibly recruited on a pirate ship, then the Master is encouraged to go directly to Act III and have them reach Allansia through shipwreck or a similar incident.
- Elemental Embodiment: The Devlin, a creature made of fire, attacks players in Act One. It has a rather high SKILL score and no STAMINA score, and the only way to defeat it is by dousing it with water.
- Extranormal Institute: The Nautical Academy of Kallamehr, featured in Act One.
- Giant Spider: Shows up in the jungle of Act Three, and the Reaver's lair in Act Four. The former, to boot, hides inside a hollowed web which doubles as a bridge across a chasm.
- Hungry Jungle: The entirety of Act Three is set in one, complete with giant insects, killer plants, headhunters and Lizard Men...
- I Shall Taunt You: In the Reaver's domain, one of the random events has the Reaver peeking from a door to blow a raspberry at the heroes before disappearing.
- I'm Melting!: This can happen to unlucky players in the Womb Level.
- In the Hood: The Reaver is never seen with his hood down.
- It's All Upstairs from Here: In the very beginning of Act One the player is given a chance to climb up Baron Bluestone's tower.
- Leprechaun: One named Finnegan O'Dinnegan appears outside the Reaver's lair in Act Four, but he's not exactly allied with the Reaver.
- Living Structure Monster: The "Temple" where the Pendulum is kept is actually the colossal body of a monster, its life bound to the Pendulum. When the Pendulum is removed, the whole creature stops, as if dead.
- Lizard Folk: Several of the Reaver's servants are Mutant Lizard Men, who will confront the players in Act Three.
- A Load of Bull: In one scenario you can fight a Minotaur in an arena. One which can breath poison from its nostrils, but is otherwise quite weak.
- Mad Scientist Laboratory: The Reaver has one of these where he creates his army of Replicanths.
- Man of Wealth and Taste: The Reaver's domain is royally furnished and elegantly decorated, complete with its own library, banquet hall, and elaborate hallways.
- Meaningful Name:
- The titular character is a trickster who loves using Riddles as clues.
- The Baron's Soothsayer is named Cona Nurndrurn.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: The Chimaera, fused between a lizard, goat, and lion, from Act Two. It is capable of having three attacks at the same time, preventing players from ganging up on it.
- Mooks: The Reaver's domain in Act Four is guarded by Replicanths, which are artificially created by the Reaver as his servants and guards.
- Non-Lethal K.O.: For players whose STAMINA reaches 0. They still have chance of survival if they're revived with items that grants STAMINA boost.
- Nothing Is Scarier: There is a dark room called The Void in the Reaver's domain. Any player who steps foot in it will never emerge again...
- One-Hit Kill: When players rolls a Double Six for Attack Strength, they have mortally injured the opponent.
- One-Man Army: Having made it to the final act, the players (around 3 - 5 of them) will have to do battle against the Reaver's Replicanth army. All 130 of them!!!... thankfully though, there are ways to quell their numbers and they are flimsy enough to go down easily.
- Only Mostly Dead: Players whose STAMINA reaches -1. Surviving players are advised to keep the player out of battles until some ways to restore STAMINA can be found and used on the gravely injured.
- Playing with Fire: Wizard players can summon fire with the Fire Spell.
- Power Tattoo: Players can have this embedded on their bodies in Act One. At 25 Gold Pieces each.
- Prequel: The story is set before and concurrently during events of Slaves of the Abyss; it depicts Baron Bluestone's death at the hands of the Reaver and also the reasons for the Reaver being in Kallamehr.
- Quicksand Sucks: Another potential hazard of the jungle in Act Three.
- Random Encounters: In more than one occasion, players will have to roll a dice and determine what kind of monsters and creatures they need to face.
- Rodents of Unusual Size: In Act Two, while aboard the Twice Shy, players can encounter one of these. In a subversion, it's just a normal mouse, but the room they're in shrinks them to the size of an insect.
- Scaled Up: Not the Reaver, but he can change a flagpole into a giant snake to hold off the players as he makes a getaway.
- Sea Monster: A reoccurring enemy type in Act Two.
- Smashed Eggs Hatching: Getting trapped in a chamber full of giant centipede eggs, the players have to make their way out by doing this... resulting in hordes of vicious baby centipedes attacking the players.
- Squishy Wizard: Downplayed; players who choose to be wizards have access to spells, but similar to Sorcery! they have a malus of -2 when rolling dice for their SKILL value and have less STAMINA.
- Swallowed Whole: This happens to the entire party in Act Three.
- Taxidermy Terror: The Reaver have a room dedicated to his taxidermy collection, which the players can stumble across while exploring the Twice Shy. The taxidermized sailors can actually come to life and attack players!
- Threatening Shark: The players need to battle these while escaping the Twice Shy, near the end of Act Two.
- Too Dumb to Live: Invoked, the book states that if the heroes tries to fight the Devlin ignoring the massive pails of water lying around then they deserve to be annihilated.
- Tree Buchet: The Mutant Lizardmen are introduced doing this to their human prisoners.
- Weapon of Choice: All the heroes start with a sword, but they have the choice of different weapons: Daggers inflict less damage, Maces are the same as swords, Axes and Spears can, depending on the dice roll, deal less or more damage per attack. Finally, Morning Stars and Greatswords can be used to deal more damage, but they come with a SKILL malus (the former for its chain, the latter because it's huge and cumbersome).
- Womb Level: One rather long scenario in Act Three takes place in the stomach of a massive subterranean monster.
- Yin-Yang Clash: At one point the players will encounter a pair of massive stone figures — one white, one black — locked in a perpetual battle. The book identifies these as the Icon of Good and the Icon of Evil. If the players intervene to aid either Icon, it will handily defeat its opponent and then turn on them.