Sor2: Kharé - Cityport of Traps

Ty Bannerman
Chris Page (spoiler - true path)
Oliver Robertson


[Ty Bannerman]

After a relaxing romp through the Shamutanti Hills, the city of Kharé is bound to come as a bit of a shock. Not only does the Cityport of Traps provide a multitude of opportunities to be gutted, shanghaied, shoved headlong into the sewer system (repeatedly!), roasted alive by laser-eyed teenagers, guillotined by an innkeeper with a peculiar recipe for stew, and suckered into tongue-kissing a poison-dart spitting statue, but through it all, the player is required to track down four lines of a poem in order to finish the adventure, and failure to do so results in a one-way-ticket right back to the beginning.

In a word: fantastic.

This is the book where the Sorcery! series hits its stride, and the intensity of narrowly avoiding death after death while struggling to meet seemingly insurmountable goals becomes the defining character of the series from this point forward. The monsters are unique and interesting to fight (my favorites being a decomposed corpse that dismembers itself and then swarms you with its various still-battling limbs, and, in the sewers a - well, a poop monster), and the puzzles are thematically appropriate and reasonably challenging.

I only have two criticism, really. Firstly, tracking down the lines of the poem is a real pain, and damn near impossible to do in the first go-round. Secondly, author Steve Jackson really seems to want the player to just out-and-out steal for no good reason; there are at least two encounters where it's just assumed that the player will steal from characters that have done him no harm, no choice is even given to not do so. I actually found myself refusing to add loot to my inventory because it seemed wrong to take it.

Those are minor quibbles though, and all-in-all the book is a true classic.


[Chris Page]

Hot on it's heels [Shamutanti Hills], Khare - Cityport of Traps. This one has a point. After the easy ride you got from the first book, that ends right here. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find the four lines of the rhyme which will unlock the gates. Unusual yes, but it gives a good excuse for a long search. Be careful and avoid the sewers and you'll be fine though. This is definately one of the best in the series, and is tough at that. By itself it would surely be even harder. Essential. 

Rating: 8.5/10


[Oliver Robertson]

This is my favourite book in the Sorcery! Series. As well as progressing to the other side of Khare, there is also a sub-quest which involves you finding the four lines of a spell which will allow you to leave through the North Gate. You must travel to four different locations to find these, with four nobles who know one line each. Although the North Gate can be reached by any route, there is a narrow path which you must travel along to find the spell lines. However, along the way are many enjoyable encounters and (if you played ‘The Shamutani Hills’) loads (well, okay, two) comrades from the first book to meet up with.

There are a huge number of situations to be involved in while in Khare and it should take you several attempts to find them all. Some places (such as the sewers) can be reached from a variety of places, while others (e.g. the mantis man - an extremely clever monster that disguises itself as a statue) can only be found by one route - which is not necessarily the correct one. Most dangerous situations can be escaped from - there is very little instant death, unless you make the wrong spell choice, which could have disastrous consequences...

This book is good fun, due to the huge variety of locations your character can reach, while at the same time having a quest to carry out which keeps you looking for the correct path. If you were only to get one book in the Sorcery! Series, I would recommend this one (the fact that this was my first one has nothing to do with it...)

Rating: 10/10