A very fierce fighter or hero, however, is also one who is lonely, all by his or her self. Has no friends, doesn't make them easily. Usually a lone wolf is aware of his or her loneliness, however, over time, the feeling will be covered and obscured by other things. Sometimes a lone wolf just needs someone to give them direction, a purpose in life.

1. A clever thief who operates alone. 2. An active pederast who selects undercover perverts and maintains secrecy.

- american underworld dictionary - 1950
Series of Adventure books by Joe Dever. The books functioned as a single-player roleplaying game, complete with combat and skill checks. In general, they were a choose your own adventure style book, which presented different choices at the end of every page, with instructions to turn to a different page depending on your choice until you got to the end. Combat was resolved by randomly pointing your pencil at a page of numbers (no peeking) and comparing that number to a chart, along with your combat advantage/disadvantage.

Well, I found out HTML tables don't work on E2...

Lone Wolf

A series of Neverwinter Nights modules, created by Ben McJunkin, better known in NWN circles as Altaris.

The Lone Wolf series is based on Joe Dever's series of adventure / light RPG books, and the adventures are reportedly quite similar (I personally have no experience with the original books so I can't really tell). These modules are among the greatest mods made for NWN, at least according to the popular vote at Neverwinter Vault. These two mods also received the Mod of the Year 2002 award. (I didn't pick this because of the recommendations - I had my own more than obvious reasons. =)

The modules are set in the same setting as the books (World of Magnamund), and are typically more focused on roleplaying, story and a few puzzles rather than combat. You are required to play the adventures using any of the supplied Lone Wolf characters (all are of good alignment, classes tend to be combat-capable). The interesting character point is that you will pick a new "Kai discipline" (special power) at the beginning of each adventure. There's no XP rewards in the game, apart of gaining a level in the end of the adventure.

Lone Wolf Chapter 1: Test of the Sun begins as our hero Lone Wolf arrives at the Kai Monastery and becomes an initiate in the Kai Order. The first half of the mod is basically about having a good look at the area, meeting different people, doing some light quests (Ah, kill some rats in the cellar and such), doing preliminary tests, and, then, bumping onto the first big obstacle, a rather unpleasant fellow initiate called Swift Blade, who will challenge you to a couple of non-lethal but perilous duels or group challenges. The second part is the Test of the Sun, where you need to solve a few problems, the most difficult of which comes from the dark past, events that are difficult to confront but that need to be resolved.

The interesting part is that most of the things in the mod can be fixed without combat. One of the first quest is a test. You are given some books, you read them, you answer questions. Quite interesting, actually.

I do have to mention one rather interesting bug: When the Test of the Sun began, the blackout effect didn't disappear. So, I did the first part of the Test in total darkness. Test of the Sun God, indeed...

Lone Wolf 2: Mysteries in the Night starts with some drowsing and practical jokes, and continues with Lone Wolf's journey with - of all people - Swift Blade. There's beautiful sunsets, hijackery, storms, murder mysteries, screaming sobbing women, conspiracies, angry mobs, bad choices, treachery, immature people, unexpected turns of the plot, and well-balanced high adventure. Some more combat than in the first part, a little easier on puzzles.

Third part (The Circle of Three) is at the moment in beta testing but the development goes on slowly due to the author's hurries...

Overall, the mods are quite interesting and the writing in the mods is very good. If there's anything bad to say about the two modules is that apart of some side quests, the mods are very linear and there's relatively few directions the dialogue or the plot can go. That aside, the mods are, in fact, very good.

Lone Wolf is a series of Choose Your Own Adventure books by Joe Dever (though some of the earlier ones also credit Gary Chalk). Twenty-eight books were published between the years of 1985 and 1998. Unfortunately, they're out of print and can be rather hard to acquire. However, there is a website devoted to bringing the Lone Wolf books to the public with permission from the author. It is called Project Aon and may be found at http://projectaon.org/. At the time of this writing, books one to fourteen (titled Captives of Kaag) are online. The next six are still undergoing transcription through volunteer work. The final eight books, the New Order series, might not be available due to legal restrictions.

The main character of the story (the one whose actions you control) is Lone Wolf. His given name was originally Silent Wolf, but renamed himself after his entire kinship was slaughtered by the Darklords. The Darklords are the antagonists of the story. They are bent on corruption and world domination. They quickly massacred the Kai Monastery (the only place in the world of Magnamund that trained Kai Lords) during a great yearly feast. Kai Lords are elite mercenaries. They have honed their bodies in such a way that allows them to perform great feats of strength of mind and body. They are often the generals of the King's armies. The following quote is on page one of the first book, Flight from the Dark. (The situation and massacre are described in much greater detail in the next two pages)

"You are the sole survivor of a devastating attack on the monastery where you were learning the skills of the Kai Lords. You swear vengeance on the Darklords for the massacre of the Kai warriors, and with a sudden flash of insight you know what you must do. You must set off on a perilous journey to the capital city to warn the King of the terrible threat that faces his people. For you are now the last of the Kai--you are now Lone Wolf."1

The series is broken into four sections. At the commencement of the story, you are a lowly Kai initiate. After the first five books and mastering each of the Kai Disciplines and studying The Book of Magnakai, you become a Magnakai. A Magnakai is simply a more powerful Kai Lord. The rules of the Magnakai books are slightly different than those of the Kai books, on account of you being more powerful and capable. Seven more books follow under the Magnakai system. The main character then ascends to Grand Master Kai status, the existence of which was previously unknown to the Kai. This ascension alters the rules again. The next eight books follow the main character's advancement into Supreme Kai status, the highest rank of Kai. The final eight books catalogue the New Order of Kai, trained by Lone Wolf himself. The main character in New Order features a new Kai Lord. I have not had the opportunity to read these as they were published briefly in England only.

The books feature a basic battle system. It makes use of two stats, which are determined by roll of a die: Endurance Points and Combat Skill. Endurance is essentially your health, and Combat Skill dictates how well you deal and receive damage. There is also a random element to combat: roll a d10 or use the Random Number Table in the back of the book. The Random Number Table is a ten-by-ten grid of numbers between zero and nine. You close your eyes and randomly point to a number using the eraser side of your pencil. (It's a lot more honest and easy to use a d10!) To see how much damage you do in combat, you look up the appropriate combat skill difference and random number you received earlier in the Combat Results Table. The damage received by both you and the NPC will be displayed. For example, if you (Lone Wolf) have a Combat Skill of 25, and your opponent has a Combat Skill of 13 (a difference of 12), and you receive a random number of 9, you will score an instant kill and receive no damage. Another example: you have a Combat Skill of 25 and your opponent has a Combat Skill of 30. You roll a three. You receive five damage and the enemy receives two. Combat is weighed heavily in your favor.

The skill system is my favorite element of this series. In the first book in the series, you choose five Kai Disciplines. For every previous book you read in that particular section of the series (Kai, Magnakai, Grand Master Kai, New Order?), you get to choose another discipline. That means that in the fifth book, Shadow on the Sand, those people who have completed the first four books will be able to choose nine Kai Disciplines. Conversely, those jumping into the series at book five will find themselves with only five disciplines. The Kai disciplines are as follows:


The following is quoted directly from Flight from the Dark.1

Camouflage - This discipline enables a Kai Lord to blend in with his surroundings. In the countryside, he can hide undetected among trees and rocks and pass close to an enemy without being seen. In a town or city, it enables him to look and sound like a native of that area, and can help him to find shelter or a safe hiding place.

Hunting - This skill ensures that a Kai Lord will never starve in the wild. He will always be able to hunt for food for himself except in areas of wasteland or desert. The skill also enables a Kai Lord to be able to move stealthily when stalking his prey.

Sixth Sense - This skill may warn a Kai Lord of imminent danger. It may also reveal the true purpose of a stranger or a strange object encountered in your adventure.

Tracking - This skill enables a Kai Lord to make the correct choice of a path in the wild, to discover the location of a person or object in a town or city and to read the secrets of footprints or tracks.

Healing - This discipline can be used to restore Endurance Points lost in combat. If you possess this skill you may restore 1 Endurance Point to your total for every numbered section of the book you pass through in which you are not involved in combat. (This is only to be used after your endurance has fallen below its original level.) Remember that your endurance cannot rise above its original level.

Weaponskill - Upon entering the Kai Monastery, each initiate is taught to master one type of weapon. If Weaponskill is to be one of your Kai Disciplines, pick a number in the usual way from the Random Number Table on the last page of the book, and then find the corresponding weapon from the list below. This is the weapon in which you have the skill. When you enter combat carrying this weapon, you add 2 points to your Combat Skill.

0 = Dagger. 1 = Spear. 2 = Mace. 3 = Short Sword. 4 = Warhammer. 5 = Sword. 6 = Axe. 7 = Sword. 8 = Quarterstaff. 9 = Broadsword.

The fact that you are skilled with a weapon does not mean you set out on the adventure carrying that particular weapon. However, you will have opportunities to acquire weapons in the course of your adventures. If you pick the axe, you are lucky enough to be skilled in the one weapon Lone Wolf is carrying from the start of the adventure.

Mindshield - The Darklords and many of the evil creatures in their command have the ability to attack you using their Mindforce. The Kai Discipline of Mindshield prevents you from losing any Endurance Points when subjected to this form of attack.

Mindblast - This enables a Kai Lord to attack an enemy using the force of his mind. It can be used at the same time as normal combat weapons and adds two extra points to your Combat Skill. Not all creatures encountered on this adventure will be harmed by Mindblast. You will be told if a creature is immune.

Animal Kinship - This skill enables a Kai Lord to communicate with some animals and to be able to guess the intentions of others.

Mind Over Matter - Mastery of this discipline enables a Kai Lord to move small objects with his powers of concentration.

These are only the disciplines of the Kai rank. Magnakai and Grand Master Kai disciplines are more powerful. Being a Magnakai means you have mastered every one of the Kai disciplines, and the same with being a Grand Master Kai and the Magnakai disciplines.


Sources:
1. Dever, Joe. Lone Wolf: Flight from the Dark. Published by Berkley. London, 1985.
My own experience.
The Lone Wolf series of books, one through twenty. They are hardlinked in an above writeup.
http://www.projectaon.org/
http://www.magnamund.org/
http://www.ncf.carleton.ca/~as300/ - Kai Monastery

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