by Stephen Hand, fantasy (1992)
Puffin Books, £3.50, ISBN 0-14-034937-5
You are a Bounty Hunter, renowned for your courageous (or suicidal, depending on how you look at it) feats and peerless track record. Of course, you don't just work for anyone who can afford your services. As a hero, you work for justice, bringing the worst criminals to justice even if means putting your life on the line to do so.
In Moonrunner, you are summoned to Blackhaven, the Port Blacksand equivalent of Gallantria, by the Guard Marshal for the biggest gig in your career: to capture Karam Gruul, the Inquisitor General of Brice. He had gone into hiding, abetted by the Brician King, when he was supposed to stand trial for his war crimes, and now there is evidence that he is hiding in Blackhaven. You have to seek him out, but it won't be easy, for Gruul has a legion of minions at his bidding, minions who will seek to thwart you at every level.
Moonrunner is essentially a dungeon crawl of sorts set in a sprawling city, but this city is pretty much a collection of homages to everything from Jason Voorhees to the John Carpenter movie The Fog. You have to locate some Special Items and clues before you can even pinpoint Gruul's location. There is the obligatory maze-crawling that provides some moment of tedium as it's all so unnecessary and even stupid, but on the whole, this campaign is a very atmospheric one with some great characters and creepy encounters.
The difficulty level is uneven, though. There are some very tough moments in this campaign to obtain items that turn out to be not that important, for example, while the more important ones are ridiculously easy to obtain. There are moments when you will have to decipher clues in a frustrating and tortuous manner, just as there are moments when deciphering clues turns out to be fun. Also, after all the hard work you have put into the campaign, the ending can be tad anticlimatic.
Still, Moonrunner is an entertaining gamebook with strong storytelling component.
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