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Captain Cinnabar, also known as Bloodbones, is the main villain of the Fighting Fantasy gamebook Bloodbones. He is an undead Pirate Lord who killed the playable character’s family, triggering their thirst for revenge. Bloodbones and its setting are heavily based on the 1988 novel On Stranger Tides.

About Cinnabar

Captain Cinnabar is one of the most dreaded pirates of Titan’s history, rivalling in infamy with Lord Varek Azzur himself. He is surprisingly polite, if taunting, as if his crimes were mere business; but cruel, bloodthirsty, power-hungry, and fanatical. He is also cowardly, frantically begging for mercy as soon as things go downhill.

Cinnabar leads the Pirates of the Black Skull, aboard his ship called the Virago. They all bear a Black Skull tattoo on the back of their hand. He has huge influence over all piracy in the Diamond Sea, on the northern coasts of the continent of the Old World. He has a secret lair in Port of Crabs: a wretched hive in the country of Ruddlestone.

Cinnabar is also a powerful practitioner of Voodoo sorcery and a worshipper of Quezkari, the evil Voodoo deity. He works in cohort with Quezkari's high-priest Ramatu and his fanatical devotees, harvesting the souls of all his victims as an offering to his idol out of fanatical devotion. In the story proper, he seeks to empower his pirates with Quezkari's magic to take over Port of Crabs, to cement his full control over all pirates in the Diamond Sea.

Ten years before the start of the story, Cinnabar's pirates ransacked Clam Beach, hometown of the playable character, and killed most of its population, including your father and brothers. After your mother's death, you became sailor and tracked down the Pirates of the Black Skull, hoping to one day get your revenge.

Quezkari

Quezkari

Quezkari

The Death Deity of Voodoo, worshipped by the Pirates of the Black Skull. Quezkari is a highly powerful demonic spirit of Death and Dark Magic, servant of the evil Goddess of Sorcery Shekka. He is cruel, violent, vindictive and bloodthirsty, craving for souls and seeking to expand his influence to spread further evil.

Quezkari is an Arch-Spirit who passes as a deity and is revered as such; being in fact of demi-god status, on a more or less equal footing with the Demon Princes of Titan, though his influence seems much less expanded. He is described as a manifestation of the souls of his worshipper's victims, hinting that he needs to feed on souls to manifest on the Earthly Planes.

He controls Voodoo sorcery, he can prevent his followers from dying, or resurrect them as greater undeads, raise zombies, cast curses and controls monsters and evil being, among others.

In the game

Game setting

When the story begins, you learn that Cinnabar finally met his demise at the hands of a famed bounty hunter. His body was thrown at sea and his ship is thought to have sunk in a storm. However, you are later told that Cinnabar's threat is not over yet. It turns out that a now undead Cinnabar was recovered by his right-hand-woman Mirel the Red, and that he is about to be resurrected and made fully immortal in the temple of Quezkari on Bone Island. Knowing this, you set out to track him down and put a definite end to his reign of terror.

You must scout all over Port of Crabs to buy useful (if not mandatory) items, and to gather clues about Cinnabar's lair in town and the location of Bone Island. Ignore the message as it is a trap but visit the shops. You must measure the time you spend investigating, given that if you take too long to enter Cinnabar's lair, the pirates will have left, and the game will be lost. Otherwise, the Pirates of the Black Skull will capture you.

The game in itself

Once in the Virago’s secret port, you need a wristband of shark teeth to cut your ropes, before you drown in a prison slowly filled with water. You then sneak into the ship, to get the second clue about Bone Island in the captain's cabin, before fighting your way against Cinnabar's Pirates. You cut off Mirel the Red's arm during the skirmish, until they throw you overboard, and kill the great white shark who attacks you before you drown.

After being rescued aboard the Fortune, the ship of Captain Conyn, the bounty-hunter who slew Cinnabar, you must get into the ghost ship The Sea Maiden and fight the ghost of Captain Velyarde. He is a powerful enemy with 10 in skill (power-level) and 10 in stamina (life-points), but your victory lifts Cinnabar's curse condemning him and his crew to sail the sea for eternity, and he becomes a priceless ally. As the Fortune is catching up with the Virago, it is attacked and sunk by a sea-monster, stranding you on Bone Island. There, you must search for the treasure of Captain Blackscar to gain the powerful magic bones word, but beware, the cursed treasure forms a golem to fight you.

Then you can save a native from a dangerous giant mantis. In gratitude, he takes you to his village, where Queen Zythea tells you that the bone-sword is called Nightdeath, and calling its name unlocks its power, after you use it to destroy a spectre. (If you did not save the native, you must succeed initiation trials.)

Ramatu

Ramatu, the twisted high-priest of Quezkari

Zythea tells you that Quezkari's high-priest Ramatu is abducting natives to turn them into masked zombies. So, you decide to venture into the mountains towards the temple of Quezkari. The temple is filled with zombies and monsters, including the Scarachna, a half-scorpion half-spider monster, that tracked you down from the jungle.
  • The Scarachna is a powerful and dangerous enemy with 11 in skill and 12 in stamina. It strikes with its stinger 1 in 6 times, costing 6 stamina points. Worse, it kills you if it strikes twice in a row, by webbing you up. If you spend too much time fighting it, it will be backed up by three masked zombies.
  • Ramatu's zombies capture you and the high-priest makes you drink Quezkari's ichor (the mystical substance flowing through divine beings). You must win a test of skill to avoid becoming raving mad and made Cinnabar's slave, and to pretend losing your mind to distract your foe.
  • If you smashed Ramatu's crystal, he will be weakened and unable to spellcast, making the fight easier. Be careful as he remains a powerful foe with 10 in skill and 9 in stamina, whose screaming dagger decreases your skill by 1 point.
  • If you did not smash the crystal, you will face a very powerful and dangerous foe with 11 in skill and 11 in stamina. In the first attack round, he fires a wave of energy darts costing a dice roll worth of stamina. In the second he casts a curse costing 3 stamina points, 1 skill point and 1 luck point. In the third, he splashes you with flaming blood costing 4 stamina points. And then, he fights with his skill-decreasing dagger.

After killing Ramatu, you must take the fetish inside which Bloodbones's heart was sealed and touch the magic pearl to get healed. Now it is time to storm the Virago and settle your score with the wretched Pirate Lord once and for all. You must summon Captain Velyarde and his ghost crew to battle the Pirates of the Black Skull, lest they overwhelm and kill you Be careful, for there are many very powerful foes ahead.

  • You must face a powerful Chaos Warrior with 10 in skill and 11 in stamina. His mace costs 3 stamina points 2 in 6 times, and 3 in 6 times, your blows cost him only 1.
  • Mirel the Red, now sporting a hook-hand and craving revenge, is a very powerful foe with 11 in skill and 10 in stamina, but fortunately lacks additional skills.

Facing Cinnabar

Combat contre Cinnabar

Battling Cinnabar.

Bloodbones first shoots you with a crossbow, forcing you to test your skill or lose 2 stamina points and 2 skill points for the first attack round, as getting hit makes you fall. He is a very powerful enemy with 12 in skill (the maximum available) and 16 in stamina. Moreover, his pet parrot Jezebel pesters you, hindering you by 1 skill point and trying to peck you every attack round, costing 1 stamina point 2 in 6 times.

Your hated enemy resurrects right after you kill him. You must destroy the fetish containing his heart to kill him once and for all, while having the satisfaction of having the wretched pirate grovel pathetically in panic; otherwise he stabs you through the heart.

Facing Quezkari

Quezkari is fought right after Cinnabar's corpse crumbles into dust. If you lack Nightdeath, or cannot activate its power by saying its name, you are doomed. Quezkari has 13 in skill and 18 in stamina and his attacks cost 3 stamina points, instead of the regular 2, making him even more fearsome than Bloodbones.

However, Zythea's wristband of white feathers grants you 1 point of skill. Moreover, the Blue Jewel, it drains his power and reduces him to 10 in skill and 12 in stamina; and with the Lion Talisman, Quezkari deals regular damage. With all three or even two, you can win with little trouble, banishing Quezkari for all of eternity. Any other item is useless, and a Skeletal Artifact grants him 1 in skill and 3 in stamina, so never use them.

With justice being done; Quezkari’s cult and the Black Skull Pirates being no more, Captain Velyarde offers to sail back to your hometown before departing to the afterlife, free to enjoy your victory and the treasure you collected.

Trivia

  • Bloodbones was released in 2006, which might lead readers to believe that Cinnabar is inspired by Hector Barbossa and Davy Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean. However, Bloodbones author Jonathan Green had worked on it since 1996 but could only release it after the Fighting Fantasy series was restarted. Both stories are in fact based on the novel On Stranger Tides.
  • Cinnabar also shares similarities with LeChuck from Monkey Island, also inspired from On Stranger Tides.

Sources