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The Shadow Warriors are five highly powerful, undead demonic knights (clearly inspired from the Nazgûl of the Lord of the Rings series) who serve as titular major villains in the Fighting Fantasy gamebook Legend of the Shadow Warriors. They seek to free their demonic lord Voivod the Waster, so that they could help him take over the entire world of Titan.
About the Shadow Warriors
The Shadow Warriors are described as five ghastly creatures with long hair and skeletal bodies, wearing chainmails and robes, with an iron mask over their face. It happens that this mask is their anchor, so to speak, in the earthly plane and that taking it off after defeating one of them would banish the creature in limbo for a century. However, they cannot be fully destroyed until the Evil that sustains their demonic lord is extinguished. An Evil which in turn cannot be destroyed when they are present in the Earthly Plane, as Voivod is invincible as long as the five of them are not banished.
Each Shadow Warrior wields a different kind of weapon with immense proficiency, making them deadly opponents almost unstoppable when the five are together. They are also extremely skilled trackers able to pursue their targets wherever they go, who are very hard to escape or to deceive. Moreover, they seem to exert a considerable influence and fear over the monsters and evil races of Titan, as they force an orc assassin to go after their enemies in a crowded city, a place they avoid, in the beginning of the game.
The Shadow Warriors were created by Voivod, the dreaded Demon of War, shortly after he himself was created, and they faithfully fought by his side since then. They very likely took part in the First Battle alongside their lord and escaped after the fall of the Demon Gods. What is sure is that they lead Voivod's armies when the Waster invaded Titan as a whole.
When Voivod was defeated by the Gods of Titan and sealed inside the Zarrikiz Shrine, the Shadow Warriors disappeared and were not seen for over two millennia. Mankind then forgot about them and when the story begins, they are only remembered as mere bogey men from children's nursery-rhymes. Because of this, very few still believe in their existence and any mention made about them is laughed off, something that allowed them to dwell freely during the entire course of the story.
Role in the gamebook
The gamebook starts five years after the gruesome War of the Four Kingdoms, which opposed four of the most prominent nations of the continent of the Old World. The war was violent enough to make Voivod’s escape imminent, and the Shadow Warriors resurfaced and set out to free him. They looked for the Zarrikiz Shrine where he is imprisoned in the region near the village of Karnstein, village which they frequently ransacked.
Some villagers come to Royal Lendle, the capital of the kingdom of Gallantaria, and hire the playable character who accepts to investigate, despite not believing in the Shadow Warriors in the first place. (You play as a famed veteran and mercenary who think that it is but a gang of disguised bandits ransacking an easy prey, though you wonder what could interest them in such a remote place.)
The Shadow Warriors attack you and the villagers when you exit the city, killing them all. You must hide with a magical cloak, jump over the chasm, or play dead and not react when one of them pierces your leg when you lie on the ground to check, or else the game ends quickly. This makes you swear to destroy them for good, in the name of the helpless peasants whom you could not protect.
During your quest, you will often get attacked by one of the Shadow Warriors who are tracking you down all over Gallantaria. If you meet the friendly hermit Hammicus and save him from the wraith of his dead son, he teaches you how to get rid of a Shadow Warrior for good, by taking off his mask after defeating him. Should you fail to learn this and defeat a Shadow Warrior the normal way, he will eventually reappear and be fought again later.
Fighting a Shadow Warrior
When facing a Shadow Warrior, you must roll a dice to determine the one who attacks you, rolling the dice again if it gives a 6. The Shadow Warriors are very dangerous enemies with 9 in skill (level of power) and 9 in stamina, (life-points). They may be 3 points below the maximum level of skill, but given their fearsome special abilities and the number of fights led against them, they would have been close to invincible had they been mightier.
- The First Shadow Warrior is a martial artist who strikes twice in a row, as if you were facing two equally powerful enemies.
- The Second Shadow Warrior fights with daggers. He launches one at each attack round, causing additional damage 2 in 6 times.
- The Third Shadow Warrior fights with two broadswords and his blows cost 4 stamina points instead of the regular 2, regardless of your protections.
- The Fourth Shadow Warrior wields a spiked mace. Before fighting you must win a test of luck, or he knocks your sword away. (If you lack a sword to begin with, you lose 6 stamina points and 1 skill point!)
- The Fifth Shadow Warrior attacks with shurikens. Before fighting, he throws one made of the magical Cruel-Metal. If you fail to dodge, the wound it causes gradually tears you apart and puts a gruesome end to your quest.
The Final Battle
When you reach Karnstein, the Shadow Warriors have already burnt the village to the ground and freed Voivod. You must find them before the Waster raises his armies of ten thousand undead warriors, otherwise Titan is doomed and you along with it.
Before fighting Voivod, you will have to defeat all the Shadow Warriors, save from those whom you may have banished by taking off their mask. You can use the Spear of Doom to defeat the Warriors without fight, but by doing so you will weaken the Spear and reduce your chances of defeating Voivod. If you own the ring of Rabbam, its magic cancels the Shadow Warrior's special abilities and reduces them to "normal" enemies, but normal enemies with 9 in skill, which is nothing to be sneezed at.