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Voivod

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Voivoid the Waster is the main villain and final enemy of the Fighting Fantasy gamebook Legend of the Shadow Warriors. He is the Demon of War of the World of Titan and an avatar of some sort of death itself. He once invaded the entire world of Titan, until he was sealed away by the Gods. You must stop him once and for all as he is about to be freed by his generals, the Shadow Warriors.

Background

Voivod, also remembered as the Waster, numbers among the most powerful evil forces to ever plague the world of Titan, to a higher level than the Demon Princes themselves. He was a major, if not the most prominent, servant of Death (the elder of the High Lords of Evil and Chaos: the Demon Gods Death, Disease and Decay, named after what mankind deems the worst scourges in existence). He is always surrounded by the fearsome Shadow Warriors, who serve as his generals and his bodyguards.

Voivod is mentioned in the Tale of the First Battle (which opposed the Gods and the Demon Gods and ended when the Demon Gods were cast into the Void), during which he fought as one of the Demon Gods' most dreadful champions. When the war was over, he managed to escape banishment and disappeared for eons.

Around two thousand years before the start of the gamebook, Voivod had invaded the entire world of Titan. It is said that he took down the best protected fortresses and that he reanimated the corpses of the soldiers who fell against his forces to increase his ranks, depriving the departed of the fair rest they deserved. It is also said that wherever he went, grass and vegetation were not to grow again.

One day, the God King Titan and the Earth Goddess Throff fought and defeated him, though unable to kill an avatar of death they sealed him into a jail known as the Zarrikiz Shrine. The Shadow Warriors disappeared never to be seen again, but they were not imprisoned and would one day resurface to set their lord free.

Appearance and Characteristics

Voivod is a demonic personification of Death, War and Chaos. He is only represented at the end of the gamebook, when you succeed in freeing his host (or former self), with one half demon and one half human, but he is seen tall, threatening and formidable. He wears a spiked armour darker than shadow itself, with clawed gauntlets and a diabolical-looking horned helmet, and the narration states that merely looking at him is a shattering experience.

Considering the fact that when Voivod's evil is fully destroyed he becomes human again, it can be guessed that either he was once a human corrupted to a point that no other reached before or after him, or used as a vessel by the Demon Gods to create the entity known as Voivod; or that he is an evil ethereal entity that must possess a host in order to interact with the world.

He is a formidable warrior and strategist, who fights with his armed gauntlets. (An in-universe illustration also depicts him with an axe and a sword.) As the Master of Death and War, Voivod can absorb the life force that his enemies lose under his blows and can reanimate and control undeads at will. Even worse, he cannot be defeated in a regular fight. Even if someone brave and skilled enough were to perform such a feat, they would die a gruesome death and would likely serve as the Waster's new host.

To defeat Voivod for good, one must first banish the five Shadow Warriors who protect him into the limbo. Indeed the fearsome demon is linked to his generals and cannot be defeated as long as they walk the earth. Then, should the hero survive to these encouters, Voivod can only be defeated by infusing him with life-force, as weapons crafted to bring death only fuel his evil.

In Legend of the Shadow Warriors

Be warned! Violence can never be the final answer. Evil must be left to consume itself. Your duty is to help, not to beget further chaos.
~ Jack-in the-Green, the spirit of nature, telling you how to end Voivod's evil
Shadow Warriors.jpg

the attack of the Shadow Warriors

The story begins five years after the gruesome War of the Four Kingdoms, during which the kingdoms of Brice, Femphrey and Lendleland waged war against the prosperous kingdom of Gallantaria: the former center of the continent of the Old World, whose king was killed during the war.

Peace has returned but there are still some xenophobic conspirators who plot against the newly created alliance. More importantly, the War was violent enough to trigger the upcoming freedom of Voivod. The Shadow Warriors resurfaced and laid waste on the village of Karnstein, looking for their lord's prison. As no one believes in the Shadow Warriors, who are only rememered as mere bogey men from children nursery-rhymes, the people of Karnstein's pleas for help resulted in nothing but laughter.

The playable character is a famed Gallantarian veteran and mercenary, who accepts to investigate on what is happening in Karnstein (under the impression that this is nothing but disguised bandits) and starts the quest. The game itself begins in Royal Lendle, the capital of Gallantaria. When you exit the city with the villagers, you get attacked by the Shadow Warriors, who slay your comrades. You can only survive by escaping the scene, and you head towards Karnstein alone and humiliated, swearing to avenge those you could not protect.

During your quest, you are approached by the Gods of Titan, who chose you as their champion against the Shadow Warriors and their evil lord. You need to find the Astrakkan Numeris, a book written by the blind numerologist Parcleasus (or to find Parcleasus himself) in order to learn where you could find Voivod when the time comes. You will also need to learn everything about Voivod, and must not waste any time. Later the Gods grant you the mighty Spear of Doom, the holy weapon able to give life to what is dead and give death to what lives.

Depending on the path chosen, you will have to face many evil creatures that appeared because of the evil energies spread by Voivod's imminent return. Among these evils are the Mandrakes, plant-like monsters who use the cover of the Circus of Dreams to visit towns where they impersonate people and take their places. (The Mandrakes are based on the Pod People from Invasion of the Body Snatchers.) There is also the vampire-witch Urtha, who raised an army of Haggworts (powerful chaotic warriors who look like scarecrows), the mad doctor Kauderwelsh (a scientist woman who created a dangerous Frankenstein-like monster), the Nightmare Master, a Gorgon, and finally a warmongering orc who is manipulating war veterans.

When you finally reach Karnstein, exiting the dangerous mountains of the Witchtooth Line, it is already too late. Voivod has been freed by the Shadow Warriors and if you do not know where to find him, the earth swallows you and Titan is doomed.

Facing Voivod

Voivod defeated

Voivod struck by the Spear of Doom becomes human again

Voivod is found in a former battlefield, where ten thousand men died and were buried. He plans to raise them from the grave as skeleton-warriors, in order to invade Titan once more and take it over. You can try to destroy the cursed bell that Voivod uses to raise the deads, but if you fail Voivod will reduce you to dust in one blow. If you attack Voivod, you may be targeted by the skeletons that the Warlord of the Apocalypse has already raised.

Then you must battle all the Shadow Warriors whom you could not banish into Limbo, and without the Spear of Doom, or at least the ring of Rabbam, that cancels their special powers, these battles prove quite hard.

Voivod himself is a powerful and dangerous enemy. He has 10 in skill (level of power) and 10 in stamina (life points), and he gains the stamina points that you lose under his blows. Given Voivod's incredible power, his stats could have been expected higher, given that he is 2 points below the maximum level of skill. (Several powerful villains exceed this maximum.) However, with his life-devouring ability, Voivod would be nearly invincible if he were to have over 12 in skill. Moreover, defeating the fearsome Master of Death in a regular fight only leads to a failed game, as Voivod is death itself and death cannot be killed.

To defeat Voivod, you must successfully strike him with the Spear of Doom without regard for his stats, though if you fail Voivod strikes you and gains your stamina. If you deplete the the Spear's power, the weapon vanishes and the only choice left is a regular battle that cannot be truly won. As such you must make sure that the Spear's power is as close to its peak as possible. If you never used it, you should be able to defeat Voivod without major trouble. When Voivod gets struck by the Spear of Doom, his evil instantly vanishes and his human self (or human host) is finally free to live normally again… Marvelling at the sweetness of nature he had long forgotten and weeping from the "simple joy of being alive".

Trivia

  • "Voivoid" is a slavic term that means "warlord" or "army leader" and was used in all central and eastern Europe during the Middle-Age. A fitting name for the Demon of War.
  • Voivod shares similarities with two other Fighting Fantasy villains Mortis of Balthor and Belgaroth, who are also powerful dark knights defeated long ago, who return and need a magical spear to be destroyed. Belgaroth is more similar, as he is also a Chaos Lord who commands a formidable group of warriors, and whose return causes the rise of many evil creatures. Although Voivod is the most demonic, the most influential and the most powerful of the three, he is the medium hardest to defeat and the weakest in terms of skill and stamina.

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