I believe that I have mentioned it before, but many of these later Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks seem in involve lots of undead serving some undead master. Okay, Black Vein Prophecy didn't, but this one does. Also, I think I did something silly and that was buy two more books over ebay as well as put a bid on a third so that I can continue reading through them. There are about 60 of them, however I have since discovered that a number have been reprinted (and I am only attempting to get the ones with the original covers, which makes them more expensive) with about four never published before books. Mind you, unless I find Magehunter at a reasonable price (it is something like $95.00) then I won't be buying that on. Hey, I don't even think $45.00 is a reasonable price, though I think I did end up paying $26.00 for Moonrunner (and I do hope it actually gets here – that is the one thing I don't like about buying over the internet, the stress of hoping that the product actually arrives).
Anyway, this one is set on some islands where a necromancer who had been killed hundreds of years ago has come back to life, raised an army of undead, and stormed a castle. Now he is negotiating an alliance with the Chaos Pirates, and once he does that he will be setting off to conquer the world – sounds like the goal of pretty much all of the bad guys in these gamebooks. Well, not all of the gamebooks, but a fair number of them. Sometimes I do wish there would be a bit more imagination, but then again I must admit that Black Vein Prophecy was original.
This gamebook has a new stat called resolve, which tests you ability to be able to stand against undead. There have been similar stats in other books, such as horror and fear, though they all tend to work slightly differently. This one increases when you succeed and decreases when you fail. There is also a stat called alarm value, which is used in the final stages of the book when you are sneaking through the keep. I am not sure what that effects because you can complete the book without ever having to respond to its current value. I think it is only there for flavour.
Keep of the Lichlord also uses time, though it is not measured as time is measured in other books. For instance there is a village where if you explore every nook and cranny, by the time you get to the pirate ship it is long gone. I thought that was a bit silly because, well, the last place I explored was full of pirates and when I went down to the docks, they had sailed off. There is another point where you arrive at the keep and find it deserted, and that is because you didn't catch a lift.
I still liked this book, but that is because it was a little easier than some of the others. Basically there is a path that you follow, and once you work out the path (and that can be done by looking at the map inside the front cover, if there is one) you can pretty much guess where to go. However, you do need to take every side path and complete the adventures. Actually, no you don't. In fact, as long as you have the key you can go straight to the keep, get the charm, and win the game. The spear also helps, but it is not necessary.