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The good wizard Gorwyther, owner of the eponimous fortress of Shadowkeep was tricked and sealed by the evil Demon King Dal'Brad, who's now planning the invasion of Earth. The young smith apprentice Practor Fime decide to try his luck and venture forth in the cursed castle. Along the way he befriends the Garoo Sranul, the Thaladar sage Maryld and the mighty Zhiss'ta Hargrod. Together, they venture in the castle in order to free Gorwyther, stop the Demon King and reclaim the legendary treasure of Shadowkeep.
The book, while sounding similar to a Role-Playing fantasy adventure, is still not too bad.
This work contains examples of:
- Action Girl: Maryld.
- Always Chaotic Evil: Goblins and Trolls are listed as such.
- An Axe to Grind: Hargrod carries a massive one with him.
- Anticlimax Boss: Dal'Brad goes down really quickly. Justified by his humongous size, because otherwise he couldn't be defeated.
- Attack of the 50 Foot Whatever: Dal'Brad can easly tower over a medium size town.
- Bait and Switch Boss: Our heroes manage to defeat the Demon Prince, only to find themselves face to face with the true Dal'Brad.
- Battle Cry: Averted by the Zhiss'ta who are silent fighters. The Troll Boss' one is "Lunch! Lunch!"
- BFS: The Troll boss has a gigantic sword.
- Big Bad: Dal'Brad the Demon King.
- Big Good: Gorwyther the wizard. Who sadly is also a Posthumous Character by the time they free him.
- Blade on a Stick: Sranul fights with javelins.
- Booby Trap: Shadowkeep is filled with traps of any kind, usually paired with Schmuck Bait.
- Brick Joke: In the beginning one of the street kids asks to another one if the Spinner "looked like his mad uncle". When the party confront fake Demon King and ask him if he's Dal'Brad, he says: "Well, I'm surely not your uncle Thavel."
- Call to Agriculture: Former hero Shone Stelft decides to turn down the call to adventure and remain a blacksmith.
- Can't Argue With Thaladars: Thaladars are really cold and unbearable, but thankfully Maryld and her relatives are "eccentric", hence friendlier and kind.
- Combat Tentacles: The Brollachian monster has several of these along with clawed arms (his physical description isn't too clear).
- Chekhov's Gun: Many, expecially the staff in the Brollachian chamber, the inscribed stick and the altars of teleportation.
- Dark Is Not Evil: The Spinner is apparently made of gloomy shadows, but is good-naturated.
- Deadpan Snarker: Sranul, Hargrod and the Innkeeper Norell.
- Death Is Cheap: For Sranul.
- Don't Touch It, You Idiot!: Will Sranul ever learn the lesson?
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Albeit with a very mild case of said humours
- Holy Hand Grenade: The cithqua (Demon Gem) forged by Gorwyther, which obliterates Dal'Brad in a volcano of pure light.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Sranul.
- Insult Backfire: The Troll Boss, while facing our heroes in his lair/office.
Troll Boss:" A Pact? I don't make pacts with trash like you!"
Sranul:" But you eat trash like us? You have strange tastes!"
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sranul sometimes acts like a selfish, foolish money-obsessed jerk.
- Large and In Charge: The Troll Boss is far larger than his subordinates and so too Dal'Brad. Expecially the true one!
- Lightning Bruiser: Sranul is very fast and can jump really high.
- Lizard Folk: Zhiss'ta are a Lawful Neutral version.
- Made of Air: The Demon Prince can't be harmed, but the magical staff can turn him solid for a moment.
- Made of Iron: Hargrod can run as a strong steed for whole days without getting tired.
- Magnetic Hero: Practor manages to hold his odd fellowship together.
- Mistaken for Granite:
- Subverted. At one point the heroes walks in a corridor full of mean-looking, demonic statues. This being Shadowkeep, Sranul thinks that the statues will come to life and attack them, but they're eventually revealed to be just harmless statues.
- Played straight in the finale with the Demon King Dal'Brad.
- Mr. Vice Guy: Sranul pass off as a really greedy, money-obsessed guy, but he's more hedonistic than greedy.
- Orcus on His Throne: Dal'Brad. Justified in that he believes that movement is for people who don't think and prefer to control things from behind the curtains.
- Our Trolls Are Different: Vicious humanoid monsters inhabiting caves and dark places with a great love for gold and meat. Any meat.
- Petting Zoo People: Garoos are humanoid Kangaroos, capable of great jumps. Zhiss'ta are Lizard Folk.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: Zhiss'ta. Not even the Legions of Hell dares to mess with them.
- Really Seven Hundred Years Old: While not that old, Maryld is still older than she looks. When she calls Practor "Young friend" he jokingly threatens to call her "Granny".
- Red Herring: The golden ring shown by Norell to Practor. Also some of the secrets of Shadowkeep.
- Retired Badass: Shone Stelft, and he's not coming out this time.
- Rodents of Unusual Size: The guards of Dal'Brad are described as large rat-looking monsters.
- Royal Rapier: Maryld.
- Schmuck Bait: Shadowkeep is filled with baits of many kind.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Maryld and her family towards the obstructive Thaladar Council.
- Sealed Good in a Can: Gorwyther. However he's already dead and only his "echo" is left.
- Ship Tease: Despite being already promised, Practor can't stop noticing how attractive Maryld is, and she likes to tease him a little about it.
- Technicolor Toxin: A cloud of orange toxic gas appears as a trap.
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Subverted during the final fight where Hargrod toss his axe against the Demon Prince (to no avail) just to distract him from the staff.
- Too Dumb to Live: Yes, Sranul, I'm sure there's nothing wrong with that ominous silver altar covered in magical runes.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Discussed when Practor, Maryld and Sranul help the Zhiss'ta carovan against the goblins.
- Wet Sari Scene: And Practor attempts to ignores the Fan Service.