The following document was found by intrepid adventurer and handsome video game protagonist Stubbly McRogue on the body of an unnamed Undead High Priest (lvl. 10).
We present the translated text in full, for the benefit of future adventurers thinking of poking around in ancient temples.
To My Master High Priest Virilex, Hierophant of Kraax’uul, Lord of the Void, Devourer Of All.
I, Montu, though an unenlightened initiate, humbly request the benefit of your wisdom. Please look upon my petition kindly and cast me not into the Pit of Despair. I wish to only voice a few small concerns about the state of our Grand Temple.
The Deathtraps Are Killing Our Converts
In the past two months alone, I have had to clear the mangled bodies of over a dozen faithful from the various giant mechanical deathtraps. I appreciate that the serrated death wheels in the hall of transcendence are like unto the teeth of the void crocodiles that grind down the souls of sinners. Nonetheless the image may be more safely conveyed by some wall art along the corridor.
Speaking of crocodiles, at least I could use the remains of the slain to feed our actual crocodiles in the Lake of Sobek, but extracting viscera from the trap mechanisms is both time-consuming and extremely perilous.
Then there are the spike pits, crushing walls and rivers of lava. In fact, taken all together, there must be only about 10% of our temple which is safely constructed for ritual use, the remainder being pointlessly lethal mazelike corridors filled with mechanical deathtraps.
In the Temple of Ashra, worshippers may freely enter an open and spacious building to offer their sacrifices and sing hymns. At no point do their lives depend on choosing the correct switch to activate in a corridor, or timing a forward roll just right. Sometimes the priests even host a bake sale.
Despite these breaks with tradition, Ashra’s cult is booming and I humbly suggest that if our own cult is to survive, we must be more willing to lure new worshippers with baked goods and song, and less willing to lose them to spring-loaded spikes.
The Puzzles Are A Waste Of Time
I understand that the rituals of our faith should not be easy, lest an unbeliever defile our holy sanctums, but I can’t help but feel that our current ritual is both unnecessarily complicated and physically demanding. To perform the daily salutation of the Sun I have to push no less than three five foot square stone blocks onto the correct floor panels to unlock the secret door to a room which contains the Blue Key.
Supremely unhelpful is the fact that if I, still weary from sleep, my mind occupied by recitation of the ninety-nine names of Kraax’uul, absent-mindedly push a block onto the wrong panel, am scorched by a jet of flame.
Then, blue key in hand, I must leap and sprint over at least six great moving platforms, each progressively higher than the last. If I tarry to catch my breath, the platform disappears from underneath me (praise the mysteries of Kraax’uul). But jump I must, and then use the Blue Key to open the serpent chamber (which, and I hate to go on about this, is guarded once more by spike traps, and indeed venomous serpents) to collect the Yellow Key, then make an arduous and dangerous trek through the lower dungeons, and use the Yellow Key to access the chest that contains the Red Key used to open the Solar Chamber.
All this takes the better part of an hour to complete, and is a religious requirement before I can bless my breakfast. Nearly an hour every morning where I am just one ill-timed jump away from death, and in serious danger of a slipped disc from rearranging heavy masonry before I am allowed to even touch a drop of coffee.
Whenever I raise an objection about this, it’s always brought up that if our temple becomes abandoned in the future, it may be raided by adventurers, and we can’t just let them walk in and do what they like. To this I can only say that it displays remarkable pessimism with regard to the rightness of our beliefs, and undue preoccupation with future adventurers over the needs of the faithful in the here and now.
Our God Might Be An Eldritch Monstrosity
It is known and celebrating among the initiated that the proof of Kraax’uul’s greatness is that, unlike the false gods of the unbelievers, actually dwells among us upon this Earthly plane. Truly, Kraax’uul is a wonder, with many eyes to see into our hearts, many mouths with which to howl wisdom, and a thousand black tentacles to comfort our suffering souls with tender hugs.
Kraax’uul sleeps, and rightly, his contemplations must not be disturbed by interlopers. It is truth that his writhing, inhuman form may discourage some of the faithful from the true religion should the unworthy gaze upon His Holiness. And the Great One is not fond of company. Indeed, after the spike pits and crushing walls, disturbing Kraax’uul’s sanctum is the third most common cause of death among the supplicants.
I, humble Montu, like all righteous men long for the day Kraax’uul shall awaken and envelop this sinful world. But I must wonder if any of the high priests may also have some misgivings about the nature of our savior. If we all had perfect faith in Kraax’uul, why are the three parts of the only weapon capable of harming his body kept on the same temple level as his earthly form?
Montu’s troubles sound familiar? What’s your most frustrating temple in video games?
This article originally appeared on video games magazine site NowLoading.co. The site is no longer online, but I’ve uploaded a selection of articles from my time as a staff writer there (2016-2017) here as portfolio samples.