Captain Cinnabar, also known as Bloodbones, is the main villain of the Fighting Fantasy gamebook Bloodbones. He is an undead Pirate Lord who killed the playable character's family, triggering their thirst for revenge. Bloodbones and its setting are heavily based on the 1988 novel On Stranger Tides.

About Cinnabar

Captain Cinnabar is one of the most dreaded pirates of Titan’s history, rivalling in infamy with Lord Varek Azzur himself. He can prove courteous, if taunting, as if his crimes were mere business; but is cruel, bloodthirsty, power-hungry, and fanatical. He is also cowardly, frantically begging for mercy as soon as things go downhill.

Cinnabar leads the Pirates of the Black Skull, aboard his ship called the Virago. They all bear a Black Skull tattoo on the back of their hand. He has huge influence over all piracy in the Diamond Sea, on the northern coasts of the continent of the Old World. He has a secret lair in Port of Crabs: a wretched hive in the country of Ruddlestone, and controls many spies and cutthroats who roam the streets undetected and take care of threats.

Cinnabar is also a powerful practitioner of Voodoo sorcery and a worshipper of Quezkari, the evil Voodoo deity. He works in cohort with Quezkari's high-priest Ramatu and his fanatical devotees, harvesting the souls of all his victims as an offering to his idol out of fanatical devotion.

In the story proper, he seeks to empower his pirates with Quezkari's magic to take over Port of Crabs, to cement his full control over all pirates in the Diamond Sea.

Ten years before the start of the story, Cinnabar's pirates ransacked Clam Beach, hometown of the playable character, and killed most of its population, including the hero’s father and brothers. After their mother's death, they became a sailor and tracked down the Pirates of the Black Skull, hoping to one day get their revenge.

Quezkari

Quezkari

The Death Deity of Voodoo, worshipped by the Pirates of the Black Skull. Quezkari is a highly powerful demonic spirit of Death and Dark Magic, servant of the evil Goddess of Sorcery Shekka.

He is cruel, violent, vindictive and bloodthirsty, craving for souls and seeking to expand his influence to spread further evil.

Quezkari is an Arch-Spirit who passes as a deity and is revered as such; being in fact of demi-god status, on a more or less equal footing with the Demon Princes of Titan, though his influence seems much less expanded. He is described as a manifestation of the souls of his worshipper's victims, hinting that he needs to feed on souls to manifest on the Earthly Planes.

He controls Voodoo sorcery, he can prevent his followers from dying, or resurrect them as greater undeads, raise zombies, cast curses and controls monsters and evil being, among others.

In the game

Intro

When the story begins, the hero learn that Cinnabar finally met his demise at the hands of a famed bounty hunter. His body was thrown at sea and his ship is thought to have sunk in a storm. However, they are later told that Cinnabar's threat is not over yet.

It turns out that a now undead Cinnabar was recovered by his right-hand-woman Mirel the Red, and that he is about to be resurrected and made fully immortal in the temple of Quezkari on Bone Island. Knowing this, the hero set out to track him down and put a definite end to his reign of terror.

The hero must scout Port of Crabs to buy useful (if not mandatory) items, and to gather clues about Cinnabar's lair in town and the location of Bone Island. They must ignore the message they receive for it is a trap but visit most shops. The hero must measure the time they spend investigating, as if they take too long to enter Cinnabar's lair, the pirates will have left and the game will be lost. Otherwise, they witness an undead Cinnabar tells his plan of taking over Port of Crabs with Quezkari’s power to the Pirates of the Black Skull, who later notice capture them.

The Adventure

Once in the Virago's secret port, the hero need a wristband of shark teeth to cut their ropes, before they drown in a prison slowly filled with water. The hero then sneak into the ship, to get the second clue about Bone Island in the captain's cabin, before fighting their way against Cinnabar's Pirates.

The hero cuts off Mirel the Red's arm during the skirmish, until the pirates throw them overboard, and kill the great white shark who attacks them before drowning.

After being rescued aboard the Fortune, the ship of Captain Conyn, the bounty-hunter who slew Cinnabar, the hero must board the ghost ship The Sea Maiden and fight the ghost of Captain Velyarde. He is a powerful enemy with 10 in skill (power-level) and 10 in stamina (life-points), but their victory lifts Cinnabar's curse that was condemning him and his crew to sail the sea for eternity, and he becomes a priceless ally.

As the Fortune is catching up with the Virago, it is attacked and sunk by a sea-monster, stranding the hero on Bone Island. There, they must search the treasure of Captain Blackscar to gain the powerful magic bone sword, but beware, the cursed treasure conglomerates into a gold golem to fight them.

Then they can save a native from a dangerous giant mantis. In gratitude, he takes them to his village, where Queen Zythea tells them the bone-sword’s name, Nightdeath, and that saying it out loud unlocks its power, after the hero use it to destroy a spectre. (If the hero did not save the native, they must succeed initiation trials.)

Ramatu, fanatical high priest of Quezkari

Zythea tells them that Quezkari's high-priest Ramatu is abducting natives to turn them into masked zombies. The hero decides to venture into the mountains towards the temple of Quezkari.

The temple is filled with zombies and monsters, including the Scarachna, a half-scorpion half-spider monster, that tracked the hero down from the jungle.

  • The Scarachna is a powerful and dangerous enemy with 11 in skill and 12 in stamina. It strikes with its stinger 1 in 6 times, costing 6 stamina points. Worse, it kills the hero if it strikes twice in a row, by webbing them up. If too much time is wasted, the monster will be backed up by three masked zombies.

Ramatu's masked zombies capture the hero and the high-priest makes them drink Quezkari's ichor (the mystical substance flowing through divine beings). The hero must win a test of skill to avoid becoming raving mad and get turned into Cinnabar's slave, and to pretend losing their mind to distract their foe.

  • Smashing Ramatu's crystal weakens him and breaks his power, making the fight easier. Though he remains a powerful foe with 10 in skill and 9 in stamina, whose screaming dagger decreases the hero’s skill by 1 point.
  • The crystal makes Ramatu a very powerful and dangerous foe with 11 in skill and 11 in stamina. He casts a spell for the first three attack rounds: first a wave of energy darts costing a dice roll worth of stamina; second a curse costing 3 stamina points, 1 skill point and 1 luck point; third a splash of flaming blood costing 4 stamina points; before wielding his skill-decreasing dagger.

With Ramatu dead, the hero must take the fetish that now houses Bloodbones' heart and touch the magic pearl to get healed. Now it is time to storm the Virago and settle the score once and for all. The hero must summon Captain Velyarde and his ghost crew to face the Pirates of the Black Skull, lest they overwhelm and kill them. Be careful, for there are dangerous foes ahead.

  • First a powerful Chaos Warrior with 10 in skill and 11 in stamina. His mace costs 3 stamina points 2 in 6 times, and 3 in 6 times, the hero’s blows cost him only 1.
  • Mirel the Red, now sporting a hook-hand and craving revenge, is a powerful foe with 11 in skill and 10 in stamina. Fortunately, she lacks additional skills.

Facing Cinnabar

Battling Cinnabar.

Bloodbones first shoots the hero with a crossbow. Failing a test of skill causes the wound to make the hero fall, dealing a loss of 2 stamina points and 2 skill points for the first attack round.

He is a very powerful enemy with 12 in skill (the maximum available) and 16 in stamina. Moreover, his pet parrot Jezebel pesters the hero, hindering them by 1 skill point and trying to peck the hero every attack round, costing 1 stamina point 2 in 6 times.

The hero's hated enemy resurrects right after dying. They must destroy the fetish containing his heart to kill him once and for all, while having the satisfaction of seeing the wretched pirate grovel pathetically in panic; otherwise he stabs the hero through the heart.

Facing Quezkari

Quezkari is fought right after Cinnabar's corpse crumbles into dust. If the hero lack Nightdeath, or cannot activate its power by saying its name, the game is lost. Quezkari has 13 in skill and 18 in stamina and his attacks cost 3 stamina points instead of the regular 2, making him even more fearsome than Bloodbones.

However, Zythea's wristband of white feathers grants 1 point of skill. Moreover, the Blue Jewel, it drains his power and reduces him to 10 in skill and 12 in stamina; and the Lion Talisman makes his blows deal regular damage. With all three or even two, Quezkari will fall with little trouble and get banished to the Spirit Realm for all of eternity. Other items are useless, and a Skeletal Artifact grants him 1 in skill and 3 in stamina, so they are not advised.

With justice being done; Quezkari's cult and the Black Skull Pirates being no more, Captain Velyarde offers to sail the hero back to their hometown before departing to the afterlife, free to enjoy victory and the treasure collected.

Trivia

  • Bloodbones was released in 2006, which might lead readers to believe that Cinnabar is inspired by Hector Barbossa and Davy Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean. However, Bloodbones author Jonathan Green had worked on it since 1996 but could only release it after the Fighting Fantasy series was restarted. Both stories are in fact based on the novel On Stranger Tides.
  • Cinnabar also shares similarities with LeChuck from Monkey Island, also inspired from On Stranger Tides.

Sources

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