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HDK 116 † Shinderg's tomb


Four decades have passed since the terrible war of the three Geostates. In the post-war period, there was no longer any bitterness or resentment, but a steady attempt to build for peace. The fragile balance of power is maintained only through the possession of the Key of Peace. The year is 2058 A.D. and the Great Western Warrior has been long forgotten. Before he died, the Great Western Warrior divided his magic Key into four parts. He travelled to each sector of the New World – North, South, East and West – entrusting one part of the Key of Peace to a loyal subject in each sector. He instructed them that it should be given up only to a member of the Inter-Sector Brotherhood, who would be recognised by the unique steel badge – a representation of an olive branch over a sword – worn by a member on the left shoulder. Now that the survival of the Geo-Human race is once again threatened by Zartog and his army, the Key must be made whole again, and restored to its rightful place in the tomb of the Great Father. Guided by a strange poem spoken by Shinderg, “Supreme God of the New World” and as the sole survivor of the Inter-Sector Brotherhood, you may lay claim to the warrior’s crown and the steel shoulder-badge, which will endow you with powers beyond the imagination of the people of the New World. With these powers, you – and only you – can succeed in once again restoring peace and tranquility to the New World. You are allowed three Powers of the highest order – Flight, Invisibility, and Strength – but you must be frugal in their use. Because of the great difficulty of your task, the Gods of the InterSector Brotherhood have also allowed you four Low Order Geo-Secular Powers. Once again, you must use them sparingly.
An old man 02:24
As you emerge from the old halls, into the Western sector, there is an old city before you with a long winding path, like a meandering river, flowing through the centre of the dilapidated buildings. After a short while you are confronted by an old man, crooked and disfigured through the evils of war and time. “You are wise, Stranger, as you have heeded the words of Shinderg. For years I have clung to this precious box, hoping to meet a stranger wearing the badge of a member of the Inter-Sector Brotherhood. Now my task is complete.” With that, he passes you the small box, extracted from his ragged clothes. Inside, glistening in the sunlight, is one quarter of the Key of Peace. The Key safely in your pouch, you feel pleased with your early good fortune.
You fall asleep amidst the city ruins, overlooking the Western harbour. You awaken the next morning: today you must hunt for the second quarter of the key. Refreshed, you walk down to the Western port hoping to find transport to another land. As you approach the harbour gate, a huge man steps in front of you, blocking your path. He looms above you, a twisted smile broadening his cavernous mouth, bearing sharp spears for teeth. His red eyes – almost lost amongst the vast forest of facial hair – glare down at you. You realise that this is the evil Gorf and you must fight him to gain access to the ships bound for the other sectors!
Down on the quay there are three ships moored to the harbour wall, each captained by a young man ready and willing to travel to unknown and distant lands. You learn that there are three destinations, one for each vessel; the Northern, Eastern or Southern sector. Thinking of the words of Shinderg, whilst consulting your map, and you board the East bound ship. Never before have you seen a more forbidding land. A solid rock desert with forests of nomadic living plants, resting by oases of blood. Reptiles fill the sky, buzzing aimlessly before descending on unsuspecting prey. As you make to move, you sense a presence behind you, and turning quickly, you see the fabled Monoculus in all its glory. A single eye focuses from the centre of its enormous torso. Its golden body ripples as each finely-honed muscle is tensed. You call upon the Power of Enchantment. The creature is immediately subdued and purrs like a hungry cat brushing up against its keeper. “Tell me where to find the second quarter of the Key of Peace”, you say, in a firm but friendly voice. The Monoculus points East in the direction of the territory of the Bewo Warriors.
You continue East, penetrating further into the depths of the Eastern sector, avoiding any further trouble until you are confronted by a small band of Bewo Warriors. The tallest of the pack, a fine looking member of the Garymalts clan, speaks: “I am the holder of the second quarter of the Key. Turn back or prepare to end your miserable existence on the Eastern land”. With this, the rest of the pack back away, leaving only you and him. You must fight.
After a few miles the temperature becomes cold. Wondering whether to turn back, you look over your shoulder only to see an army of antiworld creatures in pursuit. Your only chance is to carry on, but as you quicken your pace you are faced with a massive wall of solid ice. With the evil creatures closing in you are trapped, your brain slowed by the bitter cold. You take a deep breath and feel the oxygen fill your lungs, mixing with the pyroxen chemicals provided by your great powers. With one gigantic gust, you exhale, sending jets of brightly coloured flames hurtling towards the mountain of ice. Like the sea and wind against a rumbling chalk cliff the structure erodes, sending enormous boulders of ice crashing down.
In the great halls of the Shinderg Palace, the Supreme God, the South way could lead you after a while in the presence of an ancient Diaphog, a dwarf of the rocks: careful, is not a good meeting. “You stupid GeoHuman,” he says, “only the first part of your journey and already you are doomed. You paid no heed to the words of Shinderg, the Supreme God, and for this error there will be no forgiveness – you will die”. With these words he disappears amidst a wisp of smoke, leaving in his place a multitude of poisonous Katalyne Spiders. You know that despite your great powers there is little you can do against so many. As they crawl towards you, you turn to run back to the sanctuary of the great halls, but from everywhere, a million more of the evil Katalynes appear, each hungry for a taste of you.
The search 02:18
Steadily making your way to the Eastern shores, you pass under a bridge, eventually arriving at the coast. The Eastern shores are barren, a sandy desert bordering a vast blue ocean shimmering in the setting sun. You look around for some form of transport but there is none. After thinking for a while, you decide to follow the coast.
The gift of Zephone is a Low-Order Power: this gift will enable you to perform feats of magic which may help you through your perilous journey.
The riddle 03:19
You discover a solitary ship, masts and rigging ready for a long voyage. Strangely there is no one to be seen, no people, captain or crew. Walking across the gang plank, you find a note pinned to the cabin door with a human bone. It reads: “This is the ship of mystery guided by the life lights of invisible Gods. It will take you anywhere in the New World if you can answer one question: you play with a cube, often used, six different faces telling a different story. You may now be a little confused, but answer correctly, or end your bid for glory. Two opposite faces will add to the same, and this is the way to seek. Say it wrong and you travel in vain, answer now, let me hear you speak.
Just as you turn to the East, you realise something is amiss. It is too late to turn back, as you are confronted by a man-eating Coryplex – a creature which has a black spider’s body the size of a horse, with long spindly legs joined at the knees by human skulls. Its pumpkin-like head turns towards you flashing its ruby red eyes as green saliva drips from its teeth. With no alternative, you draw your sword ready for mortal battle. You win and the Coryplex is dead: you are about to press on when you notice a thin golden collar around its neck. After putting it into your leather pouch with the two quarters of the Key of Peace, you continue East. At the end of the path there is a turning to the South. There is no other way to go, so you head South, hoping to reach the palace of Gabordex.
You reach the palace feeling very tired after your long journey. Opening the huge oak doors there is a long corridor leading to a solid gold door. As you approach the door a guard halts your progress. You draw your sword and adopt your fighting stance. Rather to your surprise, the guard hesitates as he reaches for his own sword: he has seen the badge of a member of the Brotherhood on your shoulder. He swallows nervously and apologises, inviting you to pass. You open the golden door, stepping into a magnificent room strewn with jewels, silver and precious stones. Sitting on a throne of Grigon is the great Gabordex, surrounded by a small platoon of guards. “Hail great warrior,” he calls, “I am the great and wise Gabordex and you have come to take the third quarter of the Key of Peace. I will gladly give you the prize you require if you can answer me one question. Answer it wrongly and you will die”. “I saw some plums upon a tree, I did not take some. I did not leave some. But how can that be? I did take one; how many plums were there?”
There is a pause and then Gabordex informs you that you have answered correctly. Reaching into a gold casket, Gabordex pulls out the third quarter and reluctantly hands it over. You exchange the golden collar of the Coryplex for a map showing the way to the passage to the Northern sector where you should find the final quarter of the Key of Peace. You find the tunnel in the palace grounds. It is cold and dark and, having no lantern, you continue in darkness. You travel for a very long time clinging to the old stone walls, Northwards. You estimate that by now you must be somewhere West of the Northern sector. As you look ahead you see a faint glow in the distance, so more determined you press onward. The faint glow becomes brighter and you find the route now well lit by small fires burning in skulls scattered about the floor.
Sensing danger, you continue East, with a strange feeling in your stomach. Looking straight ahead, you fail to notice a movement to your left – until too late. Out from the shadows steps a Styrone Chellenger! You praise the Goddess Zephone, for her magic works well, turning the Styrone’s sword into jelly. Disarmed, the Styrone is harmless. You cast a second spell, and the Styrone evaporates before your eyes.
The passage North is very short, bringing you to another cavern. There are hundreds of stalagmites and stalactites obscuring your view. You are blinded by harsh natural light shining from above and as your eyes become accustomed, you see that you are at the bottom of a deep pit. Up above is the Northern sector where you hope to find the last quarter of the Key of Peace. At the top you find yourself safely on the Northern sector, surrounded by a vast range of mountains. Weightless, thanks to your Power of Flight you rise into the air, higher and higher until you are almost floating into the clouds. To the West, there is a small castle by the coast and a number of ships passing in and out of a tiny but busy harbour. You decide to fly down and investigate.
You approach the castle with caution. As you enter the courtyard, you can see the place is deserted. At the centre there is a stone slab inlaid with gold and jewels. Taking a closer look, you see the last quarter of the Key of Peace. The world will be saved. You cannot see Shinderg, but hear his voice: “You have done well in your long Quest. However, your task is not over yet. Remember my first words: you must return the whole Key to the tombs of the great forefathers. Because you have been brave, honest and true, I will be your companion for the final voyage”. Shinderg appears, this time as a Geo-Human. Together you leave the castle. Outside, there is a ship waiting in a small harbour ready to carry you to the Western sector. You walk with Shinderg towards the great halls. There is a golden stairway down into the ground and as Shinderg descends, you follow. Shinderg halts and, turning to you, he holds out his hand – an unspoken request for the key. As you are about to hand over the Key of Peace, Shinderg’s expression changes – his face no longer shows peace and contentment, but evil glee. Even as you watch, his whole body glows, fades, and then reappears – as a Brimgeth, complete with double-headed battleaxe, fine armour, and tricorn helmet. The Brimgeth raises his battleaxe, briefly nods his head, and prepares for battle. Your best chance of survival now is to use your power of Invisibility! The Brimgeth, unable to see you, cuts furiously with his axe as you drift past him. As the Brimgeth tigerish roars fade behind you, and you again become a visible GeoHuman, Shinderg reappears. You are wary, but the familiar, booming voice reassures you. You seem to feel, rather than hear, the voice of Shinderg inside your head: “You are indeed a worthy member of the InterSector Brotherhood. Your Quest is almost over.”
“The Gods will forever be in your debt,” Shinderg tells you, “as will the people of the New World.” But Shinderg’s voice is weak, no longer the commanding voice of a God. As you pass over the Key, Shinderg once again speaks: “There will be peace in the world. You have been a great warrior, and I know you will continue to fight evil, protecting the weak and upholding the values of the Great Western Warriors of the past.” As the last word passes his lips, his body floats into the air and drifts over to an empty golden casket where it comes to rest – in Shinderg’s Tomb.


It is 2058 AD, though you could be forgiven for forgetting that, as mid-21st century Earth looks so much like a generic fantasy world with a strange and charming psychedelic taste. With Geo-Humanity threatened by the armies of Zartog, the last surviving member of the Inter-Sector Brotherhood (that's you) must travel to each of the four zones of the world to collect the four quarters of the Key of Peace.

Guided by a strange poem spoken by Shinderg, “Supreme God of the New World”, you must visit each sector in the right order, confronting all-kind foes and inane riddles before the final climax. Will be you successful in this Quest?


In the 80s there was the boom of the so-called "gamebooks", interactive books usually of the fantasy genre, in which the reader was called to make choices and solve puzzles to reach the last page.

PROTEUS, a magazine released in the UK from 1984 to 1988, published a whole interactive adventure to play in each issue: they were naive dungeon explorations, treasure searches full of sense of bizarre, weird riddles and absurd monsters.

PROTEUS's adventures weren't masterpieces, but they were fun and damn difficult: there were often dozens of objects to necessarily find to complete the quest and defeat the final monster, and most of the time the decisive one was missing; furthermore, it was essential to draw maps ogf the dungeons in order not to get lost in the paragraphs, but these maps often... did not add up.

In short: a lot of fun for us kids of the analog era!


We had met the mysterious DS composer called 13th SCALE on the occasion of the HDK Dungeon-synth magazine n. 2; we were bewitched by the spell of his music, so much so that we proposed that he make an entire album for us. So XIII has extricated himself in the crazy heroic-fantasy world told in "Shinderg's Tomb" and composed seventeen tracks full of sense of wonder.

We have nothing more to say except... have a good listening!

13th Scale Official Bandcamp page:


released July 14, 2022

This is the soundtrack of the omonymous adventure published in “PROTEUS” Magazine (U.K.) in year 1985.

Thank you to Mike Keward to allowed to use the PROTEUS illustrations.




Heimat Der Katastrophe Milan, Italy

DIY label focused on ambient punk, minimal-synth, dungeon-drone, wartime music and post-nuclear wave. Managed by a creative punx collective from Milano city.

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