This gamebook is the third one in the series and the first one not set entirely in a dungeon (unless you count the "you're at the front gate" beginning of Citadel of Chaos as meaning it's not set entirely in a dungeon, which I don't). It is unique in that, if you reach the village of Stonebridge without finding both halves of the hammer, you Test your Luck. Failure means automatic death, but success means you, in your current condition and with your current equipment, get transported back to the beginning of the forest. This, combined with the gamebook's lack of any acknowledgement that you might have been in an area before, could lead to a number of ridiculous results, including:
1) You can arrive at Stonebridge the second time with two copies of the hammer handle.
2) Mysteriously, every enemy you've fought has come back to life and forgotten all about you on your second trip through the forest. Even more mysteriously, you've forgotten all about them. The Shape Changer's revelation that it is a Shape Changer, not a goblin, will take you completely by surprise--twice. (Or as many times as your Luck holds out...)
Annoyingly many of the choices in this gamebook consist of choosing between compass points, with no hint of which way you should go. Insta-death conditions are rare and generally mean you've made a serious and at least somewhat forseeable mistake, but this gamebook is widely considered poor quality.
You begin with a Potion of Skill, Strength, or Fortune, one dose only, and ten Meals, which you can eat any time you're not actually in combat. You are armed with a sword, dressed in leather armor, and have a backpack. Before the first entry has concluded, you have 30 Gold Pieces and a map, which informs you that you are going from the south edge of the map to the north edge of the map over the course of the gamebook, and in between there is a forest. Also a river, at the midpoint of the forest. Very helpful, I'm sure.
Like some gamebooks I've written walkthroughs for previously, this book makes certain assumptions about the protagonist's personality. Unlike, say, Vault of the Vampire or City of Thieves, your character is presented as both antisocial and mercenary.
1: Attacking Yaztromo would be suicidally stupid.
261: You should buy Holy Water, the Boots of Leaping, the Armband of Strength, the Glove of Missile Dexterity, and the Garlic Buds. (-12 Gold, Gain Holy Water, Gain Boots of Leaping, Gain Armband of Strength, Gain Glove of Missile Dexterity, Gain Garlic Buds)
177: Go east.
160: You don't need the crow's advice; you have me. Go north.
8: Hide from the voices.
157: Keep walking northward.
337: Examine the cave.
230: Throw a rock at the ogre.
55: (Lose Glove of Missile Dexterity) Take a closer look at the creature in the cage.
168: Unlock the cage door. Perhaps the goblin will trade the hammer handle for his freedom...or not.
232: (+1 Luck, Gain Hammer Handle) You have half of your objective! Leave the cave now.
358: If you need help out of the trap, give him the Boots of Leaping.
274: Continue north.
109: Go west.
180: Go west again.
361: Face the pack of dogs.
396: Start a conversation with the masked man.
364: Carry on the conversation.
194: (Gain Belladonna)
208: Keep going west.
99: Enter the hut.
209: Accept Quin's challenge.
78: (Gain Dust of Levitation, Lose Armband of Strength)
349: Continue east.
105: Ignore the vultures.
394: Cross the river by the stepping stones.
268: (Lose Garlic Buds)
119: Continue north down the hill.
90: Succeed or fail on the Luck test, you should immediately attack the Wild Hill Men.
50: (Gain Silver Key)
188: Head west.
221: Continue west.
378: You have nothing to gain from interacting with the gnome. Keep going.
113: Investigate the hut.
324: Put your hand inside the vase.
161: Feel around inside the vase.
341: (+1 Luck, +5 Gold, Gain Dragon's Tooth, Gain Potion of +5 Stamina)
149: Continue north.
306: Examine the building.
200: Descend the stairs.
351: Light the candle.
292: Lift the stone slab.
173: (Lose Dust of Levitation)
58: (+25 Gold, Lose Dust of Levitation, Gain Hammer Head)
103: Hurry north along the path.
360: Bizarrely, the gamebook permits you to count individual Gold Pieces as "objects" for this bribe, so there's no good reason not to simply pay her 5 Gold and proceed. Alternatively, you can give her the belladonna which you won't need, the dragon's tooth which you won't need, the silver key which you no longer need, the Boots of Leaping if you still have them, and either 1 or 2 Gold Pieces. Or if you're sufficiently offended by bandits, you might want to insist on fighting anyway. In any case, if you survive, you won't need further help to complete the adventure.