Friday, 7 August 2020

Crystal of Storms - available to pre-order now!

Rhianna Pratchett new Fighting Fantasy gamebook, Crystal of Storms , is available for pre-order now!


An astonishingly imaginative, edge-of-your-seat adventure – part story, part game!

YOU, the hero of this story, are a member of the Sky Watch keeping the floating archipelago of Pangaria safe. When the Nimbus isle suddenly crashes out of the sky into the Ocean of Tempests below, you must explore the remaining islands, and battle both storms and sea beasts in your mission to raise Nimbus from the deep.

Crystal of Storms, by Rhianna Pratchett, will be released on 1st October.

Friday, 31 July 2020

Blast from the Past! Temple of Terror

Today on the Earthly Plane has been the hottest day of the year so far, by quite a long way. In fact, you could say it's felt as hot as the Desert of Skulls, talking of which...

The majority of Ian Livingstone’s Temple of Terror (FF14, first published in 1985) takes place in the waterless wastes of the aforementioned desert, although the book begins with the wizard Yaztromo (who first appeared in The Forest of Doom) hiring the hero to thwart the plans of the sorcerer Malbordus, the so-called ‘Storm Child’. The evil sorcerer’s power is reaching its zenith, and all he needs to lead his army of conquest across Allansia are five Dragon artefacts that lie hidden within the lost city of Vatos.

Vatos was named after a small beach resort in Corfu where Livingstone had holidayed more than once, hence it being used as the name of a lost city swallowed by sand. As well as its desert setting, the book is particularly memorable for its introduction of the lethal Messenger of Death.

The memorable Messenger of Death, by Bill Houston.

Temple of Terror was the only FF gamebook to be illustrated by Bill Houston. The cover was painted by ‘80s fantasy art legend Chris Achilleos, the second time he contributed a cover to the main series.

“I was dealing with Ian,” Achilleos recalls, “and he called me and said, ‘I’m going to leave it to you to design me the creature for this new book I’m writing. I’m going to tell you the scene and you come up with the creature, because you probably don’t need guidance on this from someone like me.’ And I said, ‘That sounds great, yeah. Then you can describe it from my painting.’

“It was a guardian of this gate and it was a desert scene – a city half buried under sand – so I designed this creature that lies in wait, buried under the sand... It was something I’d seen in a wildlife programme, these desert snakes that hide in the sand and just have their eyes out and then they pounce on you. So I imagined the same creature sort of lying in wait for someone to try and pass the gate. I drew that and he was delighted with it. In fact he bought the original from me.”

Serpent Guard, by Chris Achilleos.

Did you know...?
The working title for Temple of Terror, which appeared in an advertisement printed in the back of the first edition of Sorcery! Book 3, The Seven Serpents, was Dragon Master.

Friday, 24 July 2020

Blast from the Past! Seas of Blood

Having already had two science fiction Fighting Fantasy adventures published (Space Assassin and The Rings of Kether) Andrew Chapman’s third contribution to the FF series, was Seas of Blood (FF16).

Seas of Blood saw the hero take on the role of captain of the pirate ship Banshee, who undertakes a contest with rival buccaneer Abdul the Butcher. Whichever one reaches the island of Nippur within fifty days, and with the most gold, will be declared King of Pirates

The adventure is unusual because it allowed for combat between vessels, and between the Banshee and seas monsters, utilising both CREW STRIKE and CREW STRENGTH scores.

Seas of Blood was illustrated by Bob Harvey, his second of four contributions in the gamebook series...


... and bore a cover by the legendary album cover artist Rodney Matthews.

Matthews’ art medium of choice is pigmented acrylic ink. “I do it with those inks because they’re transparent, or at least translucent, and you can build up the colour gradually,” says the artist. “That’s why I use them, so you don’t overstate something, you can build it up and keep in control of things.”


But while the cover implies a Classical theme, the adventure itself (as older FF fans will know already) has a more strongly Arabian feel to it. And the reason for this mix-up? According to Matthews, it was down to a junior editor at Puffin misleading the artist when he was given the cover brief.

Despite this mix-up, Matthews is still proud of his involvement with Fighting Fantasy, however fleeting it might have been: “I enjoyed doing the cover. I think it probably enhanced the book, but a bit inaccurately.”

As with a number of locations from the other early Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, when FF editor Marc Gascoigne set about compiling Titan – The Fighting Fantasy World, the lands surrounding the Inland Sea, where Seas of Blood is set, were slotted into the newly-created continent of Khul.

However, the book’s author, Andrew Chapman, had already developed a more extensive geography and history for the lands of the Inland Sea which he would later go on to use in two more books – one of which, Ashkar the Magnificent, features the same map as appeared in Seas of Blood – as well as the unpublished FF adventure Deathlord.

Friday, 17 July 2020

The Downloads of Doom

Have you listened to the Fighting Fantasy full-cast audio drama series based on Ian Livingstone and Steve's Jackson's fantastic Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks yet?


If not, now is the perfect time, because they are available as downloads from the following platforms - Audible.co.uk, Google Play, iTunes and Audiobooks.com.

The series, written by David N. Smith, stars Rachel Atkins, David Warner, Lisa Bowerman, Charlie Higson, Richard Rycroft, Andrew Wincott, Sophie Roberts, Tim Treloar, Matthew Brenher, Russell Bentley, Nina Clarke, Peter Noble, Leo Ashizawa, Frazer Blaxland, Deirdra Whelan and Amy Stratton.

You can still buy the CD versions via fightingfantasyaudiodramas.com, but now you can download them too.

So if you haven't taken a trip yet into this exciting audio world, or know someone who might want to, shuffle along to the any of these retailers and pick up a copy now!