Friday, 17 November 2017

The Second Swordsman - 'Keep Your Blade Ready and Luke Sharp!'

This Gamebook Friday it's time for the eleventh entry in Malcolm Garcia's ongoing Second Swordsman series of posts, in which he undertakes classic Fighting Fantasy adventures by only ever selecting the second choice of any list of options.

This week, how will he get on using this process with the works of FF author Luke Sharp?

The Second Swordsman - 'Keep Your Blade Ready and Luke Sharp!'

By Malcolm Garcia

Although his first FIGHTING FANTASY adventure was the sci-fi themed Star Strider, for his other three books Luke Sharp would exclusively explore the southwestern corner of Khul. In both Chasms of Malice and Daggers of Darkness YOU are an heir to a kingdom, but to claim what is yours YOU must confront the foul forces that would take over. While in Fangs of Fury YOU are a soldier who is sent on a mission to reignite the magical flames that defend your kingdom and prevent the evil enchanter Jaxartes from taking over southern Khul. In all three YOU are sent on your way by the wizard Astragal and your last view of him in both Chasms and Fangs is him sending YOU down a hole in the ground.

In all three of these adventures following the Second Swordsman process (of arbitrarily choosing every second option) resulted in universal failure. I variously suffered an instant death due a poor choice, had another instant death from a roll of the dice, and was killed in combat.

I started each adventure with fairly good SKILL, STAMINA and LUCK scores; however, I found that I only tested my LUCK twice – once in both Chasms and Daggers. Each adventure also provided me with a good supply of provisions and two had the return of the magical potion (which I haven’t seen since trying Phantoms of Fear). I chose the STAMINA potion (the second option) in both Fangs and Daggers. While Chasms had no such potion option, it did give me a magical cat that could restore my LUCK and assist me a total of nine times.

Both Fangs and Daggers had some additional game dynamics that added a layer of complexity. In Fangs YOU are racing the clock with an instant death promised if the 14 walls of the Citadel are breached. And in Daggers YOU are racing the clock with an instant death promised if poison from a wound inflicted by an enchanted dagger spreads throughout your body. Daggers also adds to your quest the possibility of collecting a half dozen medallions that will allow YOU to cheat a death-in-combat (for a price).

All three of Sharp’s adventures had me being overpowered by various gangs of locals. In both Chasms and Fangs the Second Swordsman process resulted in me being captured within a few choices of starting. Sharp could have used these occasions to instantly kill me, but he didn’t. In Chasms I manage to escape my jailers, thanks to a sympathetic blacksmith. And in Fangs I was on the brink of being executed when I was rescued by a mysterious stranger who butchered my captors and probably would have been better suited to completing the adventure. In Daggers I wasn’t imprisoned until later in the adventure, but what this story had in abundance was the opportunity to be surrounded and automatically surrender. This happened four times which would have been annoying, but it never led to something bad happening straight away.

Unlike the last episode of the Second Swordsman, in all three of Sharp’s Titan-based adventures, I was able to test my blade. In Chasms my first enemy was one of the seven Khuddam, the ‘big bads’ of the book. With a SKILL of 10 she was one of the toughest first encounters I’ve ever had (only the Fog Wyvern from Legend of Zagor and the Mammoth from Caverns of the Snow Witch had the same SKILL) and she took off nearly two thirds of my STAMINA before I beat her. In Daggers I fought a total of eight creatures, all of whom were mercifully weaker, and in half of the battles I lost no STAMINA at all. In Fangs I only fought six enemies, three of which died without inflicting a scratch on me, but the last, the Bodyguard Knight, killed me. She only had a SKILL of 8, which is the equal-lowest skilled creature to defeat me (the other being the Fighting Slave from Trial of Champions), but I had poorly managed my STAMINA in the lead up to this fight and I died for want of eating just one more meal.

My death in Chasms was much more anti-climactic. After defeating Khuddam Friankara, I fled and paused for a moment, only to be surrounded by a gang of orcs who weren’t as understanding as the groups who caught me in Daggers. And in Daggers I finally fell victim to a random roll of the dice and was killed by a spike trap. If I have one issue with Daggers, it is that there are too many of these ‘tests’ where the outcome is not influenced by your LUCK or SKILL. Not only did one of these kill me, but I lost several STAMINA points from similar, earlier, trials.

Overall I enjoyed Sharp’s world of southwestern Khul, especially in Fangs and Daggers as the books gave the sense of moving through a world inhabited by a large number of NPCs who have their own missions and motivations. I would have liked to have eaten more in Fangs (so I would have survived that particular fight) and to have had the opportunity to use the magical cat in Chasms. It’s not every FIGHTING FANTASY adventure where YOU get to bring along a pet!

Thank you once again to Malcolm, for his latest Second Swordsman blog post. If you have any suggestions for items for the official Fighting Fantasy blog don't forget to get in touch via

Friday, 10 November 2017

Steve Jackson & Ian Livingstone to attend DRAGONMEET 2017

Celebrate 35 years of Fighting Fantasy gamebooks at Dragonmeet this December.

Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone, the co-creators of the world's most popular gamebook series, will be giving a special seminar at Dragonmeet, on Saturday 2nd December 2017, to mark this incredible milestone.

Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone in 1982.

The event runs from 10:00am until midnight, and Scholastic Books will be there, selling copies of the Fighting Fantasy re-issues, and so will Fighting Fantasy historian Jonathan Green, who will have copies of YOU ARE THE HERO Parts 1 and 2 on sale.

We'll see you there, and may your STAMINA never fail (in the signing queue)!

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Ian Livingstone's FREEWAY FIGHTER signing at Forbidden Planet

Forbidden Planet are pleased to welcome back Gamesmaster Ian Livingstone and artist Jim Burns, on Saturday 25th November from 1:00–2:00pm, for another unique signing event!

Ian and Jim, along with a host of comic book talent, including artist Simon Coleby, will be signing copies of the collected trade paperback of Titan Comic's Ian Livingstone's FREEWAY FIGHTER four-part mini-series.

Scripted by Andi Ewington, with art by Simon Coleby, colours by Len O'Grady, letters by Jim Campbell, and edited by Fighting Fantasy's very own Jonathan Green, the FREEWAY FIGHTER graphic novel is a prequel to Ian Livingstone's much-loved 1985 Fighting Fantasy gamebook.

In the story, an unknown virus has wiped out over 85% of the world’s human population. Former I-400 Driver Bella De La Rosa is one of the 15% – living every day as if it were her last. Now, eighteen months after the collapse of civilisation, faced with a new world order where violence and chaos rule the Freeway, she must hone her racing skills and survive any way she can!

Also available ONLY at the Forbidden Planet event are two very Limited Edition Prints of Jim Burns' original cover art for the Freeway Fighter gamebook!

Friday, 3 November 2017

Fighting Fantasy historian Jonathan Green to attend AramadaCon this weekend

Fighting Fantasy historian and gamebook author Jonathan Green will be one of the guests at this year's AramadaCon, which is taking place at Future Inns this weekend in Plymouth.

On Saturday 4th November, in the Main Hall, he will be giving a talk entitled 'How to Write an Adventure Gamebook', while on Saturday evening there will be a live read-through of a Fighting Fantasy adventure.

Not only that, but he will have a table in the Dealers' Room, where he will be selling copies of his history of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks, YOU ARE THE HERO Parts 1 and 2.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Join the battle for a British Games Institute

Fighting Fantasy co-founder of Games Workshop, co-creator of Fighting Fantasy and godfather of the UK gaming industry Ian Livingstone is leading the campaign for a British Games Institute.

The is a proposal backed by over 500 games, arts, finance and educational organisations, as well as both trade bodies TIGA and Ukie. But it won't happen unless politicians understand how important games are to UK people like you. And so Ian needs your help to persuade government to fund the British Games Institute.

If you've ever played a video game, you've probably played one made in the UK. From the breath-taking creativity of Monument Valley and LittleBigPlanet, the grand strategies of Total War and Football Manager, the exhilaration of F1 and Forza, the glorious exploration of Elite, the joy of Lego and Worms to the freedom and sophistication of Grand Theft Auto and Batman, the British have a genius for making games.

We have made world-class games for nearly 40 years, but the studios that make our games face massive challenges in raising the money needed to develop games, fighting low public and media recognition of games' impact on our culture and economy, and real difficulties accessing the skills to keep our games world-class.

British games contribute well over £1 billion to the country's economy every year but government funding for the art form that is games has been negligible. Some still question whether games are even an art form. In this day and age!

Many of the most influential people in games, finance, the arts and education believe that it's high time games had a single national public agency to champion games. This new agency will address these challenges by funding the production of cultural games, backing cultural projects like games festivals and heritage, and sourcing cutting edge skills through online training.

For the petition to be delivered to Minister of State, Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Matthew Hancock MP, it needs 10,000 signatures. It already has almost 4,000 but there is still a long way to go.

So please follow this link and sign the petition yourself, and then share it will all your friends and colleagues and ask them to sign it too, and let's make the BGI a reality!

Friday, 27 October 2017

Haunting Reads for Hallowe'en

With Hallowe'en on the horizon, which do you think is the scariest Fighting Fantasy adventure gamebook? Is it Steve Jackson's House of Hell, Ian Livingstone's Blood of the Zombies, or something else?

Let us know which you think is the most chilling gamebook yet in the comments below.

House of Hell

Blood of the Zombies

Temple of Terror

Beneath Nightmare Castle

Vampire of the Vampire

The Keep of the Lich Lord

Island of the Undead


Revenge of the Vampire

Curse of the Mummy


Howl of the Werewolf

Night of the Necromancer

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Warlocks and Nomads - Video Game News Update!

Just a quick update to let you know that Nomad Games' Fighting Fantasy Legends is currently only $6.99 / £4.89 courtesy of Green Man Gaming.

Not only that, but Tin Man Games' adaptation of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain has made the list of CNET's Best Mobile Games of 2017!

Here's what the website had to say about the game:

"For The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, Tin Man Games has made an enormous departure from its more familiar digital gamebook format. Make no mistake, that element is still there -- we'd expect no less for the adaptation of the very first title in Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone's Fighting Fantasy books. But the Tin Man team, avid tabletop gamers themselves, have also added a tabletop element, with turn-based combat where outcomes are determined by a toss of the dice. The love that has gone into making this game absolutely shines -- it's a must-buy for fans of Fighting Fantasy."

Friday, 20 October 2017

Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone to attend Dragonmeet 2017

Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone will be attending Dragonmeet on Saturday 2nd December, where they will be celebrating 35 years of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks with a special seminar.

Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks
by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone
1982 - 2017

Fighting Fantasy historian Jonathan Green will also be attending the event and will be selling copies of YOU ARE THE HERO Parts 1 & 2. He will also be at GamesFest 2017, this Saturday, 21st October, at the Victorian Hall in Tring, Hertfordshire.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Oriana the Soulkeeper!

Tin Man Games have added a new Legends figurine collection to the latest update of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain. Over the next few months they will be releasing more special figurines that can be used in the Goblin Gauntlet.

Their first release is Oriana, the Keeper of Souls! YOU must work together with other players to decipher a code phrase hidden within Firetop Mountain. Once you have the phrase completed you can enter it to unlock her figurine. Check the forums to share codes and slowly build up the special phrase, which has a very Fighting Fantasy flavour!


1) Play as any one of the fifteen base heroes in the game.

2) Complete the quest related to the hero.

3) Oriana will give you three numbers separated with a dash like this: X-X-X

4) The three numbers reference a word from the title of one of the original Fighting Fantasy books released by Puffin Books between 1982 and 1995. The first number relates to the order of the words within the phrase. The second number relates to book number in the list. The third number relates to the word in the book title.

For example, the word relating to 10-5-3 would reference the 3rd word 'Thieves' from the title of FF book 5. It would then be the 10th word in the code phrase.

5) Share your code on the forums in the following thread:

6) Once all fifteen words have been deciphered, enter the phrase with spaces to unlock the figurine!

So what are you waiting for? If you haven't already downloaded The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, you can do so here.

Update - Wednesday 18th October
The Warlock of Firetop Mountain is currently part of the Humble Down Under Bundle, where you pay what you want whilst helping raise funds for charity at the same time. To find out more, follow this link.

Friday, 13 October 2017

The Second Swordsman – 'Watch Out For The Hitman!'

Today is Friday the 13th, but will it be a case of 'unlucky for some' as Malcolm Garcia tackles another Second Swordsman challenge?

The Second Swordsman – 'Watch Out For The Hitman!'

By Malcolm Garcia

For every FIGHTING FANTASY book where YOU are searching for a special object or magical weapon to complete your quest, there are more than a few where the goal is for YOU to kill whatever local ‘big-bad’ is terrorizing the citizenry or scheming to take over Titan. And so, in this edition of the SecondSwordsman, I’ll see whether choosing every second option will assist me in an assortment of assassination adventures.

In Stealer of Souls YOU start off seeking to rescue the friendly wizard Alsander from the prison of an Archmage who has learned how to harness the power of people’s fears and nightmares. But, just as the movie Predator was never going to be just about a rescue mission, quicker than you can say ‘get to the chopper’ your quest becomes a hunt to destroy the evil Mordraneth. In The Keep of the Lich-Lord YOU are sent to deal with Lord Mortis, a warrior who has risen from the grave and is amassing an army of the wicked (why killing him a second time will work any better is never explained fully). And in Legend of Zagor YOU go forth to defeat the original big-bad, but this time Zagor has become fused with a demon from a world beyond Titan.

A regular occurrence when choosing every second option in FIGHTING FANTASY novels is that YOU ignore opportunities to learn important information, gather treasure, or fight creatures and instead YOU rush through the adventure and miss out on a lot. This also happened somewhat with these three books, with the worst culprit being Keep. After arriving on Stayng Island I immediately left the town of Siltport and headed for the hills. Then I kept on moving and ignored in quick succession a cave, a cemetery, and a gathering in the woods (any of which would usually be a prime candidate for excitement) before hurriedly arriving at the docks at Keladon (more about those later).

In Stealer I began by making some good decisions and found my way to the subterranean Iron Crypts. But then I ignored several doors and passageways, and it wasn’t until after I’d fought the Dark Priest that choosing the second option led me to explore more, which helped me find the good wizard Alsander and enter Mordraneth’s Empire of Illusions. Stealer also had one of the few occasions in a FIGHTING FANTASY adventure where I got to have a nap during a dungeon crawl. I also managed to score a crowbar and some SKILL-boosting chainmail armour, as well as learn a handful of spells. These all gave me some momentary hope that, as in Battleblade Warrior, I might just muddle my way through to 400, or very close to it.

In Legend, while the Second Swordsman process didn’t make me ignore numerous rooms (as it had done in The Warlock of Firetop Mountain) it did make for a somewhat wearisome adventure. Because of the design of the castle, choosing every second option had me enter nearly every room I came across as I worked my way through the halls of Castle Argent. A few of these places were beneficial, but the purpose of most seems to have been to slowly drain me of my STAMINA through combat. But I did manage to have the most LUCK I’ve yet had when gambling (breaking my bad run from Seas of Blood and Bloodbones), fortuitously avoided the plague by having bought the antidote earlier, and discovered some more SKILL-boosting chainmail armour. Curiously I also picked up a valuable silk tapestry, which must be the first time in a FIGHTING FANTASY adventure where I’ve been rewarded with soft furnishings.

For some of these three adventures, my good initial SKILL scores were given a workout. In Stealer I had a fight at the very start of the adventure against a Giant Stormbird and then didn’t fight anything else until I went underground. But I then made up for lost time by defeating another thirteen creatures – including a few occasions where I lost no STAMINA in the battle. In Legend I chose not to waste a precious LUCK point near the very start, and had to face off in a tough battle against a Fog Wyvern. Then once I made it ashore on Tower Island I fought another fifteen creatures, including the awesomely named Skulking Shade as well as the SKILL ten Skeletal Dragon. But in Keep, choosing to rush across Stayng Island meant I did not have a single fight. The only times this has happened previously were in Crypt of the Sorcerer, Spectral Stalkers, and Island of the Lizard King.

Unfortunately, by choosing every second option I again failed to meet with success. I met my end in Keep by rushing a group of pirates at the aforementioned Keladon docks, which rewarded me for my foolishness with an instant death. I died in Stealer from being bitten by a floor of illusory snakes – which would probably not have happened if I’d not stupidly spent my sole ‘dispel illusion’ spell on a pack of rats just a few choices earlier. And in Legend I didn’t even get to meet Zagor, but instead failed in a fight against an elven thief who was armed with a poisoned dagger, a magical cloak, and a SKILL level of twelve. This was a very tough foe for one that wasn’t a ‘big-bad’ (only about one per cent of Titan’s creatures have this SKILL level) and I feel that avoiding this fight is essential to have a chance of victory. This is the twenty-seventh FIGHTING FANTASY adventure I’ve tried the Second Swordsman process on, but it’s only the sixth where I’ve fallen in combat – the other victors being the Kraken, the Fire Elemental, the Giant Sandworm, one of Carnuss’ slaves, and the Minotaur of Zagor’s maze.

So once again the Second Swordsman process yielded varying results. From the disappointment of Keep, to the frustration of Legend, and the momentary optimism of Stealer. I can only hope that next time I make fewer stupid decisions and don’t follow the lyrics of Watch Out for the Hitman and “do that thing until your body starts to break.”

Thank you once again to Malcolm, for his latest Second Swordsman blog post. If you have any suggestions for items for the official Fighting Fantasy blog don't forget to get in touch via

Friday, 6 October 2017

The Videos of Firetop Mountain

For those of you who were not lucky enough to attend Fighting Fantasy Fest 2, back at the start of September, that stalwart of Fighting Fantasy fandom James Aukett recorded a number of the talks on the day and has just recently uploaded them to YouTube. But you can enjoy them right here.

Battleblade Demonstealer
Marc Gascoigne in conversation with Jonathan Green

The Warlocks of Firetop Mountain
Guests of Honour Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone

Freeway Fighters
Andi Ewington, Simon Coleby and Jim Burns talk about the Freeway Fighter comic

Thank you to James for videoing these talks and let's hope he's available to do the same thing again at Fighting Fantasy Fest 3.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

The Winners of Firetop Mountain

It's the day budding Fighting Fantasy artists have been waiting for, the day we announce the winners of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain art competition.

Almost two months ago, FF fans were invited to submit their illustrations of the denizens of the Warlock's dungeons, deep within Firetop Mountain. And many did just that. The entries were collated and were scrutinised by the co-creators of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone.

As a result, we don't have one winner - we actually have two. And who are they?

Drum-roll please...

The Minotaur, as drawn by Adrien-Angelo Bastien
(chosen by Ian Livingstone) 

The Wererat, as drawn by Michael Sheppard
(chosen by Steve Jackson)

So, congratulations to Michael and Adrien-Angelo - Steam keys for Tin Man Games' adaptation of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain will be winging their way to you soon - commiserations to those entrants who were unlucky this time, and remember to keep checking for news of another competition soon...

Friday, 29 September 2017

YOU ARE THE HERO at Dragondaze!

In case you live in South Wales, near Newport, and you weren't able to make it to Fighting Fantasy Fest 2, it may interest you to hear that Fighting Fantasy historian Jonathan Green will be attending Dragondaze on Saturday 30th September, and will have copies of YOU ARE THE HERO Parts 1 & 2 on sale.

If you're going along, why not say hello and pick up a signed copy?

Thursday, 28 September 2017

The Singalong of Chaos

Today, upon the Earthly Plane, in the realm know as the United Kingdom, it is National Poetry Day.

From time to time poems - usually in the form of rhyming couplets - have appeared in Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, but there has been very little in the way of sonnets, or elegaic epics that have been inspired by the series. However, a number of musicians have been inspired to write FF-themed songs, the lyrics of which are their own form of poetry.

Backers of the Kickstarter to fund production of YOU ARE THE HERO Part 2, the second part of Jonathan Green's history of Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, will no doubt have already sampled the delights of Groan's Citadel of Chaos - a track inspired by Steve Jackson's first solo gamebook - as well as Jaldaboath's Balthus Dire.

But if you prefer your music a little more Gilbert and Sullivan, then you may be interested to hear what composer, orchestrator and baritone Craig M Wood has produced, after being inspired by the self-same adventure gamebook.

What is it about The Citadel of Chaos that makes it so prone to musical reinterpretation? Who knows, but if you've been inspired to write a song based on a Fighting Fantasy gamebook, drop us a line at and maybe we'll feature it on the Fighting Fantasy news page.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Remember, you heard it here first!

The news that Charlie Higson will be writing a brand new Fighting Fantasy gamebook hit The Bookseller today:

Charlie Higson is writing a new book in the bestselling Fighting Fantasy gamebook series for Scholastic UK, set for an April 2018 release.
Higson’s adventure will be set in the iconic Fighting Fantasy world “while bringing his own brand of fiendish, pacy plotting and spine-chilling monsters into play”, the publisher said.
It follows the 35th anniversary last August of the first publication of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone’s classic adventure series.
The deal for world rights was struck between Lauren Fortune, editorial director at Scholastic UK and Alexandra Cann Representation on behalf of Higson and Philippa Milnes-Smith at Lucas Alexander Whitley on behalf of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone.
Higson’s book will be published alongside five more classic backlist titles from Jackson and Livingstone: Creature of HavocDeathtrap DungeonAppointment with F.E.A.RThe Island of the Lizard King and Sorcery! Fighting Fantasy is a trademark owned by Jackson and Livingstone and used with permission.
Higson wrote the Young Bond series which has now sold over a million copies in the UK and has been translated into over 24 different languages.
He said: “I’ve always been a huge fan of fantasy and gaming so when I first came across the Fighting Fantasy books back in the day I just had to check them out. Even though I was probably a little older than the average reader I thought they were great fun. In fact I thought they were genius. So it’s a huge honour now to be asked to write an adventure of my own and help introduce these amazing books to a new generation of readers.”
Fighting Fantasy co-creators Jackson and Livingstone said: “We are extremely proud of the world of Fighting Fantasy that we created 35 years ago, and which endures so well today. We’re very excited to see what the amazing imagination of bestselling author Charlie Higson will bring to the world. Charlie is a big fan of the series, and we know he will delight existing fans and his own readers with his first Fighting Fantasy book.”
Over 20 million copies of Fighting Fantasy have sold worldwide in 25 languages and the series has a legion of high-profile fans.
But remember, you heard the news here first!*

* Unless you were at Fighting Fantasy Fest 2, in which case you heard the news first there.

Ian Livingstone at the Cardiff Book Festival

This Saturday, 23rd September, Ian Livingstone will be appearing at the Cardiff Book Festival.

His best-selling titles include City of Thieves, The Forest of Doom and Deathtrap Dungeon, and his new book, The Port of Peril, marks the 35th anniversary of Fighting Fantasy.

Ian will share reflections on his career before a Q&A session chaired by BBC Radio 1’s Steffan Powell.

Tickets are £7, full price, and £5 for concessions, and can be purchased here.