Friday, 10 July 2020

Return to the Fan(dom) Zone

If you visit the Fan Zone of the Fighting Fantasy website, you will notice that it has grown over the last few weeks, as the Warlock has opened a number of new chambers in his dungeon beneath Firetop Mountain. As well as the Out of the Pit, Tricks & Traps, and Arcane Archive pages, there are now three new sections; Fan Fiction, Collectors' Corner, and Master Modellers.

This area of the Fighting Fantasy Fan Zone is where you can view original artwork created by the Fighting Fantasy community. Here you can browse through the amateur black and white, and colour artwork including line, pencil, charcoal, paint and other media sent to the site.
If you have designed a deathtrap worthy of Baron Sukumvit's infamous dungeon, or a cunning trick to fool an unwary adventurer venturing into the tunnels beneath Firetop Mountain, then share it with your fellow FF aficionados and we will display it for you here. 

The Arcane Archive is where you can study meticulous maps, drawn by other Fighting Fans, to help you negotiate your way through your favourite dark dungeons and dingy castles, and even gamebook solutions, if you need a little help completing some of the trickier titles.
A growing number of fans are writing stories inspired by their favourite Fighting Fantasy adventures, and the Fan Fiction section of the Fan Zone is where you will find them all collected together for your reading pleasure.
Do you have a Fighting Fantasy collection to rival Steve Jackson or Ian Livingstone? Do you have every edition of every gamebook ever published? Or a complete set of Fighting Fantasy board games? Or a growing collection of Atlantis miniatures? Or one of a hundred official items of merchandise connected to the world's best-selling gamebook series? If so, this is the place to share them with your fellow fans.

Are you a budding model maker or miniatures painter? Have you created 3D models based on your favourite pieces of 2D Fighting Fantasy art? Do you a fully painted set of miniatures from The Warlock of Firetop Mountain board game? You do? Well let's see them!

And so now it's over to you.

Send us your illustrations of Fighting Fantasy monsters, designs for your most fiendish deathtraps, your quest maps and adventure solutions, your fan fiction based on Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, photographs of your FF collections, and photos of your sculpted and painted miniatures, and we will add them to the official Fighting Fantasy website so that they can be enjoyed and appreciated by FF fans all over the world.

All such submissions should be sent in the form of an email, with any necessary attachments included, to

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

National Video Game Day

Today, Wednesday 8th July, is National Video Game Day, so why not check out one of the video game adaptations of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone's gamebooks?

To mark the occasion you could also make a donation to the emergency appeal to save the National Videogame Museum, of which Ian Livingstone is a patron.

Friday, 3 July 2020

Friday Flash Sale

There are still a few SKILL, STAMINA and LUCK T-shirts left over from last year's Fighting Fantasy Fest 3. We have just five of each size and they are selling for just £5 each! (Post and packing varies, depending on precisely where you are upon the Earthly Plane.)

The T-shirts are available in Small (34-36"), Medium (38-40"), Large (42-44"), Extra Large (46-48") and Double XL (50-52") sizes.

If you would like to purchase one (or more) simply click on the appropriate PayPal button below, but please make sure you select the correct post and packing for your location.

Small T-shirt (to fit chest 34-36")

Price including Post & Packing

Medium T-shirt (38-40")

Price including Post & Packing

Large T-shirt (42-44")

Price including Post & Packing

Extra Large T-shirt (46-48")

Price including Post & Packing

Double XL T-shirt (50-52")

Price including Post & Packing

Thursday, 2 July 2020

All Rolled Up - FF sale now on!

If you've been wanting to get your hands on a piece of All Rolled Up's Fighting Fantasy gaming merchandise, there couldn't be a better time than now.

Prices on FF products - many of which feature Iain McCaig's iconic artwork - have been slashed across the board.

ARU game rolls  -  were £32  -  now £20

Messenger bags  -  were £22  -  now £14

Square dice trays  -  were £12  -  now £5

Compact dice trays  -  were £10  -  now £4

Many of these items are already low in stock, and these prices only apply while stocks last. The sale could be pulled at any time, so don't delay - visit All Rolled Up today!

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

La Créature Venue du Chaos

The latest Fighting Fantasy gamebook to be reissued by Gallimard Jeunesse in French is Steve Jackson's Creature of Havoc, or La Créature Venue du Chaos.

Is this the first time the 'hero' has appeared on the cover of a Fighting Fantasy gamebook?

The cover art is by Paul Mafayon, a French artist who also provided the wraparound covers for the newest French editions of Ian Livingstone's Deathtrap Dungeon and Caverns of the Snow Witch.

This new large format edition of La Créature Venue du Chaos includes Alan Langford's original illustrations, as well as the addition of a bonus Archives of Allansia section - focusing on places, characters and monsters connected to the adventure - and a set of pre-generated characters.

If you would like to add the Gallimard Jeunesse editions to your Fighting Fantasy collection, you can purchase them here.

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Crystal of Storms - by Rhianna Pratchett!

Scholastic Books have announced acclaimed games writer and journalist Rhianna Pratchett as the next guest author for the bestselling Fighting Fantasy series.

Set in the iconic Fighting Fantasy world of Titan, Crystal of Storms casts the hero of the story as a member of the Sky Watch, charged with keeping the airborne archipelago of Pangaria safe. When the flying island Nimbus suddenly crashes out of the sky into the Ocean of Tempests below, the hero must battle storms and sea beasts in their mission to raise it from the deep.

For this landmark Fighting Fantasy adventure, Scholastic have taken a new approach with the cover art, in order to attract a new, younger audience to the classic gamebook series - one which many of their parents cite as getting them reading and introducing them to fantasy role-playing in the first place.

As the world’s most high-profile woman in gaming, Rhianna Pratchett is the perfect match for the series, and becomes its first ever female guest author.

"I first came to the Fighting Fantasy books as a child; reading them surreptitiously under the covers with a torch late at night," Rhianna explains. "It's been such an honour to be asked by Ian Livingstone, Steve Jackson and the team at Scholastic to create a new novel for their vibrant and exciting world. My kid-self has been high-fiving my adult-self all year!

"I hope new and old fans will enjoy exploring the floating archipelago of Pangaria and its colourful, eccentric and dangerous inhabitants. I also hope that some of that enjoyment will occur surreptitiously under the covers late at night."

Crystal of Storms, illustrated by Eva Eskelinen, will be published in October 2020. Read the full press release from Scholastic here.

Friday, 19 June 2020

Blast from the Past! Legend of the Shadow Warriors

This weekend it is the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere of your Earthly Plane, a time when those who live close to nature call to mind the pagan spirits of the past.

Some of those pagan nature spirits made an appearance in Legend of the Shadow Warriors (FF44, copyright Stephen Hand). Published in 1991, it was Hand's first solo contribution to the Fighting Fantasy series, having co-written Dead of Night with Jim Bambra. It was illustrated by Martin McKenna, who had also worked on Dead of Night, while Terry Oakes provided the cover paiting, having done the same for the aforementioned Dead of Night.

"After much hard work, Dead of Night was finished," Stephen Hand said in an interview with "Jim and I were pleased to be immediately invited to write another book. Jim decided not to write another, so I worked on Legend of the Shadow Warriors alone.

"It was a blast. Now I had no reason, other than my own failings, not to go way over the top. I tried to create a world that I as a kid would love to have visited (albeit with armed guards) - a total Hammer Horror reality with real history and personalities. I tried to create a quest that no one had done before, and I tried to take up some serious issues... I also started to build up characters and themes that I wanted to develop over time."

Set in Gallantaria, the adventure cast the hero as a veteran of the War of the Four Kingdoms who sets out to discover whether the five ghostly figures that are putting entire villages to the sword are really the Shadow Warriors of legend.

Shadow Warriors, by Martin McKenna.

Hand’s horror movie influences – everything from Universal, Hammer and Amicus, to Spanish and Italian films and ‘80s Splatter – were even more obvious in this book, particularly with the introduction of Kauderwelsch’s Frankenstein-like Monster. The adventure is formed from a series of vignettes that give it the feeling of a long-running RPG campaign, more epic in scope, rather than just a one-off solo gamebook.

Cauldron Ring, by Martin McKenna.

The climax to the adventure remains unique out of all the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks ever published, with the hero having to forgive and heal the enemy rather than kill and destroy him.

“‘You put your arms around an old man, crying with the simple joy of being alive’ is simply the most emotionally satisfying conclusion to the series next to retrieving the Crown of Kings,” says FF fan Lin Liren.

Haggworts, by Martin McKenna.

In Legend of the Shadow Warriors, Hand had introduced the sinister Mandrakes to Fighting Fantasy – sentient plant-creatures that mimicked human beings (clearly inspired by the 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers).

The horror of the Mandrakes, by Martin McKenna.

The is a brief cameo appearance from a Mandrake in Hand's next adventure, Moonrunner, but he fully intended to return to them in Blood of the Mandrake, which would have conclude his Old World series. But having taken a full-time job with PC games company MicroProse, Hand had less and less time to devote to his freelance work, and so sadly it was not to be.

Friday, 12 June 2020 Updates

As well as preparing for your imminent Return to Firetop Mountain, the Warlock has been busy of late giving a bit of an overhaul. This is still very much a work in progress, but if you haven't seen them yet, you might want to check out the latest updates.

If there is anything you would particularly like to see on the official Fighting Fantasy website, why not leave your suggestions in the comments below?

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Return to Return to Firetop Mountain

The news is out! The first of the next tranche of Fighting Fantasy gamebooks to be published by Scholastic Books is to be Ian Livingstone's Return to Firetop Mountain!

And here's the new cover, featuring artwork by series artist Robert Ball.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

In the early 1990s, when Puffin Books were still publishing the Fighting Fantasy series, it was decided between the editorial team, Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone that the release of the fiftieth gamebook would to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the publication of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain.

And so Ian Livingstone set about writing Return to Firetop Mountain, an adventure in which the hero would return to the eponymous mountain and encounter such legendary FF characters as Zagor the Warlock and The Forest of Doom’s guardian Gereth Yaztromo one last time. The landmark adventure was illustrated by FF fan favourite artist Martin McKenna... and the new edition of the book will feature Martin's original illustrations.

Return to Firetop Mountain will be published by Scholastic Books on 1st October, along with two other titles. Let us know what you think of the new cover in the comments below.

Friday, 5 June 2020

Fighting Fantasy Fan Fiction

The Fighting Fantasy gamebooks have inspired countless writers, ever since The Warlock of Firetop Mountain was first published in 1982. Some well-known and popular authors have contributed to the series over the years, including Jamie Thomson, the author of the Dirk Lloyd books, and Charlie Higson.

In the Fan Fiction chamber of the Fighting Fantasy Fan Zone dungeon you will find stories written by fans inspired by their favourite gamebooks, including Christopher Griffith's retelling of the three books in the Zagor saga.

But please be warned, if you have yet to read the gamebooks yourself, these stories contain all sorts of spoilers.

If you have a story you would like to share, you can contact the Warlock here, or via

Friday, 29 May 2020

Arion Games' YouTube Channel

Fans of Advanced Fighting Fantasy Second Edition will no doubt already be familiar with the name Arion GamesArion Games is Graham Bottley's RPG publishing company, and current holder of the Advanced Fighting Fantasy licence.

The good news is that Graham has recently set up a YouTube channel to discuss up-and-coming RPG projects from Arion Games, but this will mainly have an Advanced Fighting Fantasy focus. One of the first videos Graham has posted on his channel explains how Advanced Fighting Fantasy Second Edition came to be.

So the Warlock would encourage you to check out the Arion Games YouTube channel here, and click the subscribe button to be notified of new Advanced Fighting Fantasy content on a regular basis.

You will find Arion GamesAdvanced Fighting Fantasy products for sale through DriveThruRPG here.

Friday, 22 May 2020

Happy Birthday, Steve Jackson!*

Steve Jackson was born in Manchester, in 1951, but his family moved to Canada when he was four years old. However, they returned to the UK when he was 11 and he joined Altrincham Grammar School for Boys. And it was here that he met fellow pupil Ian Livingstone.

In the years since then he not only co-founded Games Workshop and co-created the legendary Fighting Fantasy gamebook series, he was also one of the co-founders of Lionhead Studios, and went on to become Professor of Games Design at Brunel University.

Happy Birthday, Steve, and may your STAMINA never fail!

* For yesterday.

Friday, 15 May 2020

Blast from the Past! Scorpion Swamp

When the Fighting Fantasy series first started to take off in the early 1980s, Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone simply could not keep up with the demand for new gamebooks.

"It’s funny, really, that when The Warlock of Firetop Mountain was first published, Puffin were not very enthusiastic about it," says Livingstone. "Within a year they wanted to publish a new book every two months! We needed help and got it." And so the 'Presents' series was launched.

"As it happens, our first ‘Presents’ series author was Steve Jackson – the American one, designer of GURPS – who had come over to the UK to talk business with Games Workshop," explains Steve Jackson, the British one. "So the book was: Steve Jackson & Ian Livingstone Present: Scorpion Swamp… by Steve Jackson. Very confusing!”

“I was visiting London,” explains US Steve, who was already known to the UK Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone since Games Workshop was distributing his games on this side of the Pond. “They described their travails in creating FF books, and the difficulty of flow-charting. I sat down and wrote the first third of Scorpion Swamp, and they liked it.”

There are still people to this day who do not realise that the Steve Jackson who wrote Scorpion Swamp, Demons of the Deep and Robot Commando, and the Steve Jackson who wrote such classics as The Citadel ofChaos, House of Hell and Creature of Havoc are two completely different people.

“Occasionally I am presented with a copy of one of UK Steve's books to sign,” says US Steve. “I always explain, and if they really want me to, I will sign it ‘The wrong Steve Jackson’.”

Published in 1984, with a cover and internal art by Duncan Smith, Scorpion Swamp sent the hero into the fetid fens of the title with nothing but his sword to defend himself, and a magic Brass Ring that detected evil as well as letting the hero know which way was north.

Unlike other Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, Scorpion Swamp allowed the player to choose one of three quests, from a selection of patrons who are Good, Evil and Neutral. The gameplay was non-linear in design, enabling the hero to revisit locations and explore the swamp as he so desired, and a direct consequence of US Steve’s background in RPGs.

But how did Duncan Smith come to join the esteemed ranks of Fighting Fantasy illustrators? “My mate Iain McCaig had been doing some for Puffin and suggested me to the art director as they were looking for artists for another few books,” explains Smith. “Our styles were quite similar and so they liked my work and that's how it came about.”

The artist cites the illustrations of Poomchukker and the Giant as being his favourites from the book. “I actually like Scorpion Swamp,” he says, referring to the work he did on the title, “though I'd do it very differently now.”

Scorpion Swamp was the first adventure to bear the now infamous green zigzag Adventure Gamebooks banner and the fondly-remembered Fighting Fantasy logo, which was also green at the time. Even though the zigzags only remained in use until Creature of Havoc, the spines of FF gamebooks stayed green until the end of Puffin Books’ run in 1995.