Friday, 22 October 2021

Pandaemonium Miniatures' Legendary Fighting Fantasy Figures

If you follow @fightingfantasy on Twitter, you may have already seen Pandaemonium Miniatures' painted Fighting Fantasy Legends models, as produced by Atlantis Miniatures.

The Warlock used his scrying sphere to track down the painter and then summoned him to the depths of Firetop Mountain to find out more...

The Warlock: Who are you, where are you from, and what is it you do for a living?

Paul Cooke: My name is Paul Cooke, I'm from Bristol and I am self employed, splitting my time between commissioned miniature painting and scenery building, and tutoring English at GCSE and A Level.

TW: How long have you been painting miniatures?

PC: I started painting miniatures (badly!) when I was about 13 with my HeroQuest set (I'm actually currently in the process of stripping, repairing and repainting my original set!), I've had a few gaps, and prior to returning to the hobby four years ago I hadn't painted a figure for approximately six years. [Paul turns 45 on 22nd October. Happy Birthday! ~ The Warlock]

TW: What was your first exposure to Fighting Fantasy? Do you have any favourite titles in the series?

PC: I think when I was 11 or 12 I played my first gamebook and it happened to be The Warlock of Firetop Mountain - that's still a standout because it's so challenging. I also love Deathtrap Dungeon, The Forest of Doom, City of Thieves and the Sorcery! series in particular. It was the whole package really; the interactivity and feeling like you were really in that world, drawing out my maps as I went and then making a neat version on completion, and gazing at the amazing artwork. I still have my collection, and I've also been enjoying the various PC game versions.

I remember my local Waterstones held a design competition when I was around 14 to create your own monster with stats etc. I got a lovely letter explaining that, as it happened, I was a bit older than most other participants so they didn't feel it was fair to give me a prize, but they did send me all of the display posters from the event, which I was more than happy with! So they were so influential and were definitely my way into the world of wargaming and role-play, along with HeroQuest of course. So you can imagine my reaction when I was approached to paint this set!

TW: How did you feel when you discovered that Atlantis Miniatures would be producing the Fighting Fantasy Legends range?

PC: Very excited - I'm familiar with Atlantis and I really enjoyed painting one of the Trolls for my Frostgrave games so I knew they'd be fantastic - but also torn as I had to make a tricky decision about which miniature to get! The design of each miniature is so well done and evocative of the original artwork.

TW: Which pledge level did you select?

PC: I backed at the single figure level, as that's what I could budget for at the time, and had to make the difficult choice between the Shapechanger and the Bloodbeast. In the end I went for the Shapechanger; the cover art was always a favourite and it's such a good match to Ian McCaig's original watercolour.

 Is there a particular process you follow when you paint a Fighting Fantasy mini?

PC: So far I have been referring to the cover art to aim to match details and colours as much as I can. As I'm lucky enough to be painting this set for Ian Livingstone, it's invaluable that he can give me guidance on colour choices for those which are based on the internal black and white artwork, and I can consult with him on any tweaks or changes. In general I am using a range of techniques including the 'traditional' basecoat/shade wash/highlight method, wet blending, and some airbrush work.

For larger figures such as the Shapechanger and Bloodbeast I've found it best to paint them in their separate pieces, and for all of them I'm painting the bases separately as they are very nicely detailed in their own right. It's important to note that as these are resin miniatures I've made sure to wash them in soapy water and carefully scrape away any flash and mould lines before priming.

 Are there any particular challenges to painting an FF mini? Is there anything you found particularly hard, or anything you're especially proud of?

PC: I think as above, knowing how to prepare resin figures is important. A wash in soapy water and a gentle scrub with an old toothbrush will remove the traces of the release agent from the casting process - if this isn't done the primer won't adhere and indeed can completely flake off. Dry-fitting the pieces is a very good idea, although these are really well designed from that perspective, and in most cases the pieces 'plug' together in a fairly intuitive way. Looking over the figures to check for mould lines and flash is also vital - I found it is very thin and feathery, so a gentle scrape with a new scalpel blade is all that's really needed. I use superglue for assembly, and in some cases I've drilled and pinned parts together for a stronger join.

Honestly, I have been so impressed by the quality of these miniatures; Altantis produce lovely work anyway, but these are definitely up there with their best. In terms of painting, they all have their own challenges - most recently I was finding the yellow flame-like edging on the robes of the Archmage of Mampang really tricky - yellow can be a pain anyway, but it is a very fine edging, probably only 1.2mm thick. Basecoating with pink really helps with yellows and oranges, otherwise it's hard to get it to sit evenly, but even with this method it took a few attempts. So far the one I'm most pleased with is the Bloodbeast.

 Do you have a favourite miniature from the range?

PC: Again, it's a tossup between the Shapechanger and the Bloodbeast, and I can't really decide! Having painted both now, I still like them equally.

TW: Are there any other FF characters or monsters you would like to see turned into miniatures?

PC: I think a rendition of the cover of Freeway Fighter would be great. Admittedly, that would be much more of a diorama in its own right, with the car and characters. I also think Zanbar Bone, although he already has a 28mm miniature, is definitely worthy of being turned into a larger scale bust to match the original Ian McCaig cover of City of Thieves. The Iain Miller cover of House of Hell is another contender!

TW: Are you planning on creating any FF dioramas using the minis?

PC: For this set, I don't know. Ian might have that in mind for display purposes; these are being painted in time for the 40th anniversary of the publication of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain in August 2022. For my own Shapechanger.. .that's got me thinking. It would be good to do a scene to emulate the cover art, maybe incorporating some forced perspective to get a sense of peering into the depths of the forest behind the monster.

Friday, 15 October 2021

Are you ready to enter the Golden Room?

Deathtrap Dungeon: The Golden Room is an interactive movie based on Ian Livingstone's classic Fighting Fantasy gamebook. Starring Georgia Hirst (Five Dates, Vikings) and Marcus Fraser (Transformers: The Last Knight).

As the Brave Adventurer faces many foes, you must tread carefully on your quest through to the Golden Room. Face the Trial-Master of the Dungeon Vhaidra and her tricks and traps as she tests your skill. Beware of the Bloodbeast lurking behind any door. Decide wisely, or find yourself in a Deathtrap.

Deathtrap Dungeon: The Golden Room is a live action, cinematic interactive fantasy adventure movie, featuring the same CGI Virtual Set technology as used in Disney's The Mandalorian. It is being developed by Wales Interactive and Good Gate Media, ready for release in 2022. To find out more, follow this link.

Friday, 8 October 2021

Rebel Planet: The Graphic Novel - Mark Lain Interview

Rebel Planet: The Graphic Novel, written by Mark Lain and illustrated by Gary Mayes, has only been running for a week on Kickstarter but it is already more than half way towards its funding goal.

The Warlock decided that it was time to find out more about the project and so summoned Mark Lain to the dungeons beneath Firetop Mountain to interrogate him... Sorry! To interview him.

The Warlock: What inspired you to turn Rebel Planet into a graphic novel? 

Mark Lain: It’s the only sci-fi FF that really has a fully-developed “world” and the concepts in it are still very contemporary and relevant. The sheer variety of the environments of the planets you visit gives a lot of scope for showing the different experiences and challenges faced by the Player’s character. Plus the Arcadians are a brilliantly designed set of species and Gary’s art really beings the whole package to life.

TW: What can fans of the original gamebook expect from the graphic novel?

ML: Something faithful to the gamebook but not a slavish rendition of the true path. There needs to be peril and moments of potential failure, so some of the areas that you should avoid on the true path are here too, to make it more than just an easy ride to success. This is meant to be a mission against the odds. Also, there will be some surprises.

For example, some parts of the gamebook have been substituted for aspects from the computer game adaptation, particularly in places where I personally thought the computer version handled things better or more logically. There are some essential details for the Prologue too that are missing from the gamebook so I’ve added in some material of my own, but nothing that will contradict of offend – it’s purely to complete and fill gaps.

TW: What will readers who have never heard of Fighting Fantasy get from this adaptation?

ML: For these readers, it’s a cracking sci-fi yarn. Because of how the plot plays out, the reader has no requirement to know anything about the gamebook or FF in general. Indeed, the plot will be a total surprise for non-FF readers. At the end of the day, this is a science fiction graphic novel.

TW: What has it been like to work with Gary Mayes?

ML: So far it’s been great. He is full of enthusiasm for the project and is very open to my ideas and suggestions. We have been discussing this collaboration for over a year now, and I’m really happy at how keen he is. He is the artist who will bring my words to life so a passion for the material is vital. His love of sci-fi and knowledge of the genre makes my job of explaining concepts and tropes much easier as he just gets what I’m referring to straight away, and he’s a consummate professional.

TW: Are there any other FF books you would like to give the graphic novel treatment?

ML: Well, without giving too much away, there is an open ending designed to segue into a sequel, but obviously this first book needs to hit the right notes so we actually get a sequel (and all the necessary permissions of course)! But I’m not going to say which book it is that the ending leads to – people will have to read the Rebel Planet GN to find that out.

Friday, 1 October 2021

Rebel Planet: The Graphic Novel is funding now on Kickstarter!

Rebel Planet: The Graphic Novel is now live on Kickstarter! To find out more and to pledge your support to the project, follow this link.

Written by long-time Fighting Fantasy fan and gamebook author Mark Lain, the graphic novel is being drawn by original Rebel Planet artist Gary Mayes!

Sunday, 26 September 2021

Rebel Planet: The Graphic Novel - launching on Kickstarter soon!

Rebel Planet has to be one of the most popular science fiction titles in the Fighting Fantasy range. Published in 1985, it was written by Robin Waterfield (who also wrote Masks of Mayhem, Phantoms of Fear, and Deathmoor) and illustrated by Gary Mayes.

As revealed during last year's 12 Fighting Fantasy Days of Christmas, Robin Waterfield and series co-creator Ian Livingstone have given permission for the classic FF gamebook to be turned into a graphic novel.

Written by long-time Fighting Fantasy fan and gamebook author Mark Lain, the graphic novel is being drawn by original Rebel Planet artist Gary Mayes!

Mark is raising the finance required to produce the book via crowdfunding, and the Kickstarter launches at 8:00pm on Friday 1st October 2021.

Rewards include both soft- and hardback editions of the graphic novel, signed bookplates, Arcadian propaganda badges, and T-shirts. You can even pledge to have the book dedicated to YOU!

To find out more, watch the video below and sign up to be notified when the Kickstarter launches here.

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Fighting Fantasy Legends out now for Nintendo Switch!

Nomad Games' adaptation of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone's Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, Fighting Fantasy Legends, is available to buy now from the Nintendo eShop!

Based on the classic Fighting Fantasy gamebooks by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone, Fighting Fantasy Legends recreates the classic adventure books and adapts them into an exciting digital quest featuring three iconic books.

Create your own adventures in a dangerous land of monsters, treasures and traps in Fighting Fantasy Legends, a role-playing card game set in the world of Fighting Fantasy. Travel across the land of Allansia, rising from the ranks of an unknown adventurer to a legendary warrior. 

Play through the stories of three iconic gamebooks - City of ThievesThe Warlock of Firetop Mountain and Citadel of Chaos as you meet iconic characters such as Nicodemus the Wizard, Gareth Yaztromo and O'Seamus the Leprechaun.

If you've already downloaded the game, let the Warlock know what you think in the comments below.

Monday, 13 September 2021

The Fighting Fantasy Collector's Checklist and Price Guide 2021

The eleventh volume of the Fighting Fantasy Checklist & Price Guide is now available to buy from Jamie Fry, a.k.a. the Fighting Fantasy Collector.

If you would like a copy, you need to contact Jamie directly. You can do this by direct messaging him, or Fighting Fantasy Collector, on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Alternatively, you can email him at lordfarcroft(at)gmail(dot)com

The Price Guide costs £10, plus £2 UK postage, with international postage prices on request. His PayPal can be found at

Friday, 10 September 2021

Fighting Fantasy Legends is coming to Nintendo Switch

The Warlock is delighted to announce that Nomad Games' extremely popular digital adaptation of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone's Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, Fighting Fantasy Legends, is coming to Nintendo Switch on 23rd September 2021!

Based on the classic Fighting Fantasy gamebooks by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone, Fighting Fantasy Legends recreates the classic adventure books and adapts them into an exciting digital quest featuring three iconic books.

Create your own adventures in a dangerous land of monsters, treasures and traps in Fighting Fantasy Legends, a role-playing card game set in the world of Fighting Fantasy. Travel across the land of Allansia, rising from the ranks of an unknown adventurer to a legendary warrior. 

Play through the stories of three iconic gamebooks - City of Thieves, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain and Citadel of Chaos as you meet iconic characters such as Nicodemus the Wizard, Gareth Yaztromo and O'Seamus the Leprechaun.

So put the date in your diary and don't forget to visit the Nintendo eShop on 23rd September 2021!

Friday, 3 September 2021

Steve Jackson interview for International Gamebook Day 2021

As part of the International Gamebook Day celebrations last weekend, the co-creator of the Fighting Fantasy series, and co-founder of Games Workshop, Steve Jackson himself was interviewed by Olly Mc of The Storymaster's Tales.

In case you missed it at the time, or you do not use Facebook, you can watch it again now below.

If you were unaware of International Gamebook Day until now, make sure you sign up to next year's event - which will be held on the 40th anniversary of the publication of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain - here.

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Creature of Havoc comes to Fighting Fantasy Classics

The necromancer Zharradan Marr is close to stealing the secrets of Elven magic and none can stop him. YOU are the Creature of Havoc, a monstrous beast with a taste for fighting. Ruled only by hunger and rage, you have no knowledge of your past or destiny. Will you stop Marr or succumb to his evil?

Steve Jackson's seminal Fighting Fantasy gamebook Creature of Havoc has joined the other titles on the Fighting Fantasy Classics shelf on Steam, courtesy of Tin Man Games.

Featuring Alan Langford's original illustrations, this is a faithful adaptation of what, for many, is the ultimate gamebook.

An appointment with Zharradan Marr and his minions awaits you! Dare you face the mighty Darramouss or ride the Galleykeep, a flying ship of great renown?

“This book has what must be one of the densest and most satisfying plots of any FF, which, through constant changes of location, ongoing aims, and self-awareness, remains compelling and pretty intense throughout.” - Mathus Dire

Any die-hard Fighting Fantasy fan will tell you that this gamebook is brutal, but brilliant. Steve Jackson really found his stride with Creature of Havoc, the 24th book in the original Puffin paperback run. It is also one of the longest gamebooks in the series and includes a detailed background into the goings-on in Trolltooth Pass. Enjoy the pain, revel in becoming the beast, and seek out the truth! Grab it NOW!

If you're new to Fighting Fantasy Classics, now is a great time to try them out, with these two great bundle deals available now!

Friday, 27 August 2021

International Gamebook Day 2021

The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, written by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone, was first published by Puffin Books 39 years ago today. It is for this reason that International Gamebook Day takes place every 27th August as well.

This year, International Gamebook Day is taking place over three days, and there are several events that are directly connected to Fighting Fantasy gamebooks.

Friday 27 August

6:00pm BST - Interview with Dave Morris, co-author of The Keep of the Lich-Lord.

Saturday 28 August

1:00pm BST - Playthrough of Ian Livingstone's Eye of the Dragon on Vicki Steele's Twitch channel.

6:00pm BST - The Storymaster's Tales live playthrough of Steve Jackson's House of Hell.

Sunday 29 August

6:00pm BST - Interview with Steve Jackson, co-creator of Fighting Fantasy gamebooks.

Also available from today is a new range of branded Fighting Fantasy T-Shirts from Seven Squared. To find out more and purchase them for yourself, follow this link.

Wednesday, 25 August 2021

Fighting Fantasy Tees

Launching on Friday 27 August - which also happens to be International Gamebook Day - is a range of branded Fighting Fantasy T-shirts from Seven Squared.

Designs include The Forest of Doom, City of Thieves, Deathtrap Dungeon, The Citadel of Chaos and, of course, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain.

Finishing off the collection is this rather cool Fighting Fantasy logo tee.

To find out more, read the press release here, and keep an eye out for more updates this Friday!

Sunday, 22 August 2021

Blast from the Past! The Tasks of Tantalon

Having already written several gamebooks, including the seminal Sorcery! series, 1985 saw Steve Jackson experimenting with a different kind of puzzle book. The finished product was a hardback, lavishly illustrated throughout by Stephen Lavis, called The Tasks of Tantalon.

Can YOU solve The Sorcerer's Grand Puzzlequest?

The land of Gallantaria is reeling from the aftermath of a long and costly war. Tantalon, wizard of the court, rules the kingdom over an Inner Council of scheming knights, jealously vying for power. But Tantalon's years are drawing to a close...

In order to seek out the kingdom's sharpest minds, Tantalon has devised an epic adventure quest. One which will test the wits of its contestants to the full. From near and far, contenders come to Royal Lendle to take up the challenge.

YOU are a competitor in the ageing sorcerer's puzzlequest. Can you steal the Brimstone Dragon's treasure hoard? Will you find a way to free Sir Dunstable from imprisonment in the Stinn dungeon? And how will you catch the Demon Fish?

Do you have the courage and a mind sharp enough to complete...

The Tasks of Tantalon?

Seek the Ting Ring, by Stephen Lavis. (© Stephen Lavis, 1985 and 2021)

Jackson: “We’d been approached by David Fickling at Oxford University Press. David was interested in publishing an FF book in colour, concentrating on puzzles instead of quests. This was going to be something like Kit Williams’ Masquerade – the treasure hunt puzzle book where you had to discover the location of a buried silver hare. Only with The Tasks of Tantalon there wasn’t a prize. But David had a great gimmick; printing text at a size that made it look like a straight line, but under a magnifying glass you could read the sentence. It meant you could design quite an elaborate puzzle, which appealed to me. On a memorable train journey coming down from Edinburgh with Ian, I came up with ten of the twelve puzzles.”

It might not have taken Jackson long to conceive the book but its execution was something else.

Stephen Lavis: “It was a great opportunity for me to illustrate The Tasks of Tantalon, which took me a solid year to complete. I can remember my first meeting with Steve Jackson and David Fickling in a pub and, as a young illustrator, was greatly impressed when Steve Jackson arrived in his Porsche, already successful on the back of the FF books. This was very different from previous illustration work where I had made a name for myself as a book cover artist... There was some professional friction between Steve and myself over the level of blood and gore. Steve wanted to make The Tasks of Tantalon more like an FF book whereas I wanted the book to be more beautiful, along the lines of Masquerade.”

Hornhelm’s Crown, by Stephen Lavis. (© Stephen Lavis, 1985 and 2021)

The solution to the puzzle contained within the book has vexed many an adventurer over the years, so what is the secret to solving Tantalon’s tasks?

Jackson: “I self-published a small booklet which gave the entire solution to The Tasks of Tantalon. I actually dug out a copy of Tantalon recently, and found two letters from readers who claimed to have solved it (before the Solution Booklet). I admit, it was extremely hard to solve.”

Did you know...?

Steve Jackson’s smiling face can be seen in the artistic surround of the map that accompanied the hardback edition of The Tasks of Tantalon.

Friday, 13 August 2021

International Gamebook Day 2021

On Friday 27 August 2021, the second ever International Gamebook Day will take place. It might only be the second time the event has run, but it has already grown to take over the entire weekend, with interviews with gamebook creators being streamed in the late afternoon/early evening of each day from Friday 27 to Sunday 29 August.

There will also be other events taking place during the course of the weekend, such as Vicki, of Girls That Game, guiding another unsuspecting victim - I mean participant! - through Ian Livingstone's dungeon crawl adventure Eye of the Dragon.

So check out the event page on Facebook and watch this space for more news soon!

And in case you were wondering, International Gamebook Day takes place on 27 August because that was the date of the original publication of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone's The Warlock of Firetop Mountain in 1982.