Friday 25 June 2021

Blast from the Past! Spellbreaker

(FF53) was published 28 years ago this week, while its author, Jonathan Green, was still studying at university.

The story begins with the hero inadvertently enabling Nazek (another Warlock) to steal the Black Grimoire from its guardians at Rassin Abbey in the Old World kingdom of Ruddlestone. To make amends, the hero sets out to track down the villain in order to stop him from opening the legendary Casket of Shadows, and releasing the evil imprisoned within.

Art – both exterior and interior – was provided by Alan Langford. It was the first and last time the artist painted a cover for the series, despite having illustrated five FF adventures before Spellbreaker.

“They just asked me to do it,” says Langford, “which was rather nice, because you get paid rather more for cover art than you do for your inside work.” The image was produced using predominantly watercolours. “I used a little bit of permanent white gouache as well, which is my normal technique for watercolour.”

The Devilworm, which was inspired by the legend of the Lambton Worm.

One of the internal pen and ink illustrations provided by Alan Langford.

(© Alan Langford, 1993)

However, when Wizard Books republished the adventure in 2007, Martin McKenna was commissioned to produce a new piece of cover art, which was done digitally. (Green had been keen to have McKenna illustrate one of his FF adventures ever since being commissioned to write Spellbreaker, back in 1992.)

Despite being incredibly difficult to complete fairly, Spellbreaker still has its fans among the Fighting Fantasy community.

Did you know...?

It was John Sibbick’s image of a dragon attacking a band of adventurers, determined to steal its treasure hoard, that appeared on the front cover of Dungeoneerthat inspired Green to write Spellbreaker in the first place, because he thought the forward-facing dragon was actually a demon!

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