Friday 24 November 2023

The Shamutanti Hills - published 40 years ago!

Regular visitors to this blog will have noticed that this year that images from four classic Fighting Fantasy gamebooks appear in the banner at the top of the page. These are all books that were first published 40 years ago this year, but they are not the only one.

The first book in the Sorcery! series, aimed squarely at adult gamers, was released in late 1983. The Shamutanti Hills by Steve Jackson, saw the commencement of an epic quest to recover the Crown of Kings from the evil Archmage of Kakhabad. In the adventure, the hero has to make his way through the hills of the title; “alive with evil creatures, lawless wanderers and bloodthirsty monsters, the land is riddled with tricks and traps waiting for the unwary traveller.”

Despite being for adults, the game still used the usual Fighting Fantasy gaming mechanics, the cover proudly stating the mantra familiar to Fighting Fantasy fans that, “Two dice, a pencil and an eraser are all you need for this adventure – YOU decide which paths to take, which dangers to risk and which monsters to fight.” The big difference came from what gave the series its name. As well as being a mighty warrior, the hero of the Sorcery! series could also be played as a powerful magic-user.

The ‘simple’ version of the adventure involved the use of no magic whatsoever, as with most FF adventures up until this point (with the notable exception of Jackson’s The Citadel of Chaos). However, there was also the option whereby the reader could opt for the ‘advanced’ version of the game, which relied heavily on magic, with the hero being able to cast a wide range of spells. Each spell cost between 1 and 4 STAMINA points to cast, and each was denoted by a three letter word (following the pattern consonant-vowel-consonant), and often required very specific ingredients to be cast successfully at all.

There was also the option to call on Libra, the Goddess of Justice, once during the course of the adventure, either to enable the hero to escape a tricky battle, to be cleansed of curses or diseases, or to have his starting attributes restored to their Initial level.

The Sorcery Spell Book was, to begin with, just that – a separate book, detailing the spells used in the Sorcery! series, that came packaged with The Shamutanti Hills in a special slipcase edition. It featured a number of illustrations, which were cut when the Spell Book was later incorporated into the Sorcery! gamebooks themselves, when they were republished under the Adventure Gamebooks banner.

Original slipcase editions of The Shamutanti Hills and The Sorcery Spell Book are now veritable collector’s items!

The Shamutanti Hills is now available again from Scholastic Books.

Friday 17 November 2023

Sir Ian Livingstone to attend Dragonmeet 2023

Co-creator of the Fighting Fantasy series Sir Ian Livingstone will be attending Dragonmeet on Saturday 2nd December 2023. The event is taking place at the Novotel Hammersmith in West London.

You will find Sir Ian at Stand C11 in the Lower Trade Hall, which will be open from 10:00am-6:00pm.

Click to enlarge.

Sir Ian will be there from 10:00am-2:00pm signing books, and will have some copies of the hardback editions of Shadow of the Giants and Dice Men on sale as well.

Friday 10 November 2023

Sir Ian Livingstone at Lucca 2023 and the Bogforum Book Fair

Sir Ian Livingstone had a busy week last week.

First of all he jetted off to Italy to attend Lucca Comics & Games 2023. The Italian edition of Dice Men was launched in Lucca, by Raven Distribution, alongside a new Italian edition of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain.

As you can imagine, there were plenty of fans who wanted him to sign their books.

The talks he gave were very well attended too.

To cement his rock and roll status as a game designer, while Sir Ian was in Italy, he was invited to leave his handprints and signature in perpetuity for the Lucca Comics & Games Walk of Fame, which is dedicated to the most important and popular creators of comics and games.

It was then on to Copenhagen in Denmark, for our globe-trotting hero, to attend the Bogforum Book Fair. He was there to celebrate the launch of the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks in Danish.

The signing queue there was just as long as it had been in Italy!

There are now 14 Fighting Fantasy title available in Danish, including the 40th anniversary titles Shadow of the Giants and Secrets of Salamonis...

...and the Slavernes Krønike boxset, which contains translations of Trial of Champions and Armies of Death.

Friday 3 November 2023

Fighting Fantasy Checklist & Price Guide 2023

Jamie Fry, the Fighting Fantasy Collector, has released the 2023 update of his celebrated Fighting Fantasy Checklist & Price Guide.

106 pages long, printed in full colour and spiral bound, this limited edition print run will be ready for posting the week beginning Monday 6th November. The cover price includes second class untracked postage.

UK £16
EU Zone 1, 2 & 3 £20
World Zone 1 £23
World Zone 2 £25
World Zone 3 £24

To find out more and to order your copy, follow this link.

Wednesday 1 November 2023

Sir Ian Livingstone's Grand Tour

Sir Ian Livingstone is attending two European events this week.

The first is Lucca Comics and Games 2023 in Italy. He will be giving a talk on the origins of Games Workshop from 11:45am-12.45pm on Wednesday 1 November, and his Life is a Game Masterclass on Thursday 2 November from 10:00am-12:00pm.

On Friday, Sir Ian will be travelling to Denmark for the second event, the Bogforum book fair in Copenhagen. The new Danish editions of the Fighting Fantasy series are being launched at the event and Sir Ian will be undertaking a signing on Friday 3 November, from 5:00-6:00pm.

He will be signing again on Saturday 4 November, from 11:00am-12:00pm. and from 1:30-2:30pm. Then on Sunday 5 November, from 12:00-12:45pm, Sir Ian will take part in panel entitled Sword & Sorcery and Nostalgia, before finishing with one more signing session from 1:00-2:00pm.

So if you happen to be at either the Lucca Comics and Games fair, or Bogforum, now you know what to look out for.

Friday 27 October 2023

Ten Classic Horror-themed Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks

Halloween is next Tuesday, so today we open the vault to revisit some classic horror-themed Fighting Fantasy gamebooks.

House of Hell, by Steve Jackson

Taking refuge in the infamous House of Hell has to be the worst mistake of your life! The dangers of the torrential storm outside are nothing compared to the blood-curdling adventures that await you inside. Who knows how many hapless wanderers like yourself have perished within its gruesome walls? Be warned! Tonight is going to be a night to remember ... Two dice, a pencil and an eraser are all you need to make your journey. YOU decide which way to go, which dangers to risk and which monsters to fight.


Talisman of Death, by Mark Smith & Jamie Thomson

The once-peaceful world of Orb is in terrible danger! Dark forces are at work to unleash the awesome might of the Evil One, but their plans cannot be completed without the legendary Talisman of Death. YOU are the one who carries the Talisman, and only YOU can stop the Dark forces. YOUR mission is to destroy the Talisman before the dark lord's minions reach you. But beware! Time is running out! Two dice, a pencil and an eraser are all you need to make your journey. YOU decide which way to go, which dangers to risk and which monsters to fight.

Beneath Nightmare Castle, by Peter Darvill-Evans

Creatures from your worst nightmares lie beneath Neuberg Keep! In this book, you find yourself in Neuburg, once a pleasant town in Khul, but now home to the vile monsters begotten of warped sorcery. An age-old horror has been re-awoken deep beneath the Keep, and it is up to you to face it and free the town and your friend, Baron Tholdur, from evil enchantment. But beware! Deep underground lie hideous traps and terrors, waiting to ensnare you! Will you succeed? Only if you are the resourceful hero you claim to be ... Two dice, a pencil and an eraser are all you need for this adventure. YOU decide which routes to follow, which dangers to risk and which monsters to fight.

Vault of the Vampire, by Keith Martin

Can you put an end to Count Heydrich's evil reign of terror? YOU are a hardy adventurer and have journeyed to the icy mountains of Mauristatia in search of great wealth and fortune ... but what you find there makes your blood run cold. You discover by chance the terrible secret of the local villagers. Can YOU free them from the evil tyranny of the bloodthirsty Count, or will you too succumb to a horrifying fate? Two dice, a pencil and an eraser are all you need. YOU decide which paths to take, which dangers to risk and which foes to fight!

Dead of Night, by Jim Bambra & Stephen Hand

The Demon Lord Myurr seeks revenge! YOU are renowned throughout the land as a Demon-Stalker, waging war against the creatures of Chaos. More than once you have thwarted the Demon Lord's evil schemes, but now Myurr has discovered a cunning way of exacting his revenge. There is no alternative. YOU must confront and destroy the Demon Lord, for the whole of the free world is threatened! Myurr's evil powers may soon enable him and hordes of his vile demons to cross from the Demonic into the Earthly Plane! Two dice, a pencil and an eraser are all you need. YOU decide which paths to take, which dangers to risk and which foes to fight!

Island of the Undead, by Keith Martin

Ancient evil has come to Solani Island! The mysterious sorcerers of Solani Island have protected the local people from danger for many years. Now, it seems, their power has been usurped. An evil force holds sway across the land, an evil that seems to hold the power over life and death itself! A hero is urgently needed to journey to Solani Island and discover what has happened to the wizards. Dare YOU be that adventurer? Who knows what terrible fate awaits you on the island where death rules? There is only one way to find out. Are YOU brave enough to solve the mystery of Solani Island?

Revenge of the Vampire, by Keith Martin

Count Heydrich, Vampire, is back from the dead! A half-forgotten evil has arisen from the grave to stalk the Old World in search of fresh blood and new victims to enslave. Count Reiner Heydrich, undead Vampire Lord, is ancient beyond the reckoning of mortals. This time, however, there is someone on his trail, a brave hero who is determined that he shall not succeed in his evil plans. That someone is YOU!

Howl of the Werewolf
, by Jonathan Green

Lupravia is a cursed land; a chill place of snow-capped mountains, brooding forests and mist-shrouded moors, haunted by the spirits of the restless dead. Peasants struggle daily with survival, living in constant fear of attacks from ravenous wild beasts. Only the foolhardy or insane would willingly pass beyond its borders and enter that benighted realm of predators. But enter you must, after a vicious wolf attack sets you on the path to murder and madness. Steadily succumbing to the call of the wild and the beast within, YOU must seek out a cure to your condition before the next full moon. But how long can you survive in a land where the powers of darkness hold sway and all live in fear of the Howl of the Werewolf? Part story, part game, this is a book with a difference - one in which you become the hero! A pencil and an eraser are all you need to make your journey. YOU decide which route to take, which creatures to fight & which dangers to risk.

Night of the Necromancer
, by Jonathan Green

Returning to your castle home, Valsinore, after three years away crusading against the forces of darkness, it seems as though evil has been laid to rest. But then, out of nowhere, you are cut down in the final stages of your journey. Caught between the living world and the Lands of the Dead, your ghostly form must battle to uncover the most malignant evil of all that has taken root in the heart of Valsinore. Before the night is out you must have your revenge or face a fate even worse than death itself.

Blood of the Zombies
, by Ian Livingstone

Terrible things are happening in Goraya castle... Insane megalomaniac Gingrich Yurr is preparing to unleash an army of monstrous zombies upon the world. He must be stopped and his undead horde defeated. In this life-or-death adventure the decisions YOU make will decide the fate of the world. Can YOU survive or will YOU become a zombie too?

Watch Sir Ian Livingstone's interview with Olly Mc of The Storymaster's Tales about Blood of the Zombies below.

Friday 20 October 2023

Sir Ian Livingstone to attend Lucca Comics and Games Festival

Sir Ian Livingstone is going to be one of the guests attending Lucca23, the Italian comics and games festival that is running from 1st - 5th November 2023 in the medieval city of Lucca.

This is because Raven Distribution are going to be relaunching the Fighting Fantasy series in Italy. The first book to be released will of course be The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, featuring brand new cover art by Andrea Guardino.

The classic gamebook, called Lo Stregone della Montagna Infuocata in Italian, will also feature brand new internal illustrations by Andrea Alemanno.

Not only that, but the Italian edition of Dice Men, Uomini & Dadi, will also be on sale during the fair.

Friday 13 October 2023

International Gamebook Day 2023

International Gamebook Day 2023 is taking place tomorrow, on Saturday 14 October, and Fighting Fantasy co-creator Sir Ian Livingstone will be the Guest of Honour!

Sir Ian's interview will go live at 7:00pm BST and the whole schedule for the day can be viewed here.

In other news, Sir Ian is in Paris today, Friday 13 October, signing copies of the French language edition of Dice Men at the French Wargame Café from 6:00-8:30pm, and at the Folies d'Encre bookstore in Montreuil from 11:00am-1:00pm on Saturday 14 October.

Friday 6 October 2023

On This Day In History

40 years ago today, BBC South East at Six explored the magical world of Dungeons & Dragons, with the help of Games Workshop founders Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone. The clip also features Fighting Fantasy author Peter Darvill-Evans!

To read more about the early days of Games Workshop, check out Dice Men, by Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson.

Friday 29 September 2023

International Gamebook Day 2023

International Gamebook Day is taking place on Saturday 14 October 2023 and Guest of Honour will be Fighting Fantasy's very own Sir Ian Livingstone.

This year International Gamebook Day has a Halloween horror theme and so Sir Ian will be discussing Blood of the Zombies*, the Fighting Fantasy adventure he wrote to celebrate the series' 30th anniversary.

Make sure you follow the IGBD 2023 Facebook page to keep up to date with developments, such as when Sir Ian's interview will be broadcast on the day.

* Which is 11 years old this year!