Sister Angela's Veil - Sneak Peek

Here's a sneak peek at the art and text of the next mini adventure in issue #16...

The scene inside the room both surprises and sickens you. You are in the convent misericord, an area set aside for the sadistic punishment of members of the Order who are perceived to have “gone astray”. The floor is the same bare stone that the earlier parts of the building were built in, but the walls are fitted with manacles and vicious leather whips with knotted ends hang from loops set into the mortar between the stones of the walls. On the far side of the cell, shackled to a fixing post on the wall and facing away from you, is a human female form, stripped down to the waist, her bare back scarred by several vicious welts. As she hears you move, she speaks out, begging you not to flog her again. In your most reassuring tone, you quietly explain that you are not here to hurt her and the girl begins to sob as she requests that you untie her bonds.

This is Sister Angela's Veil, the Fighting Fantasy mini adventure, written by Mark Lain illustrated by Simon Walpole.

Hidden high in the Moonstone Hills lies an ancient Convent, a site of pilgrimage for those who wish to view the mysterious relic of Sister Angela De Culpa. But, recently reports have come as far south as Salamonis that the relic has gone missing. YOU must journey to the Convent, gain entry, then negotiate whatever pestilence has overcome the building to unravel the secret of the missing relic known as Sister Angela’s Veil.

Comments (1)

Lords of Stone - Sneak Peek

Here's a sneak peek at the art and text of the next mini adventure in issue #15...

Standing before one of them is MOR ORTHOR, the target of your quest. He stands close to two metres tall and is clothed in tight-fitting black leather. Sparking yellow eyes stare at you from out of a dark, gaunt face. A purple cloak hangs from his shoulders and he carries a long staff topped with a glittering crystal.

This is Lords of Stone, the Fighting Fantasy mini adventure, written and illustrated by Brett Schofield.

A terrible evil is growing deep beneath the Iron Hills!
Mor Orthor, a wicked Dark Elf sorcerer, is experimenting with the four elemental powers of earth, air, fire and water. Once he has mastered them all he will become unstoppable. The good Dwarfs of nearby Stonebridge have called upon your help once more. YOU must venture into the Iron Hills - armed only with your trusty sword and a handful of powerful Elemental Runestones - and put an end to the sorcerer before his vile experiments are let loose on the world!

Dreams of Darkness - Sneak Peek

Here's a sneak peek at the art and text of the next mini adventure in issue #14...

Stalking out of the darkness comes a shambling skeletal creature, the bones of which are bound in strips of leather embalmed with noxious-smelling oils. It is almost seven feet tall and though unarmed, its bony fingers are like the talons of an immense bird. It opens its mouth in a taunt to you, though no sounds emanate from between its fleshless jaws.

This is Dreams of Darkness, the Lone Wolf mini adventure, by S.P. Osborne and illustrated by Robertson Sondoh, Jr.

Years ago you were found wandering the plains of Palmyrion, all of your memories gone. Taken in by Baron Coryene, you became his retainer. Recently, however, you have been experiencing disturbing dreams of a face with red eyes hidden by a black helm. Your prayers are going unheeded, even as your country is attacked by the armies of Eldenoran usurper Prince Lutha. What is the meaning of these Dreams of Darkness? And can unlocking their secrets allow you to remember your forgotten past?
Comments (1)

Six-Gun Friday - Sneak Peek

Here's a sneak peak at the art and text of the next mini adventure in issue #13...

You make your way over to a small table back against the wall, the only one with an open seat. The restaurant is crowded with single travellers and entire families. For most, this will be the final stop in civilization before setting out into the windswept plains to their final destinations of Montana, Colorado or points west. By the time your steak arrives, the area has slowly begun to clear. You’ve built up quite an appetite and make short work of your meal. 
“There you are!” 
You look up to see a tall man in a dirty coat looking down at a young woman and small child sitting at the next table. The woman looks up fearfully while drawing her child near.

This is Six-Gun Friday by Gaetano Abbondanza and illustrated by Massimiliano Amadesi.

When the most notorious and dangerous gang of outlaws in the west, the Friday Clan, decide to relieve the town of Bent Reed of all its funds, the people turn to their one hope for justice: the town Marshall. YOU are the lawman for the good people of Bent Reed, and YOU vow to put an end to the clan’s run of lawlessness, come hell or high water. Will YOU achieve fame and success on your daring mission, or will you simply be another name added to the clan’s long list of victims?

A Man of Letters - Sneak Peek

Issue #13 features an interview with Peter Darvill-Evans, covering his Fighting Fantasy gamebooks and work at Virgin on the Doctor Who original fiction ranges.

You introduced willpower as a new stat in Beneath Nightmare Castle. What made you tinker with the rules in your first book? 
I think – and I must stress just how long ago all this occurred, and that my memory is notoriously poor in the absence of documentary evidence – that I had felt from the inception of Fighting Fantasy books that the standard stats made for a rather simplistic game experience. In each of my books I tried to stretch the original Fighting Fantasy concept, but in each case in a way that I hoped was appropriate to the subject matter. In a tale of Lovecraftian horror, willpower seemed like the necessary additional ingredient.

The Geography of Kharé - Sneak Peek

One of the most iconic Fighting Fantasy locations of all, Port Blacksand in northwest Allansia, was featured in numerous Fighting Fantasy gamebooks and novels, and was described and mapped in detail in Titan – The Fighting Fantasy World and also in the original Advanced Fighting Fantasy series. This is in stark contrast to another emblematic Fighting Fantasy city, which was described in only one book and which was never mapped in the original Puffin publications of the franchise – Kharé, Cityport of Traps in Kakhabad in the Old World.
     First visited in the second volume of the Sorcery! series, Fighting Fantasy never returned to this vermin-infested settlement (other than in new role-playing versions of the same adventure), and a map of it never appeared in any gamebook or in Titan. However, there is a mass of information regarding the layout of the city in the Sorcery! series and there are some interesting hints on one particular area in the full-colour illustration of the city in Titan. Furthermore, two very different maps of the city have appeared more recently, in the Myriador d20 module Kharé – Cityport of Traps and in the new Advanced Fighting Fantasy campaign Crown of Kings by Arion Games. What can we learn about the geography of Kharé from these sources and are there any problems with reconciling all the various pieces of evidence in trying to come up with a definitive picture of the layout of the city? That’s what this article aims to find out, so join us as we return to explore Fighting Fantasy’s enigmatic heart of darkness – travellers beware!

Choose Your Own Documentary™ - Sneak Peek

Issue #12 also features an interview with Nathan Penlington about his Choose Your Own Adventure-based interactive performance:

You’ve created a live, interactive performance using the format of the Choose Your Own Adventure books. Can you bring me up to date with how far you’ve got with your show? 
So we’ve made this very awkward documentary, which has become something greater than perhaps we first expected it to be. It started off as an experiment and now it’s taken on a life of its own. There are currently over 1500 possible paths, but it could well expand. There are certain narratives that we’ve opened up that we could go on to explore in the future. I could be making the show for the rest of my life.

Hooked on Classics - Sneak Peek

Issue #12 features an interview with Robin Waterfield, covering his Fighting Fantasy gamebooks:

Were you involved at all in the launch of the Fighting Fantasy novels series in 1989, and what do you think of this step away from gamebooks for Fighting Fantasy?
I was involved in the sense that people asked me whether I thought it was a good idea – and whether I wanted to write one! I did think it was a good idea, and I did want to write one, but I got overtaken with other work: I was in the middle of my second, and last, stretch in the Penguin office, as a commissioning editor this time. I can’t remember what the plot was; my hero was a dwarf, though.

Pieces of Masonry - Sneak Peek

Issue #11 features the second half of the interview with Paul Mason, covering his Fighting Fantasy gamebooks:

Your first adventures were set on mainland Allansia, yet you moved to the Isles of the Dawn for this and your next book. What prompted this exploration?
The map. And, as mentioned above, the impatience with the status quo. The desire to go somewhere different, try to do something a little different. Blaze our own trail. With other writers, it took them out of Fighting Fantasy and into other series. With me... oh yeah, Robin of Sherwood and the (never-published) Virtual Reality gamebook. Looking back, though, I think it’s more valuable to do something a little out-there in a mainstream series like Fighting Fantasy, than to pick up one’s toys and leave for a smaller playground.
Comments (1)

Everything I Need to Know I Learnt from Playing Fighting Fantasy RPG Adventures - Sneak Peek

Time for another peek. This time it comes from Ed Jolley's "Everything I Need to Know I Learnt from Reading Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks" series of articles which covers the various RPG adventures...

The Curse of Kallamehr
The moment the adventurers reach the top of Rangor Tower, they see the Riddling Reaver pushing Baron Bluestone over the edge. Regardless of whether they rushed up there as quickly as possible, tried to hurry but got delayed, or even wasted time attempting to interrogate a corpse, trying to open the puzzle box or solving the half-dozen riddles contained within it, they arrive just in time to see the Baron thrown to his death. It’s almost as if the Reaver deliberately delayed the fatal shove until he had a suitable audience. Then again, if he had orchestrated the killing like that, you’d expect him to follow it up with a sub-Schwarzenegger pun about the Baron being an over-the-top character or dropping in on his subjects, so maybe the writers just favoured spectacle over realism.
Moral: Timing is an important aspect of comedy – even for tasteless and unpleasant jokes.

Hand of Fate - Sneak Peek

Here's a sneak peek from the art and text of the mini adventure for issue #9.

Upon the stage sits a man in black robes on a wicker chair, a tarnished sceptre clutched on his left hand. Head resting on a wrinkled hand he listens to the pleas of his subjects gathered before him and occasionally turns to ask for advice from the creature resting upon the wooden table next to him; a spirit trapped within a bottle...

This is Hand of Fate by Kieran Coghlan (who wrote Prey of the Hunter in issue #3) and illustrated by Robertson Sondoh Jr., a newcomer to our stable of artists. We look forward to more of his efforts in the future!

Things are not going well for the slayer of Balthus Dire. Not only have you lost your left hand, but the widow of your former enemy has joined forces with the High Priestess of Vatos to unleash the power of the Juggernaut, an unstoppable automaton that will bring chaos and destruction to all of Allansia. Luckily, you are not alone on your mission to stop them. Not so luckily, your companion is a being every bit as evil as those you seek to stop: a Ganjee!

Comments (2)

Everything I Need to Know I Learnt from Reading Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks: Part 6 - Sneak Peek

Time for another peek. This time it comes from Ed Jolley's "Everything I Need to Know I Learnt from Reading Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks" series of articles which covers Puffin gamebooks #51~59 and one other adventure...

Knights of Doom
What’s in a name? A good deal, at least in Ruddlestone. Consider the two brothers who opposed one another a century before, one with a name that sounded like ‘chivalrous’, the other with a last syllable pronounced ‘wrath’, and it was the first who fought on the side of good, while the second was the angry one. And would the dread Necromancer of Myrton have chosen that dark career path if his parents hadn’t saddled him with such a corpsey name? 
Moral: No matter how cool you think the name sounds, take time to check on its meaning and potential negative associations before inflicting it on your child.

30 Reasons Why We (Heart) Fighting Fantasy! - Sneak Peek

A long time without posting, but at last I can now start putting out teasers for the next issue...

Genre Jumping
While Fighting Fantasy (as the name suggests) is mainly concerned with epic adventures in a fantasy land, not every title has deemed it necessary to cling to that cloak of sword and sorcery. Co-creator Steve Jackson pushed out the boat with book four, Starship Traveller, and since then the odd non-fantasy title has slipped into the series. These often make a welcome change from the fantasy adventures and offer a explore ideas, concepts and worlds beyond fantasy, while still playing by the familiar Fighting Fantasy rules. While they are sometimes regarded by some as the ugly step-children of the series, I can’t help but consider them a unique and essential part of the overall Fighting Fantasy experience. An experience that would be so much smaller and less fun it we couldn’t become the Silver Crusader or escape from the House of Drumer.

The Rise and Fall and Rise of Gamebooks in Germany - Sneak Peek

Here's a quick glimpse at an article from the forthcoming issue #9:
With the release of the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, the genre experienced its heyday in Germany. Following the commercial success of the series, a multitude of other books and series were published. Not all of them achieved the same level of awareness and popularity as Fighting Fantasy but there were some which garnered a very loyal fan base that has survived until today.
This is by Nicolai Bonczyk (with translation by Alexander Kühnert).


Where the Wild Things Are... - Sneak Peek

Issue #9 features an interview with artist Ian Miller who has a new webshop open:

Did you always want to be a professional artist, or did you have other childhood ambitions?
I wanted to be a crow, but somebody said I’d have to die first and, try for that the next time around. I tried running away from the moon about the same time, with some other children who lived close by. It was raining hard, and we ran in ever widening circles without any luck. It was always up above us, shining down, no matter how fast we ran.

Issue #9 is due out at the end of May!

Return to the Icefinger Mountains - Sneak Peek

Here's a sneak peek from the art and text of the mini adventure for issue #9.

Even worse is what you see on the floor in front of him. A final message, written by repeatedly dipping the tip of his right foot in the blood that has puddled on the floor beneath him. Though smudged and smeared, the letters are still clear enough to make out, spelling out the dread warning, ‘SHE WILL RETURN’...
This is Return to the Icefinger Mountains by Ed Jolley and illustrated by Brett Schofield:
Thirty years ago the Snow Witch was preparing to unleash an ice age upon Titan when her plans were thwarted by a wandering adventurer. YOU were one of the slaves freed in the wake of her defeat, and have lived a quiet life since then. But when the horrors of your past start to catch up with you again, you must go back to the caves from which you escaped. Can the Snow Witch really be returning? And if so, do you have what it takes to stop her?

Comments (2)

Vengeance at Midnight - Sneak Peek

Here's a sneak peek at the art and text of the mini adventure for issue #7:

The Crooked Man pawnshop on 23rd Avenue isn’t the nicest looking of places, with all manner of odd objects in the window for sale. The inside you observe, as you head for the barricaded counter, is not much better. You ring the bell and a tall, thin man with dark bags under his eyes and a toothpick in the corner of his mouth comes shuffling out to greet you. This, presumably, is Korbin Rokefetch the proprietor of the shop.
This is Vengeance at Midnight (a sequel to Appointment with F.E.A.R. and Deadline to Destruction) and is written and illustrated by myself:

Rumours are swirling in the Titan City underworld that a new super villain is poised to unleash a new reign of terror upon the unsupecting city. YOU, the Silver Crusader, defender of Titan City, are needed to unmask and defeat this super villain before the chaos can spread. But can you unravel the hints and clues you have gathered in time to make a difference?

Weaving an eBook World - Sneak Peek

Issue #8 features an interview with Chris Sterling of Worldweaver about their adaptions of the gamebooks for the Kindle:

How much input do Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone have in your adaptions?
Both Steve and Ian took a keen interest in the adaptations, and we worked very closely to get the combat and map just right. It took six months to perfect the gamebook engine, which can now be used on the entire series by only changing graphics and data files. The publishing team at Amazon were great too, championing the games as a useful improvement to a popular series.

Issue #8 is hopefully due out at the end of the month!

Tempting Talismans - Sneak Peek

Issue #8 features an interview with Ross Brierley of Laughing Jackal about their adaptions of the gamebooks for the PlayStation:

How familiar were you with Fighting Fantasy before this undertaking?
As a kid I used to play a lot of Dungeons & Dragons and HeroQuest so when my cousin gave me a game that I could play on my own and not have to wait until other like minded people were available, it was amazing. From then on I was hooked, and I remember playing through loads of gamebooks from several series, including a lot of books from the Fighting Fantasy series.

Issue #8 is out in January!

Queen of Shades - Sneak Peek

Here's a sneak peek at the art and text of the mini adventure for issue #7:
In their place stands a tall, slender woman, glowing in the darkness like a candle flame. The goddess of justice looks at you sadly.
This is Queen of Shades by Paul Struth and illustrated by myself:
It should have been an adventure like any other; an ancient tomb, a forgotten treasure and a band of brave souls willing to risk their lives in pursuit of fame and fortune. Now, a day after your successful return to Kharé, the notorious cityport of traps, two of your fellow adventurers lie dead – will YOU be the next victim of the curse?
Comments (1)

AFF Competition Winner - Sneak Peek

I can now announce the winner of the AFF competition launched in issue #6. First place, as judged by AFF writer Graham Bottley is The Curse of Meraki by Stuart Lloyd. Here's a sneak peek at what the adventure entails:
It’s been a week since you have left the cesspit of Port Blacksand and pickings are slim. After a month of traipsing across the Pagan Plains to guard a caravan of merchants on their journey to the deadly port, you want some adventure. However, you a bit too much adventure in Blacksand after one of you spilt a flagon of ale all over one of the city’s master assassins. Two minutes later, you were sprinting through the streets with a dozen highly trained killers close behind you. You got to the south gate, only to be stopped by the troll guards demanding a fishday tax. Too desperate to argue, you hand over most your money to avoid the sharp blades of the Assassins’ Guild. You have just arrived to the small fishing village of Meraki, eager for a hot meal and a comfortable bed. However, you can see that something is wrong. The villagers look sad and downtrodden. No one looks you in the eye as you walk through the streets to the market square. You get to an inn and ask the keeper for some food and drink. He serves it without a word. While you are eating your dinner, an old but well kempt and muscular man approaches you. ‘Good evening. My name is Grask. I am the headman of this village and we need your help. I will offer you a free bed for the next few nights and some gold if you can solve our woes. I fear that there is a curse upon our little village and now an innocent woman’s life hangs in the balance...
Graham plans to host other entries on the official AFF website given the quality of the competition entries (as long as the entrants agree to this). So even though they won't appear in the magazine, they will hopefully be available to play in addition to the winner's tale. Congratulations to all who entered, may your STAMINA never fail!

Whirling Dervish - Sneak Peek

Issue #7 also features a second interview, this time with fan Paul Struth:
Were you a great reader of fantasy fiction?
Not really. The first book to make a big impression on me was The Lord of the Rings; I loved the dark bits, especially the scenes with the orcs in Moria and the tower of Minas Morgul. If I hadn’t read those, I probably wouldn’t have got interested in Fighting Fantasy. Apart from Tolkien, the only author to really catch my imagination as a child was Ursula Le Guin; A Wizard of Earthsea is still my favourite fantasy book of all time.

Roleplaying Rogue - Sneak Peek

Writer Graeme Davis is interviewed in issue #7. Here's a sneak peek...
How did you end up writing for Warlock magazine in 1985?
I had been writing for White Dwarf since 1982, and as my college years drew to a close I decided to chance it and see if I could make a living out of writing for games. I had seen the rise of Fighting Fantasy and its various imitators, and gamebooks in general were wildly popular at the time - almost a Harry Potter level of popularity. I had co-written an analysis of the gamebook phenomenon for TSR UK’s Imagine magazine along with their regular book reviewer Colin Greenland, and did a semi-regular gamebook spot on BBC Radio Newcastle’s book programme; my first writing contract was to create two six-part gamebook series for Oxford University Press. Titled Quest Books (Kern the Strong and Oss the Quick), they were aimed at teenagers with reading difficulties, using the gamebook format and adventure content to encourage reading.

So when Warlock magazine started, it was natural that I’d pitch them some ideas. There were other gamebook magazines around at the time (I remember one called Proteus, and a gamebook-style comic put out under the 2000AD banner), but Warlock is the one that responded to my pitches.

Competition - Sneak Peek

Coming in issue #6 is a competition based around the Advanced Fighting Fantasy (AFF) role-playing system (which gets relaunched next month from Arion Games and Cubicle 7 Entertainment). You will be asked to design an AFF mini adventure (exact requirements for the competition are listed in the forthcoming issue) that will be printed in a later issue of the magazine. Plus, there are some further goodies up for grabs for the winner!

So, get your thinking caps on and fire up your imaginations!
Comments (1)

Everything I Need to Know I Learnt from Reading Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks: Part 4 - Sneak Peek

With less than two weeks now till the release of issue #6, it is time for another peek. This time it comes from Ed Jolley's "Everything I Need to Know I Learnt from Reading Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks" series of articles which covers Puffin gamebooks #31~40.

Stealer of Souls

Go charging into the cottage to rescue the prisoner within, and you get a 16-ton weight in the face (note: actual weight may be less Pythonesque). Show caution when approaching the next prisoner you encounter, and this gives the concealed Dark Priest time to hit you with a very nasty spell. Sometimes, the only thing you learn from making mistakes is how to make different ones.
Moral: What works best in one place might not be so suitable for another.

The Fact of Fiction: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain - Sneak Peek

Another sneak peek, this time from "The Fact of Fiction" article on The Warlock of Firetop Mountain.
At the river the hero negotiates the cost of passage to the other bank.
• Is the Ferryman seen here a nod to the Greek mythological character Charon, whose job it was to ferry the souls of the dead from the lands of the living to the world of the dead? One could attempt to build a case for the two parts of the book perhaps mirroring this division between the lands of the living (before the river) and the dead (after the river). This is because despite meeting none before the river crossing, the player encounters four different forms of the undead after crossing the river in the form of Zombies (see 122), a Vampire (see 17), a Wight (see 41), and a Ghoul (see 64)! Meanwhile, traditionally a coin would be placed in or on the mouth of the body of dead person to allow them to pay Charon for the crossing of the River Styx (see “The Fact of Fiction” in issue #4). That would make the Ferryman’s comment about inflation raising the price to 3 Gold Pieces even more amusing, rather than perhaps simply being perhaps a riff on the inflation the UK had suffered through in the late 1970s where prices rose by 25% per annum.
• The river was also the point at which Livingstone handed the story over to Jackson, who wrote everything north of the river as well as doing a polish of the whole book after it was pointed out by Puffin editor Philippa Dickinson that there was a noticeable change in writing style at that point.
Comments (1)

Turn to Paragraph 400 - Sneak Peek

Time for another sneak peek, this time from the second half of the survey results. This time around we look at the mini adventures, the role-playing game and Advanced Fighting Fantasy, the novels and other materials, as well as learning your favourite pieces of cover and interior art. The results also cover favourite villain, favourite creature, favourite artist and writer.

There is also "most wanted reprint" (which out of print do you most want back in circulation), "most wanted author" (who you'd like to see pen the next new title), and a list of writers you'd love to see write for the series. We round that part out with where in Titan you'd like to see the next book set, and which genres you like beyond fantasy.

We also asked about the magazine itself (and you had the first 3 issues to vote on). We learnt your favourite feature and the image at the top of the post was voted your favourite piece of fan art. It is from the mini adventure Shrine of the Salamander in issue #2 and the artwork was by Brett Schofield. Congratulations Brett!

Finally, the results round out with what you'd like to see in future issues and who was voted "most important contributor" to the Fighting Fantasy range.

Get a hold of a copy of issue #6 when it is published to find out all the results...
Comments (1)

Escape from the Sorcerer - Sneak Peek

Here's a sneak peek from the art and text of the mini adventure for issue #6.

You open the door into a very high-ceilinged room. You realise the reason for the spacious accommodations when a huge, twenty-foot long Cobra rears its head, hissing menacingly and trying to bite you!

This is Escape from the Sorcerer by Sunil Prasannan (now a resident of the USA) and illustrated by Michael Wolmarans (of South Africa):

The kingdom of Alkemis has come under repeated attack from neighbouring Agra. Unable to hold back the hordes of Lizard Men and chaotic Asuras led by the evil sorcerer Grudar Kreshnel, YOU and a few dozen fellow survivors were captured. One by one your fellow countrymen have been brutally executed, until only YOU remain. Will YOU be able to escape from the Sorcerer?