Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone will be attending Dragonmeet on Saturday 2nd December, where they will be celebrating 35 years of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks with a special seminar.
Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks
by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone
1982 - 2017
Fighting Fantasy historian Jonathan Green will also be attending the event and will be selling copies of YOU ARE THE HERO Parts 1 & 2. He will also be at GamesFest 2017, this Saturday, 21st October, at the Victorian Hall in Tring, Hertfordshire.
Tin Man Games have added a new Legends figurine collection to the latest update of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain. Over the next few months they will be releasing more special figurines that can be used in the Goblin Gauntlet.
Their first release is Oriana, the Keeper of Souls! YOU must work together with other players to decipher a code phrase hidden within Firetop Mountain. Once you have the phrase completed you can enter it to unlock her figurine. Check the forums to share codes and slowly build up the special phrase, which has a very Fighting Fantasy flavour!
RULES 1) Play as any one of the fifteen base heroes in the game.
2) Complete the quest related to the hero.
3) Oriana will give you three numbers separated with a dash like this: X-X-X
4) The three numbers reference a word from the title of one of the original Fighting Fantasy books released by Puffin Books between 1982 and 1995. The first number relates to the order of the words within the phrase.
The second number relates to book number in the list.
The third number relates to the word in the book title.
For example, the word relating to 10-5-3 would reference the 3rd word 'Thieves' from the title of FF book 5. It would then be the 10th word in the code phrase.
Today is Friday the 13th, but will it be a case of 'unlucky for some' as Malcolm Garcia tackles another Second Swordsman challenge?
The Second Swordsman – 'Watch Out For The Hitman!'
By Malcolm Garcia
For every FIGHTING
FANTASY book where YOU are searching for a special object or magical weapon to
complete your quest, there are more than a few where the goal is for YOU to
kill whatever local ‘big-bad’ is terrorizing the citizenry or scheming to take
over Titan. And so, in this edition of the SecondSwordsman, I’ll see whether choosing every second option will assist me in
an assortment of assassination adventures.
In Stealer of Souls YOU start off seeking
to rescue the friendly wizard Alsander from the prison of an Archmage who has learned
how to harness the power of people’s fears and nightmares. But, just as the
movie Predator was never going to be just
about a rescue mission, quicker than you can say ‘get to the chopper’ your
quest becomes a hunt to destroy the evil Mordraneth. In The Keep of the Lich-Lord YOU are sent to deal with Lord Mortis, a
warrior who has risen from the grave and is amassing an army of the wicked (why
killing him a second time will work any better is never explained fully). And
in Legend of Zagor YOU go forth to
defeat the original big-bad, but this time Zagor has become fused with a demon
from a world beyond Titan.
occurrence when choosing every second option in FIGHTING FANTASY novels is that
YOU ignore opportunities to learn important information, gather treasure, or
fight creatures and instead YOU rush through the adventure and miss out on a
lot. This also happened somewhat with these three books, with the worst culprit
being Keep. After arriving on Stayng
Island I immediately left the town of Siltport and headed for the hills. Then I
kept on moving and ignored in quick succession a cave, a cemetery, and a
gathering in the woods (any of which would usually be a prime candidate for
excitement) before hurriedly arriving at the docks at Keladon (more about those
In Stealer I began by making some good
decisions and found my way to the subterranean Iron Crypts. But then I ignored
several doors and passageways, and it wasn’t until after I’d fought the Dark
Priest that choosing the second option led me to explore more, which helped me
find the good wizard Alsander and enter Mordraneth’s Empire of Illusions. Stealer also had one of the few
occasions in a FIGHTING FANTASY adventure where I got to have a nap during a
dungeon crawl. I also managed to score a crowbar and some SKILL-boosting
chainmail armour, as well as learn a handful of spells. These all gave me some
momentary hope that, as in Battleblade
Warrior, I might just muddle my way through to 400, or very close to it.
In Legend, while the Second Swordsman process didn’t make me ignore numerous rooms (as
it had done in The Warlock of Firetop
Mountain) it did make for a somewhat wearisome adventure. Because of the
design of the castle, choosing every second option had me enter nearly every
room I came across as I worked my way through the halls of Castle Argent. A few
of these places were beneficial, but the purpose of most seems to have been to
slowly drain me of my STAMINA through combat. But I did manage to have the most
LUCK I’ve yet had when gambling (breaking my bad run from Seas of Blood and Bloodbones),
fortuitously avoided the plague by having bought the antidote earlier, and discovered
some more SKILL-boosting chainmail armour. Curiously I also picked up a
valuable silk tapestry, which must be the first time in a FIGHTING FANTASY
adventure where I’ve been rewarded with soft furnishings.
For some of these
three adventures, my good initial SKILL scores were given a workout. In Stealer I had a fight at the very start
of the adventure against a Giant Stormbird and then didn’t fight anything else until
I went underground. But I then made up for lost time by defeating another
thirteen creatures – including a few occasions where I lost no STAMINA in the
battle. In Legend I chose not to
waste a precious LUCK point near the very start, and had to face off in a tough
battle against a Fog Wyvern. Then once I made it ashore on Tower Island I
fought another fifteen creatures, including the awesomely named Skulking Shade
as well as the SKILL ten Skeletal Dragon. But in Keep, choosing to rush across Stayng Island meant I did not have a
single fight. The only times this has happened previously were in Crypt of the Sorcerer, Spectral Stalkers, and Island of the Lizard King.
choosing every second option I again failed to meet with success. I met my end
in Keep by rushing a group of pirates
at the aforementioned Keladon docks, which rewarded me for my foolishness with
an instant death. I died in Stealer
from being bitten by a floor of illusory snakes – which would probably not have
happened if I’d not stupidly spent my sole ‘dispel illusion’ spell on a pack of
rats just a few choices earlier. And in Legend
I didn’t even get to meet Zagor, but instead failed in a fight against an elven
thief who was armed with a poisoned dagger, a magical cloak, and a SKILL level
of twelve. This was a very tough foe for one that wasn’t a ‘big-bad’ (only
about one per cent of Titan’s creatures have this SKILL level) and I feel that
avoiding this fight is essential to have a chance of victory. This is the
twenty-seventh FIGHTING FANTASY adventure I’ve tried the Second Swordsman process on, but it’s only the sixth where I’ve
fallen in combat – the other victors being the Kraken, the Fire Elemental, the Giant
Sandworm, one of Carnuss’ slaves, and the Minotaur of Zagor’s maze.
So once again the Second Swordsman process yielded
varying results. From the disappointment of Keep,
to the frustration of Legend, and the
momentary optimism of Stealer. I can
only hope that next time I make fewer stupid decisions and don’t follow the
lyrics of Watch Out for the Hitman
and “do that thing until your body starts to break.”
Thank you once again to Malcolm, for his latest Second Swordsman blog post. If you have any suggestions for items for the official Fighting Fantasy blog don't forget to get in touch via email@example.com.
For those of you who were not lucky enough to attend Fighting Fantasy Fest 2, back at the start of September, that stalwart of Fighting Fantasy fandom James Aukett recorded a number of the talks on the day and has just recently uploaded them to YouTube. But you can enjoy them right here.
Battleblade Demonstealer Marc Gascoigne in conversation with Jonathan Green
The Warlocks of Firetop Mountain Guests of Honour Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone
Freeway Fighters Andi Ewington, Simon Coleby and Jim Burns talk about the Freeway Fighter comic
Thank you to James for videoing these talks and let's hope he's available to do the same thing again at Fighting Fantasy Fest 3.
Almost two months ago, FF fans were invited to submit their illustrations of the denizens of the Warlock's dungeons, deep within Firetop Mountain. And many did just that. The entries were collated and were scrutinised by the co-creators of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone.
As a result, we don't have one winner - we actually have two. And who are they?
The Minotaur, as drawn by Adrien-Angelo Bastien
(chosen by Ian Livingstone)
The Wererat, as drawn by Michael Sheppard
(chosen by Steve Jackson)
So, congratulations to Michael and Adrien-Angelo - Steam keys for Tin Man Games' adaptation of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain will be winging their way to you soon - commiserations to those entrants who were unlucky this time, and remember to keep checking www.fightingfantasy.com for news of another competition soon...
Today, upon the Earthly Plane, in the realm know as the United Kingdom, it is National Poetry Day.
From time to time poems - usually in the form of rhyming couplets - have appeared in Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, but there has been very little in the way of sonnets, or elegaic epics that have been inspired by the series. However, a number of musicians have been inspired to write FF-themed songs, the lyrics of which are their own form of poetry.
Backers of the Kickstarter to fund production of YOU ARE THE HERO Part 2, the second part of Jonathan Green's history of Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, will no doubt have already sampled the delights of Groan's Citadel of Chaos - a track inspired by Steve Jackson's first solo gamebook - as well as Jaldaboath's Balthus Dire.
But if you prefer your music a little more Gilbert and Sullivan, then you may be interested to hear what composer, orchestrator and baritone Craig M Wood has produced, after being inspired by the self-same adventure gamebook.
What is it about The Citadel of Chaos that makes it so prone to musical reinterpretation? Who knows, but if you've been inspired to write a song based on a Fighting Fantasy gamebook, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and maybe we'll feature it on the Fighting Fantasy news page.
The news that Charlie Higson will be writing a brand new Fighting Fantasy gamebook hit The Bookseller today:
Charlie Higson is writing a new book in the bestselling Fighting Fantasy gamebook series for Scholastic UK, set for an April 2018 release.
Higson’s adventure will be set in the iconic Fighting Fantasy world “while bringing his own brand of fiendish, pacy plotting and spine-chilling monsters into play”, the publisher said.
It follows the 35th anniversary last August of the first publication of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone’s classic adventure series.
The deal for world rights was struck between Lauren Fortune, editorial director at Scholastic UK and Alexandra Cann Representation on behalf of Higson and Philippa Milnes-Smith at Lucas Alexander Whitley on behalf of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone.
Higson’s book will be published alongside five more classic backlist titles from Jackson and Livingstone: Creature of Havoc, Deathtrap Dungeon, Appointment with F.E.A.R, The Island of the Lizard King and Sorcery! Fighting Fantasy is a trademark owned by Jackson and Livingstone and used with permission.
Higson wrote the Young Bond series which has now sold over a million copies in the UK and has been translated into over 24 different languages.
He said: “I’ve always been a huge fan of fantasy and gaming so when I first came across the Fighting Fantasy books back in the day I just had to check them out. Even though I was probably a little older than the average reader I thought they were great fun. In fact I thought they were genius. So it’s a huge honour now to be asked to write an adventure of my own and help introduce these amazing books to a new generation of readers.”
Fighting Fantasy co-creators Jackson and Livingstone said: “We are extremely proud of the world of Fighting Fantasy that we created 35 years ago, and which endures so well today. We’re very excited to see what the amazing imagination of bestselling author Charlie Higson will bring to the world. Charlie is a big fan of the series, and we know he will delight existing fans and his own readers with his first Fighting Fantasy book.”
Over 20 million copies of Fighting Fantasy have sold worldwide in 25 languages and the series has a legion of high-profile fans.
But remember, you heard the news here first!*
* Unless you were at Fighting Fantasy Fest 2, in which case you heard the news first there.
There be a fair few Fighting Fantasy adventures that features pirates, including City of Thieves, Seas of Blood, Demons of the Deep, The Keep of the Lich-Lord, and Bloodbones, of course, but which be your favourite villainous rapscallion of the high seas?
Over a week ago, Fighting Fantasy fans from all over the world met a host of FF artists at Fighting Fantasy Fest 2. Some of them were even inspired to bring along their own pieces of artwork.
If you are planning on entering our Fighting Fantasy art competition, you have until this Friday to do so.
All you need to do is re-imagine one of the classic monsters that appears within the pages of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain. Will it be the Minotaur, the Dragon, or the Iron Cyclops that you re-design? Perhaps it will be the Vampire, the Sandworm, or the Giant Spider. Any creature is fair game, as long as it is encountered somewhere within The Warlock of Firetop Mountain.
You can draw it in pencil or pen, as the original illustrations were produced, or you can paint it, or produce the image digitally. However, your picture must be submitted in the form of a .jpeg via email to email@example.com by Friday 15th September, and the winners of the competition will be notified by Saturday 30th September*.
* Terms and conditions
Copyright in the image remains with you (although any characters, locations or logos from the Fighting Fantasy series remain the copyright of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone), but www.fightingfantasy.com reserves the right to reproduce the image however we like and how often. There will be no fee paid and you give us permission for www.fightingfantasy.com to use your image regardless of whether you win the competition or not. No correspondence will be entered into regarding any entries and if you have not heard from us by Saturday 30th September then you must assume your entry is not among the winners.
A master of fantasy writing and a titan of the gaming industry, Ian Livingstone CBE is probably still best known for co-creating the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks series, as well as being one of the co-founders of Games Workshop.
Ian will be at Storysmash in Nottingham, today, at 3:00pm, to talk about writing for games and gamebooks. If you are in the area, and especially if you weren't able to make it to Fighting Fantasy Fest 2 last weekend, don't miss this opportunity to meet one of the most significant figures in the games industry. Ian will talk about the challenges, how he approaches writing a new project, and how aspiring writers can begin thinking about their own future of game writing. The session will include an interactive session to get everyone writing.
Ian will also be signing copies of his brand new Fighting Fantasy gamebook, The Port of Peril, which will be available to purchase at the event.
A week ago, a weekend of celebrations to mark the 35th anniversary of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks kicked off with the world's first Fighting Fantasy pub quiz. Seven teams endured their own Trial of Champions, working their way through eight rounds to see who knew the most FF lore.
One of the highlights of the evening was a raffle, to help raise funds for men's health charity Prostate Cancer UK, with Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone donating some very special prizes, including a framed mint condition copy of Warlock Magazine #1.
In the end, '50 Shades of Throm' battled their way to victory, and were awarded with certificates and bottles of Cloud Ale by Mr Steve Jackson himself.
Steve Jackson with the winners of the FF Pub Quiz, '50 Shades of Throm'.
Attendees of the world's first Fighting Fantasy pub quiz.
Then, on Saturday, it was time for the main event itself. At 9:00am the doors opened on Fighting Fantasy Fest 2, and adventurers from both near and far - some having travelled from such far flung locations as North America, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand - were treated to a day of talks, Q&As, trading, adventuring and socialising, as well as the opportunity to meet their childhood heroes - the authors and artists behind the best-selling Fighting Fantasy series!
The marathon signing session undertaken by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone at the Scholastic Books stand lasted two and a half hours!
Marc Gascoigne in conversation with Jonathan Green.
Charlie Higson talks about his new books, The Gates of Death.
Iain McCaig entertains the masses.
At the end of the day, before turning to 400, eager adventurers had the chance to see how Steve Jackson fared against his own creation, when Jon Ingold of inkle studios guided him, and award-winning film director Martin Gooch, through Steve Jackson's Sorcery!
The following day, a group of hard-bitten veterans, who had backed the YOU ARE THE HERO Part 2Kickstarter at The Black Tower level or above, were joined for lunch by Steve Jackson, Ian Livingstone, and Jonathan Green (the book's author). And then, it was time, at last, for venture former on new adventures, as yet untold...
From the posts that have appeared online since last weekend, it would seem that everyone had a fantastic time, which we are delighted to hear, and it looks like we're going to need to put a date in the diary for Fighting Fantasy Fest 3!
With Fighting Fantasy Fest over for another year (or two) it's back to business as normal here at www.fightingfantasy.com, which means it's time for another in Malcolm Garcia's Second Swordsmanseries. Enjoy!
The Second Swordsman – It’s Not Easy Being (the hero in a book written by Jonathan) Green By Malcolm Garcia
After my previous trio of adventures, which were set in the
all-too-familiar territory of Allansia, I crossed the ocean to see how the Second Swordsman process would fare in
the Old World, the continent where the Sorcery!
series is set and a land where I’ve so far feared to tread. And who better to
be my guide than Jonathan Green who, although he penned his first FIGHTING
FANTASY adventure in 1993, is still the most recent author to contribute to the
world of Titan.
In Spellbreaker, YOU are
trying to stop a horrible evil from being unleashed. In Stormslayer, YOU are trying to stop a jealous sorcerer from
destroying the world with a horrible machine. And in Bloodbones, YOU are seeking vengeance upon the pirate who murdered
your family and who might not be as dead as people believe.
So did the Second Swordsman
process get me to 400 in any of these?
In no particular order, I died during a battle against a much stronger
enemy, died suddenly at the hands of a supernatural evil, and didn’t-quite-die
but failed due to my stupidity. But despite these botched attempts, I did have
some good adventures along the way.
Overall, in Green’s books, I got the sense that I was actually exploring
the countryside during my quest, and not just slogging my way through a dungeon
searching for magic objects while fighting every single creature I encountered.
That’s not to say there wasn’t any fighting – in all three of these I had to
fight something within the first couple of sections; some of which were quite
strong for early stage enemies. But there are also whole towns and landscapes to
explore with people I cannot attack who might either help me on my quest, or
lead me to my doom.
Of these three books, my shortest-lived adventure as the Second Swordsman was in Bloodbones. My starting SKILL, STAMINA,
and LUCK scores were good, I had a purse full of gold, and I was intrigued how
the addition of a time factor would play out. I had an early fight with some
pirates who might have been part of the possibly-undead Captain Cinnabar’s crew
and then headed for the gambling halls of the Port of Crabs – which is possibly
an even more perilous port than ThePort of Peril. But then the process of choosing
every second option made me ignore the games of chance on offer and I left with
no more gold pieces than when I had arrived.
I continued to explore most of the city in my quest for clues and
equipment. This resulted in me buying some weapons which held the promise of
making future fights somewhat easier, but it also added much time to my tally. And
when I decided to go and warn the Governor of the Port of Crabs about the risen
Cinnabar, I foolishly chose not to bribe several people and ended my adventure prematurely,
locked in a cell. Spellbreaker was Green’s first FIGHTING FANTASY
book and with its opening scene of monks and a fight against a demon it created
an interesting Middle Ages atmosphere for the north-eastern part of the Old
World in which it was set. The adventure sets me up with a deadline of four
days in which I am to recover a stolen book that has been taken by a dark wizard
to a nearby town so that he can raise a monster. But it soon becomes apparent
that this adventure is not just about getting a book and that a larger evil is
at work. However, once I left the monks I ignored a lot of opportunities to
learn things – I didn’t escort a local noblewoman, I didn’t pay a jester at a
local tavern, I didn’t buy a beer at a different tavern, I hurried through several
small towns, and I didn’t take advantage of several opportunities to make offerings
to various gods and martyrs – although when I finally did do this, I gained
However, I did get to fight a bear (without having to endure rounds of
combat) and killed a Warlock and a local fiend called the Lurcher. I also found
a local herbalist, one of the few helpful characters I met during my journey, who
would have been even more helpful if I’d managed to collect a variety of plant
life during my adventure. This encounter made me start to think that by taking
every second option I had missed numerous potentially useful opportunities to
find things. This feeling was confirmed when I failed to have two special
objects in a row and suffered an instant death at the hands of a Wraith Rider.
And so to Stormslayer,
probably the most enjoyable FIGHTING FANTASY book I’ve used the Second Swordsman process in since Battleblade Warrior. In this adventure I
had some good starting scores, a decent supply of meals and gold, and a special
dragon-slaying sword. As with Bloodbones
and Spellbreaker this book throws you
into combat at the very start – within the first few sections I’d fought a
Manticore and an Ice Elemental. But these were not the only monsters I had to
defeat during this adventure – my tally at the end being 22 (the same number
that I faced in Battleblade Warrior).
There was a good balance amongst these, some were weak creatures, others much
stronger, and there were some melees (such as that against a trio of Naiads) that
really wore down my STAMINA and made me grateful for my supply of food. Early in the adventure I learned that a sorcerer named Balthazar Sturm has built a weather-altering flying machine that is powered
by four elementals, and that to defeat him I need to travel across the western
part of the Old World. The scope of this adventure is great. Sure, there are still
some caverns where you need to choose between the left tunnel or the right
tunnel. But you also choose where in the Kingdom of Femphrey you want to
travel. And when you do travel long distances you need to keep track of the day
of the week; arrive in a place on a certain day and your enemies will have temporarily
become more powerful. In a welcome
change, using the Second Swordsman
process in Stormslayer did not mean
that I ignored everything. Through it I gained the much-needed assistance of a
Dwarven brewer when journeying through the Witchtooth Mountains. And, in one of
my favourite sequences of the book, when I chose every second option while
journeying underwater, I set two massive aquatic monsters against each other
rather than becoming a snack for either one of them. But eventually my
adventure ended; killed by a Fire Elemental in a cavern deep beneath Mount Pyre.
I was already suffering an imposed loss of two SKILL points and only scored one
hit against it. So unfortunately I never got to find Sturm’s flying machine, or
even use the dragon-slaying power of my sword.
While the Second Swordsman
met with universal failure in my escapades in the Old World, in these three
books by Jonathan Green it did provide me with some enjoyable adventures. I
didn’t make too many obviously stupid decisions; I didn’t miss each and every opportunity
to collect some valuable information or gain a special object; and, while I
still ignored a lot of chances to explore, this didn’t make the books boring. I’ll
look forward to trying the process on some more of Green’s adventures later on.
Although maybe not Knights of Doom –
I don’t fancy taking out another mortgage right now.
This weekend saw the epic Fighting Fantasy Fest 2: Return to the Convention of Firetop Mountain take place at the Universtiy of West London, in Ealing. (More on that later.)
But the big - as in Storm Giant big! - news, which was announced by Ian Livingstone on Saturday during the talk he gave with Steve Jackson, is that actor, comedian, and highly successful author Charlie Higson will be writing a Fighting Fantasy gamebook!
Charlie Higson and Ian Livingstone at Fighting Fantasy Fest 2
Charlie, who was most recently on our television screens in the last series of Broadchurch, wrote the phenomenally successful Young Bond series which has sold over a million copies in the UK and has been translated into over 24 different languages. The series began with SilverFin and was followed by Blood Fever, Double or Die, Hurricane Gold and By Royal Command. All five novels entered the children’s bestseller charts in the top five.
The first novel in his bestselling zombie-adventure series for teenagers, The Enemy, was published by Puffin in September 2009, and was followed by The Dead, The Fear, The Sacrifice, The Fallen and The Hunted.
Charlie is also a successful adult novelist and has written four thrillers, King of the Ants (1992), Happy Now (1993), Full Whack (1995) and Getting Rid of Mr Kitchen (1996).
Charlie is a huge fan of horror films and books, and even studied gothic literature at university. Will that influence his gamebook, The Gates of Death? Although a highly experience author and television writer, Charlie is new to writing gamebooks and so experienced FF author Jonathan Green will be working with him on the project, in an advisory role.
The Gates of Death will be published in April 2018, as book #12 in the Scholastic sequence, alongside Creature of Havoc (#7), Deathtrap Dungeon (#8), Appointment with F.E.A.R. (#9), Island of the Lizard King (#10), and Sorcery! 1: The Shamutanti Hills (#11).
This is certainly a very exciting time for Fighting Fantasy and Scholastic Books. As Charlie Higson himself says: “Before there were video games, before kids could get lost in the labyrinth that is the Internet, before The Lord Of The Rings films, Game of Thrones and the reboot of Doctor Who turned everyone onto fantasy and sci-fi, there were the Fighting Fantasy books. A new way of telling stories and in many ways the birth of modern gaming, these books captured the imagination of a generation of kids – and locked them in Deathtrap Dungeon. It’s great to think that a new generation of kids are going to be similarly captivated.”
Charlie Higson addressing a captivated audience at Fighting Fantasy Fest 2
There are just two days to go until Fighting Fantasy Fest 2, which will culminate with a cosplay competition and an auction of rare FF items from the personal collections of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone.
Items that will be up for auction include various promotional posters, mint copies of rare Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, and rare Fighting Fantasy computer games.