What Is Fighting Fantasy?
Fighting Fantasy was a series of “choose your own adventure” type of books, which were popular in the 1980s. Video games were crummy and computers outrageously priced, while fantasy role playing games (RPGs) were making a big splash. So Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson (not THAT Steve Jackson, though that one did write a few later on) came up with a single-player RPG story … The Warlock of Firetop Mountain.
Armed with two dice (2d6) and a pen and paper, you choose your way through a cavern, fight monsters (a combat system, and dice!) and die repeatedly, fall victim to traps, get lost in a cavern where you wander in circles, defeat the warlock and find that you don’t have the key to the treasure chest, and get to play it again!
Between 1982 to 1995 there were 59 of these single-player adventures, in a variety of genres including swords-and-magic, science fiction, modern horror, and secret agent spies.
And they’re not dead yet! Although the choose-an-adventure paperback craze has fizzled, pen-and-paper RPGs are still doing well. In 2002 Wizard Books bought up the rights to Fighting Fantasy, republished a few of the classics, and started writing again.
Seriously, Are You 12 ?
No! The 80s were a long time ago, but I still love interactive storytelling and lightweight RPG.
In late 2014 I indulged a nostalgic, childish whim and bought a few of these old books (genuine 1980s ones, pulpy paper, slightly wrinkled). It took me 8 tries (most of a weekend) to finish The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, killing a weekend with RPG adventuring goodness… without staring at a computer screen!
It was great, relaxing fun. I had rediscovered a hobby!
In the process I sketched out pages of maps, and explored every single cranny of the dungeon… and found only a few references outlining known solutions, mentioning that the book exists, and so on. Not really a dedicated fansite of hand-drawn maps, spoilers, etc. So here we are…
Disclaimer and Copyleft
This is not an official website of Puffin Books, Penguin Books, nor Wizard Books, the past and present copyright holders for the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks. Check out the official website at http://www.fightingfantasy.com/ or hit up eBay or your local bookstore to buy gamebooks!
The material here is copyright under the current version of CC-by-SA
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First published September 23, 2014. Last updated March 31, 2023.