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The Forest of Doom

FF03-CoverYOU become some barbarian wandering the woods, itching for adventure and blood. One night, a dying dwarf collapses at your feet and begs you to finish his quest — to search Darkwood Forest for the two halves of a magical hammer that will bring them motivation to fight back against the trolls.

Yeah, okay, so the backstory is a little weird. You’re a wandering adventurer itching to get some blood on your sword (how does that differ from a mercenary or a barbarian? academic question), and the dwarves are too depressed to fight their own war unless they get the hammer back. It’s not a super bad-ass hammer that kills trolls, just a motivational thing.

But hey, you start off with 30 GP at a wizard’s toy store, then a trip into the Darkwood Forest!


Review and Opinion

This is one of my favorite FFs so far, and part of that is two technical reasons.

Unlike a lot of the other FFs, it does not clearly break off into clear chapters (Citadel, Warlock, Rebel) but allows you to wander the woods in a less-directed fashion.

Even better, if you get to the end and didn’t collect both halves, you can just head back to Yaztromo’s, stock up, and head back in! 30 years later, we call this New Game Plus. I thought this was a great way to handle it, rather than just You Lose. Not only was it good for morale and great for exploration, but it made useful all that gold you collect during your quest.

Forest of Doom is #3 in the series, following on the heels of Citadel of Chaos. In Citadel I really enjoyed how you had a set of magics that affect gameplay, bypassing puzzles or fights, and affecting fights in unusual ways. Forest expands on that, with giving you a handful of gold and a magic shop to wander! I really enjoyed this twist on the Citadel’s “solution stockpile” mechanic.



It was unclear when you turn around and go back into the forest from Stonebridge… whether anything you killed stays dead. 171, east, north — hobgoblins or hobgoblin corpses? Fortunately, in many cases you can bravely hide and avoid combat, if you know it won’t be worth it. (and collecting junk can be useful for those Bandits; I figure there’s an infinite supply of bandits so they kept coming back on each return)







Written by Ian Livingstone

Illustrated by Russ Nicholson & Malcolm Barter


Book 3 in the series


Other Players and Links


Tags to Other Adventures

1983 Allansia Darkwood Forest Fighting Fantasy Forest Ian Livingstone Malcolm Barter Russ Nicholson Stonebridge Titan Yaztromo

The Comments Section


  • Brett says:

    Great website. I am in my 40s and in the middle of a FF rediscovery. Me and my brothers had many of them back in the 80s. Enjoying this site; keep it up!

  • João Pena says:

    Great site, huge fan oficial the series from Portugal. Keep up the good work!

  • Reuven says:

    Hi I am playing Forest of Doom at the moment. I am confused as to how the fight the bandit pairs. Its not really clear.
    Can anyone help? Thanks.

    • mazemaster says:

      I seem to recall, that the bandits outside Stonebridge can be paid off (bribed) if you don’t want to fight them, and that there were plenty of useless items you could pick up and give them. That was a while ago, though.

    • Gregor says:

      Hey there. On page 104, you fight the lead bandit and then two pairs. In my copy (original green spine) it describes the combat in detail. It’s the same mechanism used in later books whenever you fight more than one enemy.

      * Each combat round, you pick one of them as your target.
      * For both of them, roll as usual: skill + 2d6 versus their skill + 2d6.
      * The one you picked as target, you do damage as usual: you hit him or he hits you.
      * The other one you didn’t pick, you don’t hurt them if you roll higher; you just stay clear. But if they roll higher, they do hurt you.

      When I play, I usually have at least 3 or 4 colored pairs of dice, then I can do it all in one fistful. I just write down something like “guy 1 = white dice vs my light blue; guy 2 = red dice vs my white” and Bob’s my uncle.

  • Dru says:

    The Potion of Healing will come in hand if you ever get poisoned. 😉

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First published March 27, 2015. Last updated January 23, 2024.