Before I discovered Dungeons & Dragons, before I even started reading fantasy literature, there was Fighting Fantasy.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the series, here's a brief run-down. In 1982 Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone (co-founders of Games Workshop and White Dwarf) published The Warlock of Firetop Mountain through Penguin Books. It was like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, only not crap, and had the added benefit of dice-rolling for combat and other situations. The series continued until book 59, with various authors contributing, and it had something of a revival about a decade ago. The books sold millions. Millions and millions. I've read that at one point the top 5 UK best-sellers were all Fighting Fantasy books, though I can't locate the source now. Needless to say, they were a phenomenon in the UK, and they were omnipresent here in Australia as well.
My first encounter with them was in my primary school library, which had the first three: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, The Citadel of Chaos and The Forest of Doom. I played through those with various levels of cheating involved, and the series remained a constant part of my gaming for years to come. They were my introduction to D&D-style fantasy, and my perception of that genre is still massively influenced by them.
The 30th anniversary was last year, so I have missed that boat, but I have started playing through the series one by one. As this blog has lain dormant for a while, and I'm not making much headway on my Ultimate Sandbox project, I thought I might as well write about it here. So if you will forgive my indulgence, this is going to become a Fighting Fantasy play-through blog for a while. It's not D&D, but it's still fantasy, innit? And properly old-school at that.
There are some other FF play-through blogs out there, if the series takes your fancy. Turnto400 is the funniest of the lot. Fighting Fantasy Project provides more in-depth reviews. Fighting for Your Fantasy is another that is rather good. Or you could just hang around here and read my posts. Those blogs tend to do a single attempt at a book before moving on to the next one. My plan is to stick with one book and attempt to complete it without cheating before I continue. It sounds like a good plan, but things could get tedious when I hit a book I'm not familiar with. And then there's Crypt of the Sorcerer, which could conceivably take me hundreds of tries...
So, onward! Next post, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain!