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The Warlock of Firetop Mountain

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The Warlock of Firetop Mountain

Post by msistarted on Fri Nov 19, 2010 10:10 am

The Warlock of Firetop Mountain is a single-player adventure gamebook written by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone, illustrated by Russ Nicholson and originally published in 1982 by Puffin Books. It was later republished by Wizard Books in 2002. It forms part of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone's Fighting Fantasy series. It is the first in the series in both the Puffin (ISBN 0-14-031538-1) and Wizard (ISBN 1-84046-387-2) series.
Contents
[hide]

* 1 Creation
* 2 Story
o 2.1 Setting and characters
* 3 Rules
* 4 Cover and illustrations
* 5 Sequels and other references
o 5.1 Boardgame
o 5.2 Video game
o 5.3 Digital editions
o 5.4 25th Anniversary
* 6 See also
* 7 References
* 8 External links

[edit] Creation

The book was first conceived in 1980, when the authors Jackson and Livingstone met Geraldine Cooke, a Penguin editor, at Games Workshop's annual Games Day. Initially Cooke was interested in publishing a 'how-to-do-it' book on fantasy role-playing games but Jackson and Livingstone became less inclined to write a technical manual. Instead they fused basic role-playing rules and fantasy adventure plots to come up with the gamebook concept. The pair began work on the project in August 1981 and it took six months for them to write the book. Penguin did not know what to make of the manuscript and it was not until over a year later that the decision to publish was finally made. The book did, however, require a second draft as each author had written half of the adventure each (Livingstone wrote the first half, up to the river crossing, which made a convenient hand-over point, and Jackson wrote the climax of the adventure), and the writing style noticeably changed part way through the book – so Jackson re-wrote Livingstone's part of the book in his own style. There was also some internal debate as to whether the book should be published as a Penguin Book or a Puffin Book, with the book eventually appearing in Penguin's Puffin imprint. In August 1982 the first Fighting Fantasy Gamebook, titled The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, finally appeared and went on to sell out its first print run in a matter of weeks. It eventually sold over a million copies in fifteen languages.[1][2][3]

The project was initially titled The Magic Quest. Although both authors disliked this title, after 'endless debates' they could not come up with an alternative. Eventually the two came up with a compromise. Livingstone, who wrote the first part, had mentioned in the opening paragraph that the whole adventure took place in Firetop Mountain. Jackson, who wrote the final part, had created a climactic battle with a powerful Warlock. On the day the book was handed in it was agreed that the two elements would be combined to create the final title: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain.[4]

The finished book was made up of a clean 400 numbered references, which set the standard for the books that followed. This was, however a coincidence. When Jackson and Livingstone combined the two halves of the adventure it transpired that the numbered references, when added together, made a sum of 399. A fake key reference was added to bring the total up to 400.[5]
[edit] Story

Deep in the caverns beneath Firetop Mountain lies an untold wealth of treasure, guarded by a powerful Warlock – or so the rumour goes. Several adventurers like yourself have set off for Firetop Mountain in search of the Warlock's hoard. None have ever returned. Do you dare follow them?

Your quest is to find the Warlock's treasure, hidden deep within a dungeon populated with a multitude of terrifying monsters. You will need courage, determination and a fair amount of luck if you are to survive all the traps and battles, and reach your goal – the innermost chambers of the Warlock's domain.

Warlock of Firetop Mountain map (with all chapters)

In this book the player takes the role of an adventurer on a quest to find the treasure of a powerful Warlock, hidden deep within Firetop Mountain. Through the stories of nearby villagers, the player is told that the treasure is stored in a chest with two locks (although, actually, there are three), the keys to which are guarded by various creatures within the dungeons. The player must collect keys while exploring the dungeons in order to open the chest at the end of the adventure, although not all of the keys – only a certain three – will fit the locks.

The player must travel through the entrance of the mountain, guarded by Orcs, to reach a river. The player must cross the river, by the ferry service or by other means, to reach the inner chambers. The player will have to navigate the Maze of Zagor, survive an encounter with a Dragon, and finally face the Warlock Zagor in order to reach the treasure chest. If the player defeats the Warlock and has the correct keys then they will become the owner of the Warlock's riches and spell book and will successfully complete the adventure. If the player reaches this point without the correct keys then the adventure will end in failure.
[edit] Setting and characters
Warlock of Firetop Mountain map

Like many of the early Fighting Fantasy books, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain did not contain many details about its setting and it was left to later books in the series and companion books to elaborate this. It later became established that the book was set in the fictional fantasy world of Titan, in the northern region of the continent of Allansia (a setting common to many of the Fighting Fantasy books). The location of Firetop Mountain was established as north of Darkwood Forest (the setting of the later Fighting Fantasy book The Forest of Doom).[4]

The backstory of the titular Warlock, Zagor, was also elaborated on in later books. It was established that Zagor was once one of three pupils of an evil wizard called Volgera Darkstorm (the other two being Balthus Dire from the book The Citadel of Chaos and Zharradan Marr from the book Creature of Havoc). At the age of seventeen, the three pupils tired of learning and killed their teacher by magic. After this they separated, with Zagor travelling north to Firetop Mountain, a peak he had seen in Demon-sent dreams. Zagor took the mountain from the Dwarfs that occupied it, with a force of Orcs and undead creatures. It is established that, by the time of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, Zagor is lord over the mountain, guarding the treasures he stole from the Dwarfs.[4]
[edit] Rules

The Warlock of Firetop Mountain set out most of the basic rules that would be used throughout the Fighting Fantasy series (see Fighting Fantasy). The book used several rules common to early books in the series: there are rules allowing the player to Escape from battles, details for fighting more than one creature are contained within the main body of the book, and the player begins the adventure with a set of ten Provisions and one of a choice of Potions. Some rules are unique to this book, however. Players can only eat Provisions when allowed by the instructions on a page, and only one meal can be eaten at a time. In later books players can eat at any time outside battle. The player also begins the adventure with two measures of their chosen Potion, which was reduced to one in later books.
[edit] Cover and illustrations

The original cover of the book was designed and illustrated by Peter Andrew Jones. The design of the cover was unusual for the time, in that book covers usually had the title along the top so they could be read on the 'step' shelves found in stores – Jones, however, left room for the title of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain in the middle of the cover, much to the consternation of the publishers.[6] In later printings Puffin used a different, though very similar, cover illustration, also created by Peter Andrew Jones.

When the book was republished by Wizard the cover was once again re-worked, this time by Martin McKenna, who was asked to use the main elements from the original cover images but make them appear more modern.[7]

The book's interior illustrations were created by Russ Nicholson (who would have also illustrated the cover had confusion over the content of the book and what was wanted from the illustration not required that he begin work on the interior illustrations immediately).[8] The full-page illustrations in the book were accompanied with a caption giving the number of the paragraph depicted and a short extract from the text, a format which was only used again in the next two books, Citadel of Chaos and The Forest of Doom. The Warlock of Firetop Mountain was also unique in that the final paragraph was given an extra full-page illustration. One of the illustrations features an error: in the illustration accompanying paragraph 168, an Orc Chieftain, holding a whip, is depicted with two left hands.
[edit] Sequels and other references

The book was followed by two sequels. The first, Return to Firetop Mountain, was written by Ian Livingstone and was the 50th Fighting Fantasy Gamebook, published in 1992 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Fighting Fantasy. In this book Zagor has been resurrected and must once again be defeated by the player. The second sequel Legend of Zagor, also written by Ian Livingstone, was the 54th Fighting Fantasy Gamebook. In this book the player, taking the role of one of four characters, must defeat Zagor to protect the land of Amarillia, to which he has been banished. After this came a short series of four novels based around Zagor, The Zagor Chronicles, which were written by Ian Livingstone and Carl Sargent. They feature the arrival of Zagor to the land of Amarillia and the battle to defeat him. They are related to Legend of Zagor, with many characters appearing in both the gamebook and the novels.

Zagor and Firetop Mountain also appear in The Trolltooth Wars by Steve Jackson. Clues to the location of the correct keys to Zagor's chest are revealed in the novel. Additionally the gamebook itself makes an appearance in a bookstore in the gamebook Appointment with F.E.A.R., written by Steve Jackson. An arcade-style video game based on the book (also titled The Warlock of Firetop Mountain) was released in 1984 on a variety of microcomputer platforms and some two decades later a licensed computer adaptation of the original gamebook was released for PalmOS.

A Nintendo DS game has been released in October 2009 published by Aspyr.
[edit] Boardgame
Main article: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (boardgame)

A boardgame based on the book was published by Games Workshop in 1986, designed by Steve Jackson. The box was illustrated by the original cover designer of the book, Peter Andrew Jones, and the interior was illustrated by Dave Andrews. The game involved the players travelling across the board to the treasure chest of the Warlock, finding the correct keys to unlock it along the way. The game used a similar score system to the book to measure the status of the players.[9][10]
[edit] Video game
Main articles: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (video game) and Fighting Fantasy: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain

Big Blue Bubble has announced an action-RPG for the Nintendo DS (titled Fighting Fantasy: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain) based on "The Warlock of Firetop Mountain", which was released on 29 November 2009 in the US.

An earlier ZX Spectrum game by Crystal Computing was released in 1984. [11]
[edit] Digital editions

Big Blue Bubble released an iPhone and iPad version of the book in 2010 [12]. Unlike the Nintendo DS version which is a game, these are just interactive digital editions of the original book.
[edit] 25th Anniversary

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the book, Wizard Books released a new edition which used the original wrap-around cover design and contained extra material. The book was published in hardback, making it the only Fighting Fantasy book published in hardback. It was released in August 2007. The extra material included a history of the Fighting Fantasy series and core rules, a chapter by Jackson and Livingstone on the genesis of the series, original adventure sheets, editorial comments, combat system notes, a gallery showing every version of the cover used on previous editions, and a solution and maps showing the 'One True Way' through the book.

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