|Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks|
The original cover design of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain by Peter Andrew Jones, taken from the 25th Anniversary Edition
The Wizard cover of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain illustrated by Martin McKenna
|Author(s)|| Steve Jackson &|
|Cover illustrator||Peter Andrew Jones|
|Cover illustrator||Martin McKenna|
The Warlock of Firetop Mountain the first book in the Fighting Fantasy gamebook series in both the Puffin and Wizard series. It was written by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone, illustrated by Russ Nicholson and was originally published in 1982 by Puffin Books. It was later republished by Wizard Books in 2002.
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.
– Publisher's blurb
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 Goblins, 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 test. 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.
Setting and characters
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).
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.
The Warlock of Firetop Mountain set out most of the basic rules that would be used throughout the Fighting Fantasy series. 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.
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. A video game based on the book (also titled The Warlock of Firetop Mountain) was released in 1984 on a variety of platforms.
A 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.
To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the book, Wizard Books have released a new edition which uses the original wrap-around cover design and contains extra material. The book is published in hardback, making it the only Fighting Fantasy book published in hardback. It was released in August 2007. The extra material includes 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.
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
<ref>tag; no text was provided for refs named
- ↑ "The Warlock of Firetop Mountain Boardgame on the official Fighting Fantasy website". http://www.fightingfantasygamebooks.com/material_warlock.htm.
- ↑ "The Warlock of Firetop Mountain Boardgame on the Internet Archive record of the old fightingfantasy.com site". http://web.archive.org/web/20050412205859/www.fightingfantasy.com/ffwarboa.htm.
- "The Warlock of Firetop Mountain on gamebooks.org". http://www.gamebooks.org/show_item.php?id=37.
- "The Warlock of Firetop Mountain on the Internet Archive record of the old fightingfantasy.com site". http://web.archive.org/web/20051127132124/www.fightingfantasy.com/ffb1.htm.
- "The Warlock of Firetop Mountain on the Internet Archive record of the old advancedfightingfantasy.com site". http://web.archive.org/web/20051216183943/www.advancedfightingfantasy.com/ff1.htm.
- "The Warlock of Firetop Mountain on the official Fighting Fantasy website". http://www.fightingfantasygamebooks.com/ff1.htm.
- "The Warlock of Firetop Mountain on the Wizard Books website". http://www.iconbooks.co.uk/wizard/wbook.cfm?isbn=1-84046-387-2.
- "The Warlock of Firetop Mountain - 25th Anniversary Edition on the Wizard Books website". http://www.iconbooks.co.uk/wizard/wbook.cfm?isbn=978-184046837-3.
- "Open Box". White Dwarf (36): 26-27. December 1982.