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If so, this is the place on the site to find out everything you want to know about the Fighting Fantasy series!
Fighting Fantasy is the title given to a series of interactive novels also known as Gamebooks that were developed by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone. They had a huge following during the early 1980s and late 1990s. The FF books were unique in their heyday as they provided the reader with the chance to enjoy a good fantasy story as well as, for the first time, allowing the reader to guide the direction of the story to one of numerous end variations.
What is unique about the Fighting Fantasy series of books is that in each and every book the reader participates and affects the outcome of story. The reader assumes the role of the main character in the story, from the beginning of the story to the end, by guiding their character down various paths through the use of numbered paragraphs. The basis of all the books is a written background that outlines the location of the story, the characters involved and the events that have taken place. As a reader follows the plot they are often given certain choices that have to be made as the game progresses.
The reader has to make choices and concentrate on guiding their fictional character through the book's adventure, which often involves tricks, traps, riddles, encounters and most importantly COMBAT. The majority of the FF Solo adventure Gamebooks are divided into 400 paragraphs of text all numbered consecutively. These vary, from a few lines to several paragraphs long, and basically describe encounters, people, conversations and events. At the end of all of these paragraphs a choice is usually presented with a reference to which paragraph should be read next if chosen. Choices range wildly something simple like – 'If you wish to go north, turn to 324. Otherwise, go to 13' to much more complex alternatives.
Occasionally a player can find himself or herself facing concluding paragraphs, which bring the adventure or the fictional character to an end. In later books in the series the Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks themselves became more complex and events along the way could lead to the reader having to note down a paragraph number until an event later in the book would allow the player to turn down that path.
These books often became the most popular and Creature of Havoc is a fine example of this.
The FF series became a phenomenon in the 80s due in part to their popular interactive element, but more importantly due to the exciting rule system that was the core of the FF series. As well as allowing the reader to control a fictional character , the books also acted as an ingenious game that a reader could play individually by his or herself. This was achieved through the use of several six-sided dice, a pencil and an eraser and a basic game system. Using the dice before reading the background to the story, the reader, or more correctly the player, could create the fictional character's strengths and weaknesses.
These were determined through the rolling of dice to determine a character's three initial characteristics. These characteristics are known as called SKILL, STAMINA and LUCK. An adventure sheet provided with the book would allow a player to keep track of these scores and events occurring from start to finish.
The first characteristic, SKILL represented the fictional hero's physical prowess and fighting expertise. STAMINA represented the overall health and strength of the character, which in turn affected their ability to survive wounds, fatigue, poison or disease. LUCK, the last characteristic, represented how naturally lucky a character was, and this could often be used to enhance the success of attacks or help determine whether a paragraph choice was fortuitous or otherwise. The value of the SKILL and LUCK characteristics normally ranged between 1 and 12, adventurers starting with a number from 7 upwards (a single dice roll plus 6). STAMINA rated from 1 upwards, with the fictional hero of the book starting with anything from 14 to 24 (the roll of two die plus 12).
Encounters with characters, creatures or monsters could occasionally lead to combat where SKILL values beyond 12 and Stamina above 24 could be faced, but no one except players used a LUCK score. During combat a player would be asked to roll two six-sided dice, which would be added to their SKILL score to become ATTACK STRENGTH. The dice would in turn be rolled again and the result added to the opponent's SKILL score to become their ATTACK STRENGTH. Whoever's ATTACK STRENGTH was the higher would be the victor and the loser would have to deduct one or more points from their STAMINA until nothing remained, resulting in death. All characteristics however, could be restored through various methods such as Magic, rest, potions or food.