Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Warlock of Firetop Mountain

This was the first Fighting Fantasy Gamebook ever published. It establishes the Skill, Stamina, and Luck system, and the traditions, kept through many though not all of the following Gamebooks, of starting with 10 Provisions and your choice of one of three stat potions (however, unlike in most Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks, you can only eat Provisions when specifically allowed to in the text and only one meal at a time). Your potion choices are a Potion of Skill, a Potion of Strength, or a Potion of Fortune. The Potion of Skill restores your Skill to its Initial value when drunk. The Potion of Strength restores your Stamina to its Initial value when drunk. The Potion of Fortune raises your Initial Luck by one point, and then restores your current Luck to its new Initial value when drunk. Whichever potion you choose, you have two doses of it.

It also introduces a warning, in a section headed HINTS ON PLAY, which shows up in most Fighting Fantasy gamebooks. "There is one true way through [this gamebook] and it will take you several attempts to find it.[...]The one true way involves a minimum of risk and any player, no matter how weak on initial dice rolls, should be able to get through fairly easily [as long as they don't make even a single wrong decision]."

Like many subsequent Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain is partly a memory game. Roleplaying is permitted to some extent, though certainly not encouraged; trying to "avoid metagaming" by not treating your character as knowing everything that had been discovered by the last dozen chumps who died the last dozen times you attempted the gamebook, on the other hand, would have meant crippling yourself as badly as if you decided it was cheating to use your feet in football.

Unlike many of them, the HINTS ON PLAY warning is largely accurate in this book. Even on the ideal path, you run some risk of dying to the Iron Cyclops or the Minotaur, but, that's an exhaustive list of the tough and unavoidable fights you run into on the ideal path, whereas in some Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks, the way of telling you're on the ideal path is that you just fought three Skill 12 enemies without a break.

Walkthrough behind the cut. As with the Vault of the Vampire walkthrough, this one will not list every entry, only the ones where you have a choice to make.

 1: Don't you love choices that give you no hint which is the correct one until you decide? Go west.

301: Open the door.

82: Steal the box. (Possible fight, definite +2 Luck, +1 Gold Piece)

208: Open the door.

397: Open the box.

145: (+1 Luck, gain Key 99)

363: Open the door.

370: Attack the orcs.

378: Open the box.

296: (Gain Dragonfire spell)

42: Go east.

113: Go north.

285: Open the door.

213: ...if you can.

36: If you were able to break into the room, shout at the man.

314: Whether you broke into the room or not, ignore this door and keep walking.

300: This door holds nothing of use to you in your quest, but if you're roleplaying a goodnot horrifically evil character, you should probably go in and try to rescue the screaming person anyway. Possibly a fight later, possibly with a piece of cheese, you come to:

303: Pull the righthand lever.

128: Walk east.

58: If your Stamina is at least four points down, or if your Skill isn't still at maximum (although it should be), then sit on the bench and eat.

367: Keep going east.

323: And still further east.

255: Open the door.

193: Try to take the Eye of the Cyclops.

75: (+3 Luck, gain Eye of the Cyclops, gain Key 111)

273: (Gain Mallet, gain 5 Wooden Stakes)

189: Look at the paintings.

25: (-1 Skill) Look through your pack.

340: Pull out the jewel, the Eye of the Cyclops.

31: Interesting, it seems the Warlock is vulnerable to your jewel. Something to remember. (+2 Skill)

253: Not a good place to delay. Leave through the north door without examining the rope and without taking the wood.

218: You do not have the money to pay the Ferryman. You can attempt to get across on the bridge, in which case you will have to roll a die three times, and will reach the other side if you roll no sixes. You can attempt to punt the raft across, in which case you will have to roll two dice, and will reach the other side if you roll less than or equal to the lower of your Luck and Stamina. If you fail at either of these, you will have to fight Piranhas (unless you fail the third roll while attempting to cross the bridge, which causes you to skip to partway through attempting to swim). If you do not wish to attempt either of these, or attempt both and fail, swim across the river.

151: If you are swimming, keep going toward the eyes.

214: You got across the river somehow. Open the door directly in front of you.

122: (-2 Stamina) Ow. Attack the zombies.

115: Examine the dead body in the northeast corner.

313: (+1 Skill, +1 Luck) Take the gold and the sword. Alternatively, if you want to risk a fight with a vampire shortly for nothing but the satisfaction of killing a vampire, take the sword and the crucifix.

221: (+2 Luck, +10 Gold, lose Sword, gain Enchanted Sword)

205: Not a place to delay, unless you wanted to kill the vampire; this walkthrough will presume you hurried through this room with sword and gold, rather than staying to fight with sword and crucifix.

37: Go north.

366: Go through the opening.

286: Search the third body, if you're prepared to fight a Skill 8, Stamina 7 Ghoul who will automatically kill you if it wins four Attack Rounds during the fight. If not, search the first body and hurry out of the room.

390: (+2 Luck, +5 Gold, Gain Earrings) If you killed the Ghoul, search the second body.

393: Read the parchment.

212: (Gain Map) Well, that was very edifying. Test the liquid.

109: (+? Skill, +? Stamina, +4 Luck) Press on.

197: Welcome to the infamous Maze of Zagor. No point in looking for secret doors here.

48: East.

391: North, without searching.

52: North, without searching.

354: West, without searching.

308: Go up to the door to the north.

54: Go through the door to the north, and kill the Minotaur.

258: (+2 Luck, +8 Gold, Gain Key 111) No, it's not a typo. Yes, the number on that key matches the number on one of the keys you already have. Yes, you do need both.

54 (again): Go back to the south now.

308 (again): Go south.

267: South.

246: North.

329: East.

299: Don't search.

359: West.

385: North.

398: Push the knob.

364 Climb through the opening.

85: North.

106: Search your memory.

126: You know the Dragonfire spell.

371: (+3 Luck)

274: Approach the Warlock as you see fit.

358: Look through your pack for a weapon to use.

105: Well, his portrait didn't seem to care for the Eye of the Cyclops, so...

382: Such a strange weakness to have. You have exactly three keys, and you'll certainly use them before you try hacking the treasure chest apart.

321: Congratulations, treasure-seeker.

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