Seeing lots of fellow bloggers attempt various Pokemon Nuzlocke challenges got me thinking. I’d love to do something similar (i.e. chronicling a journey), but with a slightly different take. Something that could be considered a campaign, that I could break up into digestible segments for the blog. But none of my PC games really fit the bill. So what should I play? Soon after, I happened to glance in the direction of my bookshelf. There, sandwiched between Deathnote and Assassination Classroom, was my collection of Steve Jackson’s Fighting Fantasy gamebooks. And it struck me as odd that even though I had completed the most of the standalone books, I never got past book two (of four) of the SORCERY! series. I feel an urgent need to rectify that.
For those too young/never had the pleasure, the first Fighting Fantasy gamebooks were written in the eighties by Steve Jackson, co-founder of Games Workshop (but not to be confused with the Steve Jackson behind the Munchkin card games). An inspired crossover of fiction and role-playing, the FF gamebooks cast you into the role of the hero in each book, and with a pencil, eraser and a couple of dice, you choose which paths to take and which dangers to face.
As a pre-teen in the early 2000s, I remember my parents buying me a subscription as a gift, whereby each new FF title was delivered automatically to our door upon release. At first, I just enjoyed flicking through the books at random. Then I half-heartedly started playing, but with a huge degree of ‘page-holding’ (i.e. flicking to a new reference, but keeping your finger on the old page in case you want to choose a more favourable outcome). I didn’t have the self-control or the discipline to play properly, or start over from scratch if I died.
Those days are over.
As I mentioned, I never got past the second book of the SORCERY! series. But now, with a more mature mindset and the will to see the story through, it’s going to happen. I’ll begin with book one: The Shamutanti Hills, before moving onto Khare: Cityport of Traps, then The Seven Serpents, and finally The Crown of Kings. The way will be rough, and the land of Kakhabad is not forgiving. But this an adventure that I’ve put on hold for half my life, and I’m going to get that bloody crown back if it’s the last thing I do!
Stay tuned for the prologue installment of this challenge, whereby I roll for stats, gather my starting equipment and set the scene for the journey to come. For Analand!