"Sorcery!" is a series of four gamebooks written by Steve Jackson and illustrated by John Blanche, published by Puffin Books between 1983 and 1985 as an adjunct to the "Fighting Fantasy" series. While the basic combat system remains the same, the "Sorcery!" gamebooks departed from the standard "Fighting Fantasy" line in a number of ways, most notably their comparative length and complexity, and the opportunity to play as an "advanced" wizard rather than the "basic" warrior. In addition to allowing players to "carry over" a character from one book to the next, "Sorcery!" also features the most verbose writing style of any entry in the "Fighting Fantasy" canon.

Since these deviations were accompanied by an advertising campaign asking "Why should kids have all the fun?" ( [] ), it seems that the intention was to appeal to a more adult age range than the teenage market targeted by the main "Fighting Fantasy" series.

The "Sorcery!" series is currently being reprinted in the UK by Wizard Books, as part of a series of reprints of selected "Fighting Fantasy" gamebooks.


"Sorcery!" is set in the fictional world of Titan, on the continent known only as The Old World. A powerful artifact known as the Crown of Kings, which bestows magical powers of leadership upon its owner, has been stolen from the land of Analand by the cruel Archmage of Mampang Fortress; with it he will be able to gain leadership of the lawless and brutal region of Kakhabad and begin an invasion of surrounding kingdoms. The player takes on the role of the lone hero who has been dispatched to retrieve the Crown, averting the invasion and saving Analand from terrible disgrace.

The "Sorcery!" series gives the player the choice of playing as either a warrior (the "basic" game) or a wizard (the "advanced" game). If the player chooses to be a warrior then gameplay follows the established trends of "Fighting Fantasy", while selection of the wizard opens up a whole new field of play. The player then begins with lower statistics, but has access to a wide variety of spells. The spellcasting system, based around memorization of combinations of three letters, was unique among the "Fighting Fantasy" series — though gamebooks such as "The Citadel of Chaos" (Jackson, 1983) featured a magic-using protagonist, the scale employed here was completely new: "Sorcery!" has 48 separate spells with three-letter codes such as "ZAP", "SIX" or "ZED", with many of them requiring the use of an item and all of them costing Stamina to cast. In 1983 a deluxe "Sorcery!" spellbook was released, featuring an illustration by John Blanche for every spell (these illustrations are added to the spells of the Wizard reprints).

"Sorcery!" also has a unique feature designed to let readers play the game even when they did not have access to a pair of dice. Printed at the bottom of every page is a pair of die faces; instead of physically rolling dice the player could simply flip the pages and stop at a random location, accepting the image on the page as the result of the roll. Newer editions of other "Fighting Fantasy" gamebooks now also include this printed dice face system.

The journey undertaken in "Sorcery!" is nothing short of epic. The story covers four volumes, and though they can be played individually, many challenges in the gamebooks are made easier by items or information which can only be found by playing through and completing the previous books. Each book is far longer than the average "Fighting Fantasy" volume, the standard length for which is 400 sections: "The Shamutanti Hills" is the shortest, at 456 sections, while "The Crown of Kings" has 800.

Libra, The Goddess Of Justice

The player is able, once per book, to call upon the goddess Libra, the Titan Goddess of Justice and patron goddess to Analand. This can be done at any time to restore the characters Skill, Stamina and Luck statistics to their maximum, or to remove all curses and diseases with which the player has become afflicted. In addition to this, there are several points in the adventure at which the player is given the opportunity to call upon Libra to release them from imprisonment, or more importantly, instant death.

Books in the series

"The Shamutanti Hills"

The first book in the series details the beginning of the player's journey to Mampang Fortress, covering the distance from Analand to Kharé through the Shamutanti Hills, a dangerous region occupied by a wide variety of nomads and monsters. As the first in the series this book is the easiest to complete, apart from a trap-filled Manticore lair at the very end.

"Kharé — Cityport of Traps"

The second book of "Sorcery!" begins with the player standing outside the gate of the city of Kharé, a fortified city and the only way to cross the Jabaji River. While passing through this dangerous city, the player must locate the four lines of the spell which will open the Northern Gate and allow passage out of the city and into the Baklands. However, the player only needs to actually find 3 of the lines while playing through the book. There are several routes through the city and a wide variety of locations to visit and situations in which one may become entangled. The opponents that the player character have to fight are fairly few, including a powerful Deathwraith that requires all the reserves of strength and luck of the player to beat.

"The Seven Serpents"

Upon completion of the second book in the "Sorcery!" series, the player finds themselves standing at the beginning of the Baklands, a bleak and empty wasteland which must be crossed in order to reach Mampang Fortress. While travelling the player must locate the titular Seven Serpents, messengers of the Archmage travelling to Mampang to warn him of the player's presence. The degree of success achieved by the player in this will have a direct impact upon the challenges faced in the final book. This is the most linear entry in the series and the most challenging so far, if the player aspires to stop all seven of the serpents.

"The Crown of Kings"

The fourth book chronicles the player's passage through Mampang fortress and final confrontation with the Archmage. "The Crown of Kings" most closely adheres to the traditional Fighting Fantasy formula established by early books like "The Warlock of Firetop Mountain" (Jackson and Livingstone, 1982), though it is longer and more difficult than any previously published gamebook in the Sorcery! series.

ee also

*Fighting Fantasy
*List of Fighting Fantasy gamebooks

External links

* [ Current publisher Wizard Books]
* [ Unofficial web site dedicated to the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks genre]


*" [ Fighting Fantasy Web Companion] ", accessed 2 August 2005.
*" [ Fighting Fantasy Official Site] ", accessed 2 August 2005.

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