Spoiler Warning!!!: Plot and/or ending details of a Fighting Fantasy publication follow. Please DO NOT read this article if you do not want foreknowledge of this publication. Although the article below is based on canon, some of its content is considered extrapolation because it assumes a certain course of events through an adventure that has many possible routes.

skill 8
stamina 9
Attacks  ???
Weapon Used Sword
Habitat Mampang Fortress
Number Encountered 1
Type Human
Reaction Variable
Intelligence  ???

Cartoum was the captain of the Archmage's Guards in Mampang.[1]

He was exceptional among the guards not just for his station but also because, rather than being among the gruff, beast-like humanoids that comprised the rest of the fortress guards, Cartoum was in fact a Human.

It remains a mystery how Cartoum arrived at Mampang and rose to his current position. The only hint to his past given in the book was that he was involved with an unnamed beautiful woman somehow, which still proves to be one of his weaknesses.[2] It is unknown where is that woman at present or even if she is alive, how close was their relationship and why they were separated, but it is obvious Cartoum still has feelings for her.


He was a square-jawed, dark featured man with a scar on his right cheek.[3]


Cartoum appears in the final gamebook of the Sorcery! epic, The Crown of Kings. It is necessary for the player to encounter him since the key Cartoum holds is the only way to gain entry through the fourth Throben Door.

Whether or not Cartoum recognizes the player as the Analander sent to reclaim the Crown of Kings has some bearing on what options are viable when dealing with him. Cartoum will not credit any claim the player makes of having a private message for the Archmage if he is aware that the player is indeed the Analander. If, however, he is unaware that he is talking to the Analander then this option meets with success if a skill roll is passed. However if the player fails the roll he will unhappily be handed over to the vile pleasures of Naggamanteh, and his adventure will be over.[4]

The captain is not an easy man to bribe. Any attempt to bribe him will end in him taking the item offered, along with the rest of the equipment held by the player, who will then be unceremoniously marched off to the dungeons, cutting the adventure short. The one exception to this is giving him the locket with the portrait of a woman inside. This is portrait of Cartoum's sweetheart. The captain will swallow the yarn spun to him about how the player found it and, in return, will provide the Throben Door key.[5]

So, if Cartoum does not recognize the player as the Analander, the only two ways to acquire the key are passing the skill test when lying, or by bribing Cartoum with the Locket.

A matter to note about the encounter with Cartoum is that the player can potentially have more options if the captain knows he is the Analander. Thus, the player, depending on what items he has available to him, could be at a disadvantage if he slew the Seven Serpents and was able to reach Mampang undetected.

Extra OptionsEdit

The extra options in the Analander scenario emerge if the player insists that he has a private message for the Archmage. Cartoum will not give any credence to this at all, and if the player persists with his lie he will anger the Captain. He is then given six options - drawing his sword and fighting or casting one of five spells - god, Far, Dim, Zip or Jig.[6]

Of the five spells, only one pays off well. far and jig will fail completely, resulting in the player drawing his sword and facing Cartoum and the two other guards present. dim results in a modest success - it will incapacitate the target hit by the spell, the player will then have to draw his sword and fight the two who were unaffected. zip will result in the player vanishing. magician-like, from the room, allowing him to escape. This is actually a bad option, as it will not result in acquiring the Throben Door key and effectively produces only a stay of execution, destined to come into effect at the final Throben Door. god pays off very well - Cartoum will take a magically induced liking to the player and agree to escort him to the Archmage.

If the player fights Cartoum and the two guards (or at the least the two unaffected if he has cast the dim spell), he shouldn't find it too taxing, as all of them have rather unremarkable combat stats.[7] Moreover, he fights the two guards before fighting the captain, rather than all three at once. In the course of the fight, the player can spare Cartoum once his stamina reaches six or less. This is a bad move, as Cartoum will return the mercy with treachery, killing the player with a poisoned dart.[8]

Continuing the fight, the player can again spare the Captain when his stamina reaches 3 or less. This is the best outcome the combat, as, thoroughly beaten, Cartoum will give the player the key to the Throben door.[9] If, instead, the player kills him, it will result in the player leaving the room without the key - irritatingly he is not given the option of searching the captain or the room.[10] This will, of course, ensure the player fails a little later on.

Throben Door KeyEdit

The key that Cartoum posseses has the number "17" stamped on it. When the player reaches the fourth door he deducts 17 from his current reference to open the door. However, it is not clear sailing, since, before the key can be used to gain entry through the door, the player must circumvent the Sleepless Ram.

See AlsoEdit


  1. The Crown of Kings - 43
  2. The Crown of Kings - 290
  3. The Crown of Kings - 376
  4. The Crown of Kings - 385
  5. The Crown of Kings - 290
  6. The Crown of Kings - 243
  7. The Crown of Kings - 145
  8. The Crown of Kings - 347
  9. The Crown of Kings - 445
  10. The Crown of Kings - 463

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