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Legend of Zagor (book)

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Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks
Outline
Location: Amarillia
References: 400
Publication Details
Author(s): Keith Martin (credited to Ian Livingstone)[1]
Illustrator(s): Martin McKenna
Puffin
FF54 Dragon No Foil
Cover illustrator: Jim Burns &
Martin McKenna
First published: June 30 1993
Number 54
ISBN: ISBN 0-14-036566-4
Previous Book: Spellbreaker
Next Book: Deathmoor
Wizard (Series 1)
FF20 Wizard SE
Cover illustrator: Martin McKenna
First published: September 2 2004
Number 20
ISBN: ISBN 1-84046-551-4
Previous Book: Temple of Terror
Next Book: Eye of the Dragon
Wizard (Series 2)


For other uses of Legend of Zagor, see Legend of Zagor

Legend of Zagor is a single-player role-playing gamebook written by Keith Martin (credited to Ian Livingstone)[1], illustrated by Martin McKenna and originally published in 1993 by Puffin Books. It was later republished by Wizard Books in 2004. It forms part of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone's Fighting Fantasy series. It is the 54th in the series in the original Puffin series (ISBN 0-14-036566-4) and 20th in the Wizard series (ISBN 1-84046-551-4).

CreationEdit

Author ControversyEdit

While Ian Livingstone is credited with writing Legend of Zagor, it was rumoured that The Zagor Chronicles co-author Carl Sargent (who wrote gamebooks under the name Keith Martin) was involved with writing the book since some elements of the book mirror his style.

Livingstone's style is considered distinct by many Fighting Fantasy fans, where the gameplay is usually linear, and the player is led through a specific plot and must collect a number of special items which are essential to the completion of a mission. Legend of Zagor is markedly different in that the player has much more freedom to explore the castle and choose whether or not to enter certain places, and the various items found are mostly combat aids (potions, special weapons, etc.) that are only used at the player's discretion.

Additionally, many of the new "Unique Rules" featured here (Test Your Spot Skill for example) appear in Keith Martin's other gamebooks such as Island of the Undead and Revenge of the Vampire.

The book also consistently refers to a singular die as "a dice", an error not present in any of Livingstone's other books, but is present in Revenge of the Vampire by Martin.

The matter was finally put to rest in 2014 when Livingstone confirmed that Carl Sargent was indeed the actual author.[1]

BackgroundEdit

The evil that will not die!

Zagor! The very name of the Warlock of Firetop Mountain strikes terror into all who hear it. Banished from the world of Titan, the sorcerer is slowly but surely regaining his strength. Within Castle Argent, in the kingdom of Amarillia, Zagor has been transformed into a demon.

Such is his power, he must be destroyed. There are several adventurers willing to volunteer – mighty Anvar the barbarian, the warrior Braxus, Stubble the dwarf, Sallazar the wizard – but only one will be chosen. Are YOU that hero?

FIGHTING FANTASY — THE WORLD'S MOST POPULAR ADVENTURE GAMEBOOK SERIES
[2]

This Fighting Fantasy gamebook is the only one to be set in Amarillia. The player plays one of four characters who must destroy Zagor, who is recovering in Castle Argent after being banished from the regular Fighting Fantasy world of Titan. The player must find Tower Chests and collect Golden Talismans and Silver Daggers to help in the final confrontation.

IntroductionEdit

Legend of Zagor makes changes to how skill, stamina and luck are calculated (see "Unique Rules" below for further details and see Game System for details of regular rules that are still observed).

Unique RulesEdit

  • With skill Anvar and Braxus have the standard 1d6 plus 6 roll, Stubble a 1d6 plus 5 roll and Sallazar a 1d6 plus 4 roll.[4]
  • stamina has Anvar as a 1d6 plus 18 roll, Braxus and Stubble a 2d6 plus 12 roll and Sallazar a 3d6 plus 6 roll. Effectively all four can achieve 24 stamina points, but the odds of this decrease from Anvar through to Sallazar.[5]
  • Finally, luck is a 1d6 plus 4 roll, Braxus and Sallazar a 1d6 plus 3 roll and Stubble a 1d6 plus 5 roll.[5]
  • All four characters have magic points, Anvar starting with 1, Braxus 3, Stubble 2 points and Sallazar with 7. These are used for casting spells or using magical items that the player may come across.[5]
  • A variation on Testing Your Skill appears as Testing Your Spot Skill which is worked out the same way, but is used to determine if you notice something of interest or not.[6]
  • The player can not carry more than 12 Provisions at any one time.[7]
  • If a player is forced to rely on using their small knife, having lost their main weapon, they can do only 1 stamina point of damage per combat round.[8]
  • The number of Gold Pieces the player starts the adventure with is determined by a 3d6 plus 2 roll (although if playing Stubble the player has an additional 5 GP on top of what they roll).[8]
  • Each character has an "Advantage" and a "Disadvantage" in the adventure:
  • Anvar can not be surprised, meaning should a paragraph indicate a loss of stamina due to a surprise attack then Anvar does not suffer this damage. He can not wear Platemail Armour, gains no advantage from wearing Chainmail Armour and must subtract 2 points from his Attack Strength if using a crossbow.[9]
  • Braxus can use any weapon.[10]
  • Stubble has knowledge of underground creatures. In a fight with any creature with "Stone" in their name, Stubble can add 2 points to his Attack Strength. He cannot use a two-handed sword or longbow and cannot wear Platemail Armour unless it is specifically stated to be Dwarf-sized.[10]
  • Sallazar can subtract 2 from Test Your Spot Skill rolls, understand some magical writing and cast magic spells at will that other characters need scrolls to use. He cannot wear either Chain or Platemail Armour or use a crossbow, longbow or two-handed sword.[9]

Equipment List[8]Edit

Cover and IllustrationsEdit

Main article: Legend of Zagor (illustrations)

Covers

The original cover of the book was designed and illustrated by Jim Burns and Martin McKenna.

When the book was republished by Wizard the cover was re-worked by Martin McKenna.

Legend of Zagor through the years
1993 2004 2004
FF54 Dragon No Foil FF20 Wizard SE
No Bronze-Foil Wizard "Special
Limited Edition"
Wizard
£3.991 £4.99 £4.99

NOTES

  1. Price of 1st~4th Impressions

Illustrations

The interior illustrations were by Martin McKenna. There were 30 full page illustrations and 6 minor repeated illustrations scattered throughout the text. The paragraphs with a full page illustration were: 1, 13, 27, 40, 55, 68, 83, 98, 112, 124, 138, 152, 166, 180, 194, 210, 223, 236, 248, 261, 274, 287, 300, 314, 327, 339, 352, 365, 378 and 391.

Intertextual ReferencesEdit

A series of novels featuring the arrival of Zagor to the land of Amarillia and the battle to defeat him, The Zagor Chronicles, were written by Ian Livingstone and Carl Sargent. The heroes that the player can choose from are all characters from the novels, who worked together as a group to destroy Zagor. One major difference, however, is the recasting of the wizard character - in the novels, the wizard was a woman named Jallarial, whose brother Sallazar was killed before the story began. Jallarial does not appear in the gamebook, the wizard's role instead being taken up by Sallazar, who is alive and well. The gamebook's plot is directly reproduced in the second book of the series, Darkthrone.

PrequelsEdit

The book is a follow-up of previous Fighting Fantasy book Return to Firetop Mountain, which in turn was a sequel to The Warlock of Firetop Mountain.

Other MediaEdit

Main article: Legend of Zagor (boardgame)

In 1993, a Legend of Zagor boardgame was designed by Ian Livingstone and produced by Parker Bros. It featured the same choice of heroes as the gamebook, moulded plastic board and miniatures, and an electronic voiceover the character of Zagor.

Main CharactersEdit

YOU: Anvar; Braxus; Stubble or Sallazar

LocationsEdit

EncountersEdit

Further NotesEdit

  • Ian Livingstone makes a cameo appearance as "Three-Eyes" Haag, a merchant from "far Cabaal", encountered in Castle Argent, in the illustration accompanying (194).[11]
  • The "differing stats" aspect of the book has been criticised as the book is significantly more difficult playing with certain characters. In particular players using Stubble or Sallazar have found it very difficult to complete the book. Sallazar is the most likely to have low ability scores, and the book's magic system requires that combatants win an Attack Round for their spells to affect the enemy, which means that unless he has a sufficiently high skill score, the advantage of magic is all but worthless.

ErrorsEdit

  • The Amarillian Grimoire states that all the spells found as a scroll can be activated using the same amount of Magic Points as is stated by the description of the given spell. The Magic Points section of the rules, however, states that all spells found on a scroll can be activated by using a single Magic Point.
  • The "Adventure Sheet" gives all four characters the same number of Initial magic points, when in fact they should all be different.
  • (120) should link to (223) rather than (233). Corrected in Wizard edition.
  • On (373), successful is written as unsuccessful.
  • In (260), the player should subtract 100 from the final number to arrive at 292.
  • The wizard character can bypass the Throne Room through teleportation. However, the climax relies on the character knowing his way back from Zagor's chambers to the Heartfires through the Throne Room. Not only would the wizard using this method not know the route, he would not yet have dealt with the mass of enemies waiting for him in the Throne Room.

DedicationEdit

Puffin EditionEdit

none

Wizard EditionEdit

To Simon Flynn and Peter Pugh
— for their Skill and Stamina

See AlsoEdit


ReviewsEdit

External LinksEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 You are the Hero – A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks - p.164
  2. Legend of Zagor - Back Cover ("Golden Dragon" Edition)
  3. Legend of Zagor - pp.7-8
  4. Legend of Zagor - pp.8-9
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Legend of Zagor - p.9
  6. Legend of Zagor - p.15
  7. Legend of Zagor - p.18
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Legend of Zagor - p.20
  9. 9.0 9.1 Legend of Zagor - pp.21-22
  10. 10.0 10.1 Legend of Zagor - p.21, p.23
  11. 25th Anniversary Edition of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain - p.221

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