Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks
Location: Allansia, Titan
References: 400
Publication Details
Author(s): Paul Mason &
Steve Williams

Illustrator(s): Bob Harvey
Slaves of the abyss
Cover illustrator: Terry Oakes
First published: March 17 1988
Number 32
ISBN: ISBN 0-14-032548-4
Previous Book: Battleblade Warrior
Next Book: Sky Lord
Wizard (Series 1)
Wizard (Series 2)

Slaves of the Abyss is a single-player role-playing gamebook written by Paul Mason and Steve Williams, illustrated by Bob Harvey and originally published in 1988 by Puffin Books. It forms part of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone's Fighting Fantasy series. It is the 32nd in the series in the original Puffin series (ISBN 0-14-032548-4). There are currently no announced plans to republish this book as part of the Wizard series.


We [Paul Mason and Steve Williams] won the cover battle, but had to compromise on the ending. Originally the book ended with you sacrificing yourself, remaining in the Abyss in order to free the prisoners. Steve J[ackson] complained at this, and said that you should jolly well get lots of money and treasure at the end (which perhaps says something about his philosophy of life), so I altered it to provide you with godlike powers.

... the book is weird. I feel it myself, and would suggest that it's something about the chemistry of me and Steve Williams. If you look at my later books, I think you'll see that they're weird, but a bit more "of a piece".
Slaves was the product of an almighty, but very peaceful, battle between Steve and my ideas of what an FF book could be. You can also see this on Black Vein Prophecy, where my concept of the Isles of the Dawn as very Chinese runs into Steve's peculiar Renaissance courtier sort of vision.[1]


Among your opponents in this adventure is time itself!

Kallamehr lies defenceless. The army is away, facing an invasion to the north, and now a new threat is at hand - another enemy from the east! Lady Carolina of Kallamehr summons YOU, a famous adventurer, to her aid. But can you help? Will you manage to preserve this stronghold of Good against the invading hordes? Or is this task beyond even your heroic abilities? You will need your wits as well as your sword of Fangthane steel to prevent the sands of time engulfing the city ...

Part story, part game, this is a book in which YOU become the hero! Two dice, a pencil and an eraser are all you need. YOU decide which routes to take, which dangers to risk and which foes to fight.

The book is mostly set in and around the city of Kallamehr. The player is one of many famous adventurers summoned by Lady Carolina to the defense of the city, but no one seems to know what the actual threat is.

The player must set out to find more about the nature of the mysterious threat, which leaves whole villages deserted. Soon, it is revealed that the army consists of a swarm of hornet-like creatures whose sting transport their victims into the Abyss, where they are enslaved by the extra-dimensional warlord Bykhos. But Bykhos is not acting on his own: a conspiracy for power is brewing in Kallamehr, which leaves Lady Carolina dead, and the player must expose the traitor before he or she can claim power over Kallamehr. In order to achieve complete victory, the player must pay a heavy price, which, however, bears a reward of its own.


The book in general follows the original rules set down in The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (see Game System).

Unique RulesEdit

  • For only the third time in the series at this point does the concept of time come into play. A special sheet for time is to be found on the inside front cover, made up of 20 small boxes. The player is instructed to tick these off when ordered to by the text and two boxes feature a paragraph reference number indicating that this reference should be turned to if the player ticks off that particular box.[3]
  • Instant Death (a roll of double 6) is a feature of the adventure due to possessing a sword of Fangthane steel.[4]

Equipment List[5]Edit

Cover and IllustrationsEdit

Main article: Slaves of the Abyss (illustrations)


The original cover of the book was designed and illustrated by Terry Oakes. Notably, the 3rd Impression loses the white in-fill on the words "Slaves" and "Abyss" on the front cover.

Slaves of the Abyss through the years
1988 1989 1990 1993
Slaves of the abyss
Dragon Format Dragon No No. No. Spine Only No Bronze-Foil
£2.251 £? £? £3.99


  1. Price of 1st Impression; £2.50 for 3rd Impression


The interior illustrations were by Bob Harvey. There were 30 full page illustrations and 6 minor repeated illustrations scattered throughout the text. The paragraphs with a full page illustration were: 4, 26, 37, 57, 68, 86, 95, 105, 115, 128, 157, 175, 189, 199, 216, 235, 250, 256, 268, 278, 288, 298, 310, 330, 336, 344, 357, 372, 384, and 397.

The "Time Sheet" illustration on the inside front cover was by Leo Hartas.

Intertextual ReferencesEdit

Other MediaEdit

Main CharactersEdit

YOU: Hero of Slaves of the Abyss



Further NotesEdit

  • This book marks the first occasion where part of the Character Sheet/gameplay is included on the inside front cover, something repeated immediately by the book that followed (Sky Lord).
  • A number of names are taken from the tales of One Thousand and One Nights, including (Asiah) Albudur, Dunyazad, Ikhtiyan and Yunan. Other names are connected with Gnosticism, including Aletheia, Bythos and Enthymesis.


  • In two illustrations, (216) and (298), the player's sword is shown, but the design is completely different in each illustration.
  • In the "No Bronze-Foil" edition, the time sheet is missing from the inside cover and is not printed elsewhere in the book.


For Gail and P.S.

See AlsoEdit


External LinksEdit


  1. Letter from Paul Mason at the Internet Archive record of the old - Retrieved 2013-09-22
  2. Slaves of the Abyss - Back Cover ("Golden Dragon" Edition)
  3. Slaves of the Abyss - pp.14-15
  4. Slaves of the Abyss - p.11
  5. Slaves of the Abyss - p.14

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