The Wailing World is an unpublished (and probably unwritten) Fighting Fantasy gamebook by Paul Mason.


The Wailing World was to be set in the closed city of Lagash in southern Khul, and was to involve a quest to rescue the Prince of the city from the clutches of an Evil wizard. The quest was to include a visit to "The Wailing World", an underground realm inhabited by spike-covered creatures.[1]

It was in the planning stages when Puffin Books ceased publication of the original series and had already been planned by Mason to work with the proposed reduction of the series to 300 paragraphs per book.


The story begins with the reader (hereafter referred to as the hero) having been employed by the ministers of Lagash to rescue the Prince of the City-state. The Prince has been kidnapped by a mad sorcerer, whose tower is conveniently located a short walk from the City-state. The job seems relatively simple.

The first section of the story concerns the hero's preparations in the city. Although it is possible to head straight for the tower, this will lead relatively quickly to a death paragraph if adequate preparation has not been made. Within the city, the hero has plenty of opportunity for equipment acquisition and information gathering. Four powerful magic items may be purchased with the diamonds which the hero received as down payment for the job. All of them are potentially useful, though two in particular, the Trumpet of Transport and the Dagger of Deception, make the subsequent adventure considerably easier.

While in the city it is possible for the hero to pick up some important information. One is that the city walls of Lagash are magically enchanted. They are designed not just to keep enemies out, but to keep the inhabitants of the city in. Using the trumpet of transport to attempt to teleport out of the city is fatal because of this, something that can be discovered at this stage (albeit in a death paragraph). Another piece of information concerns the intentions of the ministers who hired the hero. A lucky hero may discover that they are setting up an ambush at the arranged rendezvous point, so that even if the hero succeeds at the mission, mortal danger still awaits.

The second section of the book concerns the raid on the tower. This is easier than it might be, as most of the defences are magical in nature. As long as the hero hasn't foolishly mislaid the magical talisman which is provided at the beginning, the physical opponents should provide little difficulty. In the tower, however, the hero may discover that the Prince hasn't been kidnapped. Unfortunately, the Prince has settled on the 'mad sorcerer' as his guru, much to the sorcerer's embarrassment. It is possible just to steam in, kill the sorcerer and take the prince back (though the prince will protest, he won't put up any serious opposition). A conversation with the sorcerer may reveal alternatives, and gives the hero the opportunity to learn of The Wailing World, a subterranean realm which the sorcerer has recently discovered and wishes to explore further.

However the matter in the tower goes, if the hero survives, a warm welcome awaits in the city. The ministers don't wish word of the prince's "abduction" to leak out so all witnesses (in other words, the hero) must be eliminated. This is probably the most deadly part of the book as the hero must evade a number of dangerous pursuers. It is here that it becomes evident that the whole city of Lagash is a gigantic prison. With the gates closed, there is apparently no escape for our poor hero ... except one. The Wailing World. If the hero has learned how to reach it magically from the sorcerer, or takes the wild step of pointing the Trumpet of Transport down (pointing it up or at any of the city walls leads to death), then the sole escape route becomes clear. But this is, of course, a case of out of the frying pan into the fire. The Wailing World is so named because of the constant droning sound which fills it. This sound (which comes in various pitches, providing a clue to help the hero out) is required as sustenance by the Wailing World's spike-covered inhabitants, but it has the unfortunate effect of gradually driving a human exposed to it stark raving mad. The Wailing World is therefore a maze, but a maze with a race against time. It is up the hero whether he decides to try to befriend or attack the creatures of the Wailing World.

One possible solution to the problem of the droning is to destroy the Organs which create it. This will have the unfortunate side-effect of causing the genocide of the Wailing World's creatures, so it is probably not to be recommended (as the creatures of the Wailing World are enemies of the Dark Elves, and their loss would upset the delicate balance which holds the Dark Elves in check).

Alternatively the hero will have to work out a way to find another exit from the tunnels, ideally by judging from the tones produced by the Organ (these are signalled by one digit in the paragraph number, though this will not be explicitly stated anywhere in the book - it's left for the reader to infer).

The plot for this book is somewhat shorter than those of previous books, to accommodate the reduced number of paragraphs. Combat and death paragraphs occur preponderantly in the earlier sections: within the city and in the attack on the tower. The later section, which takes place in the Wailing World, is primarily a puzzle/maze, with relatively few death paragraphs (though with the time limit of going mad). Although the spiky creatures of the Wailing World appear pretty fearsome, they are not innately disposed to violence. If the hero makes some effort to show goodwill, they may be enlisted to help. However, communication is impossible (the creatures don't use sound as language) so this doesn't produce the whole solution.

The book is rounded off with an opportunity for the hero to visit a well-deserved revenge on the minister who set the whole thing up.


There are no particular new rules in this book, except the opportunity to choose what type of hero to be. I have tried to make this as general as possible, to avoid telling the reader who he or she is meant to be. Instead I'm trying to give them the opportunity to choose the type of character they feel most comfortable with. There will be no Moonrunners-style revelations about the hero's past history.

Future of the BookEdit

There have been no indications that Wizard Books plan to publish this book.

See AlsoEdit

External LinksEdit


  1. Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks Yahoo! group, message #1989 - Retrieved 2013-09-17

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