Ramblings of General Geekery

RPGs and Fighting Fantasy Books

When Bud (of Bud’s RPG Review fame) did his RPG DNA on Twitter, it featured something not quite like a traditional RPG: Fighting Fantasy books. I remember going “huh” when he mentioned this in his “First, Last, and Everything” in the Grognard Files podcast #41, because Fighting Fantasy books were also a big part of my early gaming life. I can’t remember exactly if they came before or after The Dark Eye (more here), but of all these adventure books, one is forever etched in my memory: “Le Manoir de l’Enfer”, a.k.a.House of Hell”.

This is a classic horror story where, if I remember correctly, the protagonist (the reader!) is lost at night and caught in a storm, taking refuge at some nearby isolated house… only to find that he should have stayed outside!

Ghosts, zombies, and cultists await in the labyrinthine manor, with awesome illustrations to be startled with!

I mean, to this day, I will literally read or watch anything if it has evil priests wearing farm animal heads:

The book was pretty brutal as I remember it, forcing the reader to backtrack a lot after each death using the good old “stick a finger in it” method of saving your progress. It featured a “Fear mechanic” where you could be driven crazy, and you had to stop evil worshippers from sacrificing poor innocent victims.

Yes, this was a couple years after Call of Cthulhu had been released, but I didn’t know that, as I wouldn’t play that game until a few years later… still, between this and my RPG DNA analysis, it makes you wonder if I’m just sticking to my first loves with my gaming life, or if these would have been my personal tastes all along even if I had started with more classic games…