Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Out of the Pit II - Beyond the Pit!

A cornerstone of the early days of Fighting Fantasy was Out of the Pit (OOTP), by Steve Jackson, Ian Livingstone and Marc Gacoigne, a vast compendium of 250 monsters from the fantasy gamebooks written by Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson up to that point (i.e. up to and including Temple of Terror and The Crown of Kings). It included almost all the monsters encountered in the gamebooks plus a good selection of new ones, and each monster was accompanied by an illustration, either from a gamebook or a newly commisioned one. In addition, OOTP included maps of northwest Allansia and Kakhabad, treasure and encounter tables, and eight full colour, full page illustrations of a selection of the creatures described in the volume.

I first got a copy of OOTP at Christmas, 1987 (the original A4 size edition; there have since been a smaller B-format edition in 1989 and a reissue of the A4 size in 2011 by Arion Games as part of their Advanced Fighting Fantasy second edition range, neither of which included the colour illustrations). Amazing as it was, I was disappointed to discover that it didn't contain the monsters from Scorpion Swamp or Seas of Blood, nor of the gamebooks which had been released in 1986-7. As the years went on, and as many more gamebooks, novels and multi-player scenarios appeared, OOTP became more and more dated, and I (along with many other FF fans it turned out) wanted a second (and third, fourth...) volume describing all those new creatures too.

It was beginning to look like this would never happen though, despite the resurgence of FF between 2002 and 2012 with the publication of some of the old gamebooks and six new ones by Wizard Books. But I hadn't reckoned on the energy and drive of Arion Games and one of our long time online FF buddies, Andy Wright (also known in FF circles as Greyarea13), who have teamed up to bring us what we've all been waiting years for - Out of the Pit II, or, as it is officially going to be known, Beyond the Pit. Hurray! I'll talk more about Andy's amazing work on documenting the monsters, creatures, villains and even plants of Titan in a later post, but all I can say right now is that the prospect of a book of FF monsters written by him is extremely exciting, as no-one knows more about them and the world of Titan than he does. There is just one tiny little hurdle to jump before we can get our hands on Beyond the Pit, and that's some up front cash to pay the illustrators for the wonderful pictures which need to accompany each monster description (we can't expect them to do it for nothing, and I think you'll agree that the illustrations are a must have). So Arion Games have launched a (very modest) Kickstarter to allow this to happen, with a minimum pledge of £1, and £22 for a soft cover version delivered to your door.

It looks amazing! So if you want to see this published, you know what to do - the goal of £3000 is very reasonable, and they're getting there, but every pledge will help. I can't wait to explore the darkest corners, deepest pools and nightmarish dungeons of FF once again!


  1. We are almost there with the funding, which is great. And the best thing about this KS is that the book is written, and i should get the layout completed next week. So, if we get funded, backers should get their books before the end of the year!

  2. Wonderful news so far! Thanks for the update, really appreciate your work on FF.