Saturday, 25 January 2014

The end is near. I hear a noise at the door, as of some immense slippery body lumbering against it...

Hang on, it's only the postman. Phew! They shall not find me after all. But what's that on the hall floor? A brown padded A4 envelope with an Arion Games label. Aaaaggghhhh! Yes, they are come. The nightmare creatures from Beyond the Pit have escaped and have found a way into our dimension - through the letter box. The letter box!

As I blogged about before, Beyond the Pit, by Andy Wright, is the first major brand-new Fighting Fantasy publication in a long time. And what a publication it is. Two-hundred-and-fifty FF monsters described in detail, complete with an illustration of each, from the original gamebooks or an excellent new one by Jason Lennox. The text is brilliantly written and full of details not only about the monsters themselves but about the world which they live in. We also get a (newish) map of Titan and treasure and encounters tables.

I haven't had a chance to read through the book yet but my favourite thing in it so far comes in the very first entry, AMAZON. Here we read that Amazons:
dwell in the mountainous wild east of the city-state of Kalamdar and other lonely places across Khul ... The identity of the Amazon Queen is a closely guarded secret, though there is a price on her head across the northern kingdoms of Kalamdar, Arion and Peleus.
Kalamdar, from the two-player FF adventure Clash of the Princes, is also listed alongside Fallow Dale and Arion as home to TRIBESMEN in northern Khul. Not only that, but Gundobad itself, where Clash of the Princes starts, is mentioned in the entries for FAIRY, SCUTTLIE and SHADE. At last we have an official FF publication which locates the lands of Clash of the Princes within Titan, indeed in northern Khul. This is something I argued for at length in my article in the very first issue of Fighting Fantazine; Andy was enthusiastic about the idea at the time and it's great to see Gundobad, Kalamdar and the lands around them finally brought properly into the FF fold.

I'll be reading Beyond the Pit properly when I get five minutes and I'll report on any other interesting things about the world of Fighting Fantasy that I find in there.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Fighting Fantasy LEGO!

Happy New Year all! Now that the pre-Christmas deadlines and Christmas itself are out of the way, I thought I'd better get back to the blog.

One of my childhood passions, long before I'd even heard of Fighting Fantasy, was Lego, especially classic space Lego. Birthdays, Christmas and summer trips were eagerly awaited so that I could get my hands on a new set or two. My interest in Lego waned in my later teenage years and 20s, but like many an FF fan in the same situation, I rediscovered Lego later in life, coming out of my 'dark ages' and becoming a proper AFOL (what's the FF equivalent I wonder - an AFOFF?). In the time I'd been away from Lego, it had changed dramatically, from a pretty basic set of bricks and building techniques, where all the characters had the same simple smiling face, to a much more complex array of pieces, complicated building procedures, and minifigures with all sorts of faces, fashions and accessories. You can now buy anything from a Super Star Destroyer to Helm's Deep, and when it comes to making your own creations (MOCs), the only limiting factors are your time, imagination and money, especially since you can source any amount of spare parts online.

Perhaps naturally enough, it has occurred to me that combining my passions for Lego and FF might be fun. But it turns out that I'm not the first person to think of this. Indeed, latter-day master of Fighting Fantasy Jonathan Green has seen the potential and has done some mini-MOCs of characters from his own FF books - see here, here and here for example. Great stuff, and certainly an inspiration to me to do the same sort of thing.

So I thought it might be fun to build some MOCs on an FF theme myself. The problem is that this takes a lot of time and more than a little bit of cash, to accrue the necessary bricks and to get things looking right. So I don't have any proper builds to offer you right now, but it is something I'm hoping for in the future, so watch this space. But in the meantime, I thought it might be fun to throw together a few simple dioramas based on FF, and to let you guess what I'm trying to represent. The first one, not polished by any means but pretty obvious anyway, is this:

Who's this tosser?
So can you work out what FF scene this is based on? 5gp to the person who gets it first!