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Sorcery! is a gamebook series that is a spinoff of Fighting Fantasy, comprising four volumes. [1]

  • The Shamutanti Hills
  • Khare -- Cityport of Traps
  • The Seven Serpents
  • The Crown of Kings

You had the option of playing as a wizard or a warrior; wizards were given lower initial stats than warriors but could use the spell system, which consisted of three-letter codes the player had to memorise and various items involved in the casting of spells. The series was designed chiefly to be played as one epic, but each volume can be played separately. It was written by Steve Jackson (the British one).

The plot is as follows: the Kingdom of Analand is given a magical crown, the Crown of Kings, that is passed around each year to a different kingdom as it grants the power to rule wisely. But something wicked happened: one night, Birdmen have come to steal the Crown and took it to the cursed castle of Mampang, where rules the nefarious Archmage who has decided to rule over the land of Khakabad. Analand decides to send a single warrior/wizard in order to retrieve the Crown.

The first book has now been released by Big Blue Bubble as an Iphone Application, with the rest due to be relased throughout 2011 to 2012.


These books contain examples of:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Present in Kharé. If you're not careful, you can end up in them.
  • All There in the Manual: As noted above, the spellbook was originally printed separately from the gamebook itself.[2] Ultimately the books were reprinted with the spellbook included in the back.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The Red Eyes. Nasty little Jerkasses.
  • Body Horror: Most of the effects of the Mutant Meatballs.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: The Archmage tricks you into entering his prison tower of your own accord. When you run into his badass wizard form, he locks you up without killing you or even taking your belongings, giving you the opportunity to escape. Then, when you confront him for the second time, he's stuck in the weak form of Farren Whyde and is forced to assume his demonic form to fight you, enabling you to kill him while he's still extremely vulnerable.
  • Cast From Hit Points: How your magic works. The only other enemy who does this is a fox who can set itself on fire.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Several times, making for nice continuity between the books. In book 1 you fight a highway man; if you spare his life, he will meet you as an ally in the second book. Also in book 1, you can find a locket with a picture of a beautiful woman. If you look carefully at an illustration in the final book, this locket may just come in handy.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: When you encounter the wizard that appears to be the Archmage, he will do this to you regardless of whether you attack him with sword or spell.
  • Darker and Edgier: the books were aimed at older readers than Fighting Fantasy, and the writing and illustrations reflected this.
  • Demonic Possession: Although it's not specifically stated, it's heavily implied that the Archmage is actually a demon who possesses humans as People Puppets and gets them to do his bidding. You can raise Farren Whyde from the dead after the Archmage leaves his body, and he'll help you escape Mampang. Similarly, when you meet the wizard who you suspect of being the Archmage, he is never referred to as the Archmage, but rather the "spiky-haired fellow" or "the Sorcerer." When you confront him as Farren Whyde, he also refers to the Analander "knowing our secret", and being "more clever than any of us had imagined.".
  • Do Not Touch the Funnel Cloud: In The Seven Serpents, you meet a tiny tornado. Guess what happens if you touch it? That's right, you get sucked into it.
  • Doorstopper: The Crown Of Kings, which contains 800 freaking references. It is close to being the thickest gamebook ever.
    • In terms of the number of encounters and areas, the book isn't actually much bigger than your typical Fighting Fantasy gamebook. What makes it so large is the sheer number of times you have the opportunity to cast a spell. Each opportunity has five separate spell choices, and many of those require specific spell components to work. Numerous references are nothing more than instructions to deduct STAMINA and then being asked if you have the spell component you need.
  • Elemental Powers: The Seven Serpents, namely there are the Earth Serpent, Fire Serpent, Water Serpent, Moon Serpent, Air Serpent, Sun Serpent and the Time Serpent.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: And you know what makes it even cooler? Having the zombie explode and each of his body parts attacks you separately!
  • The Fair Folk: The Elvins in the first book. They are quite a nuisance, to say the least.
  • Fusion Dance: Fans have speculated on whether the Archmage might in fact be a fusion of the Netherworld Demon and the human sorcerer you meet in the prison tower. The human sorcerer is never referred to as the Archmage, but rather the "spiky haired fellow" or "the Sorcerer". When you confront him as Farren Whyde, the Archmage also mentions that you "know our secret" and are "more clever than any of us had imagined."
  • Gotta Catch Em All: In Book 3, The Seven Serpents. Guess what you need to find and kill. You actually have to slay only six of them, as the Sun Serpent is a Sealed Evil in a Can.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: In the fourth book, you meet a freaking huge Hydra with the heads of GODS in a cave. It has huge stats and if you manage to hit it, it will automatically strike back and cause injury to you. What you're supposed to do is lose a round and the Hydra will be revealed to be an illusion.
  • Inn of No Return: One in Khare, which serves up its customers in the stew.
  • Lethal Chef: A literal one. You will meet a female Goblin cook in the Mampang fort who will prove to be quite dangerous.
  • Magic Knight: You, if you play as a wizard.
  • McGuffin: The Crown of Kings itself.
  • The Millstone: Jann the Minimite. This little twerp will hang with you in the latter part of book 1. Why is it a problem? He has an aura that prevents you from using magic! Oh, and even though you eventually get rid of him at the end, he will return in book 4, preventing you from escaping from jail...
  • Nintendo Hard: Certainly not a pushover. This series was meant for an older audience than the regular Fighting Fantasy readers.
  • Old Save Bonus: Playing the previous books usually gives a huge advantage for the later ones, especially in the last book.
  • One-Winged Angel: The Archmage attempts one at the very end. It is not so cool.
  • Our Elves Are Better: Black Elves. They certainly think they are, and don't take kindly to being made fools of, despite how easy it is. They're also usually antagonists.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: You meet a big unfriendly giant in the Shamutanti Hills. And a spell lets you summon a Giant from a severed tooth!
  • Our Goblins Are Different: Not so much... except that by collecting their severed teeth, you can summon a Goblin from each one of them! Problem is, they're, ahem, quite weak fighters.
  • Playing with Fire: One of the most powerfull spells lets you cast a fireball.
  • Plot Hole: Incorrect use of the ZED spell in The Crown of Kings can send you as far back as the beginning of The Shamutanti Hills... with all your inventory, including several spell-casting items that you shouldn't be able to acquire for several books, intact.
  • Poisoned Chalice Switcheroo: You will meet a witch (who does NOT take no for an answer when she will invite you for a drink) who'll serve you a drink... and will test your trust by poisoning her own mug.
  • Portal Pool: In Kharé. They lead to the sewers.
  • Quicksand Sucks: One spell allows you to create quick-sucking quicksand.
  • Red Herring: Involving an actual fish. You see a fish in Kharé that seems to speak to you. If you try to listen to it, it will say things if you throw down gold pieces. You think these are important clues? They aren't.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: You are definitely not going to meet friendly reptiles here. Especially in the third book, where snakes will be part of your many problems.
  • Series Continuity Error: The bottle of gas you get given in The Seven Serpents has become a bottle of liquid by the time you use it in The Crown of Kings.
  • Squishy Wizard: More or less averted. Playing as a warrior will give you higher Skill points, but not that much higher than the wizard's.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Subverted in the first book, you can free a witch from being imprisoned by bandits. She will reward you with giving you a few items... and then summons a wooden golem to fight you just for the fun of it. Thanks a lot.
  • Unwinnable by Design:
    • Don't you dare let go of your beloved goddess. You will suffer the consequences.
    • Or fail any of the tasks to find the spell lines in Kharé.
    • Or follow the wrong way in the Mampang Fortress.
    • Or fail to get the secret of opening any of the Throben Doors.
  • Useless Useful Spell: So many cool spells! So little that you are given the option to use!
  • Violation of Common Sense: The Archmage offers you the Crown of Kings in return for your sword and the condition that you leave at once. Does this work if you take him up on it? Of course not, but somehow it doesn't get you killed and is in fact the most direct and harmless way to finish the encounter.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Each one of the serpents has a weakness: the Fire Serpent's is sand, the Water Serpent's is oil, the Moon Serpent's is fire, the Sun Serpent's is rain, the Air Serpent's is having his body destroyed and the Time Serpent's only weakness is a special spell owned by the Swamp Goblins.
  • Winged Humanoid: The Birdmen.
  • Wretched Hive: Kharé.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: In the Mampang castle, you will be stopped by a double-door engulfed in flames. It is an illusion that will only burn you if you believe it is real.

Notes

  1. The Sorcery Spell Book -- an illustrated version of the spellbook eventually provided as part in the other volumes was also published.
  2. The spell book was originally part of a boxed set with The Shamutanti Hills, but this went out of print because of retailer resistance to boxed sets at the time.
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