When I was young I used to hate this book. Just because I thought the cover was one of the ugliest thing ever. The one made by Emanuel. Yep, I was pretty superficial back then, I judged a book by it's cover, and the interior illustrations too! I always needed some awesome monsters and dangerous dungeon. If I didn't have that... of course, I had a lot less money back then, so I couldn't afford all the books, I had to be picky. Eventually though, one day I had a weakness and went and bought it, even though the cover was still ugly (and still is today). I thought I really can't go wrong with a classical romp through a citadel written by the one and only Steve Jackson. I thought back then that the adventure was ok, nothing special and very easy. Of course, back then I cheated like a bastard, even going as far as just picking the right object in the right situation, be damned if I even knew where it came from. Recently I replayed it with new eyes, with less cheating, and while I still don't enjoy it as much as say, it's predecessor, I recognized how hard this novel can turn out to be, having met my demise several times at the hands (heads?) of the Ganjees. Plus, I didn't remember how entertaining the battle agains Balthus Dire was. Overall a good book, with nice artwork by Russ Nicholson, but not as classic to me as Warlock. Story-wise, though, it's a step above.
Wanted to add: Funny thing, after having bought it the first time (in French: La Citadel du Chaos) I ended up owning a second copy of the book in french, a first edition I believe, because someone forgot his book in the lunch room at my old job. The book stayed there for a long time... then it was MINE. You know the rules. Only recently have I acquired it in English, the first Wizard re-edition and now, the second one... I know... I'm obsessed.
I hope so Wilf! We need a new generation of players... I fully intend to initiate my son to the books as soon as he's old enough!
Your story reminded me that, fairly recently, I've seen in a bookstore a lone copy of the new Deathtrap Dungeon. I was like, WTF? But in a good way. Nearly shed a tear! I kinda wished that copy good luck if you know what I mean...
Post by thealmightymudworm on Oct 13, 2013 11:49:19 GMT
Poor lonely Deathtrap Dungeon!
I have seen exactly five of the new FF books in the shops, ever (and all of them in branches of WHSmiths): Two Warlocks, one Citadel (bought for my nephew), one Deathtrap, and one Stormslayer (bought for me).
I remain horrified by the distribution and marketing the range has received since September, and still do not believe the range will survive as far as April 2010. I genuinely fear Night Of The Necromancer will become for Wizard what Bloodbones became for Puffin.
I, too, I'm afraid for the future. I hope Night of the Necromancer gets released, at the very least. One last swan song.
I was hoping the DS game would bring more young ones into the fold, but seeing that the game is not a major success, mostly due to bad marketing (because people playing so far are liking the game), I'm afraid it won't happen. Still, some have expressed interest in buying the books, in one form or another. But a few new readers won't save the series, unfortunately.
Post by thealmightymudworm on Oct 13, 2013 11:51:20 GMT
I think we'll see releases throughout next year and maybe the year after. But after that I just don't know if it has the legs to survive with Wizard's none-existent marketing. However, we should continue this discussion somewhere other than the Citadel of Chaos thread
Post by thealmightymudworm on Oct 13, 2013 11:54:58 GMT
I suspect they were losing steam, and so had something of a hiatus to re re-launch the series. Hence the Wizard Series 2 is not just a repackaging, like green zig-zag changing to golden dragon, but a whole relaunch again. Yes, it's stupid and yes, it sucks. And without any kind of major distribution or advertising campaign it's also something else: Incredibly pointless.
Post by thealmightymudworm on Oct 13, 2013 11:56:10 GMT
Poor lonely Deathtrap Dungeon! I have seen exactly five of the new FF books in the shops, ever (and all of them in branches of WHSmiths): Two Warlocks, one Citadel (bought for my nephew), one Deathtrap, and one Stormslayer (bought for me). I remain horrified by the distribution and marketing the range has received since September, and still do not believe the range will survive as far as April 2010. I genuinely fear Night Of The Necromancer will become for Wizard what Bloodbones became for Puffin.
I saw one copy of each at Ilford's WH Smith, but they also had at least ten or so Wizard 1s, so they at least seem to like stocking them. However, I'm not buying any Wizard 2s until Night comes out (and certainly not until I complete my Puffin collection), because I only got the Wizard 1 Warlock, Citadel and Deathtrap during the last four months!
"Your progress has been watched, foul creature of destruction!"
Post by thealmightymudworm on Oct 13, 2013 12:20:42 GMT
I'm working through playing some of the earlier books in the old Penguin range, and for some reason I decided to try Citadel of Chaos again. Oh man, it's a cruel book! I was glad to see to see that the author of that Turn to 400 blog also felt that the logic behind the special items was more than a little random! I rarely ever got past the Ganjees! Now it's a case of going back and finding the wretched tumbler combination to the quarters of Mr BD.
It's really interesting to watch the development of magic through the FF books (and Sorcery!) - especially with this book and Forest of Doom, where the concept of expandable spells and potions are interchangeable.
Is the Magic rating ever "tested" in the book or is it always just a capacity limit to the number of spells retained?
I love the Russ Nicholson art to an almost unhealthy level of appreciation!
Post by thealmightymudworm on Oct 13, 2013 12:22:24 GMT
Ah yes, the only FF book to have it's original cover art painted by a 70s erotica film. Too bad Barbarella turned down the opportunity to paint the one for Forest of Doom.
I found it easier to immerse myself in Citadel of Chaos than I did in Warlock. Balthus Dire, being less of a recluse than Zagor was, mixes more readily with other nefarious types. As the Citadel is such a den of criminals, it's easier to reason why the various characters are there. It's also easier to see the logic in locations such as the kitchen, wine cellar and even the gambling hall. (Hell, I'd even have accepted a shop of sorts for this book... Perhaps a Go Outdoors or a Millet's so that I could buy a fleece). There are still a few areas that could've been tweaked though, such as giving the troll(?) children a nanny; giving the scouts something better to do than "sitting on the bare floor" or providing some religious lore to give some background to the mysterious chalice room.
The illustrations are almost as good as the ones in Warlock, with the sordid campfire scene, the (seemingly eyeless) man in pain and the Dark Elf being particularly atmospheric. I would've warmed to others - such as the tentacle and the Hydra - more if they'd been 'lit' better (ie. with more thoughtful use of shadow).
I recently took a look at the 'orphan' paragraph (258) that Sunil060902 mentioned ages ago in this thread. I had no idea that this existed. It seems to be a consequence for the encounter with the troll boys, but the option from paragraph 64 was left out - presumably - in error. (What is the diminutive term for a troll anyway? Trollette? Trolling? Trolley?) I'll have to take a look at the Wiki to see if there's any mention of 258.
Citadel of Chaos is also a great book to play as a first-timer. Like Gallicus I'm a primary school teacher too. I've always steered as many children as possible towards FF. They are great for encouraging able yet reluctant readers to get enthusiastic about books. As my current class are all special needs, the text used in FF is too hard for them to read independently, but I tried a new tactic this term... We're playing some together. I started them off on Forest of Doom and we're into Deathtrap Dungeon at the moment. Options chosen are all done in a democratic frenzy. They often get frustrated that they're limited to the options in the text, such as the time in City of Thieves when the class found a bottle of liquid on a thief. The options given are to drink it or leave it, but one of the girls piped up, "Can't we find someone weak, hold them down and force them to drink it?" I laughed nervously. We've yet to explore Citadel of Chaos, but perhaps we will next term.
Post by thealmightymudworm on Oct 13, 2013 12:23:24 GMT
...City of Thieves when the class found a bottle of liquid on a thief. The options given are to drink it or leave it, but one of the girls piped up, "Can't we find someone weak, hold them down and force them to drink it?" I laughed nervously.
Love the "innocent" meanness of that little girl (well, I assume she's little)! I hate it when the options don't make much sense (taken from a safe point of view) like that bottle of liquid. Drink it or leave it? Why can't I just carry it for later? Maybe someone could inform me on what it does. The glass orb in - I think it was - Crypt of the Sorcerer. Break it or leave it. Seriously? Or other stupid stuff like the Iron key in Return to Firetop Mountain (and some others too) stating: you memorize the number on the key then move on. It's engraved on the goddamn key!! Why should I bother memorizing it?
Post by thealmightymudworm on Mar 21, 2014 19:15:41 GMT
From TUFFF (August 2013 - originally a separate thread)...
FAVOURITE ENCOUNTERS 2) The Citadel of Chaos
I enjoyed reading the Warlock of Firetop Mountain section on FAVOURITE ENCOUNTERS so I thought I'd see if anyone was interested in progressing through the books. Might as well try and go in order - even the weakest books have memorable encounters.
NB I'll be going from memory that in some cases may have to stretch back a long time as all of my books bar 6 are at my parents' house on the other side of the world.
My favourite encounter in Citadel of Chaos is the little dinner party that you interrupt in the courtyard for these reasons:
A) the suggestion of 'realism' it gave me. The citadel isn't just a castle of nasties - the inhabitants are always doing something - cooking, socialising or just having a lie-in in a sumptuous bed. COC is really good at this throughout I think
B) The evil dwarf. I hate some of the more rigid guidelines and rules in fantasy. Elves are nicely divided into categories of good/evil/neutral but every dwarf has to fit the stereotype of earthy, gruff grumpy but loveable and ultimately 'good' warrior.
C) The diversity of the party in general (goblin, orc, dwarf was there another?) and the fight itself. It's a perfect little warm-up battle that gets your blade wet without being difficult.
D) Russ Nicholson's evocative illustration that ties it all together
That was the first one that sprang to mind so I've gone with it as an honest response.
'Cooler' scenarios that I love and would have chosen include:
- Racknee and the golem - the ganjees - the dog-ape and ape-dog - the black elf, his wine cellar and the weird pocket-knife weapon he has
I was all about Livingstone hack-and-slash when I was a kid but these days it's the surreal and inventive scenarios that usually grab my attention. Steve Jackson is pretty damn good at them.
A female Goblin who appears to be romantically involved with the other Goblin. Which is another nice detail.
I also like the variety of ways in which the climactic confrontation with Balthus Dire can go. Much better than the 'multiple item checks leading to tough fight' narrow path approach that became all too common in later books.
Adventure Gameblog: more gamebook playthroughs than you can shake a Y-shaped stick at. FF every Wednesday.
From a lowly adventurer trying his luck in the depths of Firetop Mountain, Mr Jackson brings us one of the most powerful heroes you can begin with to the Black Tower of the Craggen Heights. Seriously, that is quite a step. Pit a maxed out adventurer of SK 12, ST 24 against the star pupil of the Wizard of Yore at SK 7, ST 14, i'd pick the spellcaster any day. That's not just because Magic is awesome but, also because Magic is AWESOME. There's so much a wizard can achieve through the art of magic that obstacles struggle to stand in his way. But that's not a bad thing as you'll be feeling thoroughly satisfied plonking spells on everyone and everything's head.
At least that's how it is for experienced FF readers. For those unfamiliar with Citadel of Chaos, even with your vast array of spells, you will need to be alert and watch your step as many denizens of the Black Tower will catch you off guard. The first encounter with the Dog-Ape, Ape-Dog is an iconic one that immediately sets up the quirky tone of Steve Jackson's storytelling. There's always been something about the illustration that i've found unsettling. That famous art piece The Ambassadors that features a human skull flattened and shown at an angle at the bottom of the painting apparently bearing no significance to the rest of the picture, disturbs me in the same way the Dog-Ape, Ape-Dog does simply because 'I don't know why'. As with Warlock, Russ Nicholson really does an excellent job in his illustrations; so much drama and detail.
I consider the Iron Cyclops of Firetop Mountain to be the 'introductory monster' to the world of Titan. It was something fresh and not done before. Here in Citadel come a lot more: Wheelies, Rhinomen, Miks, Ganjees and others, all unique and full of character that proves you don't have to have a massive background on something to make it special and memorable.
And i guess i can't not include a few words on the final battle. To be honest, there's not much more i can say that others haven't already said. The presentation of the battle is flawless and should have been how epic battles are handled from then on. But we all know how that ended up.
The magic system is presented well and is simple to learn, the options given to you when dealing with encounters are wonderfully entertaining, and yet you can get through this adventure feeling somewhat unfulfilled. It is rather unfortunate that the book's strengths are also it's downfalls - the adventure is simply too short. You can possibly win with only collecting 2 items/information, and choose 5 correct spells. The level of danger fails to come through in such a short time of play largely due to most of the paragraphs are being used to make the encounters so interesting. Even the 'long way' where you can get captured doesn't make the adventure seem any longer.
Where Warlock felt like a classic trudge through a labyrinthine mountain, Citadel feels like a very entertaining trip to the attic. Still, the fun rating is high, the experience is fresh, and makes it a decent follow up from book 1.
I have only just cottoned on to what you are talking about. You a mean a test your magic roll like a test your luck roll. The roll for the number of magic spells at the beginning is simply to generate the number of spells you can take with you. It is not at all like the generate your luck score which shows how innately lucky you are in an incremental sense. The magic spell number could belong to a mediocre wizard or a Raistlin like wizard but all we know is some wizards have a better memory than others. Fortunately it is fine to roll a double 1.
I agree with the choice of spells in Champskees solution. A 7/14/7 avatar needs the 8 spells otherwise it can be a bit tricky. The 2 Magik repeats of a certain spell is very useful for the essential golden fleece which can trip you up when you only have a 7 luck. The stamina spell is helpful as sometimes I run a little low after the fight around the campfire.
If you want to get him interested in one, my third brother did not like Fighting Fantasy, but he was interested by Demons of the Deep when he was that age - I suppose it was the pirate theme that interested him. Anyway, it's a gentler introduction to the concept than Citadel, better designed and with different successful endings.
My fourth brother was definitely interested in Black Vein Prophecy, but I think that that one is quite esoteric.