18. “The Wizard of the Mountain of Fire” is the first book in which you are the hero

In the community of fans of the book You Are the Hero (LDVELH), you hold a special place: the one with which it all began. “ICONIC In fact, the Wizard of Fire Mountain should have been a work of illustration of what role-playing was like,” explains FibreTigre, author and specialist in interactive fiction.But it turned into something even more incredible…”

To discover the genesis of the books you are the hero of, you have to go back to the end of the seventies, in the United Kingdom. At Penguin Books, publisher Geraldine Cook has recently been assigned to the games department, which is gradually becoming unused: “I was in charge of the ‘games’ i.e. bridge and chess manuals… It was the most boring thing in the world but someone had to take care of it. to occupy it,” Remembered in 2014, during a conference on the occasion of the first Fighting Fantasy Fest, the festival dedicated to LDVELH. “At that time the penguin faced some financial difficulties. And there’s this new Dungeons & Dragons game, which promised great success, but which no one understood. So I thought, why not make a guide on how to play Dungeons & Dragons? “

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After a friend advised her, she called Ian Livingston and Steve Jackson. The latter, passionate about role-playing games and board games, runs the store Games Workshop It guaranteed the exclusivity of European distribution of the Dungeons & Dragons license, which then began to take off. Geraldine Cook approaches her, they think about the best way to move forward and then they think it will be interesting “To create an interactive book, because Dungeons & Dragons is an interactive game. We know that this interactive book, in fact, can be more exciting on its own than a guide that explains role-playing.”

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“Penguin Books publishers want, in a way, a ‘Que Sais-Je’ dedicated to Dungeons & Dragons.” Determines Viber Tiger. “And finally they tell themselves that what would be really cool would be doing “Que Sais-Je” with references to paragraphs and a combat system inspired by Dungeons & Dragons.”

If today the idea is not shocking, at the time it seems, at best, extravagant. Geraldine Cook encountered this bitterly when she proposed the concept of this gamebook to her boss: he was so taken in by a crazy laugh that he couldn’t answer her…then she decided to leave. For his Puffin classmates, Puffin’s children’s department. Penguin Books. The director was won over and the project was entrusted to another editor: Philippa Dickinson. “I was able to get it all figured out, because I had two little brothers at home who were annoying about Dungeons & Dragons”As it says in the book, you are the hero by Jonathan Green. “I spent my teenage years listening to them talk about being level 17 wizards or whatever…Armed with this “experience,” the editor is certainly the best, within Puffin Books, to accompany the curious project of Ian Livingston and Steve Jackson.

Once the green light was obtained, it took the two friends 6 months to produce the first manuscript of what was called the “magical mission” at the time. The scenario is very simple: the hero’s task is to infiltrate the lair of the fearsome sorcerer Zagor. The authors divide the work into two parts; Livingston devotes himself to the first part of the novel, in which the hero must advance into the dungeon under a mountain of fire, while Jackson writes the second part, leading the hero to confront his terrible opponent.

When Ian and I decided to break up fire mountain wizard, We agreed to include a river to cross in the middle of the adventure and then force all the readers to cross the river in the same place”Steve Jackson remembers in you are the hero . The authors also decided, for the first time in a game book, to implement a system of rules: it is one of the small additions that will make game books terribly addictive, allowing everyone to bond and learn.

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However, this distribution of work will end up presenting a problem: not only do the authors have a somewhat different style, but they did not use the same grammar system…it’s Steve Jackson who will finally be responsible for coordinating everything and rewriting the first part of the book. He takes the opportunity to permanently integrate his own rule system, giving the adventure hero properties based on skill, stamina and luck (moreover, it is this rule system that makes the difference with the series Choose your own adventurewas published in 1976, but there is no such random dimension in it).

For Philippa Dickinson, the tree structure of the book proved to be a real editing challenge: “Normally, we edit in a fairly linear fashion. When I encountered this object, I wondered how I was going to edit such a thing… The way I did it was that I used very large papers – wallpaper – to draw all the different options.” […] I needed to keep track of every progress and I had to make sure they had all options covered and there was no dead end… It was an interesting puzzle to make everything work.”

The last stone in the building is the choice of painters. The first, Peter Andrew Jones, produced the book’s iconic cover, representing a dragon emerging, in a cloud of smoke, from a magician’s crystal ball, while Ross Nicholson worked to fill the book with strange creatures.

in France,
In France, “The Wizard of the Mountain of Fire” will be reissued several times.

– Gilmard

The wizard of the mountain of fire It was finally published in August 1982. Sales were not exceptional at first, but the book you’re the hero of gradually took off thanks to word of mouth and became a real phenomenon on the playing field. Kids love it: During the first three months, the first book You’re My Hero was reissued three times, then twenty times within a year. The success is that Puffin Books quickly summons authors to create a collection: it will be fantasy fightknown in France under the name Fantasy Challenges.

  • If you want to know more about the emergence of the “Fantasy Challenges” group, meet on the 15th.
  • If you’d rather be reminded of the rules of the books you’re a hero, Go to 11.
  • If you are wondering how one can write a book in the shape of a tree, spin at 5.
  • If the legendary illustrations of the books you are the hero of have distinguished you and you would like to know more about them, meet at 3.
  • If you want to know more about how the first interactive stories came about through role-playing games, Head to 12.
  • But maybe you’d like to start from the beginning to take another path? In this case, Go back to 1.

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