Spoiler Warning!!!: Plot and/or ending details of a Fighting Fantasy publication follow. Please DO NOT read this article if you do not want foreknowledge of this publication. Although the article below is based on canon, some of its content is considered extrapolation because it assumes a certain course of events through an adventure that has many possible routes. Finally, the use of "Hero" and other male- gender expressions pertaining to the subject in the article and/or title of the article is not intended to exclude the possibility that the hero was female.


The Archmage of Mampang was Lord of Mampang Fortress and creator of the Seven Serpents. He is often more simply referred to as "The Archmage"

The Archmage earned his title by being one of the most formidable magic users in the Old World, and indeed Titan itself. Unfortunately his power was a blight rather than a blessing to Titan as both his means and ends spoke of a strongly chaotic alignment. Usually depicted with dark hair growing long and untamed from deathly pale skin, the Archmage has an unkempt, enervated appearance. By contrast his clothing is almost royal - usually he is pictured garbed in voluminous robes lavishly adorned with arcane sigils, magical iconography and the like.[1]

He appears in The Sorcery! epic after seizing the Crown of Kings, a magical artefact of statesmanship circulated among the Old World countries. The seizure occurred when it was under the care of Analand, causing tumult and disgrace to that country.[2] Though this act of theft would have consummated the Archmage's power by completely uniting and empowering the chaotic region of Kakhabad beneath his rule, it instead proved to be his downfall.

History of The ArchmageEdit

Arrival in XamenEdit

Reportedly the Archmage came to High Xamen while in his late twenties, where his ambitions first manifested prominently the region with the construction of Mampang Fortress. To act as servants, labourers and henchmen, he gathered "unintelligent" servants of evil around himself. He may have simply overawed this array of creatures with his magical power, guaranteeing their obedience, however he would later strike deals with other races to secure their loyalty.[3]

The construction of Mampang was harried by Schinn Birdmen, who were unhappy with the rise of an evil mage in Xamen. The Archmage invited the Birdmen to attend a meeting with him on the pretence that the two of them could reach an agreement. However, in reality he had no such intention. Rather than any kind of reconciliation, the Archmage instead massacred the birdmen leaders deputed to the meeting and then entered into an agreement with a rival faction of birdmen, promising them an unfailing flow of gold and jewels in exchange for security against the Schinn faction. The Birdmen assented, and thereby secured the construction of Mampang Fortress against Schinn raids.[3]

Mampang EraEdit

Mampang fortress would prove to be a gigantic undertaking, and many years passed by during its construction. Eventually, however, it was completed on a plateau in Xamen, nestled in the hollow of a dead volcano.[4] For the next three or four decades The Archmage studied magic in Mampang, reportedly summoning Demons, making pacts and expanding his power. His servant's raids became more far reaching, and the shadow of Mampang's power continued to grow.[5]

Eventually, the Archmage came to a cave in high Xamen above the treetops of Avanti Wood and fought a two-day battle with a seven-headed Hydra. He emerged from the conflict with a huge scar and burns, but also with the Hydra's seven heads, which, drawing upon his arcane knowledge, he transformed into the Seven Serpents.[6]

The Seven Serpents became the Archmage's most trusted and most powerful servants, and occupied an elevated place among the now huge group of chaotics congregating under his rule in Mampang. The great citadel also attracted renegades exiled from their own lands, and even outcast sightmasters could be found there, to whom the Archmage had promised large tracts of Analand in exchange for their fealty.[7]

In order to make real his dreams of further power, the Archmage despatched birdmen to steal the Crown of Kings from Analand. With this artefact in posession he poses a severe threat to the rest of the Old World.

The Archmage's True NatureEdit

The entity known as the Archmage might never have actually been a man. At the end of The Crown of Kings gamebook it appears that The Archmage is in fact an unknown kind of Netherworld Demon possessing a man's body. [8]

In the course of the gamebook, the player encounters a man named Farren Whyde, who purports to be a Ruddlestone weapons specialist kidnapped and held captive by the Archmage who hopes to avail of his expertise.[9] In fact, Farren Whyde is the Archmage himself.[9] Whyde tells the player that the Archmage dwells in a different tower and that the tower Farren Whyde inhabits is a prison tower used to house particularly valued captives. Whyde's deception ultimately ends in the player's capture, but while in a cell the player meets Jann the minimite.[10]

The Minimite reveals that Farren Whyde was no weapons specialist, but the archmage himself, and refers to the Archmage as a "crafty demon".[11] The player must then travel back in time using either the zed spell or a Genie from a bottle given to him by the She-Satyrs. This affords him the opportunity of confronting Farren Whyde, resulting in Whyde collapsing onto the floor, apparently dead, while a Demon begins to manifest. The Demon must be defeated rapidly before it forms fully, or else it simply annihilates the player. Once the creature is defeated the player can resurrect Farren Whyde, who returns to life bewildered and amnesic.[12]

Whether this implies that "Farren Whyde" was always the Archmage or one of several bodies the Demon possesses is unknown. Likewise it is unknown whether the Archmage was always a Netherworld Demon, or was possessed by one during the course of his experiments with dark magic. None of his three most notable servants in The Crown of Kings (Cartoum the guard captain,[13] Valignya the assistant treasurer[14] and Naggamanteh the torturer)[15] give any hint that they are aware of the Archmage's true nature. Only the Serpent of Time remarks to the player that the Archmage is "not as he seems" and may be in disguise,[16] but this can simply refer to him posing as Farren Whyde.

Nevertheless, the Archmage being some kind of Netherworld entity might explain the powerful presence of the Dark Gods in Mampang - due to their protection even Libra's power could not penetrate the fortress.[17] It is also said that he communed directly with them. It was during one such communion that he was attacked by Colletus the holy man, resulting in the latter losing his sight.[18]

Given the Archmage's propensity for deception and dissimulation, it might be doubted that the player has actually killed him. However, at the conclusion of The Crown of Kings the text states that the Archmage is indeed dead.[19]

Defeating the Archmage in the GamebookEdit

Throughout the Crown of Kings there are effectively three encounters with the Archmage, in two he will always get the better of the player, either deceiving the player as Farren Whyde or defeating or capturing him as the undisguised Archmage. After being captured the player must travel back in time using either the zed spell or a genie picked up early in the course of the book from she-satyrs.[20] He can then meet Farren Whyde for the first time again and confront him with his true identity.[21]

It is then the player must fight the Netherworld Demon. This proves to be an anticlimax, as the creature is easily beaten. Partially manifested, it can be instantly killed by a zap[22] or hot[23] spell, but casting any other of the available spells will have no effect, and result in the Demon fully incarnating and crushing or incinerating the player. If the player chooses to fight the creature, it has skill and stamina 7,[24] and must be beaten within 5 Attack Rounds, or else, again, it will be fully formed and kill the player.[25]

After this he must either use a silver whistle to summon the Samaritans of Schinn, who will bear him airborne from Mampang, or resurrect Farren Whyde, who will use his own silver whistle to summon the Samaritans. Any other course of action will result in the player's death at the hands of Mampang's guardsmen.

Further NotesEdit

See AlsoEdit


  1. The Crown of Kings - Front Cover; Titan - The Fighting Fantasy World - 127
  2. The Shamutanti Hills - p.21
  3. 3.0 3.1 Titan - The Fighting Fantasy World - 243
  4. The Crown of Kings - 420
  5. Titan - The Fighting Fantasy World - 244
  6. Titan - The Fighting Fantasy World - 244-245
  7. The Crown of Kings - 302
  8. The Crown of Kings - 69, 210
  9. 9.0 9.1 The Crown of Kings - 69
  10. The Crown of Kings - 4
  11. The Crown of Kings - 69
  12. The Crown of Kings - 357
  13. The Crown of Kings - 43
  14. The Crown of Kings - 42
  15. The Crown of Kings - 251
  16. The Seven Serpents - 39
  17. The Crown of Kings - 439
  18. Titan - The Fighting Fantasy World - 126
  19. The Crown of Kings - 800
  20. The Crown of Kings - 503
  21. The Crown of Kings - 210
  22. The Crown of Kings - 683
  23. The Crown of Kings - 582
  24. The Crown of Kings - 107
  25. The Crown of Kings - 351
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