Fighting Fantasy Gamebook
Location: Allansia, Titan
References: 400
Publication Details
Author(s): Ian Livingstone

Illustrator(s): Gary Ward &
Edward Crosby (Puffin/Wizard versions)
Robert M. Ball (Scholastic version)
FF9 Zigzag.jpg
Cover illustrator: Les Edwards
First published: October 24 1984
Number 9
ISBN: ISBN 0-14-031830-5
Previous Book: Scorpion Swamp
Next Book: House of Hell
Wizard (Series 1)
Cover illustrator: Les Edwards
First published: April 7 2003
Number 10
ISBN: ISBN 1-84046-432-1
Previous Book: Sorcery! 1: The Shamutanti Hills
Next Book: Sorcery! 2: Kharé - Cityport of Traps
Wizard (Series 2)
Cover illustrator: Robert M. Ball
First published: September 5 2019
Number 13
ISBN: ISBN 1-407188-47-8
Previous Book: The Gates of Death
Next Book: Kharé - Cityport of Traps

For other uses of Caverns of the Snow Witch, see Caverns of the Snow Witch

Caverns of the Snow Witch single-player role-playing gamebook, written by Ian Livingstone, illustrated by Gary Ward and Edward Crosby and originally published in 1984 by Puffin Books. It was later republished by Wizard Books in 2003, and again in 2019 by Scholastic Books with new illustrations by Robert M. Ball. It forms part of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone's Fighting Fantasy series. It is the 9th in the series in the original Puffin series (ISBN 0-14-031830-5), 10th in the Wizard "Series 1" (ISBN 1-84046-432-1) and 13th in the Scholastic series (ISBN 1-407188-47-8).


Main article: Caverns of the Snow Witch (mini-ff)

A short version of the adventure, made up of 190 references, was first published in Warlock magazine.[1] The "Fighting Fantasy News" section of the same issue however made it clear that the adventure (and House of Hell which followed it in the next issue) was always planned as a gamebook and a shortened and modified version for use in the magazine was created:

[They] were originally intended to be the next two gamebooks, but we decided to give readers a taste of what was to come by publishing shortened versions in the magazine. The full adventures, which are very different from the Warlock versions – and twice as long – have been completed.

Warlock Issue 3 - pg.4


The dreaded Snow Witch of Allansia plans to dominate the world!

Deep within the Crystal Caves of the Icefinger Mountains, the dreaded Snow Witch is plotting to bring on a new ice age. A brave trapper dies in your arms and lays the burden of his mission on your shoulders. But time is running out — will YOU take up the challenge?

Two dice, a pencil and an eraser are all you need to make your journey. YOU decide which way to go, which dangers to risk and which monsters to fight.

Caverns of the Snow Witch - Back Cover ("Dragon" Edition)

The book is split into three distinct parts. In the first part, the reader is hired to kill a Yeti that has been disrupting trade routes in the Icefinger Mountains of Allansia. After killing the Yeti, the player finds a dying trapper who tells him of the great riches to be found in the caverns of the Snow Witch, an Evil sorceress who dwells in the mountains. The player sets off to investigate the caverns, meeting up with two other adventurers along the way: Redswift the Elf and Stubb the Dwarf. The three companions infiltrate the caverns, fight their way through guards and monsters, and kill the Snow Witch.

In the second part, the three of them must escape the caverns while being pursued by the Snow Witch's minions. Along the way they encounter many traps, several guards and even the spirit of the late Snow Witch herself.

In the third part, the three escape from the caverns and return to civilised, temperate parts of Allansia, only to find that the Snow Witch has cast a Death Spell on them, which they will slowly succumb to. After Redswift perishes, the reader must seek out Pen Ty Kora, a reclusive healing wizard, to cure him of the spell, while his stamina score gradually dwindles away. If the reader has certain items from the Snow Witch's cavern, and can pass a series of ordeals, he will be cured of the spell and successfully complete the gamebook.

Fighting Monsters/Equipment and Potions/Hints on Play[]

The book in general follows the original rules set down in The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (see Game System).

Equipment List[2][]

Cover and Illustrations[]

Main article: Caverns of the Snow Witch (illustrations)


The original cover of the book was designed and illustrated by Les Edwards.

When the book was republished by Wizard a new cover was designed and illustrated by Les Edwards. There were some changes made between his initial sketch and the finished version:

You'll see some differences. The bird headdress has gone as no-one felt that it was working very well so it was decided to lose it. Ian felt that a little more in the way of the gothic was called for so the magic baton was added.

Also she has acquired a long dress as opposed to the "bikini". It was felt that there was too much female flesh and that this might shock our young readership.

In 2019 a new cover was created by Robert M. Ball for the Scholastic Books edition.

Caverns of the Snow Witch Cover Variants
1984 1987 1989 1990 1993
FF9 Zigzag.jpg Figfan09n.jpg
Dragon ver.I Dragon ver.II Dragon ver.III Dragon ver.IV
£1.751 £1.952 £X.xx £3.503 £X.xx

2002 2002 2019
Figfan09r.jpg 09 V2(W1) 01.jpg COTSWSB.jpg
Wizard Scholastic
£4.99 £4.99 £6.99

  1. Price of 1st~2nd Impressions; £1.95 for 5th~6th Impressions
  2. Price of 7th Impression; £2.25 for 8th Impression (some copies of the 8th impression are priced at £2.50)
  3. Price of 10th Impression


Puffin/Wizard Edition[]

The interior illustrations were by Gary Ward and Edward Crosby. There were 32 full page illustrations and 5 minor repeated illustrations scattered throughout the text. The paragraphs with a full page illustration were: Background, 13, 26, 37, 50, 59, 75, 83, 88, 96, 106, 115, 125, 154, 168, 180, 190, 198, 212, 223, 235, 254, 262, 278, 288, 297, 319, 328, 348, 365, 374 and 398.

Scholastic Edition[]

New interior art by Robert M. Ball was used in the Scholastic 2019 reprint. There were 19 full page illustrations and 5 minor repeated illustrations scattered throughout the text. The paragraphs with a full page illustration were: 26, 37, 59, 83, 96, 106, 125, 154, 180, 190, 212, 223, 235, 288, 297, 328, 348, 365, and 398. The full-page illustrations in the book were accompanied with a caption giving a short extract from the text.

Intertextual References[]


Whilst Caverns of the Snow Witch was originally the ninth book in the series, it is the chronological prequel of The Forest of Doom, the third book. The quest for King Gillibran Ironhelm III's war hammer, which is the basis of the plot of The Forest of Doom, begins in this book.[3] Also - depending on reader interpretation - Temple of Terror forms a further sequel.

Other Media[]


d20 System Conversion[]

Main article: Caverns of the Snow Witch (d20)

There is a D20 System conversion by Myriador released in ????.

Main Characters[]

YOU: Hero of Caverns of the Snow Witch



Further Notes[]

  • 24 instant failures, 1 victory, plus death by Stamina loss or bad luck.


  • At (212) you fight two Snow Wolves, whose stats are listed in unusual order. Therefore, it is unclear if just the Skill/Stamina headers are switched (and therefore the Wolves are Skill 7 and Stamina 8/7) or the whole stat columns are switched (and therefore the Wolves are Skill 8/7 and Stamina 7 both).
  • When you meet the Crystal Warrior the player is asked if they possess a warhammer. If they do, they must proceed to battle the creature. If they don't, they are sent to another section and asked whether they have a Genie friend who can help them to avoid the fight, which means avoiding any loss of time or stamina. So bringing the warhammer along is actually a penalty. Furthermore, if you defeat the Crystal Warrior, the option to become invisible is never brought up again, even though it would be applicable and greatly useful in a number of later encounters.
  • Similarly to the Genie situation above, if you have acquired an item that can summon a warrior - it can only be used in one particular encounter (and with negligible benefit at that), while it would stand to reason that you should be able to summon one of the fighters on the list in (313) to any one single battle of your choice.
  • At (26) and the following section, you can only passively observe while you're being shot at while crossing a river - a development that doesn't make much sense if you have acquired a shield.
  • At (178) you are asked if you are wearing a helmet. However, the only way to have the helmet is if you have NOT drunk the Healing potion - without which you wouldn't be able to survive to this point of the adventure.
  • In an error not present in the original printing (or the Wizard re-release), with the seventh impression of the book (the first Golden Dragon printing in 1987), (154) links to (185) if you haven't drunk the dragon's egg concoction. However, it this should link to (333). This error is still present by the twelfth impression.
  • The map in the Scholastic edition mis-spells Salamonis as "Salamons".


Puffin Edition[]

For Dave, John, Maurice, Rob, Skye
and Steve of the Lads' Night Inn[5]

Wizard Edition[]

For Hannah[6]

Scholastic Edition[]


See Also[]


External Links[]


  1. Warlock Issue 2 - pg.22
  2. Caverns of the Snow Witch - pg.16
  3. Caverns of the Snow Witch - 400
  4. 25th Anniversary Edition of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain - pg.240
  5. Caverns of the Snow Witch - pg.5
  6. Caverns of the Snow Witch - pg.5