- For other uses of Yaztromo, see Yaztromo
Gareth Yaztromo is arguably the most famous wizard of Allansia due to his part in a number of the most well known sagas of that region from the third century AC. He is also known as one of the three Star Pupils of the Grand Wizard of Yore.
His obvious potential for the magical arts led him to the door of the Grand Wizard of Yore, Vermithrax Moonchaser in around 228 AC. His contemporaries at that famed school of wizardry in the Forest of Yore were Arakor Nicodemus and Pen Ty Kora and together they became known as the Star Pupils, not only due to their prodigious talent but also due to the fact that all three of them never waivered from the path of humility unlike others introduced to the powerful world of magic.
Life After Yore
Like his fellow Star Pupils, Yaztromo began a period of traveling following his time in the school of the Grand Wizard. His wanderings took him across the majority of Old Allansia, from the Chiang Mai Kaypong border to the south of the Southern Plains, from Oyster Bay and the ruins of Balkash in the south-west to Trolltooth Pass and the edge of the Western Flatlands. These travels opened his eyes to the realities of the troubles that beset his homeland, and his chief fight became against the despair he felt at ever being able to achieve anything significant in the struggle against evil. However, his sense of purpose was restored by his experiences in Darkwood Forest.
Darkwood Forest, a vast remnant of the One Forest south of Stonebridge, was where Yaztromo chanced upon a Dark Elf raiding party that was assailing a number of Wood Elf huts. Yaztromo was quick to end the assault utilizing his magical skills, slaughtering eight Dark Elves in the process. The Wood Elves of Darkwood were jubilant and he remained with them for a while, learning all he could of the forest. Despite its reputation, Darkwood reminded Yaztromo of the Forest of Yore in many ways and he at one point planned to set up a magic school within it. However, its reputation was not unfounded and it occurred to the wizard that he could be the one to provide guardianship of the forest for the better of its inhabitants.
Life Within the Tower
Yaztromo rarely leaves the tower he loves, seated in his oak armchair, surrounded by his books, manuscripts and other ephemera as well as artefacts, animals (including his horse Stormheart) and birds. His knowledge of the affairs of Old Allansia is undiminished however for he has eyes and ears in the shape of the fauna of the forest. In particular, his pet crow, Vermithrax, named after his mentor, carries messages to and from the Dwarfs and Elves of the region and he has much contact with Nicodemus, his old friend.
Yaztromo is known to have been instrumental in the eleventh-hour destruction of the Dark Elves' ally Malbordus. He has grown old now, but Yaztromo is still a valuable stabilising influence on the region and is a significant encroachment on the ambition of that malevolent race.
He has built quite the reputation over he years, being known, respected and admired all over Allansia. Even the likes of Razaak and Zanbar Bone are wary of him, and take precaution to remove him as a threat. One by sending a Demonspawn immune to magic to capture him, the other by taking over his tower and attacking him with all his forces. He is famous for his great wisdom, his generosity and his immense powers; but also for his grumpiness, short temper, and sweet tooth.
Magical Items Vendor
As an aside, Yaztromo sells magical items and trinkets, and with the money he gleans from this he satisfies his sweet tooth by indulging in sugared cakes, of which chocolate ones has been said to be his favourite flavor.
Grand Wizard of Yore
Roles in the Fighting Fantasy Books
Yaztromo appeared in more Fighting Fantasy gamebooks than any other character (in fact, the series had very few recurring characters). He also appeared in the last two books of the Chadda Darkmane trilogy (namely Demonstealer and Shadowmaster), where he takes a more active role in events, and the Zagor Chronicles episode Skullcrag. He also has a cameo appearance in the introductionary part of Legend of Zagor, although there he is is only called by his first name, Gereth.
Yaztromo first appeared in the The Forest of Doom at its very opening where he provided potions and other magic items, as well as crucial information. The player had the option of attacking him, only to be turned into a frog. In Temple of Terror he provided magical spells as well. Later, he became more intrinsic to the adventure like in Return to Firetop Mountain, where he provided the crucial information to destroying the reincarnated Zagor, the gold necessary to buy mandatory items and the means to reach Firetop Mountain, but did not help the player throughout the adventure, as he was busy healing the citizens of Kaad from a plague caused by Zagor.
In a few books, Yaztromo plays a major role for example in Crypt of the Sorcerer - he is important throughout the book, as the hero is one of his friends. He tells them about the threat of Razaak, provides them with a Healing Potion, and guides them throughout the adventure, directing them to the dwarf Borry, inventor of the Hot Air Balloon, though he gets captured by a Demonspawn sent by Razaak, due to the demon being immune to his magic. After the hero is victorious, he saves them from the curse of Razaak's Sword.
Yaztromo plays a major role in The Port of Peril, and his tower serves as a central plot point. Indeed, Zanbar Bone is about to resurrect, and he decided to make it into his new lair. The Spirit Stalkers are channeling the Night Prince's arcane magic to slowly turn the tower black, and Yaztromo is powerless to stop it despite his best efforts. Also, they designed a cursed keystone of black granite which would resurrect Zanbar Bone if placed atop the tower after it turns entirely black. To his credit, the old wizard is not impressed the slightest when learning the news, stating that "if that piece of skeletal detritus thinks he is going to take over my tower, then he has another think coming!"
Yaztromo provides shelter to the Hero, provides them with intel about their foe from one of his books, and tends the wound of the female ninja tracker Hakasan Za. He gives the hero a power boost of their choice, 15 gold pieces and lend them his beloved horse Stormheart, guiding them in their quest to rescue Nicodemus from Lord Varek Azzur. During the final battle, he uses a very powerful Volcano Spell to destroy a plague of insects summoned by Zanbar Bone, and fends off his army of Skeletons warriors to back up the hero. It is he who advises Nicodemus to use White Fire to make Zanbar Bone vulnerable.
For an unknown reason the 25th Anniversary Edition of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, in the "Fighting Fantasy Collection" section, lists a Yaztromo as having been made by Clarecraft, despite a model of the wizard Yaztromo having never been part of the series of ornaments. Interestingly the book does not list two ornaments that were made (the Doragar and Hell Demon).
- Ian Livingstone named his favourite character from the Fighting Fantasy books as Yaztromo, his own creation who first appeared in The Forest of Doom.
- Yaztromo is sometimes given the title "Spellsinger".
- The Fighting Fantasy 10th Anniversary Yearbook states he was born just three months before Arakor Nicodemus (p. 107), and tentatively gives their year of birth as "214? AC" (pp. 62, 118), but elsewhere says that Yaztromo "was born well over seventy years ago – he won't reveal his true age to anyone!" (p. 56); the book was said to have been written in 285 AC (p. 12), only 71 years after 214.
- The Port of Peril - 241
- Titan - The Fighting Fantasy World - ???
- The Fighting Fantasy 10th Anniversary Yearbook - 156
- Richard Wood (Dave Holt ed.), "Yaztromo" from Fighting Fantasy: The Lexicon of Titan, 2006
- Temple of Terror - ???
- Eye of the Dragon - 400
- The Forest of Doom - ???
- Return to Firetop Mountain - ???
- Crypt of the Sorcerer - ???
- The Port of Peril - 333
- The Port of Peril - 241, 14
- The Port of Peril - 279
- The Port of Peril - 296
- 25th Anniversary Edition of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain - 224
- Shadowmaster - 78