Fighting Fantasy Gamebook
Location: Earth
References: 400
Publication Details
Author(s): Steve Jackson

Illustrator(s): Tim Sell (Puffin/Wizard versions)
Vlado Krizan (Scholastic version)
FF10 zigzag
Cover illustrator: Ian Miller
First published: November 22 1984
Number 10
ISBN: ISBN 0-14-031831-3
Previous Book: Caverns of the Snow Witch
Next Book: Talisman of Death
Wizard (Series 1)
Cover illustrator: Nicholas Halliday
First published: December 2 2002
Number 7
ISBN: ISBN 1-84046-417-8
Previous Book: Crypt of the Sorcerer
Next Book: Forest of Doom
Wizard (Series 2)
Ff9new sml
Cover illustrator: Nicholas Halliday
First published: June 3 2010
Number 9
ISBN: ISBN 1-84831-122-2
Previous Book: Night of the Necromancer
Next Book: Eye of the Dragon
Cover illustrator: Robert M. Ball
First published: August 3 2017
Number 5
ISBN: ISBN 1-40718-200-5
Previous Book: The Forest of Doom
Next Book: The Port of Peril

For other uses of House of Hell, see House of Hell

House of Hell is a single-player role-playing gamebook written by Steve Jackson, illustrated by Tim Sell and originally published in 1984 by Puffin Books. It was later republished by Wizard Books in 2002 and 2010, and again in 2017 by Scholastic Books with new illustrations by Vlado Krizan. It forms part of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone's Fighting Fantasy series. It is the 10th in the series in the original Puffin series (ISBN 0-14-031831-3) and 7th in the Wizard "Series 1" (ISBN 1-84046-417-8), 9th in "Series 2" (ISBN 1-84831-122-2), and 5th in the Scholastic series (ISBN 1-40718-200-5).


Main article: The House of Hell

A short version of the adventure was first published in issue 3 of Warlock, and titled The House of Hell. It was made up of 185 references and the adventure was altered for the shorter version. The "Fighting Fantasy News" section makes it clear that the adventure (and Caverns of the Snow Witch which preceded it) was always planned as a gamebook and simply shortened and modified for use in the magazine:

[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

Quite a few of the gamebook references were modified from the longer version, the news section noting of the Warlock version that "The rooms have been jumbled, there are some cunning secret passages to find and the important clues are in totally different places."[1]

Although his artwork now appears on the cover for The Citadel of Chaos, House of Hell was Ian Miller's first work for the Fighting Fantasy series with Steve Jackson signing him up through approaching Millar's agent at the time (Young Artists).[2]


Taking refuge in the infamous House of Hell has to be the worst mistake of your life!

The dangers of the torrential storm outside are nothing compared to the blood-curdling adventures that await you inside. Who knows how many hapless wanderers like yourself have perished within its gruesome walls? Be warned! Tonight is going to be a night to remember ...

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.

House of Hell - Back Cover ("Dragon" Edition)

The story begins with the player's car breaking down during a rain storm, forcing him to seek shelter in a nearby mansion. Little do they know that the mansion is actually a den of demon worshippers who are preparing an initiation ceremony tonight, and without first knowing so, the player ends up as yet one more potential sacrifice - unless they fall prey to the horrors within the house first.

The player's quest to escape the mansion is hampered by the presence of Satan-worshippers and various demons, though not all are entirely hostile. Much of the gameplay involves searching a series of rooms, most of which bears an obscure religious or satanic titles, including the Shaitan Room and the Mammon Room. If the reader is to be successful, they must survive an encounter with the house's Master.

How to Survive the House of Hell/Hints on Play[]

  • The book in general follows the original rules set down in The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (see Game System).
  • In the Wizard "Series 2" edition, instead of rolling the stats for a character as per tradition in Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, the player has the option of choosing a pregenerated character from three choices (see "Further Notes" below for choices).

Unique Rules[]

  • House of Hell uses a fear score in addition to the usual scores. Every time the player encounters some particularly disturbing event, they must add between 1 and 3 fear points to the total fear score. Once the character reaches the maximum score, determined at the beginning of the game, they will quite literally die of fright.[3]
  • The reader is unarmed at the start of the book and suffers a skill penalty of 3 points until they find a weapon.[4]

Equipment List[]

The player begins with no equipment or Provisions.

Cover and Illustrations[]

Warlock HH

Copyright page of 11th Impression of House of Hell with incorrectly spelt title for Warlock.[5]

Main article: House of Hell (illustrations)


The original cover of the book was designed and illustrated by Ian Miller.

When the book was republished by Wizard in 2002 a new cover was designed and illustrated by Nicholas Halliday. Their 2010 edition makes use of a section of the previous edition's cover art.

The 2017 edition featured a new cover by Robert M. Ball.

House of Hell Cover Variants
1984 1987 1989 1990 1993
FF10 zigzag Figfan10n 10 11 10 11 10 15
Dragon ver.I Dragon ver.II Dragon ver.III Dragon ver.IV
£1.751 £2.252 £2.503 £3.504 £3.995

2002 2002 2010 2017 2018
Figfan10r 10 V2(W1) 01 Ff9new sml HouseSch HOHSBC
Wizard Wizard
£4.99 £4.99 £5.99 £6.99 £6.99

  1. Price of 1st~4th Impressions; £1.95 for 7th Impression
  2. Price of 10th Impression (Warlock magazine title spelt incorrectly)
  3. Price of 11th Impression (Warlock magazine title spelt incorrectly)
  4. Price of 12th Impression
  5. Price of 14th~15th Impressions


Puffin/Wizard Editions[]


Paragraph 264 illustration later removed in reprints.

The interior illustrations were by Tim Sell. There were 30 full page illustrations and 6 minor repeated illustrations scattered throughout the text. The paragraphs with a full page illustration were: 1, 14, 27, 41, 56, 71, 85, 98, 112, 126, 139, 154, 168, 181, 195, 209, 222, 236, 250, 264, 277, 291, 305, 318, 332, 345, 358, 373, 387 and 400.

The original edition of the book (and the Warlock version as well as that too was illustrated by Tim Sell)[6] contains an illustration that was removed from subsequent printings. The illustration in question accompanied paragraph 264 and depicted a naked woman (with "artfully" arranged coverage) on an altar with blood on it. The result of the removal of the illustration was that paragraphs 255 through to 263 had to be moved about and spaced by additional minor pictures.

Scholastic Edition[]

The interior illustrations were by Vlado Krizan. There were 20 full page illustrations and 6 minor repeated illustrations scattered throughout the text. The paragraphs with a full page illustration were: 1, 41, 56, 85, 112, 126, 139, 168, 181, 195, 222, 236, 277, 291, 318, 332, 358, 373, 387 and 400. The full-page illustrations in the book were accompanied with a caption giving a short extract from the text.

Intertextual References[]

Other Media[]


Main article: House of Hell (Kindle)

A Kindle adaptation of the book was produced by Worldweaver Ltd and released in 2012.


Main article: House of Hell (film)

A film adaptation of the book was planned for release in 2012. It was not made.

Computer Game[]

Main article: House of Hell (mobile game)

An iOS/Android conversion of the book was produced by Tin Man Games and released in 2013.

Main Characters[]

YOU: Hero of House of Hell



Further Notes[]

  • The US version of the book, published by Dell/Laurel-Leaf, was titled House of Hades as the word "Hell" can be considered a profanity there.
  • House of Hell is Ian Miller's favourite cover for the range.[2]
  • Until the release of Blood of the Zombies in 2012, House of Hell was the only gamebook with a setting on 20th/21st century Earth.

Series 2 Additions[]


  • You must gain 8 Fear on the optimal path through the book. Therefore, you CANNOT complete the adventure successfully if you roll 1 or 2 when generating your Fear score.
  • If you go to sleep in the Erasmus Room, you wake up to find a drink by your bedside. However, before you leave that room, it is possible to encounter a Hunchback as he brings you the same drink in a later paragraph!
  • The Kris Knife does not specify that it is a WEAPON (and thus that it adds 3 Skill when used in a fight), unlike every other weapon found in the house.
  • Skill rolls are handled somewhat inconsistently in the text. The rules on p13 state that any rolls against Skill (outside of combat) should be made against Initial Skill, and this is explicitly stated as well in the Skill roll at (79). However, (34), (231) and (384) all also have Skill rolls unrelated to combat but, unlike (79), do not specifically mention rolling against your Initial Skill.


Puffin Edition[]

Helen, Martin and Pam[7]

Wizard Edition[]

Games Night —
to Clive, Ian, Mark, Peter and Skye.
May their Dinner Winnerships be few.
But always more than mine...[8]

Scholastic Edition[]


See Also[]


External Links[]


  1. Warlock Issue 3 - pg.4
  2. 2.0 2.1 Interview with Ian Miller at the Internet Archive record of Advancedfightingfantasy.com - Retrieved 2019-10-26
  3. House of Hell - pg.12
  4. House of Hell - pg.13
  5. Image taken from Fighting Fantasy Collector - Retrieved 2019-10-26
  6. Warlock Issue 3 - pg.44 (142)
  7. House of Hell - pg.5
  8. House of Hell - pg.5