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

Illustrator(s): Martin McKenna
FF50 Dragon Spine
Cover illustrator: Les Edwards
First published: July 30 1992
Number 50
ISBN: ISBN 0-14-036008-5
Previous Book: Siege of Sardath
Next Book: Island of the Undead
Wizard (Series 1)
FF16 Wizard SE
Cover illustrator: Martin McKenna
First published: November 6 2003
Number 16
ISBN: ISBN 1-84046-481-X
Previous Book: Sorcery! 4: The Crown of Kings
Next Book: Island of the Lizard King
Wizard (Series 2)

Return to Firetop Mountain is a single-player role-playing gamebook written by Ian Livingstone, illustrated by Martin McKenna and originally published in 1992 by Puffin Books. It was later republished by Wizard Books in 2003. It forms part of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone's Fighting Fantasy series. It is the 50th in the series in the original Puffin series (ISBN 0-14-036008-5) and 16th in the Wizard "Series 1" (ISBN 1-84046-481-X).


It is a sequel to the first Fighting Fantasy book, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, written to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Fighting Fantasy. It was originally planned to be the final book in the series, however due to its unexpected popularity Puffin published another nine books before they ended the Fighting Fantasy series.


Ten years on and Zagor lives!

The diabolical reign of the evil sorcerer, Zagor, was ended by a heroic adventurer who braved the countless perils of Firetop Mountain. By the power of dark sorcery, the crazed wizard has returned from the dead and intends to wreak his revenge upon all Allansia. Some brave adventurer – YOU! – must enter the forbidding labyrinth and bring justice once more to the lord of Firetop Mountain!

Part story, part game, this is a book in which YOU are the hero! Two dice, a pencil and an eraser are all you need. YOU decide which routes to take, which dangers to risk and which foes to fight.

Dare YOU return to Firetop Mountain?

The book fleshed out the details of Zagor and the area northern Allansia in the world of Fighting Fantasy. In The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, Zagor was portrayed as merely a reclusive warlock who is guarding the treasure chest in the heart of a mountain, and the player's objective is just to obtain the treasure by slaying Zagor. In this sequel, Zagor was instead portrayed as an Evil wizard who was once slain by a heroic adventurer years ago and is now resurrected, seeking revenge on Allansia. The reader takes the role of another adventurer, and this time his objective is not solely for the treasures, but to rid Allansia of the evil Zagor.

The reader must travel to Firetop Mountain and defeat the resurrected warlock Zagor. Unlike the first book the player must traverse the land to actually get to the mountain before facing its dangers. In addition, the second half of the mountain has been changed, giving the player no particular advantage from knowledge of the layout provided in The Warlock of Firetop Mountain. There are several references to the original book, which includes a case that housed an arrow in the original book is found to be empty and a trap involving a sword disguised as a lever also reappears.


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

Unique RulesEdit

The player begins the adventure with no Provisions.[2]

Equipment List[3]Edit

Cover and IllustrationsEdit

Main article: Return to Firetop Mountain (illustrations)


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

When the book was republished by Wizard the cover was once again re-worked, this time by Martin McKenna.

Originally I [Martin McKenna] drew Zagor smaller, showing more of his body, with his hands (or rather hand and stump) clawing either side of the peak. And a little army swarming out of a gateway at the base of the mountain. But it all seemed a bit clumsy. With everyone's approval (and blind faith) I just got stuck into constructing the final image, moving things around and developing the composition very organically until I got something I thought looked okay.

The printed version is a bit pale, losing some of the original bright colours. Unfortunately its shape had to be adjusted after I'd sent it off, and it's been extended to the right somewhat clumsily.

The "Special Limited Edition" of the Wizard version used gold embossing as opposed to the usual silver.

Return to Firetop Mountain through the years
1992 1993 2003 2003
FF50 Dragon Spine Ff50-1 FF16 Wizard SE
No. Spine Only No Bronze-Foil Wizard "Special
Limited Edition"
£3.991 £3.992 £4.99 £4.99


  1. Price of 1st Impression
  2. Price of 2nd Impression


The interior illustrations were by Martin McKenna. There were 30 full page illustrations and 5 minor repeated illustrations scattered throughout the text. The paragraphs with a full page illustration were: 1, 14, 28, 42, 60, 72, 87, 102, 118, 131, 144, 158, 169, 182, 194, 210, 222, 238, 249, 262, 277, 283, 291, 305, 318, 335, 347, 360, 371 and 398.

The black and white interior map was by Leo Hartas.

Intertextual ReferencesEdit

  • The character Zagor was a major recurring villain in Fighting Fantasy canon. First appearing in The Warlock of Firetop Mountain and The Trolltooth Wars prior to this book and later he also appeared in The Zagor Chronicles series of novels written by Ian Livingstone and Carl Sargent, and the later Fighting Fantasy gamebook based on the novels, Legend of Zagor.
  • In the encounter with the Inquisitor (18), the guardian of the path to the inner sanctum of Firetop Mountain, the player, if successful, is invited to peruse his library. Of the books in the library, five are named and two of these are titles of other books by Livingstone: Casket of Souls (which you do not get to read in the book), and Eye of the Dragon which had appeared as a short adventure in a non-Fighting Fantasy book.

Other MediaEdit

Main CharactersEdit

YOU: Hero of Return to Firetop Mountain



Further NotesEdit

  • Ian Livingstone makes a cameo appearance as the Inquisitor who had attended the School of Evil Magic, the School of Demonic Sorcery, and studied under the Necromancer Hellmoon before going into the service of Zagor and guarding the path to the inner sanctum of Firetop Mountain, in the illustration accompanying (262).[4]
  • Ian Livingstone dedicated the book to the crew that was sponsored by Games Workshop and won the "Daily Telegraph Ultra 30 Grand Prix UK Championship" in 1990 and 1991. In (238) there is a stylised illustration of this Ultra 30 boat.[5] The crew also appear, their names being "fantasy" versions of their real names. For example we have Ndroo (Andrew), Neel (Neil) and Fyll (Phil).
  • The fantasy anthology book Battle Magic uses the same cover art as the original Return to Firetop Mountain.


  • When the player leaves the Gorgon's lair after killing the creature, an incorrect reference to turn to is given. From (79), the book tells the player to turn to (352), but in fact they should turn to (209). Corrected in the Wizard edition.
  • The player is required to collect 4 teeth in the adventure. In actual fact there are 6 to be found, although one is just plain without a number. Since the player also has to collect pages of a tiny book in order to know how to use the teeth, the unnumbered tooth can be used (providing the player has it) as the book tells the player what the numbers are.
  • The "bronze tooth" is described as "silver" by the time you are abe to use it.
  • In (209) the pots seem to have been mixed up.
  • Before the last duel you "remove your armour" - does that mean skill points regained with the help of such items should be deducted?
  • At (375), the section leading to (132) reads, "If you want to enter the back room and have not done so already". However, once (132) has been investigated, the reader is forced to leave for (13) without given any additional choice to investigate (375).
  • (380) doesn't make much sense, especially if you have been forced there from (268) because of the Barbarian's condition.
  • You can't have a helmet in (65).


Puffin EditionEdit

To all members of my Ultra 30 Race Team
without whom
this book would not have been necessary!

Wizard EditionEdit

To Martin McKenna for bringing
Fighting Fantasy to life with his art

See AlsoEdit


External LinksEdit


  1. Return to Firetop Mountain - Back Cover ("Golden Dragon" Edition)
  2. Return to Firetop Mountain - p.12
  3. Return to Firetop Mountain - p.13
  4. 25th Anniversary Edition of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain - 221
  5. 25th Anniversary Edition of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain - 224~225