Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks
Location: Arrowhead Islands, Titan
References: 400
Publication Details
Author(s): Dave Morris &
Jamie Thomson

Illustrator(s): David Gallagher
FF43 Dragon spine
Cover illustrator: David Gallagher
First published: October 4 1990
Number 43
ISBN: ISBN 0-14-034137-4
Previous Book: Black Vein Prophecy
Next Book: Legend of the Shadow Warriors
Wizard (Series 1)
Wizard (Series 2)

For other uses of The Keep of the Lich-Lord, see The Keep of the Lich-Lord

The Keep of the Lich Lord is a single-player role-playing gamebook written by Dave Morris and Jamie Thomson, illustrated by David Gallagher and originally published in 1990 by Puffin Books. It forms part of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone's Fighting Fantasy series. It is the 43rd in the series in the original Puffin series (ISBN 0-14-034137-4). There are currently no announced plans to republish this book as part of the Wizard series, although it was later reprinted in a modified form as a stand-alone entry in the Fabled Lands gamebook series.


I submitted several story proposals (along with Jamie Thomson, my co-author) and that was the one they liked. I don't think it was the strongest one. I'd have rather done Keeper of the Seven Keys.

The manuscript got sent back by Marc Gascoigne because there were too many cut and paste sections - including about fifty paragraphs spent searching a cemetery. I agreed with Marc; those bits were tedious. I rewrote a big chunk of the book and I'm happy to have my name on the finished version.

... the original manuscript for Keep of the Lich Lord was heavily cut at Marc's request, and I then added extra stuff until it was up to length.[1]


Lord Mortis has risen!

Clawing his way back from the grave, the foul Lich-Lord has once again set his sights on the Arrowhead Islands. Allying himself with the Chaos pirates of Blood Island, he threatens to bring the Varadian Alliance under the cruel domination of his undead armies. They have already taken Bloodrise Keep, a key point in the defence of the islands, and soon nothing will stand between Mortis and victory.

A cunning and fearless warrior is needed for a vital mission to enter Bloodrise Keep and over-throw Lord Mortis - a warrior like YOU!

Part story, part game, this is a book in which YOU become 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.

An undead knight has escaped from his crypt and overrun a castle on the Arrowhead Islands (which lie east of the continent of Khul) from where he plans to begin a campaign of conquest with his army of zombies. The player is set the task of assassinating this Lich-Lord.


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

Unique RulesEdit

  • A new attribute is resolve which determines if the player is paralysed by panic at encountering a member of the undead. This is a 1d6 plus 5 roll. The player is asked to Test Your Resolve in a manner exactly the same as Testing Your Luck. The resolve score can fluctuate, dropping as low as 2 and rising as high as 12. These values can not be exceeded.[3]
  • If the player manages to penetrate Bloodrise Keep then an alarm value comes into play. This begins at 0 and can increase or decrease depending on player actions and represents the amount of noise and disturbance created by the player.[4]

Equipment List[5]Edit

Cover and IllustrationsEdit

Main article: The Keep of the Lich-Lord (illustrations)


The original cover of the book was designed and illustrated by David Gallagher. The cover of the Fabled Lands version was by Kevin Jenkins.

The Keep of the Lich-Lord through the years
1990 1993 2014
FF43 Dragon spine
No. Spine Only No Bronze-Foil Fabled Lands
£3.501 £? £?


  1. Price of 1st~3rd Impressions


The interior illustrations were by David Gallagher. There were 27 full page illustrations and 6 minor repeated illustrations scattered throughout the text. The paragraphs with a full page illustration were: 5, 13, 25, 36, 46, 48, 68, 76, 95, 110, 127, 133, 144, 187, 193, 198, 216, 250, 265, 272, 285, 313, 330, 334, 358, 383 and 395.

The colour map on the inside front cover was by Leo Hartas. For the Fabled Lands edition it was reproduced in whole in black and white on an interior page (p.12) and in part in colour on the back cover.

Intertextual ReferencesEdit

The book includes a reference to Jamie Thomson's earlier book Sword of the Samurai. At the beginning of the adventure the player can come across an inn called The Sword of the Samurai.

Other MediaEdit

Main article: The Keep of the Lich-Lord (iOS game)

An iOS conversion of the book was produced by Megara and released in 2012.

Main CharactersEdit

YOU: Chosen of Lhyss



Further NotesEdit

  • Like the inn mentioned above ("Intertextual References"), another is also the title of a book by one of the authors, in this case Dave Morris' Down Among the Dead Men.


  • The Arrowhead Islands and the Varadian Alliance are sometimes referred to as the Delphic Islands/Alliance, hinting at a name change.
  • It makes no sense to note down the current paragraph as instructed in (35), since that's not where you're supposed to return.
  • When you fight Captain Jarmesh, the book "resets" his stamina instead of letting you keep track of it.
  • Paragraph (186) says you pass the inn, continue east and then spot something to the south, but then suddenly you're not even through the forest, travelling north.
  • The Skull Beast should be fought with blunt weapons but if you have the sharpened sword it doesn't say it won't do normal damage.
  • The keep's towers are identified in the text as the east and west towers, but according to the illustration for (144) they should more properly be called the north and south towers.
  • You may explicitly lose your weapon in (175) or (234), but nothing is said of any consequences.
  • One of the encounters in which you can use the Charm of Disruption is in fact not on the path where you get the Charm, which means (69) and (279) are impossible to reach. The Charm is said to work on "all Undead", but it has no effect on Mortis if used in (48).
  • In the final paragraph your Ring of Communing magically appears even if you've discarded it during the adventure.



See AlsoEdit


External LinksEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 Interview with Dave Morris at the Internet Archive record of - Retrieved 2013-09-30
  2. The Keep of the Lich-Lord - Back Cover ("Golden Dragon" Edition)
  3. The Keep of the Lich-Lord - pp.7-8
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Keep of the Lich-Lord - p.12
  5. The Keep of the Lich-Lord - p.13
  6. 6.0 6.1 The Keep of the Lich-Lord - p.19