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

Illustrator(s): David Gallagher
FF43 Dragon spine.jpg
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)

Other Related Book
Location Arrowhead Islands, Fabled Lands
Publication Details
Author(s) Dave Morris &
Jamie Thomson
Illustrator Megara Entertainment
Publisher Fabled Lands Publishing
Other Details
Cover illustrator Kevin Jenkins
First published 2014
Number none
ISBN ISBN 978-1-90990-521-4

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 Scholastic series, although it has been reprinted in 2014 by Fabled Lands Publishing 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.

Interview with Dave Morris at the Internet Archive record of Advancedfightingfantasy.com - Retrieved 2019-10-26


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.

The Keep of the Lich-Lord - Back Cover ("Dragon" Edition)

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 Rules[]

  • 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.[1]
  • 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.[2]

Equipment List[3][]

Cover and Illustrations[]

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 Cover Variants
1990 1993 2014
FF43 Dragon spine.jpg FLLich.png
Dragon ver.III Dragon ver.IV Fabled Lands
£3.501 £X.xx £7.99

  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.

In the 2014 Fabled Lands version the new artwork is credited to Megara Entertainment and comes from the iOS adaptation (see "Other Media" below). There were 27 full page illustrations and 3 minor repeated illustrations scattered throughout the text. The paragraphs with a full page illustration were: 11†, 17†, 30, 46, 76†, 133, 141, 155†, 216, 228, 266†, 275†, 310, 352, and 370†.

† Many of the illustrations are not presented next to the paragraph they relate to.

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. Additional maps by Hartas of the Fabled Lands were also included in the 2014 version.

Intertextual References[]

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 Media[]

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

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

Main Characters[]

YOU: Chosen of Lhyss

  • Baracas
  • Belar
  • Captain Jarmesh - Pirate
  • Castellan Braxis
  • Davmori
  • Elindora - Wood Elf
  • Garond - Bard
  • General Chaideshu
  • Grom - Ogre
  • Hlassamon - Alchemist
  • Jervas
  • Kandogor
  • Khiro
  • Lady Iola
  • Lady Lotmora
  • Lord Kashu of Vorodu
  • Lord Mortis of Balthor
  • Lord Salesh - Centaur
  • Morlak
  • Mrynie
  • Paz
  • Pelagon the Speaker - Wood Elf


  • Arrowhead Islands
  • Balthor
  • Benari
  • Blood Island
  • Bloodrise Keep
  • Keladon
  • Menela
  • Port Borgos
  • Port Kanthos
  • Port Vernale
  • River Scort
  • Shamdabag Wood
  • Siltport
  • Stayng Cemetery
  • Stayng Island
  • Temple of Lhyss
  • The Sword of the Samurai
  • The Traveller's Respite
  • Vorodu
  • Whistlestone Tor


Further Notes[]

  • 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 Fabled Lands version has an additional 8 paragraphs.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In the final paragraph your Ring of Communing magically appears even if you've discarded it during the adventure.
  • A continuity error regarding the Background. You are told you start your adventure off at "Port Vernale", but in 400 you are told you receive a hero's welcome in "Port Kanthos".


Puffin Edition[]


Fabled Lands Edition[]

Dedicated to Mikaël Louys[5]

See Also[]


External Links[]


  1. The Keep of the Lich-Lord - pg.7-8
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Keep of the Lich-Lord - pg.12
  3. The Keep of the Lich-Lord - pg.13
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Keep of the Lich-Lord - pg.19
  5. The Keep of the Lich-Lord - pg.5