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Spoiler Warning!!!: Plot and/or ending details of a Fighting Fantasy publication follow. Please DO NOT read this article if you do not want foreknowledge of this publication. Although the article below is based on canon, some of its content is considered extrapolation because it assumes a certain course of events through an adventure that has many possible routes.

For other uses of The Seven Serpents, see The Seven Serpents

The Seven Serpents are the seven resurrected heads of an immensely powerful Hydra. [1]

The Hydra was said to have dwelt in High Xamen,[2] in a cave overlooking Avanti Wood.[3] It was slain by the enigmatic Archmage of Mampang after a savage two day battle. Aside from the burns he suffered, the Archmage reputedly carried a lengthy scar running from his neck to his right knee as a result of the struggle.[3] Unwilling to let such strength depart from the face of Titan completely, the Archmage retrieved the Hydra's seven heads and restored them to new life, dedicating each one to a different God of the Old World. The result was the creation of seven winged serpents, each of them imbued with different properties.

Of these newly transformed creatures four were elemental, corresponding to fire, water, air and earth. One serpent corresponded to the moon and one serpent corresponded to the sun. The final serpent was considered by many to be the most formidable: the Serpent of Time. These seven all became the Archmage's most trusted servants, acting as his eyes and ears in the Baklands and beyond. In the The Seven Serpents they are speeding back to Mampang Fortress to inform their master of the player's approach.

The player received bonuses or penalties depending on how many serpents he managed to defeat or leave trapped. This was a matter of not just encountering a serpent, but discovering their vulnerabilities - although each serpent was remarkably powerful, each also concealed a crucial weakness. The player moreover had to be careful, as at least some of the serpents could disguise themselves as regular snakes.

The Seven SerpentsEdit

Elemental SerpentsEdit

  • Fire Serpent: The head of the Hydra that was infused with the properties of Filash. The player would have to be careful in approaching this serpent, as its fire could inflict additional damage. Its weakness was sand, and in combat its stats were given as skill 13 stamina 12.[4]
  • Earth Serpent: The head of the Hydra that was dedicated to Throff. This serpent could be found disguised as a normal snake. Although, like all the others, the Earth Serpent possessed wings, its weakness was actually losing contact with the earth. In combat its stats were skill: 12 stamina: 14.[5]
  • Water Serpent: The head of the Hydra that was consecrated to Hydana. This was the serpent which killed Fenestra's father. Its weakness was oil, and its stats were given as skill 10 stamina 11 [6]
  • Air Serpent: The head of the Hydra that was dedicated to Pangara. One of this serpent's strengths also proved to be its weakness. It could shed its skin and take on an ethereal, airy form. However, in this state it was vulnerable. According to Shadrack the hermit, the serpent would die if it did not re-enter its body within minutes,[2] and destroying its skin would kill the serpent itself. Nevertheless, in combat the serpent's power gave it an advantage. Because of the creature's ephemeral form, to do any damage whatsoever the player was required to win two attack rounds consecutively, which would inflict 3 stamina points of damage. By contrast the Serpent inflicted 1 stamina point of damage each round it won, unless it won two consecutive rounds, then the amount of damage it did would double each round as its gas engulfed the player. Ironically, it could be destroyed in its ethereal form by what was effectively its own element. If the player had a Galehorn he could cast the huf spell, creating a galeforce wind that would disperse the Air Serpent's gaseous body.[7] In combat the Air Serpent's stats were given as skill 11 stamina 14.[8]

Serpents of the Sun and MoonEdit

  • Moon Serpent: The head of the Hydra that gained its powers from Lunara, the Moon Serpent's weakness was fire and it became a crystal ball when killed. In combat its stats were skill 13 stamina 10.[9]
  • Sun Serpent: The head of the Hydra that was dedicated to Glantanka, its weakness was water. Fenestra exploited this vulnerability by luring the serpent from the skies with a rain spell, then using her magic to trap it in a crystal ball. It is the only serpent which is impossible to encounter in combat.

The Serpent of TimeEdit

The head of the Hydra that was dedicated to Chronada, the Serpent of Time was initially too powerful to engage in combat. It could only be defeated by reciting an arcane chant, otherwise time would warp and twist around the player, causing him to move impossibly slow while the serpent moved with supernatural speed. The chant appears to cripple the serpent with its own power. Reciting the chant slows the beast, and renders it easily dispatched in combat. Its stats after suffering the effects of the chant are: skill 3 stamina 14.[10]

In the Inkle Studios adaptation of Sorcery! 3, Fenestra tells you the way to kill the time serpent is by time itself. By shining multiple lights on the serpent its speed slows and it becomes easily killable.

Gaining Power Over the SerpentsEdit

Two items were also shown to have power over the serpents. A silver, snake-shaped ring could compel the serpents to reveal information.[11] The silver ring was owned by Kharé's seventh noble, whose fortune utterly deserted him after he suffered the black-eyed curse. The fallen noble was last seen blind and begging for alms in the streets of Khare. [12]

The seven were also affected by the power of an enchanted Oak Sapling staff, which was also shaped as a serpent. The staff reduced their skill by 2 in combat, and was carried by Dintainta the Sham, a denizen of the Klatta-Bak Steppes.[13]

Fenestra, a Black Elf sorceress turned away from alignment with evil, possessed the incantation which held power over the Serpent of Time. She gave the parchment to Marsh Goblins who were intent upon killing the creature, though the Goblins' attempt failed. Fenestra harbours a special hatred of the serpents, as the Water Serpent slew her father, who was himself a sorcerer.[14]

The Seven SpiritsEdit

In the Baklands, the player could also encounter seven spirits,[15] sent by the Archmage to deceive him into damning the name of his goddess, Libra, three times, thus dooming himself. Instead of reciting the chant, the player can demand that the spirits reveal their true forms, at which point the figures will withdraw their hoods, each revealing the head of a snake. Thus, the spirits may not be separate entities from the seven serpents, but rather a spiritual manifestation of them.

The rhyme that the spirits attempt to dupe the player into chanting is:

Arbil Madarbil

I offer a sign;
Arbil Madarbil
No idol of mine.

Though, Arbil Madarbil,
I worship you not,
Let fortune o'eersee me,
Let luck be my lot.[16]

The chant is most likely designed to fool the player into thinking he is invoking a god of luck. In fact, "Arbil Madarbil" backwards reads "Libradam Libra". Thus, the player damns his own god thrice, removing him from Libra's providence and truly throwing himself upon chance. The spirits take advantage of this, and the player is consumed by an apparition that appears before him.

God-headed HydraEdit

In Mampang there is an encounter with the corpse of a seven-headed Hydra.[17] Its heads are removed, but the corpse will appear to stir and sprout heads, each one the visage of a different god.[18] However, this reanimation of the Hydra turns out to be a mere illusion, and is easily broken.

Should the player engage the God-Headed Hydra in combat, its stats are given as follows: skill 17 stamina 24.[19]

In combat the player will realize it's an illusion much quicker if he "loses" an attack round. Ironically, the first two rounds he "wins" will actually each cause him to suffer 2 points of damage as a result of one of the Hydra's heads attacking him. The player can have a maximum of three successful rounds before he eventually realizes that the creature is indeed but an illusion, and the Hydra is in fact dead.

Given its seven necks and the manifestation of a different God's head upon each of them, the Hydra carcass is almost certainly the same one slain by the Archmage and transformed into the seven serpents. The combat statistics of its illusion may or may not reflect the original power of the Hydra.

Result of Defeating the SerpentsEdit

At the end of The Seven Serpents gamebook, the player incurred penalties or received bonuses depending on how many of the seven he defeated or left trapped. These were as follows:[20]

  • 0 serpents: Minus 2 skill, 2 stamina and 3 luck points.
  • 1 Serpent: Minus 2 skill, 1 stamina and 2 luck point.
  • 2 Serpents: Minus 1 skill and 1 luck.
  • 3 Serpents: Minus 1 skill point.
  • 4 Serpents: No bonus or penalty.
  • 5 Serpents: stamina restored to its Initial level.
  • 6 Serpents: skill and stamina restored to their Initial levels. However, if the only serpent the player missed was the Sun Serpent, he gained the full 7 serpent bonus, since the Sun Serpent had been trapped.
  • 7 serpents: Plus 2 skill points above its initial level, stamina restored to its Initial level and luck increased 1 above its initial level. The player also begins at passage 237 rather than 1 in the subsequent gamebook, The Crown of Kings, to reflect the fact that Mampang is unaware of his arrival.

Further NotesEdit

  • You can defeat the Sun Serpent by dropping its orb into a well and killing it once it is released.
  • The player cannot avoid two of the serpents (Air and Time), and since the Sun Serpent is captured - it means that if the player reaches the end of the book, at least three of the serpents are defeated, so the penalties for defeating one, two or none of the serpents are meaningless.

See AlsoEdit


  1. Titan - The Fighting Fantasy World - pp.??/244-245
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Seven Serpents - 150
  3. 3.0 3.1 Titan - The Fighting Fantasy World - p.??/244
  4. The Seven Serpents - 42
  5. The Seven Serpents - 54
  6. The Seven Serpents - 67
  7. The Seven Serpents - 350
  8. The Seven Serpents - 261
  9. The Seven Serpents - 45
  10. The Seven Serpents - 59
  11. The Seven Serpents - 130
  12. Kharé - Cityport of Traps - 207
  13. The Seven Serpents -290
  14. Titan - The Fighting Fantasy World - p.127/???
  15. The Seven Serpents - 290
  16. The Seven Serpents - 166
  17. 'The Crown of Kings - 265
  18. The Crown of Kings - 499
  19. The Crown of Kings - 65
  20. The Seven Serpents - 393

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