Sorcery! Gamebooks
Location: Kakhabad, Old World, Titan
References: 456
Publication Details
Author(s): Steve Jackson
Illustrator(s): John Blanche (Penguin/Puffin/Wizard versions)
Vlado Krizan (Scholastic version)
FF Sorcery Original.jpg
Cover illustrator: John Blanche
First published: October 27 1983
Number 1 (in Sorcery! series although no number in original printing)
ISBN: ISBN 0-14-006794-9 (Penguin)
ISBN 0-14-031807-0 (Puffin)
Previous Book: First in series
Next Book: Kharé - Cityport of Traps
Wizard (Series 1)
Cover illustrator: Mel Grant
First published: February 17 2003
Number 9 (in main series)
ISBN: ISBN 1-84-046430-5
Previous Book: The Forest of Doom
Next Book: Caverns of the Snow Witch
Cover illustrator: Robert M. Ball
First published: April 5 2018
Number 11 (in main series)
ISBN: ISBN 1-40718-621-3
Previous Book: Island of the Lizard King
Next Book: The Gates of Death

For other uses of The Shamutanti Hills, see The Shamutanti Hills

The Shamutanti Hills is a single-player role-playing gamebook written by Steve Jackson, illustrated by John Blanche, originally published in 1983 by Penguin Books (ISBN 0-14-006794-9) and later by Puffin Books, and is the first book in the Sorcery! epic. It was originally packaged with The Sorcery Spell Book as the first release in the Sorcery! series by Penguin Books in the boxset entitled "Steve Jackson's Sorcery!". It forms part of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone's Fighting Fantasy series. It was not numbered as part of the original Puffin series when it was republished in 1985 by Puffin (ISBN 0-14-031807-0), but was 9th in the Wizard "Series 1" (ISBN 1-84-046430-5) when republished in 2003 by Wizard Books, and 11th in the Scholastic series (ISBN 1-40718-621-3) in 2018 when published by Scholastic Books with new illustrations by Vlado Krizan.


The Legend of the Crown of Kings[]

An epic adventure awaits YOU in the dark land of Kakhabad!

Your search for the legendary Crown of Kings takes you to the Shamutanti Hills. Alive with evil creatures, lawless wanderers and bloodthirsty monsters, the land is riddled with tricks and traps waiting for the unwary traveller. Will you be able to cross the hills safely and proceed to the second part of the adventure - or will you perish in the attempt?

Two dice, a pencil and an eraser are all you need for this adventure – YOU decide which paths to take, which dangers to risk and which monsters to fight.

Complete with all the magical spells you will need,
The Shamutanti Hills can be played either on its own, or as part of the whole epic.

The Shamutanti Hills - Back Cover ("Adventure Gamebooks" Edition)

It details the beginning of the player's journey to Mampang Fortress, covering the distance from Analand to Kharé through the Shamutanti Hills, a dangerous region occupied by a wide variety of nomads and monsters. As the first in the series this book is the easiest to complete, apart from a trap-filled Manticore lair at the very end.


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

Unique Rules[]

  • The introductory rules offer the reader a choice of a "simple" (where no magic is used and fights are run according to standard Fighting Fantasy combat) or an "advanced" game (which relies heavily on magic).[1]
  • The player has a series of magic spells that can be used, each costing between 1 and 4 stamina points.[2]
  • The player may also call upon the help of Libra, - the goddess of Justice, once in the adventure (she may not be called upon again till the events of Kharé - Cityport of Traps). In calling on her the player may ask for "Revitalization" (restoration of skill, stamina, or luck points to their Initial level; "Escape" which allows you (when the text offers it) to escape a situation; or "Removal of Curses and Diseases" which can take place at any time and removal all curses or diseases that the player labours under at the time.[3]

Equipment List[4][]

Covers and Illustrations[]


The original cover of the book was designed and illustrated by John Blanche.

The first two covers were both of the Wraparound Cover Format. The obvious difference in the second cover is the inclusion of coloured triangle in the top right corner, with a serrated edge and the number "1" in it. This came about after the release of Kharé - Cityport of Traps which extended the series to book 2 and so numbering was introduced. The spine and back cover were almost identical to the first save that in the bottom right hand corner under the Penguin Books logo was the wording "Fantasy Game" as opposed to "Game" and in the bottom left hand corner were international prices. The writing also differed very slightly on the back cover. The first back cover, released with the original Sorcery! gamebox/slip case did not mention The Sorcery Spell Book presumably because the book was bought in the same package as the Spell Book. The second cover specifically said:

In this fantasy role-playing gamebook you may elect to become either a warrior or a wizard - the spells that will give you power are found in The Sorcery! Spell Book

whereas the first cover said:

In this fantasy role-playing gamebook you may elect to become either a wizard or a warrior - to fight either with sorcery or the sword.

This was to advertise The Sorcery Spell Book which was being sold separately.

Differences between spines of first and second covers.

The spine also had a slight difference in that in the second cover the spine had the writing "Sorcery! 1 The Shamutanti Hills" whereas the first edition just said "The Shamutanti Hills".

When the book was republished by Wizard the cover was re-worked by Mel Grant. A third new cover was used when Scholastic republished the book in 2018. This time the cover was by Robert M. Ball.

The Shamutanti Hills Cover Variants
1983 1984 1984 1987 1993
Sor1 Wrapv1.jpg Sor1 Wrapv2.jpg Sor01AdvBanner.jpg Sor01DragonFoil.jpg Sor01DragonNoFoil.jpg
Wraparound Triangle Adventure
Sorcery ver.I
Sorcery ver.II
£3.951 £1.952 £1.953 £X.xx £4.504

2003 2003 2018
Sor01WizSLE.jpg Sor01Wiz.jpg TSHSB.jpg
Wizard Scholastic
£5.99 £5.99 £6.99

  1. No price was given for the 1st or 2nd Impressions on their own. They were sold along with a separate book called The Sorcery Spell Book as part of the original two book box release titled "Steve Jackson's Sorcery!".
  2. Price of 3rd Impression (by Penguin Books)
  3. Price of 4th Impression (1st Puffin printing and incorporating The Sorcery Spell Book)~6th impressions (3rd Puffin printing); £2.50 for the 8th Impression (5th Puffin printing).
  4. Price of 13th Impression


Penguin/Puffin/Wizard Editions[]

The interior illustrations were by John Blanche. There were 29 full page illustrations and 11 minor repeated illustrations scattered throughout the text. The paragraphs with a full page illustration were: 1, 13, 27, 39, 51, 63, 73, 76, 87, 99, 112, 123, 147, 159, 172, 183, 195, 207, 220, 231, 243, 255, 266, 279, 308, 355, 407, 425 and 456.

Scholastic Edition[]

New illustrations by Vlado Krizan were used for the Scholastic version in 2018. There were 29 full page illustrations and 11 minor repeated illustrations scattered throughout the text. The paragraphs with a full page illustration were: 1, 27, 39, 51, 63, 87, 95†, 123, 147, 159, 183, 195, 207, 243, 255, 266, 355, 407, 425 and 456. The full-page illustrations in the book were accompanied with a caption giving a short extract from the text.

  † While this illustration is similar to the one that accompanies 99 in the Puffin/Wizard editions, the text indicates that it belongs with 95 in this instance.

Intertextual References[]

Other Media[]

Computer Games[]

Main article: The Shamutanti Hills (iOS game)

An iOS conversion of the book was produced by Bright AI and released in 2010.

Main article: The Shamutanti Hills (mobile game)

An iOS/Android conversion of the book was produced by inkle Studios and released in 2013.

d20 System Conversion[]

Main article: The Shamutanti Hills (d20)

There is a D20 System conversion by Myriador called Sorcery 1: The Shamutanti Hills.

Main Characters[]

YOU: Hero of Sorcery!



Further Notes[]

  • 20 endings, plus death by stamina loss or bad luck.
  • The Sorcery! series originally began publication under the main Penguin Books brand rather than the Puffin imprint.
  • The Sorcery Spell Book was originally a separate, small book that came boxed with The Shamutanti Hills, and was not incorporated into the main gamebook till the first publication by Puffin under the Adventure Gamebooks banner. When it did so the illustrations were excluded, making a return when the book was re-issued by Wizard. The illustrations are once again absent in the Scholastic edition.


  • An oddity about the food system is that once you learn to avoid unnecessary fights and hazards it will most likely be in your interest to starve yourself for days on end.
  • (2) The text says that a two-tailed serpent materializes before you, but if you come from (275) the serpent has already appeared in front of you.
  • There's a section for unsuccessfully using the silver key to open the cage at (4), but not one for using the copper key.
  • (8) and (55) should probably say that you part with the gold, as such things are scrupulously noted in other places.
  • When using the gems from the mines, found at (15) and (352), it's implied you can't buy two items for one gem, so does that mean you couldn't for instance use one to pay for both food and lodging at the same inn?
  • (30) If you sleep at the inn in Dhumpus you are not asked if you ate the previous day.
  • (41) is a bit awkward, firstly because it doesn't define what counts as knowing the name, and secondly because it doesn't mean for you to pick an answer if you don't know it, but doesn't make this out to be anything out of the ordinary.
  • (79) If you catch the plague but have the medicinal potion, why aren't you allowed to use it on yourself?
  • (114) is a bit odd in that the consequences of not having the page number is a pure meta-penalty.
  • (158) - In the Wizard edition only, the spell listed as GAL should be listed as GAK.
  • It is possible to reach (170) without passing any heads on posts. This reference is also an instant death, even though you are Lucky after Testing your Luck.
  • (221) and (265) don't specify a maximum amount of objects that can be harvested.
  • (248) instructs you that you’ve been given a Vial of Glue (along with other artefacts), but when you later come across the Night Creatures (123) and try to cast the GUM spell, you are told that you cannot cast this spell because you don’t have the Vial of Glue.
  • (260) should remind you that you've used up Libra's help and that you can't count on her anymore for the rest of the adventure.
  • (270) mentions that you get wax from the beehive. If you use it to cast RAZ (328) and/or (442) you find out that it is only enough for 2 uses, but (360) omits this information completely. Furthermore, once you enter Book 2, any further instances of casting RAZ no longer tell you how much beeswax is left, so if you never use this lot of beeswax in Book 1, it effectively changes from having just two uses to having infinite uses.
  • The word "living" in (273) is inappropriate if you come from (206).
  • (319) is unreachable and superfluous. The only place it could be properly linked from is (361), if after losing the first Giant the player accepted an offer to conjure a replacement (and that would only be half-proper as it deviates from the code selection system). Perhaps it was written before a Giant's tooth was added to the bag of teeth.
  • (322) shouldn't tell you to deduct 5 stamina points as it's not a fake entry (it doesn't matter in terms of outcome, but might confuse anyone struggling to memorize the spells).
  • (330), (349) and (422) arbitrarily dish out an extra penalty for trying to cast a spell without the necessary item.
  • (346) Why doesn't the Manticore suffer any stamina loss if you hit it with a fireball?
  • (360) doesn't instruct us to cross off the beeswax (all of it or only half) like in the other instances.
  • (369) Why don't you get a stamina penalty for trying to cast the GOB spell without any components?
  • Why are soaked Provisions spoiled in (390) but not in (260)?
  • (405) mentions Elvin wings, although this is in no other description or illustration (and Out of the Pit spells out Elvins don't have wings).
  • The illustration for (425) doesn't seem to depict the interior of a "hut".
  • The picture for the spell MUD in spell section at the back of the "Special Limited Edition" is upside down! This was corrected in the "Standard Edition".


Penguin/Puffin Editions[]

To Ian Livingstone[5]

Wizard Edition[]

For Ian Livingstone
Thanks for the adventures ...[6]

Scholastic Edition[]


See Also[]


  • Reviewed by Marcus L. Rowland in White Dwarf #50 (February 1984), "Open Box" (pg.12).

External Links[]


  1. The Shamutanti Hills - pg.8
  2. The Shamutanti Hills - pg.15
  3. The Shamutanti Hills - pg.16
  4. The Shamutanti Hills - pg.17
  5. The Shamutanti Hills - pg.4
  6. The Shamutanti Hills - pg.5