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Talisman of Death

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Part story, part game, this is a book in which YOU become the hero! The once-peaceful world of Orb is in terrible danger. Dark forces are at work to unleash the awesome might of the Evil One –- and only YOU can stop them. YOUR mission is to destroy the Talisman of Death before the dark lord’s minions reach you. But beware! Time is running out … Two dice, a pencil and an eras Part story, part game, this is a book in which YOU become the hero! The once-peaceful world of Orb is in terrible danger. Dark forces are at work to unleash the awesome might of the Evil One –- and only YOU can stop them. YOUR mission is to destroy the Talisman of Death before the dark lord’s minions reach you. But beware! Time is running out … 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.


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Part story, part game, this is a book in which YOU become the hero! The once-peaceful world of Orb is in terrible danger. Dark forces are at work to unleash the awesome might of the Evil One –- and only YOU can stop them. YOUR mission is to destroy the Talisman of Death before the dark lord’s minions reach you. But beware! Time is running out … Two dice, a pencil and an eras Part story, part game, this is a book in which YOU become the hero! The once-peaceful world of Orb is in terrible danger. Dark forces are at work to unleash the awesome might of the Evil One –- and only YOU can stop them. YOUR mission is to destroy the Talisman of Death before the dark lord’s minions reach you. But beware! Time is running out … 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.

30 review for Talisman of Death

  1. 5 out of 5

    Graham

    One of the mid-range FIGHTING FANTASY adventures. The authors are Jamie Thomson and Mark Smith. This one's set on a different world, called Orb, and the adventurer is transported there from Earth at the outset in order to fight evil. One of the first things that becomes apparent is that the author mines the work of J. R. R. Tolkien for inspiration. Here are just a few of the similar situations: A band of adventurers are being pursued through huge underground caverns by an army of goblins, led by s One of the mid-range FIGHTING FANTASY adventures. The authors are Jamie Thomson and Mark Smith. This one's set on a different world, called Orb, and the adventurer is transported there from Earth at the outset in order to fight evil. One of the first things that becomes apparent is that the author mines the work of J. R. R. Tolkien for inspiration. Here are just a few of the similar situations: A band of adventurers are being pursued through huge underground caverns by an army of goblins, led by something huge and demonic. Cf. the Mines of Moria and the Balrog in The Fellowship of the Ring. The hero is crossing a moorland when he's approached and surrounded by horse-riding warriors who stop him and question his presence. Cf. Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli surrounded by the riders of Rohan in The Two Towers. The hero is transporting a magical artifact and is often ambushed by horse-riding wraiths who want it for themselves. Cf. the Ringwraiths in Lord of the Rings. Said magical artifact must be destroyed by taking it to the top of a remote mountain. It gets heavier and more dangerous the closer the hero gets. Cf. Frodo and the ring in Return of the King. The hero encounters a huge and wily red dragon sleeping atop a mountain of treasure. Cf. Bilbo and Smaug in The Hobbit. The mid-part of the adventure sidesteps these cliches and is my favourite part of the book. There are multiple possibilities for advancement and the hero must enlist the help of various thieves, rogues and strangers in order to win back his stolen talisman. The ensuing skullduggery, backstabbing and rooftop antics are pretty engaging. Unfortunately, the monster fights are pretty routine, and only the battle with Hawkana, the high priestess, proves anything of a challenge, and the story as a whole is just too cliched to make it one of the better in the series.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Leo .

    Man I enjoyed these game books when I was young. What joy I had fighting orcs and barbarians. Working out puzzles and completing the quest. Those were the days. Bliss.🐯👍

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michael Kelly

    'Talisman of Death' is one of the best regarded Fighting Fantasy gamebooks. Although it's certainly not bad and does some things very well, it does have its faults. It isn't set in the usual FF world of Titan, it's set in the world of Orb. But you, the reader, aren't a native of Orb, you're an Earthling who has been plonked there by the gods to carry out a task for them. You are to take the Talisman of Death and return to your own world with it, thus removing it from the reach of the Death cultis 'Talisman of Death' is one of the best regarded Fighting Fantasy gamebooks. Although it's certainly not bad and does some things very well, it does have its faults. It isn't set in the usual FF world of Titan, it's set in the world of Orb. But you, the reader, aren't a native of Orb, you're an Earthling who has been plonked there by the gods to carry out a task for them. You are to take the Talisman of Death and return to your own world with it, thus removing it from the reach of the Death cultists, who want to summon Death into Orb and extinguish all life. I've never liked fantasies that start like this, casting you as a displaced Earth resident. It prevents immersion and denies role-playing a well-developed character based in that world. GrailQuest is the only series that manages to pull this off successfully. In 'Talisman of Death', it makes the ending logical, but otherwise feels strained. There's also far too much interference by assorted gods in this book; they work best in a fantasy setting when they're remote and dangerous. The book has very obvious D&D roots. When you first meet the 4 crusaders who give you the talisman, you 'sense their goodness', just as they sense yours, as if it was a tangible substance. This smacks of the old D&D alignment system and jarred with me; good and evil should be judged by deeds, not words, and certainly not by some vague 'sense'. The actual story is very linear and is not shy about punishing you with a variety of unavoidable deaths if you miss something essential. For example, if you walk the wrong way and don't chat with the sage in the city, it gives you no opportunity to escape the city on your own. No matter what you do, you're caught and killed. I groused a lot about this: surely you should be able to find a bloody door in the wall on your own? Like 'Island of the Lizard King', it favours a strong narrative by limiting deviation from the line. This makes for a good initial read, but gives little incentive for replay. Some of the paragraphs seem to 'jump' a little, as if disconnected from the one that led you there. Nothing too terrible, but it jars a little when it happens. Some of the encounters are very punishing unless you have a high set of scores. But the book doles out Luck points so often, this particular attribute might as well not exist. The actual story is quite good and its various sections (wilderness, city, wilderness, plateau) give a real sense of the passage of time and travelling a great distance. The city section is the longest one in the book. The city is well described and well populated, quite believable. The Thieves' Guild section and the raid on the temple are interestingly done. Flawed and sometimes frustrating, but an engaging story.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Steveo

    A Classic Fighting Fantasy book / Choose your own path. Used to read this under the blankets with a couple of dice and pencil like a geek :D

  5. 4 out of 5

    David Sarkies

    A tricky quest to protect an artifact 29 June 2012 It seems that the original creators of the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks are now beginning to take a back seat and allowing other authors to contribute ideas to the genre. This is not the first one where this has happened though as the American Steve Jackson had already written a gamebook, but now we are beginning to see other authors become involved and we are also beginning to see a movement away from the fantasy setting that the previous books ha A tricky quest to protect an artifact 29 June 2012 It seems that the original creators of the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks are now beginning to take a back seat and allowing other authors to contribute ideas to the genre. This is not the first one where this has happened though as the American Steve Jackson had already written a gamebook, but now we are beginning to see other authors become involved and we are also beginning to see a movement away from the fantasy setting that the previous books have used. I have noticed though that when they do create a fantasy book they will use the world that Ian Livingstone (and to an extent Steve Jackson) has developed. This book is somewhat different though as it is set on the world of Orb and you are actually not a native of Orb but rather of Earth. You are taken from Earth by the gods of Orb to assist in a very big problem that they are facing. You are given skills in swordsmanship and are then dumped in the middle of a dungeon where you encounter a doomed party of adventurers attempting to escape a rampaging horde with an artifact known as the Talisman of Death. They give the Talisman to you, tell you that you have to keep it out of the hands of the bad people, however what you are told to do with it is at this stage still to be found out. I did not attempt to go through all of the paths in this book, and when you get to the city it becomes a little tricky. It seems that despite the authors telling you that there is only one true path there are actually a few paths that you can take. It also seems that most of the book is set within a city, however you first travel to this city and once you have done all that you need to do (which includes losing the Talisman and then regaining it after a very hard battle with a powerful priestess) you then escape from the city (with some nasty assassins on your tail) to travel to a mountain where you take the Talisman back to Earth. This book was okay, but it seems that by the time we get to this book the original nature of the game books seems to be drying out. I remember that the earlier books I read multiple times, however, even though I had had this book for quite a while this was really the first time I actually read it through and completed it. I am not going to mark this book down as a part of my reading challenge though simply because first of all I did not give myself a big enough challenge, and also I technically do not count this as a book per se but rather as a game (which is a book).

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tazio Bettin

    This is probably one of the easiest Fighting Fantasy books I played. I finished in one go, without ever dying or needing to restart. Sometimes that's enjoyable too. The story is quite good, with interesting characters and situations. There is a huuuuge ripoff of Lord of the Rings. The talisman is just like the one ring, with the god of death replacing Sauron and his wraiths replacing the nazgul. But I can live with that. It's nice that if you die (I tried just to see what happens) the book "telep This is probably one of the easiest Fighting Fantasy books I played. I finished in one go, without ever dying or needing to restart. Sometimes that's enjoyable too. The story is quite good, with interesting characters and situations. There is a huuuuge ripoff of Lord of the Rings. The talisman is just like the one ring, with the god of death replacing Sauron and his wraiths replacing the nazgul. But I can live with that. It's nice that if you die (I tried just to see what happens) the book "teleports" you back to a previous point, which changes as you progress in the story so that you don't have to restart from too far way back. An elegant mechanic indeed. But I didn't need it. The choices you face are almost always quite interesting. I rarely found myself in front of a crossroads where I could go left or right without any indication of what difference it would make until I make the choice. That's a signature trait of Ian Livingstone's super-mediocre books. I'm glad it was almost absent here and all the choices the book makes you face are meaningful. All in all a solid gamebook, well balanced, and enjoyable to read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Youssef

    i wantto play

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mr. Twinkie

    Jesus Ch...I died so many times in this book...however, it was fun but the ending was somehow anti-climatic and also a bit ridiculous.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dane Barrett

    I recall as a child thinking this book was very hard to beat, which is one of the reasons I was so surprised that I defeated it on my second playthrough in my later years. The Talisman of Death is a well-written and engaging story, referencing Earth briefly before setting the tale in the world of Orb (which is heavily featured in the author's later gamebook series, Way of the Tiger). The reader must protect the Talisman of Death, keeping it out of the hands of Death and his minions, until you ca I recall as a child thinking this book was very hard to beat, which is one of the reasons I was so surprised that I defeated it on my second playthrough in my later years. The Talisman of Death is a well-written and engaging story, referencing Earth briefly before setting the tale in the world of Orb (which is heavily featured in the author's later gamebook series, Way of the Tiger). The reader must protect the Talisman of Death, keeping it out of the hands of Death and his minions, until you can find a way to return to Earth where the Talisman will be safe. Along the way you spend most of your time inside a city, coming across recurring characters (not a common thing to see the same people showing up multiple times in Fighting Fantasy books) which allows for some more development of those characters for a change, instead of the usual, "oh, look you've met somebody... nope, they're dead!" The mortality rate of this book is quite high, but the successful path through is logical and as long as the dice rolls behave themselves you can get through without straying too far from that path. The book is quite linear, and while there are many choices to be made, you will find you are quickly steered back to the main storyline (again, this allows for a better controlled and tighter tale). Interestingly enough, some of the better choices are not always intuitive. For example, at one point you have the opportunity of doing something very bad or choosing a more noble option. If you take the low road and do the bad thing, the book 'punishes' you by taking away a luck point. However, if you take the high road and try to be noble, you will be forced to test your luck, costing you a luck point anyway, but if you lose the luck check you also die! So in this instance, it is actually better to act the bad guy for a change. A good, fun, well-written book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Brian Hayes

    One of my favs

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    Spent an enjoyable lockdown winter’s morning doing this book today. Talisman of Death is well-known among FF fans as being the only entry in the series to be set in the world of Orb. Written by Jamie Thomson and Mark Smith, the author team behind Sword of the Samurai (and Thomson also penned Keep of the Lich Lord, with Dave Morris), who together created the world of Orb, Talisman can also be seen as the first book in Thomson and Davies’ Orb-set gamebook series, The Way of the Tiger. It’s therefor Spent an enjoyable lockdown winter’s morning doing this book today. Talisman of Death is well-known among FF fans as being the only entry in the series to be set in the world of Orb. Written by Jamie Thomson and Mark Smith, the author team behind Sword of the Samurai (and Thomson also penned Keep of the Lich Lord, with Dave Morris), who together created the world of Orb, Talisman can also be seen as the first book in Thomson and Davies’ Orb-set gamebook series, The Way of the Tiger. It’s therefore one of the most unique entries in the entire FF series. The book relies rather heavily on structural and aesthetic elements copied over from Tolkien, but is nevertheless very well-written; and the world of Orb which it constructs is perhaps even more thoroughly realised than Titan, and is a compelling, atmospheric place in which to lose a few hours. The throwaway Hamelt references were amusing, too.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    A single-player RPG in book form, complete with equipment and items to collect, secrets to learn, colorful NPCs, and even a save point halfway through! If you don't have the patience for frequent unavoidable battles, you can assume you win all of them, making this more of a typical Choose Your Own Adventure. There's really only one ending, although it may take a while to get there! A single-player RPG in book form, complete with equipment and items to collect, secrets to learn, colorful NPCs, and even a save point halfway through! If you don't have the patience for frequent unavoidable battles, you can assume you win all of them, making this more of a typical Choose Your Own Adventure. There's really only one ending, although it may take a while to get there!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ian

    Good adventure but with at least 2 skill 12 encounters you need at the very least skill 10 to complete this!!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alexander Curran

    Review in progress...

  15. 5 out of 5

    Yordan

    One of the most difficult and tricky game books so far.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Stefan Belev

  17. 4 out of 5

    Nathaniel

  18. 5 out of 5

    DopeReader

  19. 5 out of 5

    Zoltán

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kyle Sweet

  21. 4 out of 5

    Joanna

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tommy

  23. 5 out of 5

    Miki

  24. 5 out of 5

    Neil Wager

  25. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Mason

  26. 4 out of 5

    Scott Findlay

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sothea Chhum

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sanjuro

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jonah Bosum

  30. 4 out of 5

    Shawna

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