Puffin Books, £3.50, ISBN 0-14-034010-6
Wizards do not have a good reputation on Titan, and in Master of Chaos, you will learn why. You see, you are an awesome warrior who had slain giants and eaten Great Wyrms for dinner. And therefore, a group of wizards decide that you are the one to help them recover the Staff of Rulership that they had lost. They will make you get press-ganged into a rotten ship bound for Khul, give you two gold pieces (which would of course be enough to last throughout the whole journey, snort), and leave you with vague instructions to retrieve the Staff from some guy called Shanzikuul who lives in a fortress in Khul that is infested with undead monsters. Naturally, you agree to carry out this quest.
Master of Chaos follows the standard Fighting Fantasy gameplay system, but it also allows you to pick three out of six Skills to complement your awesome adventurer abilities. Since this is a gamebook by Keith Martin, there are of course additional scores to keep track of. In this one, it’s Notoriety points during the part where you are enjoying the hospitality of Ashkyos.
But to get to the seaside hovel of Ashkyos, you have to survive the trip on the vessel Diablo, which pretty much sees you losing Stamina points with each turn of the page. Ashkyos is a fun place to hang out as you will be up to no good and create all kinds of ruckus, but there is a cap as to how much fun you can get into, thanks to the Notoriety point system, and you will soon have to embark on a trip to seek out Shanzikuul.
The whole campaign isn’t as tough or convoluted as other campaigns by Mr Martin, and there are some interesting encounters and scenarios to enjoy, but the whole campaign has an idiot plot premise. Not to mention, much of the campaign consists of rather dull navigation through terrains while hoping that you are doing just what the script required.
Master of Chaos is therefore a middle of the road campaign. There are better gamebooks with better plot than this one out there, just as there are worse ones as well. This one is playable, but you may not remember much of it once you’re done.