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Thu Sep 29 18:45:58 2016

Phil Sadler has written another gamebook. Not unsurprisingly, given the title, this is a prequel to Ian Livingstone's Deathtrap Dungeon. You are one of a group of adventurers hired by Baron Sukumvit to test his new creation.

Download it here

Paul Mc
Fri Sep 30 16:26:03 2016
Early death for me!!
I was going rather nicely until I had 5 options. The one I chose led to my head being chopped off with an axe.

phil sadler
Tue Oct 4 14:10:08 2016
Ah, you have found 1 of the 28 instant deaths in my book (and it's pretty pleasant compared to some of them):

499 refs
42 deaths

Riders of the Storm:
400 refs
37 deaths

House of Pain
499 refs
39 deaths

499 refs
28 deaths

Wed Oct 5 23:55:06 2016
You're getting softer... ;-)

A.E. Johnston
Tue Oct 18 04:19:29 2016
Thanks Phil, I am a big fan of deathtrap dungeon so can't wait to check this out. I always liked the eclectic mix of participants in the beginning of the story ( the elf, ninja, barbarians etc). Should be fun!

Paul Mc
Wed Oct 26 01:21:03 2016
Id like it if this game was put on the site.

Paul Mc
Tue Nov 29 02:10:14 2016
Phil, I'm just as cruel

Satan's Academy
400 References
39 Deaths (and a couple deaths you can get to a number of ways)

Phil Sadler
Tue Nov 29 07:45:52 2016
Don't worry, neither of us could ever be as cruel as Ian Livingstone.

Paul Mc
Fri Dec 30 11:25:19 2016
I died again, One of the options was to go into a box and I knew it was a bad idea so I dont know why I did it...
anyway it turned out I was right, it was a bad idea...

Can I have some clues please.

Paul Mc
Tue Jan 3 09:14:30 2017
Phil Sadler... I must say playing a few of your games, Ive really enjoyed them.
I judge a gamebook on various things, but one of the main things is how good the deaths/bad endings are, and yours are biblical...
They have been interesting, unusual, grotesque, cruel and at times insulting the character for his poor choice... loved it.
I like the fact on some of the deaths, the paragraph ends before you die and the horrible fate is unspoken e.g. "the goblin giggles as you decide which way they torture you..."

Phil Sadler
Tue Jan 3 09:51:42 2017
Thanks for the nice comments. In regards to "good deaths" I tried to take a leaf out of Steve Jackson's books especially Creature of Havoc where even the death scenes were something to look forward to (in a sense). This would mean that you are sort of 'rewarding' the player even if they fail.

Paul Mc
Wed Jan 4 11:55:03 2017
Please give me some clues for Deathtrap though...

Also could you play my game that I wrote a while ago

Paul Mc
Wed Jan 4 14:33:06 2017
I would still like some help with deathtrap though.

Phil Sadler
Thu Jan 5 10:04:00 2017
I don't really play gamebooks anymore. As for clues in DT I will say a few things. It's still a new book and so I don't really want to give anything out. Secondly, it's supposed to be a real hard rock-solid game that is designed for the express purpose of NOT being easy in any way shape or form. However, unlike DD, you can complete this on a skill of 9 and perhaps even lower.

Robert Douglas
Fri Jan 6 11:31:57 2017
Steve Jackson's writing ensured Creature of Havoc as being amongst the best titles in FF - or, indeed, any series. The narrative was gripping, tense, and downright sinister! His employment of coded speech truly tested the brain of the player. The death scenes were certainly very entertaining, although there were more 'wrong turns' than I preferred.

Phil Sadler
Fri Jan 6 16:18:42 2017
Sadly, I had the bugged version of COH back in the day and so it never found a place in my heart like HOH did, for instance. You might be pleased to know though that there's a cheeky reference to the actual Creature of Havoc himself buried within this book.

Robert Douglas
Sun Jan 8 14:52:09 2017
What was the bug in COH? And where's the reference in HOH?

Phil Sadler
Tue Feb 7 19:55:16 2017
At one point in the story the character finds a pendant that allows the player to locate secret passageways when used, achieved by adding 20 to any reference when it begins with the phrase "You find yourself..." Reference 213 commences with "You reach...", but adding 20 leads the player to a paragraph that states a secret door has been found, thereby allowing game progression. It is unknown as to whether this was an error or Jackson's deliberate attempt to encourage lateral thinking - just as the bestial protagonist is forced to do within the narrative.

As for the reference in HoH, well it's actually in my own HoP and it's just that the creature himself does appear later on and is even named.

Phil Sadler
Wed Mar 29 11:43:26 2017
Just found and corrected a few small errors and have sent the details to Andy:

Desert Lizard Man had no stamina (should have been 8)
Giant Spider skill 7 (used to be 6)
Sword Tree's stamina up from 9 to 12
Tangle-weed 7/6 down from 8/13
Tyrannosaurus 12/12 to Tyrannosaurus (Young)

Nothing game-breaking (well I'm not too sure about that naughty Desert Lizard Man, but the odds of meeting him or any of those others are about 500-1).
The updated version is there now.

Phil sadler
Mon May 29 15:45:12 2017
2 more small errors found

1.) A naughty pixie somehow became a mighty 9/8 instead of 5/5
2.) A Red Dragon's stats were mixed up so that 11/14 becomes 14/11

Phil Sadler
Thu Nov 23 07:08:58 2017
This is now available in an interactive version:


Phil Sadler
Sun Aug 12 19:09:59 2018
Just saw this on Facebook by an FF fan called Rob Hatton:

Today I will be attempting an intriguing piece of fan fiction with Phil Sadler's DEATHTRAP, a prequel to...... you guessed it, Deathtrap Dungeon. I only became aware of this particular gamebook the other day after hearing mention of it by the author on a group post, and immediately asked if I could use it for a play-through, and here we are.

I must admit to being instantly enthused by the notion of another adventure set within the walls of Baron Sukhumvitís infamous Dungeon, much as I would be excited about another book set in Blacksand or Firetop Mountain or Craggen Rock...... they are the stomping grounds of legend. Having said that, it does immediately set expectations to a certain lofty standard, so it takes a fair amount of balls to give it a go.

Nobody could ever accuse Sadler of not putting enough effort into this venture, as this is no mere 200 reference mini-adventure, but a colossal work of nearly 500 entries. We are treated to an extensive background intro in which we get a meaty chunk of exposition on various rumours surrounding the construction of the dungeon, the fate of the ten guardsmen sent in to test itís effectiveness...... and the lesser known tale of the second group sent in after them......

This is where YOU enter the story, as one of ten various adventurers who answered the notice put up by the baron seeking brave warriors to evaluate his Deathtrap Dungeon before it is officially opened.

Amongst your fellow guinea pigs are a number of familiar character types, such as a Barbarian, a Knight, an Elven Woman, and a Ninja. I am assuming for now that none of these are the actual contestants who step into the void in the original book, but are perhaps merely a nod to those legendary figures, although I wonít rule out the possibility of perhaps the Ninja being one in the same. Of the others which make up the ten we have a Mage, a Gladiator, a Ranger and a Beastmaster.

During the audience we have with Sukhumvit, where Sadler does a fine job in revealing the wealth and power of Fangís most illustrious citizen, the baron outlines what is expected from his hand-picked expedition. The dungeon must be tested for weaknesses of any conceivable type, with anyone making it out alive to report on their experiences, with suggestions on what needs to be improved and which parts were too easy. Once this task is complete, each surviving member of the group will receive their reward of 1000gp, with no apparent restrictions on how many are allowed to emerge alive from the dungeon. (After all it is not yet officially open)

One important factor to note with this book is the lack of any artwork, so to compensate for the absence of our standard window into the adventure, Sadler has gone into overdrive with prose which is rich in imagery and atmosphere.

The ambience which he creates for the most part has a strong theme of psychological horror throughout the story, feeling very much to me like being in some unholy mixture of a Stephen King film and Apocalypse Now, which I hope conveys just how disturbing some of the scenes play out.

I definitely get the impression that much emphasis is placed upon yours and other characterís state of mind throughout your decent into what seems like Hell on earth, which may have a lot to do with something which is released into the dungeon shortly after the last person enters...... (but Iíll say no more about that for now)

SK 10 ST 21 LK 12


Iíve rolled up a pretty strong character overall, which is probably a good thing if I want to give this a decent attempt, as it seems pretty clear that it wonít be an easy ride. This first attempt will serve to get the measure of what the book is made of, with no real hope of getting anywhere near to the end, as Iím sure that more than a few goes will be required to crack this particular nut. Here goes!

The post is here.

Phil Sadler
Mon Aug 13 08:32:51 2018
Rob Hatton PART ONE

So the time finally arrives to decide the order of entry into the dungeon, with everybody taking a folded piece of paper with a number between one and ten written on it. I manage to pick the number ten, and whilst I try to decide whether this is a good or a bad thing, the Ninja becomes the first of us to walk between the two decorative pillars and into the gloomy tunnel beyond.

I watch each adventurer enter in the order chosen, each in their own unique way, until it is finally my turn. After a few moments waking, the smooth walls which were visible on the outside transform into a roughly hewn and crudely excavated tunnel, completely changing the atmosphere to something more ominous and sinister.

I soon reach a table of some sort which holds the now familiar boxes inscribed with each personís name, although in this version of events there is some evidence to show that attempts have been made to open my box, which adds a nice edge of realism to things. Inside is a note from the big man, informing me that I need to collect gems, and just as I read this I notice that the Barbarian is there watching me. At the same time, a voice (presumably the baron's) suddenly speaks as if from the very walls.

Apparently, some 5 minutes after the last person (me) enters the dungeon, something else will be released after us. This being has no name, as it is from ďthe other sideĒ, and is referred to simply as ďIt Which Follows", or simply "It". Clearly this is more than a small nod to Stephen Kingís demonic creature of the same name, but it adds an unexpected new twist to the story.

The voice goes on to warn that It will hunt down the group with a remorseless and unwavering single mindedness, without hope of being able to barter with It, harm It or hide from It.

It will use our deepest fears as itís weapon and merely laying eyes upon It could result in you losing your mind completely. The only hope is to run from It, as itís only real weakness is the fact that It is slow, with the only salvation coming when we cross the dungeonís threshold.

The Barbarian is having none of this however, and fiercely boasts that he will run from and will fear nothing, and ignoring the warnings of the voice he goes to stand at the corner of the tunnel which faces the entrance. I watch him standing there motionless until he smiles and says the he can see something coming, and that it is merely a man, and so I begin to walk towards the corner to see for myself.

The change in the Barbarianís expression halts me in my tracks, which is now frozen into a mask of terror, until at last he manages to shout the word ďrun!Ē before turning and fleeing off down one of the four tunnels heading into the dungeon. I stop and listen long enough to hear a set of slow, steady and remorseless footsteps coming ever closer, before following suit and rushing down the westernmost tunnel........

That first segment, coupled with the detailed and atmospheric into, is just about as much as you could ask for to kick things off. It sets you up with what is to come, which is a heady brew of suspense, horror and outright mind-fuckery.

I stumble out of the tunnel into a cavern-like opening, and almost trip headlong into the piles upon piles of bones littering the floor. Crunching across the scores of human skeletons proves to be an unsavoury prospect, but I linger here long enough to search through the remains until I discover a crystal pendant on a silver chain. I then decide to make haste from this charnel house through the western exit, thoroughly unsuspecting of the horrors to come.

The next cavern I enter is full of human remains once more, only this time the corpses are of a much fresher variety, with all the negative consequences that go with it. Despite this, and spurred on by my success in the previous area, I compel myself to make another grisly search. This time, the appalling surroundings and the Implications of what Iím actually doing begin to take their toll on my mind, until I sense movement all around me.

Several of the bloated and rotting cadavers have come to ďlifeĒ and are climbing over their inert counterparts in order to get at me, which needless to say has the effect of freaking me out somewhat, until just as suddenly my head spins and then clears to reveal that it was just an hallucination. Time to leave.....


Phil Sadler
Mon Aug 13 09:13:58 2018
Here is a better link

Phil Sadler
Mon Aug 13 18:18:26 2018

Feeling that the mask of sanity has definitely slipped, I rush headlong out of the room into a bizarrely cross shaped chamber with a strange sarcophagus occupying one of the cross-arms, wreathed in a ghoulish green flame.

Detaching itself from this area comes a ghastly apparition to intercept me, a Death Wraith, which frankly is too much for my fragile psyche to handle at this precise moment and I flee in its unholy wake.

The exit I run through is marked with a multitude of eyes, and I find myself in a cave in which a strong acrid smell pollutes the air.

Dominating the far end of the cave, languishing in its disgusting pool of acidic slime, is the legendary Bloodbeast. As I look on in horrid fascination, eye-like blisters constantly erupt all over its bloated and blubbery body, hiding the location of its true eyes. (Its only real weakness)

Before I can decide on a course of action, an incredibly long tongue darts out to wrap itself around my body and begins to drag me inexorably towards the bath of acid. Fortunately I manage to sever the thing before I am pulled into the pool, and begin to wildly hack at the Bloodbeastís slug-like body in the hope of scoring a miraculous strike.

After employing a dose of luck, I manage to hit one of the vulnerable eyes, incapacitating the creature long enough for me to escape itís lair into the tunnel beyond.

Running headlong into the next chamber I bowl into and completely take by surprise another fellow adventurer, the black garbed silent assassin, the Ninja. In a flash be reaches for his katana, but I have the element of surprise here and slash at his exposed thigh, causing a significant wound.

This seems to give the Ninja cause to back away, still disbelieving that I managed to take him unawares. After boasting that he will enjoy killing me when we meet at the end of the dungeon, he is gone from the place with the speed of a cat.

Leaving by the exit adorned with an actual human face (great), I enter a dusty and cobwebbed room, with several corpses littering the floor. It seems that these were once animated undead that have been recently destroyed, and in the centre of the floor I once again see the strange white chalk circle, the same as before.

It is then that my ears pick up a strange sound coming from a darkened corner of the room, and moving closer to the source I behold an extremely disturbing sight.

Crouching down in the corner is a huge and brutal looking man, who is actually knawing on the leg of a still moving zombie, apparently oblivious to my presence.

This, of all the nightmarish horrors that I have endured thus far, seems to offend my sensibilities the most. Without even thinking about my actions, I swing my sword down onto the huge shoulder of the man, which seems to have very little effect besides enraging him.

The Beast, as he is apparently known, raises himself to his full height of nearly seven feet before launching into a savage attack. I fight valiantly against the enormous Beast, but the mission has finally taken itís toll on my body, and my stamina fails me against my opponents vast strength.

I imagine myself being lifted from the ground in a bonecrushing bearhug, before being hurled against the wall like a rag doll, shattering my body like pottery against stone.........

......and thus ends my futile attempt at this disturbing incarnation of Sukhumvitís dungeon. I enjoyed the experience immensely, particularly the atmosphere of surreal terror which seems to infect every tunnel and every turn of the page.

I recommend anyone reading this to give it a try yourselves...... if you dare.......

Wed Jul 17 05:33:47 2019
Just wanted to say thank you to the author for the immense effort that must have gone into putting this together. Anyone who enjoys ff will surely enjoy this one.

Specifically, the book is incredibly atmospheric. This is probably the books biggest strength. Every room is fascinating, even the ones your character does nothing in. And almost all of them are creepy. The sense of lurking dread is really, really well done.

My only criticisms are that the books is a little overstuffed with things to keep track of (take COPIOUS notes), and that the book is incredibly, incredibly difficult. Iíve read through it several times and still have no idea what the ďbestĒ way to get through is.

But really, really: If you enjoy ff gamebooks you will love this book! Super-compelling!

Phil Sadler
Wed Jul 17 14:00:27 2019
Thanks for a very nice review! It's things like this that make it all seem worth while :-)

And, yes, the book is certainly not easy in the slightest, but it is a 'fair' difficulty and not an 'unfair' one like certain FF authors ;-)

Mon Dec 9 15:23:31 2019
I finished Deathtrap (using simply.fighting fantasy.net) more than a week ago, but it has taken me this long to compose my thoughts about it into these few words:

Firstly, thank you Phil. DD was my most favourite of all the official FF gamebooks, and while it has been around 30 years since I last played it, somehow it has stayed buried deep within me. So I was definitely excited to attempt this homage to the original, and I have to say that it did not disappoint.

I have to agree with Albertt above, the atmosphere created by the author was truly astounding throughout. There are sections that I felt so disgusted, fearful, revolted, saddened or one of so many other emotions just from journeying through them, that when re-attempting this adventure they became difficult to re-read. Phil has to be the most evocative of all authors on this fan site, and that is meant to be no small praise.

To successfully navigate Phil's fiendish dungeon, I mapped my progress through more than several attempts. The motifs on the arrows above most passages were an excellent concept, and helped with this greatly. However, this mapping revealed a couple of minor errors (where North should have been West for example) but I won't bore anyone with these details unless asked.

The absolute highlight for me was the protracted duel with
. This probably has to be the most epic armed conflict I've ever faced in a gamebook, and most gratifying to finally overcome. Thanks again Phil.

If I had to be truly critical, I would say that I don't think that the inclusion of the randomized foes that you face (or even pit against one another) adds anything to the storyline. And I found it a little disappointing that, unlike the original Deathtrap Dungeon, this prequel could be finished without finding all 3 requisite gems. However, these are just minor personal quibbles I'm sure.

All told, I must rate Deathtrap as an epic of astoundingly entertaining literary skill; as a read it has to be a 10/10, and at least an 8.5/10 in gameplay. It is a truly worthy homage to the original, and all congratulations and tributes must be given to its author. Once again, thank you Phil.

Phil Sadler
Mon Dec 9 17:21:06 2019
What a great review! It really makes me feel it was all worthwhile when I read constructive criticism like this. In fact, I thought the comments were so good that I put them on Facebook.

As for you disappointment at not needing all of the gems, well that was me trying to be 'fair' and leaving some leeway for how a reader wants to approach the book (which is still a very difficult challenge when played honestly). So I stand by that judgement because the adventure is so tough to begin with that I felt that some 'get out of jail free card' might stop some players from getting too frustrated.

Wed Jan 8 15:15:53 2020
Having a good time! I still prefer house of pain so far but itís very fun.

Ref #: 74
... you steal yourself

# 293:
... to a ancient

# 250: ... although youíre that the...

# 100: ... closely the door...

# 3: ... just continue to stand at the all

You sometimes spell glow stones and sometimes glowstones.

#1: death by skull tentacle
#2: death by devil horse
#3: death by dwarf trial fight
#4: death by shade

Player 1 to 3 on novice, now playing on medium.

I have some things that put me off a bit, let me know if youíre interested. Itís nit picking just so you know.

Phil Sadler
Wed Jan 8 19:09:29 2020
"I have some things that put me off a bit, let me know if youíre interested. Itís nit picking just so you know."

I'm always interested!

Wed Jan 8 20:39:00 2020

#79: watches you with as you

Died 3 more times: cavern monster, cyclop, shade (again).

After you swim past the lake monster and you get to the gem, it says that you take 3 health potions to avoid triggering the trap and take the gem. I didnít any potions left. I mean, I didnít take the gem but I think it might be a good idea to rephrase the alternative: either trigger the trap in getting the gem or leave it where it is. To make you take a single choice here based on something you donít necessarily have feels out place here.

I felt that the death where you walk into a mouth and die was a unfair. I realize the mirrors give you a vague warning about this but itís unpredictable. The other sudden deaths are reasonable but I thought this one was unfair as in: left or right? Left. Ok youíre dead. I know the stalactites gives a vague hint but itís very vague.

Phil Sadler
Thu Jan 9 06:51:25 2020
Can you give me the reference number of the 3 potions trap?

Fri Jan 10 16:08:31 2020
I canít say. Normally I would ctrl+f to find Ďlakeí or Ďthree health potionsí, Iíd be able to give the reference in minutes that way. I only have access to a tablet at the moment so I canít. If you canít find it, Iíll look for it on a computer.

By the way, you havenít mentioned anything about the typos. Do you correct the original script, does it help to point them out? Because I write all of them on a piece of paper so I was wondering it it was helpful.

Phil Sadler
Fri Jan 10 18:49:23 2020
I'll correct the script and I'll send it to Andy (the host) and ask him to upload it.

Phil Sadler
Fri Jan 10 18:53:09 2020
Found the ref 97. I've put this bit into it now:

Unless of course you donít have three potions left. In which case you dare not try to take the gem and leave without it.

Fri Jan 10 20:55:26 2020
Good idea! I think I like deathtrap the most now. I really look forward to your next book. I would personally buy it if you published. Have you considered submitting it? Itís way better than the zombie one recently published. I think youíve honed your craft to be a pro now.

I keep track of my death and I must be closed to 20 now. Some things I liked a lot:
The mutant enemy was a great idea.
The concept of competitors who do their own thing.

I think if you could tweak the combat system in your future book, thatíd be great. Just some slight alterations. Another cool idea is if you did something like sorcery, linking two books together.

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