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Grailquest


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Language:English
Publishers:Armada -- United Kingdom
Dell (Laurel Leaf imprint) -- United States
Categories:Complexity Level : Advanced (Full Game System)
Format : Paperback
Game System : Character Advancement
Game System : Combat
Game System : Inventory Management
Game System : Magic
Game System : Randomization Method : Dice
Game System : Scores
Genre : Fantasy
Genre : Humor
Target Age Group : Older Children
Writing Style : Present Tense
Writing Style : Second Person
Translated Into:Alla corte di re Artu (Italian)
La búsqueda del Grial (Spanish)
Grailquest (Czech)
Magt og magi (Danish)
La Quête du Graal (French)
Sara bukkusu doragon fantajii [サラ・ブックスドラゴン・ファンタジー] (Japanese)

This series casts the reader as Pip, a youth chosen by Merlin to perform quests in the service of King Arthur. The books are notable for a number of reasons: their sense of humor (brought out by Merlin's eccentricity and various strange foes), their bonus features (many include instructions on how to build things like noisemakers and paper boats), their use of "dreamtime" sections which are read whenever Pip sleeps, and various other quirks which set them apart from the run-of-the-mill gamebook. For all their unusual features, the rules are pretty typical, with Pip having to keep track of Life Points, Experience Points (which can be used to gain permanent Life Points), inventory items and spells. Eight books were published in England, with only the first six reprinted in the United States, some with different covers and all with inferior quality (smaller format, cardstock character and rule sheets reduced to regular paper, thinner paper, etc.).


Gamebooks

     1. The Castle of Darkness
     2. The Den of Dragons
     3. The Gateway of Doom
     4. Voyage of Terror
     5. Kingdom of Horror
     6. Realm of Chaos
     7. Tomb of Nightmares
     8. Legion of the Dead


Related Documents

Play Aids

Grailquest #1 Character Sheet (back)

Grailquest #1 Character Sheet (front)

Grailquest #1 Rules Reference (back)

Grailquest #1 Rules Reference (front)

Grailquest #2 Character Sheet (back)

Grailquest #2 Character Sheet (front)

Grailquest #2 Rules Reference (back)

Grailquest #2 Rules Reference (front)

Grailquest #2 Village Map

Grailquest #3 Character Sheet
Thanks to Ben Nelson for providing this file.

Grailquest #3 Map 4

Grailquest #3 Rules Reference
Thanks to Ben Nelson for providing this file.

Grailquest #5 / #6 / #7 Character Sheet (back)

Grailquest #5 / #6 / #7 Character Sheet (front)

Grailquest #5 Magic Door

Grailquest #6 Rules Reference (back)

Grailquest #6 Rules Reference (front)

Grailquest #7 Deathometer

Grailquest #7 Rules Reference (back)

Grailquest #7 Rules Reference (front)

Structure Diagrams

Grailquest #1 Map
This flowchart of the book was contributed by Christopher McGeorge.


Related Links

Herbie Brennan's Bookshelf
This is the official home of Herbie Brennan, creator of Grailquest, Horror Classics and other gamebooks.
http://www.herbiebrennan.com/ (last verified: 2004-06-09)

John Higgins - Turmoil Colour Studios
This page belongs to Grailquest illustrator John Higgins.
http://www.turmoilcolour.com/ (last verified: 2004-06-09)


User Comments

The first three or four books in the GrailQuest series are excellent - they're well-written and have lots of humour, but also good stories. The use of maps allows the books to feel a lot bigger than their 200 or so sections, and there's a good combat system that allows for a lot more variety than, say, Fighting Fantasy's system did. Game mechanics such as the Dreamtime also add some more entertainment. The books get steadily harder from the fairly easy Castle of Darkness to the pinnacle of the series that is Gateway of Doom. As mentioned above, though, the big appeal of these books is the comedy. Running gags such as Merlin's homes and the Poetic Fiend, plus some wonderfully surreal situations such as the Vampire Carrot - if you're looking for funny gamebooks, I think these would be the obvious choice.

Unfortunately, after the halfway point, the books go noticeably downhill. Books 6 and 7 in particular have large errors that could well make them unplayable (sections that don't link up properly, instructions for fighting the boss that aren't mentioned when you meet him, and an important item it's impossible to actually obtain), almost as if they were rushed without play-testing, but whilst they're still fun I feel the second half of the series just lacked some of the sparkle and wit the first four books did. Legion of the Dead is a worthy finale to a generally enjoyable series, though.

-- c_wickham


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