The Golden Dragon Fantasy Gamebooks
are a series of Choose Your Own Adventure
-style books written by Dave Morris and Jamie Thomson (who would later go on to create The Fabled Lands
series). It was released in the '80s, but was slightly more intricate than many similar series of the time. The player was required to manage statistics like health and agility as well as the items they found on their adventure. Notable in that one score the player didn't
keep track of was their warrior prowess, as the difficulty of battles hinged more on the relative strength of the player's opponent. Combat was resolved by rolling two dice and consulting a chart. For instance:
- 2: The giant scorpion stabs you with its stinger. Its venom races through your system and you die within seconds.
- 3-5: The giant scorpion stabs you with both claws. Lose 6 VIGOR.
- 6-9: The giant scorpion stabs you with one claw. Lose 3 VIGOR.
- 10-12: You hit the giant scorpion. It loses 3 VIGOR.
Only six books were produced for the series.
- Crypt of the Vampire
- The Temple of Flame
- The Lord of Shadow Keep
- The Eye of the Dragon
- Curse of the Pharaohs
- Castle of Lost Souls
Golden Dragon Fantasy Gamebooks provide examples of the following tropes:
- An Adventurer Is You: The series is unique for encouraging the reader to imagine themselves as a specific character they come up with themselves, even though this has no real effect on gameplay. The American versions went a step further with kids wearing armor and wielding swords on the covers. Subverted in a few of the books, sadly, which decide your character's background for you.
- Androcles Lion:
- In Castle of Lost Souls, you meet an actual lion who has a thorn in its paw. The lion actually talks (in a well-mannered way, even) and will ask you to take it off. If you do, it will give you important information.
- In The Temple of Flame, right at the beginning, you will meet a monkey being threatened by a snake. Help it, you will NOT regret it.
- Awesome Mccoolname: Arkayne Darkrobe, The Lord of Shadow Keep.
- Captain Ersatz: In The Temple of Flame, you face a boss who is called... "Sulsa Doom"?
- Dem Bones: What, were you NOT expecting to meet several of them to fight? There is at least one exception, though: a gold-plated skeleton who will let you cross a river in exchange of a Black Pearl.
- Dual Wielding: Done by Sulsa Doom in The Temple of Flame.
- Everything Is Better With Monkeys: You get a monkey companion in The Temple of Flame.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: Heck, the very first enemy fought in the series is an iron GATE!
- Evil Sorcerer: Damontir in The Temple of Flame.
- Failure Is the Only Option: In Crypt of the Vampire, there's a part where you start to sink on the floor. Any attempt to flee will resort in death, while standing still will safely bring you to another level.
- Feathered Fiend: A Zombie Falcon in The Lord of Shadow Keep. And a Phoenix in The Temple of Flame.
- Gotta Catch 'Em All: Castle of Lost Souls has you hunting for a collection of magic items right off the bat, though subverted a little as each has a practical use rather than them being the parts of a mystic doohickey or some such.
- Guide Dang It: Finding items can be tough and failure to do so often results in instant death at key points.
- Heel-Face Turn: You can do that to The Zombie Falcon with Shamboll's staff in The Lord of Shadow Keep.
- Kick the Dog: Damontir, the Big Bad of The Temple of Flame is one nasty piece of work. And to prove it, he isn't above shooting to death your pet monkey with his magical ring just to annoy you.
- Mayincatec: You venture inside this kind of temple in The Temple of Flame.
- Moral Dissonance: Different treatment in different books. The Eye of the Dragon rewards the player for double dealing at one point, but Castle of Lost Souls denies you a vital item if you go around killing people who've done you no wrong.
- Nintendo Hard: As success in combat relies more on luck than your character's skill in battle, and the relative scarcity of healing, Golden Dragon is generally remembered as being harder than similar books in the Fighting Fantasy or Lone Wolf books.
- One-Winged Angel: Inverted in Castle of Lost Souls: if you manage to kill the Big Bad and don't have the Holy Man Ashes to spread on his body, he will rise up again... except his second form is much weaker than the original.
- Our Were Beasts Are Different: Two of them!
- You meet a wild girl in The Temple of Flame who is locked in a cage. If you free her, she will reveal herself to be a werecat and help you as you are Chased by Angry Natives.
- A seductive werecat in The Lord of Shadow Keep. She is not as friendly.
- Quicksand Sucks: Right in the beginning of The Temple of Flame, you will die sinking in quicksand if you don't help (and follow) the monkey.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Oh come ON... whether they are made of stones, giant, half-human or just regular slitherers, reptiles are not part of your fanclub.
- Sadly Mythtaken: In The Eye of the Dragon, your enemies are Kappas. You know, those turtle-like creatures from Japanese mythology... oops, sorry, we meant humanoids made out of coral with pearls for eyes. Our bad.
- Stripperiffic: The Belly Dancer in Curse of the Pharaohs.
- Swiss Army Tears: In Castle of Lost Souls, you have to throw the tear of your quest-giver's sister at the (remaining good) eye of the Big Bad. It will burn it and make him completely blind.
- Too Dumb to Live: In the first book, taking a nap in an bedroom... inside a manor inhabited by a vampire. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
- Unreliable Illustrator: In Curse of the Pharaohs, you meet the demon known as the Heart-Devourer. If you have a crystal eye on your back, you can see him coming towards you. The text describes him as holding a dagger in one hand and a human heart in the other. The illustration shows him just holding a dagger.
- Violation of Common Sense: The best path to be taken in The Temple of Flame is, when fighting Sulsa Doom, to take a Leap of Faith in the shaft below you. Just hope you took a cape of feathers with you. Haven't? Enjoy your hot, HOT bath!