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Literature / Knights of Doom

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Knights of Doom is the 56th entry of the Fighting Fantasy series of gamebooks, written by Jonathan Green.

For centuries, the brave Templar Knights of Telak Sword-bearer have protected the people of Ruddlestone from evil and chaos, destroying demonic threats from the nearby lands, and you are one of the most skilled warriors of their ranks. One day, King Rannor of Ruddlestone announced his terrible, debilitating illness, which has no natural origin: the fallen Templar of Telak Belgaroth, the Usurping Serpent, has returned from the dead along with his dreaded Chaos Knights, and from his ghost-ridden fortress of Caer-Skaal deep south he plans to invade Ruddlestone in the name of Chaos.It's up to the most skilled member of the Templars (that would mean you) to venture south, slip through the enemy lines and find a way to stop Belgaroth before his demonic hordes tear Ruddlestone apart.


Knights of Doom more or less plays like Green's previous adventure of Spellbreaker, though this time with a style which is remarkably similar to Hand's Dead of Night, (you have to pick up a series of both martial and arcane skills that may help you on your quest) but along with Jackson and Livingstone's narrow, item-grabbing path of progression which makes the game noticeably harder, forcing the player to follow a specific route to win and reducing the chances of exploring around. It also has a score of Honour and a Time score as your mission is timed.

So yeah, essentially is Dead of Night meets Spellbreaker, or Dead of Night written by Green.


Knights of Doom provides examples of:

  • Always Chaotic Evil: Again, Orcs, Beastmen and Chaos-aligned Knights and Warriors.
  • Angry Mob: You encounter one quite early in the book. It's possible to calm them down by explaining what's really going on.
  • Attack Backfire: Using the Crystal Orb against Belgaroth results in his former owner, Belgaroth, to use it to fry you to death.
  • Big Bad: Belgaroth the Usurping Serpent, itching for a second shot at Ruddlestone's throne.
  • Blade on a Stick: Just like in Legend of the Shadow Warriors or The Keep of the Lich-Lord, a magical spear provides the game's Infinity +1 Sword required to end the game successfully.
  • Brick Joke: An unfunny example with the Assassin's Dagger, which, if you lack the methods of putting it down permanently, will come back to haunt you, usually from absolutely nowhere and at the worse possible time. Like sinking itself in your kidneys as you're busy dueling Belgaroth.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Like in most Livingstone/Jackson-penned books, plenty of items you can aquire will play a pivotal role much later.
  • Collapsing Lair: With the death of the Darkthorn, the whole temple starts to crumble, since apparently the Darkthorne's extended body was there under the pavement, holding the entire structure up.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: You're faced by the demonic master of the clerics of Lein, the Darkthorn... and you can instantly end its threat by pouring some weed-killing potion (which you can buy from a random alchemist) over him, causing him to wither and die in a flash.
  • The Dragon: The Chaos Champion is sent directly by Belgaroth to face you, he is a very powerful Chaos Knight, likely linked to the titular Knights of Doom serving as a Praetorian Guard to the Big Bad, and is arguably the hardest Boss Fight of the gamebook after Belgaroth himself.
  • Evil Counterpart: Belgaroth and his Knights of Chaos to the Templar Knights of Telak Swordbearer.
  • The Fair Folk: Near the end of your journey, you can run into the elemental embodiments of the forest and be judged for your actions: if you're lucky, you can get out alive and obtain the Infinity +1 Sword.
  • Fat Bastard: Murgrim the Beastman Leader is morbidly obese compared to his subjects, and you find him busy torturing some prisoners.
  • Final Boss: Belgaroth the Usurping Serpent, though the battle is not as linear as it appears...
  • Full-Boar Action: Early on, you have to help Lord Taris hunting a huge and dangerous boar infesting the nearby forest.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: Belgaroth, after losing too much stamina, will sic his Raven at you and run away like a coward on his Night-Mare.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: You have to learn the Five Words of the Spell to stop the Knights of Chaos near the end, and also recover the three numeric clues to find the Spear Aelfgar.
  • Hellish Horse: Belgaroth's personal steed, the black, winged Night-Mare.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: At one point, you can face the Iron Golem of the forces of Chaos besieging a town. While at first it looks manageable (skill of 10 and stamina of 26), you soon find out that a series of factors (heavy armor reducing damage to 1, heavy fists dealing 3 damage per hit, heavy skill malus) makes this battle unwinnable or at least tediously long if you lack a certain item that you may need later in the endgame.
  • Improbable Weapon User: The Chaos Beastman Champion you fight halfway through tries to mess you up brandishing a broken axle-shaft from a war chariot, with the wheel and scythe blade still attached to it.
  • Karmic Transformation: Lord Taris Varen is transformed into a grotesque half-man half-raven hybrid when you unmask his identity.
  • Knight In Shining Armour: The Templar Knights of Telar and, specifically, you. Having a high Honour score is mandatory to get the happy ending.
  • Knightly Lance: One of the possible Weapon of Choice you can get in addition to the sword, though it's only useful for a mandatory fight on horseback on your way to Caer-Skaal.
  • Living Weapon: The Assassin Dagger is evil, sentient and can move and attack on his own.
  • Lone Wolf Boss: While Cadaver the Necromage was raised from the grave by Belgaroth's blight, he does not seem to answer to the Dread Lord, and raises an army of undeads to attack nearby towns. In any other gamebook, he would made a quite standard Big Bad, but here he merely provides a sidequest and a Boss Fight (admittedly pretty tough).
  • Meaningful Name: Bryar, arch-cleric of the followers of Darkthorn, Cadaver the Necromage... your pick.
  • The Mole: Lord Taris Varen is secretly working for Belgaroth, and his own soldiers turn against your army in the battle sequence halfway though. Despite this, you still need to figure out the Raven's identity with a coded puzzle.
  • The Necromancer: One revived from the dead, aptly named Cadaver, is summoning living dead to attack a village, though he's called "Necromage".
  • Night of the Living Mooks: The sidequest with Cadaver the Necromage has you facing various types of undead as you look for the undead wizard.
  • Our Liches Are Different: In probably the lamest example ever, "Lich" here is a bug-eyed, freshly resurrected corpse of some hanged man. (In this case, it's because "Lich" is old-English for "corpse.") Cadaver is arguably one, but he's never identified as such. (Cadaver is also a word for a dead body.)
  • The Phoenix: Close enough, the golden, luminous bird Celastrix was captured by Murgrim and will prove to be an invaluable ally.
  • Praetorian Guard: The Knights of Chaos are this to Lord Belgaroth himself.
  • Recycled Script: The overall plot, progression, encounters and settings are nearly identical to Green's previous work Spellbreaker, though now with an even more linear path. They both start with the hero, in the starting location, facing a monster sent by the Big Bad.
  • Religion of Evil: The Clerics of Lein used to be good, before being corrupted by Belgaroth and starting an evil cult worshiping an abomination made of thorns.
  • Side Quest: There are several ones along the main plot, which you can (read:, really should) do to gain bonuses for the main story. They usually net you items or Honour Points.
  • Significant Anagram: The Raven, traitor of Ruddlestone, is, obviously enough, Taris Varen.
  • SNK Boss: Belgaroth himself is a nightmare to fight, second only to Razaak from Crypt of the Sorcerer for the title of hardest Final Boss of the entire franchise. As soon as you enter his throne room, you need many special items and win difficult tests just to reach him alive. He has max stats with 12 in skill and 17 in stamina, Damage Reduction, deals 3 point of damage and drains your Karma Meter when striking you, which can cause a Non-Standard Game Over in which you become his slave... And when weakened enough, he runs away like the Dirty Coward he is, forcing you to survive yet another series of ordeals to fly after him when he escapes, and to successfully throw the Infinity+1 Spear at him... Suffice to say it is REALLY satisfying to finally take him down.
  • Spider Limbs: Cadaver the Necromage somehow grafted some spider legs on his torso, for purely aesthetic reasons. They give you a malus if you got Arachnophobia.
  • That One Boss: The gamebook is full of many battles against unforgivingly tough foes. Most notably the Knight of the Flame and the Beast Man champion, with 12 in skill, 12+ in stamina, who deal 3 points of damage instead of 2; the Chaos Champion with 12 in skill and 12 in stamina, who cause a malus if not fought on horseback and with a spear, and can unhorse you to weaken you further; the Knights of Doom with 10 in skill and 12 in stamina, who kill you outright if faced head on, can deal greater damage and get Damage Reduction. And last but not least, Belgaroth himself, who makes them all look like jokes.
  • Tin Tyrant: Despite being a Sorcerer, Belgaroth resembles the classical good old Black Knight of Chaos with horned, skull-faced helmet, black cape, spiked cuirasse and giant black claymore.
  • Training the Peaceful Villagers: If you choose the Battle Tactics skill, you can whip the people of Assart into a makeshift army to defy Cadaver's undead.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Belgaroth and his wife Morgwyn of the Dark Tower, who roams his fortress as a spectre. Both are equally evil and twisted, but she loved him enough to be Driven to Suicide upon learning of his demise, and he loves her enough to bring her back as a spectre after he returns.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: In order to win the book, you need Aelfgar. To find Aelfgar, you need to find three verses of a song. One of those verses appears in an illustration, written in runes. To decode those runes, you need to find a statue with an engraving. That's all very well, but you can only find the statue by failing a skill roll. Oh, and if you choose the Ride skill, that roll is an automatic pass.
  • Violence Is the Only Option: Subverted early on when you run into three people rousing a mob against the King: the safest and more honorable approach consist in talking them out of their rage against the sovereign.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Belgaroth granted the traitor the ability to transform at will, and he uses it to spy on you. What animal he turns into provides a vital clue to unmask him.
  • The War Sequence: Halfway through the story you have to lead the troops you have gathered along the way in a field battle against the vanguard of Belgaroth's Beastmen forces. you do pretty well, until Varen's troops turn on you.
  • Wicked Witch: The aforementioned Morgwyn fits the trope to a T, and is quite adept with Black Magic.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: A mandatory curse at one point can make you scared of snakes, spiders or heights. During your quest for the Spear, you have to face a special trial to conquer this fear.


Example of: