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La Saga du prêtre Jean (The Prester John's Saga) is a series of French Gamebooks, not dissimilar from other series like Fighting Fantasy or GrailQuest. It was written by Doug Headline, with the collaboration of Dominique Monrocq, Michel Pagel and Jacques Collin.

The books features a protagonist, the legendary Prester John himself, here depicted as a crusader under Richard the Lion-Hearted. During his sojourn in Acre, John learns from a crumbling papyrus of a legendary city somewhere in the far East, a city where Death, Plague and Unhappiness are unknown: the City of Eternal Youth, Shangri-La. Thrilled at the prospect, the crusader prepares himself for a dangerous journey that will take him all over the ancient world across time itself, all the way to the mythical city.

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The series is composed of the five following books:

  • The Fortress of Alamut (La Forteresse d'Alamuth) — The beginning of your adventure, where Prester John must face the perils of the deadly Hashashin Stronghold in order to start his journey
  • The Eye of the Sphinx (L'Œil du sphinx) — Set in Ancient Egypt, Prester John must find the high priest Akanit amongst the dusty, undead-infested tombs of the past.
  • The Mines of King Solomon (Les Mines du roi Salomon) — Set in Africa, Prester John seeks the advice of King Solomon's adviser Nikanor, but must search for him into the depths of the title mines.
  • Mysteries of Babylon (Les Mystères de Babylone) — Set in the city of Babylon, Prester John has to look for the advice of three sages in order to find the precious information about Shangri-La.
  • The Worshipers of Evil (Les Adorateurs du mal) — Set in India, on his way to China our hero finds himself caught in the conspiracy of the Thuggee, trying to summon a powerful demon with a sacred weapon.
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The series was supposed to continue in three more books set in China, Mongolia and finally Tibet, but because of the progressive decline of Game Books as whole in France, these books never saw the light. This did not stop a group of zealous and affictionate Italian fans from writing the three, unofficial books that ends the saga, keeping the original titles announced by the original series, namely:

  • In the Land of the Dragons (Nel Paese dei Dragoni) — Detailing the journey of Prester John from India to China.
  • The Desert of Death (Il Deserto della Morte) — Where Prester John must venture forth into the eldritch Desert of Gobi looking for Agartha.
  • Shangri-La! — Set in Tibet, Prester John has to obtain enlightenment and overcome cosmic horrors in order to enter Shangri-La.

Pretty much like Fighting Fantasy, Prester John has to roll for his Strength and Vitality scores, possess a rucksack which can hold ten items, some of which may prove useful, and can use spells from scrolls or items. Furthermore, there are a couple of special abilities: scoring a double six in combat kills the opponent instantly, while the opposite happens if the enemy rolls a double one. While the Vitality Stat is much higher than usual (2 dices + 18) the damage inflicted in combat is equal to the difference between your Strength Roll and your enemy's, allowing you to deal or receive more damage. Furthermore, being a man of faith, Prester John can, once per adventure, convert a single humanoid and sentient enemy to his cause, skipping a combat, and from Book 2 onward he can use the power of the deadly Eye of Horus to vanquish certain enemies.

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The narration is mostly serious, though there are a couple of funny, tongue-in-cheek moments along the way, not to mention several references to mythology, folk tales and even Lovecraftian mythos.


La Saga du prêtre Jean provides examples of:

  • Absent-Minded Professor:
    • The sorcerers of Alamut are so taken by their research that they'll ignore Prester John and even absent-mindedly give him some cool stuff if he politely asks them.
    • You also encounter one in Babylon who asks you to help him find his glasses... which are on his forehead.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The ones under Babylon, where you may end up. They host the Blob and also a Giant Water Spider, among various things.
  • Actually, I Am Him: In Babylon, when you approaches the palace you meet a ragged old beggar who will talk ill of the governor of the city and asks your opinion of him. He is a minister in disguise, and if you disagreed with him he'll be satisfied and reward you with a special pass to the palace.
  • All Myths Are True: It's our ancient world, but one where magic is real, monsters abound and non-human races like Trolls, Ogres, Kobolds and Elves daily interact with humans.
  • All Trolls Are Different: Tall, lanky humanoids with long noses and ears and a taste for human flesh. The first two you encounter are called Ley and Bus, and guards a bridge.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Mahal, one of the three Babylonian sages, is rather creepy and mysterious, not to mention he can spell your demise as easily as he can help you on your quest.
  • Ancient Egypt: The setting of the second book, including a trip through the desert or across the Nile, secret tombs and, obviously, a trip in the dungeon under the Pyramid.
  • And Call Him "George"!: In Book 3 you fight an Ogre who's trying to hug you and cuddle you despite his immense size.
  • And I Must Scream: There are many endings that leave you condemned to such a fate, including being forced to play an endless game of chess as the pawn or going insane from reading the Necronomicon, or being horribly singed by an evil magician and forced to work for him as a beggar for the rest of your life.
  • Armor As Hit Points: If you remove your armor or shield you suffer a temporary loss of Vitality points, but you will gain them back if you wear another armor. Though sometimes losing your armor nets you a small loss of Strength, so it's not always consistent.
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted, you wear an helmet and a suit of chainmail that protects you from damage. In Book 3 you can find a magnificent breastplate with an even bigger bonus, but you'll die later if you encounter the Pteranodon: it will try to snatch you way, but the armor is so heavy it'll drop you halfway through, spelling your demise.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Katar in Book 5. If used to kill someone it will summon an Asura from the body of the victim. Plus it will makes you the target of both the Thuggee and other sects.
  • Atop a Mountain of Corpses: The cover of Book 1 shows a helmeted, fully armed Prester John walking over a pile of corpses, including those of a lizard-men and a Cyclops.
  • Attack Backfire:
    • Sometimes the red beams of the Eye of Horus will prove useless against certain enemies, even giving them bonuses.
      • In Book 3, using the beam against lava men turns them into much stronger diamond men.
      • In Book 4, firing it against a gelatinous cube with a skull encased in it results in the beam being diffracted by the cube, then focused again by the skull's eyesockets and fired back at you for an instant kill.
    • In Book 5, fighting a Thuggee with the sacred Katar not only will give you a Strength malus (it's a weapon you're unfamiliar with), but the final strike will summon an Asura that you'll have to fight.
  • Attack of the Killer Whatever:
    • The second book as an hilarious encounter with a monster that pretends to be a sleeping woman in a bed. After you kill him you're attacked by his daughter, and animated stool which bites you in the leg as you search the room and whimpers when you kick it away.
    • In the fourth book you're attacked by a living curtain that tries to wrap itself around you and digest you.
  • Bad Samaritan: In Babylon, a random stranger will offer shelter to Prester John when he's chased by an angry crowd. Actually, he means to use you for his ends: if you bring back what he asked he'll poison you as You Have Outlived Your Usefulness.
  • Baleful Polymorph:
    • In the first book you can be turned into a Lizard Man or a Rat Man for a while if you try to enter Alamut from the secret dungeon passage; one of the wizards may turn you into a cockroach as well.
    • In the fourth you may be turned int a toad, with the consoling remark that "The life of a toad is very simple, and you'll adapt quickly."
  • Bar Brawl: At one point in book 5, the sects of Thuggee, Brahmins and Yogis will try to ambush you in a tavern, but since they hate each other's guts they'll start killing each other. If you want you can just sit there and enjoy the carnage, though you'll have to escape the city guards after the battle.
  • Beautiful Dreamer: Subverted in Book 2, the sleeping beauty is the lure of a monster disguised as a bed.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Implied in Book 5 that Prester John inspired Zarathustra's concept of the Ubermensch.
  • Berserk Button: If you encounter the Rakshasa in book 5 and you're wearing a tiger pelt the monster will become livid, take it off your shoulders and kick you out of his mansion. (If you don't you can either fight him or solve his riddle to get an item.)
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies:
    • Book 1 has both a giant slug and a dungeon full of disgusting giant caterpillars.
    • Subverted in book 4, where a giant bug is actually the friendly envoy of one of the three sages you're looking for.
  • Black Knight: The Old Man of Alamut summons your Evil Knockoff to test your skills. Obviously he has the same scores as you, but you cannot convert him.
  • Blob Monster:
    • The Blob appears as a massive sludge monster with Combat Tentacles and a single eye in the middle of his body. If you lose too much health fighting him he'll swallow you whole.
    • Another part of the sewer has a gelatinous cube holding an ensorcered skull that attack with eye beams, but it won't kill you, only teleport you to one of Babylon's three sages, Mahal.
    • The previous books also have slime monsters for you to fight.
  • Breath Weapon: One of the deadliest encounters of Book 4 features a fire-breathing man who halves your Vitality score whenever he lands a hit. Once you're reduced to 1 point you lose.
  • Cat Folk:
    • Encountered as hostile monsters in Egypt, though it's possible to skip their battle.
    • There's also a semi-hostile Rakshasa in book 5.
  • Chaste Hero: Averted, Prester John can have sex with consensual ladies during the story.
  • Cool Sword: Since your equipment will survive the Time Travel, you get to keep your sword, unless you lose it somewhere along your adventure. At the end of the first book, the Old Man gives you a stronger cool blade for you to use.
  • Crashing Through the Harem: In Book 4 you can accidentally end up in the gardens of the royal harem. Thankfully, you can take the diplomatic approach and simply explain yourself to the ladies, who give you indication and tease you a bit.
  • Deal with the Devil: A rather surreal game over from the 5th book has you starting a conversation with a mysterious stranger in a tavern during the above-mentioned Bar Brawl. After drinking too much wine, you're offered to sign a contract, and the stranger turns out to be the Devil, who now owns your soul.
  • Driven to Suicide: If you kill the Corpse-eating Ghoul in Book 2, his hunchback underling will cry over his body and then commit suicide by jumping into a vat of embalming fluids.
  • Dungeon Crawling: Book 2 has you venturing through at least three different dungeons, while Book 3 takes mostly place inside the titular mines of King Solomon.
  • Easy Evangelism: The special power of Prester John in this game books, which curiously works even in the past, long before the birth of Christ. Subverted by the fact that it's not easy to perform, requiring specific conditions, and it's more a way to let you pass a difficult battle than anything else. The only time you can use it outside of combat is when you talk to a fallen missionary and it's more like a long talk rather than a few words.
  • Enemy Civil War: In Book 5, all the three sects of Thuggees, Brahmins and Yogi are out for your blood, but they'll fight each other over you.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The White Death towards Nikanor, who was her caretaker when she was just a whelp.
  • Evil Chancellor: The Big Bad of book 5 is the chancellor of the Marajah, a.k.a. the Grand Priest of the Thuggee cult.
  • Evil Sorcerer: While most sorcerers are rather helpful, a few of them are hostile and dangerous. This include the Babylonian Witch in book 4.
  • Failure Is the Only Option:
    • In book 4, at one point you can open a door and you're asked if you're wearing an helmet or not. If you don't, the following Tap on the Head will kill you instantly. If you do, the following Tap on the Head will stun you long enough for the mugger to stab you dead. In both cases you're robbed and your corpse is thrown in the Tigris.
    • The same book has an inverted case if you accidentally join the queue outside the temple, waiting to participate in a pagan orgy with the young virgin maidens inside. If you lack the items that'll allow you to escape this predicament, Prester John will pretend to faint on the stairs of the temple rather than stain his honor with such a depraved ritual. The worse thing that happens to you is to be mocked by some of the guys there as they enter the temple.
    • In Book 5, the Thuggees will eventually get ahold of the Sacred Katar, even if you give it to the Brahmin sage.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: One of the execution methods in book 5 consist in having your skull stepped on by an elephant. If you helped a certain person the executioner will tell his elephant not to harm you.
  • Fantastic Racism: In book 1, there's a secondary Dungeon where Rat Men and Lizard Men are fighting each other. It turns out that they used to be human but were cursed, and said curse can be lifted only if they learn to collaborate.
  • Fighting a Shadow: If you lie to Abdul Al-Azhred he will try to test you by summoning a Stygian Demon for you to fight. Though you can fight him in the conventional way, the creature is actually an illusion and nothing more. Given that it can damage you in combat it may qualify as Your Mind Makes It Real.
  • Final Boss: Book 1 has a battle against your Evil Knockoff, book 2 has an Anubis-shaped Golem, book 3 has The White Death, book 4 has a Winged Bull guardian and in Book 5 you can either face the Grand Priest of the Thuggee cult or the Asura he was trying to summon.
  • Furry Confusion: The Falconer of Alamut is a hawk-man himself. This may justify his ability to control the birds of prey against you.
  • Garden of Evil: The second part of the Fortress of Alamut, including carnivorous plants, a flail-snail monster and a highly venomous spider that can kill you if it lands as much as one bite.
  • Giant Mook: In book 5 you have to battle a very big Thuggee henchman, a battle that can be difficult as your stats are lowered. And there aren't stone grinders nearby...
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The six cells from Book 3 holds unexpected guests inside that will instantly attack you, including a Giant Spider, a Ghoul, an Ogre, a Berserker warrior and the Giant White Rat. One of them is empty, but host a Blob Monster that you may avoid.
  • Giant Spider: At least once per book, though sometimes it's optional. Almost always they come with venom that can either kill you or paralyze you if you get hit.
  • Guile Hero: Prester John can always count on his wits to get out of some situations, and he's often asked to solve riddles.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The White Death is the result of the relationship between a wicked human king and his demon concubine. In the picture it resembles a massive albino gorilla with the head of a lion.
  • Have a Nice Death: Hey, this is a gamebook series, what did you expect? A notably cringe-worthy example comes from book 3: if you're turned into a salt statue by a pixie, the narration consoles you by saying that at least you won't lead an "insipid" existence.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Averted, Prester John is always depicted with a full helmet on his face. In book 3 you can have a jerkass Kobold trying to punch you in the face, only to injure his hand.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: Abdul Al-Azrhed shows up in book 1 and gladly helps you on your quest. He also advises you to not peek at the black book he's currently writing, as you won't find anything useful to you in it.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The Air Spirit summoned by Slig the Alchemist from book 1. You can face him with your own sword, but you lack any magical means and cannot hurt him. Fortunately, after two attacks Slig will send him away and talk to you.
  • Human Popsicle: At the end of book 3, Nikanor encases you into a block of ice to magically preserve you for the Time Travel. You start book 4 still frozen, and depending on the dice roll you may thaw soon enough with the caravan carrying you or even in the city itself.
  • I'm Dying, Please Take My MacGuffin: The beginning of Book 5, where a nameless Brahmin will rush into your inn, slip the Sacred Katar into your bag and run away as three Thuggee enters in hot pursuit. You can try to follow the men outside, only to see the Brahmin assassinated and learn something of your mission. You can subvert this by ignoring them, in which case you find out about the Katar later by yourself.
  • Jerkass:
    • The Kobolds you meet in book 3 are rather hostile and rude.
    • Also Alshaya the Black from book 4.
  • Joke Item: Near the end of Book 4, you can meet and help an absent-minded scholar. If you do he rewards you with two wonderful spell scrolls: one that lets you talk to door knobs and another one that makes palmipeds friendly. No need to say that these are completely ignored in the following book.
  • Karmic Death: In book 2, if you leave the priest to be lynched by a mob of fanatical Aten-worshippers, they lynch you afterward.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch:
    • In Book 2, you can rescue Faltine by just walking up the Smug Snake slave trader selling her and killing him in battle.
    • In book 3, trying to talk with the Kobold in the mess hall causes him to punch you, only to hurt his hand. You can then punch him back and pour the contents of his bowl over him, which gains the sympathy of the much more helpful Ogre taskmaster.
  • Killer Gorilla: The first enemy you encounter in book 3, killing him earns you the respect of the local pygmy tribe which was plagued by the beast.
  • Living Statue: Thalos, the Climax Boss of Book 1. You are suggested to look for a special armor set (helmet, gloves and cuirass) to fight him with greater chance of success. You can also kill him instantly if you still have the Jade Key with you and embed it into his chest.
  • Lizard Folk: Lizard people are frequently encountered as hostile enemies in book 1 and 2. In the former you can become one yourself for a while.
  • MacGuffin Guardian:
    • In Alamut, each fragment of the special armor needed to face Thalos (one himself) is guarded by one, safe for the helmet.
    • Book 2 has countless guardians in the dungeons you visit.
    • The Winged Bull from book 4 guards the tablet with the indications to reach Shangri-La.
  • Magma Man: You can meet two friendly ones in the mines of Solomon, punished in such fashion by their king. They can singe you by mistake if you shake hands with them and you can fight them, but they're though. Using the Eye on them will turn them in even tougher Diamond Men.
  • The Many Deaths of You: This is a Gamebook, of the Choose Your Own Adventure style, what did you expect? Excluding the failures and the deaths in combat you can be crushed and drowned by a giant octopus, die of leprosy, go insane by reading the Necronomicon, be buried alive in a tomb, turned into a salt statue by a pixie, stabbed in the back by a treacherous pimp or fail to notice an illusory trap and being skewered to death.
  • Mook Maker: The guardian of the Thuggee island is a four-armed necromancer that summons a horde of skeletons for you to fight. Once you kill all the skeletons, the guy's head explode, killing him.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Most of the ladies you can sleep with, especially the Babylonian courtesan Nana-Dirat and the Indian Princess Roxanne.
  • Needle in a Stack of Needles: In Book 3, you spent the second third of the adventure looking for Nikanor's cell, and you're likely to meet a pixie halfway through. If you accept his help, he'll tell you that you can find him behind a red door... only to walk into a series of cellblocks where all the doors have been painted red by the little trickster. In the first block, all six of them holds an hostile creature to fight.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: Usually involves losing your faith to find Shangri-La and giving up. If you stay with Nana-Dirat for too long you get one.
  • No-Sell: The Magma Men in book 3 are immune to the Eye of Horus, which only turns them into diamond. Downplayed with the Asura demon from book 5, while the beam doesn't kill him he experience a loss of Vitality and a serious lowering of his Strength.
  • Oh, Crap!: Prester John has these from time to time. A notable one is from an illustration from book 3, where he wakes up after fainting only to find himself in a bubbling cauldron with two Trolls ready to cook him.
  • The Oldest Profession: It's highly implied that Nana-Dirat is a prostitute (a high-class one) and that Alshaya the Black is her pimp.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • "The Judgment of God" rule: you can inflict this on any enemy if you roll a double six, but are on the receiving end if the enemy rolls a double one.
    • Also the Eye of Horus against nearly all your enemies.
  • Optional Sexual Encounter: Several, usually in the even numbered books. The narration is discreet about it:
    • Book 2, Faltine, daughter of the priest Sephreti, will give you some Rescue Sex if you save her from the slave trader and follows her to the end.
    • Book 4, Nana-Dirat falls in love with Prester John and has some passionate sex with him after he kills Alshaya the Black. However, if you reciprocate her love too much you get a Non-Standard Game Over.
  • Our Dragons Are Different:
    • Book 1 has an overall small, friendly Dragon (compared to a large sheepdog) who talks and apparently is the pet of the Old Man himself.
    • Book 3 has an optional encounter with two, less than friendly Dragons, one red and the other blue, which are fighting a mysterious knight in a rock painting.
  • Our Ghouls Are Creepier: Often encountered as flesh-eating, corpse-like scavengers. Book 2 has a Corpse-eating Ghoul hidden in the embalmer's shop, while in book 4 you can face a pack of four and in book 5 you first meet Roxanne when she and her retinue are attacked by a vile Pishaka.
  • Our Ogres Are Hungrier: In book 3, Ogres are used as taskmasters in Solomon's Mine. The one you encounter in the mess hall is actually friendly and helpful if you touch the right topic. A hostile Ogre is met later on in a prison. Both are the classical huge, bulking humanoids with pot-bellies.
  • The Paladin: Prester John; while not 100% pure and holy, he's a good man who upholds his cause and protects the weak, depending on how you play him.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • In book 3, you can encounter a former missionary of King Solomon who has lost his faith (and mind) and is worshiping the pagan gods. If you haven't used the conversion yet, you can give him a talk that will restore his faith and sanity, earning you a reward.
    • In book 4, Prester John leaves a saddened Nana-Dirat leaving her a memento of his own mother, a small flute, telling her that he will hear its call even from across time itself and eventually return to her.
  • Pie in the Face: In book 4, if you refuse to help the Distressed Damsel from her pursuer she'll pull out a honey cake and throw it: there's a 50-50 chance that the cake will hit her pursuer or, in a case of karmic justice, you, causing you to be laughed at by the crowd.
  • The Pig Pen: Granted, it's unlikely that monsters actually care about their smell, but the Monrock from Book 3 smells so bad it gives you a Strength malus unless you carry a special amulet that dispels his stench.
  • Portal Picture: Variation in Book 3: You can see three mysterious rock paintings in a tunnel that will drag you in to face three diffente obstacles: you can either climb a raven-infested tower to fight a wraith, help a knight killing two Dragons or fighting a rampaging elephant for some tribesmen. The reward is the same for all the three encounters.
  • Rape as Drama: If you're backstabbed by Alshaya in book 4, the last thing you see as you die is him raping an unconscious Nana-Dirat.
  • Red Herring: The Tooth of Gygax you can pry from the Witch allows you to command giants... too bad that the following book has none and the series was cancelled, making the item useless.
  • Religion of Evil: The Thugee cult of Kalì from book 5, who wants to summon a giant demon to conquer India.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: More often than not, reptilian enemies will try to kill you. The only exception is the human-faced serpent guarding the shrine of Set, who'll not attack you if you carry the idol of Set.
  • Riddling Sphinx: In the endgame of the second book. Those who fail to solve the riddle are turned to stone.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: In Book 3, a small white mouse comes out of one of Nikanor's cells. If you ignore him he will grow to gigantic size and fight you.
  • Rule of Three: On your way to the Games' Quarter in book 4 you can run into three ladies: the first leads to the encounter with Nana-Dirat, the second leads to two fights with some nasty mercenaries, the third one is a Wicked Witch who tries to kill you.
  • Schmuck Bait:
    • More often than not. The most egregious would be the offer to peek at the big, black book that a guy named Abdul Al-Azrhed is currently working on.
    • Earlier on, you're given the chance to pay a visit to a rogue who lives in the village outside Alamut. You can only do this at nighttime and if you do you get killed and mugged for trespassing.
  • Serious Business: Book 4 has a bowling game you can join in the Quarter of Games. Except that the ball is a skull, the pins are femurs and you'll pay with your life if you lose.
  • The Shangri-La: The main objective of your quest, described as a city whose inhabitants are eternally immortal and blissful.
  • Shout-Out: A couple of monsters encountered in this series may come straight from Dungeons & Dragons, including a Flail-Snail in Book 1 and a metal-devouring monster who's essentially a Xorn in Book 3.
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness vs. Seriousness: While the series overall tells a serious and epic tale, there are plenty of humorous moments, like the encounter with the bed monster in book 2 or the way the Bar Brawl is treated in book 5 if you decide to pretend that it's an hallucination.
  • Taken for Granite: All those who cannot anskwer the riddle of the Sphinx. You can also find an artifact in book 3 that can do this, and you can potentially use it to finish off the White Death before the battle starts.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Prester John can convert an enemy to his cause. However, this only works if 1). The enemy is alone and 2). The enemy is a sentient humanoid.
  • Tarot Troubles: One of the sages of Babylon, Mahal, offers you to try your luck at tarots. You can either get nice bonuses or a horrible fate.
  • Technical Pacifist: Abdul Al-Azrhed won't harm you if you attack him. He will just use his magic and sent you back to paragraph 1, forcing you to restart your adventure.
  • Time Travel: In order to track any possible information about Shangri-La Prester John has to travel across time and space, except from Book 4 onward. This result in a Bag of Spilling (except for you sword, armor and the Eye of Horus) between games. It is also implied that he's not the only one doing it: in Babylon you can see (but not interact with) a mysterious archer who's highly implied to be Robin Hood, while in Book 5 you can spot a Zorro-look alike (if not the man himself) performing some swashbuckling feats during the Bar Brawl.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: The Necronomicon itself, being worked on by a still-sane Abdul Al Azrhed. Still eldritch enough to turn your mind into pudding if you try to read its pages.
  • Troll Bridge: Ley and Bus guards one to the village outside Alamut. You can pay them with either money or your horse or you can fight them.
  • The Undead: Many of the enemies you have to face, especially in book 2, full of skeletons, mummies and flesh-eating ghouls.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: (Or Gamebook Cruelty Punishment) In Book 3 you can just step aside and watch amused as the knight in the portrait (highly implied to be St. George himself) fights two Dragons simultaneously, only to be defeated and torn apart. If you do so, not only the two Dragons will gang up on you, but upon defeating them the whole combat will start anew, forcing you to choose wether to help St. George or running away. Oh, if you run away one of the Dragons will notice you and breath fire, damaging you.
  • Violence Is the Only Option: In Book 3, you end up covered in flour when you run into a Goblin miner who mistakes you for the White Death and calls for help. If you don't kill him as quickly as you can, he'll call for his fellow miners, who'll lynch you to death.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: The Pygmy people from Book 3 are a friendly example. If you save their shaman from a treacherous underling he will give you advice on how to face Solomon's mines.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: A minor one, if you decide to wait for Thalos to do something the narrator will point out that this looks silly, forcing you to attack the golem for him to move.
  • Wretched Hive: Babylon, natch! Though not all the inhabitants are remorseless bandits.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: If the Grand Priest of the Thuggee cult manages to summon the Asura, the demon will bite his head off as a reward before turning his attention to you.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: If you kill the chief of the forty thieves in book 1, they offer you to join their ranks and take his place (which leads to a Non-Standard Game Over).
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: The search for the High Priest Antarsis in book 2 is a series of these.

The Unofficial sequel provides examples of:

  • Achilles' Heel: The fearsome demon Huàng Chòu Miàn Jù Lao can only be defeated by showing him a mirror, causing him to self destruct.
  • Animalistic Abomination: The tiger in Book 6 seems unusually large and fierce for a mere beast, while Xiang Yao takes the form of a gigantic, fiery serpent. Sha Mò Er from Book 7 takes the form of an humongous dire jackal.
  • Art Shift: Fans did the artwork and drawings, meaning that they are not as good as the official ones.
  • Attack of the Monster Appendage: In Temujin's mansion you can end up in a corridor where a tentacled, underwater monster attacks you from under the floor. Later you meet one crossed with Antlion Monster in the Ge Bi Desert.
  • Badass Preacher: Prester John, even more than in the previous series. When you're confronted by all your previous enemies in a battle inside your mind, the right way out is to pray Jesus, which allows you to vanquish them easily and proceed to the next trial.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Prester John becomes one at the end of Book 6, rolling for the new stats of Physical Power, Psychic Power and obtaining the "Dragon Claw" technique.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: The first part of the final battle involves facing your previous enemies in a seemingly endless battle.
  • Big Eater: You can try to obtain money for the crossing of the desert by winning an eating contest. (You need a special potion in order to win).
  • Body Horror: In the final book you get a third eye, and the process is described in painful detail.
  • Book-Ends: Book 8 starts with describing your permanence in Agartha and learning about how things works there. In the happy ending you reach Shangri-La and learn how it works before reaching the conclusion of the book.
  • Boss Rush: In the final showdown inside your mind, all the previously encountered enemies will swarm you. You can end the battle by praying to the Lord and then facing them in combat.
  • Call-Back: In China, you can meet a Fate Worse than Death that mirrors the one in the first book when you encounter Abdul Al Azrahed and read his book without permission.
  • Cast from Hit Points: The spell that summons the Imperial Dragon, to the point that it will kill you if you roll low enough.
  • Cannibal Tribe: The pygmy Tcho Tcho tribes from Book 8.
  • Chinese Vampire: Here spelled as "Geong Si", you first encounter them in Hell in the sixth book and in Temujin's mansion in the 7th. They behave more like zombies though.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: Book 7 and 8 have you fight horrors straight from the Lovecraftian Lore, including something that is highly implied to be Nyarlathotep and also the Tcho Tcho and their elephantine god Chaugnar Faugn.
  • Cultured Badass: Prester John not only is a top-notch fighter and crusader, he's also wise and well-learnt enough to discuss religious matters and differencies with Je'Tsonkhapa.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Kui She is a lovely girl, if you ignore the serpent tail and the venomous fangs.
  • Deal with the Devil: Played more seriously this time: if you're captured by You Seng's Fog of Doom in book 8, 'Ol Nick will appear and offer you a deal: he'll rescue you from the fog and certain death in exchange for your soul, but if you manage to find Shangri-La in the meanwhile he will let you go free and forget about the deal.
  • Demon Lords And Arch Devils: You can meet the various Kings of Hell in Book 6, though most of them won't antagonize you directly.
  • Designated Love Interest: Ahalya. Her relationship with Prester John is deeper than the ones he had with the previously-met ladies, but the narrative makes a big deal out of it, sometimes excessively so. Furthermore, no matter which path you take to China, you're still bound to meet her and fall in love with her. Leaving her to continue your quest is treated as a big drama, completely ignoring your previous love stories with Faltine and Nana-Dirat, even with the latter's Pet the Dog moment described above.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Subverted in book 7: Sha Mò Er is the only member of the Terrible Trio that can be fought with your sword (though he's hardcore). Trying to face the other two directly will result in your swift annihilation. Also averted with Chaugnar Faugn in Book 8: at the moment you are unarmed and stripped of your equipment, fighting him is not an option.
  • Dual Boss: The fiendish Gong Gong and his former steed Xiang Yao. If you employ the Eye of Horus you can take Xiang Yao out and turn it into a Duel Boss instead.
  • Dungeon Crawling: The first half of Book 7 has you doing this in Temujin's mansion. The second half involves wandering the Desert of Death, though you can visit previous locations at will.
  • Eldritch Abomination: In order to reach Agartha in Book 7 you have to find the three keyes in the Desert of Death, each in possession of three different Abominations, namely Sha Mò Er, Huàng Chòu Miàn Jù Lao and You Tian Zi. For bonus points, they are in incognito, so part of the challenge is finding out who they are, the other half is finding the item which can defeat them. In Book 8, You Seng summons a beast that it's highly implied to be a Shoggoth and the Tcho Tcho try to feed you to their god Chaugnar Faugn.
  • Elemental Embodiment: The bodyguards of Temujin looks human but are named after Lightning, Wind, Rain and Thunder and have the appropriate powers. Possibly a Shout-Out to Big Trouble in Little China.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Temujin is The Dreaded and lives in a creepy labyrintine mansion infested with traps and monsters, but he's willing to help you if you ask nicely. You Seng in book 8 is an evil former-monk who now practice dark magic and worships Lovecraftian entities.
  • Fan Fiction: The three books were made and put together by die-hard fans of the series, and they even admit such in the opening of each book.
  • Final Boss: Book 6 has Gong Gong and his minion Xiang Yao, though they are fought halfway through the book. Book 7 has You Tian Zi/ Nyarlathotep
  • Fisher King: In book 6, the death of the Qi'lin turns China into a ghost-infested wasteland with poisonous forests. You have to venture to Hell to bring the noble animal back and restore the land to its former state.
  • Fog of Doom: You encounter one enveloping the monastery of Gandang in book 8, work of the evil wizard You Seng. You can end up killed by it if you're not careful.
  • For the Lulz: The reason why Gong Gong killed the Qi'lin. He also taunts the other Hell Kings for being unable to stop him.
  • Garden of Evil: The forest you have to explore after the Qi'Lin's death. It features overgrown vegetation, monster plants, poisonous sludge and restless ghosts.
  • Genre Shift: The last two books are closer to a Cosmic Horror Story. Book 8, being centered around your quest for enlightment, sports less combat and more descriptions and verbal interactions with other characters.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Temujin, after visiting Agartha and dealing with the Eldritch Abomination roaming the desert. He's surprisingly calm and composed when you meet him in person, though.
  • Haunted House: Temujin's mansion is a veritable labyrinth infested with traps, living dead, giant spiders, monsters, the elementa embodiment of the storm, demons, you name it.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: The three demons of the Desert of Death. Sha Mò Er pretends to be a massive jackal, Huàng Chòu Miàn Jù Lao masquerades as a friendly nomad sorcerer (You can encounter the real mage, turned into a lizard), You Tian Zi is the black merchant wandering the desert. Part of the mechanics involves finding out a clue in the desert which tells you a number to subtract or add to the paragraph you meet them in order to fight them properly.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: If Temujin really is the very same man known as Genghis Khan then he forfeited his Golden Horde for a life as a dreaded warlock who dabbled with the forces of eldritch Chaos and has fathered a Half-Human Hybrid with a snake demoness.
  • Info Dump: The beginning of Book 8, about the nature of Agartha. It' nothing really important for the rest of the game, though.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: In Book 7, on your way to Temujin's house, you're given a spell that can pulverize an enemy instantly. It works on Sha Mò Er as well.
  • Meaningful Name: Kui She actually mean "Demon Serpent" in chinese.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: Undead enemies become more frequent in book 6 and 7, mostly the Geong Si, which are usually fought in numbers.
  • No-Gear Level: The first part of Book 8, since you are in a buddhist monastery, you won't need weapons or armor. They give it back to you when you have to venture outside.
  • No Name Given: The Tcho Tcho deity is unnamed, though players well versed in Cthulhu mythos will identify it as Chaugnar Faugn.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: Choosing to stay with Ahalaya will give you a happy life, but you still renounced to your quest. An Easter Egg in the seventh book reveals that you're actually Chuck Norris playing an italian remake of a French TV series which ended 20 years ago and complaining about the work conditions in the torrid desert and the script, while also mentioning how crude the prequel was and how the sequel will take place in Tibet, questioning the presence of a crusader in medieval Tibet. It's quite ainvoked Big-Lipped Alligator Moment.
  • One-Winged Angel: If you kill Anawratha, a demon will emerge from his corpse to fight you. Wheter it's this or Demonic Possession, you decide.
  • Overly Long Name: The Eldritch Abomination Huàng Chòu Miàn Jù Lao. Even his moniker is nearly as long.
  • Papa Wolf: Killing Kui She nets you a serpent pendant that you can wear. If Temujin sees it, he puts two and two together and, in a bout of paternal wrath, destroys you in a jiff.
  • Puzzle Boss: The Shoggoth in the final book can be tricked into destroying the pillars of the temple, causing it to be crushed under the debris.
  • Red Baron: The three demons from the Desert of Death are known as Sha Mò Er, "The Child of the Desert", Huàng Chòu Miàn Jù Lao, "The Yellow-Silk-Masked One" and You Tian Zi, "The Black Pharaoh".
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Gong Gong's steed was turned into a gigantic serpent named Xiang Yao. Also Kui She, the lovely but deadly serpent-woman, daughter of Temujin.
  • Sadistic Choice: Near the end of Book 6, you have to choose between your quest or your love interest. If you choose the former you'll never see the latter.
  • Sand Worm: You can encounter one in the Desert of Death. If you try to fight him, you get the surreal Non-Standard Game Over described above.
  • Scars Are Forever: Ahalya's master was angry when she converted to Buddhism and scarred her face. Prester John still loves her.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: You Seng the warlock. Since the monks are non-violent, they locked him into a walled-up room under the monastery, but this doesn't stop his evil from seeping out of the can from time to time. He gets out in the finale.
  • Secret Test of Character: For the most part of Book 8.
  • Serial Killer: Anawratha, the Arc Villain for the first part of Book 6 if you take the land route. Also a case of Demonic Possession.
  • The Shangri-La: This time, you get to see it for real in the last book if you succeed.
  • Shout-Out: Huàng Chòu Miàn Jù Lao is one to the Alchemist from a french movie, Vidocq - The Faceless Mask. Both look like robed humanoids with a featureless, reflective mask which they can use to steal the souls of those mirrored in it. They are also defeated in the same manner, by forcing them to face a mirror, which releases all the souls they've stolen and kill them.
    • The Agarthean will give you a bag of mysterious beans that can fill your stomach and heal you if you eat them. How familiar...
  • Snake People: Temujin's daughter Kui She is one.
  • Something Completely Different: Book 8 relies much more on roleplaying and dialogue trees, has next to none magical trinkets to pick up and use and is more somber than the rest. It fits with the theme of the adventure.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: The only way to defeat You Tian Zi is to use the Imperial Dragon Scroll to summon the titular beast to fight him, and even then you may die if you read the spell incorrectly.
  • Thirsty Desert: The setting of the second half of the 7th book: You'll need a camel and a water barrel in order to cross it, consume water rations as you explore it and may end up insane if you cannot find the keyes in time.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: In book 8, a Giant finally appears, allowing you to use the Gygax Tooth from Book 4 to tame it. Also, Prester John finally gets the chance to reach Shangri-La fro real.
  • Time Travel: From Agartha you're sent into the future, in year 1417, in order to meet Je'Tsonkhapa and learn how to reach Enlightment.
  • Timed Mission: Sort of, you have four days to spent in the desert looking for the keyes, and each day passes once you return to a specific spot. If you haven't found the key by then, you go insane.
  • Touch of Death: The Dragon Claw allows you to perfom the double six instant death even when you're bare-handed.
  • The Underworld: You get to visit the Chinese Hell in book 6, with each portion described in morbid detail. Venturing it it's pretty unsafe, though some of the Hell Kings aren't hostile to you.
  • Wolfpack Boss: The encounters with the Tcho Tcho tribe.
  • Your Soul Is Mine: What happens to all those whose reflection is caught in Huàng Chòu Miàn Jù Lao's mask.

Alternative Title(s): Prester John Saga

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