Follow TV Tropes


Literature / Masks of Mayhem

Go To

Masks of Mayhem is the 23rd entry of the Fighting Fantasy series of gamebooks, written by Robin Waterfield.

You're a king, a monarch of Arion, a wise and benevolent ruler respected by all. One day, your court wizard Ifor Tynin informs you of a terrible peril: the fell sorceress Morgana is preparing her plans to invade Khul, using a series of twelve magical sigils to animate twelve monstrous Golems that will do her bidding. Powered by masks infused with the power of mayhem and holding the essence of all things, these undead monsters will be unstoppable, but she still lacks one sigil, the last one, which will allow her to set her plans in motion. Therefor, it's up to you, skilled in the arts of war, blessed by the land and nearly impervious to the arts of magic, to venture north, towards the towering peaks of Krill Garnash, find Morgana's lair and kill her before she finds the last sigil. That being said, this is not going to be an easy task, for many evil creatures lurk in the lands between Arion and the peaks, and a sinister plot is aiming for your life...


Masks of Mayhem overall plays like a standard Fighting Fantasy adventure: you need to recover precious items that will save your life and follow a specific path to obtain enough clues to successfully end the game and triumph, though this can also be a source of frustration.

Masks of Mayhem provides examples of:

  • Above Good and Evil: Most animals you encounter are immune to the Horn of Hever, since they're not truly evil, only hungry.
  • Attack of the Monster Appendage: If you camp on the shore of Lake Nekros, a Kraken will attack you with his many tentacles, which you have to fight from the shore. In a slight subversion, the head will eventually peek out of the water, giving you a shot at slashing it open and kill the beast istantly.
  • Big Bad: Morgana, evil sorceress of Krill Garnash.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: An Ice Hulk appears in the story: these creatures are related to Yetis and literally brainless. Unfortunately, the one you meet wants you for a meal.
  • Advertisement:
  • Cavalry of the Dead: If you slay the Kraken, the souls of the great warrior Galrin and his men will be released from their torment and swear to come to your aid if you find yourself in danger. Their help is essential to destroy Morgana's Golems.
  • Cool Sword: Besides your starting sword, you can obtain an ancient broadsword from a Wight you kill.
  • Death Mountain: The lair of Morgana, the five peaks of Krill Garnash, with plenty of monsters, dangers and barbarians serving the sorceress.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: The Hellfire Spirit sent by your enemy to stop you at Hever Castle around half-way through the plot, which also confirms you that there's someone else working with Morgana and wanting you to fail.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: While The Many Deaths of You is surely no stranger in this series, the rather short and terse description of your deaths come off as rather sudden and out of the blue, such as being struck down by a random thunderbolt in a marsh or being bitten by a tiny venomous snake hiding inside an anonymous pouch.
  • Dungeon Crawling: Near the beginning of the game, you can go through a series of underground caverns in the hills, which actually let you find a valuable item. Subverted with Morgana's lair: there's only a short passage to reach her and her Golems, the other ways/doors leading to mortal traps.
  • Enemy Civil War: If you confess to the two barbarians who caught you that you're here to kill Morgana, they'll start fighting against each other and you must roll a Luck check: if you're Lucky, the barbarian who wins supports your plan and lets you go.
  • Evil Plan: Morgana intends to gather 12 magical sigils, imbued with the essence of nature itself, and turn them into the titular masks of mayhem and use them to power her Golems to conquer the world. Ifor also neglected to mention that you carry the last sigil, and the "quest" was actually a way to deliver you to Morgana.
  • Final Boss: Not Morgana herself, but the mysterious Traitor, a.k.a. Ifor Tynin, trying to doing you in with a dagger.
  • Foreshadowing: The introduction mentions how you have an innate distrust of sorcerers, in spite of the presence of your loyal advisor Ifor Tynin. Turns out you were right to be wary.
  • Giant Spider: An encounter in the forest is with a massively bloated Bloodsucking Spider, an encounter you can escape from because the beast is too heavy to pursue you.
  • Golem: A plot point, Morgana wants to use the power of the Masks to enforce her twelve magical Golems, which, in spite of being described as made of rock and earth, are also referred to as "Undead" for some reason.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: In a village you meet a man who's large enough to make you suspect he had Troll blood in him. Enemies include the Blackhearts (Dark Elves-Orcs hybrids) and the Doragar (Troll-Orcs hybrids).
  • Have a Gay Old Time: A travelling merchant's carriage is described as "gaily coloured".
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Morgana's Eleven Golems, if you don't know how to summon Galrin and his men.
  • Invisibility: You can obtain a Cape of Temporary Invisibility which, as the name suggest, does make you invisible, but only for a short time.
  • Kick the Dog: The Traitor casts a deadly spell on your good friend Kevin when he tries to warn you of his presence and forcibly turns him into the fiery Hellfire Spirit you have to kill.
  • Kidnapping Bird of Prey: A Giant Bloodhawk tries to devour you on your way to north.
  • Living MacGuffin: You have the last Sigil with you, the Sigil of Royalty.
  • Living Shadow: At one point, your shadow turns into a monstrous silhouette and tries to kill you.
  • The Lost Woods: Affen Forest, a wood infested with spiders, spriggans and, luckily, Elves open to dialogue.
  • Loud of War: The Horn of Heven is an item you must recover to succeed, and weakens evil creatures in combat.
  • Luck-Based Mission: The Tiger hunt section: you have a map divided in a series of squares and a limited amount of rolls: each roll determines the direction you move in and the direction the tiger moves to. Once you're both in the same square, the battle begins, otherwise the beast escapes you.
  • The Mole: Halfway through you learn of a traitor who's secretly helping Morgana and hindering your quest. Namely, Final Boss Ifor Tynin.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: On the way north you may fall in a river and have to defend yourself from a ferocious alligator.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Your entire quest is a way to send Morgana the last sigil she requires to win.
  • No-Sell: Ifor Tynin mentions that you're naturally resistant to magic and impervious to both good and evil spells.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Morgana won't leave her lair at all, except for a possible curse in Pikestaff Plains.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Morgana's hideout is guarded on the outside by a massive Ice Dragon, which sports feathery wings and shoots ice from its nostrils.
  • Our Elves Are Better: The Wood Elves you meet are the typical guardians of the forest, and are willing to help you in your quest, especially if you killed some Spriggans earlier.
  • Panthera Awesome: Your visit to Fallow Dane include hunting a massive Saber-tooth Tiger and killing it in combat. If you win, you get to keep her claws as a memento.
  • Punny Name: A plot relevant one. In order to fight the Final Boss and win, you must guess which paragraph to go, using your suspect's name as a reference. That name being Ifor Tynin.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Venomous snakes, alligators, dragons... reptiles are not your friends on this quest.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: You play as a king who risks his life in person to stop a threat to the entire continent of Khul.
  • Sand Worm: Or rather, Snow Worm: the Chion encountered in the snowy peaks.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: Vashti, the sorceress locked in a mystical dimension in the Maiden Vale, whose help you must seek halfway through. You can end up trapped inside her dimension if you don't know how to leave though.
  • Squishy Wizard: Subverted with Morgana: her STAMINA score is quite low for a Big Bad, and as a matter of fact, she had a risible score of 6. However, her defensive spells are so powerful you can only deal 1 point of damage per hit, which essentially makes it as hard as any battle with a standard foe with 12 STAMINA.
  • Take Over the World: The ultimate goal of Morgana herself.
  • Taking A Third Option: Early on, you have to go to Fallows Dane either by crossing a lake, Affen Woods or some hills. Which way is correct? Asnwer: all three of them, in the mentioned order (in Affen Woods the Elves will teleport you to the hills).
  • Title Drop: The titular masks imbued with the force of Mayhem are mentioned right in the intro.
  • The Undead: You get skeletons, Wights, a wall made of grasping corpse claws, the Hellfire Spirit and, apparently, Morgana's Golems.
  • We Have Reserves: Surprisingly enough, Morgana with her Golems. If you manage to destroy them, she will scoffs, telling you that she can make more to replace the fallen ones.
  • Whip It Good: The Hellfire Spirit wields a whip in combat.
  • A Winner Is You: Sadly enough, the terse and short style mentioned above also applies to the writing of paragraph 400, which makes the whole series of events after Morgana's fight come off as hastily written and unsatisfying.


Example of: