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Literature / Wizards, Warriors and You

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Wizards, Warriors and You is one of many fantasy Gamebook series released in the 1980s. You play as either the Wizard or the Warrior, champions of King Henry of Silvergate. The beginning of each book opens with a crisis that strikes the kingdom of Silvergate, and so the King assigns the daunting task of bringing peace back to the kingdom to the pair. At which point, you decide whether to play as either the Wizard or the Warrior.

The Wizard arms himself with the Book of Spells, and can use anything within it when the book allows. The Warrior uses the Book of Weapons; he can carry any three weapons from it in addition to the Sword of the Golden Lion, an indestructible blade forged by the same blacksmith who made Excalibur. Every six books the assortment of spells and weapons would change.

The success of spells or battles are determined by such methods as flipping a coin, what time of day the book is being read, or picking a random number. While this lent a somewhat bizarre feeling at times, Wizards, Warriors and You lasted for a respectable 18 books.

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Wizards, Warriors and You provides examples of:

  • An Axe to Grind: One of the Warrior's favorite weapons is a giant battle axe that he can use either in melee, or as a decent throwing weapon.
  • Amazon Brigade: The titular army of female knights from Warrior Women of Weymouth.
  • The Archmage:
    • The Wizard is not only a master of various magical spells and learned his craft under the tutelage of Merlin himself, he's also a master artificer and made a number of the Warrior's enchanted weapons.
    • However, the book often references even more powerful spellcasters called Grand Wizards. They don't show up much, but it's still clear the player-wizard is nowhere near their level. It's even pointed out in the spell descriptions that his ace-in-the-hole spell, Combat Magic, will not work against the magic of a Grand Wizard.
  • Arthurian Legend: The series is set sometime after King Arthur's rule. Arthur and his knights are long deceased, but their actions and legacy still leave an imprint in the setting. The Warrior's sword was forged by the same smith who made Excalibur, and the Wizard was tutored by Merlin himself. One book even features the knights of Camelot coming back as ghosts to haunt the kingdom.
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  • Artistic License – Animal Care: R.L. Stine doesn't know you don't given chicken bones to dogs.
  • Artifact of Death: The Warrior has two of these in his arsenal. The Cutlass of Cornwall is a flying sword that fights on its own, but always has a chance to turn on its owner. The other is the Rejuvenating Battlesword, which is a magical two-handed sword that will regenerate its blade whenever it gets broken, but each regeneration has a chance of the sword impaling its owner after spawning. The Warrior has, however, used these properties to his advantage, including tricking his Evil Twin into using the Rejuvenating Battlesword, and then breaking it on purpose so it'll kill him.
  • Badass Long Robe: The Wizard's long, flowing robes cut quite an impressive image. They're also apparently important for his spellcasting.
  • Bag of Spilling: After every six books the heroes' arsenals would be mostly replaced with new stuff, for no particular reason other than to keep the experience fresh.
  • Blade Enthusiast: The Warrior is a master of the dagger and in his often changing arsenal, there'll always be at least one high quality dagger. With a dagger in his hands, the Warrior, already a Lightning Bruiser, goes up a notch - against a troll swordsmaster armed with a magic sword, he'll kill the troll if the Warrior is armed with the master-crafted but nonmagical Devil's Dagger. However he'll die if he uses the Sword of the Golden Lion.
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: One book begins with a wandering knight challenging the castle's champion (the Warrior). The knight's armor and shield are solid gold, which is immediately noted as a disturbing choice of metal, both due to its weight and softness - a strong sign the knight is not a mortal man. (Indeed, she's currently neither.)
  • Brains and Brawn: The Warrior just picks a weapon appropriate to the situation and starts attacking, while the Wizard has no directly offensive spells, and needs to make strategic use of the powers he does have to be successful instead.
  • Cain and Abel: The Big Bad in the Wizard's path through the second book is his evil brother Warrick.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: Lots of books describe the Wizard as gathering his cloak around him as he casts a spell; in one book it gets burnt and it even says the Wizard can't work his magic without it, although mainly to explain why he can't help the Warrior against the book's Final Boss.
  • Cool Sword: The Warrior has a whole collection of them! Besides his trademark weapon, the Sword of the Golden Lion (forged by the same smith as Excalibur, completely unbreakable), there's others like the Cutlass of Cornwall (can keep fighting by itself if separated from its user), the Rejuvenating Battlesword (spawns a brand new blade if the old one breaks), and the Dragon Tooth Dagger (the blade is actually the tooth of a dragon, sharp enough to cut through anything with one hit).
  • Cutting the Knot: In Cavern of the Phantoms, the Warrior has to fight the ghostly dogs who guard the entrance to the titular cavern, but has to pick the right one or die. He could guess and hope to get lucky, or if he thought to bring the Triple Crossbow, he can just shoot them all at the same time.
  • Depending on the Writer: Since the series was written by numerous different authors, not to mention the rules of the setting were pretty loose to begin with, it was inevitable that things would be different between books sometimes.
    • Conquest of the Time Master says only magical weapons can kill dragons, and they have to hit a vulnerable spot to be effective even then. There are several other books where the heroes fight dragons, and none of them say that.
    • Likewise, the description specifically says that the Combat Magic spell is so potent, the Wizard will be too weak to wield any magic at all until he's rested for a whole day. In Warrior Women of Weymouth, the Wizard has to use it once partway through the adventure. If he tries to use Combat Magic again before a whole day's passed in-story, he's turned to stone because he's broken some kind of wizardly oath. All they would've had to do instead was say he's still too weak to cast spells, and the villains kill him while he's helpless.
    • In Ghost Knights of Camelot, the Wizard has to stretch his powers farther than he ever has before to go back in time far enough for Merlin to advise him on how to save the day. In Scarlet Shield of Shalimar, he's able to summon Merlin's ghost for advice with a fairly simple arcane ritual. One that he's able to perform in the middle of a barbarian siege on the castle, yet.
    • In some books the Wizard is physically and martially weak, barely able to stand up to moderately armed opponents, and is quickly knocked out by sneak attacks. In others, he can hold his own against even powerful opponents, and is quite skilled with a sword himself, though still nothing compared to the Warrior.
  • Deus Exit Machina: Whichever character the reader wasn't controlling tended to get knocked out or trapped somehow as soon as danger appeared to explain why they couldn't help, in spite of how much the books made of how loyal the pair were to each other.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Do not use a weapon with a name like the Whistling Mace when trying to sneak up on somebody.
  • Dinosaurs Are Dragons: Not in the sense that dinosaurs breathe fire (they do run into a dinosaur in one book, but it's just a regular dinosaur), but that in The Dragon Queen's Revenge the Wizard and Warrior fight an army of dragons that, according to the illustrations, are just t-rexes with wings.
  • Distressed Damsel: Two books were about saving Princess Saralinda from danger, though for what it's worth she does appear a few times in a non-distressed role too. At least, no more distressed than the rest of the kingdom.
  • Dream Team: Sure King Henry has a lot of knights, but he's also got a powerful archmage trained by Merlin himself and the finest knight in the land so he's always sending out those two legendary champions when there's something more than a bunch of bandits threatening the kingdom.
  • Epic Flail: One of the Warrior's weapons in later books is a flail with three chains and three heads.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The two heroes are only ever referred to by their titles, even to each other despite being such True Companions.
  • Evil Sorcerer: There are several faced over the course of the series, the first being the Wizard's brother in the second book.
  • The Faceless: Even when he's shown with his visor up, the Warrior's face is never clearly seen in the entire series.
  • Giant Spider: One of the many hazards of The Haunted Castle of Ravencurse.
  • Haunted Castle: Features in, obviously, The Haunted Castle of Ravencurse, where the heroes do indeed have to battle the unquiet dead in addition to other dangers.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Literally weaponized in the Mirror Shield of Zarkan, which the Warrior has the option to carry in the last few books in the series. Anyone evil who sees their reflection in the shield becomes good. Unfortunately, the magic doesn't discriminate, and anyone good who sees their reflection in the shield becomes evil.
  • Hell: Well, it's called the Cavern of the Phantoms, but it's where bad people go when they die in these books.
  • Insane Troll Logic: The Warrior's explanation on how he cured the Wizard's madness-inducing infection by shooting him with a poisoned arrow. The Wizard had made the poison, saying it will kill anything. The Warrior thus figured it would kill the illness infecting the Wizard, but leave a good man untouched.
  • Inventory Management Puzzle: The Warrior is limited to carrying only three other weapons. In some titles, you need the correct weapons in order to advance or even win. For example, in The Imposter King, if you're not carrying the Cutlass of Cornwall when the ghost of the Warrior's father visits you, he locks you in a room where you're eventually found and killed. And there's no indication of which weapons are the right ones until you've died for not having them.
  • Killer Rabbit: The evil Mirror Universe has killer squirrels.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: The titular Warrior is brimming with weapons, wears a full suit of plate mail, and is a loyal servant of King Henry, always ready to face whatever challenge threatens the kingdom, the king, Princess Saralinda, and the people. Weirdly, it is noted that he wears no heraldry, and given how he's always referred to as Warrior, he may not even be a knight.
  • Loophole Abuse: The Wizard's most directly offensive spell, Merlin's Fire, can't be cast on living things. In one book (during the Warrior's path, so not a spoiler) he gets around this by first using another spell on his opponent to turn them into a flammable object, then using Merlin's fire on them.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Many challenges are based purely on coin flips, the time of day, the date of your birthday, or other similarly random events. One notable challenge has the duo trapped in the age of dinosaurs, and the Wizard theorizing the conditions within an active volcano can simulate the energies needed to jump through time. It's random if this succeeds, or the pair die by jumping into an active volcano.
  • Madwoman in the Attic: The castle's revealed to have one locked up in book 3, as one person you can possibly ask for clues. Unsurprisingly, really, she isn't any help.
  • Mirror Universe: The Wizard and Warrior brave one in Invaders from Darkland, including Evil Twin versions of themselves.
  • Missing Mom: The only thing giving any indication that King Henry was ever married is the fact that his daughter, Saralinda, appears in a few different books. Who her mother is, and where that woman might be, is never even brought up.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: A giant knight with four arms (and a different weapon in each) appears at the end of book 3.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: In Revenge of the Falcon Knight, but the cover doesn't quite convey the magnitude of it: you fight crocodile monsters which have a head at both ends. The Warrior comes up with a solution of letting them bite down on his indestructible sword, and break all their teeth.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: The books weren't shy about having the Wizard do magic that wasn't covered by the Book of Spells when it was convenient to the narrative. Like in "The Dragon Queen's Revenge", where he just conjures up a ship to take him and the Warrior back to land. In some cases, it is justified as a ritual that the Wizard must take time to set up and cast, as opposed to his listed Spells that he can cast at will.
  • Ninja Pirate Robot Zombie:
    • In Challenge of the Wolf Knight, the villain's a werewolf who's also a knight. Not a werewolf who's normally a knight, a werewolf who still wears armor and fights like a knight when monstered out.
    • The main villain of The Haunted Castle of Ravencurse is Mad Morwena, a ghost sorceress.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: They have two hearts and must be killed twice.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: The series had plenty of "standard" fantasy monsters like trolls, zombies, giants and dragons, but had some that just about defy description. Like the weird spiked, multilegged thing guarding the Scarlet Sword of Shalimar, or the headless, multi-eyed, multi-eyed horror Morgan le Fay sics on the Warrior. In the last book there's a big tentacled beastie with a dragon's head made entirely out of fire.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: They're intelligent and can't be destroyed. But they can be incapacitated or fooled.
  • Persona Non Grata: During The Impostor King, both the Wizard and the Warrior are banished from the kingdom. They are also warned that if they have not left within one hour, they would get killed on sight. Guess what was one of the possible endings to this adventure.
  • The Power of Friendship: In the Warrior's route through The Haunted Castle of Ravencurse, when they get up to the front gates an evil knight rushes out and knocks the Wizard unconscious. He claims only a magical mace inside the castle can hurt him. You can run and get the mace and have a hard fight on your hands. Or you can refuse to abandon your helpless companion, and such a display of loyalty vanquishes your mighty foe on the spot.
  • Spoiler: In one book the Warrior realizes one of his weapons has been stolen, and if you picked it, you're stuck with only two back-up weapons. If you don't have all possible slots filled, you die fighting the final boss. Obviously this would only work not only if the player picked that weapon on their first playthrough, but the player then made it all the way to the final boss on their first try. Considering how much more likely it is instead the player will die a couple times before achieving victory armed with more knowledge of what to expect, it really isn't much of a trap.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: The Warrior has a number of melee weapons that can also be accurately thrown with great force such as the Diamond Mace. Some of the weapons, like the Flying Spear, will even return to him after being thrown.
  • Unwinnable by Design: The Warrior is limited to only taking three weapons. There are many times where not having the right weapon (And almost as many where having the wrong weapon) will result in an unavoidable death and failure.
  • Upgrade vs. Prototype Fight: In Ghost Knights of Camelot, if the Warrior doesn't choose a suitable weapon to battle any of the undead knights, he wields the Sword of the Golden Lion against Sir Bedivere, who actually kept Excalibur instead of throwing it back into the lake like he was supposed to. Who's the upgrade and who's the prototype, and who's ultimately the greatest, will change based on chance.
  • Violation of Common Sense: How does the Warrior cure the Wizard who suffers from a madness-inducing infection? Shoot him with a poison arrow. Somehow, the Warrior knew the poison would only affect the illness.
  • Weapon of Choice: The Warrior is never without the Sword of the Golden Lion. Understandable as it's always sharp and nearly indestructible. After that he can pick three of whatever he thinks might be useful.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: The Warrior has an arsenal of excellent mundane weapons, and then there's the truly exotic or magical items in his collection. He got a few of those as a Battle Trophy and then the Wizard made the rest (though the Warrior made the Triple Flail after being inspired by the Wizard inventing the Triple Crossbow).
  • Wild Magic: Despite the Wizard's impressive status, it's mentioned in the descriptions that a lot of his spells can work unpredictably or wear off when least expected.
  • World's Best Warrior: It's implied that the Warrior, a mighty weaponsmaster, is the greatest warrior of the time period that the books are set in. And he shows it by defeating powerful champions one on one or smiting large groups of enemy warriors.


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