Billing Displacement: Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone's names are on the cover of every booknote even though Jackson stopped writing for the series halfway through and only wrote six out of the fifty-nine original entries; Livingstone wrote a total of thirteen books right up until Puffin stopped the series, and has written new adventures for the Wizard series as recently as 2012 due to contractual obligations when multiple copycat series required new titles to be published faster than the two of them could write. The actual author's name only appears inside the book.
Contest Winner Cameo: There was a competition held for the 30th anniversary book Blood of the Zombies; winners had their names appear in the book, usually as victims of the zombies. (One of the winners was Labour MP and future Deputy Leader of the party Tom Watson.)
Demand Overload: The reason why authors apart from Jackson and Livingstone were brought in, with their work presented under the banner of "Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone Present...". The immediate and overwhelming popularity of the series, coupled with every other children's publisher going starting their own copycat series, meant that new titles were needed faster than Jackson and Livingstone could ever possibly hope to write.
Executive Meddling: One of the reasons the original series published by Puffin came to an end was because the publishers wanted to reduce the books to 300 references to make them "easier".
Genre-Killer: The badly-received Sky Lord was the final science fiction title in the series.
The final books of the original Puffin series are very hard to come by, and only a handful of them have been released under Wizard Booksnote Specifically the last five or so — Deathmoor, Knights of Doom, Magehunter, Revenge of the Vampire and Curse of the Mummy — only the last of which has been reprinted. Most of these tend to sell online for up to £80 if they ever show up.. Another setback has been added with the decision to relaunch the Wizard range again.
There are a number of other spin-off products which are difficult to find — Warlock magazine, which notably included several mini-adventures such as a sequel to Appointment with F.E.A.R., and the two-player adventure Clash of the Princes are amongst them.
Market-Based Title: House of Hell became House of Hades in America, because "Hell" is considered a curse over there (Absolutely no other objectionable content in the book was changed, mind).
Milestone Celebration: Return to Firetop Mountain, as its name suggests, takes place in the same location as the first book, in order to mark both the fiftieth book and the 10-year anniversary of the franchise.
Missing Episode: Bloodbones, intended to be book number 60 in the original 1980s-1990s range, was never published before the series ended in spite of the fact that author Jonathan Green had actually completed it (albeit in a truncated 300-reference form, which was intended to be the new norm for the series as a result of Executive Meddling from Puffin, who felt the series had become "too obscure"), leaving the series ending somewhat unevenly at number 59. It enjoyed a practically mythical status amongst fandom for over a decade before it was finally published by Wizard in 2006, having been rewritten at the standard, originally intended 400 references. New gamebooks have been published after Bloodbones as well, so it's no longer even the final episode.
Name's the Same: Series co-creator Steve Jackson has written several books in the series, but there are three further books, Scorpion Swamp, Demons of the Deep and Robot Commando, which as normal (for the peak-period UK editions at least), say "Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone present..." on the cover, and give "Steve Jackson" as the author on the title page — without mentioning anywhere that it's not the same person. Confused yet? To clarify, the Fighting Fantasy series creator is the British writer/game designer Steve Jackson, founder of Games Workshop. The north-American writer/game designer Steve Jackson, founder of Steve Jackson Games, wrote those three books... for the other one's series.
Also, the names of Zagor (the titular Warlock of Firetop Mountain) and Darkwood (the titular Forest of Doom) also appear in the old Italian comic series "Zagor".
One-Steve Limit: Apparently, Fighting Fantasy was the title Hironobu Sakaguchi originally wanted for the game he thought would be Squaresoft's last. When he found out this series was already using it, the name became Final Fantasy... and the rest is history.
Pop Culture Urban Legends: A rumour persists that Legend of Zagor was actually written by Keith Martin and not Ian Livingstone because of how little it resembles Livingstone's usual gamebooks; rather than requiring the player to follow one specific path to win, it is more like Martin's in that it keeps track of previous events and many of the encounters are optional. However, in 2014 this particular legend turned out to be true when Livingstone confirmed it in "You Are The Hero", a book on the history of the series.
Quietly Cancelled: The original 1982-95 was planning a major relaunch in 1996, to counter concerns from the publishers that the recent books had become too complicated and unknowable for the target audience. The first book of the relaunch, Bloodbones, was written and completed, and several other titles were in development, but the relaunch simply never happened; the first anyone knew about the publishers' decision was when the planned publication date for Bloodbones came and went without anything happening. (In 2002 the series was picked up by Wizard Books; this led to Bloodbones finally seeing the light of day in 2006.)
Unfinished Episode: The original 300-reference version of Bloodbones was lost by the decision to axe the range in 1995, as were several other potential future entries in the series: Marc Gascoigne's Night of the Creature, Paul Mason's The Wailing World, another Deathtrap Dungeon book by Dave Morris, Deathlord by Andrew Chapman and Martin Allen, a sequel to Curse of the Mummy by Jonathan Green, Smuggler's Gold by Stephen Hand and The Keeper of the Seven Keys by Dave Morris and Jamie Thomson.
There is a rumour that it is possible to win The Citadel of Chaos without rolling dice. This isn't true — you must do battle at least once. Towards the end, there is a hydra you can fight. It is possible to avoid fighting the hydra if you have the golden fleece, but to get that you need the silver comb, and to get that you need to fight and kill a Gark.
The Internet would have you believe that you have to kill the bonekeeper in Crypt of the Sorcerer. You don't. In fact, absolutely nothing good comes of attacking him.
Nearly every book in the series has 400 referencesnote there are a number of exceptions, ranging from Starship Traveller with 343 (the last three references are all explanations of the combat system) to Howl of the Werewolf with 515, although all of them end in a multiple of five. This number was hit upon when it was discovered that the completed version of the first book, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, had 399 references; Steve Jackson added an extra reference (supposedly not reachable and there solely to make up the numbers) to round things up.
Scorpion Swamp, Demons of the Deep, Robot Commando, Black Vein Prophecy and The Crimson Tide do not have their winning section as number 400/the final paragraph — the former three are by the American Steve Jackson, whose Signature Style involves multiple paths to success and multiple possible endingsnote e.g. in Demons of the Deep it's possible to escape Atlantis without avenging yourself on the pirates, and in Scorpion Swamp your ending depends on which of the three wizards you're serving, whilst the latter two are written or co-written by Paul Mason and, although they only have one "optimum" ending, feature a number of unusual non-fatal endings such as becoming a monk and giving up on your quest for revenge. (They're also two of the most complex and difficult books in the series.)