Thursday, June 12, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Deathtrap Dungeon

Down in the dark twisting labyrinth of Fang, unknown horrors await you. Devised by the devilish mind of Baron Sukumvit, the labyrinth is riddled with fiendish traps and bloodthirsty monsters, which will test your skills almost beyond the limit of endurance.

Countless adventurers before you have taken up the challenge of the Trial of Champions and walked through the carved mouth of the labyrinth, never to be seen again. Should you come out of the labyrinth alive, you will be wealthy beyond your dreams. Do YOU dare enter?
All three book covers
First published in 1984, Deathtrap Dungeon by Ian Livingstone was a huge influence on me as a young DM. It was part of the Fighting Fantasy series of single-player RPG books. I fondly recall playing through the book dozens of times over the summer when I was 10 years old. Eventually after countless delves I actually completed the dungeon one time successfully. I learned just how fickle fate could be when rolling dice to determine an outcome. Deathtrap Dungeon was a best-selling children's book in 1984 and just recently celebrated its 30 year anniversary. 

In 1988, a conceptual video game version of the famous book was released. It was developed by Asylum Studios and published by Eidos Interactive for the PlayStation and Microsoft Windows. The game was a 3rd person dungeon crawler which became a best seller in the UK. The two characters available were the Amazon Red Lotus or the Barbarian Chaindog. Red Lotus while popular looked more like a dominatrix with a great sword. I think she was perhaps in the wrong dungeon environment...

The game was loaded with nasty tricks and traps that would even give Lara Croft (Red Lotus twin sister?) and Indiana Jones a run for their money. Incidentally today is also the 33 year anniversary of the premiere of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Did Ian Livingstone’s vision help to craft some of your early table top dungeons?

The start of Ian Livingstone's original map

Iain McCaig's original Bloodbeast sketch

Kelly Brook promoting the video game in Red Lotus Cosplay