Hellfire Warrior (1980)

Hellfire Warrior (1980) is the direct sequel to Temple of Apshai and explores the regions below the temple. As you can tell from that amazing cover art, it considerably ups the ante. The four dungeons are the Lower Reaches of Apshai, the Labyrinth, the Vault of the Dead and the Plains of Hell. Scary stuff!

There is some added complexity with new items, shops and an addiction mechanic. Two of the levels — Labyrinth and Hell — don’t have room descriptions, which is a bit of a bummer (though understandable). The essential gameplay is the same though — explore, kill monsters, get stuff. The final level has a princess to rescue (she’s a heavy inventory item, which, jeeze guys) but no formal story or end state for the game.

All the illustration work for the game is by Lela Dowling, who I believe eventually went into comics. Its all absolutely perfect here, I think. That minotaur! That cover! Her signature is real familiar, and I wanna say she’s done work for some tabletop RPGs, but I can’t bring it to mind. Fantasy Trip, maybe? GURPS?

There are two expansions for this one: Keys of Acheron (1981) and Danger in Drindisti (1982). Acheron has some cool features, but that is a story for another time!

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