In the (late?) '80s I "played" some books. They were choose-your-own-adventure-like, but with a big caveat: there was a character sheet (within the first few pages, or maybe the inside of the front cover?) where you would track some things that changed through the course of the adventure: HP, spells you knew, maybe AC when you found some gear? Through the book/adventure you would have choices at the end of a page, but some of them would depend on your current state.

They were D&D-like (fantasy adventure), though I can't swear they were by TSR. I do remember pretty vividly spider climb being a spell I used, though....

Any chance this rings a bell for you?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think it's Tunnels and Trolls solo books, based on reading the WP entry, but I could be wrong. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Sep 7 '21 at 4:28
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ The Lone Wolf fantasy gamebooks worked this way, but I don't think that was it, as there was no spider climb spell that I can find. There was a Magnakai discipline of Huntmastery which allowed improved climbing, though nothing named spider climb. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 7 '21 at 5:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @QuadraticWizard There was also a miniseries set in the same world focusing on Grey Star the Wizard, but magic was divided into broader kinds of magic like prophecy, sorcery, etc. I don't think there were any individual spells mentioned. \$\endgroup\$
    – chepner
    Sep 7 '21 at 11:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @QuadraticWizard thanks for the pointer. At this point (thirty-plus years later) I'm not sure I really trust my own memory, so I'll probably pick up one of the LW books you mention just to check the feel. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Sep 7 '21 at 11:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think I still have one, but they came as a set and I lost the companion book. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 7 '21 at 12:43

Given the character sheet elements, you might be referring to the Fighting Fantasy series, by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone. They weren't set in D&D universes, and were not licensed by TSR, but they did typically use a fantasy theme.

The other possibility is that you're remembering a series called Endless Quest, originally released under TSR and set in generic D&D universes, but eventually expanding to other settings, continuing publication under WotC. It didn't have character sheets or dice rolling though.

I suspect you're actually mixing memories of both; the character sheets and die rolling were Fighting Fantasy, while the strongly D&D elements like actual spells pulled straight from D&D like spider climb were from Endless Quest.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60: Yeah, I just updated the answer because I missed the character sheet aspect. My guess is you mixed up memories of both, because the Fighting Fantasy series (which had character sheets and dice rolling) was not D&D licensed, while Endless Quest was. Dragon of Doom (the one I own) was a weird one, in that it pretended to have a limited resource element given to your character, but you could never use it up (so no resource tracking was actually involved). \$\endgroup\$ Sep 7 '21 at 4:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Fighting Fantasy looks like a possibility... I'll pick one up and see if it conjures memories. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Sep 7 '21 at 4:27

An excellent reference is Damien's Gamebook Site.

There were a number of gamebooks produced by TSR. The only one I played was the Druid vs Mage one, which could also be played solo. They had D&D style character sheets in them. These were part of the 1 on 1 Adventure series.

Your book is probably in the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Gamebooks series, which started off as Super Endless Quest.

A likely candidate for what you want is Sceptre of Power, book one in the Kingdom of Sorcery Trilogy.

A copy of the inset can be seen here: it has Hit Points and Spider Climb.

In case the inset link doesn't work:

Character stats card

  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Sep 7 '21 at 16:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ooh, wow. Definitely will pick up one or more of these and see if they knock anything loose from the dusty, old grey-matter filing cabinets. Thank you! \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Sep 8 '21 at 16:13

Could this possibly be Wizards, Warriors, and You, a series from the mid-80s by RL Stine? You choose between reading as the Wizard (with spells) or the Warrior (with equipment).

  • \$\begingroup\$ Do those have character sheets as explained by OP? \$\endgroup\$
    – NautArch
    Sep 7 '21 at 19:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ As the warrior, you would choose a weapons loadout. As the wizard, you would choose spells. Other than that, no. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben Barden
    Sep 7 '21 at 19:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BenBarden Then that doesn't seem like a relevant answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – NautArch
    Sep 7 '21 at 20:19

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