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Item - Frygtens fantomer

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Series: Sværd og trolddom (Borgen 1984-1991) — no. 16
Alternate Title: Phantoms of Fear (literal English translation of title)
Translated From: Phantoms of Fear (English)
Translator: Bruun, Thomas
Date: 1989
ISBN: 8741886887 / 9788741886886
Mindtech's Thoughts:

This Danish translation has one significant change: you are not a wood elf, as in the English version. Rather the race has been changed to "skovnisse" which is a Scandinavian fantasy creature. A "skovnisse" is a far smaller creature than a wood elf. In fact it is more like a gnome, perhaps even smaller - in folk lore some can ride a fox or a bird. They are quite stocky and not always friendly, but in no way warlike. The skovnisse likes to hide and play pranks - in a sense it's more like a leprechaun. The generic "nisse" is used about Santas helpers, while "skov" means forest.

Why this change in race? We don't have elves in our folklore, you see, and the Danish translator apparently tried to make the race seem more familiar to the audience. This goes back to the very first Fighting Fantasy book, where the translator takes up a page to explain, saying "look, we don't have ghouls and orcs in our folklore or culture, so we can't translate those words directly into Danish. We'll have to make something up as we go," thus paving the way for some very funny creature names.

So imagine this small or tiny creature grasping a sword and going on a grand adventure to defeat Ishtra. What a quest! Which may be one of the reasons why I fell in love with this book at age 10.

Getting into the book as an adult, one of the key elements is travel between the real world and a dream world. This works quite well, mostly. Sometimes it seems confusing; jumping between segments isn't always smooth (you double check, Am I at the right number? - and sometimes tongue-in-cheek - like when the character dreams of a future where people ride around in cars with morose looks on their faces.

The character knows a handful of spells, but on some playthroughs I never used a single spell and didn't need them. Then halfway through or so you lose your spellcasting ability. That part is a bit weak, but adds flavor to the very tiny character.

Waterfield is more more forgiving than say Livingstone, and it makes for a more player friendly experience. Sometimes you get little warnings and hints which makes for a not so difficult book.

I would recommend this one to a new player. It's a worthy addition to the series, not very hard, can usually be completed by the second or third try, and only slightly confusing. The art is great and really captures the mood.

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Special Thanks:Thanks to Casper Toft for the cover image.
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