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TSR -- United States
Complexity Level : Basic (No Game System)
Format : Paperback
Genre : Adventure
Genre : Fantasy
Genre : Science Fiction
Licensed Property : Conan
Licensed Property : Novel Tie-In
Product Family : Dungeons & Dragons
Target Age Group : Older Children
Writing Style : First Person
Writing Style : Present Tense
Writing Style : Second Person
Abenteuer ohne Ende (German)
Aventura sin fin (Spanish)
Avventure infinite (Italian)
Dungeons & Dragons (Polish) (Polish)
Dungeons & Dragons Aventura Sem Fim (Portuguese)
Dungeons & Dragons Äventyrsböcker (Swedish)
Endoresu kuesto geemu bukku [エンドレスクエストゲームブック] (Japanese)
Poreditsa Bezbroy priklyucheniya [Поредица Безброй приключения] (Bulgarian)
Les Quêtes sans fin (French)
Silsilat arwa' al-mughamarat [سلسلة أروع المغامرات] (Arabic)
Você É o Herói (Portuguese)
These books were one of the most successful American series to follow in the footsteps of Choose Your Own Adventure and were the first of many interactive book offerings to be published by TSR. Each adventure is based on one of TSR's role-playing games or other licenses, with most taking place in one of the worlds of Dungeons & Dragons but others using the settings of Gamma World, Star Frontiers, Top Secret or even the worlds of familiar pulp literary characters Conan and Tarzan. Despite their role-playing origins, the books completely avoid game mechanics, with no dice-rolling or character statistics to be found. There is, however, a certain touch of role-playing to be found in the fact that each book casts the reader as a specific character with a defined past rather than following the more common gamebook tradition of attempting to keep reader identity as generic as possible. More complex gameplay was later introduced in the Super Endless Quest books (which were quickly renamed the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Gamebooks) while simplified stories for younger readers were released in the Fantasy Forest line.
The Endless Quest books were released in four distinct series; the first thirty-six books were released by TSR during the eighties and featured fairly large type and a format identical to that of the Choose Your Own Adventure books. This format was carried over to two spin-offs (the gimmicky Endless Quest Books: Crimson Crystal Adventures and the romance-oriented HeartQuest books) as well as the Lazer Tag Adventures series.
A second set of Endless Quest books was released in the nineties by Wizards of the Coast. These books differed from their eighties predecessors in several notable ways: their text was smaller and they featured text sections numbered independently from the actual pages (thus following the layout scheme used by Fighting Fantasy rather than Choose Your Own Adventure though still retaining the rules-free simplicity of the latter series). Moreover, the settings for this second series were based on a different set of games (mostly Advanced Dungeons & Dragons campaign settings, but also the Gamma World and Amazing Engine RPGs, the DragonStrike board game, and the never-released WildSpace board game). Finally, the volumes themselves were not assigned official numbers, though they are numbered (starting with thirty-seven) in the list below for convenience.
The series was relaunched by Mirrorstone in the 2000s with limited success. This reissued series included one book from the eighties series (Claw of the Dragon), alongside a rebranded book from the Crimson Crystal Adventures series (see Endless Quest Reissues).
The final release of the series by Wizards of the Coast consists of six original titles (not officially numbered, but listed as books 50-55 below). These books, which were printed in full color, are all based on the Dungeons and Dragons game and set in the Forgotten Realms and Ravenloft universes.
In addition to the above releases, two books from the eighties series (Villains of Volturnus and Captive Planet, both based on the Star Frontiers RPG) were made freely available over the Internet several years after their original publication. These versions (which can only be read in a web browser) were released by a fan website with permission from Wizards of the Coast.
CollectionsThe Endless Quest Collectors Set #1
The Endless Quest Collectors Set #2
The Endless Quest Collectors Set #3
The Endless Quest Collectors Set #4
Gamebooks1. Dungeon of Dread
2. Mountain of Mirrors
3. Pillars of Pentegarn
4. Return to Brookmere
5. Revolt of the Dwarves
6. Revenge of the Rainbow Dragons
7. Hero of Washington Square
8. Villains of Volturnus
9. Robbers and Robots
10. Circus of Fear
11. Spell of the Winter Wizard
12. Light on Quests Mountain
13. Dragon of Doom
14. Raid on Nightmare Castle
15. Under Dragon's Wing
16. The Dragon's Ransom
17. Captive Planet
18. King's Quest
19. Conan the Undaunted
20. Conan and the Prophecy
21. Duel of the Masters
22. The Endless Catacombs
23. Blade of the Young Samurai
24. Trouble on Artule
25. Conan the Outlaw
26. Tarzan and the Well of Slaves
27. Lair of the Lich
28. Mystery of the Ancients
29. Tower of Darkness
30. The Fireseed
31. Tarzan and the Tower of Diamonds
32. Prisoner of Elderwood
33. Knight of Illusion
34. Claw of the Dragon
35. Vision of Doom
36. Song of the Dark Druid
37. Dungeon of Fear
38. Castle of the Undead
39. Secret of the Djinn
40. Siege of the Tower
41. A Wild Ride
42. Forest of Darkness
43. American Knights
44. Night of the Tiger
45. Galactic Challenge
46. Bigby's Curse
47. The 24-Hour War
48. The Test
49. Sands of Deception
50. Into the Jungle
51. To Catch a Thief
52. Big Trouble
53. Escape the Underdark
54. Escape from Castle Ravenloft
55. The Mad Mage's Academy
Endless Quest series from Dragon #95
Thanks to Jim Oaks for the image!
1 Contre 1 Gamebook Advertisement (English translation)
This is an unofficial translation (by Demian Katz) of the French interactive ad from the back of several Donjons & dragons, niveau avance books.
I credit this series with introducing me to the concept of "pick a path" style books. (I had read a few Choose Your Own Adventure books, but those never inspired me like these). They were some of the first books to introduce the idea of playing a named character (rather than yourself, unnamed), and were therefore a great intro to role-playing type games.
Overall, it's a great series for introducing the concept to younger readers.
The series is divided into 3 (or 4) distinct formats.
The first format, issued in the early 1980s, comprises books 1-16, many written by Rose Estes, the series founder. They consist of pocket-sized books of 155 pages or so with nice black and white interior artwork, illustrated specifically for the series. The covers feature high-fantasy artwork, framed, many with a distinct jewel in each corner. These were collected in four boxed sets. They must have sold well as they are readily available for good prices on the secondary market.
The second format is a continuation of the first, consisting of books 17-37. They are similar to the first format, but without the framed cover art. These are much more difficult to find on the secondary market, particularly the Tarzan books.
The third format, consisting of books 38-49, were issued in the 90s. They are the same size as the others but with greater page counts (over 200 pages) and use sections rather than pages. But otherwise they are the same style as the 80s versions. They can be hard to find.
The final format with books 50-55 were issued in 2018-2019 and are distinctly different from all other versions. They are larger in size with glossy, garish, coloured artwork transplanted willy-nilly from other Wizards of the Coast products. The page count is drastically reduced to 120 pages, half of which are covered with the artwork. They no longer feature named characters and are a drastic departure from the rest of the series.
Regarded fondly by a number of gamebook lovers, the "Endless Quest" series is a variety-filled grouping of individual titles dealing with the fantastical, across worlds as varied as the authors themselves. The reception of the series has been consistently mixed due to this variety; having gone of print surprisingly quickly compared to other well-established series, these books often survived primarily in the memories of readers. Easily at its best (and most comfortable) under the Dungeons & Dragons label, it's easy to note that one particular persistent weakness plagues the books: a combat-based system may have been more effective than the singular choice-based one in place. It's rather unfortunate that holistic perception of the books has been so frequently overlooked; it's also quite interesting how strong the highs are and how weak the lows can be. Regardless of how well or poorly each title holds up, the series certainly deserves the place it has in the greater scope of both fantasy literature as a whole and gamebook history at large.
So if you are into a light, casual gamebook experience, with none, or barely any mechanics, I suggest you pick this one.