Memories of TSR and Endless Quest books

Inspired by recent Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book posts and recollections – and also by my recent rediscovery of a personal book stash – I thought I’d share a piece of my teen-hood days with you.

Among the multiple-path books to come across my hex-dice-filled hands in the days of mental adventuring, TSR’s Endless Quest books were like finding platinum pieces in a bag of silver.
EQ01-cover

The pure essence of module realms could be entered on my own. And since I was a lone DM looking for a solo excursion among my human buddy PCs and the conjured NPCs that haunted me in my dreams, this was heaven.

Unlike the later Peter Jackson books which required a pen, paper and dice for battle, all that was needed was your wits and choice of actions to follow up on the exciting promise of adventure-seeking success over dungeon death.
EQ01 back cover

Dungeon Of Dread takes a good dozen pages to set the mood before setting your character – Caric, a brave knight – on your choosy way. You meet Laurus, a forlorn but brave halfling who accompanies you on your explorations of a dungeon where you seek to defeat the evil wizard Kalman and bring peace to the region.

It was a blast to get the solo D&D experience over the course of the few books of this series, and this one was no exception. Facing off against kobolds, bugbears, ogres and more, it was very satisfying to find a clever way to defeat your foes using knowledge of their weaknesses.
It also prepped you for some ‘live-action’ settings with other players once all the sheets, dice and eager anticipation were laid out in front of your DM screens, as you patted the Monster Manual knowingly and smiled maliciously, thinking of what lay ahead for your unprepared assembly.
But I digress.

Dungeons Of Dread also had some surprises.

As you can see here, meeting a drunken baboon was always an option.
drunken baboon

Good thing? Bad thing?
Finding out was only a page flip away.

In fact, this image of a depressed simian touched my warrior’s heart, and the resulting page flips are pretty sad, but enriches the story.
Just a part of what made these books worthy of the TSR emblem.

Finding these great books was a quest as rewarding as any D&D journey, with just me and my pop in the party.
I first glimpsed them at this great hobby store in a huge, zombieless two-story mall in the middle of nowhere, about an hour’s drive from our house.
On the way to the Big City where I grew up (and had moved away), a few miles further ahead, we’d stop at the mall’s food court for some corn-dogs and go pick some books at WSmith. Often, I’d have time to plunk some quarters in some new arrivals at their arcade.

Loved that hobby shoppe with its wood-paneled facade. They were called Games & Hobbies (Jeux et passe-temps). Their ever-increasing appreciation of Dungeons and Dragons – as revealed by their growing shelves of modules, manuals and sheets – matched my own.
Rummaging through stacks of old Dragon magazines for two dollars each (how much is that in gold pieces today?), I’d be thrilled to find additional combat rules, character skills and greatly imaginative articles by fellow DMs.

Man, I bought so much stuff there. The Endless Quest books were great for costing only 3 dollars, while the rest of a DM’s gear could add up quickly, drying up funds and requiring additional visits.

In all, I found I had three EQ books in a recent house-clearing sweep: Dungeon Of Dread, Mountain of Mirrors and Pillars Of Pentegarn.
more EQ books

Spotting these book covers amidst my Pocket Mads instantly lit a torch on those darkened retro dungeon memories, and mapped out the aforementioned recollections.

There were 36 Endless Quest Series One books printed between 1982 and 1987.
Mirrorstone began republishing the series with new artwork in 2008.
The originals are out of print, but can be dug up on eBay searches.

Atari Adventure Square

Some days you wake up with your trusty sword right next to you.

Other days the keys are locked in the castle.

But the next day is just a reset switch away.

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14 thoughts on “Memories of TSR and Endless Quest books

  1. Drahken says:

    I loved these books. I have the first 15 of the original series. I got most of them in one bunch back in the day, then got #14 years later to fill in the hole. I still remember making a copy of the jewels puzzle from the one book (I believe it was either mountain of mirrors or winter wizard), where you have to arrange 7 hexagons so that all touching sides match, and the riddle where you’re attacked by 3 different sized dragons & you have to choose which order to fight them in.

  2. Great post, Atari Adventure Square! I only had a few of these books but I really loved them. I had the Pillars of Pentegarn and Mountain of Mirrors. I picked them up for like fifty cents each at a…well, I guess it was a five and dime store.

    But…but…what happened to that poor Baboon?

  3. vinvectrex says:

    I’m with Vic – must know the Baboon’s fate! I somehow never saw these books, but I love the detailed cover artwork. Great post!

  4. Drahken says:

    The baboon is really some guy who was enchanted somehow (the book doesn’t specify anything about the spell). He kills himself on your sword, at which point he changes back to a human & thanks you for helping him to die. “My good wife always said I was ugly as an ape when I was in my cups, I guess she was right.” Then he vanishes in a cloud of smoke.

  5. Atari Adventure Square says:

    Thanks guys!
    Since you both opt to turn to page 54 instead of going down the corridor, I’l let you know.
    [IMG]http://i1128.photobucket.com/albums/m492/AdventureSquare/eqb-01-p54.jpg[/IMG]
    I hope this works.
    Better to post the actual pages rather than summarize.
    It’s so well-written. Ultimately made my Calric evermore resilient in his quest to best the evil wizard.

  6. Atari Adventure Square says:

    You’re right about that, Drahken.
    Hadn’t noticed your response before multi-posting.

    Your description sums it best, actually.
    I just felt lazy about writing up the poor baboon’s fate (and I just love excuses to use my new scanner).

    But I do think the evil wizard was the cause of his plight (though not confirmed).
    And it’s a fitting revenge that the doomed merchant should drink as much of his wine for himself.
    No pages offer a turn at the barrel for our fellow adventurers though.

  7. Well, I for one thank you both. Drahken, you were able to gently prepare me for the death of the Baboon…merchant man. Atari, you were able to let us read the prose for ourselves and it made the Baboon’s demise all the more moving.

    There should have been an option though to let you keep the Baboon as an NPC. :)

  8. Great post, AAS — thanks for sharing! I had books #1, #2, and #4 (and still do, somewhere …). I did not know that there were so many, or that they had been reprinted. Yet another thing to keep an eye out for!

    Do used book stores have a “Choose Your Own Adventure” area, or do you just look them up by author? I guess I could always (gasp) ask at the front counter …

  9. Drahken says:

    “…(and I just love excuses to use my new scanner)…”

    It’s funny, I typed out the answer because I wanted to AVOID digging out my scanner, finding a place to set it, plugging it in, hooking it up, etc.

  10. Chris says:

    I never had these But I have some Legend of Zelda ones I still can’t find my way through without cheating!

  11. fabou says:

    Hi, as a kid i was reading thes books ( french translation ). Does someone knows where to download them for free in VO pdf format ?

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