Everyone else is doing it, so why can’t I?
Like similar books, the series placed the reader in the role of the titular character, the lone survivor of an order of warrior monks whose homeland was being invaded by the nefarious Darklords and their various minions. Where the franchise differed a bit from many contemporaries was in its play mechanics. While it had the standard “make a choice, turn to page XX” format, it also mixed in some simple, single-player pen-and-paper role playing game rules.
The reader/player would pick skills to learn, equipment to wield, and magic spells to cast. You had a certain number of hit points and will power. When an enemy was encountered, you’d usually be given a choice to fight, or attempt to use some skill to avoid or enchant them. The outcome of these contests depended on what attributes the player had and what random number was picked from a table in the back of the book. You could acquire better weapons and armor throughout your quests, too. Halfway through the series, the player would even “level up,” becoming much more powerful.
I think what I loved most about this series was its scope and the world-building the authors did. They went Tolkien -lite, creating a whole mythology and history for a huge game world, only a fraction of which the reader would visit. Outside of the core series, there was a spin-off of four volumes that revolved around a wizard that took place far from the “main” story, and some novels that I unfortunately never got to read.
If you want to check out the series, it’s fortunately (and legally) available in it’s entirety online, along with much of the spin-off material. I highly recommend it.