Sunday, June 24, 2012

My Endless Quest Has Ended

Way back in 1982, as I perused the local Waldenbooks, I came across a section dedicated to those Choose Your Own Adventure books. However, one title caught my eye - Dungeon of Dread by Rose Estes, Book 1 of the Endless Quest series. What made this stand out was that it was published by TSR and based in the Dungeons & Dragons universe. I saw it as a great way to play D&D "solo" during those downtimes when my group couldn't get together. So I picked it up and brought it home, pouring over it over one summer. I read and re-read that book to the point  that I knew all of the paths and all of the outcomes. I even tried to draw a map of the dungeon as it corresponded to the text. However, for some reason, I never picked up another one that summer, and I packed this book away with a stack of other paperbacks.

About 3 years ago, the book resurfaced at my parent's house. I thumbed through it, recalling how much fun I had with it when I was (much) younger. I did a bit of research to see how many other TSR Endless Quest books has been released and, needing yet another "collection obsession," decided to collect the entire EQ library. I scoured used book stores, thrift stores, and library sales. I made trades and swaps with other collectors. I dipped into eBay and Amazon for some of the truly obscure ones. As of Friday, with the acquisition of Tarzan and the Tower of Diamonds, I have achieved my initial goal of collecting every Endless Quest Series 1 and 2 book, as well as the entire run of Super Endless Quest Adventure Gamebooks. Here's what all 65 books looks like:

First of all, Series 1 consisted of 36 books released between 1984 and 1987. A large number of them were written by Rose Estes, who wrote 9 of them. However some of the other books in this first series were written by such notable TSR folks such as Mike Carr, James Ward, Roger E. Moore, and Margaret Weis. Although most take place in the D&D fantasy genre, some of the other books take place in the worlds of Top Secret, Star Frontiers, and -- of course -- Gamma World. There were also two books each based on the adventures of Conan the Barbarian and Tarzan of the Apes.

Next up, Series 2 was a "relaunch" of the Endless Quest line in 1994. There were 11 books released in this series, although there were two others (The Test and Sands of Deception) that were written, but never published and released. Some other stalwarts who contributed titles to the EQ line in this series included Allen Varney, Nick Pollotta, and Jean Rabe.

Finally, there were 18 books released between 1985 and 1988 that fell into the Super Endless Quest line. (Later renamed Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Gamebooks.) This series had a deeper role-playing element as there was a simplified RPG system built into the book that depended on dice rolls, hit points, spell casting, and combat. A player character card was stitched into each book (which also doubled as a bookmark). One of my goals with this series was to secure the original PC card that accompanied each book -- easier said than done. But each book pictured here has that elusive PC card. (I had a heck of a time finding Prince of Thieves as there was a certain similarly-named Kevin Costner movie that made Internet searches very problematic.)

Even though there are several other TSR choose-a-path book series out there -- Crimson Crystal, Fantasy Forest, Heart Quest, and Marvel Super Heroes, to name a few -- I think I'm gonna hold up on the next round of search-and-find. After all, I have plenty to read now as it is.

And to keep this post applicable to this post-apocalyptic blog, I'll review the four or five Gamma World-related EQ books in this collection in the near future.


  1. I had a few of these as a kid and still do. In fact, as your quest has ended, I just started on mine recently. I even have some of the Heart Quest and Fantasy Forest ones as well. Seeing this is encouraging that I'll be able to complete the quest as well some day.

  2. I had a couple of those that I found at the local Salvation Army when I was growing up. One of them was a dungeon crawl into an old dwarven stronghold, the name of which I have forgotten. I mapped it out as best I could to correspond to the text and ran my little brother through it with his AD&D 2e Dwarf Fighter (I also remember that he rolled a ridiculous 18 on 3d6 for both Strength and Constitution, and rolled a 96 on the percentile dice for Strength! That dwarf was tough!). We had a lot of fun. That might have been my first stab at Dungeon Mastering.

  3. Ah the memories! Thanks for this post. It reminds me of the good times in life!

  4. I wrote four pick-a-path books for TSR, of which I see two in your photos: "The Vanishing City" (my second) and "Galactic Challenge" (my fourth). My first was "Doctor Strange: Through Six Dimensions" for TSR's Marvel gamebook series; I was happy with it when I turned it in, but not after the editor got through cutting every third line. My third and best pick-a-path was the third installment in the short-lived "Catacombs" series of lengthy, oversized, heavily illustrated gamebooks. Mine was set in Waterdeep in the Forgotten Realms; FR creator Ed Greenwood said it was the best depiction of Waterdeep he'd ever read. The terrific illos by George Barr enhanced the book greatly, but its title was unfortunate: "Knight of the Living Dead."

    1. Wow, Allen! Thanks for dropping by and giving a bit of insight as to your contributions to the EQ lines!

  5. Have always been sad that I missed those. I loved the choose your own adventure books as a kid but I was looked to the Scholastic reader for my book needs and they never had the Endless Quest books.