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Razaak

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Razaak is a powerful undead necromancer, who serves as the primary antagonist and final enemy of the Fighting Fantasy gamebook Crypt of the Sorcerer. He is infamous among fans for being one of the hardest to reach and arguably the hardest to defeat of all the series' villains, being close to invincible without cheating.

Appearance

Monstrous, disgusting and repulsive are the only words that come in mind when facing Razaak. When the playable character confronts him, the narration states that he or she never felt such a repulsion. No one knows what he looked like back when he was a living human, but as a lich, his ugliness is downright sickening.

Affreux Razaak

Razaak in all his ugliness

He is bald, deformed, hunchbacked and small, not seeming to stand above five feet. His face is nothing but a oversized skull covered with pulsating red veins, whose mouth is fixed in a rictus, whose left eye is abnormally small and whose right eye is protruding.

His skin is of deathly waxen colour, his arms are shrivelled, the left one being awfully shrunk while the right one is so long that it touches the ground, and his hands with pointed nails are described to look like a "bird prey's talon". Moreover, Razaak wears luxurious red and golden robes, further adding to the grotesque of his unbearable aspect.

Powers and Abilities

Unsurprisingly for a Fighting Fantasy villain, Razaak is a highly powerful wizard and necromancer, able to threaten the entire continent of Allansia all alone. Being a necromancer, he can wither all life in a defined perimeter, raise undeads from the grave, enlist the help of powerful undeads-individuals, and return from the other side of the Veil. Razaak can also absorb someone's life-force by touching his victim with his fingers. If he touches someone long enough, the unfortunate victim dies and immediately resurrects as a zombie under his command, an ability which makes him virtually invincible in battle, much to many players' dismay.

Furthermore, Razaak is skilled in Demonology, being able to drag dangerous demonic entities to the Earthly Plane and to create monsters. He is also well versed in traditional Dark Magic, as he masters several deadly attack spells, can summon living creatures, can shape-shift and can craft powerful magical artifacts such as his own cursed sword.

The fact that he owned a sword hints that Razaak was once a talented swordsman, and even if he is no longer able to wield a weapon, he remains an adept fighter, fast and spry enough to be more than a match for powerful knights. Though given his awfully deformed body, it seems quite clear that his fighting skills now mostly stems from his evil magic.

Background

Razaak was born the son of a man named Tamal, likely a powerful wizard himself, who died at 108 years old. It is written on his gravestone that his soul is now one with his son, but this is never explained.

Razaak was once an apprentice wizard, who like many others studied in the famous school of the Forest of Yore, under the tutelage of the great archmage Vermithrax Moonchaser. He was very greedy, selfish and ambitious and only learnt magic to become able to dictate his law to others. At some point, he exiled himself in the desert and studied magic on his own during fourty years of loneliness. Razaak became a dark wizard and then a necromancer. By doing so, he had to renounce to his own magical sword to entirely devote himself to Dark Magic, and he cast it in a lake.

One hundred years before the start of the story, after finally becoming a necromancer, Razaak sent messages to every lord and ruler of the continent of Allansia, ordering them to pledge obedience to him. However, none of them had ever heard of him and therefore no one took him seriously.

Infuriated, Razaak summoned thousands of bugs who spread plague, pestilence and misery all over western Allansia. Then, after several months, he gave the Allansian lords until the next full moon to abdicate in his favour, slaying every mage and warrior sent to kill him. But one day, a warrior named Kull discovered Razaak's own cursed sword, the only weapon who could harm him, and used it to kill the evil necromancer. Though the unfortunate hero paid the heavy price for his victory, as just when Razaak fell Kull suffered the sword's curse and was turned into a undead skeleton.

Since then, Kull spent the following decades drifting aimlessly on a raft, on the lake where he found the sword. Razaak's corpse was put into a crypt into the Moonstone Hills, which was sealed by a wizard and was not to be reopened before 110 years, otherwise, Razaak would rise from the grave as an undead Lich and would try once again to take over Allansia.

Crypt of the Sorcerer

In the introduction of Crypt of the Sorcerer, your character learns that an evil force is slowly expanding over Allansia from the Moonstone Hills. For several weeks, plague, droughts and catastrophes had spread over the land and the sky itself is covered with ominous grey clouds. You learn about a fissure near the Moonstone Hill where the surrounding have been turned into a wasteland where a demonic hand blasts firebolts on intruders. You decide to visit your old friend the great mage Gereth Yaztromo, who tells you about Razaak.

Razaak rose from the grave when his crypt was opened, probably by grave-robbers. Now a lich, Razaak is preparing to raise every dead people in Allansia from the grave as his undead servants, to invade the continent where he would extinguish all life, making it a decayed land of undeads. Razaak also recruited every troll in Allansia and secretly raised a monstrous Gargantis: a giant beast of awesome power which he plans to use as his major weapon. You then set out to find Razaak's sword and use it to destroy the vile necromancer once and for all.

During your quest, you need to find many artifacts and informations. The gamebook itself is a difficult one-true-path, meaning that you must speak with everyone you encounter, to never flee from a battle and to look everywhere for every item and piece of information you can find. After finding the cursed sword, you befriend an expert hunter named Symm, who goes along with you. You both escape an ambush by Razaak’s monsters, as the necromancer has heard of you and wants to eliminate all resistance, and you must rescue Yaztromo, who is about to be sacrificed by a hellish Demonspawn summoned by Razaak. You can only destroy it with Razaak’s sword.

The Gargantis

the fearsome Gargantis

After visiting a haunted graveyard, you and Symm meet the dwarf Borri, who invented a hot-air balloon to travel and who joins your team. You and your comrades head to Razaak's mines where he hides the fearsome Gargantis, which you must slay to take its magical horn.
  • You need a magical crystal when facing the monster, or else its psychic power will drive every three character to sheer madness, and then to their death. If you found a magic wand, you will be able to paralyze it and avoid a very hard battle. Indeed the Gargantis has 12 in skill (power level) and 24 in stamina (life points) the highest stats available.

Finally the three characters can head to the Moonstone Hills and the fissure where the evil lich has built his underground lair. You must venture inside on your own, and to disguise yourself as one of Razaak’s demonic servants. You will later need:

  • To find a matricule number to enter the innermost sanctum of Razaak's lair, without being killed by the throne sentinel.
  • To have a magical key to enter said innermost sanctum without getting imprisoned in a magical trap.
  • Ungoth

    Ungoth the Prince of Skeletons

    Upon entering, you are greeted by Ungoth the Prince of Skeletons, a powerful undead-individual and the necromancer's right-hand-man. Ungoth will ask you no less than four questions about Razaak and his troops and if you fail to answer, Ungoth turns you to stone and the game is over.
  • The same fate awaits you if you do not know the secret code to enter Razaak's private quarters.

All this make Razaak a villain extremely well protected and hard to reach. And he is even harder to defeat!

Confronting Razaak

If you wear an amulet representing a horned demon, it will compel you to obey Razaak’s command and the necromancer will kill you without fight. If you do not own this cursed talisman, you will have to survive Razaak's many, many attempts on your life before fighting the wretched lich.

  • Razaak appears before you shape-shifted as Gereth Yaztromo to take you by surprise. If you do not wear a magical ring to see beyond the appearances, everything is doomed.
  • You then need to have breathed the magical smoke from a broken glass orb, in order to survive Razaak's firebolt spells.
  • You then need to have a special spell AND to know how to cast it to be protected from the swarms of man-eating bugs summoned by Razaak.
  • Finally, you need a magical shield to be protected against Razaak’s lighting-blast spell.
  • At last you can fight against Razaak, who is a formidable enemy with 12 in skill and 20 in stamina no less. THE WORST IS YET TO COME! If the necromancer wins two attack rounds in a row, he grabs you, drains your life-force and turns you into his undead slave, winning the fight. Given Razaak’s level of power, it's virtually impossible to defeat him without cheating or being blessed by luck.

Upon beating Razaak, you pierce his heart with the Gargantis’ horn so that he would never return, and you must immediately escape from the collapsing crypt, with more than 6 stamina points left to win the game (or else, you die under the rubbles). Symm, Borri and Yaztromo then greet you and Yaztromo dispels the sword’s curse, while the sword itself disappears forever into the chasm alongside its wretched owner.

Trivia

  • Razaak has the power to absorb life-force through his fingers and needs a anti-illusion ring to be defeated. These are aspects he shares with Zanbar Bone, another Fighting Fantasy villain created by Ian Livingstone.
  • The battle against Razaak is similar to that against Belgaroth, another Fighting Fantasy villain. Both are insanely difficult to defeat and both need lots of knowledge and items to be faced safely.
  • The chronology of Titan later stated that the knight who put a final end to Razaak was none other than the legendary hero Chadda Darkmane, a friend of Yaztromo who had already defeated another equally powerful necromancer Zharradan Marr, putting an end to the Trolltooth Wars, which opposed Zharradan Marr and his rival Balthus Dire.
  • Razaak's page on Titannica, the Fighting Fantasy Wikia: http://fightingfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/Razaak

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