The Shadow Warriors are five highly powerful demonic knights who serve as the titular central villains in the Fighting Fantasy gamebook Legend of the Shadow Warriors. They seek to free their demonic lord Voivod the Waster, so that they could help him take over the entire world of Titan.
About the Shadow Warriors
The Shadow Warriors are five ghastly beings with glowing dead eyes, long hair and skeletal frame, mixing characteristics of undeads, Chaos Warriors and demons. Their mask is their anchor, so to speak, to the Earthly Planes. Taking it off after defeating one of them would banish him in Limbo for a century. However, they cannot be fully destroyed until the Evil that sustains their lord is extinguished. An Evil which in turn cannot be destroyed when they are present in the Earthly Planes, as Voivod is invincible as long as the five of them are not banished.
Each Shadow Warrior wields a different weapon with great proficiency. They are deadly foes, almost unstoppable when together. Moreover, they seem to exert considerable influence and fear over the monsters and evil races of Titan, forcing an orc assassin to go after their enemies in a crowded city, a place they usually avoid.
They are blindly devoted to their lord. They never speak, slaughter anything in their path and track down their targets without stop. They are extremely skilled trackers, able to find their target anywhere, who are very hard to escape or to deceive and who always check if their victim is really dead.
The Shadow Warriors were created by Voivod, the dreaded Demon of War, shortly after he himself was created, and they faithfully fought by his side since then. They very likely took part in the First Battle alongside their lord and escaped after the fall of the Demon Gods. What is sure is that they lead Voivod's armies when he invaded Titan.
When Voivod was defeated by the Gods of Titan and sealed inside the Zarrikiz Shrine, the Shadow Warriors disappeared and were not seen for over two millennia. Mankind then forgot about them and when the story begins, they are only remembered as mere bogey men from children's nursery-rhymes. Because of this, very few still believe in their existence and any mention made about them is laughed off, something that allowed them to dwell freely during the entire course of the story.
Role in the gamebook
The gamebook starts five years after the gruesome War of the Four Kingdoms, which opposed four of the most prominent nations of the continent of the Old World. The war was violent enough to make Voivod’s escape imminent, and the Shadow Warriors resurfaced and set out to free him. They looked for the Zarrikiz Shrine where he is imprisoned in the region near the village of Karnstein, village which they frequently ransacked.
Some villagers come to Royal Lendle, the capital of the kingdom of Gallantaria, and hire the playable character who accepts to investigate, despite not believing in the Shadow Warriors in the first place. (You play as a famed veteran and mercenary who think that it is but a gang of disguised bandits ransacking an easy prey, though you wonder what could interest them in such a remote place.)
The Shadow Warriors send an Assassin Orc after you to Royal Lendle, before attacking you and the villagers when you exit the city, killing them all. You must hide with a magical cloak, jump over the chasm, or play dead and not react when one of them pierces your leg when you lie on the ground to check, or else the game ends quickly. This failure makes you swear to destroy them for good, in the name of the helpless peasants whom you could not protect.
During your quest, you will often get attacked by one of the Shadow Warriors who are tracking you down all over Gallantaria. If you meet the friendly hermit Hammicus and save him from the wraith of his dead son, he teaches you how to get rid of a Shadow Warrior for good, by taking off his mask after defeating him. Should you fail to learn this and defeat a Shadow Warrior the normal way, he will eventually reappear and be fought again later.
Fighting a Shadow Warrior
When facing a Shadow Warrior, you must roll a dice to determine which one attacks you, rolling it again if it gives a 6. The Shadow Warriors are very dangerous enemies with 9 in skill (level of power) and 9 in stamina, (life-points). They may be 3 points below the maximum level of skill, but given their fearsome special abilities and the number of fights led against them, they would have been close to invincible had they been mightier.
- The First Shadow Warrior is a martial artist who strikes twice in a row, as if you were facing two equally powerful enemies.
- The Second Shadow Warrior fights with daggers. He launches one at each attack round, causing additional damage 2 in 6 times.
- The Third Shadow Warrior wields two broadswords, whose strikes cost 4 in stamina instead of the regular 2 regardless of your protections.
- The Fourth Shadow Warrior wields a spiked mace. Before fighting you must win a test of luck, or he knocks your sword away. (If you lack a sword to begin with, you lose 6 in stamina and 1 in skill!)
- The Fifth Shadow Warrior attacks with shurikens. Before fighting, he throws one made of the magical Cruel-Metal. If you get hit, the wound it causes gradually tears you apart and puts a gruesome end to your quest.
The Final Battle
Upon reaching Karnstein, you find it burnt to the ground and learn that Voivod has been freed. You must find them before they raise an army of ten thousand undead warriors, otherwise Titan is doomed and you along with it.
Before fighting Voivod, you will must every Shadow Warrior you could not banish. Using the Spear of Doom destroys the Warriors without fight, but weakens its power and reduces your chances of defeating Voivod. The ring of Rabbam, cancels the Shadow Warrior's special abilities and reduces them to normal, yet still tough, enemies.
- The Shadow Warriors are somehow based on the Nazgûl from The Lord of the Ring, being a fearsome team of highly powerful, demonic undead riders bound to a world-threatening Evil Overlord they help rise again.
- The Shadow Warriors look somehow similar to the titular Golden Vampires, from the Hammer horror film Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires. Amusingly, both stories' titles mention the villains' legend.