"From the darkest corners, from the deepest pools and from the dungeons thought only to exist in nightmares come the Fighting Fantasy monsters - the downfall of many a brave warrior. Two hundred and fifty of these loathsome creatures from the wild and dangerous worlds of Fighting Fantasy are collected here - some are old adversaries, many you have yet to meet - each of them described in minute detail. An indispensable guide for Fighting Fantasy adventurers!
Full monster statistics
8 full pages in colour
Tables and charts"
Author - Marc Gascoigne/Steve Jackson/Ian Livingstone
Map Illustrator - n/a
Cover Illustrator - Christos Achilleos
Interior Illustrator - various
Setting - All FF books
Date - 1985
Out of the Pit is a supplement to the Advanced Fighting Fantasy (AFF) series. It serves as the series' "Monster Manual", providing statistics and background information for over 150 monsters.
AFF has a huge advantage to start in this area as it grew from the Fighting Fantasy series of solo Gamebooks, and each of these Gamebooks obviously included a number of original creatures. What Out of the Pit does is compile all of these creatures into one volume.
After a few pages of legalese and publishing information, there is a short introduction. It has a brief description of the world, basic continent Maps for both Allansia and Khakabad, and a description of how the statistics work. A monster is defined by its SKILL and STAMINA scores, the number of creatures it can fight at one time, the type of terrain it calls home, the number in a pack, a rough type (such as Humanoid or Undead), typical reaction on being encountered, and an intelligence level.
Following this are the monsters themselves. They are provided in alphabetical order, and each has roughly a page dedicated to it. Every monster has a clear heading, statistics block, an illustration (some very detailed and interesting, others rather basic) and a paragraph or two of background information. This is useful, and allows a GM to get an understanding of how the creature thinks and acts.
Highlights of the book include the Dragon, which has several pages detailing the different types, Elementals, which undergo the same treatment, and the Snake and Night demons. There are three of the former and four of the latter in the AFF world, and they form the supreme rulers of the demonic planes. As one would expect, their statistics are rather fierce.
Finishing the book are random encounter tables, perfect for choosing a typical creature for the setting, and a treasure generation table. This is less useful, being limited, repetitive, and prone to Fighting Fantasy clichés (the axe, which looks normal, but deducts points from the users skill.)
Out of the Pit comes in at 336 pages pocketsize paperback. For a GM wanting to design adventures, it comes in as recommended. It won't give any surprises, but it does what it says on the cover.