Razaak is a highly powerful undead necromancer who serves as the primary villain 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 doubtless the hardest to defeat villain of the entire series.

Appearance

No one knows what Razaak looked like back when he was a living human, but as a lich, he is downright hideous, grotesque and sickening. When the hero confronts him, the narration states that they never felt such repulsion.

He is bald, deformed, and hunchbacked, seemingly five feet tall or less. His oversized skull is covered with pulsating red veins, with his face fixed in a rictus, his left eye abnormally small, and his right eye bulging.

His skin is deathly waxen, his arms are shrivelled, with the left awfully shrunk while the right so long that it touches the ground, and his hands with pointed nails are described resembling a "bird of prey's talon".

Moreover, Razaak wears luxurious red and golden robes, further adding to the grotesque of his aspect.

Personality

Razaak is horribly cruel, hateful, spiteful, power-hungry and vindictive. He craved control from day one and solely learnt magic to dictate his law to everyone. He plagues the land just because he can, demands obedience and is affronted by (fully legitimate) rebukes, dishing out disproportionate retribution.

Razaak in all his ugliness.

Undeath worsened him further, for he is no longer satisfied with merely ruling, now craving to extinguish all life and rule a land of undeads.

He is overconfident and scornful, dismissing his foes as hopeless even when he knows they can harm him.

Powers and Abilities

Razaak is a highly powerful wizard, being able to threaten the entire continent of Allansia on his own. As a necromancer, he can wither all life in a defined area, raise the dead from the grave as zombies or worse, enlist the help of powerful undeads-individuals, and return from the other side of the Veil.

Razaak can absorb life-force by the mere touch of his fingers. Grabbing his victims long enough kills them and turns them into his undead slaves. Such ability makes him virtually invincible in battle, to many players' dismay.

Furthermore, Razaak is very skilled in Demonology, being able to summon 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 artefacts such as his own cursed sword.

Having once owned a sword hints that Razaak used to be a swordsman, and while he can no longer wield weapons, he remains fast and spry enough to be more than a match even for the best knights. Though given how deformed he is, it is quite clear that his fighting skills now mostly stems from his magic.

Background

Razaak's artwork for the Brazilian edition

Razaak is 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 no further explanation is given. Razaak was once an apprentice wizard, who studied in the famous school of the Forest of Yore, under the tutelage of the great archmage Vermithrax Moonchaser.

Sometimes after, 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. Having to renounce to his own magic sword as per his pact with the demons he worships, he cast it into a lake.

A century before the story, Razaak sent messages ordering every ruler of the continent of Allansia to pledge fealty to him. Yet, having never heard of him, no one took him seriously. Infuriated, Razaak summoned thousands of bugs who spread plague, pestilence and misery all over western Allansia.

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 found Razaak's cursed sword, the only weapon that could harm him, and used it to slay the wretched 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 an 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, he would rise from the grave as a lich to threaten Allansia once more.

Ungoth

Ungoth, the Skeleton Lord

The Skeleton Lord, Razaak's right-hand-man who protects his crypt, checking anyone entering. He is a very powerful sentient undead, with vast knowledge and great mastery of magic. This makes him a lich as well, but his origins, the extent of his influence and how he came to serve Razaak is never explained.

He is polite and patient, but cold, imposing and cruel, petrifying every intruder. He never needs to fight, and, unlike other villains of the series, the hero never battles him and cannot counter his magic. The only way is to pass his trials.

Crypt of the Sorcerer

Now a lich, Razaak is proceeding to raise all corpses in Allansia as undeads to invade the land. Razaak also recruited every troll and secretly raised a Gargantis: a giant, enormously powerful monster, to serve as his major asset. The hero sets out to find Razaak's sword and use it to destroy him once and for all. The hero must find many relics and intel, in a difficult quest in which they must speak with everyone they, to never flee from a battle and to look everywhere for every item and piece of information they can find.

After finding the sword, the hero befriends a ranger named Symm, who joins them. They escape an ambush by Razaak's monsters, as the necromancer has heard of them and wants to crush all opposition. Razaak summoned a Demonspawn immune to magic to capture and sacrifice Yaztromo. The hero must save his friend but can only slay the hideous fiend with Razaak’s sword.

After visiting a haunted graveyard, the hero and Symm are joined by the dwarf Borri, inventor of the hot-air balloon. With it, they reach Razaak's mines where he hides the Gargantis, which they must slay to take its magical horn.

The fearsome Gargantis.

After visiting a haunted graveyard, the hero and Symm meet the dwarf Borri, who invented a hot-air balloon to travel and who joins the adventure. The hero and their comrades head to Razaak's mines where he hides the fearsome Gargantis, which they must slay to take its magical horn.

  • The hero needs a magic crystal, lest the monster's psychic power drives them to madness and death. A magic wand can paralyze the Gargantis and avoid a very hard battle, for it is a formidable foe with 12 in skill (power level) and 24 in stamina (life points) the highest stats available.

Finally, the hero and their companions can head to the Moonstone Hills and the fissure where the evil lich has built his underground lair. The hero must venture inside on their own, disguised as one of Razaak's demonic servants. After reaching the end, they will need:

  • To find a matriculate number to enter Razaak's innermost sanctum, without being killed by the throne sentinel.
  • To have a magical key to enter said innermost sanctum without getting imprisoned in a magical trap.
  • Upon entering, the hero is greeted by Ungoth the Skeleton Lord, who asks them no less than four questions about Razaak and his troops. If they fail to answer, Ungoth turns them to stone and the game is over.
  • The same fate awaits them if they do not know the secret code to enter Razaak's private quarters.

Confronting Razaak

If the hero wears an amulet representing a horned demon, it compels them to obey Razaak and the lich kills them without fight. If not, they will need many trinkets to survive Razaak's many, many attempts on their life.

  • Razaak appears shape-shifted as Gereth Yaztromo to catch them off-guard. Without a magic ring to see beyond the appearances, he feigns a friendly gesture to catch them, turning them into his undead slave.
  • They then need to have breathed the smoke from a broken glass orb, to survive Razaak's Firebolt spells. If not, he grievously wounds them with his first blast and finishes them off with a second.
  • After this, they need a special scroll AND to know how to use it, to cast a magical barrier that destroys the thousands of man-eating bugs he summons. If they do not, they cover them, poison them, and slowly devour them in a gruesome demise.
  • Finally, they need a magical shield to withstand Razaak's Thunderbolt spell, or end up fried to a crisp.

Now the hero can finally settle their score with the wretched lich. THE WORST IS YET TO COME! Razaak is a formidable enemy with 12 in skill and 20 in stamina. If he wins two attack rounds in a row, no matter when, he drains the hero's life-force and turns them into his undead slave, winning the fight and dooming everything. Given Razaak's level of power, it's virtually impossible to defeat him without cheating or being blessed by luck.

Upon beating Razaak, the hero pierces his heart with the Gargantis' horn so that he would never return. Now, they must escape from the collapsing crypt without minding the necromancer's cursed treasure, and have at least 6 stamina points left to win the game. (If not, they are too weak to escape in time and die under the rubbles).

Symm, Borri and Yaztromo greet them and Yaztromo dispels the sword's curse, throwing the cursed weapon into the chasm to be buried forever under tons of rocks alongside its wretched owner. After a few days of sleep, a now healed hero can now celebrate their awesome victory as it should be.

Trivia

  • Like Zanbar Bone, also created by Ian Livingstone, Razaak must be confronted with an anti-illusion ring and has a life-draining touch. In turn, after resurrecting Zanbar Bone summons insect swarms like Razaak, closing the circle of references. Ian Livingstone likes to reference his previous books when writing new adventures.
  • 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 Fighting Fantasy canon establishes that Razaak was killed for good by none other than the legendary hero Chadda Darkmane, a friend of Yaztromo who had already defeated the equally powerful Zharradan Marr, putting an end to the Trolltooth Wars, which opposed Zharradan Marr and his rival Balthus Dire.

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