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Midnight Rogue

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Midnight Rogue (ISBN 0-14-032378-3) is a single player roleplaying gamebook written by Graeme Davis, illustrated by John Sibbick and first published in 1987. It forms part of the long-running Fighting Fantasy series, numbered 29 in the original Puffin edition and not yet included in the Wizard reissuing.

Set in Port Blacksand, infamously introduced in the fifth Fighting Fantasy gamebook as the City of Thieves, Midnight Rogue plays up to its setting with a distinctly unheroic protagonist — an apprentice thief undergoing the test for Guild membership. In this case the task is to steal a valuable gem, the "Eye of the Basilisk", from a merchant named Brass. The adventure involves burgling a variety of locations in the city to gain clues as its whereabouts: once found, the protections put in place to guard the gem turn out to be an even greater test of a thief's abilities. The story also contains more than one sting in the tail (on one occasion, literally).

The book allows the player a choice of various special skills taught by the Thieves' Guild, some of which may also be acquired later in the adventure by the collection of useful items. A further unusual mechanic is the restriction on the number of "backpack items" that can be carried, since sneaking about with large numbers of heavy objects is not conducive to being an effective rogue.

As well as fleshing out Blacksand from a native's perspective, notably by introducing the thieves' district, "the Noose", the story introduces various characters who show up elsewhere in the Fighting Fantasy canon. The merchant Brass, the clairvoyant Madame Star and the Thieves' Guild leader Rannik all appear in the Advanced Fighting Fantasy adventure Blacksand!, in which the protagonist of Midnight Rogue may take part as a player character. The wizard Nicodemus, already known from City of Thieves, makes a brief cameo appearance, though he deals with apprentice burglars rather more harshly than heroic adventurers. It is possible that herpetologists would consider the result to be an alternative successful ending.