Saturday, November 28, 2015

Kickstart your gamebook Christmas

Good ay, gamebookers! I've actually managed to get a few posts written this month (you will see them at some point) and I'm quite enjoying blogging again. I thought I'd swing by and tell you about three lovely gamebook kickstarters currently running.

6Quest - a game of interactive fiction

6Quest is a Hungarian game, but they want to extend their wonderful gamebooks to the English speaking world. There is a massive world to explore and I will be looking forward to exploring more of it. If you want to try a demo of 6Quest, go here.

Tin Man Games does The Warlock of Firetop Mountain

This is already on 50000 AUD with 38 hours to go. Tin Man Games is using the original Fighting Fantasy book to show off its new engine with maps, miniatures and strategic combat. The book will also have many extra features to it, such as being able to play different characters, extra rooms and much much more. Back it for your rewards before it's too late...

ZFiles: Infection - Videogame, comic and zombie apocalypse

This interactive game looks gorgeous. I am really looking forward to the awesomness that it can produce. It is combining a comic and gamebook to make something that looks wonderfully presented and slickly put together. Check it out!

So back back back people!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

RPG - Mazes and Minotaurs

I love Mazes and Minotaurs, the Ancient Greek themed RPG started all the way back in 1972.

I get a warm sense of nostalgia when I read books like this - the font, the artwork, the way that some of the rules are a bit loose and unrealistic, or, in some cases, state that  they are supposed to be loose and unrealistic.  I'm not sure exactly what it is, but I get that with other books like that such as with Tunnels and Trolls and some retro clones.

For example, Mazes and Minotaurs spits int the face of having different damage for all of the different kinds of weapons.  Heroes deal 1d6 damage with most weapons, 1d3 damage with daggers, or 2d6 damage if they are large weapons.

The game is willing to throw away complexity in order to bring on an enjoyable experience, steeped in the flavour of Ancient Greek heroics.  There are several classes that are not generic fighter, mage, thief, but rather Greek type classes such as amazon, spearman, centaur or elementalist.

Experience is earned based on your class.  Classes are split into three types - warrior, magician or specialist (hunters and thieves are specialists).  Warriors earn glory points by vanquishing monsters and accomplishing heroic feats.  Magicians earn wisdom points for vanquishing supernatural creatures and exploring the unknown.  Hunters get experience for killing beasts (animals) and using hunting, and thieves get experience for acquiring loot and using thievery.

The Greek gods feature heavily too and so do many ancient Greek artefacts.  I always had a thing for Greek myths when I was little and this game allows you to live them.

The new edition provides material almost as entertaining as the game itself and that is anecdotes and letters from players of the game over the years, usually involving arguing over rules and situations.  They are entertaining to read.  I hope that more are published online.

The Mazes and Minotaurs core books are also FREE along with many more resources, which can all be found here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Villain Profile - The Beast from Kill the Beast by Victor Cheng

Villain profiles return!  In my quest to promote more amateur gamebooks, I will look at a villain from a book I've found on  I will mention these great amateur books in future posts.  The Beast is from Kill the Beast by Victor Cheng who has also written In the Footsteps of a Hero.  So, on with The Beast.

Appears in

Kill the Beast by Victor Cheng.  No prizes for guessing what the aim of the book is.


You are a villager who is plodding along fine until The Beast comes from nowhere and crushes houses and crops.  It also carries off some of your fellow villagers.  You are tasked with going to a nearby town and hiring someone who can kill it.
The Beast has a thick soil coloured hide that resists blows.It also has 'tentacles, primitive limbs and big eyes – dreadful, demonic eyes.' It is also described as a 'great barrel of a creature' with a 'toothy maw'


The beast is roaming around the countryside and can strike at any time.  This fact is made more terrifying by the fact that The Beast can burrow under the earth and can burst out of the ground in front of you at any time.  Now that's a surprise you don't want.  7/10


The Beast's toothy maw and its many tentacles and limbs make it an extremely dangerous foe.  It has a skill of 12 and a stamina of 15.  It also has a thick hide that '... seems to be made of the Earth itself'.  Damage dealt against The Beast in combat is reduced by 1 point.  Besting it in combat will definately be difficult.  Your skill is between 5 and 7, so it will be suicide to take the Beast on yourself which is why you hire someone else to do it.  However, along the way, you may get a chance to weaken it and reduce its skill which will go a long way.  The trick to killing the beast is reducing its skill so that if you get someone who can hit it constantly then they will gradually wear it down.  It takes some luck and good judgement to do this, however.  7/10


The Beast does not seem to want to do anything beyond wrecking the countryside and eating people.  5/10


As beasts go, this one definitely seems unique (bonus point).  It's origin story is not explained, but I imagine it to be some kind of abandoned cosmic horror or the failed experiment of a mad wizard or an animal that has been mutated by evil magic or evil substances.  However, being a Beast means that it's not going to be an urbane Bond villain any time soon.  Of course, that also means that its actually going to kill someone.  6/10

Diabolical genius

Like Hate, there is no evidence of The Beast being sentient (of course absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but I'm going on the source material here.  of course, if Victor says that it is, then that's a different matter.)  1/10

Total score

It is not something that you want to come across, but it's not going to come up with a master plan to destroy the world any time soon.  26/50

Monday, October 5, 2015

E0 rules for DnD 5th edition

A little while ago, I published E2 rules for 5th edition DnD. Now I've gone to the logical extreme and turned them into E0 rules - characters are all "0 level" and only advance by feats. This is similar to how my Legend of the Wayfarer rules work. The only levelled characters in this world are "gods" who go to levels 1-5. I may work out the "god" class later on (it will be quite close to the bard class).

Roll your abilities

You can use whatever method you like, but I'm going for the DCC way of 3d6 in order (but I'm doing this for 2-4 characters per player, so at least one will be good).

Each character has 12 hit points + CON modifier.

Each character has a +2 proficiency bonus.

Choose your racial benefits

My world is human centric so they are the only option (of course, you can use whatever races you like). To increase variety amongst characters, I will use the variant human traits (PHB page 31) where you can increase two scores by 1 point, gain proficiency in one skill and gain 1 feat (PHB page 165).

Choose background

Also choose other details and equipment (you can use Bernie's random tables)

Choose feats

In addition to their human feat, players can now choose 3 extra feats.


The character can then improve for every 500xp they get. The character gets to choose whether to get 2 ability points either for one ability or split between 2 ability scores OR they can get another feat. Bear in mind that some feats are of limited or no use in this world.

Rule changes

Skills are no longer tied to any stat and multiple skills could help with a particular roll.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

An RPG you might need to take a bath after playing

In summer 2014, I decided to read a load of RPG sourcebooks for inspiration (although what inspiration, I'm not sure of).  Here are some of my thoughts...

Hello gamebookers!  Today, I present you with a free RPG that takes up 1 page - it is the 2d6 Quick and Dirty Roleplaying game rules.  I don't remember exactly how or when I found it, but I know it's been up for a few years.  For some reason, it stuck in my mind.  I think it was because I was a poor student at the time and wanted some free sources of entertainment.  And, thinking about it, it is halfway to being a gamebook system.

The core mechanic is this - ability tests are made by rolling 2d6 and trying to achieve 8 or more (the number could be higher if the task is harder).  Each hero has some traits that may give a +1 bonus to the roll if they are relevant to the test.  It is up to the player to decide what traits they have (as long as they fit in with the genre and that they are not too powerful, such as "immortal").  They also get a title and some quirks.Opposed tests are done by both parties rolling 2d6 and adding a value based on their traits and also items.  The loser uses the ability to use 1 trait temporarily (ranging from getting it back as soon as combat is over to recuperating for some time, based on whether the combat is a sword fight or a game of chess or something in between).  The loser ends up with no traits (and this could lead to a vicious cycle where, eventually the combatants lose useful traits and so roll lower numbers and lose more).

And that's the whole RPG.  I think it is halfway to a gamebook system because of its simplicity.  It seems that simple systems are the way to go according to Dave Morris (who is known to rankle at the idea of having to use maps in his Blood Sword books) and Ian Livingstone (who scrapped skill and luck in Blood of the Zombies).

The half that is not provided is the list of traits that you might need.  It is OK to more open in RPGs as the players' source of feedback is a living person with enough imagination and ingenuity to respond to what the players might come up with.  However, with a gamebook, the author is not there and so your options are the ones that the author thought of at the time of writing, so there is not point in thinking of anything else.  So in that case, the author needs to think of traits that would be useful for the problems that they have presented.

Another thing the system needs is a "hit point" system for characters.  I am not a fan of the rule that characters lose traits in opposed tests, because, as I mentioned above, it sets up a positive feedback loop where the loss of one trait will reduce the chance of the character's survival, which will lead to the loss of more traits which will further reduce their chances, which will eventually lead to death.  In order to keep it simple, these 'hit points' could be a representation of mental and physical fortitude (as the opposed tests could be anything from combat to having an argument).  These points could either be restored straight away or after some time.  That way, for the most part, the only danger the hero needs to worry about is the current one.  Destiny Quest does this well, where everything is restored after a combat.

One last thing that I think they could improve, though this is by no means a necessity, and, unless you care about statistics as much as I do, you probably won't care, is that I think 2d6 gives too large a bell curve of results, making a bonus too important.  I can explain what I mean if you use anydice for a 2d6 roll.  Rolling an 8 or more has a 42% chance.  If you have a +1 bonus, you need to roll a 7 or more, which has a 58% chance.  That's a 17% increase for 1 point.  However, after that, you start to get diminishing returns.  If you have a +2 bonus, you have a 72% chance (14% increase) and a +3 bonus gives you an 81% chance (9% increase).  Ages ago, I showed you that if you were having opposed checks and the opponent had a +3 bonus over you, you were pretty much doomed.  That is because the fewer dice you use, the more impact a bonus would give.  I think people use 2d6, because most non gamer houses have that many maximum, but more dice would be better.  Too many would mean too small an effect, however.  for my system, I settled with 4d6.

So, what can I take from the Quick and Dirty system?
  • You can do a lot with skill tests.
  • You can individualise a character very easily
  • Make sure the bonuses are not too game breaking.
  • Don't have a system where you are punished for losing.  Or if you can't avoid it, just give them a quick, clean death.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Asuria Awakens!

Hello gamebookers! It is a great time to be a gamebook fan at the moment.

First of all, the Windhammer entrants have been announced and there are 16 books this year. They will be made available on September 17th and voting will go on until 14th November. The winners will be announced on November 21st.

Also, Tin Man Games have released Songs of the Mystics and my own book, Asuria Awakens for Android!!!!

I am so pumped that my gamebook has been released, and what is more, that Tin Man Games turned it into an awesome app with excellent art by Tony Hough.