|Bob wanted a more realistic skill|
score for Crypt of the Sorcerer.
Most writing on gamebooks focuses on the story itself and how the rules interact with that story. What you have to do to 'roll up' a character is usually relegated to a paragraph near the beginning and it is only there for the purpose of informing the reader of the system rather than looking at it critically. However, there is a lot to think about when you roll up a character. What kind of choices might you have to make and what bearing does it have on the gamebook?
Choices about abilities
|Sea of Madness by Andrew Wright|
has a point build system.
|don't even bother|
trying Return to
with a skill roll
A point build system will never create amazing characters - in points terms, every character will be equal (of course when we get to the book, some attributes might be stronger than others) - but that also means that you will never get a terrible character and if you do get slaughtered within three paragraphs because of your stats, you now know that that particular build is rubbish and you will try a different one. It is less of a gut punch than losing because of one bad dice roll.
|Your skill choices are important|
when playing Lost Labyrinth.
I am defining skills are different from abilities in the sense that they have no numerical value. Lone Wolf either has the healing skill or does not have the healing skill. If you have a list of skills, you will probably have to select them from a list basing your decisions either on how useful you think they would be (does the introduction give you any clues?) or what kind of character you would want (do you want Lone Wolf to be a nature type who can hunt and talk to animals or a warrior type who can use weapons and mindblast for example).
Choices about your spells
|Don't forget that|
If you are a magic user, you may need to decide what spells you can cast and, if you are using a Vancian magic system, how many uses of each spell you can get.
Choices about your personality
This is a variation on customising your abilities, but instead of getting to choose which abilities to add to, you may be given a situation and different choices on how you would handle the situation. Each decision mya raise or lower one or more abilities depending on how your choice fits in with your abilities.
Here is an example from the great Android game, Pirates and Traders:
On the small estates of your parents, you...
- Put on muscle from helping your father out in the fields. (Increases strength)
- Climed trees and rocks, building your agility. (Increases agility)
- Earned a reputation as an enfant terrible due to all the pranks you pulled. (Increases cunning)
- Often got into scrapes but always got out of them with your charm. (Increases charm
|What to take with me?|
In this case, you may be given a list of items and told that you can take a certain number of them or you might be given some money and you could buy the items.
Choices about your companions
In some gamebooks, you are either being accompanied by individuals or an army. You may need to choose which individuals or which units of soldiers will go with you.
Choices about your characters
In some gamebooks, such as the Duel Master gamebooks The Shattered Realm,
you choose which potential monarch you could be. You have a choice of three -
a military style commander, a magic user and a queen/princess.
|You choose a character in Heroquest.|