Sunday, May 27, 2012

Yet more gamebook news - new blog on the scene

From Fighting for your Fantasy
I'd like to welcome Marston (who has some lovely photos) to the gamebook blogosphere with his new blog, Fighting for your Fantasy a blog about Marston's journey in collecting the books and playing through the books.  I look forward to reading more posts from Fighting for your Fantasy. 

Have a look yourselves and read the introductory post and maybe also Marston's photo blog and Twitter feed.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Avenger! review

I'm really sorry for the delay, dear readers.  I've been doing this April A to Z thing on my other blog and loads of other stuff and my review kept on getting shoved to the bottom of the pile.  It's here now, though!

Everybody knows that ninjas are awesome. In the Avenger!, the first book in the Way of the Tiger series, you play a ninja.  25/25 See you next time.

Jamie Thomson and Mark Smith have created a highly detailed and immersive world to place your character who, unlike some gamebook protagonists, actually has a lot of back story and  gives them an epic quest that also has many human touches.  Yes, I loved this book which has many more virtues than just the fact that it contains ninjas.  And what is better is the fact that this book is the first in a series of six books but it was probably going to be more based on how the sixth book ended.

The book was released in 1985 and has a lot of similarities with Lone Wolf, released one year earlier - you are a member of an order of monks, you have special skills and you gain a skill when you finish this book.  However, there are many differences such as the combat system, lack of random character creation and a different story where your order is still around.

Theme 5/5

The book is set in the detailed world of Orb, a place of many cultures defined by which of Orb's many gods they worship.  There is a very pretty coloured map on the inside cover showing  you part of the world of Orb and diagrams of the martial arts moves that you perform in the book.  You also get the background to your order and  throughout the book, you are given details of the customs and character of the places you visit as well as the gods that these people worship.  

The Ninja's Covenant is:

'I will vanish into the night; change my body to wood or stone; sink into the earth and walk through walls and locked doors.  I will be killed many times, yet will not die; change my face and become invisible, able to walk among men without being seen.'

You also have your own backstory.  You were washed up on the Island of Tranquil Dreams as a baby, sporting a strange birthmark.  You do not know who your real father is but you were taken in by the worshippers of the god Kwon and taught the way of the ninja.  You had a foster father Naijishi who taught you much but he was killed by Yaemon, a monk who worships the god Vile.  Yaemon stole the scrolls of Kettsuin from the monks and now he plans to use them to trap Kwon in some eternal fire.  Your mission is to stop Yaemon, avenge your father and save Kwon.

The other characters in this book are just as awesome (if not more awesome) than you are.  There are no nameless mooks here.  Despite the thoroughness of your training (which makes you feel awesome just reading it), your allies and opponents all have their special skills and makes every combat a challenge.  Glaivas, an ally of yours is an expert swordsman and ranger.  Honoric is a mighty warrior with a fear inducing, magic suppressing sword.  Manse the deathmage can kill you with a word and Yaemon is an unparalleled martial artist.  Even the 'mooks' have a sense of individuality such as the heavy two headed giant that you can't throw, Olvar, a barbarian that can make lightning bolts and ogre with a huge spiked hammer.  You need to come up with a new strategy to defeat all of them.  Thomson and Smith have left no stone unturned with their distribution of individuality.

Basically, this book oozes with flavour.  You get the sense that Orb is a living breathing world and not a bunch of set pieces that are there just because you are.  You usually end up in the middle of some crazy situation such as witnessing a soldier decapitate a priest or getting captured and forced to fight in an arena.  

You also have purpose and backstory in this book, going way above the 'kill generic sorcerer, steal treasure' theme that Fighting Fantasy was going for.
Illustration 4/5

Bob Harvey's dynamic illustrations really make an impact.  Most of the illustrations are of some of the best moments in the book such as the decapitation mentioned above, an ogre boarding your ship and a crazy chaotic barbarian about to bring his huge sword down upon you.  The cover presumably shows you dressed in your black ninja costume at the temple of Kwon, ready for action.  
Gameplay 4/5

The route to victory is quite wide but there is an optimum path with the minimum of danger.  Many of the choices you have to make can also be helped by clues that you can pick up from the text, such as when you listen to Honoric boasting to Manse.  The consequences of other choices are quite logical such as what happens if you try to throw a giant (do you really think you practiced on a a giant in the monastery?)

The power level skills are a little unbalanced in this book with the climbing, acrobatics and poison dart skills being stronger and the immunity to poisons  and feigning death skills being weaker.  However, this may be redressed in future books.  Not having a skill is rarely deadly and you will be given a choice or a die roll to get out of danger if you lack the skill you need.  The random elements of the book are very well balanced and there are no unfair combats or unavoidable luck based deaths.

There is one error in the book.  You may be able to get a magic suppressing sword but if you go to a particular location then the book forgets that you have it later on.  This might actually prove fatal quite late on into the book and it can be frustrating.

The final battle against Yaemon is a little anti-climatic.  Instead of rolling dice, you have to choose a move to perform and you either will or will not inflict damage upon him.  The same move will not work if you try to do it twice in a row but if you try another move and go back to your successful move, then you will inflict damage again.  This means that if you find two different moves that inflict damage, you've automatically won.  Thomson and Smith must have learnt from this mistake because in their book the Citadel of Chaos, you have a limited number of moves and if you damage your opponent, the Overlord, you get a mark.  If you have that mark, you can never perform that move again.

Besides those two issues, Avenger has a great level of gameplay, especially from the option based combats, which, along with the diagrams at the beginning and the exposition during the combat, make for some exciting times.
Exposition 5/5 

Smith and Thomson have a good sense of the awesome and the epic and the writing really comes to life when they are describing a battle scene.  Take this little gem:  

With a punishing sidekick, you knock a new attacker to the floor where he lies inert.  Another huge wart faced Halforc lunges at you with his cutlass.  With incredible speed, you clap your hands together, trapping the blade between them, inches from your face.  He has time to gape in astonishment before you smash the top of your right foot into his temple. 

You also get the feeling that the writers are really into the world of Orb as they lovingly describe its peoples, gods and landscape.  There are some bits that also made me laugh (perhaps unintentionally) such as this bit:

The old man calls a girl's name and his acolyte appears, a surprisingly pretty girl of no more than eighty seasons.  Whilst you wonder what she is doing with the stooped old man in a chapel that is too small to hold twenty people, he produces a long and wicked looking sacrificial knife.

Rules 5/5

The rules have the rare accomplishment of being quite simple, fitting for the setting (luck on a spaceship?) and versatile.  They are more complicated than most gamebooks but not too complicated (they are still nowhere near RPG level) - you have modifiers for punching, kicking, throwing and fate, an inner force score which allows you to double damage dealt in combat.  You also have an endurance score to keep track of.  Combat is innovative and provides you with many options, unlike the purely luck based combat of Fighting Fantasy and Lone Wolf.  You get to choose to punch, kick or throw to attack, each maneuver having different advantages and disadvantages.  You can also block an opponents attack if you sacrifice some offensive power later on and use inner force to deal double damage.  You need to experiment with how each move works against each opponent.

Total - 23/25

Avenger! certainly is a grand feast.  There is tons to get your teeth into from the backstory, the scenarios, the interactions with the NPCs and the experience of the world of Orb.  The book is challenging but not impossible and you get a real sense of achievement when you kill three of Orb's most powerful villains and get a personal visit from your god to congratulate you.  It's a must have for any gamebook fan.

Gamebooks news round up!

In almost two years of regular blogging, I don't think I've ever written a post which included news of more than one gamebook event so I consider this round up post as an important signal that gamebooks are BACK.  So, without further ado, I will give you the news.

I'm publishing a day early this week because I'm talking about current stuff and I have a busy weekend ahead.

Destiny Quest!

The new edition of Legion of Shadow is out in both hardback and paperback with a new cover and great extra quests.  I reviewed the book when it first came out and everything I said then still stands and now it has bells on it.  If you want to know more on the Destiny Quest experience, its author, Michael J. Ward has published interviews with some Destiny Quest fans including yours truly and Scott Malthouse and also a peek at the cover of the second Destiny Quest book, to be released in November - The Heart of Fire. 

If you have not enjoyed the Destiny Quest experience yet, get the new edition in hardback or paperback.

From Blood of the Zombies
Fighting Fantasy!

In case you haven't heard, Blood of the Zombies, by Ian Livingstone will be released this August to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of Fighting Fantasy.  It will be great to see another Fighting Fantasy book back in print.  And also in digital format!

Tin Man Games, creators of the excellent Gamebook Adventures series are doing Blood of the Zombies in digital format!  I learned this from the Tin Man's new newsletter which you can sign up for here.

Also, keep a close eye on Fighting Fantazine as a new edition will be out any time now!

Tin Man Games!

These guys are involved with so many of the other news stories that they deserve their own.

As well as releasing Fighting Fantasy and Windhammer books, they are also working on their own stuff such as a Judge DreddGamebook Adventures for AndroidA new newsletter!  And much much more to come!

When it comes to electronic gamebooks, the Tin Man is the lore.

Fabled Lands!  Way of the Tiger!

These two iconic gamebook series are also to be released in digital format, mentioned by Dave Morris in this interview.


Dave Morris's latest release of interactive literature is an interesting spin on the classic novel where you influence the decisions of Frankenstein.  It is available from Apple and you can read about it in more detail here.

Tunnels and Trolls!

Scott Malthouse has released en excellent new Tunnels and Trolls solo, Thornguard  which has a distinct Fabled Lands feel.  It is set in the biggest city of Peakville where you can become a thief, city watch member, merchant or initiate into a religion.  There are also all kinds of crazy adventures that you can get into in the city.  You can buy Thornguard as a pdf for £1.26 or as a physical book for £3.50.

There is also a new TnT blog out with the aim of releasing micro solos.  There is currently one micro solo on there at the moment, but look out for more. 


Tweet RPG is running Hack N' Slash Hero - a gamebook in Twitter form.  Go and vote on your character's choices.  To learn more about Tweet RPG, check out its blog.

Black Library!

Here's some news from Billiam Babble (whose blog is awesome).  Black Library has released another Warhammer Gamebook, Beneath the City of the White Wolf.  This gamebook is in a Fantasy setting as opposed to Hive of the Dead which was in a 40k setting.

Billiam also directed my attention to this post that tells me that Jonathon Green is publishing a vampire based gamebook.  Exciting times indeed!

Meet the Gamers!

Shane Garvey, author of QUERP and the Fabled Lands RPG has released a new blog full of interviews with people in the gameing industry including people involved with gamebooks such as Dave Morris, Andrew Drage and Scott Malthouse.  I also had the privelige* of being interviewed.

There are also many gaming greats including Margaret Weiss, one of the authors of the Dragonlance series.


Remember that entries to this excellent competition open in August but you can still start writing now and this year, the winner will get their book published by Tin Man games!  For some guidance on how to get started, go here.

*This is the first time I managed to spell it correctly without looking it up.  Hooray!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Thornguard - a new Tunnels and Trolls solo

There's more great releases this week.  Fellow blogger and writer of awesome material, Scott Malthouse has released a new Tunnels and Trolls solo - Thornguard.  It is available as a pdf for a mere $2 (£1.26) or in print for $5.50 (£3.50). 

It is an excellent city adventure in the vein of Fabled Lands - a wonderfully open ended romp around the city.  A good use of tables ensures that every adventure will be unique.  You can become a thief, a merchant, a memeber of the watch or an initiate into a religion and even buy a castle.  So get it now for $2 as a pdf or $5.50 in print.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Destiny Quest! My take on its greatness.

Destiny Quest is out now and you can buy it as either a hardback or a paperback

If you want to know more about it, head over to the Gollancz blog where Michael J. Ward, Destiny Quest's author is publishing interviews of people who love his awesome book.  I had the privilege* of going first!  Thanks Michael.  You can find my interview here.  There is also one other interview up at the moment but keep your eyes peeled for more. 

And buy Destiny Quest! 

You can get the hardback here.

You can get the paperback here.

*Why do I keep using that word?  I can never spell it correctly.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Destiny Quest, Legion of Shadow 2nd edition is out now and it's magnificent

I got a knock at the door yesterday from the postman (it wasn't Ian Livingstone) who gave me the delight that is the new Destiny Quest: Legion of Shadow edition.  It looks even more amazing than the first edition with a wonderful new cover (do not fear, however.  If you liked the old cover, it is in the centre pages).

However, this new edition is not just a cosmetic makeover.  Destiny Quest is now packing an extra 157 paragraphs, making it a 939 paragraph behemoth.  I'm going to start it again from the beginning, so I haven't finished yet, but I'm getting back all the great adventures I had the first time round.

The book still has its lovely coloured maps, now in the centre pages along with a key and a letter from Malon Tulane.

I'm looking forward to act 3 where the paragraphs come into their own.  You get a new vendor and two extra quests.  This gives you the chance to get some great new items and abilities, including an ability not tied to any items.  You can also take the necromancer career.

You can buy Destiny Quest in hardback or paperback .  If you enjoyed the first edition, then this book has all it has to offer and more so buy it now.  If you didn't play Destiny Quest the first time round, this is a wonderful time to start!

Order a hardback copy of Destiny Quest here.

Order a paperback copy of Destiny Quest here.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Crazy personality types you can play in gamebooks

I have written before about morality and roleplaying in gamebooks about how sometimes I make decisions in gamebooks that aren't usually good for me because they fit my character.  If you fancy a challenge, you could play a gamebook as one of the following characters and see if you can win with them.  In all cases, you may break from the behaviour if you know that it will cause an instant death from a previous playthrough or if you need to break from the behaviour to achieve victory.

I'm here to play gamebooks and kick
ass.  And I've read all my gamebooks.

The psychopath

The challenge:  You have to attack anyone when given the option.  DIE EVERYBODY!

Bonus:  You don't have to take penalties (i.e losing luck for killing the blacksmith in city of thieves) for feeling guilt about killing people as you don't feel guilty about killing people.

He bravely ran away.

The coward

The challenge:  Avoid all combats.  If you can't avoid them, try to escape them.

Oh, I just borrowed
this.  I was going
to give it back.

The kleptomaniac

The challenge:  You have to pick up all the items you can and not use consumable items unless not using them would cause instant death.  You may treat shopping normally as you either get gold or an item anyway.

You never know what you mightfind in Blacksand.
The nosey parker

The challenge:  Murray at the Turn to 400 blog has invented a term known as Bizarre Search Behaviour where you just randomly walk into places in the hope of finding nice items.  In this case, you have to take this behaviour to new heights by opening every door, taking every side route and searching every house.

That was quick.

The speedy guy

The challenge:  Act in the way that Murray got through Scorpion Swamp.  Try to achieve victory by the fastest and simplest route possible.

Plato presents an
irrefutable argument.
'Up yours.'

The noble

The challenge:  Always do the right thing.  Of course, this is a bit subjective so you will have to be the judge on what the 'right' thing is.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Locket Away - a solo for the Unbelievably Simple Role Playing system (USR)

If you haven't yet downloaded the free Unbelievably Simple Role Playing (USR) system by Scott Malthouse, then you should.  The system does exactly what it says on the tin and provides a simple yet versatile system in just 9 pages.  Indeed, the thing I found most difficult about the system was trying to spell 'unbelievably' correctly.

When I saw the system, I decided that it was also a good system for a gamebook (simplicity and versatility being key to gamebook systems) so I wrote a short solo for it called Locket Away.  Scott describes it very well:

You play as a hard-boiled detective in a fantasy realm on a hunt for a mysterious locket that belongs to the beautiful mistress of Prince Talos. Thrilling brawls, seedy locales and strange denizens await you on this investigation into the heart of Jailton.

My aim with this solo was to highlight different aspects of the USR and its versatility in a short solo.

So what are you waiting for?  Both the brilliant USR and my solo are free!  and merely a few clicks away.

You can download the USR here.

You can get Locket Away here.

Take a look at Scott's blog (which contains more great USR stuff amongst other wonderful things) here.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Hi all!

I must be experiencing some interview Karma.  Shane Garvey, author of the QUERP system has started a new blog called Meet the Gamers where he interviews various people in the gaming world.  I have the privilege of being one of the interviewees.  Check out my interview here and the rest of the wonderful blog here.

Shane posted on Facebook a clue for an upcoming interviewee - a 5 headed dragon, a bumbling wizard and a group of heroes trying to save the world.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

April A to Z reflections post

Before I start, one of my interviewees, Shane Garvey has become interviewer in his new blog, Meet the Gamers .  At the moment he has one interview, but there are going to be many more, so keep your eyes peeled.  Also check out my review of Avenger! on my other blog - Lone Tiger Gamebook Reviews.

God, am I glad that I did this year's April A to Z.  I would like to thank all of the people who were gracious enough to take the time to answer my interview questions for without you, the challenge could not have been so amazing.  I would also like to thank everone who took the time to read the interviews and leave comments and I apologise for not having the time to comment wither on this blog or on other blogs as much as I would have liked.

I will follow Zhu's suggestion and put all of the interviews into an index on a page so that they can be read for many years to come.

The good

The best thing about the April A to Z was that several gamebook greats took the time to answer my questions. I am eternally grateful to all of you for doing so for between you, you have created an unrivalled collection of gamebook lore for all to read.  I hope this collection will introduce gamebooks to a wider audience and also introduce gamebook lovers to each other, inspire people to read and write gamebooks and inform other gamebook writers about how to create better gamebooks.  I also hope that the interviewees have received more traffic and publicity thanks to their April A to Z interview.  They spent some of their valuable time answering my questions for free, so I hope they get more publicity out of it.

Speaking of publicity, I certainly got some.  This April, I had over 11000 page views, over double my latest record.  I also picked up 17 extra followers and found some great blogs to read.  Have a look at my blog list to see who I follow.

I would like to thank the April A to Z staff and encourage anyone who wants to share their great blog and discover many other great blogs to do it next year.

The bad

I did not have enough time to comment as much as I would have liked :(.  April A to Z is not just about creating 26 blog posts. It's also about having your own great conversation with all of the other bloggers out there.  I will bear this in mind in the future.

The interesting

All of my posts got lots of views, but my humour and gamebooks article actually got the third highest view count that month.  Strange.

The future

Back in January, I said that I would be limiting my posts because of other commitments.  I'm terrible at keeping new year's resolutions but now I must say that I really will be cutting down on the number and length of my posts because I really have other commitments to attend to and I'm not just talking about gamebook commitments either.  I will clarify this in a month or two.

I don't think that this is necessarily a bad thing.  Long blog posts do not necessarily make for good reading.  I have seen many a short blog post generate tons of discussion - in writing about something at length, I may be taking away the opportunity for other people to add their two cents and I want that to happen more - I want more people to get involved in gamebooks.  My aims are to tap into what people feel is important in gamebooks and aim for brevity and pithiness in my writing - something I need to work on.

I'm not going away - there is lots more great stuff and it will be regular.  I just have other stuff to do now.  This is another reason why I am so happy that this mammoth A to Z went well.  I can look back on it and reflect on what I achieved.

Many thanks, all of you and happy gamebooking!

Crown of the Kings Campaign Review

So I got my grubby little hands on the Advanced Fighting Fantasy 2 Crown of the Kings  campaign a couple of days ago and I have been unable to put it down since.  This faithful adaptation to the gamebooks will provide an excellent campaign for an RPG.

The campaign is recommended for 3-6 characters with 100-200 experience points under their belt.  Starting characters may find some areas challenging.  More experienced heroes should have their equipment and money restricted to starting equipment.

There will be more discussion on the campaign in the Arion Games forums.

The heroes can start off with some extra equipment

As mentioned above, since the book states that experienced heroes should have their starting equipment limited, it implies that less experienced heroes could have more equipment.  The book does state what equipment the heroes should have or how much money they should start with, however.  I guess that depends on abilities of the heroes (20-30gp would be a good starting sum.  Also a few provisions wouldn't go amiss.  Sorcerers could have a choice of a spell component or two and a potion that restores one stat to its initial level will be OK).

The book suggests ways of helping heroes who are struggling.  In addition to having Libra's blessing which you have in the book, you could also have agents of Analand - NPCs who pop up to offer advice or special items.

The Archmage is a badass

Check.  The Archmage's stats are now worthy of the final boss of a four book campaign - he is now a powerful fire breathing demon that magic deals limited damage to.  Interestingly, he is not the most powerful creature in the book.  The Serpent of Time can still own him, however. (He must thank his dark gods that he has control over it).

More streamlined weapon and armour rules

Check.  Now that we have the AFF system to fall back on, weapons and armour have modifiers to attack strength or damage rolls.  However, a mundane but sharp sword that you can buy for 7 gold pieces has the same effect as an enchanted sword of sharpness described in the sourcebook.  I think this is a case where the campaign is trying to stay faithful to the gamebooks rather than maintain the magic level (low) suggested in the sourcebook.

More chance to explore

Check.  The neat, well presented maps make it easy for directors and players to find their way around the various places.  It also means that they can go back the way they came which opens up some opportunities for the game (for example, not finding the four spell lines of Khare first time does not mean automatic failure and you may be able to return to a plague village if you find a way of curing the disease).

A chance to use ALL the sorcery spells

Check.  Now that the Sorcery! series is an RPG and that the AFF2 sourcebook provides more detail as to how the sorcery spells work, a director can easily work out how a particular spell

A chance to explore the lethal parts

Check.  Fewer of the areas are as lethal as they are in the gamebook, inflicting large amounts of damage rather than being deadly.  These include the poison dart in Courga's mouth and the fiery Throben doors.  Since they could be used for years, RPG heroes have more invested in them than gamebook heroes who may be used for a single book, so this is done appropriately.  Other parts are less deadly purely because there are multiple heroes now.

Other things

Art and illustrations

Many of the illustrations from the original books make a welcome comeback.  There is no original art but there are some nice maps.

Encounter strength

A lot of the opponents you face in this RPG may have a higher skill and stamina score or are present in larger numbers than in the gamebook or have some other creatures accompanying them.  This is to account for the multiple (3-6) heroes in the game and it is done very well.

Taking into account the AFF rules

Graham has done a great job to incorporate the AFF2 rules into the original gamebook scenario.
The book finds uses for many of the skills and spells found in the AFF2 sourcebook and also includes items and scenarios that takes skills and magic points into account.  The book also mentions attack modes, opposed tests, items prices, diseases, wizard spells and salvation.

Characters and NPCs

Skill and stamina scores are given for many of the creatures and NPCs who may not have had them in the gamebooks (for example, the sulphur ghost in Khare).  As mentioned above, many are different to maintain the challenge but that is understandable.

As someone who enjoys reading about characters in RPG books, I was a little disappointed to see that the NPCs are just given skill and stamina scores.  Their social scale and special skills are not listed.  I enjoy looking at the stats of NPCs in gamebooks partly so that I can get a better picture of the character and partly so that I can use them as a marker to extrapolate other characters from.  In almost all cases, however these scores would have been superfluous for the campaign.


Most of the superfluous items are removed meaning that your equipment list will not get clogged up with random junk.  Most of the items you pick up will be sorcery components or mundane equipment.  The magical items, however, remain and there are many ways to upgrade your equipment.  Also, treasure has been suitably increased to accommodate multiple players.

Dealing with my niggles from Sorcery!

I think Graham must have a good sense for what annoyed people about the original Sorcery! series.  First of all, he tells the director to be careful when introducing the annoying anti magic minimite, Jann into the Shamutanti Hills (implying that you do not need to which a lot of people would like).

He also removes things that do not make sense.  Alianna does not randomly attack players if they save her and you can't kill the Moon serpent with a tinderbox.

Hang on - we've all read Sorcery!

In that case, the director may need to put a twist on the classic encounters or move the locations around a bit.  There are some things that are different, however.  It might be interesting to watch players squirm over options that actually don't make any difference in the RPG.


I said in my wishlist that there is very little that needs to be added to Crown of the Kings to make it better.  The scenarios presented in the gamebooks are entertaining and varied.  Graham Bottley has once again granted my wishes with this faithful adaptation of the gamebooks, making changes only to provide a suitable challenge for multiple players.

You can buy it yourself from Cubicle 7 for £16.99.  So do so now :).

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My wishlist for the AFF2 Crown of the Kings Campaign

2nd edition Advanced Fighting Fantasy really cleaned up all of the problems that the 1st edition had which meant that the only problem I had with it was that I wanted more.  Fighting Fantazine has produced an AFF2 adventures in its previous two issues (one of which is by yours truly) and Andrew Wright  is producing another one (as he said in his interview).

There is also a new campaign out from Arion games - none other than The Crown of the Kings , available for £16.99.

If there was a solo Fighting Fantasy Adventure that should become an RPG scenario Crown of the Kings should be it - from the trekking across the hostile lands of The Old World to exploring the dangerous streets of Khare or the Mental Mampang Citadel, few gamebooks offer the scope of the Crown of the Kings.

It also makes more sense from a flavour point of view - would the king really send a lone hero with virtually no equipment (and you can tell the king is tight when you require sand and pebbles to cast some spells and he can't even spare any of them) on a dangerous mission where the fate of the Old World is at stake?  Sure he can't send an army but he could send a small group and equip them properly.

Here is a list of other things that I hope the campaign will include:

The Archmage is a badass

The final battle in the Crown of the Kings is a little anticlimatic.  Sure, the Netherworld Demon can kill you easily at full power, but before that, it's a skill 7, stamina 7 wimp that can be killed with a HOT or ZAP spell.  I want an awesome final battle.

More streamlined weapon and armour rules

If you go through all four books, you might end up with a confusing array of combat modifiers thanks to miscellaneous weapons and armour that you have picked up.  This will probably be solved because of the new system.

More chance to explore

Another good thing about the Crown of the Kings being an RPG is that the players won't be forced along a particular path if they don't want to be.

A chance to use ALL the sorcery spells

The Sorcery! series was very ambitious with its brilliant idea 48 coded spells and it pulled it off, for the most part.  One frustrating thing was that if you wanted to cast a spell, you only had five options, one of which was probably not a real spell anyway.  Most of the time, I just wanted to cast ZAP to take someone out, but I couldn't.

A chance to explore the lethal parts

This is more relevant in the Crown of the Kings where Mampang is a deadly place.  Hopefully, the players can come up with solutions to get around the deadly traps and guards.

To be honest, there is very little that needs to be added to the Crown of the Kings to make it better and I eagerly await the arrival of the book where I will review it.  You can buy it yourself from Cubicle 7 for £16.99.  So do so now :).