I had been thinking about this for a while and had taken preliminary steps into making my own system wihch is what I told Shane over Facebook. Then the ball started rolling.
I think an RPG system for gamebooks is a great idea as most gamebook systems - either a simple game system just for that book or an existing RPG system - have their shortcomings. I will explain the good and bad points of both followed by what our new system will achieve.
Using an existing RPG system in gamebooks
|So what's the damage die for |
wielding two ferrets?
So referees have to think about a lot and some of it will be on the spot.
Tunnels and Trolls has several solos with this problem. Some of them get around it by not allowing magic users to play them but that's not using the whole rules system and from a flavour point of view, it does not make much sense to have all these dungeons lying around that magic can't function in.
The plus side of using an existing RPG system is that there is plenty of scope for advancement of your player and there is probably a rule to help resolve a situation.
So the problem with using an existing RPG system in a gamebook is that a gamebook is just not able to account for all of the options the player has that the system has to offer.
Using a system designed specifically for gamebooks
However, the system's simplicity is also a disadvantage. If a situation comes up in the book that is not covered by the rules then you have to stop the narrative to explain what the player has to do and what the consequences are. for example, some situations in Lone Wolf and fighting Fantasy were resolved with the roll of a die (or picking a random number). These rulings sometimes felt a bit arbitrary and, in the case of the Fighting Fantasy series which had multiple authors, inconsistent. Of course, it is not their fault as they are not breaking the rules. The problem is that there are no rules.
Advancement was also a problem. When making a simple system, advancing the character was usually the first thing to go. Lone Wolf and the Avenger! series let you get one skill per book but there is no rule for increasing your stats. Fighting Fantasy had no scope for advancement as it assumes that each character only works for one book (of course, that doesn't stop people carrying characters over but they rarely increase their stats and never do so for completing a book) and so there is little continuity. the Sorcery! series did very little to remedy this with just a few bonuses at the ends of books 1 and 3 (apparently Khare was not dangerous enough to warrant an increase to your initial scores) and no chance to learn new spells.
What Adventurer: The Solo Role Playing Game hopes to achieve.
I'm looking forward to working with Shane and helping release this gem...
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