Thursday, April 27, 2017

#AtoZChallenge W is for Michael J. Ward






Hello all! Today, I have some very exciting news from Michael J. Ward, creator of the Destiny Quest series. So far, there are 3 wonderful books full of exploration and awesome combat, but now there's more...

Who are you and what have you written?
I’m Michael J. Ward and I’m the author of the DestinyQuest series of gamebooks that launched back in  2011 with The Legion of Shadow (gosh, was it really that long ago?!). There are currently three books in the series, with a fourth soon to be in the works. 

So book four is going ahead?
Short of any major disasters, then yes I am due to start the writing in July with the aim of completing the book by Christmas (that is my optimistic timeline, anyway). As it has been a while since I penned any fiction then it may well take me some time to get back into the swing of things! 

And the new book is going to be published by Megara Entertainment?
Yes, while I was attending Manticon in Germany last year, I was lucky enough to meet Dave Poppel who was there representing Megara Entertainment. He asked me what my plans were for Book Four and explained that they were very keen to publish the series.
Obviously, I was over the moon with the news. Megara produce some beautiful gamebooks; real collectors’ items, with hardback covers and colour maps etc., so I am extremely excited by the possibilities. 

You mention maps. In Book One and Two there were three maps/acts, but in Book Three there were only two. Will Book Four continue the trend of only having the two maps?  
I found the two act structure very difficult from a story-telling perspective. The only reason I dropped to two maps in Book Three was because my publisher wanted to print the maps on the inside covers. I have been assured by Megara that I am allowed to have three maps and return to the normal three act structure. 

Each book introduces something new and different. In Book Two it was team battles and in Book Three we had the special death moves and the sled races. Can we expect new mechanics in Book Four?
Oh yes, there are going to be a lot of exciting new things. Obviously, it is early days and I can’t go into too much detail, but pets and summoning will be making its debut, giving you further tactical choices in combat. There will also be a ‘vault’ where you can store weapons and equipment, so you no longer have to suffer the soul-crushing loss of destroying that favourite item when you swap it out. There is lots of other new stuff too! 

With each book it feels as though you have been refining the combat and the character classes. What can we expect from Book Four?
My goal with DestinyQuest was to always have the three paths (rogue, mage, warrior) play very differently. It was a difficult aim to achieve and I wasn’t satisfied with the results in the first three books. This time around, I went back to the drawing board and planned the three paths from the ground up, so to speak, especially how their abilities interact. I am pleased to say that I think I have cracked it – and all three paths should genuinely ‘feel’ very different to play now. Each path now has a couple of dedicated builds (i.e. playstyles) that have abilities that play into that. So you could focus your character into one playstyle or take a mix of the two. I think this approach offers much more synergy with abilities and I hope will be much more satisfying to play. 

Will team battles make a come-back?
I’m not sure yet, as there is so much going on with Book Four that adding in the team battles might just be overload for newer players. But don’t rule it out. One thing I can promise though – the legendary monsters are getting a buff for Book Four. Trust me, they are gonna be big, bad and ugly, and present a real hardcore challenge for the dedicated. 

Book Three had the death penalty system to add consequences to losing a combat. Will this see a comeback in Book Four?
The death moves and the death penalty system suited the character and the themes of Book Three, but they don’t really have a place in Book Four.  Instead, your character will have a new special ability (that will link to a new chain of abilities) , which they can use. Again, this will add to the tactical options you have in combat. 

With each book, the choices you make and the paths you can choose have become more complex. What can we expect from the storytelling and options in Book Four?      
I hope to push this as much as I can. I’ve learnt from games such as Telltale’s The Walking Dead, just how powerful character interaction can be – and how that can weigh heavy on your choices. I really want to offer readers a cast of characters that they care about, and choices that will have real and meaningful consequences. While I am still in the very early planning stages, I sense that Book Four will have more in common with The Heart of Fire, in terms of its structure and storytelling.
 
There was mention on your site of a kickstarter for Book Four. Can you tell us more about this?
Nothing is set in stone as yet, but I know Megara are very keen to run a kickstarter towards the end of the book’s completion. That could be the end of this year, all being well. Megara have already run some very successful campaigns, so I am hopeful and excited that it will be successful – and hopefully offer up some great rewards for DQ fans. We all love shiny loot right?

Sounds awesome. How can readers stay up to date with the latest news?
The news section of the DestinyQuest website is the best place to check - http://www.destiny-quest.com/news/ - as well as my Twitter and Facebook pages (you can find the links at the bottom of this page - http://www.destiny-quest.com/buy/ ). As the book progresses I will be posting regular updates as well as some sneak peeks at the new paths/careers and build mechanics. Exciting times ahead folks!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

#AtoZChallenge U is for Urenown and other links

David Velasco has written a great gamebook called Heroes of Urowen. Take a look!

Adventure Cow is spreading the word about Destiny Quest Infinite, the app version of the wonderful gamebook series Destiny Quest. They will at the Playcraft Expo if you want to see them. They also have a new game called Strayed. They also have a brand new game for children aged 8-10. If you would like to try it out, you can email them at chris@adventurecow.com.

Cubus games  will be releasing the Frankenstein Wars imminently!!!!

Marc Wilson's Dangerous Worlds gamebooks are awesome. Check them out.

Try out the Castle of Blackwood Moors by David Konkol

If you want to write a great gamebook, the Gamebook Authoring Tool is a great help and it just has a new edition.

Maelorum is an awesome gamebook series and there is a new one in the works.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

#AtoZChallenge S is for Scott Malthouse

Hello lovely people.

Today, I want to tell you about Scott Malthouse, writer of the Trollish Delver blog. Scott has made several RPG products including Tunnels and Trolls products, Quill, a solo roleplaying game about letter writing, USR (short for Unbelievably Simple Roleplaying system) and In Darkest Warrens, a rules lite fantasy system.

Scot has come up with two recent products for PWYW.

Tequendria

TEQUENDRIA is a fantastical roleplaying game inspired by the works of Lord Dunsany, the grandfather of modern fantasy. In this game you may become a grim Gravekeeper of Zum, a soul-weilding Icur sorceror or even an artificial Doomgaunt. Travel the wilds of Yann where the winter will bite as fiercly as the wolves, or delve in to the ancient Pits of Snood and face the demons within. Magic coarses through the veins of Tequendria, meaning every creature is somewhat capable of casting spells. Above the clouds of the world adventurers can take to their aether in mighty vessels, visiting strange alien worlds like Dim Carcosa and the Snurk Pits of the Bounds of Leng. 
  • Play as 20 different weird and wonderful archetypes (roll them randomly if you like)
  • Everyone can cast spells 
  • Setting information for the world of Tequendria
  • A bestiary of deadly creatures
  • A selection of fiction by Lord Dunsany
TEQUENDRIA uses the Unbelievably Simple Roleplaying system, whose mechanics are streamlined and beginner-friendly, but allow for customisation.

Astounding Interplanetary Adventures

It's rayguns, aliens and swashbuckling amongst the stars! Astounding Interplanetary Adventures is a minimalist game of pulp sci-fi inspired by serials like Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers. Using the rules-lite system introduced in In Darkest Warrens, these few pages have everything you need to play a fun romp through space, including aliens, rocket ships and setting information.
All you need is some friends, some six-sides dice and an imagination to begin your life of heroism. Perhaps you want to be a daring pilot, a brave soldier or even a scientist who can build robots to help you out! With AIA it's quick and easy to get to the table and start playing.
What's included:
  • 5 classes: soldier, noble, pilot, scientist, and athlete
  • Alien bestiary
  • Roll random planets
  • Factions
  • Planets
  • Thrills and spills!
Enjoy!

Friday, April 21, 2017

#AtoZChallenge R is for RPGs based on solo systems

The Advanced Fighting Fantasy 2nd edition series continues to grow - this year, we will see the sci-fi version, Stellar Adventures.

Lone Wolf also has an awesome RPG that lets you play classes mentioned in the books, such as Crystal Star magician, border ranger or Knight of the White Mountain.

Tunnels and Trolls has always had a long and proud tradition of solos and it now has a Deluxe edition.

There will soon be an Orb RPG based on the gamebooks set there, such as Talisman of Death, the Duelmaster series and the Way of hte Tiger series.

Of course, there is Dragon Warriors, an RPG set in the land of Legend where the Blood Sword series takes place.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

#AtoZChallenge Q is for things that begin with Q



First, we have Qanharren, a gorgeous gamebook that I backed on Kickstarter - I'm looking forward to seeing it!

We also have QUERP (short for Quick and Easy Roleplay) from Greywood Publishing.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

#AtoZChallenge P is for Click your Poison

Hello all! Today, I'd like to let you know about James Schannep, author of some great Click Your Poison books. Go and check them out :)

You can find his blog here.

You can find his author page here.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

#AtoZChallenge O is for our growing gamebook world

Hello all! I have a big list of new gamebooks that I want to tell you about, so here are a few to look at.

Megara Entertainment is producing gamebooks at a great rate. It is currently adding to and reprinting the Golden Dragon series, but it has also done the same with the Way of the Tiger series. There are also two new Way of the Tiger books - book 0, Ninja! and book 7, Redeemer! by excellent author and probably ninja, David Walters.

Delight Games have tons of interactive book apps. Check them out!

Unimatric Productions are also making awesome apps!

Prime Games Bulgaria are making awesome apps!

There will be more in the next few posts!

Enjoy!

Monday, April 17, 2017

#AtoZChallenge N is for New stuff from Mark Lain.



Whassup, gamebookers! Today, we have Mark Lain, writer of the Malthus Dire blog and several great gamebooks. Today, we have an interview on what he's been up to.

Tell us about yourself
I discovered gamebooks when my parents bought me The Warlock Of Firetop Mountain for Christmas 1983 and I was instantly hooked. I strictly only ever got Fighting Fantasy books as a child, but now I collect any gamebooks I can find. I’ve got about 500 or so now but I still think that playing rather than coveting them is the most important aspect. That’s what drove me to create my review blog and, inevitably, to start designing and writing my own.

You do awesomely detailed reviews on your blog – what’s next for review?
I’ve had a few requests for Siege Of Sardath so that’s probably next.

Are you going to Fighting Fantasy Fest 2?
Absolutely! I was at the first one, which was fantastic. I just hope this one compares well.

What have you included in Golden Dragon book 2 Temple of the Flame?
Now that would be telling! I don’t want to give the secrets away, but, essentially, I thought about what I did and didn’t like about the original version, cleaned up some bits that seemed jarring to me, expanded some areas, and added some completely new material of my own. Hopefully people who know the book well with think the new parts add value and those who are new to the book will come away thinking it all gels as a coherent whole.

What gamebooks would you recommend to someone who wants to get into gamebooks?
It depends on the player’s age. Many younger people start with Choose Your Own Adventure which, as much as they are a very mixed bag, they do a good job of demonstrating the sheer variety of gamebook genres and concepts that are out there. Plus, they are fairly easy and don’t get soul-destroying as you try to win. Personally, I’d suggest The Warlock of Firetop Mountain is a good entry point though as it pulls together so many medieval fantasy tropes and is eminently playable. Or maybe even Combat Heroes as you mostly just have to look at the pictures which make it very fast-moving, plus you can play it with a friend.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to write their own gamebook?
Do it! There will always be someone who likes your work and someone else who doesn’t, but don’t get disheartened. Spend a long time planning and designing it to make sure it flows and works properly. Write in short sessions – if you are flagging, so is your text, which means the reader is probably getting bored too.

You have written your own gamebooks. What inspiration do you draw on to write them?
Little moments that I see in movies or tv series that I then expand on. Lyrics from songs  are a good source of inspiration as are things I see or hear as I’m walking to Co-Op. Nightmares are always ripe for plundering too.

What is your new gamebook series about?
The series is called Destiny’s Role. Each book will stand alone. It’s not an ongoing saga or anything like that. The same basic system and world links the books so they have that in common, but each book is self-contained. I’ve got about a dozen concepts already sketched out and the first three books are completely designed, they just need drafting. It will be a mix of approaches: some old school dungeoneering, some item hunts, and some higher-concept stuff

When is it planned to come out?
The first one, called Year Zero, is an introductory book containing four different adventures of various lengths to get players used to the system. Three are written and the art is done. The fourth is fully designed and just needs writing-up. Hopefully the finished book will be out by Summer.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

What am I up to?

Hello all. It's not an April A to Z post today, but I thought I'd update you on what I'm up to. The latest gamebook thing I've written is SCRAWL, which you can get an pay what you want for (including nothing).

SCRAWL has plenty of supplements and there's loads of other stuff you can get. Most of it is free or PWYW.

To see my bibliography, go here.

#AtoZChallenge M is for Meeple Merson

Hi all! Bonus post from me today, since Mark Rosewater and Magic the Gathering probably don't really need publicity from my blog.

There's a new gameing blog in town which talks about lots of games, but also about my little solo game, SCRAWL (which is available for PWYW at RPGNow)

It is called Meeple Merson and Thomas Grimshaw is doing a great job of reporting on his play and coming up with new ideas for the game.

Enjoy!

#AtoZChallenge L is for Midnight Legion


Hello wonderful people! I'm doing them in the wrong order today.

Today I would like to tell you about the Midnight Legion gamebooks by Aaron Emmel and illustrated by Aaron Kreader.

These books are another great Sci-fi gamebook adventure that can be played alone or with a friend. They are a very atmospheric read with great illustrations. I have reviewed book 1 here.

The huys have just done a kickstarter (does that have a capital?) for book 2 and it succeeded, so it will be out in the summer!

Their Kickstarter page also mentions that book 3 is planned!

Head on over and take a look!

#AtoZChallenge M is for Magic the Gathering

I used to be a big fan of Magic the Gathering. I still play occasionally and I learn a great deal from Mark Rosewater's columns and podcast.

A few weeks ago I got the itch to make a Magic set. I made one ages ago, but I wanted to make a new one. It took a while for me to settle on a theme before I decided to do all commons. I did this because I neer had enough money to buy ultra rares and so I would make pauper decks a lot.

I have worked hard to have cards emulate uncommons and rares. I have also included 3 mechanics to increase the flow of the game.

Cycling 2: I have put this on cards that have a niche function and may not be effective against some decks. I have also put it on some expensive cards.

Morph: I have put this on creatures that have high casting costs, 3 colour cards and cards with combat effects that morph would be a good surprise for.

Flashback: I have put this on cards because a lot of common cards do not offer card advantage.

I hope you enjoy the set. If you somehow play with it, let me know how it went.

You can see my all common set here.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

#AtoZChallenge K is for ClicK your poison

Hello lovelies!

It's my pleasure to tell you about James Schannep's great Click Your Poison books. James has written four so far.

INFECTED
MURDERED
SUPERPOWERED
INFECTED

You can find Jame's books here.


https://jamesschannep.com/books/

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

April A to Z J is for Jeffrey Dean and Road Less Travelled Books


Hello gamebook lovelies. Today, I want to tell you about the awesome gamebooks from Jeffrey Dean. They are a mixture of post apocalyptic exploration, extra-dimensional mind screw and lampshading of gamebook tropes.

There are 3 books so far and I highly recommend all 3 (you can read about book 1 here). You can but them as print books or ebooks or as apps.

Buy the books! Buy the books!