Saturday, January 14, 2017

Wayfarer 2nd edition out now

Hello, my lovelies!

A while ago, I came up with a gamebook system called Legend of the Wayfarer and tinkered with it until I was blue in the face. I also made 8 short gamebooks with it. I have made all of them available PWYW on RPGNow. I was, however, unhappy with many aspects of the system, so I tinkered with it for ages until I have come up with a new edition. I have simply called it Wayfarer and it is now available for PWYW on RPG Now. I intend to release gamebooks for it later in the year, as I am currently working on another gamebook.

However, if you support me on Patreon, you will be able to get the gamebooks in advance as well as read articles on how I developed Wayfarer. I am asking for a mere $1 per product. I probably wil lonly make 2 per month maximum, so that is not much. And I won't be making paid posts for a while, but I am making some posts about development for free which you will see if you are a patron.

I also have a similar system called SCRAWL (short for Solo CRAWL). It is like Wayfarer, but it is pure unadulterated OSR murder hobo mayhem. You can read more about that on my Patreon feed too.

Enjoy! And happy gamebooking!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Making challenging options

Gamebooks run on giving a player choices to take and then telling them what the consequences of
Unless its this which door choice,
where it's best to change your mind.
those choices are and  there is a fine art to getting the choices and the consequences right.  If the consequences to your choices cannot be predicted (the which door choice), then it might get frustrating, especially if one or more of the choices leads to sudden death.  However, if all of the options have consequences that are logical and easy to predict, and one of the consequences is better than the other(s) then there is no real choice, as this essay states.  However, I get annoyed if something that should be done reasonably to me is not an option as it makes me think that the author has not thought the options through.

So there is a very fine line with making options that are not too obvious yet also provide enough information for you to make the best decision with some thought.  So how can we do that?

And you've just lost.  THE GAME!
There does not have to be a 'winning' or 'losing' paragraph in some gamebook choices - this would be more apparent in gameBOOKs where the main aim is to create an interesting story and if the story is interesting, even if your character dies, it might feel like a satisfying end.  This kind of gamebook would have a different feel to a lot of gamebooks, however, which would appeal to some people (people who want to create stories), but not people who want to win at something, or beat a challenge.

If you see this, you can't learn magic.
Another way to make all choices equally valid is to have them mean different things to characters who have made different past choices.  For example, in a dungeon where you know you have to fight either a gang of orcs or a dragon, the character who picks up a sword of orc slaying is going to mind fighting the orcs less than the character who picks up the spear of dragon slaying.  This approach is done very well in Slaves of Rema where the first choice you make determines which path is best for you later on in the game.

Finally, there is an approach which I have found Dave Morris is very good at.  He sometimes presents you with options which seemingly make no sense, but when you choose them, you realise that the consequences fit into the logic of the world that Dave has set out.  Dave's method involves 2 steps - the first one is to create and communicate the 'rules' of the world - for example, most of his books have a very medieval approach to fey, elves, etc., so you have to know that they are tricky to deal with.  He communicates this through how the world looks as well as how these creatures act.  Sometimes, he is just explicit about his rules (like in the Knightmare books).  The next stage involves having people do things that are consistent with those rules, but framing the options so that it is not entirely explicit as to what exactly the reasoning is.  The reasoning is left up to you as the reader.  This requires a deceptively large amount of work as the world has to be consistent.  If it is not, it will just devolve into a 'which door' choice or a 'guess what the author was thinking' choice.

For example, in Blood Sword book 1, you have the task of identifying a magi in a masked ball.  You can summon a fey like creature to do so.  It will ask you if you want it to find the magi.  The options you have are 'yes' and 'no'.  The correct answer is 'no' because you have to be more explicit with your instructions to fey as they will exploit every loophole you give them.

Another good one is in Castle of Lost Souls, you have to get a crystal ball from a fortune teller.  The options are:  Ask her to read your fortune, ask her to read her fortune or take her to the fair.  The best choice is to take her to the fair as you will then dance with her, get her drunk and then sneak back to her tent to take the crystal ball easily.

A subset of this method is something I have seen in some gamebooks, which is when you have a list of actions that you could take to overcome a problem, one of them being to try 'something else'.  You really don't know what this something else could be so it is a bit of a gamble as to whether it will work or not, but it always intrigues me as to what this 'something else' could be.  It is not quite like what Dave Morris does because there is no insight afterwards as to how the action was logical (as you never knew what it was in the first place) but I find it good for a different reason as it provides me with a thrill of a gamble.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

You are the Beer-O 2017

Hello gamebookers! These are the dates for You are the Beer-O 2017. In case you don't know, You are the Beer-O is a chance for Fighting Fantasy fans to meet up, have a pint and talk Fighting Fantasy.

Sat 18th February - London (The Salutation, Hammersmith)
Sat 27th May - outer London meet-up (exact location to be confirmed)
Sun 28th May - London (The Salutation, Hammersmith)
Fri 1st & Sat 2nd September - London (The Castle, Ealing - special meet-ups in conjunction with Fighting Fantasy Fest 2)

I missed all of the events last year due to other commitments, but I hope to be at at least one of these fine events.

Also take note that Fighting Fantasy Fest is on the 2nd September this year

To see my posts about my new gamebook rules, Wayfarer and SCRAWL and to see my first SCRAWL adventure, back me on Patreon for a mere $1 a product.

Happy gamebooking!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy new year!

Happy new year, everyone! I am looking forward to a wonderful 2017 with lots of changes and lots
of gamebooks.

I have actually been quite busy over the last few days. After working on it for ages, I have finally finalised my system that started off as Legend of the Wayfarer. If have called this new version Wayfarer and it is probably the piece of work that has the highest effort to word ratio of anything I have written. Every section of the system and world building has been written, rewritten and tinkered with until I've come up with a system that I'm happy with. It is simply called Wayfarer and I will make it public at some point in 2017 when I've also written an adventure for it. It is available for my Patrons to see. I will also be writing articles about the develpment of Wayfarer (because I've done a lot of it!) for my patrons. I'm only asking for $1 per product on my Patreon feed.

You can get the original Legend of the Wayfarer rulebook and the eight books I wrote on RPG Now for Pay What You Want.

Wayfarer is a system for a very low magic world that is heavily based on medieval Europe. The adventures will be mainly based around exploration and NPC interaction. There will not be much combat. As a response to this, I took the principles of the Wayfarer system and combined them with old school dungeon crawling. This lead to a system called SCRAWL (short for Solo CRAWL). This will involve the opposite mentality to Wayfarer - there will be no attempt to build a believable society with a rich history and ancient mysteries. The land of SCRAWL is full of villages with all the weapons and potions you need and they're all a day's walk from a dungeon full of monsters and treasure, wilderness where monsters roam with treasure and
cities where monsters live with their treasure. SCRAWL will hark back to the days of old school gamebooks such as Warlock of Firetop Mountain, Forest of Doom and City of Thieves.

I have also released a short adventure for SCRAWL - Dungeon of the Orc Boss. It is not a gamebook, but a dungeon with a random generator, which I made to see how the system would work.

Once again, you can see SCRAWL and Dungeon of the Orc Boss if you back me on Patreon.

Or you can wait for a few weeks before I release them on RPG Now.

The Gamebook Feed is getting more views than this blog on most days. I've removed the content from the posts to make sure that people click on the links and so the people who wrote the posts get the traffic.

So that's what I've been up to over the last few days. Enjoy!

If you would like to show your appreciation and/or get a sneak preview of Wayfarer and SCRAWL products, you just need to back me on Patreon for a mere $1 per product.