The Lindenbaum prize for short gamebooks is running! Entries accepted from 1st December 2021!

Thursday, December 30, 2021

2022

Hi all! Here is a list of things that are going on in 2022!

I hope you all have a happy new year. Stay safe!

Competitions

The Lindenbaum competition for short gamebook fiction is still going. Entries need to be in by midnight on February 1st (by the end of January 31st).

Lloyd of Gamebooks: The Lindenbaum prize for short gamebook fiction 2021/2022

Gamebook releases

I VIRUS by Adam Mitchell

I VIRUS is getting a re- release and expansion hopefully due in early to mid next year

Maglanian Chronicles by Joe Cheal

Book 2 is in the making.

Black Dog Gamebooks

Varney the Vampyr book 2 nearly ready . A novel with a separate extra 115 section gamebook

Troy Anthony Schermer

Balance of Fate: The Legorian Kings Saga drops soon and will be the first volume in the all-new Savage Realms Gamebooks series. 

Balance of Fate is 715 pages long with over 80 illustrations and fillustrations combined. It is the culmination of over 3 years of writing for me so I'm very excited to finally be sharing it with the world.

Here are some illustrations from the gamebook.



Authors David Gillson Lowrie, Pat ONeill, and Matthew Hollis Damon have signed on to contribute additional gamebooks to the series.

Destiny Quest

Michael J. Ward will be running a Kickstarter for book 5 around April time. The RPG will also be out at some point. 

Flights of fancy » DestinyQuest (destiny-quest.com)


Solo RPGs

A Dungeons and Dragons solo adventure, Caught in a Wizard's Web is due out in March. You can follow its progress here: Dungeons & Dragons Solo Adventures | Facebook


Other stuff

The Interactive Fiction Database - IF and Text Adventures (ifdb.org)#


What will I do in 2022?

In 2022, I plan on finishing Rulers of the NOW and then restarting my regular SCRAWL 

Saturday, December 25, 2021

December news and upcoming January news

 Hello all. Happy holidays! I hope you had a lovely Christmas. Here is the latest news in December and January. Lots of things to do in the quiet, dark nights.

Crowdfunding

Ronin 47 by Jonathan Green is still going. Back it quickly!

RONIN 47 - A Mech-Vs-Kaiju ACE Gamebook | Indiegogo

Competitions

The Lindenbaum competition for short gamebook fiction is still going. Entries need to be in by midnight on February 1st (by the end of January 31st).

Lloyd of Gamebooks: The Lindenbaum prize for short gamebook fiction 2021/2022

Blogs

Mrs Giggles

Mrs Giggles has some new gamebook reviews! She has reviewed the latest Fighting Fantasy ones, the Tunnel of Issoth (a Tunnels and Trolls solo adventure). She has done many other gamebooks reviews, but you need to go through the list as she has organised them by set order and not chronological order.

Itch

I found out that you could search gamebooks on Itch.io, so you can keep up with gamebook releases.

Top physical games tagged gamebook - itch.io

New releases

The Armchair General

Assume the role of real Generals, Leaders, Soldiers and Intelligence Officers in the Allied Forces during WWII, including Winston Churchill and President Eisenhower.

The Armchair General (penguin.co.uk)

Plague of the Undead

Coming soon...

Published by Red Ruin Publishing and available on drivethrurpg and itch.io, for free. Uses the Dragon Warriors rules and set in the land of Legend. Should be released sometime in January. Blurb:

The town of Overdale is under attack from within! Night after night, the walking dead rise from their graves to stalk the streets. YOU have volunteered to investigate, but will your skills - in combat, the arcane arts or trickery - be enough to save the people of this once peaceful town?

FightingFantasy.net

Jason Archer is working on an online version of Can you Brexit without Breaking Britain?

FightingFantasy.Net Homepage - Welcome Adventurer!

Atariquest

AtariQuest is an interactive novel based on the retro gaming trend, as it is set in the world of Atari 2600 console games. You can read more about it here:

https://venturebeat.com/2021/12/23/atariquest-is-an-interactive-novel-based-on-400-plus-atari-2600-games/amp/

Savage Realms Gamebooks

Balance of Fate: The Legorian Kings Saga will be out soon!

Savage Realms Gamebooks | Facebook

Choice of Games

Pon Para and the Unconquerable Scorpion

Pon Para and the Unconquerable Scorpion is a 742,000-word interactive fantasy novel by Kyle Marquis, and the sequel to Pon Para and the Great Southern Labyrinth. Your choices control the story. It’s entirely text-based—without graphics or sound effects, and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

Witchcraft U

You’re a fresh-faced new student at Larkspur University, a college for witches that began accepting mundanes a few decades ago. (Strangely, the mundanes never seem to notice the witches.) It’s your first time living away from home, and that means new spells, new friends, and new opportunities for romance!

Faerie’s Bargain: The Price of Business

Faerie’s Bargain: The Price of Business is a 300,000-word interactive fantasy novel by Trip Galey where your choices control the story. It’s entirely text-based—without graphics or sound effects—and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

DL Lewis

Army of Bones, the sequel to The Demon Sorcerer is coming!

https://www.facebook.com/dllewisgamebooks/

Tin Man Games

Tin Man Games is releasing To Be Or Not To Be for the Switch.

https://youtu.be/UnErEQSrwQo

A Branching Narrative

December's release is going to involve the hero from Arcane Rites.

Derilion Returns for December - by Simon Birks (substack.com)

Podcasts

Instadeath Survivors' Support Group

Instadeath Survivors' Support Group has released a Christmas Episode - a playthrough of Twas the Krampus Night before Christmas.

Welcome to Instadeath Survivors Support Group by Instadeath Survivors Support Group (anchor.fm)

Interactive Fiction and Gamebooks discussion group

In January, the group is discussing the Vulcanverse gamebooks.

Interactive Fiction & Gamebooks Discussion Group (Book Club) | Facebook

Reddit

Simple Choose Your Own Adventure/Gamebook Engine Designer Needed! : gameDevClassifieds (reddit.com)

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Rulers of the NOW Part 1

Cover by Sammy

Hello all! Happy December 23rd. December 23rd 2041 is the day that the events of Rulers of the NOW kick off, so I thought I would give you the first 219 sections of the book as a taster.

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1sj93qv2jiRqf5-qGAqdq907yxUDhE_yp?usp=sharing

Incidentally, December 23rd 2041 will be a Monday.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

2021 in review

 

So that was 2021. Although, if big sports events are to be believed, it is still 2020. I hope your year was better than 2020, however. Hopefully, you saw friends more and stayed healthy.

So what happened in the world of blogging and gamebooks? A lot, it seemed. The gamebook community has grown and formed new places to mix and share their ideas and skills and I love it.


This is what the gamebook community will look like in 2023

I don't think I can cover everything in much detail, but I have written about it in other posts, so if you follow the links or go back to the news posts, then you can get more details.

Gamebooks

I suppose I should start with gamebooks. I mean, it's in the blog title.

There were lots of gamebook and app releases in 2021. I've been making monthly news updates as there are far too many releases to list now. This is another side effect of the growing gamebook community.

Gamebook releases of 2021

We have a yearly update from James Schannep.

Click Your Poison (James Schannep)

Click Your Poison year in review:

-With SPIED, 2021 saw the first Click Your Poison book published since 2018.

-INFECTED was re-released as a deluxe illustrated hardback and also as an interactive audiogamebook app on Android and iOS devices in a partnership with Cubus Games and narrator R.C. Bray. MURDERED is slated for an illustrated hardback and audio app version in the 2022.

-Other behind-the-scenes projects focused on the forthcoming HAUNTED (available 2/2/2022) as well as the groundwork for an undisclosed interactive film project.

-The Interactive Fiction & Gamebooks Discussion Group (Book Club) completed a full slate of 12 authors and 12 books, growing to well over 600 members.


Events

There have been several you are the beer-o meet ups this year (virtual, mainly). There is one on the 22nd December, online. Details are here: Fighting Fantasy: Yuletide Virtual Beer-o 2021 | Facebook

International gamebook day happened in August. It was an awesome event done online where we could hear from gamebook authors both from the 1980s and 1990s and also from the "next generation". You can watch the videos from late August on the Storymaster's Tales.


Podcasts

There are three gamebook exclusive podcasts that have been running this year. Instadeath Survivor's support group started this year and has interviews with various members of the gamebook community as well as playthroughs.

Welcome to Instadeath Survivors Support Group by Instadeath Survivors Support Group (anchor.fm)

You can support it on Patreon to get add free podcasts with more content 

There are also playthrough podcasts to listen to

Campaign On Dice – Podcast – Podtail

Fantastic Fights — Haunted Phonograph


Online book groups

This group started on the 21st December 2020 and has covered a different gamebook every month.

Interactive Fiction & Gamebooks Discussion Group (Book Club) | Facebook


Zines

Fighting Fantazine - issue 17 is out soon!

The Gamebook Zine - released 3 issues this year.

Warlock Returns - this Advanced Fighting Fantasy zine from Arion games released 4 issue.


The blog

This blog was resurrected in March and I managed a weekly post since then. I plan on doing weekly posts next year (but I'm not planning on doing the April A to Z. I'm not 27). I'm glad to be back.


The Lindenbaum Competition

The Lindenbaum Competition (aka Windhammer 2.0) is still underway! You have until midnight GMT on 1st February 2022 to complete a 100 section, 25000 word gamebook and send it to lindenbaumprize@gmail.com. Remember to read the rules first!


My gamebooks

This year, I managed to get SCRAWL to a state that I could finally accept. Next year, I want to release monthly SCRAWL adventures.

At the time of writing this, I have planned 95% of Rulers of the NOW. It's looking to be around 600 sections and I have written about 200 sections. I aim to finish it early next year after almost 9 years since I wrote the first 100 sections for Windhammer 2012.


There is a lot going on and I look forward to more in 2022!



Saturday, December 11, 2021

Instadeath Survivors' Support Group

 Hi everybody!

A short post, I'm afraid. Busy busy. Gone are the days where I would crank out a year's worth of posts in advance and just schedule them.



This year saw the birth of a new podcast about gamebooks - Instadeath Survivors' Support Group. In it, the host, Brian Hazzard has interviewed gamebook authors, gamebook fans and played through gamebooks.

I'm in the latest episode with October/November news.

Check it out, along with the other episodes.

Welcome to Instadeath Survivors Support Group by Instadeath Survivors Support Group (anchor.fm)

If you love the podcast, you can support Brian on Patreon, where you will also find ad free episodes, longer episodes and other bonus material for the low low price of $5 a month.

Brian Hazzard is creating A podcast about gamebooks and the readers who adore them | Patreon

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Numbers vs letters

 I remember reading in a gamebook (I think it was Deathtrap Dungeon) that my character went down a very long corridor for a very long time and fell into a pit. I was surprised when I read this because it was not the first time I had read this book, or the second and probably not the third, but it was the first time I had read about falling into the pit. And that's when it hit me. 

I had spent most of my gamebook reading time looking for the game related stuff and ignoring a lot of the story. 

I remember doing that as a teenager - skimming sections for stat changes or adventure sheet adjustments - and not reading the story parts.

This was apparent in my early writing. My first attempt at gamebook writing was a Fighting Fantasy dungeon crawl where my main concern was to not make it impossible like some Fighting Fantasy gamebooks.

My next attempt was another Fighting Fantasy book for Windhammer 2008. I messed up the character creation (1d6 +9 for SKILL rather than 1d3 +9) and it was SUPER easy. For 2009, I came up with my own system with a light story. Per Jorner, who wrote a lot of reviews on Yahoo Groups (are those reviews still out there?) had many problems with the story, but won with 1 Health Point left which I considered a success for my system.

After that, I realised that the story is also important and my 2010 entry, Sharkbait's Revenge had nothing but a health score, money and an items list. I let out my puntastic tendencies in a pirate setting and won that one.

This set me off on the first steps of working on my writing. 

Making a gamebook is a delicate balance of numbers and letters and neglecting one can spoil the other. In my experience, most people prefer a good story and it is easier to make a gamebook full of pure story choices (like Choose Your Own Adventure) than it is to make a number heavy gamebook (Which would basically be a solo RPG), so in my experience, it is better to lean towards the story side than the numbers side. Of course, if I do put numbers in, I try to make sure that they enhance the story rather than detract from it. At the very minimum, the system has to work and not be unfair. At its best, it has to enhance the story (so having stats that link in with the story would be good. Choice of Games does this well).

That's all I have today, I'm afraid as the pressures of RL call, but I just need to remind you that the Lindenbaum competition is now accepting entries between now and midnight GMT on February 1st 2022 (that means 1 minute after 11:59pm on January 31st - I'd hate to have it in 1 day late!)

You can find details here:

Lloyd of Gamebooks: The Lindenbaum prize for short gamebook fiction 2021/2022

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Lindenbaum entries are now open!

 

Image by Pat O' Neill


Hello all! Today is the opening day for entries to the Lindenbaum competition.

Entries are now being accepted with the initial submission phase running from 1st December 2021 to the 1st February 2022.

All information regarding this year's comp including full entry guidelines, competition schedule and prize details can be found at Lloyd of Gamebooks: The Lindenbaum prize for short gamebook fiction 2021/2022

Entries should be sent to lindenbaumprize@gmail.com

Saturday, November 27, 2021

November roundup and upcoming December events

 Hello all! It's the last weekend of the month and that means it's news roundup time!

A number of dogs have been stolen from the
local area recently. Police are looking for leads.

Releases

Victoria Hancox

‘Behind the Weeping Walls’ is the 4th book in The Cluster of Echoes hexalogy and is now available as paperback and eBook, plus the hardback edition has additional extras including all the puzzle solutions and hidden passages.

Jam Hirons

Back in the eighties game books were at the height of their popularity, selling in their hundreds of thousands. Come the nineties, the video game era took over and game books saw a decline, with even the most popular series being pulled from the shelves. With game book fans of yesteryear now adults, they now wish to introduce their children to the genre, with many of them becoming authors of interactive adventures in their own right. The game book market is now reviving, as this generation looks for ways to bring children back to reading rather than screen time.


Vulcanverse
Books 3 and 4 in the Vulcanverse series are to be released on December 1st. More details will be at Fabled Lands.

Choice of Games

Cliffhanger: Challenger of Tomorrow

Punch out Fascists and unravel conspiracies in this explosive pulp adventure set in a retro-futuristic 1930s world of airships, fast cars, and two-fisted action!

Cliffhanger: Challenger of Tomorrow is a 300,000-word interactive novel by William Brown, author of The Mysteries of Baroque. It’s entirely text-based, without graphics or sound effects, and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

Dawnfall

Soar through space and get back into the rhythm of the universe in these all-new prequel stories for Dawnfall by RoAnna Sylver! With five non-interactive short stories, totaling over 25,000 words, you’ll be able to spend lots of time revisiting this dazzling universe. Journey between distant planets, and see the stunning events that joined your favorite characters’ destinies and turned them into the people that you fell in love with.

Dawnfall (choiceofgames.com)

Hosted games at Choice of Games Raiders of the Icepeak Mountains is a 120,000 word interactive gamebook by Adrao, where a combination of your choices and the roll of dice will determine your destiny. The game is text-based, with artwork allowing you the chance to actually see the exotic locations and dungeons you will visit on your journey. Temple of Endless Night is a thrilling 200,000 word interactive fantasy novel by Dariel Ivalyen, where your choices fully control the story. It’s entirely text-based—without graphics or sound effects—and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

Online courses

The Storytelling Collective is hosting a course on Choice Design in Solo Adventure Gamebooks. This is by Sersa Victory who has made several RPGS and gamebooks. It costs 35 USD.

Storytelling Collective


Computer games

Fabled Lands CRPG

If you have the Fabled Lands cRPG, you can now play in Golnir!

Fabled Lands - The Cities of Gold and Glory content update is live! - Steam News (steampowered.com)


Crowdfunding

Down In Yongardy: A Troika! Solo Gamebook by Chris Bissette — Kickstarter

Troika! is everyone's favourite Fighting Fantasy retroclone. Down In Yongardy takes Troika! back to its roots, stripping the mechanics back for solo play and throwing you into a branching-path solo adventure just like the ones you used to love.


Conventions

Dragonmeet

Jonathan Green and Ian Livingstone will be there. I plan on being there as well.

You can order tickets online until Thursday 2nd December.

Home (dragonmeet.co.uk)


Competitions

Entries will start to be accepted for the Lindenbaum Competition starting on the 1st December! Competition details are here: Lloyd of Gamebooks: The Lindenbaum prize for short gamebook fiction 2021/2022

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Magic the Gathering equipment revisited

 A while ago, I did a post on Magic the Gathering equipment I would wear as an adventurer.

Since that was 5 years ago, I thought I would do an update.


Previous: Adventuring Gear

Now: Skyclave Pickaxe

As with Bonesplitter, Wizards decided that some abilities are too strong to stick on a creature for 2 colorless mana and a common card. Aside from the fact that you can attach skyclave pickaxe for 1 mana, it is more expensive and difficult to use. That 1 mana has to be green and it needs to be attached for 2G.

Howver, a pick is always useful for mining, climbing, or, at a pinch, as a weapon.


Previous: Trailblazer's Boots.

Now: Swiftfoot Boots

Wizards doesn't go in for landwalk any more. It's either does nothing or makes a creature unblockable and this is bad for the game either way. Swiftfoot boots grant Haste, which is helpful and also Hexproof which stops opponents from targeting the creature, but the creature's controller can target it. This is an upgrade from Shroud.


Previous: Explorer's Scope

Now: Sword of the Animist

Sword of the Animist is way more effective than Explorer's Scope.


Then: Blazing Torch

Now: Delver's Torch

Delver's Torch is more of a power boost and allows you to venture into the dungeon when you attack.


Then: Grappling Hook

Now: Rogue's Gloves

Now I can steal some stuff with my gloves.


Then: Sword of Fire and Ice

Now: Haunted Cloak

Cool as sword of fire and ice is, I have a new sword and I need a new cloak.


Previous: Viridian Longbow

Now: Ranger's Longbow

Wizards also doesn't go in for creatures that tap to deal damage. They usually cost them right, but they messed up combat maths, turning the game into a mental exercise for an attacking player. A ranger's longbow gives a power and toughness boost and allows me to block flying creatures.

I also have a soft spot for rangers as I played a ranger in my first roguelike game (Moria). I eventually killed the Balrog with a level 37 ranger after lots of save-scumming.

Previous: Heartseeker

Now: Spare Dagger

Heartseeker is probably not going to get reprinted, so I'll go for the smaller, spare dagger.


Previous: Darksteel Plate

Now: Plate Armour

Wizards did a DnD themed set recently, so this is what heavy armour looks like now. It gives a bonus to power and toughness and has a Ward mechanic which increases the costs more to target it.


Previous: Whispersilk Cloak

Now: Prowler's Helm

Shroud is no longer in use because it didn't work how people wanted it to. Shroud meant that a creature couldn't be targeted. However, players always assumed that they could target their own creature. Wizards worked out that games are more fun when they let people play in a more intuitive way, so they replaced it with hexproof.

Prowler's Helm is the new version. Not completely unbockable, but I guess walls don't care if you are invisible.


So if you take me as a 0/1 creature, with the equipment, I am an 8/7 creature with Haste, Hexproof, Trample, Reach, Ward 1 and Vigilance. I cannot be blocked, except by walls. When I attack, I can sacrifice my dagger to deal 1 damage to a creature, search for a basic land, delve into the dungeon and if I deal damage I draw a card. If a land enters the battlefield, I get +2/+2, which combos with the Sword of the Animist. This means that every time I attack, I will get +2/+2 from the land I search up.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Gamebook blogs revisited

Hello all! 

I thought I'd update a list of blogs that are currently running and talking about gamebooks. 

Blogs come and go on tide and time, and since it's been a while since I've interacted with the blogosphere as much as I did in the 10s, I thought I would provide an updated list of blogs that are either completely about gamebooks or mention gamebooks that are still running.

These blogs have had at least 1 post in 2021. I have split them into gamebook authors/producers and gamebook playthrough blogs/reviewers.

If you have a gamebook blog that is active and I haven't mentioned it, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it to the list!

Gamebook authors/producers

Ashton MacSaylor

Ashton made a lot of great gamebooks back in the 10s. His post for 2021 details what he is up to now. His latest endeavours are Sun Sailor productions and Story Tables. These provide camps in role playing gaming and collaborative storytelling. Living the dream.

Fabled Lands

Dave Morris, gamebook legend has kept this blog going for 11 years with regular posts the whole time. The posts refer to many gamebooks and RPGs written by Dave and friends.

Fighting Fantasy

A blog about Fighting Fantasy. I assume that I don't need to explain what that is if you're reading this blog.

Fighting Fantasy.net

Fighting Fantasy.net is an awesome website that allows gamebooks to be played online. If you have a gamebook, you can host it there. One of the members, Matt Ward, also has a blog about gamebooks.

James Schannep's blog

James Schannep has written several gamebooks in different genres with titles that are one work with an exclamation mark after them. His book genres include zombies, spies and superheroes.

Jonathan Green

Jonathan Green has written many gamebooks, starting his career in the 90s with the later Fighting Fantasy books. He now works on the Ace Gamebook series, based on public domain works.

Librojuegos.org - Librojuegos y Ficción Interactiva

This is a gamebook blog for those fans who speak Spanish.

Martin Noutch's blog

Martin Noutch is the man behind the Steam Highwayman open world gamebook series.

Project Aon blog

This is the blog for the Lone Wolf series and the free Lone Wolf gamebooks.

Samuel Isaacson's blog

Samuel Isaacson has written many awesome gamebooks in recent years with many different genres.

Tin Man Games

Tin Man games started in 2008 with their Gamebook Adventures series, which started out as apps that basically did what gamebooks did. Since then, they have branched out into many other apps including The Warlock of Firetop Mountain game.

Titan - The Fighting Fantazine blog

This is the blog for the Fighting Fantazine gamebook zine. Issue 17 should be out this month.

Trollish Delver

Scott Malthouse has written several great RPGs and also dipped his toe into solo RPGs such as Quill, the letter writing RPG.

Victoria Hancox's blog

Victoria Hancox has written 3 superb horror based gamebooks (With a fourth book out soon!)


Playthrough/review blogs

Adventure Gameblog

This blog covers many gamebooks from many different series.

Cybe's Website

Alison Cybe is one of the few people who has reviewed every Fighting Fantasy gamebook from the original series. They also have a podcast coming out soon.

Deathtraps and Dungeons

This blog was started recently and they have done the first 10 Fighting Fantasy gamebooks so far.

Ludicrously Niche

This blog delves into many subjects about the 80s, including some gamebook posts. These posts are usually about the mistakes in gamebooks called broken gamebooks.

Malthus Dire

Mark Lain has reviewed every Fighting Fantasy book and some others.

Mrs Giggles

Mrs Giggles reviews many things, usually in a very acerbic fashion. This year, she has been working her way through the latest Fighting Fantasy and Lone Wolf gamebooks.

Turn to 400

This is a comedy playthrough blog. My favourite is Forest of Doom.

Your Adventure Ends Here

This blog is currently working its way through the Fighting Fantasy series.

Interactive Fiction

I am classing Interactive Fiction as fiction that provides choice but has fewer stats and dice rolling that you would see in an RPG. It also has aims that are more about exploration and character instead of "kill the wizard" and a lot of them are in the format of computer programs where you can type commands rather than pick them.

Choice of Games

This website has many interactive fiction games. In fact, it is a juggernaut that churns out games with hundreds of thousands of words at an insane rate. They also have a blog about their craft.

Emily Short

Emily Short is an awesome figure in the world of Interactive Fiction, so much so that she has her own Wikipedia page. Her blog is full of pearls of wisdom.

Renga in Blue

Another awesome Interactive Fiction blog.

These Heterogeneous Tasks

Another awesome interactive fiction blog. My personal favourite post is a bestiary of player agency.


Finally, a massive host of links:

Demien's gamebook web page is the most comprehensive collection of gamebook information on the internet. Here is Demien's link list of gamebook related websites going back almost two decades.

Link List - Demian's Gamebook Web Page (gamebooks.org)

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Advanced Fighting Fantasy "civilian" adventure - The Goblin Gang

Hi all!

If you follow Advanced Fighting Fantasy, you will probably know that they released the Combat Companion

As well as having plenty of great stuff for combat, it also had rules on creating characters with powers above or below the standard heroes in the core rulebook. 

The lowest "level" is civilian level - basically a 0 level commoner. 

I love low level games. The lower, the better, so I have created a civilian level adventure for Advanced Fighting Fantasy. I want to create enough adventures so the heroes get enough xp to go through to veteran level, which is what the heroes in the AFF core book start as.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1W-abSEjuilJ-3t6nDfLKA2iAvpfAIIrr/edit?usp=sharing&ouid=102398365992655245537&rtpof=true&sd=true

Saturday, October 30, 2021

October roundup and November events

Hello all! 

Here is this months news round up and upcoming events. There is a lot going on in the gamebook world in the autumn/winter months.

Edit on 31/10/2021

Happy Halloween! I am pleased to announce that Rebel Planet: The Graphic Novel was funded on Kickstarter and also the Fabled Lands crpg will include Golnir (book 2) in November! You can get Fabled Lands here: Fabled Lands - Steam News Hub (steampowered.com)

Breaking news

Rebel Planet, the graphic novel has 10 hours left from publication of this post! It is funded, so if you back it, you will get your reward!

FIGHTING FANTASY: REBEL PLANET the graphic novel by Mark Lain — Kickstarter

New gamebooks

Choose Your Own Adventure

Chooseco released the following titles:

The Citadel of Whispers (Kazim Ali)

YOU are Krishi, a Whisperer studying ancient, secret magic at the Citadel. A secret visitor arrives late one night with news of the encroaching attack by the powerful Narbolin empire, who are poised to possess all of the kingdom of Elaria. Will the decisions you make protect the many wondrous people of this rich, fantastic world?

Time Travel Inn (Bart King)

Your adventurous Grandmother Dolores makes you and your family the unlikely stewards of her Time Travel Inn in rural Wisconsin. You move from Florida to Wisconsin with hopes of investigating more about the inn, and your grandmother's disappearance, but quickly learn the inn is an epicenter for time travel research gone awry.

Choice of Games
Choice of Games has released Vampire: The Masquerade: Parliament of Knives by Jeffrey Dean. Vampire: The Masquerade — Parliament of Knives on Steam (steampowered.com)

There are also new hosted games:

Phil Sadler - The Dark Domain

Phil Sadler has made a new book. The Dark Domain. 

The Dark Domain.docx - Google Docs

Nasa

NASA Releases Interactive Graphic Novel “First Woman” | NASA

Terror Unleashed

Terror Unleashed is volume 2 of the Unleashed anthology series, edited by Marie Lanza and MAtthew Hollis Damon. It features 20 stories by 20 authors, and the grand finale is a 100 section gamebook novella by our beloved Victoria Hancox, which is a prequel to her book Night Shift.

Amazon.com: Terror Unleashed: Volume 2 (Unleashed Anthology series) eBook : Press, Skywatcher , Damon, Matthew Hollis, Restucci, Richard, Davon, Claire , Harper, James, Clive, Richard, Hancox, Victoria, Saunders, CM, Lanza, Marie, Dubovec, Mark : Kindle Store

Trial of the Wolf Girls - free PDF

Trial of the Wolf Girls - Free Gamebook with Female Protagonist — Sersa Victory

Destiny Quest RPG

There is a development blog going on. The latest entry is about the starter adventure.

Josh Dev Diary #3: Writing the Starter Adventure • DestinyQuest RPG

Victoria Hancox

Victoria Hancox's fourth gamebook, Behind the Weeping Walls will be published at some point in November. Keep your eyes peeled (based on Victoria's usual material, that might literally happen to your character at some point).

James Schannep 

INFECTED was released as an interactive audiobook app through Cubus games with a graphical interface and narrated by the award-winning R.C. Bray on October 26th.

Samuel Isaacson

Samuel Isaacson is releasing 2 gamebooks in November.

You’re a Wizard! (paperback pre-order) – IsaacsonAuthor.com

You’re a Wizard! is aimed at children aged 6-10 and is an interactive story in which you, a schoolchild, go on an exciting adventure. It’s a 100-section gamebook filled with original illustrations, and is designed specifically for a younger audience

The Bradfell Conspiracy (paperback pre-order) | Facebook

An interactive mystery where the reader attempts to find a friend and solve a murder in an amusing yet annoying city without losing their life.

Don Bosco

Don Bosco is running a launch party for his new book Last Kid Running: Night of the Six Headed Robogator. It will be on November 14th at 4:30pm-5pm Singapore Time.

Super Cool Books: LAST KID RUNNING _____ See you at the Singapore Writers Festival 2021, where we'll be launching Night of the Six-Headed Robogator, the second title in this thrilling gamebook series

Lone Wolf definitive editions

The Definitive Edition series from Holmgard Press is the first time Joe Dever's epic 32-book saga has ever been produced in one consistent format. Available in deluxe collectable Hardback, and soon in portable & playable Paperback. Drawing on the best art from across the years, with text freshly edited and gameplay newly tweaked by dedicated Lone Wolf scholars at Scriptarium and Project Aon, and with new supplementary material compiled by authors August Hahn, Vincent Lazzari, and Ben Devere - the DEFINITIVE EDITION series is the authoritative lasting testament to the world of LONE WOLF. 📚 Preorder your books from October 31 🎃 at Magnamund.com
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R. Malak

R. Malak has released Heroes and Legends book 2

Heroes and Legends the Complete Edition is a collection of all five episodes from Book 2. Included: Episode 1 The Road Ahead, Episode 2 King's Legion, Episode 3 Kingdom of Orkeylium, Episode 4 Unleash the Beast, and Episode 5 Lost Flame.The game is entirely text-based, like a novel, only YOU get to make the choices for the main character. If you enjoy immersive storytelling with simple, yet challenging game play, this is for you.

Zines

Fighting Fantazine will be releasing a new issue before the end of November! This will be a welcome return after a 4 year hiatus.

The website is here: Fighting Fantazine



Podcasts

The Instadeath Survivors' Support Group has released an interview with Jamie Thompson. As of writing (23rd October), it was on Patreon only, but it will be released generally at a later time.

This is the last episode of season 1. Season 2 will be coming soon...

Welcome to Instadeath Survivors Support Group by Instadeath Survivors Support Group (anchor.fm)

Campaign on Dice is currently attempting Sorcery! part 3

Campaign On Dice – Podcast – Podtail

Fantastic Fights is currently working through Rebel Planet

Fantastic Fights — Haunted Phonograph

Solo boardgames and RPGs

Dune: House of Secrets

Dune: House of Secrets is out.

Dune: House Secrets is a cooperative story-driven game in which you join the resistance against House Harkonnen! Experiencing an original adventure inspired by the blockbuster film, you must complete a series of missions with limited time and resources.

Dune:House Secrets - Portal Games

Computer games and apps based on gamebooks

Fabled Lands crpg

This November, the Fabled Lands crpg will include Golnir (book 2!)

You can get it from Steam: Fabled Lands - Steam News Hub (steampowered.com)

Websites

There is a website called Fungamery, which, amongst other things, has gamebooks: Gamebooks (fungamery.com)

If interactive fiction and roguelikes are your thing, head on down to Emily Short's blog where she posts several great articles. She also does TWO monthly roundups.

Emily Short's Interactive Storytelling – Narrative in games and new media (emshort.blog)

Crowdfunding

Defenders 2: Elusive Elixir by Derick William Dalton — Kickstarter

Rebel Planet, the graphic novel has 10 hours left from publication of this post! It is funded, so if you back it, you will get your reward!

FIGHTING FANTASY: REBEL PLANET the graphic novel by Mark Lain — Kickstarter

Interactive fiction book group

November's gamebook is Dracula: Curse of the Vampire by Jonathan Green.

Interactive Fiction & Gamebooks Discussion Group (Book Club) | Facebook

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Preorders for Marching Order Solo Gamebooks close on Monday!

 


Marching Order is a solo or cooperative dungeon crawling book set of greedy Rogues pilfering everything they can from monsters and each other. It comes with the Rogues Handbook, the Delvers Guide, and cards for your Rogues and Monsters.

Marching Order RPG (Softcover Print) – Crumbling Keep

Rebel Planet graphic novel Kickstarter ending soon!




Hi all! 

The Kickstarter for the Rebel Planet graphic novel by the awesome Mark Lain will be ending on October 30th at 8am BST.

As of writing, it had just under £2000 to raise, so head on over and give it a pledge!



Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Bonus post - Destiny Quest RPG

Hello all!  

If you follow this blog, you have probably heard of Destiny Quest, the gamebook series where you wander an open world, battling monsters, gaining powers and taking part in epic stories.

Well, Michael J. Ward. has teamed up with various game designers and artists to make an RPG!

Josh Bixler, the lead designer, answers some questions on it.

What is the planned release date?

We are planning for a December 2022 release.  This is tentative.  Currently, the writing and rules are about 95% done and we will have completed art coming in soon. 

We will do a Kickstarter, hopefully, in the first half of 2022.  The Kickstarter will fund the physical copies of the book.  We will be bringing a virtually 100% complete product to the start of the Kickstarter campaign.  It will be fully written, have the art completed, and should be formatted and ready for printing.

 

Will it cover all the current books?  

Yes, the first four books will be covered in the Tabletop RPG, but the first four books are not even the beginning.  The World Compendium section written by Michael J. Ward will cover so much more than the current series.  He has contributed over 100 pages to DestinyQuest RPG, and his writing digs into the creation of the world, the major factions within Valeron, a world atlas, hero short stories, and he details over a thousand years of history.


What new material will be in it?  

Expanding on my earlier answer, readers will be able to delve into several short stories of the most powerful and renowned heroes and villains of DestinyQuest such as Eldias Falks and Avian Dale and will get to discover new heroes such as Maria Tremalaine.  Michael J. Ward hasn’t merely written a mediocre paragraph or two about these heroes but has written gripping stories that interweave an exciting tale with the character’s biography.

The lore setting is a key feature, and it is massive.  The aim of the game is to have campaigns set in the current timeframe of the gamebooks, but the world he has written is intricately detailed. It includes a timeline of the world and is sectioned off into various ages.  This will help Game Masters set their campaign in different time periods within DestinyQuest, so their RPG games don’t have to be tied to what is currently happening in the gamebooks.

The book will also have an atlas of the DestinyQuest world, complete with maps and descriptions of the major areas in the world. 

I have also written a short starter adventure for the game, so Game Masters will have something to use immediately for a campaign after purchasing the book.

 

Will it have the same system as the books? 

Yes, with caveats.  The core system is still the same: Armour, Speed, Magic, Brawn, different abilities, and plenty of loot that adds new abilities and increased attributes.  The differences lie in how the game has been adapted to multiplayer.  Teams of heroes will be able to face off against multiple monsters.  We are utilizing combat sectors or zones for movement, which incorporates ranged actions, as well as several kinds of support abilities that boost teammates and can cause all kinds of afflictions on monsters.  The base of the game is firmly rooted in the established DestinyQuest rules system, so even with the new additions, a DestinyQuest reader will be able to jump right in and have fun.

 

Will it have details of the creatures in the books?  

Yes, all the creatures in the book’s bestiary will have detailed lore.  I am writing the lore for every monster that will be featured in the game, and I am having a blast doing it.  The team has purposely selected what we feel are the most epic and fun monsters in the gamebooks to bring over to the core RPG book. 

I am a huge fan of the works of Hidetaka Miyazaki (Dark Souls, Bloodborne), and I have pulled some inspiration from his excellent monsters, especially when describing the legendary beasts.

 

What will the game system be like?  

When creating the game system, I established four pillars that the game had to adhere to:

                1) Simple to Play - Players can learn the rules and create a character within minutes.
                2) Easy to run – Gamemasters can have a campaign up and running in no time.
                3) Deep, Varied, Character Customization- The rules may be easy, but there are endless ways to customize your character.  Paths, Careers, Loot, and Abilities mean that everyone's character is        thoroughly unique.
                4) An MMO or Action RPG on Tabletop - Like playing the very best multiplayer action RPGs or       MMOs, but on your tabletop.

In addition to that, the gameplay runs very quickly.  The game does not reward you for hesitating on your turn or trying to cheese monsters with magic or ranged attacks.  If players try this, then the monsters get more aggressive, and the combat sectors can start shrinking.  I wanted to capture the fast-flowing feel of the DestinyQuest combat system present in the gamebooks and convert it to a multiplayer experience.  The end result thus far, is a game that feels very much like an action RPG.

 

What classes are there? 

DestinyQuest features 3 different paths: Warrior, Rogue, Mage.  Each path has three different character trees that players can progress down.  For instance, Warriors can progress on the Feral Tree, the Holy Tree, or the Arms Tree.   Within these character trees, there are a total of 61 careers that players can choose from. 

There are vastly different careers that players can select.  Some of the careers that can be picked are Lich, Pyromancer, Runecaster, Werebear, Efreet, Crusader, Chaplain, Poisoner, Venomancer, Gunslinger, and Witchfinder.

 When combined with all of the different attribute boosting and ability granting loot that can be discovered, players can build highly customizable heroes.

You can find out more about the Destiny Quest RPG on the website.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

The Gamebook Authoring Tool

 Hi gamebookers!

Today, I want to mention the Gamebook Authoring Tool. It is a great help for writing gamebooks.

One of the problems with writing gamebooks is randomising the sections. Along with those problems are the problems of making sure each section links to the correct sections, that there are no "orphaned" sections (sections where there are no ways to get there) that you don't want and that any sections that are supposed to have certain numbers (like section 1, the last section or answers to puzzles) stay at the same number.

Well, the Gamebook Authoring Tool is able to do that. It lets you write the sections out and automatically creates them as you do them. It lets you colour code sections which I find useful, because I can colour code sections as complete, not complete and bad endings. It also does the shuffling, but also lets you keep whichever sections you like fixed and also lets you swap sections.

This is just a short description of what it can do.



There is a free version of the Gamebook Authoring Tool that allows you to write a gamebook up to 100 sections long and convert it to rich text format. Daniel did this to let people enter the Windhammer Competition for free. And since I made the Lindenbaum competition as essentially Windhammer 2.0, it is perfect for that as well!

Saturday, October 16, 2021

fightingfantasy.net

 Hi everyone!


I'd like to show you FightingFantasy.net today.

FightingFantasy.net is an awesome website where you can play gamebooks (and not just Fighting Fantasy ones) online. It was created by Jason Archer aka Beeblbrox.



Jason has created an awesome code that allows you to play books online and also create your own online gamebooks with hyperlinks and either save them as webpages or as hyperlinked pdfs. You can do this from a Rich Text file. 


There is also a Facebook group and a blog by Matt Ward.

It is an awesome website which I plan to use to convert the entries to the Lindenbaum competition into hyperlinked pdfs and websites.

Jason has done all of this for free for years, so any donations to him would be very welcome!

So go over, play the gamebooks and create your own!


Sunday, October 10, 2021

A (not so) brief history of the Windhammer prize

 Hi all! 

Hopefully, you know that last week, I announced the Lindenbaum prize for short gamebook fiction. 

What some of you may not know (which is what I found out when chatting with some gamebook people on International Gamebook Day) is that the competition is basically just a continuation of a gamebook competition that ran from 2008-2015 called the Windhammer Prize. This article is about the Windhammer Prize's history. In researching this article, I realised that Andrew Wright had a similar idea in 2011, where he wrote "A Brief History of the Windhammer Prize", so this is the not so brief version.

The Windhammer prize was for writing an adventure of up to 100 sections. A few rules were added over the years - a word count limit of 25000 words (that might have been after my entry Rulers of the NOW), pictures being allowed if they are maps or parts of puzzles being the two main ones.

In 2012, The Gamebook Authoring Tool came to the scene. It has a free version that allows you to create a gamebook of up to 100 sections (perfect for Windhammer) and Daniel, the creator posted reviews of the entries on the blog.

The prize started when gamebooks just started to have a resurgence online. Before then, I couldn't find many websites related to gamebooks (www.ffproject.com was the main one).

I loved it, because as well as having the chance to win a prize, you could read gamebooks by other people and get to know who was into gamebooks at the time.

Why did it end?

Here is a quote from the competition page:

"From 2016 however, it became apparent that the possibilities for commercial gamebook publication had evolved considerably. New media opportunities including gamebook application development and more accessible self-publishing options allowed authors to find much wider audiences for their work than had been previously available. A consequence of that evolution was smaller numbers of authors coming forward to participate in the competition.

In 2016 the Windhammer Prize closed. What you can find here are all the preceding years' competition guidelines, entry lists and winning submissions, and an archive of all entries participating over those eight years. Please download whatever you wish from the archive. It is a collection of extraordinary talent and a wonderful exposition of how gamebook fiction can relate to a wide range of different genres and subject matter. What follows on this page is the final set of competition guidelines for the 2016 year including an outline of the benefits to authors of participation. May Glory and Renown follow all who entered."

Why do a similar competition now?

The reasoning in 2016 made sense. Kickstarter and self publishing was taking off. You didn't need a competition to reach and audience. The reasoning still applies today, so why am I doing it. A few reasons:

1) New fans. The seed of the idea was planted during the International Gamebook Day weekend, when, on a group call with others, I mentioned Windhammer and most of the gamebook fans hadn't heard of it. This means that we have either picked up new fans or had fans return since 2016. They might appreciate a competition.

2) Nostalgia. I've been getting a bit more nostalgic in the last year, which was probably exacerbated by Covid. A lot of the stuff I liked from the 10s is gone, but this is something I decided to bring back.

3) Time. I had no time during lockdown as I was both working and teaching my children. When I got more time, I decided to spend more of it one something I loved and this is one of those things.

To be honest, I have no idea how many entrants I have. It could be 0. It could be 20. Whatever happens, I wanted to find out.

Where are they now?

Here is a list of what some of the entrants did after their Windhammer entries. I searched everyone on Google and I have listed the people who are still up to stuff. If anyone has any other updates, please let me know.

I do not know about everyone and I might have forgotten some people, so please let me know if someone is missing.

I'd like to point out that some of these people drew attention to themselves via Windhammer and went onto bigger things because of that. The gamebook writers of the 1980s and 1990s also pay attention to the competition.

Tammy Badowski

Tammy has written a trilogy of gamebooks called the Grekgun series.

She also has gamebooks on FightingFantasy.net T M Badowski | Fighting Fantasy .Net

She also has several books on www.ffproject.com (scroll down or do CTRL-F to find her name).

Felicity Banks

Felicity has written a lot of Interactive Fiction, including the Choices games for Tin Man Games and many more that you can find here: Search for Games (ifdb.org)

Felicity has also written many novels. Check them out!

Zachary Carango

Zachary has several books on www.ffproject.com (scroll down or do CTRL-F to find his name).

Jake Care

The entrant with the shortest gamebook entry ever started a blog for a bit, about really short gamebooks, but stopped (ironically, his last post is about the biggest gamebook ever). Jake Care's Gamebooks (jakecaregamebooks.blogspot.com)

Simon Christopher Chapman

Simon wrote Golem Gauntlet, which is on www.ffprojet.com: Fighting Fantasy Project - Gamebooks by Simon Christopher Chapman (ffproject.com)

Kieran Coghlan

Kieran has several books on www.ffproject.com (scroll down or do CTRL-F to find his name).

Jac Colvin

Jac has a website of several interactive fiction works: JACIC GAMEBOOKS - Home (weebly.com)

Ivailo Daskalov

Ivailo has made several gamebook apps here: xsgamebooks and also wrote the Choice of Games book AI - Aftermath - New Hosted Game! AI — Aftermath by Ivailo Daskalov - Choice of Games LLC

Robert Douglas

Robert has several books on www.ffproject.com (scroll down or do CTRL-F to find his name).

Andrew Drage

Andrew Drage wrote the awesome Infinite Universe for Tin Man Games. He did lots of other work for Tin Man Games including designing Sultans of Rema with Gaetano Abbondanza. He has also written novels: The Calling, The Dark Horde and Evermore.

He is currently working on a heavy metal concept album also called The Dark Horde.

Ramsay Duff

Ramsay has several books on www.ffproject.com (scroll down or do CTRL-F to find his name).

Paul Gresty

Paul went on to complete Fabled Lands 7 and also writes for Choice of Games. One of his games is The Orpheus Ruse. The ORPHEUS Ruse (choiceofgames.com)

Per Jorner

Per Jorner was very active on the old gamebook Yahoo groups where he wrote funny and scathing reviews. His Coils of Hate review was very helpful for me when I wrote the reboot. I'm not sure what happened to him after Yahoo Groups closed.

Stuart Lloyd

No idea what he's up to these days.

Ashton MacSaylor

Ashton went on the write The Good, the Bad and the Undead with Jamie Thompson.

He also went on to write for the game Dwarf King with Micabyte.

He has done several other works.

Ashton has co-created Story Tables which uses RPGs to do teambuilding.

Stefano Ronchi

Stefano has recently released a gamebook: How the Spider Ate the Moon: A Gamebook Struggle eBook : Ronchi, Stefano, Ronchi, Elisa, Constantine, Francis: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

Phil Sadler

Phil Sadler has created many awesome Fighting Fantasy fan works which you can get for free at www.ffproject.com (scroll down or do CTRL-F to find his name).

In fact, Phil recently released another gamebook called The Dark Domain. You can get it here for free!

Al Sander

Al Sander also has gamebooks on www.ffproject.com (scroll down or do CTRL-F to find his name).

Paul Struth

Paul Struth wrote the Dervish Stone for Warlock Magazine 4. He also published The Queen of Shades for Fighting Fantazine 7.

David Walters

Gamebook-wise, David Walters went on to work with Mark Smith and Jamie Thompson to complete the Way of the Tiger saga with the seventh book, Redeemer!. Finally, Avenger got out of that web. David also made a prequel called Ninja!

David has also written several novels with samurai and ninja in them.

Alec Worley

Alec doesn't seem to have any more gamebooks, but he has a website: ALEC WORLEY / COMICS, FICTION, AUDIO - Alec Worley: Portfolio Homepage

Andrew Wright

Andrew wrote Catacombs of the Undercity for Tin Man Games which is available on several formats.

He then went on to write several books for Advanced Fighting Fantasy 2nd edition including Return to the Pit, Beyond the Pit, A Rough Guide to the Pit and The Titan Herbal. Hmmm. One of those is a bit different. I think he is currently working on a magical item book for AFF2.

Funnily enough, Andrew also wrote a blog post called "A brief history of the Windhammer Prize" back in 2011, making my entry a not so brief history, I guess.