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

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

International Gamebook Day

 Hello all! International Gamebook day weekend is over for 2021, but the fun can still continue.

If you want to see any of the interviews, they are at the Storymaster's Tales Youtube channel: The StoryMaster's Tales Interactive RPG Theatre - YouTube

As a bonus, here is an interview with Joe Dever from a few years back: The Fantasy Podcast: Joe Dever Lone Wolf Interview. - YouTube


Also also, My Gamebook Adventures is doing a meetup in Leeds on the 10th October at Geek Retreat: 4th Gamebook Adventures Meetup in Leeds! | Facebook


International Gamebook Day is already being planned for August 27th 2022. The Facebook page for it is here: International Gamebook Day 2022 | Facebook


So, as you can see there is gamebook goodness for all!

Happy gamebooking!

Sunday, August 29, 2021

International Gamebook Day Weekend

 Hello everyone! If you read this blog, you probably know that International Gamebook Day is going on. until today (29/08/2021). If you are reading on the 29th August 2021, here is the lineup...



You can see these videos at the Storymaster's Tales Youtube channel: The StoryMaster's Tales Interactive RPG Theatre - YouTube - you can also see past videos there in case you have arrived late for the live stuff.

You can also get the videos on Twitch: The_Storymasters_Tales - Twitch

You can also get the videos on Facebook: International Gamebook Day 2021 | Facebook

The link for the 8pm meetup is here: International Gamebook Day Fan Video Meetup | Facebook


In other news, I have found a new podcast where the host plays through Fighting Fantasy books. The link is here Fantastic Fights (podcast) - Haunted Phonograph | Listen Notes.

As of posting, they are on book 16, Seas of Blood.

Also, Ian Livingstone is on the Grognard files: The GROGNARD Files / Episode 50 (Part 1) Fighting Fantasy (with Ian Livingstone) (audioboom.com)

Happy gamebooking!

Thursday, August 26, 2021

August round up and September news

 Hi all! I'm sorry I'm late this week, I was waiting on a few things and was also working on RL stuff. I'm doing the news today for reasons which will soon become apparent. There's a lot!

So here is some stuff:

International Gamebook Day

International Gamebook Day starts on the 27th August and carries on through the weekend. It will be broadcast on Youtube and Twitch. Below are the links and the lineup:

https://www.youtube.com/c/TheStoryMastersTales

https://www.twitch.tv/the_storymasters_tales

https://m.twitch.tv/gtg_vicki

https://fb.me/e/3ZKaY2l7u



Gamebook Secret Santa!

The My Gamebook Adventures Facebook group is running a gamebook Secret Santa! Details are below. To join in, message My Gamebook Adventures.




Vulcanverse

The awesome open world gamebook series from Dave Morris and Jamie Thomson has its first two books available for preorder!

The Hammer of the Sun: Amazon.co.uk: Morris, Dave: 9781909905382: Books

The Houses of the Dead: Amazon.co.uk: Thomson, Jamie: 9781909905375: Books

Dragon Warriors solo adventure

Red Ruin publishing has created a Dragon Warriors solo adventure for free!

Desolation of the God-King – A Dragon Warriors Solo Adventure - Red Ruin Publishing | DriveThruRPG.com

Gruescript

Robin Johnson has developed a script for writing interactive fiction text adventures called Gruescript. This is what Robin says on Gruescript:

'It's a scripting language/online development tool for creating point-n-click text adventures. It's designed to make games that look and feel as much like classic puzzly parser games as possible while sacrificing the parser itself for the sake of mobile playability and accessibility to modern players.'

Gruescript by Robin Johnson (itch.io)

The Cornucopia of Infinite Adventures

James Hutchings, who made Age of Fable has created a program that randomly generates pen and paper gamebooks! You can check it out here: The Cornucopia of Infinite Adventure- Demo by gamebookgenerator (itch.io)

Gamebook Zine

Gamebook Zine 3 is out! Gamebook Zine (3 book series) Kindle Edition (amazon.com)

Warlock Returns 4

Warlock Returns, the Advanced Fighting Fantasy zine is out! The Warlock Returns Issue #04 - Arion Games | Advanced Fighting Fantasy | DriveThruRPG.com

Destiny Quest RPG

There is an RPG based on Michael J. Ward's awesome gamebooks in development!

A Branching Narrative

Simon Birks and Matt Spall are creating a gamebook a month for a subscription fee. You can get it here: A Branching Narrative (substack.com)

Kickstarters

Story spark cards

A wonderful deck of mythical creatures!

Story Spark Cards: Mythical Creatures Deck by Story Spark Cards — Kickstarter

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Creatives' themes

 Hello, gamebookers!


So today, I wanted to write about how some people who create things and how a lot of themes seem to come through in a lot of their work.

For example, let's look at two of artist, Iain McCaig's creations.



A you can see, there are some resemblances.

What about writers?



Here's the synopsis of Stormin' Sonic:

Storm clouds over Mobius.

Sonic and his pals have never seen anything like it. All the Zones are being affected by a mysterious Weather Egg creating climate chaos wherever it goes. Only you and Sonic can save Mobius from a weather wipeout.

Use your skill, luck and stamina to help Sonic in this amazing gamebook adventure.

And here's the synopsis of Stormslayer:

After years of peace, the kingdom of Femphrey is at war again - only this time it is with the elements! Devastating storms sweep across the country, destroying all in their path. Blizzards and floods threaten some areas while others suffer the worst droughts seen in centuries. But is this climate chaos all it appears to be? Or is there some dark design to this meteorological meltdown? You are a seasoned adventurer, known throughout the land. You have battled giants and slain dragons, but how can even a veteran warrior like yourself fight the weather? Are you ready to take up the challenge and face the perils that await you within the eye of the storm?

Both books involve having to go to different areas that represent the four classical elements in order to collect items to defeat the villain who has a weather controlling flying vehicle.

It seems that ideas and themes start to recur with a lot of people. I've found this myself. 

It took a while for me to "find my voice". My first gamebooks used the Fighting Fantasy system and were mainly dungeon crawls. I experimented a bit with Lovecraftian horror, but I also found that my twisted sense of humour sometimes shone through.

After 13 years(?!!!) since my first gamebook, I think these are my themes:

Conspiracies

Black humour

Smaller, personal stakes rather than huge world ending ones

Noncombat solutions

Systems with numbers

Some of these are pretty easy to explain if you know my background. I have a science degree (numbers) and I was into conspiracy theories a lot. I did have a sense of black humour. The noncombat solutions and the personal stakes are my own push back against combat being too good solution in a lot of gamebooks and my belief that people are more invested in stories where they know and can relate to the characters and that increasing the number of nameless fictional people who might die if the villains win, does not necessarily do that. The final straw came in the Dr Who episode where the Tardis explodes and starts to cause the entire Universe to have never existed. 

Having themes is not necessarily a bad thing. These theme could show an evolution of an idea (such as the Knightmare gamebook The Forbidden Gate containing a precursor to the Virtual Reality skill system) or people who like the theme will come back for more (such as Jon Green's gamebooks based on public domain fiction). Also, your own themes are just easier to do. They require a lot less effort and they will look better on paper because they are about things you really know to your bones and feel rather than something that you know intellectually.

I've realised that it might take some time to find your own themes, but it is good to do so.

Do you know your themes?

Saturday, August 7, 2021

War of Deities

Hi gamebookers! 

I've been feeling a bit nostalgic recently, plus, my first gamebook has been converted to play online, so I thought I would write about that.

I wrote my first gamebook back in the summer of 2008. It was a 400 section dungeon crawl. I wanted to keep the scenario simple so that I didn't create any problems for myself and so it made me more likely to finish it.

The gamebook was called War of Deities: Part 1

You can play it online here: War of Deities | Fighting Fantasy .Net

You can download the Word document here (look for Stuart Lloyd): Fighting Fantasy Project - Downloads (ffproject.com)

I wanted to write about the name, because if you play it, there's nothing really in there about deities having a war and I haven't written any other parts besides part 1. 

I can't really remember why I didn't, but I guess life got in the way and I started writing gamebooks for the Windhammer Competition. Then, in an attempt to get better at gamebook writing, I wrote Ten short Fighting Fantasy gamebooks and one long one. Then I wrote Shadowcaster (also on ffproject - Fighting Fantasy Project - Downloads (ffproject.com)).

So, I thought I'd let you know about the story.

Why War of Deities?

This was supposed to be a book series about the war between the primal deities of Titan - Ashra, Vuh and Elim. Ashra is the deity of light, Vuh is the deity of life and Elim is the deity of darkness, and the bad one. The deities don't get any coverage that I can remember in the regular gamebook series, but they get a mention in Titan and they make up a large part of the Advanced Fighting Fantasy 1st edition adventures. In Dungeoneer!, the adventurers use The Crystal of Power to restore a ghost called Sargon to life. Sargon was around during the siege of Caresepolis and tells the heroes how to use the crystal to defeat the bad guy, Xorton Throg, and save Allansia from his army of skeleton warriors. But who's side was Sargon really on?

In Blacksand, the adventure involves stopping a cult that wants to animate a brass golem to destroy Port Blacksand. You defeat them, but find out that they are a cult to Elim and that the high priest of the cult was receiving instructions from...duh duh duh! Sargon. Turns out he was a bigwig priest for Elim.

In Allansia, Sargon has an army and is trying to destroy Kaad because back in his time, it was a powerful town that opposed him. The heroes manage to stop the army with their own and they use the Staff of Ashra - a magic staff with a crystal on it to (almost?) kill Sargon.

Well, War of Deities was going to follow the end of the Allansia! story.

What were the other parts going to be about?

War of Deities was going to be a 4 part series.

Part 2: Book 1 ends with you having escaped the dungeon, but your annoying rival, Thraccus has stolen the silver orb from you after you did all the work to get it. Also, there are 5 wyverns circling around you. 

Yaztromo turns up to save you from the wyvern and tells you what's going on. The silver orb actually contains the essence of Elim, the primal deity of darkness. If someone knew how to unlock its power, they could get the power of Elim and become a physical god on Titan. Not good. Yaztromo tells you that there are similar magic items that contain the essences of Ashra and Vuh. He tells you that Thraccus is on his way to Port Blacksand and that you should go to Port Blacksand to get the silver orb back from Thraccus. Yaztromo gives you some help and you head back to his tower, but then Vradna the night demon turns up and attacks you! You have no way of fighting it, but Yaztromo creates a magic spell that creates an orb of light. When the light fades, they are both gone. Oh no!

You go to Blacksand and try to find Thraccus. You wander round the crazy place a bit and realise that Thraccus is in the sewers. You go in via the inn that lets people into the sewers and find the fish people temple from Allansia. If you have the correct items/spells, you find a secret compartment with a large glowing gem, which you take. You find Thraccus, but you are too late! He has become the avatar of Elim and beats you to a pulp, before leaving you to die in a flooding sewer. If you have the glowing gem, you feel something carry you away from the tunnel and you wake up in Nicodemus's room. End of book 2.


Part 3: Book 3 opens with Nicodemus telling you what happened. The glowing gem was the essence of Vuh and it saved you. He knows that Thraccus is not the avatar of Elim. He also knows what he wants to do. He has left Blacksand to find the sleeping remnants of the army of chaos from the last battle, which he will raise and march on Port Blacksand, which he sees as the city that caused his downfall. Nicodemus tells you that the way of defeating him is in a swamp near Kaad.

You head off, but as soon as you leave the hut, you are attacked by an assassin. Whether you win or not, they poison you. The poison is normally fatal, but the essence of Vuh keeps you alive, so you have some time to hopefully find a cure and/or complete your mission.

You head across Allansia. If you go to a swamp, you find the village from Allansia! which has the staff of Ashra. The combined power of both essences can cure your poison, but before anyone can help, some wyverns arrive and attack the village. In the confusion, some wyvern riders steal the staff and head north. 

You head north, and, after a load of adventures, you come to the monastery from Allansia! which you enter. The adventure ends with you in a large room where you see the night demon Vradna talking to Sargon. The essence of Ashra is nearby. Then they both spot that you are there.

Part 4: The adventure starts with you trying to dodge Vradna's fire bolts and Sargon's magic to get the staff of Ashra. Normally, these would kill you, but then Yaztromo shows up and protects you. You manage to get the staff of Ashra, and the combined powers of Ashra and Vuh cure your poison and give you many abilities - you get +6 Skill, +12 Stamina and +6 Luck, you can only be harmed by magic weapons, your weapon becomes magical and deals +2 damage and the spells you've learnt along the way become uber powerful. You fight Vradna and, once he is banished, you face Sargon. 

Sargon has fallen foul of Elim and turned to the new demons. Sargon does not want Elim's avatar on Titan because Elim will probably want to kill him, so on Yaztromo's advice, you and Sargon team up to go back to Blacksand and stop him. On the way, you have to fight some of Elim's champions. I can't remember all of them, but one was a warrior, who, when wounded, makes the wound appear on you instead. You get around it by using ranged weapons. There was also a mechanical dragon. Sargon would help you with his magic.

At Blacksand, you and Sargon take on the army and find Thraccus/Elim. You fight him and if you beat him, you banish Elim, leaving you to finally get your revenge on Thraccus for all the pain he's caused you.

With Elim banished, the army retreats. Sargon flees before anyone can do anything about him and Lord Azzur rewards you by banishing you from Blacksand because he does not want to give credibility to the story that Blacksand was weak enough to fall foul of an ancient army. I guess you can't win them all.

So there you go. Maybe one day, I will write it all. Maybe I will write it as an AFF2 scenario?

You can play War of Deities (and many other great Fighting Fantasy books) here: War of Deities | Fighting Fantasy .Net