Thursday, January 20, 2011

Your adventure ends here...go to 14. What?

Here's a death paragraph from The Den of Dragons by J.H Brennan.  It is the second Grailquest book.


You enter the cottage and the entire place caves in on top of you.  It's no fun being an adventurere sometimes, Pip. 

Go to 14.

Why I like this paragraph

This death paragraph breaks the fourth wall.  If a gamebook breaks the fourth wall, it is usually in a death paragraph or to tell you that you are a cheat.  However, Grailquest does this a lot.

The main reason why I like this death paragraph is that it reminds you that death is not the end.  In all Grailquest books, 14 is the paragraph that you go to when you are dead, which sounds a bit wierd.  What do you need to do when you are dead?  A lot, it turns out.

On paragraph 14, you wake up in Merlin's home.  In the Den of Dragons, it's a crystal cave.  He then tells
 you to reroll and enter the village again.  Here we have a lot more personable death than a full stop.

How did I get into this mess?

I started the game in a village where I turn to a paragraph if I want to enter a particular building.  I enter this building and it collpases on me.  On my head be it.

What have I learnt from this

Death is not the end.  It can be very useful.  I'm not sure, but in this case I think I get to keep equipment and I'm also forewarned.

Another useful feature of haveing death not being the end is that you can have 'save points' in the book.  Talisman of Death by Jamie Thomson and Mark Smith allows you to restart the book at a particular point depending on where you were killed.  If you were killed in the Greyguilds (a city), you go back to (Almost) the beginning.  If you were killed outside the Greyguids, then you return to the point where you have just left the Greyguilds.  This doesn't happen in all cases, such as dying in combat or if you die as a result of one of Death's minions, but it helps in this situation.


A spray of brightly coloured light speeds from Thaum's hands into your eyes, dazzling you.  Cassandra stabs you neatly in the heart as Tyutchev cleaves your head from your shoulders.  Turn to 109.

This is the first death paragraph that a seven year old me read.  It seems apparent that Thaum, Cassandra and Tyutchev do a pretty good job of killing you, so I was quite surprised to be able to turn to another paragraph.  Paragraph 109 tells you that as your spirit floats gently towards the Valley of Death, the gods that summoned you offer you the chance to be returned to life and try again. 

Other death paragraphs

My death paragraph collection is not a completely original idea.  I remember reading several death paragraphs on a website.  I couldn't remember what it was, so I fired a message on the Titan Rebuilding Yahoo Group.  Andrew Wright, who has a great gamebook blog provided me with the answer. 

The page is on the Black Tower website, archived at  It can also be found here.

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