Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ian Livingstone to release a new Fighting Fantasy book involving zombies (the book, not the release)

So Ian Livingstone is releasing a new Fighting Fantasy book in August to coincide with the 30th Anniversary of the beginning of Fighting Fantasy.  However, much to my surprise, it's going to have nothing to do with Titan and instead it will be set in the modern world with zombies.  You can even vote on the name if you go here.

I'm interested to see the end result and I'm wondering if any more new Fighting Fantasy books will be released by Ian or anyone else.

To discuss the new book, or to suggest alternative titles, you could go here or here.

Here is the blurb:

In this adventure YOU are kidnapped and sold to a deranged megalomaniac who wants to build an army of undead to exact terrible revenge on those once mocked him. He hates everybody except for his scientists and servants. The scientists were instructed to develop a mutated gene in human blood which would be injected into innocent victims, turning them into Zombies. The madman's henchmen kidnapped hundreds of people who were locked up to await their fate. YOU are about to be injected with Zombie blood. The Zombie army is almost complete, ready to be unleashed upon the world in a frenzy of killing and wanton destruction. YOU have to avoid being transformed into a Zombie. YOU have to kill all the Zombies, dispose of the madman and escape from the castle. To do this you will need a lot of firepower to take down the hordes of Zombies. But don't kill everybody as there is one person who needs to be rescued...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Tunnels, Trolls and Fools

I love Tunnels and Trolls .  It's system is simple, versatile and allows (or encourages) for all kinds of crazy shenanigans.  Lets take this little gem from the character creation chapter of the 7.5 edition rulebook, for example:

...the possible range for a character's attribute values in T T is 4 to N where N could be a very large number but isn't likely to be much higher than 20 for a beginning character. (Yes, I know this wreaks havoc with the bell-curve distribution of character attributes - I meant it to do that.  Trollworld is full of heroes, freaks and monsters - not a bunch of averages.

If you want to know more about the system, you could buy the rulebook or have a few ganders at the great Tunnels and Trolls blogs out there such as The Delving Dwarf which talks about TnT games, The Lone Delver, where you can read about adventures with TnT solos and The Trollish Delver where Scott Malthouse provides ideas for TnT games and also sells his own great TnT adventures.

Tunnels and Trolls is an RPG with loads of solo adventures - i.e gamebooks that use the game system.  The first Tunnels and Trolls solo was Buffalo Castle but there were many more and many more are being created (such as Scott's Depths of the Devilmancer or Tavern by the Sea by Ken St Andre and Andy Holmes).

It is for this reason that I got really interested in solos and now I have written my own.  It is called Temple of the Fool God.  It is a 190 paragraph solo for a 1st level character.  What happens?  Here is the blurb:

The greatest treasure in the kingdom lies within the belly of a mad god and you have to retrieve it.  Now you have come of age, you must stake your life to brave the tricks and traps of the Fool God’s temple in order to prove your worth.

You can buy Temple of the Fool God from Lulu for the low low price of £2.99.

I hope you enjoy the adventure - please leave feedback.  I enjoyed writing a Tunnels and Trolls solo and I will probably write another one.

Happy gamebooking!

Friday, January 20, 2012

My views on D and D editions or: Yeah right, who was I kidding when I said I would limit my posts?

So.  Wizards are releasing a new edition of Dungeons and Dragons.   I feel that as someone who scours the Dungeons and Dragons rule books for inspiration and who has read lots of peoples' opinions on the new edition of Dungeons and Dragons, that I am entitled to give people my opinion too*.

*not really, I just really want to talk about something with a tenuous link because I like writing blog posts.

My view is born out of a project I had when I was 12.  I wanted to create a single player board game version of Advanced Fighting Fantasy, where the hero would wander around a country, roll up random encounters and quests, get treasure and experience.  It was kind of an Advanced Fighting Fantasy version of Fabled Lands (although, criminally, I had not heard of Fabled Lands at the time).  I spent ages on it, constantly revising and upgrading it until one day, it got thrown away (not by me).

I never started it again, but I realised that I would never be happy with it.  There would always be something that wouldn't sit straight with me.  I couldn't accommodate all of the spells and skills into my game in a balanced fashion, items popped up too often or not often enough, I didn't feel that my food and water rule was realistic etc.  I could have gone on forever.

The point is that after any number of revisions, there will always be holes to pick in something.  I have read Advanced Dungeons and Dragons source books, 3rd edition sourcebooks, 3.5 edition sourcebooks and 4th edition sourcebooks.  I could have found things to praise each of them to high heaven or damn them to eternal hell.

To me, AD+D was the edition that tried to fit in all contingencies.  There were tables for everything.  I have the outdoor survival guide which has tables for the chance of finding water in each type of area and whether it is potable or not.  There are tables for the type of weather and many other tables.  They were either super realistic or a tedious number crunching exercise.

3rd edition made things simpler but had balance issues.  3.5 fixed that.  4th edition seemed to balance out the game, give each class equal powers but it seemed like a computer game.

Here's my point:  I look on each new edition, not as a replacement for the old one, but as a different type of game.  There are plenty of posts on edition wars and why people like original D+D over 4th ed etc.  That's what we should be aiming for - games to cater to everyone's needs.  This means that in order to be popular, 5th edition D+D needs to fill a niche that previous editions haven't.  My suggestion would be a system that is perfect for gamebooks, but then I'm biased*.

*I'm also joking, just to make it clear.

And that is all I have to say about that.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The trickster archetype

Happy new year one and all!  Here's to 2012, the year the Zetas land.  I'm going to start the year by talking about my favourite archetype.
Classic hero archetype

Stories are full of archetypes - the hero archetype, the mentor archetype  and the classic villain archetype are three common archetypes.  However, there are many more archetypes that make up a story and they do not just extend to characters.  They also extend to the stories themselves.

Archetypes are needed for stories.  However, some archetypes have more depth than others.  To me, one of the most varied, complicated and entertaining archetype is the trickster archetype.

Reynard the fox.
A classic trickster
Why do I like the trickster so much?  Every trickster is different.  Evryone knows that the hero is going to overcome a great struggle and beat the bad guy and that the mentor is old and will teach the hero stuff before dying and possibly coming back.  The main villain twirls his moustache and kidnaps the hero's girlfriend.  We've all heard it a million times.  However, when we get to a trickster, we don't know whether they could be hero or villain, or help either side at random or just do what the hell they like for a laugh.  The trickster's modus operandi is also very varied and ranges from acting impulsively with no regard for social norms to playing the other characters like pawns.

Anansi - a trickster from
West African mythology

Likewise, stories with tricksters as the main characters are always the most entertaining as the resolution of the conflict is very varied.  It may end with humanity obtaining new gifts, the death of a god or the trickster learning a lesson as a result of his own foolish acts.

The Doctor has characteristics
of a trickster.  

The things that tricksters have in common is that they like to cause upheaval in the established order of things and embraces new ideas to society.  The results of this are varied but normally those in power in society do not appreciate a tricksters unpredictable influence and so the trickster makes a lot of enemies.  However, this doesn't stop the trickster.

He gets his own RPG!

There are three more parts in this series which I will post in the upcoming months.In part two, I will talk about some specific trickster characters.  Part three is about some RPG races that would be considered trickster races.  The last part of the series is about the Riddling Reaver - the most infamous trickster character in gamebooks.

For further reading, have a look at these links:

That's all folks!
The Trickster (TVTropes)

The Trickster (Wikipedia)

A list of tricksters (TVTropes)

A list of tricksters (Wikipedia)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Changes for Lloyd of Gamebooks in 2012

Hi all.  Lots of my blog buddies (for example, Andrew Wright and Scott Malthouse) have been talking about their future plans and that got me thinking about mine.  I loved 2011 - it was the first full year for my blog and I enjoyed writing every post.  I now need to think about where I need to take myself for 2012.

Here's the bad news - I've decided to reduce the number of posts from 1 a week (at least) to 2 per calendar month (the first and second Sundays of the month).  The main reason for this is that my writings on gamebooks has now gone beyond just this blog.  I want to devote more time to the following things:

  • Writing gamebooks.  I want to write about gamebooks less so that I can write more gamebooks.  This is the main reason that I am reducing my post count.  I feel that I have written a lot on how gamebooks work and how to write a gamebook.  There will be more posts on this, but I want to now apply my findings to producing more gamebooks.
  • Lone Tiger Gamebook Reviews.  I want to write one review per month for this blog (which means you'll get 3 posts a month from me).  When I first started Lloyd of Gamebooks, I wanted to analyse gamebooks and how they work rather than review them as it seemed to me that the most popular gamebooks had been discussed so much that I could add no more to the discussion.  However, the same is not true for many amateur gamebooks and so I think this blog is important to start discussions on  less well known gamebooks.
  • Fighting Fantazine.  I've contributed a few things to the fanzine so far and I would to contribute more in the future.
  • Twitter.  Twitter is an excellent networking tool and you can follow many great people on it.  I want to keep in contact with my followers.
  • My life.  I've had a full time job the whole time while writing this blog.  I am also now married  and I want to make sure I devote time to my family and friends.
So there we go.  There will be fewer posts in this blog, but I am by no means leaving gamebooks alone.  I want to devote more writing time to writing actual gamebooks.  

I would like to thank you all for following me and hope that you continue to do so into 2012.  There is lots to look forward to and although you will get fewer posts from me here, you will get more from me in other areas.

Happy gamebooking!