Sunday, February 19, 2012

My experiences of the Fool God or: Why I didn't finish writing a book when I'd finished the writing

I was very glad to have finally published a gamebook.  Temple of the Fool God contained a lot of firsts for me - first use of the Tunnels and Trolls system, first gamebook with art and my first gamebook that I published on RPGNow.  It was also the first book where I realised that once the writing is over, there is still a lot more of stuff to do with a book.  Stuff I used to consider to be less fun than the writing  but still needs to be done as it is very important such as proof reading, formatting, playtesting, inserting hyperlinks and publishing.  I used to consider it a tedious add on, but now that I've done these things a few times, I don't mind doing them now and actually even enjoy them.

The idea

I got the idea of the dungeon's theme from my thoughts and reading on the trickster.  I wanted trickster characters, trickster races and even the dungeon to act like a trickster.  I had the idea of a kingdom where the king is being advised by fools from both the idea of fools in Tudor times and the idea of the Shakespearean fool, especially the fool in King Lear who speaks to King Lear wisely yet escapes punishment because he is a fool.  There was also the idea of the wise fool in the middle ages who through their innocence and simplicity would be closer to God and could  therefore impart wisdom.


I had read a few TnT solos and most of them were either only suitable for warriors or for wizards.  Rogues weren't particularly good at either book, so I wanted a system that could incorporate both magic and fighting.  It was for this reason that I went through the spell list and came up with uses for spells that did not need to be referenced in the text.  In Temple of the Fool God, I came up with a list of spells that could be used before combat and decided that the find object spell could be used to add 1 to the treasure table roll in order to get more treasure.  That meant that there were fewer spells to reference in the text.  I managed to get at least one use for most other spells.  I gave a list of spells that weren't going to be used in the solo so that rogues wouldn't choose a useless spell.

I also came up with a talent for each stat that would be useful in the solo and stated that the player could swap their current talent for one used in the book.  In future solos, I will have a wider range of talents.

I filled the dungeon with all the references to fools and tricksters I could find.  I tried to make the logic of the dungeon quite contrary to normal thought.  I hope it worked.  I especially enjoyed the encounter before the Fool God himself.


Thanks to Murray for introducing
me to this picture.
This was the first gamebook I wrote that I have put artwork in.  I used public domain art from the following sites: - Scott Malthouse directed me here. -  jonny_automatic had a lot of good clipart for me to use.

In future, have the situation fit the art. - I like working with restrictions.  I can't work with a blank slate.  Restrictions breed creativity.

Since writing Temple of the Fool God, I have discovered another public domain clipart site -


I went through Lulu and RPGNow.  They were both straightforward.  Lulu required a bit of fiddling - the font had to be embedded and the image had to be 595 by 841pixels but they gave very clear, straightforward instructions on how to get your book online.

So there we go.  You can buy Temple of the fool God from here but I would like to write more TnT solos in future.

Happy gamebooking!


  1. I like this. This is something I think about a lot. I've heard the description that there are three stages of writing: planning, the actual writing, and then editing, and each is longer and more time consuming than the last, and I think that is relatively true.

    Each also comes with it's own challenges. Planning is, in some senses, the most fun, and possibly the most important, but it's also the hardest to justify time spent on it, because you have so little to show for your efforts during this stage, aside from pages and pages of notes. Writing is both easy and incredibly incredibly hard, but at least you feel like you're getting something done when you watch that word count climb. Editing is the one that all-too-often gets dropped, because by that point you're exhausted. Once you type that last word in place you want to just cry, "Finished!" and collapse. But then the real *work* begins.

    1. Absolutely. I need to get out of the mindset where I collapse after the writing as bad editing can ruin a book.

    2. Congratulations! I just notice your new Gamebook!
      Do I need special rules for playing it?

    3. Thanks for the comment, Ikaros - you can get a free version of the rules from

      If you play the book as a warrior, these rules will suffice.