Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 in review

Happy new year, gamebookers! 2016 is just around the corner, so I thought I'd be original and go review the past year and talk about what's going on in the future.

Year in review

Asuria Awakens!!!!

Yes, my Gamebook Adventures book came out this September. It felt great to finally get my book out to the world and also to have great reviews for it.

Legend of the Wayfarer

My mini gamebook series has reached 8 books now. I want to make shorter gamebooks but also make them better, such as including hyperlinks in the books. I want to system to be sustainable and possible to do in my spare time at the rate of 1 a month. Having books of 80-120 sections each are too big to do once a month with the spare time I have. These books don't have hyperlinks as well and people do want them to make reading them easier.

Windhammer 2015

My gamebook, Isaac Newton: Badass Ninja Crimefighter did not win any prizes, but I'm proud of it anyway. At the very least, I'm glad that I managed to get over my problem with working out titles.

AFF2 - I have contributed lots and lots to the forum. As well as the adventures (see my bibliography), I have made a collection of other things to help with AFF2. Have a look on the forums for loads more homebrew stuff.

For more information on what I have written, here is my bibliography.

My New Year's resolutions

Getting more blog posts

The thing is the gang of us who started blogging about gamebooks around 2010 then went on to write actual gamebooks. We all have jobs and a lot of us have children too. Since I started writing this blog in 2010, I have got married and had two children. I have also been approached by people to write some gamebooks and also my store of thoughts on gamebooks has started to run dry. Writing gamebooks has provided me with more thoughts, but I need the time to write them down.

I don't know how to get more posts - I have shared this blog with people, but they are equally busy. we need to find some new blood out there - people who are interested in gamebooks and interactive fiction and who are eager to share their thoughts and post their books. The audience is there.

If you want to contribute, please email me at

Revisiting old posts

I have mentioned before that my gaming guru is Mark Rosewater, lead designer of Magic the Gathering. I read Mark's Monday articles since he started writing them and also long after I played Magic seriously. One thing Mark did was revisit old posts that he had done in the past. I have been thinking about this for a while. I think the first posts I will revisit will be my 'How to Write a Gamebook' posts as I will want to go back to the core of writing a gamebook.

More gamebooks

I have some gamebooks in the works, which I don't want to talk about yet. Hopefully, they will come to light in 2016.

More Interactive Fiction

I have gradually become aware of Interactive Fiction circles, mainly by having my Windhammer entries Sharkbait's Revenge and Isaac Newton: Badass Ninja Crimefighter reviewed by Emily Short I have also started reading the These Heterogeeous Tasks blog.

I want to write something using Choicescript or Twine, so that will be something next year.

So there we are. I hope you all have a happy and prosperous 2016. Happy gamebooking!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Gamebook Kickstarters part 1: 6Quest

Good day to you, gamebookers!There is currently another gamebook kickstarter, which is for a lovely interactive program called 6Quest. Please look at it and back it to show your support!!!!

You can find the 6Quest Kickstarter page here.

You can find the demo here.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Corporate Treachery Meets Otherworldly Forces in MetaHuman, Inc.

Damn. I promised myself I wouldn't do this.

It's been a while since I posted anything on Lloyd of Gamebooks. The last few posts I wrote were back in the 2015 Summer of Gamebook Kickstarters (remember those heady days?), and each one of them was to promote various interactive fiction books or apps. Oh, they were all in earnest – I really was excited about those projects. But they all came down to selling something, nonetheless.

And yet, what has always most appealed to me about this excellent blog that Stuart Lloyd has created is its, and his, honest adoration of gamebooks – the geeky fanboy element, if you will, a category under which I would also class myself. When Stuart first asked if I'd be interested in contributing to this blog, I wanted to respect that honesty – I intended my posts on Lloyd of Gamebooks to be first and foremost about discussing the gamebooks that I loved, old and new, and not merely a means of hawking my own wares. And yet, by the end of Summer 2015, I'd used this blog to do a lot of promo. It was about time I returned to my starry-eyed fanboy roots, and got back to talking about apps and gamebooks that I loved on their own merits, rather than because I had a dog in that particular race.

With that proviso in mind, I'm about to tell you how amazing my newest gamebook app is, and then I'm going to tell you where you can buy it.

It helps that I can be sincerely effusive – that I am enormously invested in this app I've been working on for about two years, which is probably the best thing I've ever written. Is it distasteful, even vulgar, for a writer to so brazenly market his or her own work? It shouldn't be. Particularly in this growing climate of ebookery and self-publishing. Particularly too in the interactive fiction sphere, which is still a niche domain, peopled by indie publishers and even indie-er writers. Oh, you can find a few giants who are still republishing Fighting Fantasy books, if you step outside the English language. But even they show no interest in breaking new ground. If we, as emerging writers, aren't prepared to market our own work, who will?

Dave Morris addressed this point in detail in an article he wrote for The Bookseller in February. Take a look. For gamebook writers especially, there are far worse people to consult for advice.

Bref, as the French say when they want to change the subject. Let's talk about MetaHuman, Inc.

MetaHuman, Inc. is an interactive fiction story in which you play as CEO of a nebulous corporation that specialises in creating Enhancements – superhuman abilities, for sale to the highest bidder. You must navigate the tribulations of the business world – recruiting and managing staff, say; prioritising Enhancement projects and building the resources necessary to handle them – while striving to raise your company's share price as high as possible. Because, should it fall too low by the end of the year, MetaHuman's shareholders won't be pleased. And they aren't the kind of preternatural beings that you want to have displeased with you.

Yes, MetaHuman, Inc. is a tale of corporate dealings and treachery. But it is also a tale of sorcerous powers and bleeding-edge technologies – and the consequences and responsibilities of integrating such modern-day miracles into your own body. As you govern the fortunes of MetaHuman Incorporated, you'll face mercenary psychics, and fiery creatures out of Arabian myth. Worst of all, when the extraterrestrial parasites known as the Surgeons attempt to gain dominion over the planet Earth, you must decide what role MetaHuman will play in repelling this incursion – or whether you wish to help the aliens, in the hope of gaining immense power.

In terms of game mechanics, Choice of Games, this app's publisher, has a track record of steering away from the clean-cut 'skills' that you would find in RPGs – 'You're good at this skill, you aren't so good at this...' – and preferring variables that reflect a degree of nuance on the player's part. And so, here you can play as a CEO displaying Ruthlessness or Compassion, one who shows a great deal of Candor or Guile. Publicly misbehave, and your company's Image will suffer, unless you can put a good spin on things. You can try to keep morale high amongst your staff – or you can bully and intimidate them into good behaviour. As mentioned, your company's Share Price is paramount, and it's a good idea to build up the Resources necessary to develop the really high-level Enhancements.

Ah yes, the Enhancements, the bread and butter of MetaHuman Incorporated. These are, essentially, superpowers-for-sale, and the key to building up a good company profile. You can direct your company towards focusing on magical or hi-tech research, Witchery or Superscience; most Enhancements fall within one domain or the other, though a few walk the line between the two extremes. In writing this game, I wanted to shy away from including 'classic' superpowers – and so you won't find super-strength, or the ability to fly listed amongst MetaHuman's potential projects. Instead, you may be able to develop Heightened Legerity, Hex of the Arc Savant, Technopathy, Psi-activator, Probability Filter, and a bunch of others. And, yes, if your company develops these abilities, you, as CEO, get first taste of the finished product.

And the game is big. It's about 260,000 words long, in total. Word count in apps can be a bit misleading – maybe 15% of that word count is coding rather than content. Plus, when comparing an app and a dead-tree book, in an app it's far easier to copy and paste a chunk of text, editing for continuity; do that, and that's a big brick of words that you have to count twice. Still, you've got maybe the equivalent of three Fighting Fantasy books crammed into this app. When you buy MetaHuman, Inc. you get your money's worth, any way you look at it.

It's an added bonus that I love, love, love the game's cover art, by Paul Guinan. My one-line brief for that was along the lines of, 'I think the app's cover should be MetaHuman's company logo – something suitably sinister.' The final cover, up at the top of this page, is really fantastic. Thanks for that, CoG, and Paul Guinan in particular.

So, I'm really proud of this game, and I wholeheartedly recommend that you take a look at it. You can play the first three chapters of the game for free right now, on the Choice of Games website. If you want to buy the game now, it's currently on sale until 4th January 2016. You'll get 40% off the regular price.

I hope you enjoy it. And, once again, please excuse me for using this space to sell my stuff.

(Post by Paul Gresty)

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Blog posts I read to improve my gamebook writing

Hello gamebookers! I hope you are well and gamebooking along quite nicely. Here is a list of five links that I have found myself going back to when I want to remind myself if the gamebook I a writing is a good one.

The Brewin's Guide to Writing Better Gamebooks - This is full of tips and things to avoid when writing a gamebook. I reminded myself of them when writing Asuria Awakens and realised that I had included all the items that you need to avoid instant death at the beginning, so I added an extra item towards the end to avoid the death section.

Game Design Principles by Ashton Saylor - I go back to this one normally for rule 1. I have put some things in gamebooks that I thought were funny or clever, but they turned out to not work because they annoyed the player.

A Bestiary of Player Agency on These Heterogeneous Tasks blog - this is an important blog post to read if you want to get the most out of your options in gamebooks. There is a lot more to options than just offering sections to turn to and this post allows you to think about more options that you could use.

Standard Patterns in Choice Based Games on These Heterogeneous Tasks blog and also Classifying and Rating Linearity on Jake Care's blog. I like these posts as they let me classify the gamebook I am making and then let me think about whether it is panning out in the way I want it to. Now that I am using the Gamebook Authoring Tool which provides flow diagrams, I compare general shapes of the diagrams.

So there you go. These 5  posts are all quite long, so there is plenty to get your teeth into there, but if you read them, digest them and follow the principles, you won't do much wrong with your gamebooks. Unless you don't proofread them.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Magic systems that don't warp the world

I've been taking some time away from my Legend of The Wayfarer last month to do some Advanced Fighting Fantasy stuff and real life stuff, but I've updated the system (and I'll be updating books 1-5 to fit it later) and I'm about half way through book 6.

One thing that I had an issue working out was magic. I wanted magic in my world to be present, but not affect it too much. I also did not want a situation where some people were making non-magical tools, professions or weapons obsolete.

This is a topic that people ussually ask about Dungeons and Dragons. If having a bunch of spells that can do everything a rogue and warrior of a comparable level can do, then why have rogues and warriors? If every novice cleric can cure wounds, and it only takes a little bit of experience to cure diseases and poison and not too much experience to cure death, why don't people live out their natural lifespans and nver catch a disease?

One answer is that magic is rare. Dungeon Crawl Classics has a breakdown of the percentage of the population by level and 95% of the population is 0 level (which are incapable of using magic). Of the remaining 5%, almost no one is above level 2.

That is one reason.

DCC also has a magic system where there is a huge range of effects. A spell that opens doors can have an effect that ranges from complete failure to destroying all doors in a mile radius.

However, this is difficult to do in gamebooks.

Maelstrom (and it's  medieval version, Maelstrom Domesday) have a very interesting version where there are no lists of spells. Instead, you describe the effect you want, and then you have to roll to see if you know the relevant spell and then you are capable of casting it. Spells are ranked in terms of difficulty depending on how removed from reality you want to be. Trying to do something that is likely to happen is quite easy. The more improbable the effect, the harder it is to pull off.

There are some interesting comparisons here. A novice Dungeons and Dragons wizard can make a random object shine like a torch, but this would be one of the hardest possible spells in Maelstrom.

I prefer this kind of magic - sure, wizards have  power over the world, but the only effects that they can produce are those that could have happened anyway. This is the way that the charms skill in the Virtual Reality books worked (at least the ones by Dave Morris). If you had charms, things would happen in your favour, which were unlikely but possible (such as skarvench having a misfire on his cannon at just the right time or your charm blocking a bullet that he fired at you).

From what I remember of The Golden Bough this is how a lot of sympathetic magic worked. Hunters would put the lead bullets in their mouths before firing them as this action would represent them putting the meat from the animal that they will shoot into their mouths and make it more likely to hit something. In this case, there are still only two possible outcomes if they fire a gun at an animal - they hit it or they don't hit it - but performing the action makes hitting it more likely.

This is the kind of effect I wanted in my game, but I did not want to affect skills (which would make everyone hypercompetent). Instead, magic in my world affects luck. In Legend of the Wayfarer, magic only allows you to reroll fate rolls, which means that a) the only outcomes you get are normally possible b) your magic could just produce the same result or a worse one c) no one would see anything supernatural; just that you are slightly luckier than others.

I have not decided how many people can use this magic - it is one of the 12 possible skills, but I haven't done a skill breakdown.

There is also another type of magic (mysticism) where the character is more aware of spirits and fae, is better at communicating with them and might be able to protect themselves from them. However, in these cases, there are no huge effects.

I have given myself the get out clause that there is more powerful magic that can do impossible things in this world, but for mortals to use it, it requires several items and long incantations and sacrifice. In short, powerful magic (such as curing a disease, teleportation or enchanting something) will only be used as a plot point in books.

I have also had the idea of 'gods' in this world who wield more powerful magic. However, some of these gods are not magical - merely rare monsters (such as dragons, sphinxs, treents etc.) and the humanoid gods with magic would have the equivalent power of a level 5 wizard or cleric from Dungeons and Dragons with some immortality thrown in (although in a sense that if you kill the mortal form, it will return some time later, meaning that you can stop these gods doing something if you kill them - they just won't stay dead). This idea was inspired by a very old article about Gandalf that is all over ther internet.

I think this would make it more interesting as it will prevent a deus ex machina.

Anyway, if you want more Legend of the Wayfarer stuff, go here.

Happy gamebooking!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Arborell requires patrons

Hello gamebookers! The Windhammer results have been announced. I've loved this year's entries and I would like to congratulate all the winners :).

Wayne Densley has put a great deal of effort into creating the wonderful Windhammer competition, which started all the way back in 2008. It has done a lot for the gamebook world in terms of giving an outlet for talented gamebook writers and bring a community together.

Wayne has also written many gamebooks of his own in a rich world. Please go and check them out. He has made them free for everyone to read for years, which is wonderful.

Now Wayne has discovered the brilliance of Patreon and you can give back to him. I've pledged $7 a month where he will be releasing a series of micro gamebooks. At $7 a month, it will be a steal.

So check out the Patreon page and pledge away.

Happy gamebooking!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Kickstart your gamebook Christmas

Good ay, gamebookers! I've actually managed to get a few posts written this month (you will see them at some point) and I'm quite enjoying blogging again. I thought I'd swing by and tell you about three lovely gamebook kickstarters currently running.

6Quest - a game of interactive fiction

6Quest is a Hungarian game, but they want to extend their wonderful gamebooks to the English speaking world. There is a massive world to explore and I will be looking forward to exploring more of it. If you want to try a demo of 6Quest, go here.

Tin Man Games does The Warlock of Firetop Mountain

This is already on 50000 AUD with 38 hours to go. Tin Man Games is using the original Fighting Fantasy book to show off its new engine with maps, miniatures and strategic combat. The book will also have many extra features to it, such as being able to play different characters, extra rooms and much much more. Back it for your rewards before it's too late...

ZFiles: Infection - Videogame, comic and zombie apocalypse

This interactive game looks gorgeous. I am really looking forward to the awesomness that it can produce. It is combining a comic and gamebook to make something that looks wonderfully presented and slickly put together. Check it out!

So back back back people!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

RPG - Mazes and Minotaurs

I love Mazes and Minotaurs, the Ancient Greek themed RPG started all the way back in 1972.

I get a warm sense of nostalgia when I read books like this - the font, the artwork, the way that some of the rules are a bit loose and unrealistic, or, in some cases, state that  they are supposed to be loose and unrealistic.  I'm not sure exactly what it is, but I get that with other books like that such as with Tunnels and Trolls and some retro clones.

For example, Mazes and Minotaurs spits int the face of having different damage for all of the different kinds of weapons.  Heroes deal 1d6 damage with most weapons, 1d3 damage with daggers, or 2d6 damage if they are large weapons.

The game is willing to throw away complexity in order to bring on an enjoyable experience, steeped in the flavour of Ancient Greek heroics.  There are several classes that are not generic fighter, mage, thief, but rather Greek type classes such as amazon, spearman, centaur or elementalist.

Experience is earned based on your class.  Classes are split into three types - warrior, magician or specialist (hunters and thieves are specialists).  Warriors earn glory points by vanquishing monsters and accomplishing heroic feats.  Magicians earn wisdom points for vanquishing supernatural creatures and exploring the unknown.  Hunters get experience for killing beasts (animals) and using hunting, and thieves get experience for acquiring loot and using thievery.

The Greek gods feature heavily too and so do many ancient Greek artefacts.  I always had a thing for Greek myths when I was little and this game allows you to live them.

The new edition provides material almost as entertaining as the game itself and that is anecdotes and letters from players of the game over the years, usually involving arguing over rules and situations.  They are entertaining to read.  I hope that more are published online.

The Mazes and Minotaurs core books are also FREE along with many more resources, which can all be found here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Villain Profile - The Beast from Kill the Beast by Victor Cheng

Villain profiles return!  In my quest to promote more amateur gamebooks, I will look at a villain from a book I've found on  I will mention these great amateur books in future posts.  The Beast is from Kill the Beast by Victor Cheng who has also written In the Footsteps of a Hero.  So, on with The Beast.

Appears in

Kill the Beast by Victor Cheng.  No prizes for guessing what the aim of the book is.


You are a villager who is plodding along fine until The Beast comes from nowhere and crushes houses and crops.  It also carries off some of your fellow villagers.  You are tasked with going to a nearby town and hiring someone who can kill it.
The Beast has a thick soil coloured hide that resists blows.It also has 'tentacles, primitive limbs and big eyes – dreadful, demonic eyes.' It is also described as a 'great barrel of a creature' with a 'toothy maw'


The beast is roaming around the countryside and can strike at any time.  This fact is made more terrifying by the fact that The Beast can burrow under the earth and can burst out of the ground in front of you at any time.  Now that's a surprise you don't want.  7/10


The Beast's toothy maw and its many tentacles and limbs make it an extremely dangerous foe.  It has a skill of 12 and a stamina of 15.  It also has a thick hide that '... seems to be made of the Earth itself'.  Damage dealt against The Beast in combat is reduced by 1 point.  Besting it in combat will definately be difficult.  Your skill is between 5 and 7, so it will be suicide to take the Beast on yourself which is why you hire someone else to do it.  However, along the way, you may get a chance to weaken it and reduce its skill which will go a long way.  The trick to killing the beast is reducing its skill so that if you get someone who can hit it constantly then they will gradually wear it down.  It takes some luck and good judgement to do this, however.  7/10


The Beast does not seem to want to do anything beyond wrecking the countryside and eating people.  5/10


As beasts go, this one definitely seems unique (bonus point).  It's origin story is not explained, but I imagine it to be some kind of abandoned cosmic horror or the failed experiment of a mad wizard or an animal that has been mutated by evil magic or evil substances.  However, being a Beast means that it's not going to be an urbane Bond villain any time soon.  Of course, that also means that its actually going to kill someone.  6/10

Diabolical genius

Like Hate, there is no evidence of The Beast being sentient (of course absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but I'm going on the source material here.  of course, if Victor says that it is, then that's a different matter.)  1/10

Total score

It is not something that you want to come across, but it's not going to come up with a master plan to destroy the world any time soon.  26/50

Monday, October 5, 2015

E0 rules for DnD 5th edition

A little while ago, I published E2 rules for 5th edition DnD. Now I've gone to the logical extreme and turned them into E0 rules - characters are all "0 level" and only advance by feats. This is similar to how my Legend of the Wayfarer rules work. The only levelled characters in this world are "gods" who go to levels 1-5. I may work out the "god" class later on (it will be quite close to the bard class).

Roll your abilities

You can use whatever method you like, but I'm going for the DCC way of 3d6 in order (but I'm doing this for 2-4 characters per player, so at least one will be good).

Each character has 12 hit points + CON modifier.

Each character has a +2 proficiency bonus.

Choose your racial benefits

My world is human centric so they are the only option (of course, you can use whatever races you like). To increase variety amongst characters, I will use the variant human traits (PHB page 31) where you can increase two scores by 1 point, gain proficiency in one skill and gain 1 feat (PHB page 165).

Choose background

Also choose other details and equipment (you can use Bernie's random tables)

Choose feats

In addition to their human feat, players can now choose 3 extra feats.


The character can then improve for every 500xp they get. The character gets to choose whether to get 2 ability points either for one ability or split between 2 ability scores OR they can get another feat. Bear in mind that some feats are of limited or no use in this world.

Rule changes

Skills are no longer tied to any stat and multiple skills could help with a particular roll.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

An RPG you might need to take a bath after playing

In summer 2014, I decided to read a load of RPG sourcebooks for inspiration (although what inspiration, I'm not sure of).  Here are some of my thoughts...

Hello gamebookers!  Today, I present you with a free RPG that takes up 1 page - it is the 2d6 Quick and Dirty Roleplaying game rules.  I don't remember exactly how or when I found it, but I know it's been up for a few years.  For some reason, it stuck in my mind.  I think it was because I was a poor student at the time and wanted some free sources of entertainment.  And, thinking about it, it is halfway to being a gamebook system.

The core mechanic is this - ability tests are made by rolling 2d6 and trying to achieve 8 or more (the number could be higher if the task is harder).  Each hero has some traits that may give a +1 bonus to the roll if they are relevant to the test.  It is up to the player to decide what traits they have (as long as they fit in with the genre and that they are not too powerful, such as "immortal").  They also get a title and some quirks.Opposed tests are done by both parties rolling 2d6 and adding a value based on their traits and also items.  The loser uses the ability to use 1 trait temporarily (ranging from getting it back as soon as combat is over to recuperating for some time, based on whether the combat is a sword fight or a game of chess or something in between).  The loser ends up with no traits (and this could lead to a vicious cycle where, eventually the combatants lose useful traits and so roll lower numbers and lose more).

And that's the whole RPG.  I think it is halfway to a gamebook system because of its simplicity.  It seems that simple systems are the way to go according to Dave Morris (who is known to rankle at the idea of having to use maps in his Blood Sword books) and Ian Livingstone (who scrapped skill and luck in Blood of the Zombies).

The half that is not provided is the list of traits that you might need.  It is OK to more open in RPGs as the players' source of feedback is a living person with enough imagination and ingenuity to respond to what the players might come up with.  However, with a gamebook, the author is not there and so your options are the ones that the author thought of at the time of writing, so there is not point in thinking of anything else.  So in that case, the author needs to think of traits that would be useful for the problems that they have presented.

Another thing the system needs is a "hit point" system for characters.  I am not a fan of the rule that characters lose traits in opposed tests, because, as I mentioned above, it sets up a positive feedback loop where the loss of one trait will reduce the chance of the character's survival, which will lead to the loss of more traits which will further reduce their chances, which will eventually lead to death.  In order to keep it simple, these 'hit points' could be a representation of mental and physical fortitude (as the opposed tests could be anything from combat to having an argument).  These points could either be restored straight away or after some time.  That way, for the most part, the only danger the hero needs to worry about is the current one.  Destiny Quest does this well, where everything is restored after a combat.

One last thing that I think they could improve, though this is by no means a necessity, and, unless you care about statistics as much as I do, you probably won't care, is that I think 2d6 gives too large a bell curve of results, making a bonus too important.  I can explain what I mean if you use anydice for a 2d6 roll.  Rolling an 8 or more has a 42% chance.  If you have a +1 bonus, you need to roll a 7 or more, which has a 58% chance.  That's a 17% increase for 1 point.  However, after that, you start to get diminishing returns.  If you have a +2 bonus, you have a 72% chance (14% increase) and a +3 bonus gives you an 81% chance (9% increase).  Ages ago, I showed you that if you were having opposed checks and the opponent had a +3 bonus over you, you were pretty much doomed.  That is because the fewer dice you use, the more impact a bonus would give.  I think people use 2d6, because most non gamer houses have that many maximum, but more dice would be better.  Too many would mean too small an effect, however.  for my system, I settled with 4d6.

So, what can I take from the Quick and Dirty system?
  • You can do a lot with skill tests.
  • You can individualise a character very easily
  • Make sure the bonuses are not too game breaking.
  • Don't have a system where you are punished for losing.  Or if you can't avoid it, just give them a quick, clean death.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Asuria Awakens!

Hello gamebookers! It is a great time to be a gamebook fan at the moment.

First of all, the Windhammer entrants have been announced and there are 16 books this year. They will be made available on September 17th and voting will go on until 14th November. The winners will be announced on November 21st.

Also, Tin Man Games have released Songs of the Mystics and my own book, Asuria Awakens for Android!!!!

I am so pumped that my gamebook has been released, and what is more, that Tin Man Games turned it into an awesome app with excellent art by Tony Hough.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Long and Winding Road... leads to Bodie?

Ashton here, with one more update about the Kickstarter campaign for "The Good, the Bad, and the Undead." We are in the final hours now! You still have time to get in there and pledge.

The last of the Collector's Edition books have been claimed, but there's still room to name a character or to have an illustration of yourself as a cowboy vampire included in the book! Don't miss out!

Coming up next, I find myself looking forward to the last stages of writing the novel and developing the rpg. Unfortunately, creative time has been in short supply lately, with my main project having become managing the Kickstarter campaign myself. Now I'm looking back at my story notes, looking at where I left off, and thinking about moving to the climactic finale of the book.

After all the excitement lately, we've been considering a vacation, and this may be the perfect opportunity to go soak in a little Old West atmosphere.

I've discovered an old ghost town here in California called Bodie. It's not Texas, but it's about the best I can do at the moment. Actually, it turns out that one of the inspirational images we've used for art for "The Good, the Bad, and the Undead," are actually pics that came from Bodie!

Recognize this?

That's the old Methodist church in Bodie, CA. And I imagine the local saloon in Affliction, Texas looking a lot like this:

Once things calm down a bit, we'll be planning a trip out there, both to get away and to soak up some atmosphere before writing the final scenes. 

If you'd like to take a closer look at Bodie yourself, check out this video by a California local on visiting Bodie with his son. There's some really cool background info about the town there, including how killings occurred almost daily, and how the minister, Reverend Warrington, concluded, "Bodie is a sea of sin, because of greed, passion, and the overall lust of the civilians in the city."

Check out this video by youtube user moneybags73:

Also--there's still 10 hours left to contribute to the Kickstarter! 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

5 years!

5 years ago today, I published a short blog post about how I should just complete things. A lot has happened since then.

Before I get into what's going on, The Midnight Legion does not have long left - go and pledge!

The gamebook world

The gamebook community is a very different place now than it was back in 2010 when I started. Blogs have sprung up all over the place and it seems that gamebooks are something that loads of people love and want to write. It's great to see this happen and there is now too much for me to keep up with. When I started this blog, I thought it would be a pure retrospective look at the gamebooks of old, but now so many new ones have sprung up, it's great. It seems that past gamebooks are getting revivals and finally, Fabled Lands is getting book 7 printed. I have met so many excellent gamebook buddies and I hope this continues for another 5 years.

Legend of the Wayfarer

Before I start, I have decided book 6 today to celebrate my blog's birthday! Check it out! It is available for PWYW.

My system. It took a lot of planning and changing to get it going, and then after 6 books, I wanted to change the system again. At the time of writing, I have written 7 and a half books and the tweaks get more an more minor (the best I can hope for) and now I want to build a world with my system.

My system is not just meant to be quite simple and versatile - it is also meant to allow me to write gamebooks as quickly as possible - tests usually have a difficulty of 4, but 5 for harder tests. I then have to think of the skills that might help from a list of 12 and that's it. All the maths has already been done when I made the system and I added some failsafes (using xp and items for rerolls, getting things that can reroll fate rolls) that means that if I do mess up a number, it won't be devastating. Also, I don't have instant death from die rolls, so it is quite hard to die randomly.

The shortness is not an accident either. These gamebooks can be written quickly, but I can also assess what people like about them and if something goes wrong, I haven't put too much effort into it. A lot of little gamebooks means that I get more feedback and so I can correct myself more.

This system is teaching me to write gamebooks as quickly and as efficiently as possible, so that when I write a big one, I can plough through it and not waste time.

The Lloyd of Gamebooks team

They say that every problem is an opportunity if you look at it the right way, and last year, I was facing diminishing amounts of free time (for wonderful reasons - my firstborn was growing up fast and I had another baby on the way!) and my well of thoughts on gamebooks was drying up. I was eating into the stockpile of posts that I had made in the early days of the blog and I had no idea to keep it going.

I noticed that a lot of gamebook blogs were limping along with a few posts per year, and I didn't want to lose readership by posting infrequently.

I don't know how, but the solution hit me - all the people who make a few posts per year about gamebooks could also post here and link to their posts in their own blogs. That way, this blog would be updated quite frequently and the other blogs would not be forgotten. It is for this reason that you now see posts from people such as Paul Gresty and Justin MacCormack (as well as others, occasionally) on the blog now. I'm trying to post one post a month just to keep some regularity, but now I feel that I should focus on writing actual gamebooks and I am attempting to write one short (around 100 sections) gamebook a month using the Legend of the Wayfarer rules.

I would love to thank everyone who has contributed to the blog and kept the community strong. Live together, die alone and all that.

What exactly have I written?

In preparation for this post, I listed my bibliography with links. You can look at it here.

The future...

I started this blog to get all the thoughts I had on gamebooks over the 18 years I had known of them (at the time) out and to discuss them. Now that stream of original thoughts is running dry and I have discussed and analysed gamebooks and games, I want to write more actual gamebooks.

I want to up my game. Almost all of the gamebooks I have written are less than 200 sections. I want my gamebooks to be bigger and better, so I'm going to write more, and they're going to be longer.

In terms of community, I want to get to know the interactive fiction world and also the international gamebook world a bit more and learn some programming language to allow me to take my books to new platforms.

So here's to another 5 years, everyone. Looking forward to it!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Lone Wolf book 2 - Fire on the Water playthrough

"Fire on the Water", written by Joe Dever, illustrated by Gary Chalk.

Before starting on this adventure, as per the rules laid out at the start of this endeavour we treat the previous book as if it had been completed correctly (because the narrative of this book does, you see) and update our Kai skills. To hunting, tracking, sixth sense, mind shield, animal kinship, we now add another skill - a weapon skill in swords.

Having arrived at the king's palace in the previous book, we are told that the darklords armies are massing to take the city. As we start, there are more gribbly monsters outside the city gates than the whole of the final Lord of the Rings movie. The only way to defeat them is to recover an ancient mystical sword, which was loaned to a neighbouring country. Way back then, this was the usual method of cementing alliances between nations, based very much on the time-tested technique of kids swapping stickers and baseball cards.

As I'm the last surviving member of the kai and the only guardian of their powerful wisdom left in the entire world, naturally the king insists that I am sent to a safe location far from the war, with a unit of his best men to protect me, so that my knowledge may be preserved for future generations... Nah, of course not, he sends me off to recover the sword alone. Fantasy adventures aren't much fun if the kings of nations play it cautiously, after all.

I'm given fourteen gold coins, a sword and a set of chainmail armour. I also carry the royal seal, two meals and a crystal star pendant from the previous books. Now, let's rock.

The adventure starts as the captain of the guards escorts me to the docks, to board a ship that will take me the first part of the way on my quest. I'm confronted by a man who claims to be the first mate, who asks me to prove that I am the Kai by using one of my skills. After I command some mice to bring me cheese, he is so amazed that he summons two of his biggest friends to kill me. Yeah, turned out that he wasn't the first mate at all, but a servant of the darklords. You'd have thought that my ability to slice the nuts off a passing housefly would have put some doubt into his mind about this plan...

When I was finally able to catch up with the ship, it was already pulling out of the harbour, ready to leave me behind. Which was not exactly encouraging. Even less encouraging was several days into the voyage, when our stock of food was set alight and our water supply poisoned. Things were not going well, and they took a turn for the worse when we fished an injured man out of the sea. He told us that his ship had been wrecked by pirates, but Lone Wolf suspected that the darklords were behind it. But then, he says that every time he misplaces his car keys.

Following this ominous series of events, which are only slightly more ominous than a secret message scrawled on the wall in blood, the game decides that I've spent far too much time enjoying a comfortable voyage and sends a storm. The ship is ruined, leaving me bobbing up and down on some driftwood. After an extended period of time, I wash up on shore, having chosen not to flag down any passing fishermen out of fear that they might be the afore mentioned pirates. You can never trust fishermen, I tell you!

After regaining my strength with some fruit I found growing on a nearby tree, I headed inland until I found a caravan route. Fortune smiled upon me as I was able to hitch a ride on a carriage, and before long I had ridden into a city, Ragadorn.

One of the fellow passengers took the time to tell me that the man who owned the city was evil, which is about what you can expect in any city's politics. I quickly make my way through the city, only encountering one group of muggers (good going, you normally get four times that many just walking through Liverpool), and get to the next coach station. The attendant tells me that a ticket will set me back a good 20 gold, which I don't have. But after about ten minutes of solid gambling at the local (and very convenient to even exist in this book, so close to the coach station!) casino, I've won enough to pay my ticket.

Leaving Ragadorn behind, I board the coach with five fellow travelers - two brothers who are knights, a down on his luck merchant, a traveling priest, and a warrior woman. The coach rattled along for a few days, with each stop at inns for the night leaching me for more gold. One afternoon while driving through a mountain pass, falling boulders kill the driver. Everyone assumes it was an accident, but my Kai skill of paranoia tells me it was someone trying to kill me!

That evening the six of us arrive at the inn, I'm now down to my last 3 gold after I pay for the room. When dinner is served, I find that it's been poisoned. I'm told that I can go and attack the would-be assassin, but the options I'm given are the five other travelers. Guess I can't just question the cook or the waiter, then!

Given the option of leaping up and attacking one of my travel companions, I realise that I don't have many clues to examine. The only one I can think of is that the priest announced that the failing rocks at the mountain pass were an act of God rather than an attempt to kill us. It's a pretty sketchy reasoning, but I roll with it. Amazingly, it turns out to be correct - after I kill him, I find that he has a whole bunch of darklord mementos in his backpack. This doesn't seem to be enough to convince the witnesses that I didn't just murder the priest, though. I'm not given the option of simply explaining it all, so instead I have to run away.

The next day, I find a man lying injured on the roadside. He's been impaled by a spear and, when I remove it, he turns into a horrible gribbly monster and tries to eat me. I'm glad to have a weapon again, and I remember that this spear is very important later in the adventure... Once the fiend is dead, I push onwards until I eventually get to the port.

The port is a bit of a hassle, as I need to show the king's seal at an office in order to get a pass to continue onwards. Wild adventure of office red tape! After navigating some very dull offices and getting my red pass, I'm introduced to Rhygar, a stand up chap who offers to accompany me. One of the army's best and a heroic veteran, the book tells us how awesome Rhygar is. So, naturally as per all fantasy books, he'll be dead by sundown.

Almost immediately after we leave the port, we are attacked by an entire cabal of helghasts, the same gribbly monster we meet a few days ago. Rhygar and I have no choice but to flee from these nazgul wannabes, so we pelt it at full speed across the countryside. Eventually we come to one of several large tunnels which we are required to pass through, and one of the helghasts ambushes us, having hid in an overturned carriage within the tunnel. Thankfully I kept ahold of the magic spear, and killed the bugger without too much difficulty.

Now, I actually do remember the helgasts very vividly, because when I played the game as a kid, encountering them here had a good chance of being an instand-death moment. I'm unsure what it is about the adventure that worked out differently here. Perhaps it was because I chose to keep the spear. For whatever reason, though, I distinctly remember the helgasts as being horrible. And they have a face that looks like a cross between Norman Bates' mom and the Emperor from Star Wars.

I leave Rhygar behind and make the final rush towards the capital. Stumbling into the waiting arms of the guards, I wave the royal seal at them, and they rush me to see the king. He's thrilled to see me - so thrilled that he unlocks the royal vault and hands over the legendary sword.

The Sommerswerd is pretty imba, to be honest. It gives my combat skill a massive boost, deals super damage to undead, and amplifies my sixth sense. It also glows in the dark. In all seriousness though, this moment is written in such a way that it genuinely does feel very epic. I'm so pleased with it that I don't even care when a messenger tells me that Rhygar's body was found in the field, eaten by helghasts. Told ya so.

I'm sure that, somewhere out there, Rhygar is someone's favorate character. Not mine, though, mine's Banedon. But it's only right to spare a moment's silence for Deadmeat- erm, Rhygar.

The last leg of the adventure is in sight, and I'm amazed that I've made it this far. The king sets me up with a new ship in order to get me home, where I can kill an entire army single handedly with this imba sword. The voyage goes fairly well, until we're attacked by a massive, gigantic death-ship. Not just one ship, either, but a full armada of ships, all full of undead, which is a rather poor choice by the opposition given my newfound epic sword of undead-killing. I leap onboard their ship, carving my way through them by the bucket load, until I eventually find who is leading the vessel - the evil wizard, Vonotor. I chase him off the ship, and we sink it. I'd rather been hoping for more of a confrontation between Lone Wolf and Vonotor, but that will have to wait for the third book. For now, we have an army to slay! Almost there!

Having broken through the enemy armada with far, far too much ease, I return to the field of battle, ready to turn the tide of the war by slaying the darklord in heroic combat, mano e mano. I'm expecting the book to end with a phenomenal battle, one that will break the siege and cement me as a hero across the land. Unfortunately, the heroic warrior Lone Wolf instead decides to use his sword on possibly the least heroic way possible - to zap the darklords tent with him inside it, from all the way across the field. He doesn't even see the enemy in person, and possibly kills even kills him while he's asleep (or having a dump, or jerking off, whichever is funnier).

So yeah, the ending was a little anticlimactic, but it's still only the second gamebook I've actually finished in all the years I've been doing this blog, so that's a thing.

Despite that, though, the book is still damn good. Like the later Fighting Fantasy books, you get a real sense of having gone on a long journey. Finding the sword feels genuinely rewarding and suitably epic. It takes everything that worked with the first book and built on it to create something very memorable. The only thing that's really missing is a fight between Lone Wolf and the Darklord.

As a kid, I remember the helghasts being the most difficult part of this book, but I experienced none of the problems associated with my misadventures with them this time around, I'm unsure why that's the case but I'm definitely not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

It's also a good thing that the book had Vonotor put in an appearance, because he's the focus of the third book in the series. Check back in two weeks for the third book, Cavern of Kalte.

Lone Wolf Statistics at this point
Combat Skill – 15, Endurance – 25
Kai Skills - hunting, healing, sixth sense, mind shield, animal kinship, weaponskill swords (+2 CS)
Special items – Map, Crystal Star Pendant, Sommerswerd (+8 CS)

(If you've enjoyed this article, be sure to check out Justin MacCormack's two bestselling collections of dark fantasy stories - "Return to 'Return to Oz'" and "Cthulhu Doesn't Dance". His newest book, "Diary of a gay teenage zombie", is available now)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Books 1-5 of Legend of the Wayfarer out now!

Hello all! Books 1-5 of Legend of the Wayfarer are out now on PWYW (which can be £0).

You can get the core rulebook here.

If you want posts and analysis or if you want the books early, you can back me on Patreon.

Below are the blurbs for the books. Enjoy!

Deepbridge Danger Day

The town of Deepbridge is holds many strange inhabitants and you have no idea what you might walk into. Yet, there are many rewards for the daring adventurer and this is the perfect place to begin your legend.

Challenge of the Faerie Lord

A man has been accused of a crime and faces exile unless you can prove him innocent. To do this, you must brave an ancient and mystical forest, under the control of the fickle and dangerous Faerie Lord and his subjects. Dare you enter?

Risky Ventures

Looking for company, you hire yourself out as a guard to a caravan. Little do you know however, what a cursed journey it will be. Can you survive the bandits, strange creatures and wild folk and finally make it back to the comforts of civilisation?


The world is littered with many ancient ruins holding magic and treasures beyond the understanding of humanity. They also hold many dangers. You have decided to find one of these ruins and liberate these treasures. However, despite been left uninhabited for hundreds of years, pernicious sorcery keeps these treasures protected.

Seek and Ye Shall Find

 Baron Rogaris’s lands seem like a quiet place to stay, but there is opportunity here. People have lost things and people need to find things. If you can find these items, it will become very profitable for you. Of you could end up dead and forgotten in a ditch. But that’s the life of an adventurer such as yourself.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Legend of the Wayfarer 2nd edition rulebook out!

Good news everyone! After a load of tinkering, editing the first 5 books and writing books 6-8, my Legend of the Wayfarer system is back on track!

I have released the rulebook on RPG Now for the price of Pay What You Want (which can be £0).

I have also updated books 1-5 with the rules and they will be out in a week's time. Why?

Because on Patreon, if you pay $2 or more, you get the books a week before everyone else and so those people are enjoying the books right now.

Happy Wayfaring!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Artist Profile: Callie MacDonell

This is Ashton Saylor again, this time here to talk to you about the woman behind the beautiful art we've been providing for "The Good, the Bad and the Undead." At the time of writing this, we are 85% funded, and only on the 3rd day of the Kickstarter campaign! I think the magnificent illustrations by Callie MacDonell are a significant driving force behind this success. Here's to good art! And another to the people who make it! Us writers wouldn't be half what we are without you lot.

Finding the right artist for "The Good, the Bad and the Undead" was a project in itself. Time after time, we thought we found a great artist, only to have it fall through for one reason or another. Just as I was ready to tear my hair out from frustration, Callie came along with the right skills and talent and agreed to join the team.

A stylized self-portrait by Callie MacDonell

Callie MacDonell is a professional artist and designer. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, in California, where she works full time doing art, design, and video production for the mobile game company Kabam. She got her undergraduate degree in Media Arts and Animation from the Art Institutes International Minnesota, and went on to get her graduate degree in concept art from The Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

She has a remarkable array of eclectic experience, having done animation, writing, illustrations, motion graphics, design, video production, and concept art. She was a character and environment concept artist for the short film Curpidgeon, where she worked along side Pixar Art Director, Anthony Cristov. She did design work at Marvel Comics, using Marvel artwork to design merchandise such as T-shirts, jackets, children's wear and the like. And she worked as a writer for a TV show pilot for FonCo Creative Company... but if she told you the name, she'd have to kill you ;)

Callie is a lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy movies, tv shows and literature. She loves art in all forms, but is especially excited by opportunities to work on sci fi and fantasy projects within the comic and animation industries. She is currently working on her own short animation for children, "Cat Walrus," about an exchange student who is a cat-walrus mix, and she's struggling because it's picture day at school and she's clumsy on land and has nothing to wear... it's adorable!

In her own words, she couldn’t be more excited to be working on The Good, The Bad, and The Undead! We're excited to have her :) The book wouldn't be the same without her vision bringing it to life.

Callie MacDonell painting her own self-portrait

If you like her work, check out more of it!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Lone Wolf 1 - Flight from the Dark playthrough

Originally posted at

"Flight from the Dark", written by Joe Dever, illustrated by Gary Chalk.

Our adventure begins, as I'm sure we are all aware, with the destruction of the Kai monastery by the armies of the darklords. You are the sole survivor, etc. You, doubtless, know the story and how it begins. So let's dive right in to rolling up our titular character - Lone Wolf.

Character generation is remarkably forgiving on me, for a change. I have a decent 17 for my combat ability, equal to about a solid 10 for Fighting Fantasy's skill points. I have rolled endurance of 25, which would be equal to roughly 15 stamina points.

Kai disciplines are the core magic type of system in the Lone Wolf series. You pick five in this adventure, and gain more as the series processed. The five that I have selected here are - hunting, healing, sixth sense, mind shield, and animal kinship.

I start the adventure with an axe, probably the same one that Lone Wolf was using to cut firewood when the evil army attacked. In addition, I have 4 gold coins, one meal, and a quarterstaff.

This is the part where I would normally discuss the adventure back story, but it's relatively sparse in this book. The seeing is a traditional fantasy kingdom, you are a monk ranger type of a chap by the name of Silent Wolf. The land has historically been benighted by the terror of a group of lords of darkness called, surprisingly enough, the darklords. One morning, while Silent Wolf was out gathering firewood, the evil army invades and burns the monastery down, killing all your friends and adopted family. Impressively enough, this means that the entire Kai order has been massacred, because they were all in the monastery at the time enjoying the festival of big dinners. You are now alone - Lone Wolf.

So, let's get on with this, then. Our route is clear, we need to go and see the king, who will... Ek... Do whatever kings do in this situation. Raise an army or something. I start off, trudging through the forest, avoiding the energy orcs (called Giaks in this series) until I eventually run into a wizard. He is fending off a group of the giaks, and I help him out by hurling a rock at one of the buggers. Just call me Lone Hobbit.

Our wizard here is Banedon, and he has been sent here to tell the Kai about the army that are coming in our direction any moment now... Oh, woops, he arrived a little too late, ehh? Still, he gives me the symbol of his brotherhood, the pendant of the crystal star, which is bound to be useful. He also tells me that his order was betrayed by within - one of his below mages, Vonotor, betrayed them. I'm sure we'll see more of him again, probably two books from now. Anyway, I really like Banedon, and genuinely hope to see him again soon. Let's hope he appears in a future book (possibly Lone Wolf book 34: Wrath of the Rock-Throwing Wizard)

I stumble through the forest for a while until I'm chased by a pack of giaks. Attempting to his in a cave proves no use, as they find me and I have to fight two of them. They're not too tough, and I managed to find some gold in the cave for my time.

After meeting an old hermit who lives in a tree and gives me yet another weapon that I don't need because I have my axe, I stumble upon a hill. There is a tunnel through the hill, and a memory from childhood stirs. I remember that something bad happens if I either climb the hill, or go through the tunnel - one or the other, dammed if I can remember which. I chose the tunnel, and was immediately attacked by a giant insect monster, one which was actually damn hard to beat for this early in the game. The book grants me twenty gold for my effort, and yet another weapon. I should say here, finding a specific weapon is very useful if you have chosen the weapon skill ability for your character, for that respective weapon. So in that respect, it's good that the book makes so many available to you. However, it does mean that I am essentially tripping over daggers and war hammers all through the forest for this part of the adventure.

We eventually leave the forest and find a massive caravan of refugees, fleeing the evil army. I join them on their travels, and protect them from an airborne attack from the dark lords flying monsters. Choosing to protect some children who are trapped under a caravan leaves me open to assault from a horde of giaks, but the book is nice enough to treat them as a single enemy, so they aren't too much of a threat.

I heal up in an old farmhouse, and push onwards, where I encounter as royal regiment lead by the prince. He isn't doing too well though, as the battle quickly turns against him and he is felled by a monster called a Gourgaz. The damn thing is an utter tank and bloody near impossible to kill, in fact I'm sure that it's outright sadistic on the part of the author. Somewhere, Joe Dever is laughing at me.

With a spare four endurance points left after that utterly brutal fight, the price gives me a message to take to his father. I'd make a comment about inconsiderate quest givers, but given that he provides me with a horse, I can't really complain. I push onwards away from the battle, riding through the forest to avoid rampaging packs of doom wolves, and eventually catch sight of the capital. For a moment, I think I might make it there intact. But no, the book decides to remind me that my endurance is so low that I'm likely to die from enemy attacks if I ride right to the gate. It gives me two alternatives - jump into the river and swim, or take a short cut through the nasty, vicious, haunted graveyard of the dead, famous for the many thousands of innocent adventurers who have snuffed it from the ghosts that dwell within. Joy.

So, let's assess the choice here. The book indicates to us that running across the field is likely to attract attention of the enemy army, so it's clearly begging us to choose another option. Of the two, the river is the most innocent. Which means, I think, that it's a trap. Remember the Clash of the Princes Fighting Fantasy book, when I was eaten by invisible, carnivorous, implausible fish? Yeah, I'm not taking the river. So it's easier the graveyard of nastiness, or the field. The graveyard is the most likely option. It's set up to be so evil and dangerous, that we are bound to think that it hides a great treasure. Treasure which would attract the most desperate of adventures. But no, I'm not going to fall for that either. I make a break for the field.

I think that I choose quite well, because the biggest threat I encounter is some easily avoided wolves. After a quick stop at an old hut in the field, I'm beset by three bandits dressed as the kings soldiers. I'd actually have almost fallen for their disguise, were it not for my sixth sense. I push onwards for another day, and arrive at the capital.

The guards recognise me as one of the Kai and offer to take me to the king. Eager to stop in at some shops and spend s some of my considerable wealth of gold, I turn down his offer and head off on my own. Almost immediately someone steals some items right out of my backpack, I injure myself in a massive crowd of people, and I'm attacked by the city's resident madman.

I'm rather thankful to get out of the city streets when I find a herbalist. Even though my senses tell me to watch out and be careful, I decided to stick around and do some shopping. Whilst looking at the various magic wands that are on special offer, the herbalist's son jumps out from behind the counter and tries to kill me. Very poor customer service, let me tell you! My best guess is that he thought that I wasn't going to spend any gold, so he decided to kill me and take it all from my body anyway. I'm doing fairly well in the fight, until he throws an explosive pellet at me, and then proceeds to cut my throat.

That herbalist is getting a very bad review on trip advisor, let me tell you!

As one of the only three Lone Wolf games I had as a kid, Flight from the Dark has held up very nicely. The atmosphere is rich, with promising world building (although they rarely try to go beyond the usual fantasy genre tropes). The sense of tension is very nice, though, leaving the reader with a real sense of desperation as you try to flee the darklord army. This is still a very good book, even when you take off the rose tinted goggles of nostalgia. But where it really shines is that it perfectly sets the tone for a franchise. If this book had been any weaker, the Lone Wolf franchise would never be the strength it is today.

Come back in two weeks time, when Lone Wolf is sent on a mission to recover the only weapon that can turn the tide of the invasion and save Sommerlund. Will he manage it? Doubt it, but it'll be a laugh finding out!

Lone Wolf Statistics at this point
Combat Skill – 15, Endurance – 25
Kai Skills - hunting, healing, sixth sense, mind shield, animal kinship
Special items – Map, Crystal Star Pendant

(If you've enjoyed this article, be sure to check out Justin MacCormack's two bestselling collections of dark fantasy stories - "Return to 'Return to Oz'" and "Cthulhu Doesn't Dance". His newest book, "Diary of a gay teenage zombie", is currently available now)