Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The evolution of Legend of the Wayfarer

Hello gamebookers! As I write this, by Legend of the Wayfarer series is into 8 books. The rules have gone through a few tweaks since I settled on a 1d6 system with 12 abilities. After writing 8 books, I have had some feedback and had time for thoughts on the process so far.

Before I begin, I want to remind you of my aim with Legend of the Wayfarer. My aim was to create a game system and find a set of tools to help me create a decent short gamebook in a short amount of time. This was because my second child was due and time was dwindling. There is a lot to gamebooks that involves creativity and individuality, but I wanted to make sure that any aspects to gamebooks that could be addressed using a system or a procedure that requires no thought could be discovered, and then I would create such as system to follow. This way, I could either devote more effort to the creative aspects or just spend less time on the gamebook. It has worked to some degree, but there are other things that I need to focus on to improve the quality of the books or improve the plan.


This would make reading the books online more convenient, so I will start to include them.

Proof reading

As several people, such as my wife and Nicolas Stillman have said, bad grammar and spelling can really detract fro the experience of reading a book. I went through my books recently and found a few mistakes, so I need to be more careful in my proofreading or get someone else to do it.

Items are too specific

There are plenty of items that have one use in the books. However, if the player misses their opportunity then they will have a useless item. I will get around this by making groups of items - special materials, artefacts, which are magical treasures, keys, which open doors, tomes, which contain spells

The gradual increase of items and codewords in every book

I want to write a lot of these books and each book will have at least 1 or 2 plot items that are specific to that book that might be useful for the rest of the series or items that might be useful to other books. However, even with me inserting text at the end of each book where I instruct players on the items and codewords they can delete, there will still be an increase in items, which will clutter up character sheets. I will make sure that there are fewer items per book.

The 'If you return here' sections

This bit always bothered me a bit. I included this section in case people missed sections, then they could revisit quests. I also included them so that players could buy things and recover. However, my problem was that I had no way for people to work out why they should return, or where they should return from. The books were too jumpy. You could go from one town to another and there was no way of working out what would happen in between. I got around this problem by including a map and travel rules. This adds complexity, but it solves more problems than it creates. It also means that there are a lot fewer sections, which will speed up the writing process.

The order you do the adventures

My aim was that a player could do any adventure in any order. This is why my system revolves around rerolls rather than modifiers. A character with all 6 abilities might find a book challenging as they still might fail an ability roll. However, the player has no chance of working out what happens if they go from the area of book 1 to the area of book 8. The map solved this problem too.

There were settlements that appeared in the backs of some books, but there were no adventures associated with them

Not all settlements could have something exciting in them, so some settlements were relegated to being at the back of certain books. Once again, the map solved this problem.

The map

Now I have a map and travel rules, I no longer need to write sections describing the countryside, inventing encounters and thinking of ways to make going from A to B more interesting. I can devote sections to quests now. My first map has the areas for books 1-8, so what I will do is get the relevant sections and put them all together into one book. I might also include some other books in the map too. I don't know how big each book for each area will be, but it might be big. I'm looking forward to writing it again.


  1. You could also number the pdfs 00-Core Ruleset, 01-Deepbridge_Danger_Day, etc. so that they sit in the right order in a folder and readers can easily jump to the right book.

    Is this turning into a Fabled Lands/DestinyQuest thing with a map and referenced books?

    1. That's a really good point and I actually do that on my computer, so why not online?
      It basically is turning into a Fabled Lands/Destiny Quest thing. Heading into Scarlet Sorcerer territory with influences of Barbarian Prince type games.