Sunday, June 26, 2022

June news and upcoming July news

 Hello all! Here is the latest in the world of gamebooks.


Conventions

Dragonmeet tickets are live!

Dragonmeet is happening on the 3rd December. I may be going (I haven't decided yet), but tickets are live with early bird tickets available until July 31st.

Buy tickets for Dragonmeet – Dragonmeet – Novotel Hammersmith, Sat 3 Dec 2022 9:00 AM - 11:30 PM (tickettailor.com)


New releases


The world of Nimbus

Welcome to the 5e world where good, evil, and heroism MEAN EVERYTHING!

A monotheistic, human world where a crumbling empire struggles to regain its bearings Clerics have fled the continent Sorcery and magic items are rare and can lead to corruption Long rests in the Wilderness require Survival skills for success Humans are the only playable race And yet, the world is immersive, rich, and full of adventure!

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/m/product/388312


David Gilson

David Gilson has released 2 new books this month:

Varney the Vampyr Book Two: Vampyr Hunter B: Amazon.co.uk: Lowrie, Mr David: 9798836415877: Books

You know that house near you, the one at the end of the road? The one that looks a bit scary. It’s an old house, set back from the road. It’s thin and tall, with tall and thin windows. In the middle is a crooked green front door, paint peeling everywhere. The mortar is crumbling from between the brickwork, and the whole house smells of damp and decay. Well, it used to.


An Unkindness of Ravens: A Shadow Thief Caper: Amazon.co.uk: Lowrie, Mr David: 9798446323210: Books

After the epic tale of the original Shadow Thief trilogy - comes something a bit different.

In this first Shadow Thief Caper: an Unkindness of Ravens, and Shadow is back doing what he should be doing- stealing. Set a year after the epic events of Heroes, then Shadow is once again working as a thief, and trying to rebuild the Jackdaws, the thieves' guild. But what happens if he steals the wrong thing from the wrong person?

Expect sneaking , climbing , creeping , puzzles , fights in the dark , taverns , beer, bar fights , mysterious women, dark magic, poisoning , familiars , assassinations , rooftop fights, voodoo dolls, and horrific deaths.

Or, as Shadow calls it, Tuesday Night


Computer games

Fabled Lands cRPG

Update 10.5 is here!

Fabled Lands - Version 1.0.5 is live! - Steam News (steampowered.com)


Sorcery! coming to the Switch on June 23rd

Steve Jackson's Sorcery! hitting Switch this month (nintendoeverything.com)


Choice of Games has more releases!

The juggernaut that is Choice of Games has made yet more releases this month.

The Golden Rose book 1

You are a recent member of The White Company, a mercenary guild on the far side of the law. Your job consists of hunting artifacts and roaming ruins that the Church has forbidden to mention. One of your expeditions, however, leads you down a path that is much deeper than you ever anticipated.

The Golden Rose: Book One (choiceofgames.com)

By Crom

The drums beat, horns blow. It is time for you to dance a warrior’s dance. You were born in poverty and raised by ambition. Now is your chance to write your own legend, will it be a tragedy or a triumph?

By Crom (choiceofgames.com)

Social Services of the Doomed—They have magic and fangs. You have red tape!

As an employee of the Department of Supernatural Social Services, it’s your job to mediate when a dispute breaks out between vampires and werewolves. Which is pretty often, these days. Tensions are rising in your city: not all supernatural citizens think that they have to abide by the law. Flocks of harpies are crowing prophecies of doom; wizards are slinging fireballs; trolls aren’t just having peaceful chats about tunneling technology anymore; there are demons in the werewolf dive bar; and something is up with the ley lines. Sometimes it feels like you’re the only one standing between the supernatural factions and a city in flames.

Social Services of the Doomed (choiceofgames.com)


Crowdfunding

Legendary Kingdoms - Pirates of the Splintered Isles by Jon and Oliver — Kickstarter

Prepare for adventure in this huge open-world gamebook series. Legendary Kingdoms is a gamebook campaign, where you lead a party of adventurers in a world that adapts to your actions. Venture into ancient ruins, pick a side and lead an army into battle, sail the high seas on your own warship, defeat tyrants or restore them to power. Along the way your party will increase in skill, wealth and renown, allowing them to take on more challenging adventures. Reach the heights of power and you may uncover a dreadful threat to the world itself and go on a mission that spans all six gamebooks in the series.

So is this a Solo Gamebook or an RPG?

The Legendary Kingdoms series has been designed to be played solo, as a choose your own adventure style gamebook. However, as you lead a party of four adventurers on an epic journey in a truly sandbox world, we have had playthroughs where one person has acted as the GM (Narrator) and four friends have taken on a character each.


WORM GNOSIS, an interactive comic book by Maldragon Editorial — Kickstarter

Worm Gnosis is an interactive comic book by Boris Ramírez. In it, the reader will take the role of the main character and go on an adventure whose development (and ending, therefore) will be determined by the decisions and actions taken over the course of the story. With a plot and setting clearly influenced by Lovecraft’s Mythos and tales, the readers will dive in a fantastic and chillingly fun adventure in which they will unravel mysteries and confront dark forces and enemies from this world and from others.


Adventures in social media

I found this awesome website out on the Reddit gamebooks group. They are gamebooks specifically aimed at girls in the teens and tweens age group.

Gamebooks - Trident Gamebooks

Monday, June 20, 2022

Sorry :(

 Hi all! 

I'm sorry there haven't been any posts in the last two weeks. I've been busy with exam revision and various things, and I haven't had time to make a massive backlog of posts for times like this (ahh, the heady days of 2011!).

Normal service will be resumed soon...



Thursday, June 2, 2022

May news and upcoming June news

 Hello all! Sorry I'm late again, but here is the news from May.


Black Dog Gamebooks

David Lowrie has released another book!

A brand new gamebook from Black Dog Gamebooks, written and illustrated by David Lowrie

After the epic tale of the original Shadow Thief trilogy - comes something a bit different.

In this first Shadow Thief Caper: an Unkindness of Ravens, and Shadow is back doing what he should be doing- stealing. Set a year after the epic events of Heroes, then Shadow is once again working as a thief, and trying to rebuild the Jackdaws, the thieves' guild. But what happens if he steals the wrong thing from the wrong person?

Expect sneaking , climbing , creeping , puzzles , fights in the dark , taverns , beer, bar fights , mysterious women, dark magic, poisoning , familiars , assassinations , rooftop fights, voodoo dolls, and horrific deaths.

An Unkindness of Ravens: A Shadow Thief Caper: Amazon.co.uk: Lowrie, Mr David: 9798446323210: Books


Adam C. Mitchell

Welcome to General Quarters Captain! You are about to take control of a submarine in World War II. Your mission to sink merchant trade convoy's, ships and tankers. With each ship lost the much needed resources of the Japanese War Machine will slow to a crawl. This is your mission Good Luck Captain!

General Quarters: A WW II D66 GAMEBOOK ADVENTURE: Mitchell, Adam C: 9798436451107: Books - Amazon


Dragon Warriors

Red Ruin Publishing has released another Dragon Warriors solo.

You have entered this benighted land, where you can either aid or oppose the forces of order.

In this open world gamebook, many adventures await -- explore haunted monasteries, delve into once deserted barrows or investigate cursed forests -- the choice is yours!

Scourge of the Shadows – A Dragon Warriors Solo Adventure - Red Ruin Publishing | DriveThruRPG.com


Choose Your Own Adventure

There are some CYOA releases this June:

The Flight of the Unicorn (PRE-ORDER) – Chooseco LLC (cyoa.com)

You are on a fantastic quest through medieval Scotland to find your missing pegacorn mentor, Dame Scotia. You believe she was kidnapped to steal her magic to create a pegacorn army. Can you and your newly-trained pegaorn, Liss, locate Dame Scotia in time to prevent war?

The Ghost on the Mountain (PRE-ORDER) – Chooseco LLC (cyoa.com)

You’re on a family vacation in Haiti to learn about your heritage when you discover a ghost in your room. The ghost tells you her name is Yvette, and that the mountains are calling you. Before you can answer, you meet a little girl named TiYoyo, who wants to show you her home.

Fairy House (PRE-ORDER) – Chooseco LLC (cyoa.com)

Bored and ignored by your busy parents, you decide to go outside and build a fairy house. Just when you’re sure nothing is going to happen, you meet Bert the Below Average: a real, live fairy. He’s not exactly what you had in mind. But he’ll do. Let the adventures begin!


Computer games

Fabled Lands CRPG

The beta for the entire of Harkuna (books 1,2, 4 and 5) is up now. You can sign up for the beta here:

Fabled Lands - BETA sign-up! - Steam News (steampowered.com)

You can read about it here:

Fabled Lands: Plunge right in


Choice of Games

 Freshman Magic: Spellbooks and Tangled Sheets

Freshman Magic: Spellbooks and Tangled Sheets (choiceofgames.com)

Freshman Magic: Spellbooks and Tangled Sheets] is a 263,000-word interactive gay romance novel by Raven de Hart. It’s entirely text-based, without graphics or sound effects, and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

A magical duelling scholarship won you a spot at the prestigious Briarthorn University, one of the top magic colleges in North America. You expected a hard workload and even harder dueling practice sessions…you weren’t expecting your classmates to be so distracting!


Crowdfunding

This is a murder mystery gamebook. It has 28 days left and about £550 to go!

Framed by GR Jordan

UYD#2: Framed by G R Jordan — Kickstarter

"Framed" is a tale where YOU are the hero, or rather the victim, having been found beside the body of your employer with a gun in your hand. YOU don't know how YOU got there but if YOU're going to avoid jail then YOU'd better find out, and sharpish!

This gamebook is a mix of murder mystery and action adventure gamebook as you explore the island of Dr Flavius Munroe, now deceased, and try to find out which of the invited guests has landed you in the frame for his murder.


Nikola Tesla: War of the Currents

Nikola Tesla: War of the Currents (choiceofgames.com)

Nikola Tesla: War of the Currents is a 225,000-word interactive science-fiction novel by Dora Klindžić. It’s entirely text-based, without graphics or sound effects, and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

The man who invented the 20th century was a queer immigrant from Serbia. Nikola Tesla dreamed of distributing free energy to all of mankind but passed away in a New York hotel room alone and forgotten. What if it had gone differently?


Life of a Space Force Captain, plus Paradox Factor is now on Steam!

User-Made Games Archive - Choice of Games LLC

Play as human, various species of alien, or even a robot. With the help of your friends and your loyal, upgradable robo-pet, you will go to school to learn skills of your own choosing before taking a position as a lowly cadet.


Destiny Quest World Companion

I've mentioned this one before and it is already funded. You can still get it here:

DestinyQuest: The World Companion by Michael J Ward — Kickstarter

Dormus is a world riven with strife and conflict, its very fabric of reality under threat from otherworldly forces and cataclysmic events. These are dark and perilous days, where fractious tensions threaten to bring down kingdoms and empires, and demonic invaders sow seeds of chaos and destruction to hasten the fall of humanity.

This is a time when great heroes will rise – legendary men and women of fame, who will spin the web of destiny anew, changing lives and history, influencing kings and nations, and becoming beacons of hope amidst a desperate world teetering on the brink of ruin.


Interactive Fiction and Gamebooks Book Club

Interactive Fiction & Gamebooks Discussion Group (Book Club) | Facebook

June's book is You Are a Filmmaker.

Amazon.com: You Are a Filmmaker: An Interactive Novel: 9781736502624: Harry, Matt, Crump, Juliane: Books


Tuesday, May 24, 2022

The costs and benefits of rolling dice part 2 - the benefits of rolling dice

 Last time, I wrote about the costs of rolling dice. It takes time, it might result in bad things and if the system isn't thought out properly, then it will just be frustrating.

So why do it? 


Excitement

As Radnoff said in my last post, there is excitement of the possibility of success, and if success happens in unlikely situations then it is even more exciting. 

There is also excitement from rolling dice because they offer the chance of variety.

Also, rolling dice means that you never know what's going to happen with each different read through.

 With enough random events, it is possible to read a completely different story with each read through.


It can help decide whether something happens or not

This can determine whether a wandering monster finds you or whether there is treasure at the bottom of the lake or whether the strange monster will attack you or run away.


It can be used to work out how much something happens

Instead of finding a fixed amount of treasure or taking a fixed amount of damage when something bad happens, the die roll can add some randomness to it. Sometimes, it won't make much of a difference, but it might if the treasure is needed to afford something awesome or if a certain roll could kill your character. 


It can work out what happens

A random event is going to happen to you in Fabled Lands, but it could range from finding a staff to being attacked by a wolf. 


It can be fun for stats nerds

One thing I like about gamebook systems is that I can analyse them and work out whether the system makes the game possible to win. I usually use Anydice. to analyse systems and work out how easy it is to win the book.

Champskees in the Fighting Fantazine forum includes tables or probabilities of winning certain Fighting Fantasy books depending on your stats. 


Conclusion

Rolling dice can add extra variety to a gamebook and also add extra excitement. If you do it, however, you need to make sure that the statistics have been calculated to make sure that these dice rolls are going to be exciting instead of impossible or too easy. 

The variables in the numbers need to be added in the right places so that the random numbers actually have an effect. It is more exciting to lose 1d6 stamina points towards the end when the character may only have a few stamina points left rather than at the beginning where 1 or 6 points won't make a difference.

If they are used for random events, then you need to make sure that the events will be significantly different.

Next time, I'll do...something else. Random elements is a multifaceted issue. I might do the difference between probability and consequences and how they fit together. 

Sunday, May 15, 2022

The costs and benefits of rolling dice part 1 - the costs of rolling dice

Hello all! Back to my series on the good and bad points of having random elements in gamebooks. This week, I'm going to look at the costs of doing so and how these random elements might cause work for the player.

So, when I say work, I do acknowledge that rolling a few dice is nothing like doing an actual job. What I am trying to express is that the idea of getting a random result has the advantages of some tension and excitement and if too much dice rolling and number picking has to happen, then the excitement might wear off and all the dice rolling and number picking will be a chore.

So what situations does this happen in? Firstly, it does not seem to happen in skill tests. They all seem to be one die roll (for the sake of brevity, I will refer to do rolls despite the fact that it could include picking numbers at random from a square of random numbers, coin flipping, picking cards from a deck etc.) with a pass fail, if that. A lot of times, the book simply asks if you have a particular skill, so no dice roll is involved. In these cases, you either roll a number and the higher the score the better, with the skill giving a bonus (Lone Wolf) or you roll to get higher than a number and add a stat (Fabled Lands), equal to or less than a number (Fighting Fantasy) or just less than a number (Fighting Fantasy which wasn't able to make its mind up sometimes).

In the cases with trying to compare your scores to the dice roll, the tricky bit has always been what to do with the case when the dice rolls are equal to your score. In all cases, the book decides that rolling equal to the score is either a pass or a fail. This means that you don't have to reroll your dice if you get an equal value to your score. 

For some reason, in some cases, this idea goes out of the window in combat.

In Fighting Fantasy, you roll 2d6 and add to your skill, then do the same for your opponent. If the scores are equal, nothing happens. Unless there is a time limit to the combat, then all that dice rolling has resulted in nothing. That's one way to watch the excitement drain down. However, at least the chances of getting a draw in a Fighting Fantasy combat are quite low - 11% with two fighters with equal SKILLs and lower if they are unequal.

Having a draw in combat does have utility if something will happen after a certain number of rounds, but I don't think that it is worth it. The solution here is simple, though - simply state that rolling equal scores is a win or a loss for the character.

In some cases, the character needs to roll equal to or less than their skill to hit an opponent. This turns up with ranged weapons, which makes sense. There is less interaction with the opponent, so it is more like a skill roll for you than for both of you. This turns up a few times in Fighting Fantasy (Starship Traveller, Space Assassin, Siege of Sardath)

However, this has the potential to make combat drag out even longer because both combatants can roll above their skill and miss, so nothing happens. Siege of Sardath has a mechanic where if you miss with an arrow, you can test your luck to make it a hit, reducing the probability of missing (which is good, because there is a case in Siege of Sardath where you have to hit with an arrow or get an instadeath). You could also do a luck test to turn a hit for an opponent into a miss. This would be good in Starship traveller where ranged combat normally involves a one hit kill.

What about other gamebook series?

Well Fabled Lands has two scores in combat - Combat and Defence. 

To hit an opponent in Fabled Lands, you need to roll 2d6 + Combat to get above their Defence. The difference is how much damage you deal. The fact that damage is not a fixed number means that combat could be over very quickly.

The scores are linked - Defence = Combat + Rank + Armour, so the better you are at hitting opponents, the better you also are at not being hit. People used to include Combat bonuses from weapons to Defence, but that made characters unbeatable, so when book 7 came out, they decided that only your character's innate Combat would add to Defence.

However, they are not completely linked, so it is possible to have a high defence score whilst having a low combat score. 

This is where combat could get tedious because if a character is bad at hitting but good at defending and they are fighting a similar opponent, then there will be several rounds where nothing happens. 

Some people on the Facebook group have thought up ways around it. If you search "Defence", you will see what people say. One person has stated that if someone rolls a double, they deal damage equal to their combat score. Rolling a double on 2d6 has a 1 in 6 chance, so that would definitely speed up combat. 

Tin Man Games had a Gamebook Adventures system similar to this. You rolled a number of dice equal to your Attack score and compared the results to the dice rolled from your opponent's Defence score. You hit your opponent if your highest die roll was higher than their highest die roll and did damage equal to the sum total of the dice. This was find when attack was 3+ and higher than the opponent's Defence, but with low attacks, it was hard to hit. TMG had a mechanic in play where if you rolled equal to or less than your Fitness, you got a +1 to your highest die roll which made it more likely to hit your opponent.

It is Lone Wolf, however, who wins the prize for making sure something happens in a combat round. If you look at the combat table, then, whatever number you pick, someone loses Endurance points every round. That means that combat will always flow. Of course, this means making a table for such a purpose, so the solution is not the most elegant. It is up to the person making the system and the person playing it to decide if that is a sacrifice they are willing to make. For me, it is. The system is very simple, so referring to one table is not going to overcomplicate things compared to some RPGs.


So there are basic systems where we find out whether something happens in a combat round. Of course, a combat system can still have a possibility of nothing happening in a combat round, but the wasted time and effort can still be reduced if the player has options to change things about that combat round, like manipulating dice rolls or having a special attack, having an ability that deals damage every round or doing various other things. 

There can only be one winner when it comes to this and that's Destiny Quest. Seriously - look at the 9 page glossary of abilities (and that's just book 1!) you could use in combat. Combat is similar to Fighting Fantasy - roll 2d6, add your Speed attribute and the highest one wins. However, once you include all the abilities you could have (and you can have loads when you are fully kitted out), that gives loads of choices so that each combat round is less about rolling two dice and comparing numbers and more about making decisions about what abilities to use. 

And if you love Destiny Quest, remember there is a Kickstarter for the World Companion coming out on the 17th May!


So it seems that the lesson from this is that in every combat round, have something happen - at least one combatant's stats have to decrease somehow. Or at least let the player have the opportunity to decide on making something happen.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Rulers of the NOW Scathing gamebook review

 Hello gamebook team! I know last week, I did a post on random elements in gamebooks which I fully intend to continue. Unfortunately, I haven't had time this week to do post 2, so here is a post I saved up. A scathing gamebook review of my book Rulers of the NOW.



Welcome to scathing gamebook reviews, where I rip gamebooks apart, sometimes literally, but always figuratively.

In this issue, we look at Rulers of the NOW, a dystopian, self described comedy, by Stuart Lloyd.

The author has described this work as a near future, dystopian, cli-fi black comedy, probably because he thought that putting as many adjectives as possible into the book’s description would be funny, or at least distract the reader from how dire it is. Unfortunately, it does neither.

The best part of the book is the cover. It is skilfully crafted by Sammy who is a talented artist and the author of the Two Fisted Fantasy gamebooks. Unfortunately, she had to bring to life the products of Stuart’s diseased mind, but she nonetheless takes his insane ramblings and produces an awesome cover art. If only other authors would pay her to do something, then she would not have to associate with the author who is a clear raving maniac.

After the beautiful cover art, it goes quickly downhill from there.

In this book, you play a lowly office worker, who, at the beginning of the story, gets branded a terrorist. From there, you can decide whether to go along with the authorities or go on the run. The author clearly has a problem with authority because going along with the authorities gets you thrown into jail and sent to a re-education camp for years, then the book ends. Going on the run has a far longer route where you can meet some rebels, find a home, and, if you go far enough, go aboard the space station where the billionaires live.

The beginning of the book appears to be a homage to Kafka, if the person doing he homage had attempted to skim the summary of Kafka’s work on Wikipedia, but actually read Dan Brown’s page instead without realising it.

The book seems to be taking potshots at certain philosophies or lifestyles and tries to point out the problems with them. As if his gamebook is going to solve the world’s problems. I mean, whenever did a book ever highlight a possible horrible future that it could slip into to warn its readers to avoid it?

Well, lots of times, obviously, but they were good. This book is like a cross of The Trial, The Illuminatus Trilogy, Nineteen Eighty Four and The Divine Comedy, because why not, I guess?

The book moves from chase to search to heist to rescue mission, each time, attempting to raise the stakes or teach you something about how messed up the world is. In reality, it just made me want steak and it taught me how messed up Stuart’s head is.

There are many of what the author would probably describe as jokes in the book. I’d like to say that these jokes deliver the book’s message skilfully with wonderfully crafted humour. However, if I did say that, I would be lying. These “jokes” can be seen coming a mile away. The first section has a joke about Youtube ads and flatulence. I mean, some on, flatulence is just too easy. It gets even worse, where you could come across a cannibal whose heinous crimes are played for laughs. There is nothing funny about cannibal blancmanges.

The book is clearly a love letter to socialism and environmentalism, which is not inherently bad in itself. Everyone is entitled to political opinions and the right to broadcast them in whatever media they like, but the messages of this book are delivered with the subtlety of an anvil being smashed into your face by an elephant wearing a top hat. The author obviously has a massive bee in his bonnet or there is a satanic death cult ruling the world that paid him handsomely to inflict this steaming piece of work upon the world, probably in return for a human sacrifice to grant him eternal youth (have you seen Stuart Lloyd? He claims to be in his late 30s!) .

The book is currently free on Itch and Drive Thru, but, after reading it, I felt like the author owed me money for having to sift through it in order to write a review of it. I would have given a better review if he had taken a dump on my doorstep and told me to sift through that instead.

Score: 4/5 turds


Thursday, May 5, 2022

Destiny Quest World Companion Kickstarter

 





Hello all! I've got some exciting news that can't wait until the end of the month because it's about a Kickstarter.

It's the Destiny Quest World Companion!

As you may know, Destiny Quest is a series of huge gamebooks where you can create and customise your own character as you go, fighting many epic battles with a combat system with many many options. All the books are superb and beautifully produced. Now you can get to know the world of Destiny Quest even more with this awesome world companion!

The Kickstarter will launch on the 17 May at 10.00 EST (3.00 in the UK). The Kickstarter will be running for 30 days and offers a range of pledge levels to cater for different fans. 

You can sign up to be notified for the launch here.

The World Companion is a hardback collector's item, that provides the following: 

A detailed history of the world, from its creation by the celestial Fates, to the current ‘end days’ of crumbling empires and war-weary kingdoms.

A comprehensive timeline that charts the key events that have shaped the world of Dormus, right up to the present-day narratives of the gamebook series.

An overview of the magic system, detailing the chaotic forces of the Shroud and the effects of its demonic taint, as well as the runic magic of the dwarves and the dangerous arts of elemental sorcery.

Exciting character stories and biographies, exploring some of the key heroes (and villains) who have influenced the Destiny Quest world, including the legendary witchfinder, Eldias Falks, and the enigmatic archmage, Avian Dale.

Detailed summaries of the main factions that vie for power and influence within the Kingdom of Valeron, from the secretive enclaves of the Arcane Hand to the scheming masters of shadow, the Nevarin.

Whether you are a fan of the DestinyQuest series or a gamemaster looking for a new and immersive setting for your homebrew roleplaying campaign, The World Companion delivers a wealth of exciting secrets and discoveries – everything you need to arm yourselves for epic adventures ahead.

The Kickstarter is on this page: DestinyQuest: The World Companion by Michael J Ward — Kickstarter

Sunday, May 1, 2022

The costs and benefits of rolling dice - introduction

 Hello gamebookers! I'm sorry I'm a bit late - spring is a busy time for me.

This post is an introduction into what is probably going to be a few posts and it is about whether or not you should be making people roll dice (or use some other random method) to determine things.

Random elements provide replayability value and they also provide excitement because you don't know what's happening. 

Of course, it's really annoying if the random element decides to screw you at the last minute (or maybe it isn't because it's the thrill of anticipation that's important?) or if the random element is lots of work, but the results are pretty consistent anyway.

In this series, I'm going to explore whether random elements are needed a particular gamebook, and, if you decide to put them in, how do you implement them.

These thoughts probably started whilst I was playing Fighting Fantasy, which involves rolling 2d6 for your opponent, 2d6 for yourself and adding your skill values. The highest one inflicted 2 stamina points of damage on the lowest one. If both results were the same, no one got hurt. You could choose to test your luck to either increase the damage you inflict or decrease the damage dealt to you, but since luck decreased with each use, this was almost never a viable option. 

I have crunched the numbers for the Fighting Fantasy system. If your skill is 3 points higher than your opponent's then you will almost certainly win. Which means that my skill 9 hero fighting a bunch or orcs in Firetop Mountain or a skill 6 stamina 16 statue in Demons of the Deep would be rolling a ton of dice just to see if they lost 2 stamina points or not, which, for a game where you carry 10 items of food that is so yummy, it can cure two blows from a sword, is negligible.

Add in the fact that when I rolled the dice, I had no options to manipulate the rolls by spending resources (not like Destiny Quest, where you have a ton of options!), I was basically just going through the motions to see how something turned out, but with no tension because I knew that it would ultimately have no effect on the game.

I found this a bit wearing some times. 

So this series of articles is about deciding how to maximise the fun in a gamebook using random elements.

The first question, though, is whether you think your gamebook will be enhanced with random elements.

Some gamebooks don't need a random element at all. Sometimes, they want to tell their story and the game elements don't add to anything. In fact, they might detract from the message of the book. I realised this when I was writing Rulers of the NOW. At first, I wanted it to be a huge open world gamebook with a complicated game system (similar to SCRAWL) which had lots of choices. Then I realised that the core of the book was not about that. The core of the book was the message of doing something now or (NOW) to avoid the dystopian future presented. That didn't need a random element, because if the player failed a test, they might lose the game and not get to the message. It would also take away from the message of having control over your future if you lost through chance. 

Trying to include all these elements in Rulers of the NOW also contributed to why it too 11 years between the Windhammer entry and me actually finishing the book. Once I had stripped away all of the superfluous elements from the central message, the book was actually really easy to write (on a side note, if you have a project you want to do, but can't finish, why don't you see if there are superfluous elements to strip away?). I had originally tried to release it for 21st December 2012 (Mayan calendar apocalypse day), which I could have done if I had just focused on the core.

So, if random elements are necessary, how can it enhance the gaming experience? How much rolling are people willing to put up with before the excitement wears off?

I remember playing the Trial of the Clone app. Whenever you had a test, you rolled three d6s and used the best result. The app presented this like a fruit machine with one number coming up at a time. I remember feeling the tension and excitement if the first number was not high enough - will the next number be high enough? and if that wasn't high enough, then the excitement would build at the anticipation of seeing the third number come up. That really milked the tension.

You know what would also milk the tension even more? Giving people options to manipulate those rolls, but not make them auto successes.

Michael J. Ward, writer of the Destiny Quest series, is a master at this. He gives your characters a whole load of options for rerolls, rolling extra dice, bonuses, negating effects, enhancing effects and more. It really is a gamer's dream.

So that's it. I'm not really sure what the post titles will be - but I'll make a lot of them.

Does anyone have any opinions on random elements? How much they like? Which gamebooks do it in a way that they like? Let me know!

Happy gamebooking!

Saturday, April 23, 2022

News for April 2022 and upcoming releases for May 2022

 Hello all! The gamebook world is moving quickly and there is loads to report on, so grab a pencil, stick your fingers between the pages and let's get cracking...


Zines

Voidspace

Voidspace issue 2 is out!

voidspace zine: 2 – voidspace _

Warlock Returns

Warlock Returns issue 6 is out!

The Warlock Returns Issue #06 - Arion Games | Advanced Fighting Fantasy | DriveThruRPG.com


Computer Games

Fabled Lands

The computer game is getting bigger!

https://store.steampowered.com/news/app/1299620/view/3177860631504431146


Gamebooks!

Savage Realms

Jam Hirons is writing a Savage Realms book!

https://jamsplace.co/2022/04/10/upcoming-project/


Fighting Fantasy

There will be TWO Fighting Fantasy gamebooks for the 40th anniversary - one from Steve and one from Ian. You know the ones I mean. Actually, there are two Steve Jacksons who wrote Fighting Fantasy, aren't there, so you don't necessarily know which one it is. It's the UK one.

https://www.thebookseller.com/rights/fighting-fantasy-co-founders-pen-two-new-books-for-series-40th-anniversary


Dragon Warriors

Paul Partington has written a Dragon Warriors gamebook from Red Ruin Publishing (which will be free!)

The Kingdom of Ereworn lies on the brink of either disaster or salvation. You have entered this benighted land, where you can either aid or oppose the forces of order. In this open world gamebook, many adventures await - explore haunted monasteries, delve into once deserted barrows or investigate cursed forests - the choice is yours!


Choose Your Own Adventure

CYOA has announced four books coming this summer - you can preorder them from COMING SOON! – Chooseco LLC (cyoa.com)

The Flight of the Unicorn

You are on a fantastic quest through medieval Scotland to find your missing pegacorn mentor, Dame Scotia. You believe she was kidnapped to steal her magic to create a pegacorn army. Can you and your newly-trained pegaorn, Liss, locate Dame Scotia in time to prevent war?

The Ghost on the Mountain

You’re on a family vacation in Haiti to learn about your heritage when you discover a ghost in your room. The ghost tells you her name is Yvette, and that the mountains are calling you. Before you can answer, you meet a little girl named TiYoyo, who wants to show you her home.

Fairy House

Bored and ignored by your busy parents, you decide to go outside and build a fairy house. Just when you’re sure nothing is going to happen, you meet Bert the Below Average: a real, live fairy. He’s not exactly what you had in mind. But he’ll do. Let the adventures begin!

The Dregg Disaster

Choose Your Own Adventure’s first math workbook is different from other workbooks: it's a gamebook! The Dregg Disaster is an original and cleverly designed interactive story for students learning Algebra 1.

Something fishy is going on at Dregg Corporation, the biggest employer in your town. You’re determined to find solutions, but in order to make your next choice, you’ll also have to find answers to algebraic equations along the way!

Each of the four chapters includes an “Adventurer’s Advice” section to help students navigate their way through the gamebook if they find themselves in need of algebraic assistance. The book also comes with a free online download, which includes many more algebra problems for students who want or need the extra practice.


Choice of Games

The juggernaut that is Choice of Games is keeping those adventures coming!

Relics 2

1938. A terminally-ill English aristocrat has one final wish: to locate the long-lost resting place of one of his legendary ancestors, a crusading knight said to have found a terrible secret in the East and then vanished. A cryptic, coded poem points the way, allowing a modern-day adventurer to retrace the knight’s steps. So a contest is set: five of the world’s leading treasure-hunters and archaeologists are challenged to follow the trail and track down the crusader’s tomb. And whoever gets there first stands to win an unimaginable fortune. Do you have what it takes to outwit and out-gun your villainous rivals and make it safe – and first – to the prize?

Relics 2: The Crusader’s Tomb, the sequel to Relics of the Lost Age and the second game in the Relics trilogy, is an exhilarating 400,000 word interactive adventure novel by James Shaw, where your choices control the story. It’s entirely text-based – without graphics or sound effects – and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

Big Brains in Little Jars

As a valued appendage at a company called Gray Matter, you’ll do the thinking, speaking, and fist-fighting for clients who hire you, all from the comfort of your jar. Along the way, you’ll start riots, solve riddles, torment party clowns, escape burning buildings, find allies among your fellow brains, and commit felonies. Not a bad gig, as long as eternal servitude is your jam.

Big Brains in Little Jars is a 300,000-word interactive novel by Ashlee Sierra. It’s entirely text-based—without graphics or sound effects—and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

Siege of Treboulain

Defend your magical city from an invading army! Use swords, spells, and strategy to save your people, lead them to glory, and build a legacy for the ages.

Siege of Treboulain  is a 280,000-word interactive epic fantasy novel by Jed Herne. It’s entirely text-based, without graphics or sound effects, and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

Gray Eyes of Death

Embark on a deadly journey for survival. Your ordinary school life quickly turns around when an unknown outbreak turns humanity into flesh eating monsters. The hungry creatures ravage every corner of your home island, forcing you to quickly adapt to the new, hostile environment, and learn the ropes of survival if you wish to remain alive.


Crowdfunding

Destiny Quest

Michael J. Ward is doing a Kickstarter for the world companion to the awesome gamebook series. The Kickstarter will start on May 17th.

Dormus is a world riven with strife and conflict, its very fabric of reality under threat from otherworldly forces and cataclysmic events. These are dark and perilous days, where fractious tensions threaten to bring down kingdoms and empires, and demonic invaders sow seeds of chaos and destruction to hasten the fall of humanity.

This is a time when great heroes will rise – legendary men and women of fame, who will spin the web of destiny anew, changing lives and history, influencing kings and nations, and becoming beacons of hope amidst a desperate world teetering on the brink of ruin.

Destiny's Role

What is it with Kickstarters and gamebooks with the word destiny in them this month?

Kaleidoscope Frenzy by Mark Lain has 6 days left to collect pledges. It has already funded, so if you would like a copy, head over there fast!

KALEIDOSCOPE FRENZY is the fifth book in the DESTINY'S ROLE adventure gamebook series and is the long-awaited sequel to FRAGILE BEAUTY which appeared in DESTINY'S ROLE 0: ZERO TO HERO. FRAGILE BEAUTY was a modern day-set hard boiled detective adventure concerning the mysterious disappearance of a young woman. 

Destiny's Role 4: Kaleidoscope Frenzy by Mark Lain — Kickstarter

Pitcrawler!

Pitcrawler! is inspired by old-school choose-your-own-adventure gamebooks, PITCRAWLER! combines nostalgic vibes with a modern heart.

It starts funding on the 25th April on Indiegogo

PITCRAWLER! | Indiegogo


Gamebook News

Gamebook news continues to provide in depth coverage of the gamebook news (I mean, it's in the name).

Gamebook News – Fantasy, Sci-fi and other interactive fiction!


Interactive Fiction & Gamebooks Discussion Group (Book Club)

May's book is The House on Sentinel Hill by Graham Plowman


Adventures in social media

Mrs Giggles writes several reviews about lots of different things, including gamebooks. On one of my occasional visits to her website, I realised that she has just opened up a Patreon. Minimum pledge is £1 a month and that allows you 1 request per month!

Hot Sauce Reviews is creating blunt, funny, critical reviews of books, movies, music, and more | Patreon

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Lindenbaum post competition analysis

 

Image by Pat O Neill


Hello all! The Lindenbaum competition is over and the results have been announced. I loved running it and I felt very privileged that we had so many entrants who made the competition great. 

I would also like to thank the team of people that helped me during the competition:

Pat O' Neill for making the logo

Peter Agapov for sponsoring the competition

Crumbly Head Games for providing subscriptions of the Gamebook Authoring Tool for prizes.

Tammy Badowski for designing the certificates and doing lots of other things.

(Sometimes, I wonder how Wayne Densley did it all himself!)

So, I was thinking that I would like to do the competition again. I would also like to improve on it if possible. For this reason, I would love it if anyone has any feedback about the following points or any other feedback. If you do, leave a comment or email lindenbaumprize@gmail.com.

Time of year

Windhammer was done later in the year - entry deadlines were early September and winners were announced in November. This would mean that people have the summer holidays (if that is relevant?) to write their books.

I did mine at the time I did because I thought of it last August and thought that people could spend the dark, boring January writing. The results were announced just before Easter, which was busy for me, so I might extend it a bit. Does anyone have any feedback on the time of year?

Length of writing/voting period

I used the same time periods as Wayne Densley. I saw one person say that they didn't have time to read through all the entries. Maybe I need to extend it, but how much time do people need?

The old competition extended the voting deadline by about 2 weeks if there were more than 14 entries (which is what I did), but there is a big range of possible entries. The minimum number is 5 and the maximum number is unlimited. The 2012 Windhammer prize had 22 entries! I'm thinking that the extension should be a sliding scale based on the number, not just an extension based on the number of entries being over one number. 

Maybe something like 4 weeks minimum with an extra week for every 2 entries over 8 or something (just riffing here). Any suggestions on how long it took you?

Formats

Windhammer didn't have hyperlinking. I remember someone saying that they would like that, so I decided to hyperlink all of the books. I didn't ask the authors to do it because I wanted the competition to be as close to Windhammer as possible, but if I did it again, I might do that (it took a while!). Would authors be OK with that? What about volunteers who could do the hyperlinking?

I also saw a post about doing the books in epub. I don't know how long that would take and would almost certainly need a volunteer for that. Any volunteers? Anyone prefer epub? 

Any other formats people prefer?

The time of the vote

I said the entries should be in by midnight, but then I thought that might be confusing because they might think it's the day mentioned or the day after, so I made the voting deadline 5pm GMT which I think is easier to convert. I will probably do that in future competitions.

Volunteers

Any volunteers for next year?

I would like to thank everyone for making the competition as brilliant as it was this year! I look forward to the next one! You can find the entries here:

Lloyd of Gamebooks: Voting is now open for the 2021/2022 Lindenbaum Prize!

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Winner announcement for the 2021/2022 Lindenbaum Prize

Image by Pat ONeill

 I am pleased to announce that the winner of the 2021/2022 Lindenbaum Prize for short gamebook fiction is Andrew Greene with his cyberpunk investigative gamebook Mind Storm. 

Merit awards have been awarded to John Osborn for I, Battlemage and Niall Turner for Hunter's Walk.

Commendation awards have been awarded to David Donachie for the Garden of Earthly Regrets, Morten Gottschalck for Archer and Tiago Fillipe Costa for The Eldritch Key.

I would like to thank everybody who participated, the authors and those dedicated readers who took the time to evaluate all the entries, and also a further thanks to those readers who provided feedback and comment to the authors.

If you intend to write feedback in a public place, please email me the address and I will link to it.

It is no small thing to as entrants to write original gamebooks. To write a gamebook (even one that must be limited to 100 sections) requires considerable time and creative effort. It is the type of writing project that can take months to accomplish and I appreciate greatly the work done by all the authors who entered this year's competition.

Many thanks for helping make this year's competition such an excellent competition with a wide variety of gamebook genres and styles. This was the first year I ran the competition and you helped make it as brilliant as it was.

I would also like to extend thanks to Peter Agapov who sponsored the competition, Tammy Badowski who donated her time and talent to the competition and Crumbly Head Games who has donated free subscriptions to GBAT for the top 3 entrants.

You can find the entries here: Lloyd of Gamebooks: Voting is now open for the 2021/2022 Lindenbaum Prize!

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Voting has now closed for the 2021/2022 Lindenbaum Competition

Logo by Pat ONeill

 Voting has now closed for the 2021/2022 Windhammer competition. I would like to thank all the entrants, voters and contributors to the competition. It has been a great year with a large turn out and I have enjoyed reading all of the entries.

We will now be tallying all of the votes.

Results will be announced on the 14th April. 

If you would like to leave feedback (even if you didn't vote), you can still do so by emailing Lindenbaumprize@gmail.com

You can still see the entries below:

Entries

Here is a zip file containing all of the entries.

Here are the individual entries:

Escape the Asylum by Ulysses Ai                                                           Tomb of Souls by Ivailo Daskalov

The Lightning Eagle and the Monks of Mayhem by Gary Coupland     I, Battlemage by John Osborn 

Master of Blights by Grant Cobb                                 The Garden of Earthly Regrets by David Donachie

The Eldritch Key by Tiago Fillipe Costa                                                Archer by Morten Gottschalck

Mind Storm by Andrew Greene                                                    Pawn to Phoenix Four by Yoon Ha Lee

Wyvern Mountain by Cody Hanson                                    Happy Fun Activity Book by Jeremy Johnson

Shadow in the Forest by Kevin Joseph                                                        Crowlopiea by Peter Shelton

Orbworld 0: 'The Witches Prophecy Zero' by Paul Savoir                         Hunter's Walk by Niall Turner

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Just 48 hours to vote for the Lindenbaum competition!

 Hello all! 

Just a quick note to say that you have 48 hours from when this was written (10pm GMT on the 3rd April 2022) to vote for your 3 favourite entries to the 2022 Lindenbaum prize. 

The entries are below.


Votes need to be submitted to Lindenbaumprize@gmail.com

Entries

Here is a zip file containing all of the entries.

Here are the individual entries:

Escape the Asylum by Ulysses Ai                                                           Tomb of Souls by Ivailo Daskalov

The Lightning Eagle and the Monks of Mayhem by Gary Coupland     I, Battlemage by John Osborn 

Master of Blights by Grant Cobb                                 The Garden of Earthly Regrets by David Donachie

The Eldritch Key by Tiago Fillipe Costa                                                Archer by Morten Gottschalck

Mind Storm by Andrew Greene                                                    Pawn to Phoenix Four by Yoon Ha Lee

Wyvern Mountain by Cody Hanson                                    Happy Fun Activity Book by Jeremy Johnson

Shadow in the Forest by Kevin Joseph                                                        Crowlopiea by Peter Shelton

Orbworld 0: 'The Witches Prophecy Zero' by Paul Savoir                         Hunter's Walk by Niall Turner

Sunday, March 27, 2022

News for March 2022 and upcoming news for April 2022

 Hello all!  Here is this month's news.


Gamebook releases

Lone Wolf

You can now get the Definitive editions of Lone Wolf 4, Chasm of Doom and Lone Wolf 5, Shadow on the Sand. Definitive Editions – Magnamund - Holmgard Press

Adam Mitchell

Adam Mitchell is releasing another D66 gamebook, A Bullet is Forever. The book is set in World War II. It will first be available on Amazon.

Amazon.co.uk: Adam Mitchell: Books, Biography, Blogs, Audiobooks, Kindle

Choose Your Own Adventure

To celebrate Pi Day (March 14th), Choose Your Own Adventure is releasing The Dregg Disaster: An Algebra 1 Gamebook by Chris Matthews.

Algebra I teacher Chris Matthews guides students through Algebra I lessons in this unexpected framework: each choice you make leads to an equation unlocking the next chapter of YOUR adventure with the nefarious Dregg corporation, and brings you one step closer to undoing their evil actions, and becoming an Algebra I Wizard!

The book is out in October.

The Dregg Disaster: An Algebra 1 Gamebook – Chooseco LLC (cyoa.com)


RPGs

Advanced Fighting Fantasy

This is not new but Andrew Bartlett has made an Advanced Fighting Fantasy module called Viscera which is a collection of how adventurers can get scarred and injured.

Viscera 1.02 280317.pdf - Google Drive

Arion Games has released Return to the Pit miniatures

Advanced Fighting Fantasy Minis: Return to the Pit Set IV - Arion Games | Kapsalis Miniatures | Advanced Fighting Fantasy | DriveThruRPG.com


Crowdfunding

Destiny's Roll

KALEIDOSCOPE FRENZY is the fifth book in the DESTINY'S ROLE adventure gamebook series and is the long-awaited sequel to FRAGILE BEAUTY which appeared in DESTINY'S ROLE 0: ZERO TO HERO. FRAGILE BEAUTY was a modern day-set hard boiled detective adventure concerning the mysterious disappearance of a young woman. KALEIDOSCOPE FRENZY follows on from that adventure, allowing the player to continue the story using the same character or, like all DESTINY'S ROLE gamebooks, KALEIDOSCOPE FRENZY can also be played stand alone with no previous knowledge of FRAGILE BEAUTY, but the concept is that the FRAGILE BEAUTY case greatly increased the fortunes of your character, to the extent that work is now in ample supply. 

Destiny's Role 4: Kaleidoscope Frenzy by Mark Lain — Kickstarter


Social media

Joe Cheal has set up a Facebook group for his gamebook series, Imaginarium Gamebooks. You can find it here.

There is a forum here with gamebook playthroughs:

In The Trenches - The Gaming Den (tgdmb.com)


Podcasts

Instadeath Survivors'Support Group

This month, we have had episodes with Jeremy Morgan who was part of  the Pericle team, a playthrough of Steam Highwayman and some news reports from me.

Future episodes will be with the authors of the Lone Wolf definitive editions.

You can get the episodes here

Welcome to Instadeath Survivors Support Group by Instadeath Survivors Support Group (anchor.fm)

For early access to ad free episodes and bonus content, you can support Brian on Patreon.

Brian Hazzard is creating A podcast about gamebooks and the readers who adore them | Patreon

Fantastic Fights

This podcast is currently playing through Masks of Mayhem.

Fantastic Fights — Haunted Phonograph

Campaign on Dice

The podcast is revisiting The Warlock of Firetop Mountain.

Campaign On Dice – Podcast – Podtail


Google Alerts

I have a weekly Google alert for "gamebook". Normally, the links I get are all about golf game books, but last week I got a link about how the Infosec Institute won an interactive fiction award for a gamebook about infosec: InfoSec Institute Wins Best in Class Award for Choose Your Own Adventure® Security Awareness Games (itnewsonline.com)



Sunday, March 20, 2022

Orphaned sections and their uses

 Hello gamebookers! If you haven't already voted for the Lindenbaum competition, there are 16 days left, so please vote!

Today, I wanted to list all the uses of orphaned sections. For this post, I'm defining an orphaned section as a section that is not mentioned in any other section. You are never told in the gamebook to turn to it from another section. 

It sounds like orphaned sections wouldn't be needed. I mean, the whole point of a gamebook is to turn to sections, after all? 

Nope, it turns out that there's lots of reasons for them.


To start the book

I suppose you are told to turn to this section at some point in the book, but not from another section. People have to start somewhere, both metaphorically and literally, so the start section has to be an orphaned section for this reason.

To make up numbers

You have finished your gamebook and it's 399 sections long. Maybe you like round numbers, so you stick in a short section that sounds like its something that someone would read, but it's unreachable. There, you now have 400 sections. This is actually true of Fighting Fantasy 1 - The Warlock of Firetop Mountain. Section 192 is an orphaned section. 

Answers to riddles

Creatures in gamebooks like asking riddles with numbers as answers, which is very convenient because then you can just turn to the section that is the answer. You also have to state that if the section makes no sense, then it's the wrong answer and the return to the original section (or another section with a wrong answer). If you really want a particular riddle, but the answer is bigger than the largest section number or another important section is the answer, you could tell people to multiply the answer by 2 or add X or some other function. 

To represent a word

Maybe your character needs to give a password or someone's name. Well, you can use that as an answer by doing the old A=1, B=2, C=3... trick. This way, you can convert a word into a number.

To prove you have an item

Some gamebook items have numbers associated with them to open up secret sections. These items used to have numbers carved onto them, but some people wanted more creative reasons to have a number associated with an item (I mean, after all, how many of your possessions have numbers carved into them?). For example, being associated with a number (like how many years old it is) or a person or place is associated with it (in which case, use the A=1, B=2 trick). 

If the item has more than once use, then one use could involve its number, one could involve multiplying its number by another number or adding or subtracting another number from it.

If you need 2 secret items, then you could add their numbers (such as in Siege of Sardath with the potions or the rings)

To find out what certain items do

If you have a mystery potion or other item in a gamebook and you want to increase the tension by not telling someone what they do, then you can tell them that they can find out the results by turning to a certain section. This is fun (for the writer) and tense (for the reader).

To find out what certain stat changes do

Some stats are significant if they reach a certain value (usually 0) and if they don't automatically mean death (which sometimes doesn't require its own section), then they will require their own section. To be fair, they still usually mean death, just a different kind of death (such as committing seppuku in Sword of the Samurai or running out of time in Slaves of the Abyss), but sometimes, they might mean something else has happened (such as reducing your Ferocity to 0 in Crimson Tide).

To find out what are in certain places

It can be boring having sections that constantly ask if you want to go left or right or open a door, so one way of saving sections for more interesting things is having maps with section numbers on them, such as in this map from Grailquest 3. 





To be all meta and tell you that you have won without you playing the gamebook


Finally, this little gem, Inside UFO 54-40, mentions that you cannot reach the end in any conventional sense and it is right. The winning section is an orphaned section that you can only read by flicking through the book. Cunning twist, Mr Packard!


Sunday, March 13, 2022

AFF2 monster - Mothman



The mothman is seven feet tall and has a 10 foot wingspan. Mothman sightings usually occur before or after a disaster in the area where the disaster took place.

MOTHMAN

NUMBER ENCOUNTERED:  1

LOCATION:  Anywhere

REACTION:  Unfriendly

INTELLIGENCE:  Average - High

CREATURE TYPE:  Humanoid

SKILL:                      7

STAMINA:               12

LUCK:                      7

MAGIC:                    0

MAGIC POINTS:     0

SKILLS: Strength 3, Awareness 3,

WEAPON: Large claws

ARMOUR: Light

SPECIAL:

Flight: The mothman can fly.

Glowing eyes: The mothman can make their eyes glow at will (as the spell)

Disaster sense: Whenever a disaster is just about to happen or has just happened (up to a week) in a mothman area, roll a die. On the roll of a 1, then a mothman will turn up.

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Conspiracy theories part 2

 So, a while ago, I wrote a post on conspiracy theories which I only published in 2021 - it must have been part of my big collection of posts that I built up in case I didn't have time to write any for the week. For the most part, it worked, but sometimes the posts were released years after I had written them and sometimes they were about games that had decided to close on the day I published the post.

So, when I wrote about conspiracy theories before, I thought they were some harmless bizarre stories circulated in only a tiny proportion of the population and that it did no harm. When did I write that post. I think it was 2015.

I had no idea how far conspiracy theories could go.

The answer, it seems, was too far.

Now, in 2022, we now know that the internet is awash with people spreading false information (I'm not going to say it), hacking prominent figures' emails and releasing anything remotely incriminating in order to change elections. Companies are gathering our data and controlling what we see on the Internet so that we spend all our time on it. That usually involves reading things that completely agree with us or reading things that are guaranteed to make us full of rage so that we engage with them more.

The first Rulers of the NOW I wrote was set in 3012 and was a parody of a world where the conspiracy theories were true. Now, things are getting a little too real.

Rulers of the NOW has evolved. It is now set in a future I will probably be alive in. I wanted it to be like the book Make Room! Make Room! (which the film Soylent Green is based on).

I suggest you scoop it up.


Make Room! Make Room! is based in the near future (for the 1960s) in a world that is incredibly overpopulated. It follows a detective and his quarry and the horrible world they live in. Towards the end, the detective's flatmate has a monologue about how birth control is a good thing and might have stopped the situation they are in now. 

The book is telling you the consequences of an action and then telling you how to stop it. It is trying to show you a possible future and also how to avoid it.

The book is also based on very current worries of the time. In the 1960s, people were worried about the problems of overpopulation.

I want Rulers of the NOW to be a Make Room! Make Room! for 2021 - giving the possible horrible consequences of our current situation and hopefully, what I think we should do about it.

I finally released Rulers of the NOW this January. In fact, March 5th (the day before this post was published) 2042 is the date your character does something pretty risky. 

You can get Rulers of the NOW for free (at the time of posting, if you have any money, I would suggest you donate it to Ukraine instead) from Drive Thru or Itch.

That's enough for one day. I'm getting hungry. I'll go and eat something healthy.

You are what you eat!

Thursday, March 3, 2022

News for February 2022 and upcoming news for March 2022

 Hello all! I'm sorry I'm late with my post (again). Here is the latest news in the gamebook and interactive fiction world. There's a lot on!


Patreon

Ganesha games is creating support materials for games such as 4 Against Darkness. This is run by Andrea Sfiligoi who had to abandon his old studio in Ukraine. 

Ganesha Games is creating Support materials for tabletop games | Patreon

Music

London-based duo Andy Wood and Mark Cholerton met aged-ten thanks to a shared love of Lone Wolf and have set out to create a new song inspired by each book in the saga.

As musically-inclined chaps with a creative drive, they've been inspired to write and record a musical equivalent to all the great fan art we've seen over the years,

"We don't have any specific ambitions for the music other than sharing it with our friends, families and hopefully the Lone Wolf community out there," says Andy. "It's very much a passion project which helps us stay connected and sane amidst our busy day jobs and family lives."

So as we remember Joe, let's also give a little love to the amazing fans he helped inspire.

Brotherhood of the Crystal Star


New book releases

Don Bosco

This March, Don Bosco is releasing The Supergame.

This is Book 3 of the thrilling LAST KID RUNNING gamebook series for 10 to 12 year olds. YOU decide how the story unfolds.

You are Runner X, one of six contestants in the final round of Last Kid Running, the craziest game show streaming on the mobile web.

You’ve been waiting eagerly for this. But the pandemic strikes, and the ingenious Dr Yamato creates a home-based VR version of this event instead, to keep the fans entertained.

It turns out to be a wild and futuristic adventure, with five levels full of twists, thrills and tricky challenges. Plus, you’ll need to solve the Riddlemaster’s Remarkable Riddle, which is the most baffling brain-teaser you’ve ever encountered.

Do you have what it takes to be the LAST KID RUNNING?

Read and find out!

Super Cool Books: LAST KID RUNNING _____ Book 3: The Supergame coming in March 2022, final gamebook in the trilogy

Dave L Lewis

Dave L Lewis has released Army of Bones, which is the sequel to his first book, The Demon Sorcerer.

You are a legend in your home world. YOU are the Wizard’s champion, slayer of the Demon Sorcerer and master of the blade, but your great deeds have attracted many powerful enemies. An ancient evil has risen from the Underworld. If you have any chance of defeating it, you will need more than just your brawn and wits. This time, you will need to make allies out of enemies. Set in a world of magic and mayhem, Army of Bones is the thrilling sequel to The Demon Sorcerer gamebook. Taking six years to create, the book includes full page illustrations, four hundred sections and an epic quest where you can shape your own destiny. Prepare to be thrown into a world of savage monsters, mighty Gods and battling armies.

Your adventure awaits!

Army of Bones: An Adventure Gamebook: 2 (The Demon's Bane Series) : Lewis, D L, Lewis, D L: Amazon.co.uk: Books

The Demon Sorcerer: An Adventure Gamebook: Amazon.co.uk: Lewis, D L, Lewis, D L: 9781916125001: Books

You can get a limited number of signed copies here: Army of Bones: An Adventure Gamebook by D. L. Lewis (PB) | eBay

Here is Dave L Lewis's Facebook group DLLewis Gamebooks | Facebook

Marvel

Marvel are releasing gamebooks!

ACONYTE BOOKS & MARVEL ARE ON A MISSION… TO THE MULTIVERSE – Aconyte Books

Destiny Quest

Michael J. Ward is releasing the Destiny Quest companion.

The DestinyQuest Companion » DestinyQuest (destiny-quest.com)


Audiobooks

OUT NOW – we are extremely excited to announce the EXCLUSIVE release of TITAN: THE FIGHTING FANTASY WORLD – an audio guidebook to the incredible fantasy gamebook world of Steve Jackson and Sir Ian Livingstone.

Spokenworld Audio


Computer games

To Carry a Sword

This is a computer game which Richard S. Hetley is involved in.

Story-rich roleplaying game mixing interactive events, strategic planning, and real-time combat. Become the guard of a medieval caravan in a journey where the social connections you make are just as important as the money.

To Carry a Sword on Steam (steampowered.com)


Zines

Red Ruin Publishing

Casket of Fays, the free Dragon Warriors zine will have issue 6 out around March. Keep your eyes peeled! The Cakset of Fays website is here.

Voidspace Zine

This is a new zine about all things interactive fiction.

voidspace _ – interactive arts (voidspacezine.com)


Podcasts

Fantastic Fights and Where to Find them

This podcast is currently on Robot Commando. Mech vs Dinosaur goodness.

Fantastic Fights — Haunted Phonograph

Instadeath Survivors' Support Group

Brian is currently playing through the awesome Steam Highwayman series and talking to me about the latest in the gamebook world.

Welcome to Instadeath Survivors Support Group by Instadeath Survivors Support Group (anchor.fm)


Crowdfunding

Only The Dead Will Hear Your Screams - A Horror Gamebook by Jonathon Kelly — Kickstarter


Competitions

Lindenbaum is still going! Remember to read the 16 awesome books and vote!

Lloyd of Gamebooks: Voting is now open for the 2021/2022 Lindenbaum Prize!


Voyages in social media

I found this in the Gamebooks subreddit

This is from Mattocreates:

It's called Ever Soaring and the first chapter is complete, consisting of just over 9000 words spread across 59 individual passages. It's set in the Warhammer 40k universe, but that's just the setting and you don't actually need to know anything about 40k to enjoy the story. Just be warned that it contains written depictions of graphic violence.

https://mattocreates.github.io