Tuesday, November 1, 2022

October news and upcoming November news

Hi all!

I'm sorry for the late release. Everything seems to be getting busier. Anyway, here is the news.

New releases

Choice of Games

Choice of Games has, of course, delivered some awesome gamebooks!

Will you overthrow the queen and her clockwork iron army, or join her as a spy? The relics you recover from the elven dungeon will change the course of history!

A Crown of Sorcery and Steel is a 450,000-word interactive fantasy novel by Josh Labelle. It’s entirely text-based, without graphics or sound effects, and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

A Crown of Sorcery and Steel (choiceofgames.com)

After finding yourself trapped in another dimension, you and your friends must fight for survival and defeat the monsters that lurk in the shadows. Make sure to grab a weapon as your quiet Halloween night turns into an adventure out of this world! 

The Midnight Saga: The Monster is a thrilling 355,000 word interactive fantasy horror novel by C.C. Hill, where your choices control the story. The game is text-based, with artwork to show key moments of the story, fantastical creatures, and a variety of monsters that you will meet along your journey.

The Midnight Saga: The Monster (choiceofgames.com)

When a group of corrupt witch hunters comes to your village, accusing your brother of sorcery and wrongly accusing you of abetting him, your life takes a violent and abrupt change for the worse. After you’ve suffered more than you can bear, and endured terrible tragedy, perhaps your only option left is to become the very thing that your enemies fear and despise so much.

The Nascent Necromancer is an epic, 238,000 word interactive fantasy novel by Samuel Young, where your choices control the story. It’s entirely text-based, and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

The Nascent Necromancer (choiceofgames.com)


Last Hand of Rhyalla VII

This title has Adult Content.

This is a FREE UNOFFICIAL ADULT solo adventure for the Alpha Blue RPG. It's part text adventure, part CYOA, and part alien sex simulator, all combined together to create a unique roleplaying experience. Choose from 6 different objectives and explore the colony on Rhyalla VII. Will you rescue the kidnapped royal, capture space pirates, or bring down the evil Federation? YOU get to decide! Everything you need to play is included except paper, pencil, regular six-sided dice, & your imagination.

Last Hand on Rhyalla VII - Sean Loftiss | DriveThruRPG.com


Brown Water Navy

Brown Water Navy is a rules light game where you take the roll of the skipper of a PCF in Vietnam. Inspired by B-17 Queen of the Skies this book will take you through some of the most dangerous places in Vietnam, and beyond. But don’t expect it to be easy. This D66 gamebook is fun but challenging. All you need for this book is two standard six sided dice, some paper and a pencil.

Brown Water Navy : A Vietnam Patrol Boat D66 Gamebook: Campbell, Brent: 9798357418067: Amazon.com: Books


Tin Man Games

Tin Man Games, the company that bought gamebooks to apps as far back as 2008 has new releases!

Table of Tales: The Crooked Crown

Table of Tales: The Crooked Crown is a role playing adventure that brings tabletop gaming to life in virtual reality! Also includes a new non-VR mode for players without VR hardware. Join a band of scoundrels in this unique sea-faring tabletop RPG adventure!

Table of Tales: The Crooked Crown on Steam (steampowered.com)

Fighting Fantasy Classics

Tin Man Games plans on releasing 3 new titles, one of which is Armies of Death. There is also Creature of Havoc and Temple of Terror.

They have released a blog post with what they have been up to for the last 2.5 years: Two and a half years later… - Tin Man Games


Crowdfunding

You are the Hero 40th Anniversary edition!

Just 6 days left to back this updated history of Fighting Fantasy by Jonathon Green.

YOU ARE THE HERO - 40th Anniversary Edition by Jonathan Green — Kickstarter

Heart of Ice ultimate edition 

Heart of Ice is getting an ultimate edition (it's already funded)

https://fabledlands.blogspot.com/2022/10/heart-of-ice-ultimate-edition.html?m=1

Marching Order Quick and Dirties

Marching Order quick and dirties is a new type of delve. They're no nonsense adventures meant to be played in a single sitting. Each one comes on a six panel fold out brochure that fits real nice in your Marching Order box. There ain't no new monster cards or nothin' fancy like that- just the delves, quick and dirty style. 

Marching Order Quick and Dirties | Indiegogo

Dice Men

The history of Games Workshop from 1975-1985 has been funded! It will be out on 10th November.

Dice Men: Games Workshop 1975 to 1985 by Ian Livingstone with Steve Jackson: Unbound


Zines

Warlock returns

Issue 7 is out!

The Warlock Returns Issue #07 - Arion Games | Advanced Fighting Fantasy | DriveThruRPG.com

Voidspace

Issue 4 is out!

voidspace 4 – voidspace _ (voidspacezine.com)


Blogs

Fighting Dantasy

Fighting Dantasy made a blog post on Shadow of the Giants! Fighting Dantasy has been making posts about gamebooks for decades now, so a new post is very exciting!

Fighting Dantasy


Adventure Gameblog

In October, it covered Lost in the Desert of Dread

Adventure Gameblog (myadventuresendhere.blogspot.com)


Podcasts

Fantastic Flights

The latest episode is Midnight Rogue.

Fantastic Fights — Haunted Phonograph


The Podcast from Firetop Mountain

The podcast featuring Alison Cybe and myself has finished its first season, ending on Crystal of Storms. You can listen to them all here: The Postcast from Firetop Mountain - YouTube

The Postcast from Firetop Mountain - YouTube


Competitions

Lindenbaum

I've announced the Lindenbaum competition:

Lloyd of Gamebooks: 2022/2023 Lindenbaum Prize announcement

A few rules changes - I'm not hyperlinking this year as people didn't seem too bothered about it and people can enter in any format I can edit and convert to a pdf.


Meet Ups

Jason Archer (creator of Fighting Fantasy.net) is planning a meet up in Sussex

Beyond Fighting Fantasy (and other gamebooks) | https://fightingfantasy.net is contemplating arranging a mini-meet-up/Beer-O forthe South-East in my hometown of Bexhill in Sussex - we have 2 possibl... | Facebook


Conventions

Adventure X

Adventure X takes place at the British Library on the 5th and 6th November!

You can get passes from the British Library: AdventureX The Narrative Games Convention Saturday Pass 2022 - The British Library (bl.uk)

Sunday, October 16, 2022

2022/2023 Lindenbaum Prize announcement

Hi all! I am excited to announce the 2nd annual Lindenbaum competition!

The award is inspired by the Windhammer competition which ran from 2008-2015. I loved entering my books, seeing other books, voting and getting feedback. To be fair, I loved every aspect of it.

So, when it was discontinued, it left a hole. Between 2016 and now, I was very busy. However, I have a bit more time now and I was also shocked when I was on an online gamebook meetup to learn that almost no one there had heard of the Windhammer competition.

If you look at the list of Windhammer entrants, you will see a few familiar names. This is basically what kickstarted a lot of careers for the new gamebook writing crew.

I would love for that to continue with the new fans we have picked up along the way so that they can have a gateway into the gamebook community. I found the chance to meet new people and get lots of expert feedback invaluable.

So, without further ado, here are the details for the Lindenbaum competition:

Entry requirements for the 2022/2023 Lindenbaum competition

All entries must be in English.

All entries must be original works incorporating unique characters and world settings. This can include real world settings, people and events as long as they aren't the property of someone.

All entries must be previously unpublished works.

All entrants must state clearly on the first page of their entries that they are the authors of the work submitted.

All entries must be provided in rich text format (rtf) and sent as an email attachment All entries must be in any format that I can edit and turn into a pdf and sent as an attachment and link to lindenbaumprize@gmail.com.

Formats I know I can do this with are: RTF, doc, docx, Google docs, pdf, - leave a comment if there is a format that you want to know about.

All character or status sheets provided with entries must be presented in a simple layout that does not include complex table formats.

All entries must be spell-checked and thoroughly tested prior to submission.

The total length of the entry does not exceed 100 sections and a word count of 25,000 words.

Illustrations will not be accepted as a part of an entry except in two specific circumstances. 

Exception 1: Maps that are integral to navigation within the gamebook.

Exception 2: Graphics necessary as a part of puzzles or clues integral to the entry's narrative.

Graphics provided for these purposes must be in either BMP or JPG format and be included as a part of the RTF entry forwarded. 

Graphics purely of an illustrative nature will not be accepted.

The entry may either be a complete stand-alone story or a self-contained excerpt from a larger gamebook adventure of your own creation.

The entry can be of any genre except erotica.

There is no entry fee.

All rights remain with the author and the author can withdraw their entry at any time during the course of the competition.

An entrant can submit one entry only.

All participants must have a valid PayPal account at the time of submission. For reasons given below you must have a valid PayPal account if you wish to receive a cash prize. Account information is not required by the organisers of this competition unless you are one of the winning entrants. Only at the time of winning a prize will you be asked for your PayPal details.


Hyperlinking

Last year, I hyperlinked most of the entries. Response was lukewarm with one entrant specifically asking not to hyperlink. It seems that for a short gamebook, hyperlinks aren't completely necessary, so I won't do it this year.


Competition deadlines for 2022/2023

16th October 2022: Competition guidelines released

6th December 2022: Entry submissions begin

14th February 2023: Entry submissions close.

21st February 2023: Voting begins.*

18th April 2023: Voting closes.*

30th April 2023: Winners announced.*

* If there are more than 14 entries, these dates will be extended.


Voting

The prize is awarded to the entrant who receives the greatest number of reader votes. This prize relies on votes provided by readers who have read enough of the entries to make a considered choice as to the relative merits of the gamebooks submitted. It is expected by the sponsor of this competition that votes will be provided on this basis. For 2022/2023 the voting system applies as follows:

A valid vote must be forwarded by email to lindenbaumprize@gmail.com. A valid vote must nominate the three gamebooks most favoured by the voter from the competition entrants. A vote with less than three nominations cannot be accepted. A vote forwarded with more than three nominations will only have the first three accounted for in the voting tabulation.

Only one voter email is allowed per reader. All votes will be checked for duplication of email addresses.

Feedback to the authors may be forwarded to the competition sponsors at lindenbaumprize@gmail.com. All feedback given will be provided to authors at the end of competition as a part of the email notification of results.

Prizes

Winning entrant

A cash prize of £100 GBP (Great British Pounds) to be paid within 48 hours into a PayPal account of the winner's choosing. If you do not have access to a valid PayPal account the cash prize cannot be paid.

A desktop licence to the Gamebook Authoring Tool which lasts for 1 year.

A First Prize certificate memorialising their success in the competition.

Merit awards

Two entries are chosen for Merit awards. These entrants receive:

A cash prize of £30 GBP (Great British Pounds) to be paid within 48 hours into a PayPal account of the Merit Award winner's choosing.

A Merit Award certificate memorialising their success in the competition,

Commendation awards

If there are 10 or more entries, there will be 3 commendation awards. The entrants receive:

A Commendation Certificate memorialising their success in the competition.

Gamebook writing help

If you haven't written a gamebook before, you might think that arranging and randomising the sections might be a problem. However, there are now good gaembook writing programs out there. One is The Gamebook Authoring Tool, which has a free version specifically designed to write a 100 section gamebook and export it to Rich Text Format. You can try it here: About The GameBook Authoring Tool – Crumbly Head Games

Sunday, September 25, 2022

September news and upcoming October news

Hello gamebookers! 

I hope you have had a good September. Fighting Fantasy Fest 4 is over now and there is lots to report from that and other things.


Fighting Fantasy Celebration

This is happening on the 8th and 9th October.

Fantastic Fighting Fantasy Celebration DAY ONE - YouTube

Two 12 Hour reading sessions of the Fighting Fantasy books over on You Tube.. There will be three giveaways for the new books released in September and a guest reader!

You make the decisions and the host Adam J Pestridge will be reading the books and doing the voices. Two days of Fighting Fantasy Interactivity to be had if you cant get enough after the Fight Fantasy Fest 4 this year. We will be reading the RARE books that are expensive to purchase and going through the newly released books as well. There are about 30 books we will get through in total and and two of them will have MULTIPLAY! Where many people can take the role of a single character in the story.... 

Fantastic Annual Fighting Fantasy Celebration | Facebook


Red Ruin Publishing

The company that makes Dragon Warriors solos has released a new one! For free!

Dare you enter the Catacombs of Dust? Deep dark danger surrounds you! Will you succumb to foul demonic sorcery or will right prevail?

A solo adventure for the Dragon Warriors RPG for a character of 7th Rank. 

Catacombs of Dust by Red Ruin Publishing (itch.io)


Interactive You Are the Hero

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Fighting Fantasy, Jonathan Green will be releasing an updated You Are The Hero. Interactive!

You can follow the Kickstarter here:

YOU ARE THE HERO - 40th Anniversary Edition by Jonathan Green — Kickstarter


The Art of Fighting Fantasy

Is coming soon...


Dice Men compilation

Dice Men was an interactive comic that is going to be released as a book soon.

Complete Dice Man: Amazon.co.uk: Pat Mills, John Wagner, Bryan Talbot, Kevin O'Neill, David Lloyd: 9781786189417: Books


Saga

Martin Noutch (Steam Highwayman) has been writing a viking themed gamebook series! You can get it here:

SAGA – martin barnabus noutch.com


Gamebook Elfster gift exchange - deadline 2nd November.

Do you like Secret Santas? Well there is a gamebook Secret Santa. You can sign up for it here!

Xmas My Gamebook Adventures 2022 | Elfster


Fighting Fantasy Fest videos

You can see the talks from Fighting Fantasy Fest 4 here.

https://www.fightingfantasy.com/fighting-fantasy-fest-4-talks


Collaborative gamebook writing for NanoWrimo

Keith Phillips of Siege of Sardath fame wants to make a collaborative group to write a gamebook.

If you are interested, the post is in this group. (1) Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks | Facebook


Defenders 3

Derick William Dalton is preparing to write book 3:

Defenders 3: Heiress of the Tundra by Derick William Dalton — Kickstarter


The Ghost and the Golem

The Ghost and the Golem on Steam (steampowered.com)

Confront mystic perils and revelations, pogroms, & your own wild heart, in this Jewish historical fantasy set in the violent spring of 1881, amid bandits, betrothals, klezmers, and kabbalists! Can you save the shtetl...or do you long to escape it?

The Ghost and the Golem is a 250,000-word interactive historical fantasy novel by Benjamin Rosenbaum, Ennie-nominated author of the Jewish tabletop roleplaying game Dream Apart. It's entirely text-based—without graphics or sound effects—and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.


Flemming

A new gamebook from Adam Mitchell

Flemming is a solo real time journaling gamebook, set against the backdrop of WW2, you are Agent Flemming of 30AU. You have been sent on a deadly mission alone- a mission so delicate and dangerous only you are able to complete. Agent Flemming is the star of his own WW2 espionage thriller as told through his own personal mission dossier. 

Flemming: A WW2 Espionage Real Time Journaling Adventure: Amazon.co.uk: Mitchell, Adam C: 9798849295435: Books


Podcast from Firetop Mountain

Alison Cybe and I are currently on Return to Firetop Mountain.

Moonrunner is soon!

The Postcast from Firetop Mountain - YouTube


Adam J Pestridge

Adam has done a playthrough of Demons of the Deep.

https://youtu.be/owbPra0ZeuY


Fantastic Flights

This month, the Fantastic Flights podcast has done Falcon book 1 and Phantoms of Fear.

adventure gamebooks — Fantastic Fights — Haunted Phonograph


The Lindenbaum competition

It's almost been a year since I announced the first Lindenbaum competition! I'm going to do another one and I will announce it soon, so this is an announcement about the announcement. Get your ideas ready!

Monday, August 29, 2022

August news and upcoming September news

 Hi all! Sorry for the lateness - there has been much to do both in and out of gamebooks this week. 

If you want to personally berate me for being late,  I will be at Fighting Fantasy Fest 4 on the 3rd September.

UPDATE: There are now Livestream tickets available for £10 (+£1.37 booking fee)

Fighting Fantasy Fest 4 Tickets, Sat 3 Sep 2022 at 09:00 | Eventbrite

Enjoy!


New releases


Fighting Fantasy

Yes, there are two Fighting Fantasy books being released in September. Available for pre-order now.

Shadow of the Giants by Ian Livingstone

When an ancient artifact is discovered inside Firetop Mountain, its evil magic unleashes terrifying Iron Giants upon the world. In a race against time, YOU must find the only person who knows how to defeat them. Where does he live? Will he help? Will YOU survive?

Fighting Fantasy: Shadow of the Giants : Livingstone, Ian, McCarthy, Mike: Amazon.co.uk: Books


The Secrets of Salamonis by Steve Jackson

YOU, the hero, travel to the city of Salamonis to make your fortune. But will you join the Strongarms and travel across Allansia, guarding merchant caravans, or will you study at the famous Halls of Learning? Will you enter Bu Fon Fen in search of Cauldronweed, or rid King Salamon's Mine of the pests that plague it? Will you bring Cardinal Zyn to justice, or set off in search of the horn of the Black Unicorn? And just who is the Shivering Man, and what does he have to do with the mystery of the screaming sky? It is down to YOU to uncover the secrets of Salamonis!

Fighting Fantasy: The Secrets of Salamonis: Amazon.co.uk: Jackson, Steve, Bettin, Tazio: 9781407188492: Books


Red Ruin Publishing

There is a new Dragon Warriors solo from David Donache

You've come to Hambleton following a rumour, of a beast, coming down from the tor and terrorising the inhabitants of the moor. A few choice questions around the inn confirms that the rumours are true, but the beast has yet to come as far as Hambleton, it is Brengate, the moorland village, from which the whispers come.

Suitable for characters of 1st or 2nd Rank of any Profession.

The Beast of the Black Tor by Red Ruin Publishing (itch.io)


Usborne Adventures

Curse Breaker is the second gamebook in the Usborne Adventure gamebook series. It is out on September 2022.

This magically illustrated gamebook plunges you into a story with a difference - one where the hero is YOU.

But as you stare out at the stars from your prison cell window, you're not feeling very heroic. You, a city guard, thrown in jail because someone whispered a word in your ear. Just a single word...

Then your cell door creaks open, and you're let loose on an epic adventure where every choice is yours, and your survival depends upon the decisions you make. Who to fight? Who to trust? In a world that's unravelling before your eyes, the mystery goes deeper than you could possibly have dreamt.

Curse Breaker | Usborne | Be Curious



Choice of Games

Noblesse Oblige is now available on Steam, Android and iOS with 20% off until September 1st!

Noblesse Oblige: a Crème de la Crème Adventure is a 140,000-word interactive Gothic romance novella by Hannah Powell-Smith, a standalone story in the “Crème de la Crème” universe. It’s entirely text-based, without graphics or sound effects, and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

Noblesse Oblige—Find romance amid secrets in a lonely estate! - Choice of Games LLC

Heart of Battle is now available on Android and iOS.

Heart of Battle is a 255,000-word interactive gladiator romance by Fay Ikin, 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.

Heart of Battle—Battle for love as a gladiator! - Choice of Games LLC

Paranormal Preparatory School is now available on Steam, Android and iOS

This boarding school for supernaturals isn’t hell, but it is on top of it! Can you make peace between the vampire and werewolf students, close the portal to hell, and save the world?

Paranormal Preparatory School is a 340,000-word interactive comedic dark fantasy novel by David Spain. It’s entirely text-based, without graphics or sound effects, and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

Paranormal Preparatory School (choiceofgames.com)

A Mage Reborn: Book One is a new hosted game

“A Mage Reborn: Book One” is a thrilling 154,000-word interactive fantasy novel written by Adam Alamsyah. It’s entirely text-based—without graphics or sound effects—and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

A Mage Reborn: Book One (choiceofgames.com)

Pride and Prejudice and Murder is a new hosted game

“Pride and Prejudice and Murder” is a 210,000 word interactive murder-mystery novel by Abigail Shaffer Fuller and Michael Gray, 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.

Pride and Prejudice and Murder (choiceofgames.com)


Choose Your Own Adventure

Choose Your Own Adventure has some books available for pre-order which will be released on the 4th October.

They are:

Dregg Disaster: An Algebra 1 Gamebook

Brooklyn Mermaid

Antarctica!

COMING SOON! – Chooseco LLC (cyoa.com)

Samuel Isaacson

Samuel Isaacson has released and interactive poem.

Guilt of Years Emerging: A melancholic, interactive poem about loss, life and hope : Isaacson, Sam: Amazon.co.uk: Books

Darkness on a Foreign Shore: Unravel Your Destiny Book 1 (1) : Jordan, G R, Clarke, Jake Caleb: Amazon.co.uk: Books


Zines

Fighting Fantazine

After a 5 year hiatus, Fighting Fantazine issue 17 is out! You can get it free!

Home (fightingfantazine.co.uk)


Podcasts

Fantastic Flights 

The latest episode is Star Strider

Fantastic Fights — Haunted Phonograph


The Podcast From Firetop Mountain

The next podcast will be Appointment with F.E.A.R (to broadcast at 7pm BST on 29/08/2022)

The Postcast from Firetop Mountain - YouTube


Events


International Gamebook Day 

International Gamebook day was on 27th August (Fighting Fantasy's 40th birthday!). There were several interviews with people in the gamebook community (not just Fighting Fantasy ones!). The videos can be found at the Storymaster's Tales.

The Storymaster's Tales - YouTube


Fighting Fantasy Fest

This takes place on the 3rd September at the University of West London in Ealing. I will be there, so if you go, come and say hi!

Fighting Fantasy Fest 4 Tickets, Sat 3 Sep 2022 at 09:00 | Eventbrite


Gamebook creators

David Grophland has created a free gamebook creator called Gordian. 

Gordian Book imports a Twine game (either a Twine Archive, or a Twison/Twee version), and converts it to a gamebook output by numbering and shuffling the paragraphs, and converting links to the appropriate "turn to page x" form. Once converted, you can view the game in the browser, download as a standalone HTML file (e.g. for further editing), or export it as a simple PDF. (See Workflow notes).

Gordian: Home (gordianbook.art)


Interactive Fiction

Who better to tell us about what's going on in the world of Interactive Fiction, than Emily Short?

Mid-August Link Assortment – Emily Short's Interactive Storytelling (emshort.blog)


Adventures in social media

I found Solo Adventures with Livi on Youtube. As well as solo games, Livi also reviews gamebooks, such as Heart of Ice and The Shadows Tooth.

Solo Adventures With Livi - YouTube

Sunday, July 31, 2022

July news and upcoming August news

 Hello lovelies! Here is the news for July and upcoming events for August.


Releases


Fighting Fantasy Collector is a website run by Jamie Fry - he releases a guide to the price of all the Fighting Fantasy collectables. He is releasing a new one for the 40th anniversary.

Fighting Fantasy Collector – A comprehensive guide to everything collectable for Fighting Fantasy


Here is a lovely solo RPG.

Valley of the Conquered King, a SoloRPG Adventure Hex - SoloRPG | DriveThruRPG.com


Adam Mitchell has released another gamebook!

M.I.A : A D88 Survival Gamebook: Amazon.co.uk: Mitchell, Adam C: 9798839341760: Books


There will be two new Fighting Fantasy books out in September - here are their covers!

Fighting Fantasy 1982-2022: 40th Anniversary Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks' covers revealed! (officialfightingfantasy.blogspot.com)



Crowdfunding

Expeditionary Company

Expeditionary Company: July 20 on Kickstarter.

A game of resource management and travel through a condemned world that uses 3 gamebooks with more than 3 000 sections.

Expeditionary Company by Sugaar Editorial — Kickstarter


Castle of Blackwood Moors THE GAME

Castle of Blackwood Moors is a great fantasy gamebook. Now there is a Kickstarter to make it a game.

There is a demo on Itch - The Castle of Blackwood Moors by madoverlord (itch.io)

Castle of Blackwood Moors Gamebook THE GAME by David Konkol — Kickstarter


One Night Worlds

Brian Hazzard of Insteadeath Survivor's Support Group podcast fame is preparing a Kickstarter for One Night Worlds - a solo TTRPG. 

One Night Worlds: Zero-prep, GM-less, one-page TTRPGs by Brian Hazzard — Kickstarter


YOU ARE THE HERO 40th Anniversary edition

This will be running soon! Click below to be notified.

YOU ARE THE HERO - 40th Anniversary Edition by Jonathan Green — Kickstarter


Blogs

Deathtraps and Dungeons

Deathtraps and Dungeons has started season 2 with Talisman of Death.

Deathtraps and Dungeons


Emily Short

If you aren't reading Emily Short's blog already, then you should be, because it is awesome. It is more interactive fiction than gamebook, but there are still loads of crossovers, especially this post I saw recently.

Writing for Games: Theory & Practice (Hannah Nicklin) – Emily Short's Interactive Storytelling (emshort.blog)


Zines

Voidspace

Voidspace issue 3 is out:

voidspace 3 – voidspace _ (voidspacezine.com)


Fighting Fantazine

Fighting Fantazine issue 17 will be out very soon!

Fighting Fantazine


Podcasts

There is a new podcast to be out in August. It is called the Podcast from Firetop Mountain where Alison Cybe and I discuss Fighting Fantasy books.

The first episode will be released on the 1st August and it will be City of Thieves.

The Postcast from Firetop Mountain - YouTube

You can support the podcast and all of Alison's other creations on Patreon. (and also get the episodes a week early!)


Conventions


International Gamebook Day

This is the 27th August. 

International Gamebook Day 2022 | Facebook


Fighting Fantasy Fest

Fighting Fantasy Fest! Yes, I know this is cheating, because Fighting Fantasy Fest is the 3rd September and not August, but it's Fighting Fantasy Fest!

Here are the tickets: Fighting Fantasy Fest 4 Tickets, Sat 3 Sep 2022 at 09:00 | Eventbrite


Adventures in social media

I found Storey's Stories on Instagram.

It is described as Crowd powered interactive storytelling. 

Give it a look:

Storey's Stories (@storeys_stories) • Instagram photos and videos

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!