So a couple of days ago I received the proof bound of my latest gamebook , The Druids Of Pneuma – the third title in my Literally Immersive Gamebooks series. There are 36 of these hardback copies in existence, all taken by a backer of this grand project. They have 410 sizzling references to look forward to with artwork by Fighting Fantasy illustrator Malcolm Barter, Mike Tenebrae on internals, and Pat O’Neill on fillers. The book will officially launch after these special hardback editions are posted off, and be available on Amazon in late May.
Hey hey! Today I endeavour to finish off the second rewrite of The Druids Of Pneuma. What a nightmare last hundred refs it has been. With plot holes and cross links galore having to have been ironed out, it isn’t any wonder Puffin rebuked 19 year old gamebook writers. Anyway, I think I have come up with a lovely story, or peril and woe, action and adventure, monsters and magic.
Upon completion it shall be shown to three trustees for preliminary perusal, and the wonderful Mike Tenebrae will be briefed on internal illustrations. I have come up with a plan for limited Kickstarter rewards, which people will be able to get a special edition hardback or paperback as well as other goodies. Whether or not that funds, the book will be available on Amazon shortly after the Kickstarter ends. I’m guessing it’ll be a couple of pounds more than the first two Literally Immersive Gamebooks as its over twice as long at 410 references.
Of all the book projects I am ever likely to do, this is probably the most personal to me, and a product of my 19 year old self and 44 year old self combined. There’s that number again! It will also contain a couple of Easter eggs here and there. A 25 year old work is about to come alive. And with a cover by Malcolm Barter, binding me to the Fighting Fantasy series I love and grew up with. This is a dream come true. I’ll be at the Fighting Fantasy Beero tonight, if you cannot make it I wish you all a merry Yuletide break and happy New Year.
Larping has recieved a significant smash in the chops due to lockdpwn rules. Personally, the closest I ever got to Larping was cops and robbers, or am-dram productions with a youth club I attended as a boy. So is there a way to get round this? Yes! Oliver McNeil, creator of the incredibly popular Storymaster’s Tales boardgames Weirding Woods and Dracodeep Dungeon, has created an interactive webcam based format, where Larpers can create there own character and explore the multitude of locations in his ever expanding Grimm-esque universe. With encounters of wizards, witches, monsters and magic, this thoroughly absorbing static larp experience draws you straight into a cooperative adventure with dozens of other characters.
The production levels of this visual interactive phenomenon are high, and many people have compared the experience to the old Knightmare TV series from the 80s. My own character, Half-head Harry, is a Thief who is usually handy to have onside when sneaky skullduggery is relied upong to progress the story. Being new to Larping, I can say its easy to get into, and more experienced Larpers are always happy to help you out if you stifle.
While the world of outdoor social RPG is at the mercy of covid 19, I strongly recommend to anybody who like LARP, RPG, D&D and all other immersive live action co op games to check it out. Search for Storymaster’s Tales Online LARP group on Facebook today and have a chat with some of the members about joining in this incredible gaming delight. Ages 14+
So here we have it. The sublime Rhianna Pratchett enters the Fighting Fantasy franchise with her adventure Crystal Of Storms, becoming the series’ first female author, and armed with illustrator Eva Eskalinen. So how well did the pair do through the eyes of this age old fanatic of FF? Before I sink my teeth in properly, let’s have a look at the premise. A previously uncharted area of Titan, Pangaria… made up of a cluster of floating islands. Yes, floating! With this being a new area it gives Rhianna free reign to do whatever she likes. Even her own ecosystem of creatures. Clever! And she has introduced technomancy to the world, which has been created by a race of friendly Goblins within the archipelago. This is how the islands float. Don’t bicker, we’ve had friendly ones before, Giblet, Marsh Goblins etc. So one day, one of the floaty islands crystals goes pop, and it drops into the sea, sparking your thirst for adventure. It’s a great idea and I really love Rhi’s writing, comparable to Jonathan Green’s and Ian Livingstone’s. This girl is on fire.
Eva’s art is rather reminiscent of the much panned two-dimensional work of Vlado Krizan. While there is a slight improvement, most of these illustrations belong in a fairytale book for under fives. Sorry, it’s just not a met standard given the rock album cover Gods and Hollywood storyboard artists we had before. But of course, ScholasticUK know what kids like better than the six year olds of the eighties that actually read these religiously for four decades. I could moan all day but what good would it do? This is not to slate Eva or her art, it’s great, but just mismatched to this series which used to leap from the pages and tear your face off. Incidentally, I rather liked the Shark Kin illu, old creations are floating through now. Actually, I remember Jon asking for a reminder of it’s stats in the Facebook group. Superfan Victor Cheng answered like lightening. I’ll bet that’s when it was added to the mix. Speaking of which, there’s a whole lot of JG mechanisms on loan here, from creatures and codewords to settings and humour. The latter of which can sometimes get a little excessive… (you’ll see.) There are several typos – even in the intro heading – but in all fairness typos we’re always rife in the series. A couple of plot hole refs can have you flittering around the same island all day so you need to use some common sense. (investigating smoke for example, and how did I get a gold coin out of nowhere to recharge my wings?) In a place like Pangaria, I would have expected a gazillion Bird Men characters as well. Or how come The Watch members are not this species? Would’ve made sense in a suspended habitat.
All in all, this is a good book and a clever adventure. Whilst is isn’t up there with the series greats and that isn’t an Aakor on the cover, it’s certainly a great debut albeit influenced greatly by Jonathan Green whom mentored the author. Do another one Rhianna, and consult OOTP even more 😁👍
So with International Gamebook Day over, I have taken stock of people’s advice to give my gamebooks a series name. If you have been among the first to buy me debut book, you will have an extremely rare copy if they take off, as all books now will sport the Literally Immersive Gamebooks logo as seen in this pic.
I’d like to thank Mr David Tobin for my first Amazon review, and what a corker it is. Also, I can take this opportunity to tell everyone that Literally Immersive #2 is well underway, and I hope to have it available by Halloween, which will be fitting for a Horror adventure.
Fellow Fighting Fantasy fans… Well if I haven’t gone and written my own gamebook! Ok, it isn’t big and it isn’t clever, but it should be great fun on a nostalgic level. Keep your eye open on Amazon from Monday 17th August.
Several years ago I had the privilege of reading an embryo-stage version of this excellent dungeon crawl adventure by Destiny’s Role gamebook creator Mark Lain, who is now entering it into the series as Book2. Of course, the defining dungeon gamebook would be Ian Livingstone’s Deathtrap Dungeon but this isn’t anything like that. With some extraordinary beasts in it and clever conundrums to appease ones wit, this deviates from the very dark Mistress Of Sorrows into a more sword and sandals style romp. If you would like to back this project on Kickstarter, CLICK HERE
Well it seems the Fighting Fantasy franchise has been completely sold out to ScholasticUK. It’s with deep regret I have to post this as the cover of the brand new Fighting Fantasy adventure. How twee, and how mocking of everything good up to now… and that’s been sparse!
For all those who might say… ‘but these books are now aimed at 5-8 year olds’… screw you! We was also that age when we started collecting and we got the likes of this.
Fighting Fantasy art is one half of the glory, and now its been handed to people who do not know the series nor have the style to suit. While there is every possibility Rhianna (yes, his daughter) has turned out a good story, I strongly believe we will have another Higson-esque adventure that just doesn’t capture the feel of Titan. And hey, another coverstyle. Scholastic ripping completist collectors off once again no doubt to make this ailing experiment with a legendary series a bit of profit. Which begs me to ask once again… I wonder what proportion of the profits come from old school collectors and how much comes from modern youth, not including those who buy them for their kids to relive their own youth? Scholastic have decided to ignore die hard fans once more, and I say fuck them.
Up until now, I only purchased new adventures in the Scholastic range. This hideous travesty of a cover sees me divorcing from any modern FF releases that are not from classic talent. It breaks my heart to say this, but everything Scholastic has done to this point apart from Assassins Of Allansia is either fatally flawed or absolute and utter trash, trumped by the modern generation of authors who actually know the genre such as Mark Lain, Victoria Hancox, James Schannep and Dane Barrett to name a few.
Last year the Warlock in all his mighty wisdom created a “How Fighting Fantasy Are You” checklist on the official website. I ranked rather high at 57 but knew I could do better. I can now proudly announce I stand at 64, having forked out a small fortune, taken a couple of liberties and painfully mutilated my body in order to achieve this goal.
Best of it all is I can possibly get to 66 . But at least now I can rest assured this is one quest I’ve succeeded in. Thanks to everyone who helped.
Who remembers all those great classic TV programs of the 80s? The Box Of Delights? The Chronicles Of Narnia? Knightmare? The Adventure Game? These were shows that boosted the imaginations of an entire generation, and inspired many. One of those inspired was Mr Oliver McNeil, who has managed to carve himself a career out of said inspirations, creating games, and interactive theatrical performances. Now YOU can join in as he takes the show live online.
Oliver’s latest venture was a hybrid RPG boardgame named The Storymaster’s Tales – Weirding Woods and it’s already became something of a cult hit in the gaming community, with a second game Dracodeep Dungeon currently funding on Kickstarter. However, combining the elements of theatre, game, visual FX and internet you are all able to watch and take part in a LIVE interactive version on his Facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/groups/339654010167488/?ref=share
Hosted by Oliver himself alongside other actors and clever puppetry, he brings the Grimm Brothers-esque setting of Weirding Woods to life and you get to explore and take part in subplots as you strive to fulfill your primary mission be it slaying Evil Sorcerer’s or saving the world from a plague of living dead. With an ever expanding land, equipment, foes and treasure, this is a great way to spend time and liven up the pandemic lockdown. If you’d like to take part in one of the upcoming shows, click here and join the group for performance times https://www.facebook.com/groups/339654010167488/?ref=share