From the rising popular games legend Oliver McNeil, creator of Weirding Woods and Dracodeep Dungeon comes a new avenue of tabletop Horror gaming. Will your stay in Hotel Lovecraft be long…. or will you get lucky? Watch the video and CLICK HERE to get it!!
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.
Today my dear friend Oliver McNeil launches his new Kickstarter campaign for the sequel to his award winning ( 😉 ) tabletop RPG, The Storymaster’s Tales Weirding Woods. The new adventure sees you as a hero trying to gain glory from the perilous Dracodeep Dungeon. New magic, new monsters and new characters abound in this fantasy Grimm-esque world. Having play-testing it live recently, I can tell you that it has all the makings of another masterpiece like it’s predecessor and it is great to see The Storymaster’s Tales universe expanding with another game in the pipeline even now. If you haven’t gone so yet, check out Mr McNeil’s Kickstarter by clicking this link The StoryMaster’s Tales “Dracodeep Dungeon” Hybrid RPG, via @Kickstarter https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/legendphotography/the-storymasters-tales-dracodeep-dungeon-hybrid-rpg?ref=android_project_share
Regular visitors to my site especially gaming fans will have already seen my write up on The Storymaster’s Tales – Weirding Woods. A hybrid gamebook and tabletop RPG that has achieved wonderful success creates by my good friend Oliver McNeil. Well today it went triple hybrid, with the very first audio streaming experience over several live video platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Hangouts.
With my trusty sidekick Colin Deady, aka Wizard Frin, my Pirate character Captain Jam tackled the as yet unreleased Dracodeep Dungeon, the follow up to the Weirding Woods game. Our quest was to slay an evil Vampire Lord that has woken beneath a not desecrated church above the Dungeon. But it wasn’t just about Colin and I communicating, others could also view our progress and call out tips to Ollys wizard presenter. It was a fantastic and modern experience, and the dungeon sported many new locations, items and characters to mingle with making a lovely alternative to the woodland romp. Somehow Colin managed to get a haircut and I purchased a goat that bit me on the arse. Dracodeep Dungeon will be a huge must for those that have played Weirding Woods, and a great standalone if you wish to give the world of RPG a try in a lighter way than D&D. I can only award it 10/10 for all the right reasons.
If you fancy giving this gaming great a go, please visit http://www.storymasterstales.com and for a mere £2.50 you can purchase audio files of the incidental music. This will enter you (but not guarantee you) in a pool for a place for the next game. It also helps if you like The Storymaster’s Tales Facebook page.
I’ve done a little bit of proof reading and play testing for Mark Lain in the past, including the mini’s in Destiny’s Role book 0. Book 1 on the other hand is an absolute epic by comparison. Here we have a single adventure a whopping 500 references long with three artists on board, Alan Langford for the gorgeous cover, the ineffable Malcolm Barter on cartography and Mike Tenebrae for the internal illustrations. Having backed this on Kickstarter my likeness has been included in a very prestigious place in the book. Must admit, Mike did exceptionally well as I’m not easy to photograph let alone draw.
Anyway back to the story. The premise is to hunt down and destroy the Redcap and her witchly associates before her power becomes far too strong she can take over the land. And boy is it a tough ride. You need to make sure you get as many objects and provisions as possible as you will be in so many situations where these will be useful, not to mention the combats in Mistress Of Sorrows come thick and fast. You’re surely guaranteed not to complete it first time. I stopped counting at my twelfth death, most of them in fights.
Mark has clearly researched a lot on the subject matter, and evidence of this is none so obvious if you manage to get to Covan. This particular part of the book is my favourite area and the descriptive of events therein has writing in a style suitable enough for a film screenplay. This surpasses the authorship of other gamebook writers that have been in the game for years, just like Victoria Hancox did with Nightshift.
Whilst I managed to complete the quest and slay the Bigbad, she took me with her and I succumbed to her final hex. (So didn’t manage to meet myself lol) I hear a third book is in the works as well, so soon after Mistress Of Sorrows and I’m deliberately holding back credit so I can be part of that Kickstarter also when it comes about. If you don’t own Destiny’s Role books, it’s high time you did as you’re missing out on the cream of modern gamebooks crop. 10/10
So a couple of weeks ago I managed to get my hands on a copy of the tabletop game The Storymasters Tales – Weirding Woods and do a small review. Trying our best, Vic and I failed to complete our chosen quests on two occasions before giving a review. The past two nights however we have been fortunate to have our friends stay over. Where we failed, a young boy named Dakota not only managed to complete one game, but two in succession. Beast Slayer and Prophecy Of The Dragon. For a young boy who hasn’t had the best start in life this game not only entertained and excited him but winning filled him with a new found confidence and interest in other tabletop RPGs whereby he was largely only use to video games before.
Dakota winning his first adventure in Weirding Woods
Oliver McNeil who created the game has literally altered the life of a timid young boy , filling it with excitement and magical social interaction through this game. Incredibly weaved stories, subplots and interactivity ensures no two games are the same despite them maybe having similar occurences. Outcomes can differ through choice or roll of a 4 sided fate die.
Second win for Dakota…laying the Forest Dragon.
Do I still recommend this game? No doubt about it. I adored watching my Mrs get expelled from a library for farting, then poisoning a natural spring. The mechanics and ideas knit together so fluidly it makes you wonder how on Earth did Oliver think this up. Dakota’s mum said this must’ve been the working of a really intelligent man, and me having met him I assured her she was correct.
Vic, Armani and Dakota get whipped
Was it third time lucky for Dakota. Sadly not… ish. Vic was killed by a spider bite while trying a bit of grave robbing then the remaining two fell foul of a Fae Lord and attacked each other. Dakota won the fight but remained under the evil Lord’s control forever. It was like Anakin and Palpatine all over again. At least he lived on.
I can’t recommend this game enough and bequeath you the link once more.
I’m proud to announce my good friend and author Mark Lain has launched a follow up to his Destiny’s Role gamebook on Kickstarter. With a colour cover art by the legendary Alan Langford and interior art by modern illustrator Mike Tenebrae, you can help fund this amazing interactive project by CLICKING HERE.
So the fabulous Olly McNeil (pictured here with the equally fit and young virile one) has brought out his third tabletop game after an uber successful Kickstarter funding. The Storymasters Tales – Weirding Woods.
Jam with Olly McNeil, the games creator.
So how did the game bear up? Restricted by time due to two under 3y.o’s, we had to wait for an alloted window to turn up. Tonight we opened the box, familiarised with the rules and to keep it simple my Mrs, Victoria, played solo and I was storyteller. She created a character called Gladys who was a witch. I chose the Night Of The Dead storyline as I’m a Romero fan lol.
We soon picked up the gist of the game, it’s easiness being in not having too many stats to worry over. The cards for the game are beautifully illustrated and help conjure up an atmosphere. Each turn, Vic took a card and I read out the plot, at one point she was very happy to have purchased a dog from a trader. She then proceeded to choose one of four options and Gladys the Witch was swiftly torn to shreds by a dreaded Blood Wolf only a few turns in. (If only she had a squeaky tennis ball)
Just swigging some mead between FATE rolls.
As a player of D&D back in the 80s, Vics only gripe with the game is there are only four options per plot. She wanted to stay their, craft arrows, set snares, etc so I had to say it wasn’t a saga of a game to that scale. Nonetheless she still loves it so we had another go. It was meant to be my go but as Vic was felled so soon I gave her another chance. Same quest, different character. This time, a Soldier called Bwian. She did much better this time but still fell foul of a monster. This time the Devil himself. (fancy fighting him… duh?).
All in all we have become rather attached to this game after only a couple of goes and will be swapping rolls tomorrow night so I get to play. Well recommended, easy to pick up, and beautifully presented. The only thing I’d say is add a wee slip case or rubber band for the card deck.
Remember how excellent some gamebooks actually were back in the 80s? The ones with mostly fresh ideas that we couldn’t wait for the release of? This is also a very impacting game book based largely on brainwork as there are no combat systems. Typically, this is everything Choose You Own Adventure should have been. Creepy, paced, atmospheric and relies heavily on cerebral skill to get you through. It literally doesn’t need dice or card systems to work whereby the aforementioned CYOA were dreadfully easy.
Set within the confines of a creepy hospital (that’s enough to shit some people up alone), you awaken in a very surreal version of your world. You realise quite early on some lunatic (liking it already) is stalking you to chop you up like other victims. These turn out to be witches and the author has cleverly interlaced witch folklore into the story, with the looney taking different body parts from each in order to gain special powers. But things take a turn for the worse when you discover a higher power in control of this seemingly willing slave. All throughout the adventure you feel everything is being manipulated around you from room to room, and you don’t know what random and usually gory thing is going to happen next.
All the classic Fighting Fantasy esque conundrums are here, from riddles and letter codes (like in Ian Livingstone’s Deathtrap Dungeon) , to cryptic deciphering and numbered items (Steve Jackson’s Creature Of Havoc perhaps). It’s even 400 references long. For a first gamebook from Victoria Hancox, this is an excellent debut. She has certainly drawn from her familiarities with gamebooks and experiences which have added backbone to the game and I have also been in contact with Victoria and begged that she’ll write another. She replied to me and… I’m not going to say the answer 😜.
This is what many modern gamebooks should be like, and if you like the Horror gamebooks like me… it should be the very next book you buy.
Attempts.. 6 🙂
*proudly became the first known player to complete it successfully according to the author.