During the 1980’s I enjoyed many teenage hours of adventure engrossed in the fabulously imaginative 'Fighting Fantasy' gamebooks written by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone, the creators of this popular story/game genre that continues to provide many hours of enjoyment and accomplishment for similarly adventurous players today.
My fantasy world of Quahnarren began as a project created to bring together two personal interests: writing short fantasy stories and illustrating the characters and locations within these tales. My 'Tales of Quahnarren' series grew from that modest beginning to the point where I realised that this ancient land provided the perfect setting for a gamebook adventure – a new challenge had now arisen!
My love for classic gamebooks had been rekindled by both the reissues of old series and the launch of new projects – many via Kickstarter – by publishers and creators who continue to understand that this interactive storytelling format has much to offer in both digital and traditional print markets. 'Beyond the Morning Mountains' is my contribution to the genre; the first adventure in a new series of books that are inspired by the simplicity of the 'Fighting Fantasy' structure and system, but with numerous gameplay options and enhancements, additional player customisation and a level of detail that presents Quahnarren as a complex world populated by real characters and believable creatures.
Quahnarren needs YOU!
I have created everything that you see within this gamebook: game design and mechanics, writing, all illustrations and the page layout. Now it’s time to ask for the contribution of others – playtesters who wish to assist by providing feedback of their adventures to ensure that the book is free of errors, confusion or other unwanted oversights. This important process is a final check before hopefully progressing to a printed version, which for a full-colour book of this scale is a costly exercise to undertake.
I understand that not everyone will want to attempt the task of providing feedback, so you are free to decide if you will take up the opportunity or not. As an incentive to secure your support, there are bonuses available…
The first volume has been completed and is ready for distribution as a pdf. It has been tested and proofread, professionally designed and is fully hyperlinked and bookmarked for easy navigation within the document.
This exclusive ‘Special Edition’ will only ever be made available during this Kickstarter campaign as a reward for those keen to be an early supporter of the project. It will feature BONUS TOKENS for use within your adventure for EVERY pledge level above : : BEGGAR'S BOWL : :
For those who DO choose to review their progress through the book, and then submit feedback within a six-week time period after release, an additional RARE ITEM will be sent directly to those playtesters after receiving their submission. This extremely rare (and very helpful!) item can then be used in further playthroughs with a new player character. Every playtester who provides feedback will also be featured in the acknowledgement section of the updated pdf (together with any printed books) as an extra thank you for helping to make this gamebook project enjoyable and accurate.
Note that I will happily accept feedback from anyone pledging at the : : ADVENTURER : : levels, and that there is no requirement for pledgers at the : : EXPLORER : : levels to provide me with any feedback, but you MUST pledge at the : : EXPLORER : : level if you wish to receive the additional RARE ITEM(S) when you do send in a submission.
The Quahnarren gamebooks reflect my interest in the unique experience of influencing a story through the interactive format of gamebook fiction, and an overall fondness for fantasy storytelling. These solo adventures will allow you to experience the landscape, people and creatures of Quahnarren in a way that is directly shaped by how you choose to proceed. Play your way by responding calmly or aggressively in threatening encounters; keenly explore and search locations or pass through quickly; take risks or show situational awareness. Build your own individual story in this world, as you desire.
I describe this series as one that is generally more realistic and ‘adult’ in how it portrays your interactions and experiences, in comparison to other gamebooks. Quahnarren is a land of great contradictions (much like our own world) where you can immediately move from a friendly conversation with a welcoming local, to a savage and deadly confrontation with a hostile opponent. Situations within the adventure are developed in a lifelike sequence of events, and the options given to the player are those that I feel best represent this fantasy setting whilst allowing for interesting gameplay.
Each volume will feature:
- an extensive and elaborate story comprised of 1000 sections and over 145,000 words
- multiple directions and paths to choose from as you head towards Liust, offering considerable exploration opportunities and replay value
- an enhanced battle system for resolving encounters, empowering you to use momentum won in battle to inflict heavy damage
- individual character customisation and attribute enhancement via improved clothing and armour, equipment and weapons
- a richly detailed fantasy world overflowing with unique settings, locations, characters and creatures, and filled with endless memorable experiences
- moral and spiritual decisions to make that may ultimately help or hinder progress on your journey south
- professionally illustrated with 46 full-page illustrations (both colour, and b&w), 3 detailed colour maps and more than 40 b&w spot illustrations
Also, each book will include additional bonus content:
- illustrated short fiction and articles telling some of the history about this fantasy world
- a comprehensive 12-page 'Creature Compendium' detailing many of the unique inhabitants to be found across the continent
- author's comments about the making and future of the ‘Tales of Quahnarren’ project
Volume One consists of 400 pages, including full rules and instructions on how to play the game. As many players may find it helpful to have a second instructions and maps document open as they play, a separate pdf featuring just these important elements will also be available to download.
Note that the free pdf preview of Volume One is still available to download from quahnarren.com – an edited short adventure to Ustahm that introduces the gameplay mechanics, writing style and general design of my gamebooks.
The ‘Character Record’ features all of the information needed to track your personal attributes, possessions and information gained throughout your adventure. This document will be regularly updated to alter your values, as you gain or lose equipment and items, or when noting new knowledge to help you on your journey.
The top section details the four personal values of your character: EXPERTISE, ARMOUR, PERCEPTION and HEALTH. These values represent your overall capabilities, proficiency and endurance; key components that will determine if you can successfully reach Liust and complete your adventure. Enhancing your character with new protective items is an important strategy that can significantly aid you in overcoming some of the powerful adversaries to be found throughout Quahnarren.
Your HEALTH value determines how capable you are regarding physical fitness and endurance, and your ability to absorb injuries and wounds. This value will change constantly as you suffer minor injuries, become fatigued during your journey and enter into combat.
You may acquire and carry as many items as you desire, however some large and/or heavy objects will need to be recorded as ‘Weighted Items’. You must specifically note this feature by checking the ‘W. I.’ column alongside the space provided for detailing the item. You may only carry a maximum of three Weighted Items at any time.
Throughout your adventure across Quahnarren you will come across situations that may cause you to engage in battle against hostile enemies. To resolve these conflicts you must fight your opponent by rolling dice and recording the outcome in the provided ‘Battle Boxes’.
The Tales of Quahnarren gamebook series features a new and unique gameplay mechanic, known as the ‘Momentum Sequence’, to register the changing fortunes of each combatant involved in the struggle. This mechanic also allows both opponents to use a powerful ‘Heavy Attack’ when the momentum has decidedly shifted in their direction. When a set of three consecutive strikes or blocks (known as a ‘Strike Set’) are entered for either combatant, they now have the opportunity to influence the direction of the battle to an even greater extent.
Your ‘Heavy Attack’ increases in potency as you gain further momentum and this increased power may quickly change the course of a difficult battle, or deliver a swift demise to your opponent. You may choose to save and charge your ‘Heavy Attack’, but by doing so you introduce the risk of losing momentum to your opponent and therefore surrendering your opportunity to initiate a ‘Heavy Attack’.
The rules of battle consist of 5 steps:
Determine each opponent’s ‘Strike Speed’
Determine if the ‘Strike Speed’ winner causes any HEALTH damage
Record the ‘Momentum Sequence’
If a ‘Strike Set’ is achieved, determine if a normal or charged ‘Heavy Attack’ will be initiated
Repeat steps 1 to 4 until one opponent loses all HEALTH and is therefore defeated
A gambling game popular across most of Quahnarren, ‘Fours’ is a basic dice game, playable by two or more people. The simple aim of the game is to roll the greatest combined total, with score multipliers given for two, three, or four of a kind. After placing an initial bet of 1 coin, each player rolls four dice and determines which dice are to be retained. Bets are now placed against the outcome of the upcoming rolls, and players re-roll any dice not retained and then calculate the total value achieved, noting any score multipliers.
This speculative contest may provide you with an opportunity to increase your coin pouch and finally purchase that new weapon you so desire!
** UPDATED ** STRETCH GOALS
As the campaign already includes in-game bonuses for this exclusive ‘Special Edition’ version, I am hesitant to add any further enhancements that may unbalance the challenge level of the adventure and upset the player experience. Now that the very modest funding goal has been quickly reached (yay!) I am considering exactly what to provide for all backers as additional pledges are made and the funding total increases. A digital product unfortunately doesn’t give too many options for further rewards.
The ultimate aim of the project is to produce printed gamebooks for all titles in the ongoing series; however, a 400 page full-colour trade paperback will not be cheap to print and (importantly) ship around the world. I’ve made a very deliberate decision to go with a full-colour book, believing that owners of a print copy should also get to see the illustrations and page layout exactly as intended, rather than in black & white, as per other series. If the digital version is in colour (absurd not to do so), then the print version should be too. I’ve spent so many hours creating the illustrations and design that it would be a crime to go with a mono-coloured alternative.
The book has been designed to CreateSpace specifications, so if I ultimately use their print-on-demand service, it is a relatively simple process to provide a discount code to backers (at the eligible reward levels) who wish to purchase a copy. This would also reduce any handling delays to and from Australia, and provide a more economical shipping process and cost for most locations.
So, all backers above : : BEGGAR’S BOWL : : will receive a discount code for a printed copy from CreateSpace if that is the chosen print and distribution method. If funding is achieved to allow local printing via an offset press, then I will similarly reduce the purchase/shipping price for everyone who contributes to this pdf campaign (at the eligible reward levels). Of course, if I’m personally arranging local printing then I have the opportunity to add other physical rewards to individual packages…
Feedback is welcome via the comments page and any suggestions carefully considered.
A dedicated gamebook fan since my youth, I’m a professional designer and illustrator with a love for fantasy and science fiction in all of its many forms. I enjoy computer and board games, writing and illustrating, listening to alternative music, watching various sports and taking long walks in the beautiful environment of the nearby National Park.
My ‘Tales of Quahnarren’ project began to take shape about five years ago, and after adding my financial support to a new wave of gamebook projects, I decided that I should join this growing momentum and set an adventure within my own fantasy world. The development of ‘Beyond the Morning Mountains’ has often been a difficult task, requiring many hours of work to complete all of the various materials needed for a high quality gamebook. I have produced this adventure in an ‘old school’ style, using relatively unsophisticated processes to write and organise the many numbered sections – a workflow technique that satisfies my personal needs and preferences, but would likely cause endless frustration to others. The journey has been quite long, but the destination has always remained in view!
If you have an interest in graphic design, hand lettering or illustration, you can view my online portfolio of work at mir68.myportfolio.com
Risks and challenges
Volume One is finished and ready to go, so there will be no delays once funding has been received. All files will be uploaded to Dropbox, from where they can be easily downloaded to your computer, tablet or smartphone. Every pledger will have access to download any updated pdf's for the life of the project, so there are no specific risks attached to the first volume.
The routes and many of the encounters within Volume Two have already been planned, several illustrations are complete and some sections written. As it is a very lengthy process to complete these adventures with the level of detail that I desire, the release of Volume Two is expected during a period of approximately 18-24 months after Volume One's final release. Challenges may arise during the creation of the second volume that would likely impact on the delivery date, however as an experienced professional designer, I am well versed in completing complex projects and achieving deadlines.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)