The Dangerous Worlds Gamebook Series
- This is my part in the burgeoning revival of this much loved genre, in which YOU are the Hero, YOU make the decisions, and YOU triumph over evil plots and malignant adversaries. Don't know what an Adventure Gamebook is? I'll take the blurb direct from Wikipedia as my guide...
"A gamebook is a work of fiction that allows the reader to participate in the story by making effective choices. The narrative branches along various paths through the use of numbered paragraphs or pages."
What makes this Series different?
- It's new material. Lots of 'current' gamebooks are re-releases of old books by new publishers. Great to keep them alive, but the chances are if you're a fan of the genre, you may have pretty much all the material on the market.
- The books are bigger. Dangerous Worlds gamebooks are aimed mainly at the ebook market, so the practical limitations of paperbacks are stripped away, and adventures no longer have to be written to conform to a certain size. Dangerous Worlds books will be 500 challenging sections long, and around 100,000 words - making them slightly longer than 'The Hobbit'. Take that Bilbo!
- There are no dice! Whhhhaaatt? I know. This was a conscious decision, based largely and somewhat selfishly on my own reading habits. I don't carry dice with me on holiday, on transport systems, and especially not in bed. With more people reading on the move than ever before I wanted to make this product easily portable. Likewise with the eBook, I don't want you, the reader and the hero, to have to cut away from the action to generate a number from a random dice app.
- It's not for younger readers. Not really. But who didn't read things they ought not to as a child...those 'Killer Crab' books gave me nightmares... I would give 'The Restless Heart of Evil' my own 13+ rating, due to the sheer amount of nightmarish creatures just waiting to render you limb from limb. But also more 'grown up' context, ill-deed doing and unusually for the genre, female characters with certain charms. These factors contribute towards a marked difference to many gamebooks currently available.
- You don't get to save the Elven Princess. Nor are you the son of the king. Or a great wizard, and surely not a 'high fantasy' goody-two-shoes who sets off earnestly to save the world. In most books you will be a hard bitten adventurer, a survivor. A reluctant victim of circumstances. This is dark fantasy, set in grim worlds of peril, or else dystopian futures, where your very survival is on a knife's edge, and your name etched into many bullets.
- They're books in their own right. Not Apps with a tiny bit of text, or a game forced into print. There are no shiny cards, expansion kits or counters. None of the rewards feature pins, T-shirts or posters. I hope the books will provide a excellent read as well as a great gaming experience.
So what's in this first book?
The first book is a fantasy adventure set in, and around, the Midden city of Deva, during the Summers End festival. The city is gripped in a fever of hedonism and avarice. Little do they know, unintentionally conspiring forces are set to release evil into this careless land...
Like a lot of popular fantasy today, 'The Restless Heart of Evil' is set at the grim/dark end of the fantasy genre, with the action taking place in an era roughly the equivalent to the early Renaissance period. Except with magic. And monsters...lots of monsters. It's a 500 section, 100,000 word book, richly illustrated and expertly put together. It has multiple endings, several sub plots, and not a few twists. It can be played as a one off adventure, but has been left open-ended, in the hope that project backing may leave the door open to an equally gripping follow up. The first book in the series is currently in first edit, and near completion - there will not be a long wait to receive it.
The mechanics, or at least the premise, will be familiar to many. There are key attributes, skills or 'talents', and also a mechanism called 'Fate' in which your deeds record whether you are Favoured, Unwatched, or Marked...by the Gods. You can tailor your interpretation of the hero, by spending points from a pool. These can be spent on any key attribute or talent, or even spent to win favour from divine forces.
Other mechanisms include code words, secret passages, and much more! The encounters are numerous and the action takes place in a variety of richly described locations, from the claustrophobic alleys of the city, to ancient caverns, warp tainted plains and mist-wreathed swamps. All potentially deadly. All containing rich rewards for the bold adventurer...
The books will be presented in 3 formats; for Print, for Kindle and for iPad. Each will contain exactly the same functionality and artwork so whichever reward option is taken you can be assured the quality is consistently high. I am currently undertaking beta testing in these formats to ensure everything is as expected and there are no irregularities or dead-ends. This is a challenging part of the project, with a steep learning curve.
A summons from across the seas...
A dangerous journey nears it's end...
Original Art from the Book
What's the release schedule?
My plan is for 'The Restless Heart of Evil' to ship in late June 2014, followed by another book before the end of the year. A third book will be released in 2015 - at least one book, but possibly more depending on the success of the project post launch.
Which book is coming next?
That depends on you, the backer! Several of the rewards feature a vote, where you can choose from a small selection of options. I have the plot outlines of all the options - just raring to go!
Are you writing them all yourself?
This is not my intention, nor my goal. I don't want this project to be about 'me', I want it to be about the series. For that reason I am very open to publishing works using the same format and mechanics by other authors. I'd be over-exaggerating if I said I had a firm business plan or much experience with royalties and contracts, but this is some way off - probably into 2015 and beyond. For more details please contact me!
Risks and challenges
Of course, the main risk is that funding won't be reached, and that this project may remain a dusty series of small files on a otherwise inconsequential laptop.
I hope this isn't the case, and that we can focus on more mundane, easy to solve issues. Like problems with printers, Amazon delays, eBook formatting bugs, and last minute wholesale rewrites. Ok - so no wholesale rewrites.
I'm certainly looking at late June for the first book release - just in time to qualify as holiday reading. I can't guarantee this won't slip. However, having committed to releasing and shipping another book in 2014, I can ill afford to dally. Not to mention that I am very keen to see this project launch personally, and give life to my ideas.
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