Tuesday 28 May 2013

'But I don't want to go south!'

I recently picked up some of Ian Livingstone's First Fantasy gamebooks from eBay. These were intended as introductory gamebooks for younger readers, but I thought they might make for good stories to read to my daughter(s) - my three and a half year old is into Star Wars, the Princess Bride, the Neverending Story, and playing with the Heroquest miniatures, so...

And we had a bit of fun, skirting a two-headed giant, investigating a race involving immensly fat people (complete with belly wheels), but then the book insisted that the only way to proceed was to return to the previous junction and go south. My daughter had already rejected this option. 

'But I don't want to go south,' she said. 'I told you I didn't want to go south!'

'But that's the only way the book will let us go...' I said.

She shut the book and climbed down from my lap.

Actually, in the wake of receiving my Kickstarter copy of the new edition of Blacksand, I also plumped for copies of the Heroes Companion and the Crown of Kings. These three books have got me excited about Titan again - and you might have seen that Titan is close to my heart. I'll probably do some kind of review of the books at some point, perhaps comparing them to their counterparts in the original FF/AFF range. But for now I'll say that while The Crown of Kings is a pretty nifty conversion of the Sorcery! gamebooks, it will need to be a bit of tweeking if you are to accomodate 'willful' players unwilling to accept 'gamebookey' constraints on their action, be they three and a half or thirty five. I don't blame the admirable Graham Bottley, reviver of Advanced Fighting Fantasy, for the presence of these gamebook 'relics' - he was probably correct to err on the side of caution, ensuring the preservation of the character of Sorcery! series. But with a few changes here and there, when my gaming group finally reconvenes (Hand, Foot and Mouth has cancelled this evening's session), we might find ourselves brawling with Red-Eyes in Khare, Cityport of Traps!


  1. I would like to see your thoughts on the new AFF material. My group was due to play Crown of Kings last year but it fizzled out before it began.

  2. Let me know as well! It is often more difficult converting a well known book/game etc than creating something brand new.
    If any of the players are sorcerers, you may be interested in the new Spellbook too...

  3. I'll do my best to detail the group's progress. I'm looking forward to it. I proposed the game tonight (over a session of Ticket to Ride - Games Night wasn't completely cancelled) and everyone seemed keen for a more tightly-directed mission-based change of pace.

    What I will need to devise by next Tuesday is a prologue - an introduction to the system and the Old World (and a source of 100 or so experience points). It'll need to be a short adventure that is nevertheless something of 'significance', an adventure that will produce characters (if they survive) with sufficient 'Amonour' (to use a concept from a different continent) that they will be given such an epic task. It doesn't need to be in Analand - I'm sure that King Chalanna will be keen to see Heroes that he can trust given the mission, and would be wary of trusting the careless King of Analand to make his own choice.

    I'll probably knock something together set in the Witchtooth Line, which, according to Titan, is 'home to all kinds of outlaws and strange sects'. Probably using a handful of dice and the wilderness and dungeon creation rules from AFF2e and the Heroes Companion!