Monday, March 30, 2009

Adventure of the First

Before beginning the adventure, make a character. This won’t be hard. You have 10 points,divide those points against an attack bonus and defense bonus. If you should find yourself in combat, 10 + your defense bonus is the number the combatants must beat to hit you. You roll 1d20 + attack bonus to hit them. Your HP is 15. Make your choices now.

Now choose a weapon:

Dagger: 1d4 Damage
Flail: 1d8 Damage
Kate’s Great Axe: 1d10 Damage
Mace: 1d4 Damage
Staff: 1d6 Damage
Stick: 1 Damage
Sword: 1d6 Damage

Page 1: The beginning

It is the morning of April first, and you find yourself home alone in your little cottage. Your mother is nowhere to be found. After a quick search of the building you find a note that reads, “We have your mother, if you ever want to see her again, you will bring 100,000 gold to the mage tower in Port Smith.” The only other distinguishing mark on the note is a little pentagram at the bottom. You can tell its blood, but not whose blood.

Well this is a predicament. You need to get your mother back, but you don’t have the money to pay. In addition, you can’t be sure who took her or why. Even if you wanted to fight your way to your mother instead of paying, you have no idea who you’d be up against.

First things first, you have to figure out what your options are going to be for this most interesting of jobs. The first thing you think of

Page 2

is stealing the money. You know there are plenty of people in town who you could take the money from, but then with all theft, there is risk of being caught, or worse, killed.

Another option you consider, is begging. You could raise the money, but it would take a whole heck of a lot of time, time that you don’t have. But there is definitely less risk involved with asking nicely.

So, given the options, what exactly will you do?

Steal the money: Turn to Page 3

Beg for the money: Turn to Page 5

Page 3: The heist

You’ve chosen to steal the money you scoundrel. Well whatever it takes to save your mother right? You get all the gear together that you may need for this heist. Good news is that the homes you choose to burgle should be empty since their owners should be out and about, checking on property, and making new purchases.

The first few homes you invade with no problem, stealing valuables and finding gold stashed around. You’re so desperate for money you even turn over all the cushions in the building looking for fallen money. So far you’ve managed to gather enough items and gold to gather about 73,489 gold. Thankfully, the next home will have rest of the gold you’ll need.

You enter the final home, walking around careful to not make any noise, picking up any odd ends you come across to make up

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the last of needed money. As you round a corner, you find yourself face to face with lord of this manor. You stare at each other dumbfounded for a moment when he suddenly shouts for the guards.

You must now make a quick decision. The man very well may have been bluffing. If that’s the case, you could quickly kill the man and continue ransacking the house. However, he might not have been bluffing, in which case you might find running the best option.

The man was bluffing, kill him quick: Turn to Page 6

The guards are coming, better run: Turn to Page 7

Page 5: Begging

You’ve chosen to beg for the money. This is probably the safest choice anyway… or most cowardly. Either way, you run around the town begging, pleading, threatening, and anything else you can think of to get the money.

After several hours, you somehow manage to make the 100,000 gold. Must have been that rich snob who fell for your sob story. Now you have the money, just need to get it to the destination without any trouble. Though you might consider trying to find out some information about the people who took your mother. Then again, maybe you just want to hurry up and get the money to them before they choose to do anything bad to her.

What can I find out: Turn to Page 8

Better get their quick: Turn to Page 9

Page 6: Flawless Victory

You’re sure he’s bluffing, but you don’t want him to shout again, otherwise he might alert people outside of your presence. You grab the weapon off you belt and rush the man. Fortunately, he is surprised and you dispose of him quickly.

As you begin to put your weapon away and consider taking all the pretty shiny things from the body, several men come around the corner and the one in front shouts, “He’s killed the boss, get him!” They begin rushing you and another guard shouts, “No mercy for the murderer!”

Time for a quick decision, you can try to outrun them, or you can stand your ground and hope to win the fight.

Run for dear life: Turn to Page 7

Stand your ground: Turn to Page 11

Page 7: OH GOD RUN!!!

You’ve chosen to run. This is definitely a safe bet as you never know what could happen should you stand around. Thankfully you’ve had plenty of experience with running, and manage to get away safely.

In addition, you managed to swipe just enough items to put you over the needed gold to get your mother back. Now you must choose if you want to make an attempt to find out exactly who you’re dealing with or not.

Who the hell took my mom: Turn to Page 8

Better get their quick: Turn to Page 9

Page 8: Skill check – Gather Information

You go around town asking everyone you can find about the note, and the pentagram, but they’re just as clueless as you are. About the only thing you get from the people you talk to is the fact that you probably shouldn’t keep kidnappers waiting, especially when they threaten blood.

In the end it would seem this was a fruitless endeavor. You’ve done nothing but waste time, and now you must make a quick run to the mages tower.

Quick, to the tower: Turn to Page 9

Page 9: Better not keep madmen waiting

It’s time now. Seeing as you happen to be in the town right next to Port Smith, you have no trouble finding your way there quickly. It’s now just a matter of going to the tower and paying the money.

You find the tower pretty easily, but no one seems to be outside to greet you when you approach. You search around the building but find no one, just a door.

You reach for the door knob and open the door carefully. It’s utterly dark inside, but you have no choice. You must save your mother. You step inside carefully and slowly, after walking as far as the outside light shines in, you hear the door behind you slam shut. Someone must have shut the door behind you, but your eyes have not yet adjusted to the light inside the building yet. You know there is someone behind you, but they have yet to speak, and you can’t see anything yet.

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You’re nerves are on end, waiting for a moment, but nothing happens. You’ve been listening carefully for any noise from behind you, but hear nothing. You’re sure the person who shut the door is still right there but your eyes have yet to adjust. You open your mouth to say something when you hear a foot scrap against the ground behind you and feel a hand come down on your shoulder.

You quickly weigh the options. The hand might quickly turn into a choke or worse. And you still can’t see anything. It might be better to attack quickly before you lose any advantage you might have. Then again, any act of hostility might be treated badly and your mother might be killed. What to do?

Quick Attack: Turn to Page 14

Wait, mustn’t provoke them: Turn to Page 15

Page 11: Stand and fight

Total Guards: 4
Guard AC: 14
Guard Attack Roll: 1d20 + 3
Guard Damage Roll: 1d4
Guard HP: 15

Roll your attack roll, and damage roll if appropriate. Then roll for each guard. Last man standing wins.

I win: Turn to Page 12

I died: Turn to Page 13

Page 12: Winner and Still champion

You managed to dispatch all the guards, no small feat I might add. Now that you’re safely alone in the building, you continue to ransack the house until you are certain you’ve made enough money to pay the debt.

Now that you’ve got all the money you need, you carefully sneak out of the building, careful to make sure no one sees you exit. Now you have a choice to make, you can either try to find out as much information about the people who captured your mother as possible, or you can quickly get to the Mage Tower in order to keep from upsetting the kidnappers.

I should get some information: Turn to Page 8

Best not to keep crazy people waiting: Turn to Page 9

Page 13: Death, sorry but Game Over

You died. Thought you could take on a mass of guards did you? Boy, were you wrong. And on top of everything else, your poor dear mother has been left defenseless in the hand of kidnappers. Some savior you are. Guess you really were the weakest link… GOODBYE!

Page 14: Better not wait to die

You choose to be quick, attacking whoever is behind you in the dark. It’s better to not wait to die. You take your weapon from your belt, spinning around quickly striking the unseen adversary. You hear a scream and then nothing as you feel someone falling. Suddenly torches ignite all around the room. You see bright colors and signs. A barrel of wine has been placed on a table across the room. In addition, you see many people around you, and their faces are some you recognize as friends and family. At your feet you see your mother, dead from the attack you just dealt her. It would seem that you have walked into a practical joke designed as a party for you, but instead you turned it into murder. The money you gathered which was meant to be a gift for you has now gone to pay for your trial of which you are found guilty. Sucks to be you. Game over, jokes on you.

Page 15: Mustn’t provoke them

You stand there, trying carefully to not make any moves that would seem hostile. Next thing you know, torches ignite all around the room. You see bright colors and signs. A barrel of wine has been placed on a table across the room. In addition, you see many people around you, and their faces are some you recognize as friends and family. Everyone shouts in unison, “Surprise!” Your mother is standing behind you, hand on your shoulder. She smiles at you, “Congratulations on making it here. I see you gathered up the money like requested. Thank you honey. For your kindness and coming to get me I want to reward you on this birthday of yours. Enjoy this party for you, and keep the gold as a gift.”

You’re quite taken back by all this, but at least you know your mother is fine, and you get a hefty sum of gold to spend around on whatever you like.

Page 16: The End

Congratulations. You’ve made it safely to the end of the game and to the happily ever after ending. Enjoy your gold, until next time.

The game seemed liked by all, and my biggest issue was the choice of who you were saving and some typos. Oh, and I originally had no ax weapon.


  1. Steve,

    Producing a gamebook was a neat idea. How did the process go for you? The trick ending was kind of fun, and provided an interesting twist to my 'smash all' philosophy. It's also neat to see you integrating dice combat, though obviously there are a lot more things you could do if there was more than one location where dice could be used.

    I found your combat system to be overly complex. Generating a character was easy enough, but actually doing combat was too difficult. You have combat modifiers for the guards, which is pretty pointless - just have a base attack and defense because otherwise it's too many numbers to deal with and it ultimately doesn't matter because modifiers don't have any meaning in this case.

    Second, how combat is done with the guards is a little bit unclear. Can I only strike one guard at a time? Do I get to attack all four by rolling one die for each? Or if I'm swinging my weapon, does it hit everyone? In any case, the law of averages is not in my favor, even with a high defense. The guards should be weaker than me if I am to defeat four at once. That, and ultimately, could the battle be determined by just one die roll (i.e. doubles, you go to page 33).

    Third, what is the difference between choosing each weapon other than humor? Otherwise, there is no real choice other than to take the most powerful weapon. (Not that it matters too much for this iteration, as there is only one battle!).

    Overall, you've got an interesting idea here with a gamebook using dice. Where do you think you could go with this idea? Rules for complexity will apply to any system you make. And in the end, how did your players react to the narrative choice and how the outcome is determined through dice rolls?

    -Devin Monnens

  2. Definitely an interesting idea Steven! I know Kate had a good time playing it because of the whole mother issue. I think if there was a way to make it so more than one player could play could be a pretty awesome idea!

  3. About my process. Basically, I have read/played a few of these kinds of books before and thought it would be a fun idea. Since I had to try and theme it around April First, I tried to make a few tricks and fools in the story. As for writing it, well that was easy... remotely. I just started with a base idea, and then thought of two options for each idea, and wrote along each option one at a time. Simple to do, hard to think of. And combat, I wanted to put more in the book, but I didn't want to make it too long for class, and my mind was quickly begining to space new ideas. That's about it.


  4. I had fun with this game! The concept of a story-book game is really interesting! Maybe you can do something where the page numbers can be supplimented with other pages that still fit the story- but alter it a little each time you play, so it can be replayed without being predictable.

  5. Your game looked fun when Kate was playing it, but I can't deny that I've always hated choose your own adventure books. You managed to take away the issue of randomly being ambushed without terrible decisions for the most part, which is nice. With this sort of thing, it can never hurt to make it longer and more complex for replay value.

  6. Steven,

    Agreed with Karl. I see this as more of a prototype for a larger book. Using smaller systems, you can learn how they might work in a bigger game (just imagine more adventures, plot twists, etc). Incidentally, that's what most of my comments were about. So you can balance these elements out in a smaller book before expanding it to a much larger adventure. At which point, it's all about writing narrative.

    I like the challenge of designing a gamebook that more than one person can play. To my knowledge, this hasn't been done before, though that might require nonlinear narration (which would be interesting in and of itself!). I'd add that to the design challenge as well!

    -Devin Monnens