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Just a place for the odd thoughts, updates, and the detritus of my mind that doesn't belong on social media.

Showing posts tagged gamebooks

Posted: Sep 4th, 7:46am

GNAT Core — A simple gamebook rules system

Over the past year, I've been workimg hard on the development of GNAT CORE, a simple (but hopefully comprehensive) rule set for writing adventure Gamebooks (of the Choose Your Own Adventure/Fighting Fantasy style).

What is GNAT

GNAT (it's not an acronym, just one in a series of insect-related titles I developed a few decades back) attempts to provide rules for playing COYA books the way I like to play them — quick, few dice rolls, and a very minimal focus on combat. It emphasises collecting items as opposed to agonising over inventory choices, resolves most fights in one or two rolls, and has built-in mechanisms for carrying characters, equipment, and keywords, from game to game.

The other thing I was trying to achieve was a ruleset that other people could easily use, and adapt, for their own games. For that reason the GNAT core rules are covered by a CC-BY-SA 4.0 license, so that others can take them, use them, and modify them, while also being covered by the same license.

The World of Paldoria

GNAT is setting-agnostic, though the default skill list and magic rules are definitely aimed at a fantasy world, but I actaully originally developed it for my own line of game books, set in the world of Paldoria. Paldoria is a sort of post-magical-apocalypse setting, where the cataclysmic wozard's war already ended some time ago, and the world is full of the ruins left behind. Here's the Paldoria introduction that appears the start of Escape from the Tower of Stars:

Five generations ago, the War of the Wizards devastated Paldoria. Mountains cracked, rivers drowned, cities sank into the sea. The few surviving wizards retreated to their fastnesses and closed their doors against the world outside, leaving the survivors to face the aftermath alone.

One generation ago, when you were still a child, the decrepit sorcerers of Treysham, all but consumed by their decadent excesses, re-opened the doors of their citadel to the outside world. Within a handful o...

Posted: May 6th, 8:45am

Mee's Adventure and a history of solo adventures

When I was a child, one of my first encounters with Roleplaying (a hobby that has come to dominate my life) was through solo adventure gamebooks — the likes of Fighting Fantasy, Lone Wolf, Way of the Tiger, and the excellent Asterix gamebooks (which included code breaking and menhirs). I was hooked from the first one I read, and bought every one (usually second hand) that I could get my paws on.

Naturally I was obsessed by the concept of making my own, which involved assembling tiny pamphlets from coloured paper and writing them in paragraph by paragraph (with, generally, little to no advance planning). I designed cut-down rules systems based on my Termite RPG, first Grasshopper, and then the even simpler Flea, which had only one stat — Luck.

Later, when I learnt about computers, I translated that love of solo-adventures into early programmed attempts. At that time my tool of choice was the late lamented Hypercard. I designed a Hypercard toolset for makeing solo adventures (I think it was called "Adventure Maker"). These were still text based, but now had a much more complex set of adventure codes and items based on Fabled Lands. The idea being that you could transfer a character from adventure to adventure, in any order, carrying over your magic items, spells, and accolades.

The adventure maker project was probably too fancy for its own good, and I don't think anyone ever played the games other than me. Not long after, however, the World Wide Web came along, and hypertext provided the perfect medium for more solo-adventures. In the mid 90's I was the webmaster for the GEAS Village, which was the grandly named website for the Grand Edinburgh Adventuring Society — the University of Edinburgh's Roleplaying club.

The GEAS Village was a pretty grand undertaking in its own right. It had hundreds of pages: forums, before the concept of forums as we know them; an e...