Posted: May 6th, 8:45am
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...