JULY ROUND-UP: Magicians, Mages and a Messiah

This month we have news about forthcoming print gamebooks; interactive games playable on PC, Mac and in your web browser; an audio adventure for Alexa; and a solo storytelling game.

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Draw Nine

Draw Nine is a short narrative Twine game created by Damon L. Wakes, in which you play the role of a magician whose powers depend on a pack of magic cards. These nine cards can help or harm, with the selection available to you determined randomly at the start of each game. Since you cannot choose your cards, you must find the path through the world that makes the most of the powers at your disposal.

Featuring artwork by Joe Wright, Draw Nine is a journey of many paths with several different endings, in which the cards you use, and save, shape your choices. The enhanced presentation incorporating Wright’s card illustrations is certainly above the default Twine style, which adds a greater level of atmosphere to your adventure.

Draw Nine is available to play for FREE in your browser, via itch.io.

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Dungeons & Dragons: Endless Quest

Penguin Random House has announced two new D&D Endless Quest gamebooks from Matt Forbeck.

Escape from Castle Ravenloft

You have entered the mist-shrouded realm of Ravenloft, where you attract the attention of Count Strahd, who decides to make you one of his vampire spawn. After awakening to find yourself alone within the walls of Castle Ravenloft, you must figure out how to escape the vampire lord’s Gothic lair before you are doomed to become his slave for all time. Keep your wits about you, cleric.

The Mad Mage’s Academy

You have been tasked with stealing the spell book of Halaster Blackcloak, the mad mage who controls the halls of Undermountain. The book is secreted away inside the halls of a magic academy, so you must navigate your way in by posing as a new student. But you need to move quickly in order to locate the spell book, steal it, and get away without being caught by the mad mage himself. Be on your guard, rogue.

The Mad Mage’s Academy and Escape from Castle Ravenloft will be available in both paperback and hardcover from September 3rd. Visit the Penguin Random House website for further information about their Endless Quest series.

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Second Coming

Already available for PC, a Mac version of Seen in a Dream Studio’s sci-fi narrative adventure game Second Coming has now been released via Steam.

As an alien ship approaches earth and makes landfall, prophets interpret a signal received as ‘I am Messiah’. Proclaiming salvation to be at hand in a time when resources are running scarce and the earth is in most need of help, the ship is now linked to the Second Coming of the Messiah.

The task force assembled to investigate the alien ship soon makes frightening discoveries linking the ship to the origins of life – believing it to be some kind of ark that carries life across the universe to seed worlds. As the task force members enter the ship, they encounter a sign that reads ‘Eden’, written in an ancient script. What are the intentions of these aliens; are they really linked to creation – or are they just sinister beings collecting lifeforms for their own entertainment?

Further information about Second Coming can be found at the Seen in a Dream Studio website.

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Beowulf Beastslayer

Jonathan Green has revealed the cover design for his forthcoming gamebook Beowulf Beastslayer, featuring an illustration of the night-stalker Grendel by renowned artist Russ Nicholson. This fourth title in Green’s ongoing ACE Gamebooks series will also include many black & white interior illustrations by Nicholson, as seen in the two samples below.

Beowulf Beastslayer is scheduled for release later this year. Visit Jonathan Green’s website for further information about his ACE Gamebooks series.

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Choice of the Dragon

In partnership with Matchbox Mobile, Choice of Games has released an audio version of Choice of the Dragon for Amazon’s Alexa. Newly edited and optimised for audio, with revised options, vivid sound effects, character voices and more, Choice of the Dragon by Dan Fabulich and Adam Strong-Morse, offers the same customised experience of the original thanks to Alexa’s text-reading capability.

Tyrannise the kingdom as a fire-breathing dragon who sleeps on gold and kidnaps princesses for fun! Battle heroes, wizards and rival dragons in your insatiable thirst for gold and infamy. Start by dominating a local tribe of goblins, then usurp the kingdom, defending and expanding your despotic regime to annex neighbouring kingdoms, incinerating the peasants in their thatched-roof cottages.

Find the skill on Amazon, or just say, “Alexa, open Choice of the Dragon.” Play the first part for FREE, it’s then just US$0.99 to unlock the rest of the game once, and US$2.99 to unlock unlimited playthroughs.

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The Artefact

The Artefact is a storytelling game designed for contemplative solo play by Jack Harrison from Mousehole Press. In classic dungeon crawls you follow the lives of adventurers as they overcome challenges to gain prestige and, most importantly, magical treasures. But what were those treasures doing before the adventurers came along? How many aeons have passed, in silent darkness, since they were last used?

The Artefact shifts the focus to the perspective of a single magical item, and its history as it passes through the hands of many different keepers. You’ll feel the weight of time as the item is lost or abandoned again and again, the dust & decay piling around it until it’s found again by someone new.

  • Choose a magical item to explore from one of three archetypes; The Weapon, The Shield or The Instrument.
  • Choose a few starting traits, which could be properties like VAMPIRIC or FRAGRANT or personality traits like CURIOUS or SARDONIC.
  • Draw your Artefact as best you can, adding a few strange details that can be explained later.
  • Choose your first Keeper, an individual who has plucked the Artefact from the ground and decided to start using it. Answer some questions about the Keeper; what they look like, what sort of person they are, etc. Using prompts and choices from a table, create a short story of your Artefact’s time with the Keeper; what great deeds or villainy they undertook, what fate befell them, etc.
  • Artefacts outlive Keepers. Through death, bestowal or carelessness, a Keeper will inevitably lose the Artefact. The sun turns, seasons pass and flesh & blood return to the earth. You wait with the Artefact in the quiet darkness. Eventually, another Keeper will arrive.
  • Over the course of millennia, the Artefact will change; changing its magical properties, growing wise or bitter, breaking or tarnishing as the years fly by. You can play through the whole game until the Artefact is destroyed or lost forever, or you can stop at any time and use the item you’ve created in one of your ongoing campaign-style RPGs (like a D&D campaign, or whatever).

The Artefact is a great way to spend an hour; sketching, world-building and storytelling in your own company. It’s also a fantastic way to generate really unique items for tabletop games like D&D, creating detailed histories far more vivid than any you’d typically find in a compendium.

The Artefact is available in PDF from DriveThruRPG, or from itch.io together with a downloadable soundtrack by composer Christopher Michael Roberts. Additionally, a print version will also be offered for sale soon.

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Masked Memory

Masked Memory is a full-length interactive text adventure by indie developer Kenz Studios, where you must uncover the truth about a hacker group terrorising your city, while discovering more about yourself and those around you. Featuring multiple endings, professional voice acting and an original soundtrack by the music company Our Idea, Masked Memory is a classic adventure experience with a twist.

Masked Memory is FREE to play on PC via the Microsoft Store for PC and Xbox One (the Creators Collection), and at itch.io and Game Jolt. Discover more about the game, and its developer, at the Kenz Studios website.

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Choose Cthulhu

A new Choose Cthulhu title, book 0, is currently in development: a Hardcore Edition of The Call of Cthulhu. Written by Leandro Pinto, this updated version is promised to be a much darker, harder adventure, with new and varied player decisions to undertake.

This series of seven ‘cosmic horror’ titles is based on H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos, incorporating adventures in which you will meet alien deities, horrible monsters and shameful cults. Previous purchasers of book 1 will be able to download a free PDF of the new Hardcore Edition of The Call of Cthulhu, and additionally purchase a printed copy (at a discount) in either of the two original formats: vintage (softcover) or deluxe (hardcover).

Visit the Choose Cthulhu website for more information about this interactive series.

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