It’s been yet another busy month for interactive fiction, with many interesting releases recently hitting retail outlets or seeking finance via crowdfunding. We’ve gathered together a wide variety of books, digital games, board games and more to tempt you – surely something for both young and old, and every taste and wallet!
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A revised Kickstarter campaign for the second gamebook in the Savage Realms Legorian Kings Saga, Escape from Darkmoor Keep, is now seeking funding. This multi-quest gamebook continues the ongoing saga of Labyrinth: The Lich Lord’s Lair, and can be played solo or as a 4-player co-operative experience, with characters created for the first book continuing on in their adventures in the world of Ataraxia.
Escape from Darkmoor Keep finds you, the adventurer, trapped on the mysterious and savage island of Darkmoor Keep with no memory or knowledge of how you got there, or even why. Can you survive long enough to solve the mystery, or will you become just another one of the island’s many casualties?
Backers of this campaign can also pledge for copies of both the second book and a new edition of Labyrinth: The Lich Lord’s Lair, now featuring redesigned wrap-around covers (as shown below).
The Kickstarter campaign, which has already surpassed its funding target, concludes on October 2nd.
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An interactive visual novel by Greg Buchanan, American Election is a political narrative game featuring a female protagonist working as a campaign assistant to elect her candidate.
Your name is Abigail Thoreau. It is 2016. And you are being followed.
American Election is FREE to play at itch.io.
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Three new Fighting Fantasy gamebooks from Scholastic UK are now available, including Ian Livingstone’s latest adventure, Assassins of Allansia, and two reprint editions of old classics: Livingstone’s Caverns of the Snow Witch and Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! 2: Kharé – Cityport of Traps.
All three books feature new cover and interior artwork by Robert Ball, and can be purchased from various retailers.
City of Thieves ~ The Graphic Novel
Chameleon Comix has announced that they’re working with game studio Lost Pilgrims (developer of the forthcoming Vagrus – The Riven Realms) and author Ian Livingstone to create a graphic novel adaptation of City of Thieves. Written by lifelong Fighting Fantasy fans Gergely Mácsai and Gyula Szűcs, and with art by Krisztián Balla, City of Thieves graphically captures the grim atmosphere and notorious nature of Port Blacksand in great detail.
The graphic novel is set about six months before Livingstone’s gamebook as our heroes arrive at Port Blacksand to avenge past crimes and rile up trouble, visiting iconic locations such as the Black Lobster, Market Square, the Public Gardens, the Singing Bridge, and the sewers that will take them ever deeper, right into the accursed ruins of Carsepolis beneath the City of Thieves. Readers will come across many old friends from previous visits to Port Blacksand – the elusive Effie Pipe, the Troll city guards Sourbelly and Fatnose, and the old Hag from the sewers all make an appearance along with the brutal tyrant of the City of Thieves himself, Lord Azzur!
Deathtrap Dungeon Interactive Video Storybook
Commemorating the 35th anniversary of Deathtrap Dungeon’s original publication, a video-based branching narrative game of the fan favourite gamebook will soon be released by new UK developer Branching Narrative. Featuring Eddie Marsan (Ray Donovan, Fast & Furious Presents Hobbs and Shaw, Deadpool 2) as the storyteller, Deathtrap Dungeon will be a choice-based adventure designed to offer enhanced interactive gameplay that faithfully recreates the beloved fantasy gamebook.
Branching Narrative has been formed by games industry veterans Mark Ripley and Matt Spall, who will work with both existing and new authors to develop interactive experiences based around branching video. Deathtrap Dungeon will be available later this year on PC, Mac, iOS and Android, with console versions (PS4, Xbox One, Switch and possibly others) to follow in early 2020.
Follow Branching Narrative on Facebook for further updates.
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An Ultimate Edition of Stuart Lloyd’s solo RPG SCRAWL has been released. SCRAWL (short for Solo CRAWL) is a solo fantasy game system which encourages old-style crawling around wildernesses, cities and dungeons, exploring strange new locations, looking for treasure, meeting interesting creatures and slaying them. This is 100%, good old-fashioned, completely unapologetic murder-hobo crawling.
This new edition contains rules for character creation, magic, item creation, trading, leading bands of followers, hex generation for overland travel, dungeon generation, settlement generation, a list of monsters, treasure, magic items and more – it’s the old edition all rolled into one volume with stuff added.
Additionally, Lloyd has also released the first ‘Small SCRAWL adventure’, Madness on the Mountain, for use on a hill or mountain hex, designed to add some variety to the standard hexes, dungeons or settlements you’ll come across.
Demon’s Run mountain is the tallest peak in the area and rumours are rife about what lies on it. Some say treasure, others say only death. Dare you climb it and claim its prizes?
PDFs for SCRAWL and Madness on the Mountain are available for ‘pay what you want’ from DriveThruRPG.
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Choice of Games
Sword of the Slayer
Sword of the Slayer is 185,000-word sword & sorcery game by S. Andrew Swann (fantasy, science fiction and horror writer, and the author of Welcome to Moreytown).
You’re a common orphan scraping a living on the streets of Targas Adur – a city older than memory, full of dark corners and darker magics, ruled by a merciless Sorcerer King, Demorgon. While exploring one of those dark corners, you stumble upon…the sword, an ancient weapon of power. And it can talk, in a voice only you can hear.
Dark creatures do as Demorgon bids, and his royal guard keeps order with an iron fist. All gods and temples are suppressed except for his own Dark Tabernacle. But with the re-emergence of the sword, Demorgon’s power may be waning. Evil monsters invade the city, and sections of Targas Adur have fallen to their influence. It’s up to you to slay them.
You must train yourself in sword-fighting to protect the ones you love, as you battle the demons of Targas Adur, including the dread White Wyrm. Thrust into the role of monster-slayer, you find yourself the focus of decadent nobles who want to return to power, devoted monks who want to see the gods return to the city, and – most troubling – you now have the attention of the Sorcerer King himself.
Will you become a foe of the monsters, a threat to Sorcerer King’s regime, or a hope for the forces trying to bring down his rule? Or will you give yourself over to the sword, losing control of your mind and body?
- Play as male, female or non-binary; gay, straight, bi or asexual
- Rise from the gutter to the highest level of power
- Support the gods, the nobles, or a rival sorcerer for the rule of the ancient city
- Bring back the gods or fight the Great White Wyrm when you enter the Dark Tabernacle
- Make allies in your quest to free the city
- Protect your childhood friend, and your swordsman trainer from capture and death
- Face monsters of all sorts, up to the Sorcerer King himself
- Save your place before a chapter and you can return to that point after the story’s end and try a different set of choices
An enchanted sword. An ancient evil. A hero waits.
Play the first three chapters of Sword of the Slayer for FREE online, or purchase the full game for iOS or Android, or via Steam – it’s also on sale at a 40% discount until September 19th. Full details at the Choice of Games website.
Samurai of Hyuga Book 4
Samurai of Hyuga Book 4 is a 375,000-word interactive fantasy adventure from Hosted Games. Written by Devon Connell, this fourth book in the series is the bone-chilling sequel to the interactive tale you just can’t quit. The journey continues in the land of silk and steel, where fantasy and reality clash and tough choices are yours alone to make.
Become the vagabond you always knew you were. Rely on your blade and wits, for little else will save you amidst the cold and unforgiving North! Retrace the steps of your past and rekindle a love once lost. Or try your best to snuff it out – either way, it’s going to burn. You may be the toughest ronin around, but even you aren’t prepared for what’s next!
- Play as male or female; gay or straight
- Survive amidst a clan war between the Uesugi and the Takeda
- Unravel the secrets of your past and embrace your forbidden power
- Enjoy 27 beautiful illustrations that bring the world of Hyuga to life
The truth behind the forbidden style of the Jigoku and a hell of a lot more await you in the fourth book of this epic series!
Play the first three chapters of Samurai of Hyuga Book 4 for FREE online, or purchase the full game for iOS or Android, or via Steam. Full details at the Hosted Games website.
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KOSMOS Adventure Games
Explore places, combine items, and experience interactive stories in Adventure Games, a series of 1-4 player co-operative adventures from German publisher KOSMOS. In each of these titles created by Phil Walker-Harding and Matthew Dunstan, players are presented with a mysterious story that they must unravel over the course of play. Depending on what decisions the players make, the course of history changes and there is no going back!
Many different paths can be experienced during play, with more than one correct resolution to the story waiting to be discovered. Each title consists of three chapters, with each taking about 75 minutes to play.
A thrilling adventure set in the headquarters of Monochrome Inc., a biotech company with some nasty secrets. You manage to get inside, and then it’s up to you to figure out what to do. Players have to explore spaces, combine items, find clues, and talk to people. Step by step, you’ll start to grasp the plot and devise a plan.
It’s the middle ages, and you wake up in a prison cell in a dank dungeon. It seems impossible to find your way out, especially since none of you can remember what brought you there. What happened, and what strange things are taking place in this dungeon? And most importantly, how can you get out?
Further information about the KOSMOS Adventure Games series can be found at the Thames & Kosmos website.
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Taxi by Night
Robson Siebel’s Taxi by Night is a short interactive game made in five days for itch.io’s Vampire Jam for games featuring a vampire in a prominent role. You play as a vampire taxi driver in the city of New Wenders, talking with passengers and deciding whether you want to feed on them or not.
Taxi by Night is set in the same universe as Blackout: The Darkest Night, another choice-based narrative game currently in development by Siebel’s MiniChimera Game Studio.
Additionally, a short interactive story featuring the same vampire taxi driver, titled Lucio’s Lucky Night, has also been released for Kindle.
Taxi by Night is available on itch.io for ‘name your own price’, and Lucio’s Lucky Night is available via Amazon. Visit the MiniChimera Game Studio website for more information about their various games.
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5e Solo Gamebooks
Adventurer’s Wanted: Labyrinth of Lies is a short, deadly solo (DM-less) quest for a single Level 5 PC, or two Level 3 PCs. The emphasis in this 42-page PDF is replayability, as there are several routes available, and if you survive this dungeon on the first attempt, it will be nothing short of miraculous.
Labyrinth of Lies should take about 2 hours to complete – longer if you factor in character creation and some equipment buying in Ilinvur (where you start the quest), which you can solo yourself (you are gifted gp at the very beginning). In reality, this adventure will take probably take at least three playthroughs. It has a very steep difficulty curve, so be prepared to reroll stats a few times as your hapless PCs succumb to the perils of the Labyrinth of Lies!
The PDF of Labyrinth of Lies (plus map files) is available to download from Dungeon Masters Guild.
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Queen’s Wish: The Conqueror
The first chapter in Spiderweb Software’s new indie fantasy role-playing epic, Queen’s Wish: The Conqueror allows you to freely wander through an enormous world, exploring a fascinating story full of surprises and interesting decisions, using your cunning to outwit a multitude of dungeons and foes. Build an Empire or free the oppressed. Serve the Queen or rebel. Fight or use diplomacy. Build fortresses and smith powerful, enchanted blades and armor.
You are royalty of the mighty empire of Haven! Your mother the Queen rules, while you enjoyed a life of sheltered luxury. Then, one morning, you woke up to find yourself banished to a brutal war-torn land. Your job? Prove yourself by conquering it, or don’t bother to come home.
At last, you have been given wealth, magic, soldiers, power. The Queen thinks you will submit and join the family business. You might have other ideas.
To win the Queen’s favour, you must rebuild your lost colony. Will you be a diplomat or a warrior of Empire? Obedient or rebellious child? It will be up to you. But beware … Whatever path you try to take, the temptations to turn away from it will be cunning and constant.
- Epic fantasy adventure with over 50 hours of gameplay.
- Open-ended story in a variety of mysterious lands, featuring many choices, paths and endings. Lots of replay value.
- Suspenseful tactical combat. Select from fifty different abilities. Build and rebuild your warriors to face rapidly changing foes.
- Explore (and conquer) an enormous outdoors and a huge variety of dungeons and enemy fortresses.
- Gain strength with a unique fortress system. Build and equip fortresses, making your warriors stronger in a wide variety of ways.
- Not just orcs and elves. Features the unforgettable races and characters that make Spiderweb Software adventures unique.
- Over 100 side quests and hundreds of magical artifacts to hunt for.
Queen’s Wish: The Conqueror is available for PC & Mac via Steam, GOG and itch.io, and will also be coming to iOS later this year. Visit the Spiderweb Software website for further information or to download a FREE demo for Mac or Windows.
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Capstone Press and Stone Arch Books have released several new You Choose: Can You Escape? and DC Super Heroes gamebooks for younger readers.
Could You Escape Alcatraz?
Written by Eric Braun
You became the hero of your own adventure the moment you set foot on The Rock. Will your choices lead to escape, or will you be locked up forever?
Could You Escape a Deserted Island?
Written by Blake Hoena
You became the hero of your adventure the moment you washed ashore. Will your choices lead to rescue, or being marooned forever?
Could You Escape the Paris Catacombs?
Written by Matt Doeden
You became the hero of your own adventure the moment you stepped underground. Will you escape the skeletal maze, or be trapped with the ghosts of France forever?
Could You Escape the Tower of London?
Written by Blake Hoena
You became the hero of your own adventure the moment you crossed the castle gate. Will your choices lead to freedom, or will you be sent to the gallows?
The Crystal Quest
Written by Laurie S. Sutton / Illustrated by Omar Lozano
Morgaine Le Fay has found a magical Zodiac Crystal. But when Wonder Woman battles the sorceress for control of it, the duo gets sucked into an energy portal. Do they go to the Jurassic era to deal with dangerous dinos? Will they wrestle with wizards and mages in the ancient city of Atlantis? Should they match wits in a maze on a giant space ark?
The Heart of Hades
Written by Laurie S. Sutton / Illustrated by Omar Lozano
Hades, the ruler of the underworld, is lonely. But he can’t decide if he prefers Wonder Woman or Giganta better. Rather than fight for the right to sit at his side, the super hero and super-villain plot a path to freedom. Should they traverse the Elysian Fields where Titans dwell? Do they tackle the shores of Tartarus amid the monsters of myth? Should they brave Asphodel, the land of ghosts, wraiths, and the vengeful dead?
Movie Magic Madness
Written by Michael Anthony Steele / Illustrated by Omar Lozano
Circe vows revenge when she is offended by her likeness during filming for a remake of The Odyssey. When Wonder Woman tries to stop her, the sorceress conjures a portal that takes the hero to a realm of magical movie genres. Does the Amazon warrior take on wizards and dragons in a fantasy realm? Should she have a showdown with the sheriff in a dusty western? Does Wonder Woman head into a haunted house to wrestle with werewolves, vampires, and mummies?
Myth Monster Mayhem
Written by Steve Korte / Illustrated by Omar Lozano
Ares, the god of war, has unleashed mythological mayhem on New York City! Does Wonder Woman confront the raging Minotaur? Should she fly off to fight the fury of the Harpies? Will the Amazon warrior tame the towering waterspout terrorising the harbour?