Sandbrook: The cult wants you

Simon Palmer’s first gamebook, Sandbrook: The cult wants you, is an epic fantasy/horror adventure that takes place in a classic fantasy setting with added Lovecraftian undertones. Featuring 491 pages, more than 800 individual choices (in 5 chapters) and multiple different endings – and of course many ways to die – Sandbrook is a lengthy and sometimes difficult gamebook, with challenges along the way that can only be overcome by gathering the necessary tools and skills.

A great curse has befallen Argonium and YOU have been put in charge of overseeing its end. You are a newly trained recruit for the High Council – placed there more due to a mistake of birth than anything else. As the unwanted child of a High Priestess and a Council Elder, you have been shipped between boarding schools most of your life and never quite found your place in society. After being enrolled for two years of gruelling training you now emerge with the title of Inquisitor. Will you complete your first task – or will you too be lost to the ever-encroaching cult, fierce monsters and treacherous beasts that roam the kingdom?

You begin your adventure after being booted out of the Capital to make something of yourself – the only thing you know is that a new cult is defying the Empire, and that you should investigate. The Empire prides itself on total obedience to the one true religion, so any difference or defiance must be rooted out. Your journey takes you northwards as you travel through towns and mountains, innocent at first, but as you travel farther the scenery changes to dark forests and misty seaside towns filled with unwelcoming people. As you investigate further the roots of the cult become clearer, and you soon find yourself exploring the heart of the local orphanage – where things appear differently depending on how sane you are.

Sandbrook’s game mechanics are similar to those found in the Fighting Fantasy series, with dice rolled for starting health and skills. There are many choices to make during your long journey, so maintaining good health is of great importance. Players also start with a sanity of 5, which is lowered whenever the player witnesses something frightening or disturbing, and checked at key points by rolling a d6. Failing these checks can lead players down various routes and towards completely different endings, so make sure to keep your sanity high! Battles are played classically through rolling dice, or simply by checking if your skill is higher than that of your opponents.

For the most part Sandbrook is a non-linear adventure, with hub towns throughout acting as bases for resupply, and as story points to move the narrative along. There are multiple routes to reach the ending, although which route you choose will be vital in obtaining the correct items to proceed easily. Players will have to think cleverly and work out the correct way forward with the clues they are given.

Sandbrook is available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats, with Kindle readers able to download it for FREE this weekend (28th–29th September).

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  1. Pingback: November ROUND-UP: wrath, vengeance and death – Gamebook News

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