The Altimer: an interactive story

Samuel Isaacson’s first gamebook, The Altimer, begins in the mid-22nd Century, following a time of global political turbulence, climate upheaval and, more recently, the discovery of intelligent extra-terrestrial life. A new cohort of astronauts has begun training – YOU are one of them.

The year is 2162, intelligent extra-terrestrial life has been discovered, and a new recruit arrives at the Global Interstellar Group to be trained as an astronaut.

That trainee is you.

Immerse yourself in a mysterious sci-fi horror in which you will discover the truth behind a new alien threat…or die trying.

The Altimer’s storyline is presented in three acts, consisting of earth-based training, exploration on-board your ship The Altimer, and making your way through the Martian city of New Gaia. Encounters will include combat with aggressive aliens and assassins, social situations requiring adept manoeuvring, logic puzzles, and situations reliant on possessing particular items of equipment or codewords.

Although not an incredibly difficult adventure, you’re unlikely to complete it the first time without cheating – taking notes should assist players in finding the best path within a few attempts. The adventure is written in an extended narrative style, and a sequel with even more challenges is already planned for the future.

The gameplay mechanics used in The Altimer are uncomplicated and are based around four character scores, each generated by rolling 1d6 and adding a set number of points:

  • BODY ~ how quickly, strongly and skilfully you can move yourself, including in combat.
  • MIND ~ cognitive abilities, including perception, intellect, memory and reasoning.
  • HEART ~ ability to connect with and influence other people, and deal with stressful situations.
  • SPIRIT ~ ability to continue your adventure – when this score reaches zero you are finished!

The totals generated indicate your level in each skill area, ranging from amateur to superhuman. At certain points during your adventure you’ll be instructed to make a check against one or more of these skills – you have successfully passed the check if your total is equal to or higher than the difficulty level; if not, you have failed.

Combat is simple and rather deadly, using BODY and SPIRIT scores in 2-step combat rounds. 2d6 + your BODY reduces an opponent’s SPIRIT by that amount minus their BODY score, delivering the possibility of quick and brutal damage. Your opponents also use the same process, so just like real life it’s best to be swiftly fortunate whenever attacking an enemy.

The Altimer is an illustrated gamebook featuring 300 sections, and is available from Amazon (UK & US) as a 198-page paperback or as an eBook for Kindle.

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