Featuring a branching narrative that puts you in the role of a 14-year-old boy with magical powers, The Shadowborn Trials is set within Joseph Daniels’ fantasy universe of The Hermacles Divide. Consisting of 1008 sections and over 400 pages, The Shadowborn Trials is an adventure in which you will rarely be alone. Your allies will not only fight alongside you but will also affect the direction of the story, especially if any one of them dies or survives through to the end (for the best ending, try to make sure that all of them survive).
After sneaking out to a sleepover at the house of one of your school mates, you are kidnapped by a mysterious stranger and awake in a world that is not your own; a world of magic and monsters. The good news is that you are not alone. With you are three others, all the same age, all taken from the same world as you on the same night. Furthermore, you and your new friends all discover that you have powers, of the likes you have never seen before. Abilities to teleport, walk through walls, and summon fire from your hands. These are just some of the powers you have at your disposal.
Together with these new allies, you must escape this fantastical world and learn the truth about why you were brought here. Your journey will take you through monster-filled caverns and towns of many unsavoury folk, including the infamous thieves guild, and finally to the tower of the nameless sorcerer.
The Shadowborn Trials acts as an interactive prequel to The Hermacles Divide novel series. You will meet many characters and creatures unique to that universe, like Kwagloks, Snotgroblins, Yimirta and The Klemodite. Also, you will find many of the magical artefacts found within the books, such as a storage device with unlimited space for all your items, a box that can steal voices, and a pendant with a turquoise stone. Fans of The Ghosts Of Craven Manor will know exactly what that one does!
Those familiar with The Hermacles Divide will know of the Dhufal; four children able to harness the abilities of various creatures of Myth and Legend. However, this is not their story. This is YOUR story, so you will have the chance to create your own character, with statistics and powers that can either mirror those of the characters you already know, or construct an entirely different creation.
At the start of play you will be able to allocate points for your character’s main attributes. Your choices in this matter will affect the entire adventure. For example, if you are an intelligent and stealthy individual you may be able to avoid most encounters, however, if you favour fitness and strength, you will be ready for most fights that come your way. Also, your choice of abilities will open some paths and close others, meaning that no two playthroughs will be exactly the same.
The combat system is turn-based, with weapons and armour adding bonuses to attack or defence rolls, and damage being deducted from a Life Force total. There is also the addition of certain special abilities (Attack, Survival and Transport Powers) that can be used once in every fight. Some of these abilities may take heavy damage off your enemy, or provide an advantage in future attacks or defence – with some you may also be able to escape a fight entirely.
Additionally, you may come across missile weapons that can be thrown, such as throwing daggers and ninja stars, or firing weapons such as bows and crossbows. Attacking with these weapons is exactly the same as using a normal weapon, the only differences being that if you throw a weapon, you lose it regardless of whether you hit your target or not, and if you fire an arrow you must deduct that arrow from your carried items. Also there may be certain modifiers to your roll, depending on exactly when you decide to use a missile weapon.
The Shadowborn Trials is an innovative gamebook that offers all of the thrills and challenge of a Fighting Fantasy-type of adventure, together with consequential character customisation and player freedom, and is specifically designed to provide a new experience every time you play. Joseph Daniels’ first The Hermacles Divide gamebook is available via Amazon in Paperback and for the Kindle eReader.