Gamebook store

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Return to the Fabled Lands

We had a good old run of Dragon Warriors stuff lately, and you Fabled Lands aficionados have been very patient, so here's some news worth waiting for. Greywood Publishing are creating an all-new Fabled Lands roleplaying game, based on either their own QUERP system or the rules in the FL books, or maybe a little bit of both, for release early in 2011. Co-designer Shane Garvey promises some cutting-edge streamlined design, with semi-freeform magic and a combat system that amounts to "more than just stand and swing, though everything is based on 2d6 and the difficulty mechanic familiar from the gamebooks."

To support the core RPG there'll be a series of sourcebooks for each nation, so you'll be be able to get a bunch of friends together for adventures in Golnir, Sokara, and so on, and then on to Ankon-Konu and beyond. The guys at Greywood are still trying out a few layouts, so no final decision has been taken on cover design (the picture above is just a mock-up) but we do know they will feature some sumptuous and scintillant digital artwork from the forthcoming Fabled Lands apps by Megara Entertainment, made available courtesy of Megara's heroic and gentlemanly patron, Mikael Louys.

But that's not all; we're also going to be reissuing the FL gamebooks. These will be standard paperback format, which ought to make them more accessible to readers of conventional-sized gamebooks, and they'll be on sale on Amazon from early December priced around $7.99 each. The covers will feature the original paintings by Kevin Jenkins, who's taking a quick time out from his packed movie schedule to give them a retouch that'll make them more eye-poppingly stunning than ever; and the interior illustrations will of course be by the da Vinci of Fabled Lands, Russ Nicholson. Yep, the gang's all here.

Wait, there's more. If those first six books sell well enough, the management of Fabled Lands LLP are talking about giving Jamie and me the green light to complete the series with books 7 to 12. So it could be quite an eventful year ahead for Fabled Lands fans. For further info, keep an eye on the Fabled Lands Facebook page and the Fabled Lands website (soon to have a major overhaul).

58 comments:

  1. It's going to be good to finally talk about this :)

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  2. Im going to amazon to check out if they can be pre-ordered!

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  3. Amen, Shane! And after all the bad vibes, mud-slinging, murky politics and ill-informed sniping over DW, you can bet I'm going to enjoy posting about a game people can just have some FUN with.

    Alberto - give us a chance, dude, we have to get them typeset first :)

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  4. I think the key point of Dave's post is actually the fact that books 7-12 will only come out if the rest of the books and the RPG do well. We need to generate a lot of interest about the gamebooks and RPG. Talk about it with your friends, on forums and messageboards, on your blogs, etc. Get the buzz happening and hopefully those elusive books 7-12 will see the light of day!

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  5. Good god, I hope my finances get straightened out enough that we can toss a few bones and pick up the new FL swag. Once upon a time, I was hopelessly addicted to the gamebooks, and maybe we can rekindle that love soon. :)

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  6. Yay, you just made my day! I can finally stock up the missing books, and, well, if the others come out as well, so much the better ;-)

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  7. *Mike screams YAHOOOOOOOOOOO! at the top of his lungs, and faints*

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  8. Oh, and by the way, will there be any revised and/or new content gameplay-wise? The Lone Wolf hardcovers have additional content, although I haven't managed to pick up a copy of any of them. I have suggested closing certain loopholes; and adding hirelings, upgradeable living quarters, a more in-depth castle and dweomer college system. Also, more diversity as to why the player would choose one religion, over another, similar religion. Over at my website http://www.mikemielke.mp, I've mentioned Fabled Lands in my "PART 2" post, although what we were discussing would be much more in depth and fleshed out. Cheers!

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  9. Hi Mike - we've talked about closing off some of the farmable loops and I'm planning to do that. I don't know how much we can do to the first 6 books if we're going to get them out before Christmas, but I'll be looking at all those points. And certainly they will be integral to books seven and on, assuming we get the go-ahead for those.

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  10. You could release print expansions for the existing books. I recall a certain role playing game company that releases short supplements each month, and offers a small discount if people subscribe. It could work out that way, by having a subscription offer in the back of the reprints where people send in the money, and receive enhancements conveniently by mail with notes on how to implement them into the existing books. I'm not sure which role playing game does it, but I have an issue from 2009 -somewhere-.

    As for loopholes, there's one in Book 6, where once you have access to a certain location (someones home), you can keep coming back and looting for tons of items -playing cards and other miscellaneous items, if I recall.

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  11. Amazing, amazing news! I am looking forward to purchasing both the RPG books and the re-issued gamebooks. All new 7 - 12 books would be a dream-come-true indeed!

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  12. A toast to Dave Morris, Jamie Thomson, Steve Garvey, and the rest of the ensemble crew, for making this all possible!

    Cheers!

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  13. Sorry, I meant Shane Garvey, my mistake.

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  14. This just made my day. I'll be sure the spread the word. Seeing books 7-12 finished and in print has always been a dream to me, and to know that the possibility is within sight is really awesome.

    Any word on just how well these books will need to sell before the okay on completing the series is official? I have complete faith that if cards are played correctly these will do great. It would just be a great shame if for whatever reason it doesn't fall through.

    Thanks again for this great news. I'll do all that I can to spread the word.

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  15. I estimate that if we can get 5,000-10,000 sales per book, that'll be enough to get books 7-12 greenlit. The original books sold twice that in just the UK edition, so we're hopeful. But as Shane said there, we need every devotee of the Fabled Lands to tweet, blog, mail their friends and do everything else to spead the word!

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  16. Dave, if any World of Warcraft players can drum up interest via in-game chat and message boards, and be persistent in the matter, i'm sure you'll easly sell hundreds of thousands of copies. I don't play WoW, but hundreds of millions of players can't be wrong when it comes to tastes in RPG's. People need to be sold on the concepts of "Fabled Lands" and "books", as many people don't read as much as they used to (if at all). In the UK however, people are highly literate, as evidence by the high quality of both the paper and the editorial (and the diverse selection of) magazines over there. I subscribe to quite a few magazines, even though they cost quite a bit, due to internaional shipping. And 5,000-10,000 copies is not that much to sell for each book, I was expecting figures of 10 times as much :) I do think that it will be probable to have a page in the back of each book that mentions each of the titles. You could include subscription offer both and nationally so people can purchase print subscriptions to small expansions for the pre-existing books, and include a pdf option for these expansions so readers will have a choice of print or PDF. I'd for one, purchase it in the blink of an eye!

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  17. Øystein Evensen15 September 2010 13:05

    Well, you have one ambassador in Norway at least and I have a few friends and acquaintances who would be interested, most of them WoW-players by the way. Does anybody know how well the republished Fighting Fantasy and Lone Wolf books are selling? They seem to be doing rather well since they sell the former in practically every bookshop in the UK, and even in a few shops in Norway. Anyone with a interest in those should definitely be interested in FL. The only reason they were never completed in the first place was that they arrived too late on the scene long after the original gamebook boom, but now that other gamebooks have received a renewed popularity I think there's every reason to entertain high hopes for these republications as well.
    But we have to get the news out there, not only at sites dedicated to FL, but any site dedicated to gamebooks. Outland, a popular seller of rpgs, miniatures and boardgames in my country seems to be doing well selling the new FF series. They might be interested in selling these as well.

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  18. Øystein Evensen15 September 2010 13:08

    * Pardon, I meant of course: they should be interested in selling these as well.

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  19. There's also Fighting Fantazine, an online magazine dedicated to gamebooks. If anyone knows how to contact them maybe we could get some info in the next issue that would help spread the word to gamebook enthusiasts.

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  20. Thanks in advance, everyone, for your support. It's a great core to grow from.

    Øystein, I do know the sales figures for FF but I'm not allowed to say... I *can* say, though, that we only have to do a fraction as well as FF to justify continuing the series.

    And Mike, we mustn't forget that some of the best writing in the world comes from the US and I do believe that FL has a better chance to crack that market than regular gamebooks, because the experience the FL books delivers is nearer to being a freeform roleplaying campaign. And I think the Megara apps will also give the books a Saturn 5-sized boost too.

    Tazar, great idea - Russ Nicholson should know if anyone does. I'll ask him.

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  21. Took some time, but I finally found the link which seems to include contact info (hope it helps): http://fightingfantazine.bravehost.com/Fighting%20Fantazine.html

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  22. Thanks - we're going to hold off until we have the gamebooks ready to go, then see if we can do a bit of a web marketing blitz!

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  23. Congratulations Dave! After I missed out on Fabled Lands way-back-when I'm really happy to hear this news. Chalk me up for all *twelve* books and the RPG!

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  24. The prospect of the next twelve books is BRILLIANT. And even though I'm moreof a solo role player, I'd still love to read the RPG material, because of the worldbuilding potential. I always thought Fabled Lands was one of the best fantasy worlds out there because it did what fantasy is supposed to: it was wild and exotic and creative and wonderful. I mean, take a look at that map - it's brimming with every kind of adventure you could possibly hope for.

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  25. Mitch, you hit the nail on the head. That's exactly what Jamie and I were aiming for. I remember when we came up with that map. Jamie was writing the Heart of Harkun radio show for the BBC and we started sketching out the world on my dining room table. We said, "Let's make this the kind of world where you take one look at the map and you can't wait to get out adventuring." I guess we were thinking how Tolkien's maps affected us as kids.

    At one point, Jamie drew a big southern continent and said, "These are the unknown lands. What shall we call them?" And I said, "Inconnu." Then I went to get coffee (or to be honest it might have been beers) and when I came back he had written Ankon-Konu - which we both liked, so it stuck :-)

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  26. He he, it may have been "jun-say-pah" = "je ne sais pas !" :-)
    (By the way I adore the maps of Fabled Lands)

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  27. Olivier, I think we're in good company. Rabelais got Gargantua's name from "Que grand tu es!" I believe?

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  28. Congratulations for your culture ! Rabelais explains indeed that Gargantua got his name from his father who said to him: "Que grand tu as (le gosier)" = "How big thou hast (the throat)". However, the name "Gargan" existed before Rabelais, the onomotopeia GRG is found in both French "gargouille" and English "gurgle"
    http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gargantua#Le_Gargantua_mythique
    If you look for names for Atticala, you can ask me since I know Old Greek too !

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  29. Thanks, Olivier! That could be very useful. Hmm... Doric or Attic, btw?

    Another instance of Gargan comes in the form of the two surviving warrior-clones in Heart of Ice. (And anyone who hasn't read that can get it for free, just over to your right there.)

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  30. Rather Biblical koine ! :-)... but of course I can go back to Indo-European !

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  31. Yeah, I think it was the map that really did it for me when I was a kid and discovered Fabled Lands (which would have been around 2000, well after the golden age). My local library only had #6, and I was stoked when I found another library that had #2, so I could dive into another section of that fabulous map. Looking at the map for the six unreleased books was a terrible tease.

    Come to think of it, that was around the same time when I started developing a liking for music, which like all boys starts out with what your Dad listened to... so I still subconsciously associate Led Zeppelin's "The Battle of Evermore," with Golnir, which seems appropriate for anything remotely Tolkien-inspired.

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  32. Mitch, I just checked out The Battle of Evermore - you're right, a perfect fit for Golnir. I was looking at a recent book called Electric Eden that covers that whole folk-fantasy/music overlap.

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  33. Excellent news! I will spread de word too!
    Congratulation Dave, Jamie and all the staff. I guess you're really proud! So we are!

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  34. Hi there,

    I'm just thinking aloud now, but wouldn't some additional paragraphs for the existing six books appeal to the old fans as well and thus boost sales?
    And maybe I was a little too reserved in showing my appreciation for the prospect of more books to come ^^: I have played so hard that I know a good deal of the paragraphs by heart and one of my best memories is when I played book 3 together with three (!) friends at once during school excursion (which is a feat in itslef as we had to discuss every step first).
    Ah yeah, and if I might add a plea: please add some useableness to the copper kettle, my favourite single most useless item there is :-D

    Andreas

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  35. Jamie was talking last week about adding some paragraphs to each book, Andreas, but I told him it would probably make more sense to spend that time getting on with book 7. I think we can definitely promise some use for the copper kettle, however - though possibly not until book 10, where it may come in handy if you want to get Tiresias to show you the way to the underworld ;-)

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  36. How long does it take to write a gamebook in general? It should take less time for the Fabled Lands since the paragraph references and backstory are already established, unless you choose to disregard the references. As for expanding each of the pre-existing books, since there needs to be sales of 5-10k to complete the series, extra paragraphs wouldn't hurt
    :-) The fan written book 9 was at least twice as long as the first six (it felt substantially longer as well), and that was without illustrations!

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  37. Good question, Mike. Jamie and I were probably writing the later FL books in about 4 months each. It may take a little longer for new ones at first as we'd need to climb back in the saddle. Russ Nicholson was telling me that Gallimard are getting good sales of the relaunched Fighting Fantasy books in France, although of course we'll be relying on just English-language sales to begin with to hit those targets. If anyone has a contact at Gallimard, now is the time to point out what a good idea it'd be to do a French edition of FL ;-)

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  38. Are you still debating whether to spend time expanding the first half of the series or working on book 7? I think that it would be a good idea to work on expanding the first 6 books first, and release the expanded copies. After that, regardless of whether the books sell right away, work on the last six, just in case.

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  39. The current plan, Mike, is to get the books on sale in time for Christmas - the theory being that most FL fans won't want new copies of the original books for themselves, but they might buy them as gifts. We hope! But that does mean there won't be time to get new material into books 1-6... it's going to be hard enough just getting them reformatted and reprinted in time. However, I can promise that if it's new adventures you're after, there'll be a special treat for all gamebook fans waiting here on the FL blog on Christmas Day.

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  40. Hi Dave,

    Just a quick question about the formatting: If you're using the standard paperback size (around A5, I think), will you still be able to include those beautiful maps with all their gorgeous details? Certainly, they added amazingly to my experience (and FL is really the only gamebook I've been devoted to)

    Also, as for expanding the originals, my own thoughts would lean towards solving the loops and maybe some very small adjustments; if you spend heaps of time "fixing" the first books (not that there's anything wrong with them, of course! :), then us poor devotees will need to wait a while longer for books 7-12. :O (My two cents, anyways)

    Hope you can clear these up for me. Thanks in advance, one very satisfied fan :)

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  41. PS. Any ideas for the spine artwork? Counting on my fingers tells me you could fit F-A-B-L-E-D - L-A-N-D-S across all twelve books with a space in between. Maybe something like illustrated lettering? Just a thought. Keep on imagining! :)

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  42. Hi Mark, you're right, if we get sucked into changing the content on books 1-6 then we'll miss the chance to have them out for this Christmas and then it could be next Christmas before they get launched. So it's full steam ahead just to reformat them down to standard paperback size (8" by 5").

    I'm afraid the maps will inevitably take a hit. We can't have the color card foldouts that the original books had. However, we'll get the color maps up on the Fabled Lands website and put a link there in all the books.

    Very nice idea about the spines!

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  43. Could the extra content be released in the future as smaller print supplements? You could have instructions as to where they fit in. Spine illustrations would be interesting, great idea Mark! Nintendo Power here in the States tried spine illustrations in the past, with iconic video game characters and such, which I looked forward to.

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  44. I just wanted to say how great of an idea I think the spine art is. But imagine how sad it'll be to have the same 6 books that just say F A B L E D and then the last 6 books never get printed! :(

    Maybe the spine are would insure us getting all 12 books :) it was worth a shot anyway.

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  45. And how much worse if we only got four books that said F-A-B-L - or even eight books that spelled out FABLED L... Well, the idea of the spine art is too good to pass up. We have to do it.

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  46. Aww, thanks guys. Glad to know that you appreciate the idea. I'm sure Russ (if he's willing) would be able to design something truly fantastic, something that leaps from the bookshelf and makes people want to read the books.

    Somewhat along with Mike's idea, perhaps all the maps from Books 1 through 12 could be released in one supplement? Along with some other background material, alternate rules, designers notes, further information along those lines? A compendium of sorts, if you will.

    I know I would certainly buy a copy; the more I read FL the more I want to know more about the world and the people and places in it. World-building that good is what draws people in.

    Anyways, I'll be hard pressed to wait until Christmas for the re-printing, but I'm so glad that it's going ahead! And I'll definitely be tipping off a few of my friends to buy copies.

    Cheers,
    M

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  47. Hi Mark - for a compendium of the FL world, what you want is the forthcoming FL roleplaying game and sourcebooks, which will build up into a complete encyclopedia of the Fabled Lands. I've just seen a glimpse of the city maps that Jamie Wallis is doing for these and it's all looking truly awesome. Watch for those early in 2011.

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  48. What is the proposed length of the FL roleplaying game and supplements? I believe the DW supplements were around 50-60 pages when my local book shop carried them (they sold out quickly, though).

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  49. Dave,

    Are there any thoughts to tweak the balance of the books to take into account the last 6 books? For example, the defence stat can become quite high at later levels.

    As an aside, is it intended that a character can have more than 12 in a stat once the bonuses from items are taken into account? Do potion bonuses stack with item bonuses? Just wondering as book 6 had some very high skill checks (up to 24 difficult I think).

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  50. Anonymous: I believe that your natural abilities have a maximum of twelve. Potion bonuses stack with item bonuses, although you can only use one of each potion per encounter. Some items increase your ability scores, and some increase your bonuses, but that point would have to be answered by Dave and Jamie, as there has been discussion on this topic in the past. I play by the rules and the Fabled Lands series is perfectly fine that way, as I have no qualms.

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  51. I'm going to leave Jamie to answer Anon's question as it's time his voice was heard around here :-)

    Wrt the length of the FL supplements, I'm guessing 60 pages or so but I'll try and get a definitive answer from the guys at Greywood Publishing.

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  52. Where has Jamie ran off to, the sewers of Yellowport? Or perhaps he is slaving away in Uttaku! All I can say is I hope he has high ability scores to outwit and outlast the perils.

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  53. He has a very high CHARISMA score, coupled with extraordinary luck, that enables him to avoid having to do most things he doesn't want to ;)

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  54. Are the reprints of each of the series (FL, Blood Sword, Way of the Tiger, etc) scheduled for the beginning of December or the end? I am hoping to order them (if I manage to scrape up the funds) to arrive before Christmas. Around that time, the US Postal Service moves at a decreased rate, despite being leagues busier. No worries.

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  55. Oh, and I wonder what the Christmas surprise will be?

    "However, I can promise that if it's new adventures you're after, there'll be a special treat for all gamebook fans waiting here on the FL blog on Christmas Day."

    :-)

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  56. Hi Mike, you might get the new FL editions sooner in the States because we're setting them up with a US-based printer. I'll post updates as and when I hear anything.

    As for the Christmas surprise... my lips are sealed.

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  57. Did you look into the e-commerce site with 1and1 ? I believe you'll keep more of the profits if you run your own web based shop. Are you thinking about book shop distribution? I may have some buyers if they make profit from selling it at their locations.

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  58. i know i am late but i wish Dave and Jamie would continue Fabled Lands... definitely gonna buy alot of copies on christmas =)

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