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Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Is he in heaven, is he in hell?

It used to be that if you actually wanted to learn what life was like at some time in history, you were better off buying a kids' book. Nowadays, of course, we have immersive history books like Ian Mortimer's Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England, but back in the 1980s the nearest equivalent to that were Marshall Cavendish's excellent partwork series. Jamie and I designed several mini-games for their Discovery magazine, one of which was this proto-Fabled Lands board/gamebook set in the time of the French Revolution.

The original magazines are out of print now, but you can still buy them online at reasonable prices. Highly recommended if you're researching a historical period for a project or just for fun.


To start the game, each player chooses a character who is a member of the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel. Name your character and him or her scores in Stealth, Fencing and Disguise. Your scores must add up to 11, and no score may exceed 5.

Next place a counter representing your character on the board at Paris (A). You will need a six-sided die. Take it in turns to roll the die; the player with the highest score can begin.

In your turn, you can move to any adja­cent town or city in the direction of your choice. (Ignore the confusing markings on the arrows; each step, eg from Paris to Dijon or from Bordeaux to Dover, counts as one move.) Each town is marked with a letter and, on your arrival, you must turn to the ap­propriate letter listed below. This might involve reading one instruction, or you might be guided through a series of instructions. Read each one out aloud for all the players to hear. When you come to an instruction ending in a Pimpernel symbol •, play passes to the player on your left.

Occasionally the entries will ask you to make a Fencing Roll, a Stealth Roll or a Disguise Roll. To do this, roll one die. You suc­ceed if the score is equal to or less than the appropriate skill rating listed on the back of your char­acter. Note that each character has dif­ferent skill ratings representing their different areas of expertise.

It is a good idea to keep a pen­cil and paper handy to note down and help you remember any com­plicated moves.

It is also possible to play the game solo, in which case the aim is simply to return to London without getting captured. (Optionally, you could also set yourself the goal of reaching London within a set number of turns.)

A You return to Paris, reckoning that this is the last place the revolutionaries will be looking for you! And indeed, the confusion which is generated by the Revolutionary Committee's campaign of terror works to your advantage. Roll the die:

1-4 You manage to evade detection and can continue on your way nor­mally next turn. •

5 You get the chance to infiltrate the Public Prosecutor's office and mis­direct some patrols being sent out of the city. Make a Stealth Roll. If you succeed, you can move on im­mediately and on the next player's turn you get to move his piece instead of him. If you fail the Stealth Roll, turn to Z5.

6 You are unable to leave Paris this turn, but by a lucky chance you are able to obtain a Merchant's Pass which could be useful if you wish to get over the Pyrenees into Spain. Keep it. Next turn, refer to this entry and roll again. •

B You travel north on the road to Calais certain in the knowledge that Chauvelin, the sinister servant of the Committee for Public Safety will be on your tail. This road will be particularly dangerous for it is the quickest and shor­test route home to England. Roll a die. On a 1 or 2, turn to Z25. On a 3 or 4, turn to Z26. On a 5 or 6 turn to Z27.

C You are on the road to Rouen. Roll a die:

1-2 Large troop movements on the road force you to turn back. Return to where you came from. •

3-6 No incident befalls you and you arrive at Rouen safely. •

D Le Havre! So close to Dover yet so far, for someone has tipped off the authori­ties that you were heading here. The place is awash with revolutionary guards, spies and assassins. You are forced to go into hiding until the heat is off. Roll the die each turn. On a 6 you can return to Rouen. Otherwise you must stay here. •

E Arriving at the outskirts of Calais you cannot help but notice the strong mili­tary presence. Troops guard the walls and armbanded police and grenadiers guard the gates. There are even a couple of eight-pounder artillery pieces. Could this all be for you, you wonder? You can stay in this area and plan your next move (turn to Z31), or decide that it looks too dangerous and head back to Paris (turn to Z32), or go to Strasbourg (turn to Z33).

F Strasbourg is full of troops who have been mobilised against the invading Prussian Army. You have the choice of attempting to lie low in the town (in which case turn to Z1) or disguising yourself and your aristocrat as soldiers (turn to Z2).

G Dijon is a centre of the Revolution! You must succeed in a Stealth Roll be­fore you can continue on your way; make one attempt at this each turn. •

H As you approach Caen, the aristocrat you've rescued tells you he has a premonition of danger. If you decide to enter the town in disguise, turn to Z13. If you try sneaking in after dark, turn to Z14. If you prefer to avoid Caen altogether and make straight for the coast, turn to Z15.

I Arriving at Cherbourg you are met by one of your agents who tells you that the coast is guarded. You can travel to Caen or Rennes next go. •

J You arrive in Rennes. You leave your aristocrat in a tavern called Le Vieux Chasseur while you go to make contact with one of your agents here. Roll the die:

1-3 You return to find your aristocrat arguing with local workers about the rights and wrongs of the Revolution! You are forced to flee out of the town and lie low for a while. Miss your next go. •

4-5 Your agent betrays you to the local garrison. Make a Fencing Roll and a Stealth Roll. If you succeed in both, turn to Z6. If you fail in either, turn to Z7.

6 Because arrangements go smoothly, you can continue nor­mally next turn. •

K Brest is a French naval base, its har­bour protected by guns. Roll the die:

1-2 You are spotted and forced to flee. Move to Rennes next go. •

3-4 Turn to Z74.

5-6 Turn to Z75.

L You arrive at Nantes to hear that a British fleet is blockading the port. The town is thick with French marines and will need a Military Pass to get you through. If you have one, turn to Z66. If not, you cannot get through and will have to continue by land on your next turn. •

M You arrive in Chartres safely, with time to view the magnificent cathedral. Unfortunately, a hue and cry goes up in the streets. A large body of revolutionary guards are scouring the town. It seems a plot by royalists to take over the town has been uncovered. A search is on, mar­tial law is declared and a curfew set. You are likely to be discovered. You can seek refuge at the cathedral (turn to Z43), try to fight your way out (turn to Z44) attempt to sneak out of the gates at night (turn to Z45), or try to use a dis­guise to get out (turn to Z46).

N You make it to Angers without diffi­culty and spend a pleasant night in a roadside inn. Roll the die. On a 1 or 2, the weather is so bad you are forced to stay and miss a go. Roll again next turn. Any other result means you can carry on to Nantes or Chartres next go. •

O As you near Tours, you hear of recent activity by counter-revolutionary forces. There has been much fighting and a royalist force has recently been defeated. The town is crawling with troops and the guillotine is working overtime in the town square. It is too dangerous to enter the city so you skirt it on an old road. Roll the die:

1-4 You are almost out of the Tours area when an army major recog­nises you from your last trip to France. "Seize him!" he shouts. You can try to fight your way out of this one (turn to Z64) or flee into a nearby wood (turn to Z65).

5-6 Forced by a patrol to leave the road, you hide in some nearby woods. Move on normally next go.

P La Rochelle, a French naval base, is heavily fortified and well guarded. You will need to use cunning (turn to Z68) or a disguise (turn to Z69) to get in safely. If you don't want to risk it, move to Bordeaux, Tours or Nantes next go. •

Q You reach the outskirts of Bordeaux safely. Roll the die. If you score 1-4, turn to Z58. If you score a 5 or 6, turn to Z59.

R While heading south on the road to Cahors you chance upon an artillery bat­tery of the French regular army, travell­ing in the same direction. The captain of the battery does not recognize you and politely asks if you would like to travel with him to lighten an otherwise boring trip. Will you accompany Captain Buonaparte on his journey (turn to Z49) or decline his offer (you can make better speed alone – turn to Z50)?

S You travel up a mountain pass through the Pyrenees toward Spain. However, your only way into Spain is past a heavily garrisoned Frontier Post. If you have a Merchant's Pass they will let your through – turn to Z48. If not, no one is allowed out of France in these troubled times, so next go you must turn back and go to Montpellier, Cahors or Bordeaux. •

T You are delighted to find that many of the peasants around Lyon are opposed to the Revolution. They assist in smuggling you through the town, and so you get another move immediately.

U You are on a boat bound for Dover. However, even with the white cliffs in sight you should not relax your guard; roll the die:

1-3 You dock safely and can continue on to London next turn. •

4-5 Bad weather delays your arrival in port. Next turn, refer to this entry and roll again. •

6 You arrive late at night. Even as you sup a goblet of Mr Jellyband's fine mulled wine in the Fisherman's Rest, you are set upon by a French assassin! Make a Fencing Roll. If you succeed, you disarm him and can proceed to London next turn. • If you don't succeed, your daring mission ends in death! You have lost the game.

V Recent unrest in Orange has led to a strong military presence in the town. Roll the die:

1-2 You are spotted and forced to flee cross-country. Each turn you can roll a dice, and once you score a 1 or 2 can move to Cahors next turn.

3-4 You decide to be prudent and hide out in an isolated farmhouse for a few days. If you stay hidden in a barn, turn to Z8. If you decide to risk approaching the farmer for help, turn to Z9.

5-6 You are forced to go to ground in the attic of a deserted townhouse, and with troops guarding the gates it may not be easy to get on your way. You can either use cunning to get past them (turn to Z10) or else you can rely on your abilities at disguise (turn to Z11).

W From Montpellier you have two alter­native routes out of France: either across the Pyrenees into Spain, or by boat all the way around the coast up to the Channel. If you choose the former plan, turn to Z21. If the latter, turn to Z22. If you decide to spend time in Montpellier for any reason, turn to Z23.

X There are rumours of a British fleet moored off the coast near Marseille. If you try to get a boat out to rendezvous with them, turn to Z24. If you think that sounds too risky, you could proceed by road to Montpellier next turn. •

Y You have successfully made it to London, leading another French aristo­crat to freedom. You win! Jolly good show!

Z1 Make a Stealth Roll. If you succeed, you can continue on your way next turn. If you fail, turn to Z3.

Z2 Make a Disguise Roll. If you succeed, you can continue on your way next turn. If you fail, turn to Z4.

Z3 You hide behind some gunpowder barrels but are discovered. If you suc­ceed in a Fencing Roll you will be able to struggle free and continue on your way next turn. • Otherwise you are captured and should turn to Z5.

Z4 A cruel stroke of fate: your aristocrat is recognised by a soldier who used to work as his gardener! If you succeed in a Fencing Roll you will be able to escape and continue on your way next turn. • Otherwise you are captured and should turn to Z5.

Z5 You are under arrest, but you have a chance of escape. Roll the die:

1 -4 You slip away from your captors. Miss a turn. •

5-6 Turn to Z51.

Z6 You fight free of the soldiers waiting to ambush you and manage to lose them in the backstreets. Meeting up with your aristocrat, you will be able to move on next turn. •

Z7 You barely get out of Rennes in one piece, and you may have to backtrack to avoid pursuit. You must attempt a Disguise Roll and if you fail, then one of the other players (you decide who) gets to move your piece instead of you. At each turn, try again. Once you succeed in your Disguise Roll, you will be able to move normally again. •

Z8 It could be some time before it is safe to move on. Each turn, roll the dice. You can continue on your way once you have rolled a 1 or a 2. •

Z9 Luckily he is sympathetic because the Revolutionary Army recently mss- sacred protesters in this region. He tells you that if you hope to get over the Pyrenees into Spain you will need a Merchant's Pass, and he thinks that Montpellier is the best place to try and get one. •

Z10 Make a Stealth Roll. If you fail, you are apprehended and sent back to Paris – turn to Z5. If you succeed, you are able to slip out of the city gates. •

Z11 Make a Disguise Roll. If you suc­ceed, continue normally next go. • If you fail, soldiers try to stop you and you must turn to Z12.

Z12 Make a Fencing Roll. If you succeed, you are able to flee into the countryside and hide in a barn – turn to Z8. If you fail, you are caught – turn to Z5.

Z13 Make a Disguise Roll. If you suc­ceed, turn to Z16. If you fail, turn to Z17.

Z14 Make a Stealth Roll. If you fail, turn to Z19. If you succeed, you manage to creep unnoticed past the town guards – turn to Z18.

Z15 "C'est prudent!" declares your com­panion as the two of you bed down in a hayrick for the night. You can continue on your way next turn. •

Z16 Your disguise as two priests from Chartres completely fools the sentries on the town gate – turn to Z18.

Z17 Your disguise as priests from Chartres does not convince the sentries guarding the main gate. You are ar­rested. Turn to Z5.

Z18 While arranging a night's lodging at an inn in town, you notice an old soldier staring thoughtfully at you over his beer. If you risk approaching him, turn to Z20. Otherwise you go quietly to your room and continue on your way next turn. •

Z19 You are caught and held in the gate­house until you can be sent back to Paris for interrogation – turn to Z5.

Z20 As you get closer, you see that he is actually Lord Anthony Dewhurst, one of your most trusty agents. He leads you to where your yacht, the Day Dream, is waiting, and next turn you can move directly to Dover. •

Z21 If you have a Merchant's Pass you will be able to continue to Spain next turn. • If not, you will have to backtrack to Montpellier in the hope of getting one – go back and miss a turn. •

Z22 Getting passage on a boat will not be easy, and the voyage is apt to be lengthy. Roll the dice each turn; on a roll of 1 you have reached Dover. •

Z23 Anyone travelling to Spain needs a Merchant's Pass. You know better than to attempt the journey without such documents. Each turn, roll the dice. on a roll of 1-3 you have obtained a pass and can continue on to Spain the follow­ing turn. •

Z24 There is a certain resentment to­wards the revolutionary troops locally because of a recent spate of brutal execu­tions, but you cannot presume on just anyone for assistance because spies are everywhere. Roll the dice:

1-2 You reach the British fleet and can travel to Dover next turn. •

3-4 A series of close shaves means that you have to lie low for a couple of days. Next turn you can either pro­ceed overland to Montpellier or refer to this entry and roll again •.

5 Soldiers masquerading as fisher­men ambush you on the beach. Make a Fencing Roll. If you fail, they overpower you – turn to Z5. If you succeed, you escape from them and can make another roll immedi­ately, subtracting 2 from the score.

6 Revolutionary agents pretend to be fishermen sympathetic to your cause, then deliver you straight into the hands of the local soldiery! You are sent back to Paris under heavy guard – turn to Z5.

Z25 You learn that the area ahead is heavily patrolled by soldiers. Will you try to sneak past them tonight, (turn to Z28), try to brazen your way through in disguise (turn to Z29) or try to charge straight through on horseback (turn to Z30)?

Z26 You come across an inn – Le Carabinier – and your companion claims an overwhelming fatigue and begs to stay and relax a while. You are safely inside, when a large patrol of revolutionary guards enter the inn. You hurriedly retire to your room and lock the door, waiting for nightfall. Roll the dice:

1-5 You try to sneak away at night but the place is awash with bluecoats and you are spotted easily and the pursuit is on. You race away, and lose them in some woods. However, they are alerted now, and the road to Calais has become impossible. You are forced to re­turn to Paris. Move your token there next go •O.

6 Luckily for you, the night is as black as pitch. Rain and high winds lash the tormented earth –not a guardsman will step outside tonight. You make your escape Move normally next turn. •

Z27 After only a few hours travel on the road you run into a huge mass of march­ing troops on the road ahead. There is no way past! Move back to where you came from and move normally next go. •

Z28 You attempt to sneak past these troops at night. Make a Stealth roll. If you succeed, you escape with ease and can move on normally next go. • If you fail, your aristocrat steps in a cowpat near a sentry post. His cry of "Sacre Bleu! How absolutely jolly disgusting, what," in a loud voice alerts them to your presence and you are discovered and ar­rested – turn to Z5.

Z29 You 'procure' a cart loaded with bar­rels of wine and approach the checkpoint disguised as merchants. Make a Disguise roll. If you succeed, you pass through unnoticed and may move on normally next go. • If you fail, a guard notices the fact that your aristocrat has in fact partaken of the wine supplies and is loudly and drunkenly toasting the King. You are stopped and arrested –turn to Z5.

Z30 You canter up to a heavily manned checkpoint as if nothing was wrong. Suddenly, at the last moment you give a blood-curdling yell and spur your horse forward. The guards scatter in terror –however, some come back to fight. Make a Fencing Roll. If you succeed, move on normally next go. • If you fail, you are taken prisoner – turn to Z5.

Z31 You have two choices – to try and get into Calais itself and make your way to the docks (turn to Z34, or to go to the Chat Gris, a nearby inn (turn to Z36).

Z32 Move your marker to Paris next turn. •

Z33 Move your marker to Strasbourg next turn. •

Z34 Trying to enter this heavily guarded town was a definite mistake. Chauvelin himself, the sinister servitor of the Committee for Public Safety who has

sworn to catch the Pimpernel, is here and you are recognized. You are taken before him. He sneers, "I have you this time, Pimpernel!" Turn to Z5.

Z35 A large French fleet of warships is stationed outside the port-city of Calais. There will be no escape by sea here. As you turn back, some drunken sailors de­cide to pick a fight with you. Make a Fencing roll. If you succeed turn to Z37. If you fail, turn to Z38.

Z36 The Chat Gris is a dilapidated inn run by a crusty old peasant. You notice a dirty beggar in the corner, and to your surprise, you recognize your friend and accomplice, Sir Andrew Ffoulkes, in dis­guise! He tells you that Sir Percy Blakeney's yacht, the Day Dream, is ex­pected at the cove here any day now. You can wait here for it or you can travel to Strasbourg, Paris or Rouen. Next go, you may move normally or wait for the yacht – if you decide to wait, you should roll the dice. If you get a 6, turn to Z39; on a 1, turn to Z40. If you do not roll a 1 or 6, roll again the following turn, unless you decide to move by land. Make a note of the paragraph numbers if you intend to stay. •

Z37 You fight with commendable skill. The sailors have had enough and run off, leaving two of their comrades behind. Searching them you find a Seaman's Pass. Next go, you may travel to Strasbourg, Paris or remain here (back to B again). You cannot go to Dover. •

Z38 The sailors rough you up, rob you, and leave you unconscious. Miss your next turn and then you may move to Strasbourg, Paris or remain here (back to B), but you cannot go to Dover. •.

Z39 At last the Day Dream is here! Will you row out to it now (turn to Z41) or wait till nightfall (turn to Z42)?

Z40 You are waiting for the Day Dream when many soldiers burst into the inn! It seems that the innkeeper had become suspicious of you, and reported you to the revolutionary authorities. You are arrested – Turn to Z5.

Z41 Roll the die. On a 6 you make it to the Day Dream unnoticed and may tra­vel to Dover next go. • On a 1-5, a French frigate spots you and you are forced to surrender. Turn to Z5.

Z42 Under cover of darkness you row out to the Day Dream safely. Next go you may travel to Dover. •

Z43 Fortunately for you, the priest at the cathedral is a royalist sympathiser. He hides you safely in the crypt for a few days until the troops have left. Miss your next turn. •

Z44 You decide to start a small diver­sionary fire at the town barracks before trying to break out at one of the least guarded gates. Make a Fencing roll, but add 1 to the roll as the troopers are alert. If you succeed, turn to Z47. If you fail, you are overpowered and captured -turn to Z5.

Z45 You try to sneak out over the city walls at night. Make a Stealth Roll. If you succeed, turn to Z47. If you fail, you are captured - turn to Z5.

Z46 You try to brazen your way past the gates disguised as a revolutionary pea­sant with cries of "Vive la Revolution!" Make a Disguise Roll. If you succeed turn to Z47. If you fail, they see through your disguise - turn to Z5.

Z47 You have managed to get out of Chartres undetected. Move on normally next go. •

Z48 You make it safely into Spain, where you have no trouble chartering a boat. Move to Dover next go. •

Z49 The Captain is a man of Corsican descent who decided to make his career in the army. He seems pleasant enough and soon the conversation turns to mili­tary matters. Roll the dice. On a 1-3, turn to Z52. On a 4-6, turn to Z53.

Z50 You gallop on ahead, making good time. Roll the dice. On a 1 -3, turn to Z54. On a 4-6, turn to Z55.

Z51 You are taken to the Bastille. Put your playing piece back in Paris. Each turn you may roll the dice, and when you get a 1 or 6, you have escaped and can continue. •

Z52 You discuss the use of artillery in modern warfare, but he seems singularly unimpressed with your grasp of the matter. However, the trip passes uneventfully, and because you are with an army unit you are able to pass through Cahors without difficulty. •

Z53 Somehow you manage to convince the captain that you have a good grasp of artillery tactics, mainly by agreeing with everything he says. In fact, he likes you so much he gives you a Military Pass. Keep it. The rest of the trip passes uneventfully, and because you are with an army unit, you are able to pass through Cahors without difficulty. Unfortunately, the battery travels quite slowly, despite the captain's frenetic energy, and you must miss a turn before moving on normally. •

Z54 With extraordinary luck you make it to Cahors safely. Move on normally next go. •

Z55 Unfortunately, you run into a patrol outside Cahors. You can try to bluff your way past them (turn to Z56) or fight your way past (turn to Z57).

Z56 You tell a tall tale. Make a Disguise roll. If you succeed they fall for it and you may carry on - turn to Z54. If you fail, they see through your ruse and take you in for questioning - turn to Z5.

Z57 You draw your sword and attack, taking them by surprise. Make a Fencing roll. If you succeed, you cut through them and ride on to Cahors at full speed - urn to Z54. If you fail, you are clubbed unconscious. Turn to Z5.

Z58 Getting into the city presents no problem. To reach the coastal area you will need a Seaman's Pass. If you have one and wish to go there, turn to Z61. If not you must travel by land next go. •

Z59 Cruel fate deals you a low blow! Incredibly, your aristocrat is recognised by a passing revolutionary fanatic who was once his valet. He denounces him. Make a Fencing Roll. If you succeed, turn to Z60. If you fail, you are almost hanged there and then before some offi­cials intervene to take you away. Turn to Z5.

Z60 You fight off the crazed citizens, saving the aristocrat's life. "I never did treat that valet well," he comments rue­fully before giving you an old family heirloom - a large Diamond Ring. Keep it. Next turn you can move on normally. If you decide to remain at Bordeaux, turn to Z58 next go. •

Z61 You can try to charter a boat (turn to Z62) or head for the old portside house where one of your agents lives (turn to Z63).

Z62 You find the captain of a small yacht who is prepared to take you to Dover for a large fee. Unfortunately, he betrays you to the authorities. Turn to Z5.

Z63 You reach the house safely where your agent, an ardent royalist, is ready for you. He says he has communicated with Captain Briggs of the Day Dream (Sir Percy Blakeney's yacht) and that it will be offshore any day now. You can wait for it here. Next go, roll a die. On a 5 or 6, it arrives and you can travel to Dover the go after. On a 1, you are found by the authorities before the yacht arrives and must turn to Z5. Any other result means you must wait another go before moving on. •

Z64 Make a Fencing Roll. If you succeed, you beat off the attackers and disarm the army Major, leaving him in a rage again. Move on next go. • If you fail, you are overpowered - turn to Z5.

Z65 Make a Stealth Roll. If you succeed, you are able to lose your pursuers in the wood. Move on next go. If not, you are caught and have no choice but to fight. Turn to Z64.

Z66 There is a checkpoint you must pass through before you reach the docks. A bored looking guard slouches at an iron gate. Roll the die. On a 1, he decides to

search you; your aristocrat panics and you are apprehended – turn to Z5. If you roll a 2-6, turn to Z67.

Z67 The guard waves you through. That night you steal a boat and row out to the fleet. They are pleased to receive you and send you on to Dover in a frigate. Move to U next go. •

Z68 Make a Stealth Roll. If you succeed, you are to get into the town via the sewers. Turn to Z70. If not, you are smelt out and arrested. Turn to Z5.

Z69 Make a Disguise Roll. If successful, you get into town disguised as a rat catcher. Turn to Z70. If not, the guards smell a rat and you are arrested. Turn to Z5.

Z70 As luck would have it, your aristo­crat knows of a friendly sailor in the port who owns a small boat that could take you to Dover. You set sail immediately. However, you are stopped by a French warship and asked for a Seaman's Pass. If you have one, you may proceed to Dover next go. • If not, you cannot leave La Rochelle by sea. Miss a turn and then you may move to Bordeaux, Tours or Nantes. •

Z71 Roll the die. On a 1-3, your aristo­crat gets blind drunk and passes out. You are forced to stay the next day while he rests in bed. Miss a turn. Then you may travel to Caen or Rennes, or stay here and roll again. • If you roll a 4-6, turn to Z72.

Z72 You notice the innkeeper conduct­ing a shady deal with a disreputable man in the corner. The innkeeper hands over some money and then they leave. Following them out, you see the inn­keeper take delivery of some barrels of brandy. The disreputable man is a smuggler! If you approach the smuggler, turn to Z73. If not, you may move to Caen or Rennes next turn. •

Z73 Having convinced the smuggler you are not a Customs man, he offers to take you to Dover - for a price. If you have a Diamond Ring he will take that. Move to Dover next turn. • If not, you can travel to Caen or Rennes next go. •

Z74 A drunken sailor who has lost all his money gambling and drinking offers to sell you his Seaman's Pass. Buy it. Next go, you may move on or stay at Brest and roll again. •

Z75 You manage to find someone who is prepared to sell you his boat. After a few minutes at sea, the coastal batteries open fire on you. You have been betrayed! Roll the dice. On a 4-6, you escape with your life and make it to Dover; move to U next go. • On a 1-3, your boat is blown out of the water. A French frigate picks you up and you are arrested; turn to Z5.


  1. Félicitations, Dave & Jamie, pour votre connaissance de l'histoire de France ! There are indeed very few gamebooks about the French Revolution. I know the one (in French: "Madame Guillotine") from the "Real Life" series. Apparently, it contains no historical errors but the time gap between the beginning of the Revolution and the Terror is poorly managed (IMO, the author should have concentrated just on one period). I adapted this one into a Sambahsa novel :
    Another gamebook is the French "le Masque de Sang" from the series "Les Messagers du Temps" where you play an intertemporal agent who has to set free one of his/her colleague in the Paris of the French Revolution. Though no more printed, it can still be found on sites like Ebay


  2. Hi Olivier. The French Revolution also happens to form part of the backdrop for our upcoming Frankenstein book. In the original novel, Victor goes to university in Ingolstadt, but seeing as the creation of the monster takes place in 1792 we decided Paris would be more interesting. Incidentally, for the date of the monster's "birth" we've chosen, not sometime in November as in the novel, but September 22nd. I'm sure you can see why ;-)

  3. Oh Dave, I thought you were Republican !
    But I completely agree that the Paris of 1792 was the ideal workplace for Dr. Victor Frankenstein and his experiences : a lot of beheaded corpses were available. He should have concluded a partnership with J. Le Bon of Arras :
    (off topic : I have just changed my picture)

  4. I'm one of those champagne Republicans - Citoyen Dave Egalité, that's me. (Note to anyone reading this in the US who stumbled on the blog by accident: that's the 18th century kind of Republican we're talking about.) Actually I'm somewhat a Bonapartist, I guess, since my vote would be for a federal Europe.

    In the book, we do make use of the abundance of severed heads, though our Frankenstein's monster isn't stitched together from body parts as such.

  5. You're very courageous, Dave, to tell you're a kind of Pro-European Bonapartist while you're living in a Britain which seems to be willing to sever its ties with the European Union !
    I must say I don't really hope that a federal Europe would follow the Bonapartist model which was too much focused on France (and that's why the British fought so much against it). Apparently, recent news show it shall rather be a kind of Franco-German co-gouvernance with checks and balances provided by other member States.
    The picture is from the talentful Storm Thorgerson (once again, a talentful Briton...) who is famous, among others, for designing the covers of Pink Floyd albums :

  6. It is indeed depressing to be a Federalist, Olivier, at a time that it actually seems possible that Scotland might leave the United Kingdom - a disaster from the point of somebody like me, who at my *most* parochial will describe my nationality as "British", never merely "English" - and I would be happy to say "European".

    But, since the UK has failed to get behind the inevitable centralization of Europe, I fear we will be left becalmed as time moves on.

    Pink Floyd, eh? That explains why I liked it.