Gamebook store

Friday, 23 May 2014

Red as blood

I've dropped a few hints about Blood Sword coming back. The rumors are of a deluxe, hardcover edition of the complete series with full-color artwork throughout - and I'm not going to deny those rumors here, no indeed.

A previous post discussed whether to keep Blood Sword's very complex rules or to go for something a little bit easier. The current thinking is to start off with a "classic edition" using the original text and rules complete with tactical maps. That's the version the diehard fans will want. I can always revise it as a rules-lite edition later.

Fabled Lands LLP will start by releasing the classic edition in paperback, with the first two books, The Battlepits of Krarth and The Kingdom of Wyrd, appearing this summer. Personally I think the full tactical rules are better suited for an app version than print. In an app the tactical stuff would work brilliantly and require no work by the reader; something a bit like Warhammer Quest. But as the apps would necessarily prune the text down (those books are like thumping great GoT novels) we're going to publish the print version so that you can have both.

The hardcore collectors among you will be asking when the hardback edition is coming. Well, it's all just speculative right now, but probably this time next year. It all depends on Megara Entertainment's Kickstarter campaign for the Way of the Tiger books. Given the success of that, maybe we should try the same with Blood Sword's hardback edition.. Or maybe the Kickstarter should be to get the app launched, as that's going to take a little bit more oomph than most gamebook engines have going for them at the moment.

While you're waiting, here are a couple of images from the fourth book in the series, Doomwalk - which can be yours right now if you have $175 handy. The map is by Geoff Wingate, who I tapped for these books after seeing the fine cartographic work he was doing for Paul Cockburn in Imagine. The drawing of the marketplace storyteller is by Russ - as if you needed telling. And if you want to see an overflowing treasure house of great Russ drawings, hie yourself over to his blog this minute, for he generously posts collections of his outstanding fantasy and SF work, both old and new. The interesting thing about this one is the Vulcan (or Romulan?) in the audience there at top right. (I don't think I ever noticed that before, and I've been looking at this picture for 27 years!) I can't wait to see what these classic images look like in glorious color.

39 comments:

  1. In my Doomwalk, the cool maps are swapped over... so you get the supersecret map of the underworld at the start... and if you try, you can get the world map in the underworld!

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    1. What can I say? Publishers are idiots. We'll fix that in the new edition.

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    2. Good old publishers! Still, they are nicely drawn maps. I remember finding Bloodsword 5 in Hay on Wye, going "There was more than 3 of them????" and then playing with great gusto. They had 4 or 5 copies if I recall. This was nearly 20 years ago mind.

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    3. I'd be willing to bet there are still a few copies to be found in the dustier corners of Hay on Wye.

      But hang on, James - you mean to say you thought the 3rd book tied it all up?!

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    4. I never saw the books in shops or saw them advertised, so it was kind of an odd cliffhanger. I blame the demise of warlock and the change of focus of white dwarf for lack of advertising that I would see, as I knew all about books one to three. As obviously I'd have bought them, and virtual reality, if i.d known. Book four was a grand continuation, and book five was simply MAGNIFICENT. Big hopes for way of the tiger this summer!

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    5. I suppose i must have thought it was like the forbidden gateway books, or the novelisations of blood sword, in that it stopped before it would have done ideally. At least when I got to the end it was worth the ten year wait!

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  2. Efrem Orizzonte23 May 2014 at 11:48

    Multiple versions, eh? My wallet definitely isn't ready for this.

    What about the book covers? I can't really say I'm a fan of the old ones, but I always found those humongous monsters morbidly fascinating...

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    1. New covers, definitely. I always loathed the old ones, though I admit they had a sort of gnarly, fairytale-like fascination. And we are going to try to keep the price down as much as possible :-)

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  3. Great news about Bloodsword!

    At the risk of being a curmudgeon, a hardback edition would have to be something special. I've not at all been impressed with the Way of the Tiger ones, to the point that I've been buying the paperbacks as they come out and will be eBaying the hardbacks as a full collection to try and recoup some cash. Really not impressed by the quality or artwork and regret backing it.

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    1. That's a shame, Richard, but the Kickstarter did pave the way for the WOTT paperbacks, by paying for the editing work that Megara had done on them. In the case of Blood Sword only the cover art is new - all the interiors are going to be Russ's classic illustrations. And there will be no $50 hardcovers because no Kickstarter. At a guess, the Blood Sword paperbacks should cost around the same as Fabled Lands Publishing's WOTT books ($10 or £7) though I can't say for sure till we know the number of pages.

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    2. I do take that small comfort that the KS backers made the paperbacks happen as well.

      Will definitely be buying the Blood Sword series though - looking forward to it already as it's a gamebook line I never read when it first came out so it will be a new experience for me.

      Am I correct in thinking it was set in the Dragon Warriors world or have I got that mixed up with something else?

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    3. It is the Dragon Warriors world (Legend) but the prevalence of magic and flat-out stupendously fantastic locations and foes means that Blood Sword is not at all typical of DW campaigns. My DW players could go years without seeing an elf, for example, but in Blood Sword you'll be tripping over them.

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  4. I always suspected the true identity of the Traveller, who wandered with me through the underworld... It was Mr Spock all along!

    That picture is all the proof I need.

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  5. Loved these books, although I have yet to make it through the series with anything but a solo Sage. Book 5 was worth about 300 US (for a average condition copy) many years ago. My book 3 was mint condition but a friend borrowed it and returned it with an awful crease along the spine - gah!!
    Any thoughts on adding anything to the books or tweaking them? Maybe a new class (archer?) or some side quests etc

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    1. Well, I could do that but it'd hold up publication by 6 months or so... Maybe better keep that one for the apps.

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  6. Hey Dave
    It will be great to see Bloodsword back in print again. The Bloodsword series are among my most treasured books.

    When are we going to see a Bloodsword DW campaign book? Is it a problem of rights, or what?

    All the best

    Paul in South Africa

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    1. I'd love to see a Bloodsword campaign book, Paul. In fact, I specifically suggested that to the Serpent King Games guys who took over the DW licence from Magnum Opus Unfortunately, I don't think they make much money from DW (which was why James Wallis at Magnum Opus couldn't afford to keep up the brilliant work he did with it) so any new supplements have to be written in their spare time. And everyone has been waiting for the Players Book for a few years now, after all...

      Tell you what, if SKG don't do it, when the licence reverts I'll write it myself. I can even tell you the title now: "The Sword of Life and the Sword of Death". So, it's in the trees, it's coming.

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    2. Wow, now that is great news. When will the licence revert? Now we just need you to write FL books 7 to 12, sourcebooks for all of Legend (especially Mungoda), and a sandbox gamebook series for Abraxas.

      Paul

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    3. Not forgetting that I also have to learn to draw so that I can finish my comics saga, Mirabilis.

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  7. Yes, well there is a "second priority" list as well, but I don't want to overload you with work.

    Paul

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    1. I think cloning might be the only answer.

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  8. It's all well and good this continual re-releasing of old books, but as someone who already has them there's not much incentive for me to buy them all over again. What exactly am I getting for my money - a shiny new cover?

    What I'm asking is: when are we going to get any NEW books?

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    1. I certainly don't think that anybody who has the original books needs to buy the new edition, David. We're not trying to milk our fans' wallets here. Though I do know a few people whose old copies have disintegrated from overuse - much like my old Dalek annuals.

      The answer is, as ever, that until we find a new readership there is no way to justify the time and money spent writing, editing, illustrating and typesetting new books. To be honest, there's no profit in re-releasing old books either, but at least I can do it in my spare time. And we are hoping in the case of Blood Sword that we can find a developer to give these books a real tactical CRPG style makeover, as we think they would be the ideal gamebook series to do that with. If a Blood Sword or Fabled Lands app sold 15,000 units then there'd be a business case for doing loads of new books.

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  9. Great! I will definitly buy all the new books!
    I hope Megara will have the money to get better art than the WOTT one, which is really horrendous. It feels like the Megara guys ask for their little cousin to paint the covers. Really bad for the eyes. It didnt help me to convince the youngest blood in my club to buy the books.

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    1. I don't think you're going to be disappointed by the new Blood Sword covers. They are pretty amazing.

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  10. Gosh, if there would be a compiled edition of Books 1-5 then it would be always on my bookshelf wherever I move to. My opinion: dinnae change anything. Although I could be getting on in years, but I have never thought Blood Sword rules as complicated. If anything I thought it wasn't complex enough... and to some extent, I still do. I still remember back in the day that I would modify the Blood Sword rules to incorporate Armour Bypass from DW, and every year I would play all 5 books at least once until I turned 15 and my father decided to go on a "purge Satanic influence" spree and burnt my entire collection.

    Presently I only managed to get the old Knight editions books 1-3 from second-hand bookstores and downloaded the rest from the old "Home of the Underdogs" website. I would save up and buy any format they come in if they were re-released in their original text though.

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    1. And there I was just telling David Whyld that old Blood Sword fans wouldn't need to buy the new edition. Well, you will do if your dad purged your collection back in the '80s. The new edition is guaranteed to be just as Satanic as ever, Darech!

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    2. Haha... Ironically the incorporation of the True Faith balanced out anything "Satanic"! And technically there is a dearth of stuff the 4 characters can do in between Books 1 and 2 eh? (Not too subtle hint...)

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    3. Well, they had time to spend any reward they may have been lucky enough to earn from the Battlepits. Probably lost it all at cards to that old crone.

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  11. So interested in buying the series if it gets republished, I just hope the marketing people go the right way (fabled lands) and offer the books at a place where we can buy it with Paypal in Europe (such as bookdepository).
    I am sad that I would really like to try out the paperback versions of The Way of the Tiger, but there is no pay to aquire them without resorting to a credit card, which is really hard to get for a part time employee here in Holland. Good job on getting Fabled Lands at Bookdepository, they are amazing and amazingly available (as is your Heart of Ice)!

    So bad that I have money to burn but no way of buying these gamebooks that obviously want to sell.

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    1. I god I just realised the Way of the Tiger books ARE on bookdepository but they are not listed as such, they are just called "Assassin!", "Avenger!" and "Ususper!" so it seems "Ninja!" is not on there, also the publisher is Fabled Land - LLP, and the confusing part is, I was all the time looking at the listing for the publisher Fabled Lands Publishing, which contains the other half of the books.
      Dave, how interesting are the Golden Dragon gamebooks compared to your average Fighting Fantasy? I kind of lost interest in FF because of the generic-ness of it all, honestly, are your books like "Temple of Flame", "Crypt of the Vampire" etc anything more indepth or complex then the basic FF books?

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    2. It's odd. The Book Depository used to work fine, then Amazon bought it and now its listings are far worse than Amazon's own site. I suspect this is a classic case of "sulky service" - when you want to close a business without customers complaining, first make it so bad that they go elsewhere of their own accord.

      Having said that, at least the books are on sale there. Do they list FL books 1-4 the same way as books 5-6? I ask because we used Lightning Source for the former, then switched to Amazon's own POD company, Createspace.

      Golden Dragon is in the same vein as FF, to be honest. Indeed, The Lord of Shadow Keep was originally going to be an FF book (http://fabledlands.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/all-fired-up.html ). So if the generic fantasy of FF isn't for you, I'd advise saving your money and buying the WOTT and Blood Sword books instead.

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    3. The listings are a mess when you just search for "Fabled Lands", book 5 and 6 are not listed with anything more then "Fabled Lands", you have to click the entries to find the full title. This is not a problem with this series, it's just the way Book Depository lists search results I think. At least book 5 and 6 now have pictures and a description, when I first bought them there was pretty much nothing on there except a name.
      Actually its just like the WOTT books are on there now, just "Assassin!"by Jamie Thomson and Mark Smith, there are no cover pictures or descriptions for the books (even though two have already been on there for three months now).
      You will not find the books unless you search on Author or publisher.

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    4. And indeed - Book 6 is listed as being published by Createspace, though book 5 is still listed as being published by Fabled Lands LLP

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  12. Hardback is what makes a book feel like a “proper” book to me, though I still don’t collect just for the sake of it, so I would need more incentive than that to buy hardback collector’s editions of books that I’ve already got… which in this case is provided by the fact that my existing copies of BloodSword are crumpled paperbacks that I found over the years in charity shops.

    If there’s going to be new artwork then it might be useful to post up some samples. I won’t say there’s no such thing as “good” or “bad” artwork, but it is highly subjective: new artwork means that someone will hate it.

    I can’t comment on the content and quality of the Megara WOTT hardback editions, because I’m in that category of backer that hasn’t yet received any copies. However, WOTT does seem to highlight the risks and uncertainties of funding via Kickstarter, given the budgetary challenges encountered despite achieving 450% of the target funds.

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    1. You see, that right there is why I remain leery of Kickstarter. Books are expensive to print and ship. I think if I ever do a KS campaign it'll be for something digital.

      We'll have some samples of the new Blood Sword artwork soon. (Twitter folks may already have seen some.) I should stress that only the covers are changing; Russ's interior art is not going to be changed.

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    2. "Full-color artwork throughout"... All right, I just re-read it: for some reason I didn't register the last sentence, " I can't wait to see what these classic images look like in glorious color", the first time around.

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    3. Ah, that's because if and when Megara get around to following up the paperbacks with a hardcover edition - and/or we get the apps under way - we would ask Russ's permission to colorize his original drawings. But in the pb edition they will just be black and white.

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