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Friday, 4 July 2014

We can make this easy, or we can make it hard

Some doubts having been raised in comments recently about the art standards of a prospective full-colour Blood Sword book, I thought this promo image from Megara Entertainment would dispel any doubts. If you still need convincing, take a look at artist Sébastien Brunet's gallery. (Not that I think he'd use that cartoony style from the gallery, nice as it is, for our gamebooks.)

Fabled Lands Publishing will be licensing out the Blood Sword colour hardback to Megara for release in 2015, and my understanding is that it will feature both original art by Sébastien and colourized pictures by Russ Nicholson. But as I explained in a recent post, we're turning the traditional publishing model on its head by leading with the paperback edition.

The first of those, The Battlepits of Krarth, should be out in a month or so. Don't worry, I'll give you plenty of warning. My first thought was to put these books in the same 5x8 format as Fabled Lands, Golden Dragon, Critical IF and Way of the Tiger - because, after all, tidy bookshelves matter. But those didn't do full justice to the tactical maps and Russ's classic illustrations. So I'm now switching to a larger size (5.5 by 8.5 inches, or 140mm by 216mm) and really pushing it to get all five books in the series out in time for Christmas. Yep, you're going to need a bigger stocking.

As for the picture above - does this ring any bells?
The only way to get across the gorge is via one of two bridges that span the distance to the temple terrace. A waterfall cascades over the middle of the platform, bisecting it and cutting you off from the further of the two bridges. Looking up, you see a huge gargoyle head carved into the cave wall near the roof. The water issues from its mouth, cascades down in a torrent across the middle of the platform, then pours down into the swirling river far beneath you.

As you consider the two bridges, a booming voice makes you look up once more. The mouth of the gargoyle is moving, and by listening hard you can make sense out of the deep rumbling words. Over and over, it intones: ‘Face that which you fear most, or confront a lesser foe.’

Presumably it is referring to the two bridges. You could cross the nearer bridge with no apparent trouble, but to get to the further one you must step through the waterfall. The gargoyle’s words are weighty with ambiguity. Which to choose?


  1. Wonderful!!! Time to tighten the ol' belt until I have enough saved up to buy the whole series!


    Looking back, during my first read-through I actually missed the part that instructed me to erase all of my belongings because of those naughty little faerie hands... and then during my first play-through I was like "WTF???" Needless to say, when I played with the solo-team option walking through the waterfall was not an option...

    1. In retrospect that is a bit punitive. Once you know about it, I guess you can rearrange equipment so all the good gear is with the character who has best chance of taking the tougher encounter... Still, it's the Battlepits. It's not designed to be a cakewalk :-)

    2. Wow, I never did consider that before... (I'm not much of a "creative" gamer, since I've always been the world-building GM.)

      But I always get a hoot crossing the nearer bridge with the Enchanter in a solo team because of the potential of a one-hit kill casting Swordthrust.

  2. Looking forward to the paperback re-releases!! Will the hardback editions be a kickstarter?

    1. I'm not actually sure of that, Jeremy. I know that Mikael Louys of Megara has sworn off Kickstarter - it's more hassle than it's worth for print books. So I think he'll just publish 100 copies or however many we license Megara to do, and then sell them on their website. That won't be until next year, though (and maybe then only Book One) whereas all five Blood Sword books will be out in paperback from Fabled Lands Publishing by the end of the summer.

    2. OK, update: the first four Blood Sword books are now out. Book 5 will definitely be out by next spring if I can't in the meantime find a way to justify completely rewriting the thing.