Gamebook store

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Blood Sword is back!


And here it is at last - the new, remastered, large format paperback edition of Blood Sword. The first four books are on sale now and the whole saga ties up in book five, The Walls of Spyte, which will be out in time for Christmas. (Given that the series runs to over 2800 sections and about three hundred and fifty thousand words, I don't think you're going to get through the first four before then.)

Blood Sword, in case you're a newcomer to this plane of existence, is one of the gamebook series of the late '80s. It's set in the land of Legend, which Oliver Johnson and I also used for our Dragon Warriors RPG and in a sense Blood Sword is a halfway point between gamebooks and role-playing, as you can play through the books solo or in a team of up to four. Those four character classes each get to star in the new cover paintings by Sébastien Brunet (warrior, trickster, sage and enchanter respectively in the picture above) and to do the artwork justice we've opted for a 22 x 14 centimetre format.


The interior illustrations are by who else but Russ Nicholson and at long last the tactical maps get the room they need - a far cry, as you can see in the photo above, from the cramped layout of the '80s books. The new logo (no dripping gore, hooray!) and cover layouts are by Matt Hill.

I'm calling this the "classic edition" of Blood Sword to differentiate it from the streamlined rules-lite version I'm still intending to get around to eventually. The content in the classic edition is 99% unchanged from the '80s books, although I couldn't resist a few tweaks. There are some extra sections in each book to make the flowchart work better. I've added some codewords like Jamie and I used in Fabled Lands to clarify points of logic. More significantly, the Enchanter gets a new spell and there's a restriction on the Sage's healing ability to make using it a non-trivial choice.

Quite a few old-time gamebook fans have told me how they've been playing Blood Sword with their kids as an intro to role-playing. Corrupting a whole new generation, ah, that's music to my ears. If you have any Blood Sword stories, why not share them in the comments? I'm eager to see if they hold up a quarter century on.

You can buy Blood Sword from leading bookstores or direct from Amazon: in the USA here, in Britain here, or come to that in any Amazon store throughout the world.


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88 comments:

  1. Will the new "rules lite" versions be released as print books, or only e-books?

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    1. The rules lite versions won't be out till next year. This classic edition is just out in print for now. Blood Sword wouldn't work on e-readers because of the tactical maps, but would make a great app. Trouble is, none of the existing gamebook app engines could do it justice.

      anyway, when we do get around to a rules-lite version, yes, that could be hyperlinked so it would work on a Kindle.

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    2. I have dueled and fought with and against swords for a long time but I am still flabbergasted when the first words out of just about every new understudy are, 'I need to figure out how to battle with a sword.' swords for sale

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  2. Instabuy.
    Well done Mr Morris ^^.

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  3. So pleased that Blood Sword has been re-released. Probably the best gamebooks out there and were responsible for getting myself and my friends hooked on RPGs back in the 1980s! Had just bought the Fabled Lands books and Way of the Tiger and now have these to share with a new generation! I think these books are great way of getting my kids away from cRPGs all the time and to actually read and use their imagination. Cannot praise these books enough for what they accomplish. Good job, Dave! Now *all* you have to do is finish Fabled Lands :)

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    1. Thanks, Jonathan. I hope the new edition will give a lot of dads and mums the opportunity to introduce their kids to role-playing. And then, of course, they can move on to Dragon Warriors... ;-)

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  4. Oooooh, no, no, no... I beg to differ, Mr. Morris. Back in the day when I owned all 5 books, every school holiday would see me dedicate one day to them; with a ball-point pen-drawn character sheet for all 4 heroes on A4 paper, mechanical pencil with Pilot 2B lead, eraser, and 12 six-sided dice (just in case I run into that Azidahaka fellow). And that means reading through the adventure, no skimming...

    Ye gads! Looks like I can either buy meself an early birthday present or wait interminably for all 5 to be available. Hold on, I still have to get my grubby mitts on Jamie's third Darklord book!!!

    *sigh* Patience is a virtue...

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    1. I see you are a master of the gamebook ceremony, Darech. Well, book five is coming along nicely so I am pretty confident we'll have that and Keep of the Lich Lord out well before Christmas. No promises, mind.

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    2. I look forward to figuring what little tweaks you made for us "classical purists"... :D

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    3. The biggest change is the new Pillar of Salt spell. No prizes for spotting that one. I'm thinking it could be pretty useful in some fights.

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  5. I'll probably buy the whole set once Book 5 is released. Right now I'm busy with the Fabled Lands series. BTW, I remember asking Jamie something about shuriken in Way of the Tiger and he replied that he wanted to cut down on bookkeeping. Hah. Right now I have two Fabled Lands books and my character sheets rival the accounting books of international drug cartels in terms of complexity what with ships, houses, titles and [Insert god here] knows what else.

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    1. Hmm... Los Pollos Hermanos, the gamebook. Nice idea!

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    2. Wait... [Double take.] You're not getting books 1-4 till 5 is out, John? But I'm relying on you to point out any errors!

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    3. Well, you could always send me .pdfs of them and I could check them over... You know I'll stll buy them all.

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  6. Is there a UK alternative to buying through Amazon?

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  7. I guess you could order from the Createspace store:
    https://www.createspace.com/4782521
    but it will ship from the USA so will take a little longer.

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    1. Update: You can also buy from Amazon Marketplace sellers. Just go to the Amazon page for each book and look under the New and Used tabs.

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  8. Got mine yesterday - and being in for a penny, thought I might as well get the Way of the Tiger books too, for a pound!

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    1. Be sure to keep a few shillings back, Oliver. We've got Keep of the Lich Lord, The Walls of Spyte and WOTT 6: Inferno due out before Christmas.

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  9. Great to see Blood Sword back in print, and also the recent Dragon Warriors publications!

    Perhaps a a little cheeky to ask but...are there any plans for a Blood Sword prequel or three?

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    1. Wait, what Dragon Warriors publications? Well, I'm glad something is happening there at last. Something in print would be good, though.

      A Blood Sword prequel? You mean from before the book that happened before they even heard of the Blood Sword? :-) I'm not sure there's any demand tbh. I'd like to totally rewrite Book 5, but if I've learned anything by now it's that gamebook fans hate change!

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  10. The book does not appear to be available on Canadian Amazon, Amazon.ca. Will these books be available in Canada?

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    1. Some Amazon stores take longer than others to list new books, but Blood Sword should be on Amazon Canada within a few days. If the series still isn't there by the first week of September, remind me and I'll chase it up at Amazon Central.

      (Same goes for any other Amazon stores around the world. Amazon Japan, Amazon India, are you seeing the books?)

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    2. The books show now on Amazon.ca, but they're all listed as 'Usually ships within 2 to 5 weeks.' which is amazon code for 'We don't have them, but order anyway because we might get them some time in the future'.

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    3. That's the way print on demand works. You order the books, then Amazon orders your copy from the POD company. I find that even though they say 2-5 weeks, they're quoting for a worst case. You should get them much quicker than that. Alternatively, here are the Createspace store links (though no discounts there, so I'd use Amazon or Barnes & Noble):

      https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query=blood+sword+morris&sitesearch_type=STORE

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  11. Are you going to add them to your gamebook store linked to in the header banner Dave, or is that intended to be solely for FL titles?

    Either way, very exciting news and can't wait for book 5. Don't forget my idea about 'extras' when you come to the 'special edition' versions next year though. :)

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    1. They're in the gamebook store, Mike. See the tabs on the right when you're in the store - those cycle through all our series. (Must admit when I set that up that I thought it might be hard to navigate Maybe all the gamebooks should be on one tab?)

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    2. So they are, sorry Dave. That's a case of what my friends in IT refer to as PEBCAK (Problem Exists Between Chair And Keyboard). Reaching for my credit card...

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    3. Lol. Actually I showed it to my wife and she agreed with you, Mike - those other tabs are not easy to spot. I've reworded the masthead to make it clearer.

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  12. Dave - first of all, a blood sword prequel would be fantastic! Let me put $100 down for my copy right now - you could make it like the new way of the tiger book 0 (Ninja). Second - may I ask what the new enchanter spell is? Finally, I have a rules question (I am sorry to say this has been asked before but I can't find the reference) - are the 'cursed' masks obtained in book 4 lost at the start of book 5? Thank you!!!! (PS - my friend would like to note that there is a typo in book 5 in relation to the code given to the two rod pieces that can be found - I hope that makes sense!)

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    1. Thanks for pointing out the rod typo. I had spotted it, but I rely on readers to help out as many eyes/heads are better than one :)

      A prequel to Blood Sword? Well, in a sense the whole of book 1 is a prequel to the quest. If there's a gap it could logically come between book 2 and book 3 - a couple of years zip by there.

      The cursed masks are stripped away along with everything else when you leave Sheol.

      And as for the new spell... It's a kind of wall spell called Pillar of Salt. Very useful on those tactical maps if you can get into a cubby-hole and then seal the monsters out.

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  13. I have a birthday coming up Thursday and I think I've managed to arrange for friends/relatives to send me the Blood Sword series. I just hope I don't end up with four copies of Book 2 or something.

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    1. Happy birthday, John, and if you do end up with four copies of book 2 - well, that's three other birthday/Christmas presents sorted.

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  14. Ah. Doomwalk. My nemesis. I originally bought books 1, 2, 3 and 5 quite close together, but for some reason it took me another ten years to find a copy of book 4. I finally came across it in a second-hand bookshop in Sydney, a whole world away from my home in Britain.

    Maybe, for nostalgia's sake, I should buy the new version of Doomwalk sometime around 2024, just to recreate that sense of achievement and discovery when I finally found it first time around.

    You have no idea how many second-hand bookshops I rummaged through in those ten years. But then, that's kind of a joy in itself...

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    1. Oh yes, I know that feeling. Too bad that charity shops, with their endless copies of Martina Cole and Dan Brown doorstoppers, have pretty much seen off the traditional English second-hand bookshops.

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    2. PS: I mean, not that I'm not as concerned about Romanian orphans as the next guy. Not trying to be heartless here!

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    3. Oh, I think it's possible to maintain a love of second-hand bookshops as well as an appreciation of charity organisations. Even on the rare occasions that those two areas clash.

      Similarly, as much as I value Bono's extensive philanthropic work, I still think the man's a preening fool. If only for that Spiderman musical he came up with.

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  15. I'm expecting TBoK to arrive tomorrow. I can't wait. I"m pretty engrossed in "The Goldfinch" at the moment but I plan to dedicate tomorrow's reading time to Blood Sword.

    Rudd

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    1. From Donna Tartt to gamebooks... Eclectic tastes, Rudd!

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  16. I see the rules section has been simplified quite a bit.

    There's one thing that still bothers me after all these years. When a character moves during combat, is the movement limited to one square per turn, or can you move to ANY accessible square (like the text seems to suggest)?

    Because if you can move to any free square, I think there's really no reason to specify that you can't move diagonally, apart from very specific and very cramped situations where a single square is surrounded by combatants on four sides and the only way to get in the middle of the mob would be to move diagonally...

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    1. You can move to any square, Efrem. Not being able to move or strike diagonally matters only because an Enchanter might lay down some Pillars of Salt to surround a foe. Four are enough to lock him in place.

      I did think about restricting movement to say 5 squares per turn. But then I'd have got on to different moves for the different classes, and encumbrance, and armour slowing some characters... My brain has to be fed with caution, you see, or it'll get out of its cage and wreak havoc :-)

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    2. Ah, that's good to know. This will end a long debate on a certain Italian forum :-)

      These new editions are excellent. It would be fantastic if there were any Italian publisher willing to pick these up, the original translation is in dire need of an update (especially for Book 1, which was disastrous)...

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    3. I guess the movement rule was something many of us thought about in original editions. I adopted a "house rule" that movement would be the number of sqaures that was half of a character's Awareness score. Seemed to work well and often made the "flee" option a little more tactical...and nerve-wracking at times :)

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    4. I quite like that house rule. Maybe for the next "classic" edition in 2040...

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  17. Off topic, I see that Leo Hartas will be at the Fighting Fantasy Fest this coming weekend. Do you know if he'll have any copies of 'Mirabilis' handy?

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    1. I doubt it, Paul. He'll have his hands full with gamebook maps. But talking of Mirabilis, I have some BIG news coming soon...

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  18. My copy of The Battlepits of Krath finally arrived today. I really like the larger format.Looking forward to getting into to it later today.

    Rudd

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    1. Cool. Did I mention how insanely grateful I am for reviews btw? On Amazon or anywhere, really.

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  19. I own the old books 1-4, can I mix this with the new book 5?

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    1. The new book 5 isn't out yet, but yes, the new editions are fully compatible with the originals.

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  20. I have all the originals and I'm excited to have the new versions too! Can't wait for v.5 I'm going to get all five when it's out.

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  21. I the above post, you say that "Walls Of Spyte" (WoS) should be out by Christmas but there have not been any updates regarding this one for a while. I have been holding off on buying the "Blood Sword" series until they are all out and in print and am chomping at the bit to get them so could you please provide a status report on when WoS is coming up? Thanks.

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    1. I held off on reissuing Walls of Spyte because I was thinking of revising the whole thing until I realized that most people don't want to play these books all over again, they just want the collection. And whatever I personally may think of WoS, some people like it and wouldn't appreciate a rewrite. So I'll probably reissue it as is, though that won't be until the spring now.

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  22. Dear Dave,
    If so, please release 2 versions of it! I'll buy both!

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    1. You may be the only one! Obviously I need to write a post detailing what I think about Walls of Spyte. It'll be interesting to see what people think.

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    2. I came here looking for the same thing regarding the info on the Walls of Spyte and when we will see it released.

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  23. Walls of Spyte had too much of Jamie Thomson's influence in it.
    In a bad way.
    What I liked about Bloodsword was it's relative flexibility. It let you play with different options, not one true path that had to be taken or all was lost.
    In most of the series anyway, except maybe Kingdom of Wyrd. Even then there was method behind the madness, and the compulsory items you needed made sense. If you were a heartless arse in Book 2 and let the baby at Shanhan's village die, you wouldn't get the Iron Bell. And you couldn't heal the baby without the salve if you'd pissed off the card reader at the start.
    Not so with Book 5. It becomes the jumble of garbage with potential that the Way of the Tiger series became.
    Go pass the dimensional portal and you have one random encounter after another, with zero value to the game. Release the fairy from the glass jar and get hurt? Completely random.. It's like you were writing while smoking pot...
    It was a lousy finish to a great series.
    Which is why when Home of the Underdogs was still around, it consistently ranked the worst of the series among fan votes.
    I've waited 25 years for Book 5 to be republished. What's another year or two for a fitting finish to wonderful series?

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  24. Dave, it's nearing the end of spring and we're about to be catapulted into summer (although from where I am, it's summer all year round). That few hundred pages from the first four books can only sate us that long...the little boy inside me is hungry, he is restless and if I don't satisfy him quick, he will break out of me....no....argh!!

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    1. Don't say I didn't warn you, Nicholas. That fifth book is Blood Sword's "Brave New World" (Fringe s4 finale) or "End of Days" (Torchwood s1 finale) - the episode you can never unsee that will blight your memory of the series for all time. But I wouldn't want your inner xenomorph getting out so, just as soon as I have time, I'll throw the book together for publication.

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  25. Dave, throw it at us. We can handle it! Please...I've already bought two of each of the first four (for fear of flood, fire, house-moving or the mighty throwing hands of my wife) and cannot wait to put down my double purchase of the fifth and final one...please! Spare us the agony!

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    1. You only had to say you're willing to buy two copies, Nicholas :-) I've been snowed under with my day job recently, and spare time has been eaten up by helping with four Kickstarter campaigns that are running through to the end of July, but as soon as that eases off I'll hopefully be able to finish typesetting Blood Sword 5.

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  26. hello in book 3 paragraph 559 has an option to go to paragraph 666 if there is no sage in the party, anyone know what the correct paragraph should should be?

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    1. Whoops! Thanks for pointing that out - I'll correct it right away. The options for paragraph 559 of The Demon's Claw *should* read:

      If the Sage is in the party, turn to 514. If not, turn to 191.

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  27. Dave, the snow had melted...the grasses had grown and the flowers bloomed and possibly wilted too...cobwebs are all about me as I sat in stasis awaiting for the grand finale...oh the torment...Dave...oh the agony...

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    1. I keep looking at it, Nicholas. If I just had a week clear to do all the scanning and layout... Maybe over Christmas.

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  28. Dave Morris - alignment - chaotic evil :D

    PS: Just kidding...make my Christmas special ok? ;)

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    1. Nothing you can say about BS5 that I don't get from my RPG players every few weeks... ;-)

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  29. Hi. Just a quick query for Dave Morris. I read the first 3 Blood Sword books as a teenager back in the day and my son has started to show an interest in game books. I've given him my copies of the first 3 books and bought him a 2nd hand copy of the fourth. However, the only options at present of buying a decent copy of the 5th book seem to involve shelling out over £100. But reading on here it seems as if you might be republishing it. Is this right, and if so, when? Thanks

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    1. We are intending to republish it, but as to when - it really it comes down to "when I get some spare time". So, although I deplore online piracy, I guess your best bet in the short term is to do a Google search for "The Walls of Spyte" and "PDF" and grab one of the many unauthorized scans people have uploaded.

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    2. Unauthorised scans?! Oh no!!!

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  30. The flower wilted...the leaves fallen...the chilly wind howls...the desolate hill laid bare...a quivering mouse sits between the roots of a dead lonely tree...where is my BS5?

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    1. I thought you were going for a haiku there, Nicholas :-)

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    2. Maybe too many Golden Sky Stories rpg...so I guess no luck having BS5 under my tree this year? :)

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    3. Maybe next year, with luck and a following wind.

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  31. Dave, a belated Merry Christmas and a early happy new year! :)

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    1. Thanks, Nicholas - and a happy Xmas/NY to you too!

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  32. Dave, happy May month...spring is unfolding...day turning warm (actually very hot where I'm from) and a good time to muse...hmm....where is the blood sword 5...

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    1. Possibly it's going to take longer than I thought, Nicholas, as I may be about to take on a full-time office job. Free time will be a thing of the past! I'm going to have to suggest picking up a free PDF, eg here:

      lesterresdelegende.free.fr/L'epee%20de%20legende/VO/bloodsword5.pdf

      and printing up a copy using Lulu.com. Sorry, I know it's not the answer you're looking for, but it's that or wait ten years till I actually retire!

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    2. Dave, no worries. Glad that you'll have a good job. Who knows! Ten years later (I may also be retiring then :>), I may pester you again for that book! Good luck and best wishes to your job!!

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    3. Er...Dave...I got the download and was trying to create the book in Lulu but...the PDF is password protected!! Waaah!!! Guess I will only get to complete the series when I turn 55! :(

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    4. You're giving up too easily, Nicholas :-)

      Try http://www.pdfcrack.com/

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    5. So you quit the task rewriting WoS? That's quite disappointing... But i'll always be in love with your work... It simply is the best fantasy thing created ever.

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    6. Thanks, Charlie. And hopefully one day I will get back to Walls of Spyte.

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  33. Blood Sword is my favourite!!! (I have grailquest, lone wolf, greystar, FF, way of tiger, etc). My sons shared my love for reading, but have tried to introduce lonewolf to my eldest son and failed (as he was only 8). Just ordered the new Bloodsword #1. Cannot wait to play it with him (or at least just let him tag along his wise sage father). In future he will have to lead his other 2 younger brothers through the other episodes.
    Really love your great work.....how about a bloodsword #6?? Or a Bloodsword II? Or another expansion on a sword of life vs sword of death?
    Ken Ha (40 year old sage from Singapore)

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    1. Bloodsword 6 might be a bit tricky seeing as the world ends in Bloodsword 5 -- but never say never! In the meantime, your sons might like The Chronicles ofthe Magi (short novels based on the Bloodsword story) or maybe a diceless gamebook like Heart of Ice or Down Among the Dead Men? Anyway, thanks for the kind words!

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