Gamebook store

Friday, 4 September 2020

Hear ye! Hear ye!


"There are going to be at least twelve Dragon Warriors books, surely," said the chief sales rep at Transworld as he drove me and Oliver around the country to run demo games for the book buyers.

That was thirty-five years ago, before the distributors messed up (they sent all the copies of DW book 1 to one part of the country, all the copies of book 2 to another) and the foreign rights department turned down a gold-plated deal from Gallimard.

Well, stuff happens. Dragon Warriors stopped at book 6, The Lands of Legend, and one calamitous consequence of that was Robert Dale's brilliant campaign set around the town of Brymstone never reached the wider audience it deserved.

Actually, part of it did get published a few years later. Jamie and I were offered the editorship of a new RPG magazine to be called Red Giant. We turned the job down (the title was the sticking point) but we did recommend the publishers get in touch with Robert about serializing Brymstone.


Red Giant sadly only lasted two issues, but roleplayers had got a glimpse of Brymstone at least. Over the years, its reputation rightly grew. But it's been like finding the Finnesburg Fragment -- until now, because (fanfare please) Serpent King Games have done a deal with Robert Dale to release his complete, definitive, remastered Brymstone. Read about it here.

I gather it's going to be a big book but (continuing last week's theme) none of that is extraneous padding or overscripted acts and beats. It's a true sourcebook packed with everything you'll need to run freeform adventures with Brymstone as a base -- the NPCs, key locations, rivalries, alliances, grudges, folktales, customs, and adventure seeds -- whether or not your player-characters engage with the épine dorsale, namely Robert's compelling central plotline of gathering danger, dread and doom.

Talking of the central plot, the big bad of this book is the Brollachan, a mythical creature with no true form that's said to take the shape of what you most fear -- or those you most trust. I still feel a shudder when I remember our encounters with it in Robert's original campaign. Dragon Warriors players have a treat in store.

10 comments:

  1. Sounds great ! I wonder what 'lockdown' in Brymstone would have been like, with the Brollachan on the prowl ?

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    1. The real story IIRC was the growing tension between the merchant class and the local lord -- there may have been a curfew; there were certainly riots. The Brollachan both embodied and exploited the antagonism that was already there.

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    2. Have you ever considered a game/ campaign set in Legend 2020, adjacent in its modernity to our own world, and where, coincidentally, Ellesland is in the process of a Brexit whilst beset by plague ? The suburbs in which the story plays out would be familiar to us all, and possibly continuous with parts of Binscombe (which I'm sure has its foot in more than one Albion ?).
      The Brollachan, both masked & unmasked, would surely run riot...If indeed, he's not already !
      (For some reason I am hearing the King in Yellow declaring "I wear no mask...")

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    3. I think real 2020 might need a system more like Apocalypse World, John. Let's see how November goes. If the US recovers from its current demagoguvirus, we can represent the slower grinding reality of hard Brexit just using Beyond The Wall.

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    4. True ! And 'Beyond the Wall' might also describe the direction several of us are heading ... (it's the opposite of 'Build the Wall'). Either that or "To the Boats!"

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  2. Shame 2020 England doesn’t have a plucky band of heroes who will fight to save the day and slay the Brexalchan...

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    1. If Tim Harford hadn't already supplied this year's Christmas scenario, Nigel, I'd be tempted to do something with that.

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  3. The version you posted a link to there reads like a nearly final draft of a complete source book. Is the serpent king version going to contain new/additional material?

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    1. These notes barely scratch the surface. If Robert puts even half of the original campaign details in the book it'll far exceed anything that's been published about Brymstone before.

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    2. Sounds really great - the draft was a fantastic read as it was, compellingly immersive. I wish most of the traditional format fiction that gets published was as well put together.

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