Gamebook store

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Like one that on a lonesome road...

Jon Hodgson, one of the prime movers behind exciting new venture Serpent King Games, pointed me in the direction of this spine-tingling trailer he put together to promote the handing over of the Dragon Warriors torch from Magnum Opus Press. (Link to YouTube here if your browser isn't displaying it properly above.)

Tantalizingly, Jon describes this as "the first of the Serpent King videos". If a sixty-second trailer can deliver such an authentic shudder, I'd like to know when they're going to start work on the Legend movie.

Longtime DW fans may get a sense of déjà vu here. In the original DW Book Two, The Way of Wizardry, there was a picture of a fellow riding under a tree in whose branches sat a goblin. The man in the saddle looked glum, as if he saw that goblin the same time every morning; the goblin looked contrite as a kitten that couldn't figure out a way down. Jon has finally rendered that scene with all the minatory darkness it should have had. As I've said before, for me he is the definitive visualizer of Legend. And stone me if he didn't write the soundtrack too! Dragon Warriors is in safe hands with these guys.


  1. That is an awesome little trailer, gives me the shivers! And yes I remember that pic, and yes I still have those books. In other good news I have managed to track down Blood Sword 1-4 to replace my 'misplaced' originals... although #5 is probsbly out of my price range often hundreds US$!

  2. Jamie often laments that we didn't keep a couple of boxes of our books, Kiwi, as we could live quite well off eBay prices. Though if we flooded the market I guess they wouldn't be going for hundreds of dollars...

    Obviously a reprint of Blood Sword should be next on our list - if and when we ever complete the FL series!

  3. Dave, I'm not sure what a BS reprint (the abbreviation doesn't do the books justice :) has to do with completing FL?

    I only have BS1 and 2, and second hand copies are outrageously expensive as Kiwi says. So there's an empty space on my bookshelf that just begs for a reprint :)

  4. Formatting and reprinting the BS books (you're right, Bert - an unfortunate acronym!) would cost money, and Fabled Lands LLP will need to be convinced their investment in FL 1-4 is paying off first. But if it does then I don't see any reason not to reissue Blood Sword, Way of the Tiger, Falcon, and the rest.

    You're right, though; that has nothing to do with FL books 7-12. In fact, the sales figures required to justify a reissue of Blood Sword are far lower than are needed to make all-new gamebooks viable. At last count FL is still a way off either, though *sigh*.

    There's also "The Sword of Life & the Sword of Death" that I'd like to see happen eventually, taking the BS books and turning them into a DW campaign-cum-sourcebook. Although, seeing as the series ends with - well, no spoilers, but seeing how it ends (ahem) that would probably have to be the last DW book ever!

  5. But what a marvellous way to end! Certainly the most optimistic conclusion to any gamebook series ever!

    How marvellous that the DW tiller is once again in experienced and confident hands. Marvellous trailer and, yes, I remember the original illustration by Bob Harvey (of Way of the Tiger fame), I think.

    I would sincerely love to see Russ Nicholson and Leo Hartas involved in DW again and certainly the proposed Sword of Life and Death campaign; for my money Hartas and Nicholson between them represent my own visualisation of the world of Legend. And the works of Van Eyck :)

  6. Van Eyck, eh, NP? Interesting choice!

    Russ would have been much more involved in illustrating the DW series than he was, but he lived out in Papua New Guinea in those days. I wanted him from the start, but the DW editors were concerned about what would happen if artwork went astray. (Reasonably enough, as there was no FTP in those days. Maybe still isn't from PNG, I don't know.)

    I should add that the Serpent King Games team is indeed impressive and throbbing with talent, but we shouldn't forget that it was James Wallis who brought that DW team together in the first place. So this new venture is really SAHB without Alex. That will make no sense at all to anyone born after 1965 :)

  7. I dont want to say too much about Russ or Leo since it would not be appropriate at this point in proceedings, so let's leave at "I'm working on it".

    You can read some of my thoughts about treading in their mighty footsteps here:

    Thanks as ever for your support and encouragement Dave. Much appreciated.

  8. Great post there, Jon. It recaptures for me the dark heart of DW with its roots (er... veins) in the whole '80s British experience of which Robin of Sherwood was a big part, but also the Falklands, the miners' strike, Slaine, Excalibur, the Mabinogion, and the whole gamut of grim and blackly humorous British and Irish folklore. Whenever I see your DW artwork, I can almost hear that hobgoblin's shriek through the night. Brr!

  9. 'impressive and throbbing with talent'


    Damian May

  10. Ohhh yeh :)

    Just had to plug this great spoof DW profession that Ken Finlayson posted on the Dragwars group:
    after Peter Kelly's thumbs got the better of him while he was trying to say DW needed more classes, and he ended up writing that it needs "mire classes". He'll never be allowed to live that down, obviously.