Even in October I still had hopes. By November I must have known better, but I am adept at denial. Anyway, it was destined to remain a shrivelled thing, hidden from the light. Jamie and I talked briefly about doing it as a comic instead, but that's unlikely now. It has joined the distinguished ranks of gamebooks that never were. That stake is not coming out.
We did at least get as far as a back cover blurb. Well, I say back cover, but it was one of the titles going in the Infinite IF series, which means an ebook, so the blurb was really just for the website:
THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UNDEAD(Okay, okay, so it was notes for a blurb...) If that whets your appetite for gun-totin' gamebook weirdness, all is not quite lost. Per Jorner wrote a great gamebook called The Bone Dogs that's a bit Wild West, a bit magic realist, and you can get that free right here.
Texas, 1870. The small, dusty mining town of Affliction, alone and isolated in the middle of the Badlands is the only place with a gaol for fifty miles in very direction, the only place Marshal da Silva can take his captive, the brutal outlaw, Walter Corse.
But when he arrives in town with his prisoner in tow, it is strangely deserted. The wind moans through the dusty streets and dust devils dance where the townsfolk once walked. But when the night comes... so do the vampires. Affliction has been overrun by them, and many of its inhabitants have been turned. The others are kept as food for the rest. The marshal and the outlaw find a shotgun-toting saloon girl still alive and free. Together they must hold out against the vampire hordes until morning.
Notable vampires include the Sheriff William Masters, Reverend Ezekiel Smith, Jacob Colt, the undead gunslinger, Jimmy Nighthorse, an Apache scout, and several other vampire versions from the mythology of the Old West.
Eventually, the marshal and his companions must take the fight to the chief vampire, Tizoca, the Bled One, an ancient Aztec vampire awoken from her sealed tomb by an over-eager treasure hunting archaeologist, along with her ‘consort’, a Portuguese Conquistador – in fact, the marshal's great, great, great grandfather.
The Good, the Bad and the Undead actually began life as a proposal for a first-person shooter that Jamie and I floated at Eidos in the late twentieth century. In that version it was a modern-day western, Dusk Till Dawn style, and I'm not sure whether it had any vampires in it, as our original write-up said:
The town is overrun by all the freaks, monsters and weird stuff that was inside Dr Marvell's Travelling Booth of Wonders. The hero's first job is just staying alive long enough to get to the bottom of things. There are pygmy tyrannosaurs, skeleton outlaws, giant fleas, Sioux medicine men, homicidal fire-breathers, crazed knife-throwing dwarves, and bearded fat ladies who sound like James Earl Jones on steroids. How all these nasties came to be in Dr Marvell's booth doesn't matter. How they even fit inside the booth doesn't matter. All that does matter is they're out for your blood.Yeah, I know - but FPS isn't exactly about the integrity of the story, you know. Anyway, I guess we could post up the detailed notes for the storyline(s), but in the absence of the book itself (or game itself) it's just so many ideas; there's nothing to play through. However, James Wallis thought "Undeadwood" (the title, that is) would make a great Kickstarter - and he should know better than most - so if anyone wants to have a crack at that, be my guest. I'd like to read it, or play it, or watch it - especially if you can work in an Al Swearengen vampire.
The image is by PurpleFilth on DeviantArt. It's from his own RPG and you can check out his other work, and the terms of the Creative Commons licence, here.