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.