Gamebook store

Friday 18 September 2015

Black and wight

A little while back I mentioned a Kickstarter campaign by Megara Entertainment for a hardback edition of Crypt of the Vampire, which was my first-ever gamebook and also Leo Hartas's first illustration job. That was the mid-80s and Leo was still at university at the time - as indeed I might have been, researching fundamental particles and the theory of everything, if I hadn't frittered away the time I should have spent revising for Finals on roleplaying, girls, and punting. But that's a detail.

Anyway, after tweaking the campaign a few times, Megara gave it up as a bad job. I could have told them. In fact I did tell them. A Kickstarter for Heart of Ice might have soared to great heights, but Crypt of the Vampire was written for 9-12 year olds, and they're not the demographic that's going to shell out $50 for a hardback book.

The saddest casualty of the aborted Kickstarter campaign is that we won't get to see Leo's colour versions of his original artwork. When I first heard about that I thought it was a terrible idea. Why not colourize Citizen Kane while we're at it? But I should have trusted more in Leo's talent. As this sample shows, he can do a lot more than drop in some tints using Photoshop.

You can't buy any of Leo's original artwork via Kickstarter, but if you wanted a piece to hang on the wall then you can contact Leo directly via his website. He's got drawings from the Golden Dragon books and from Down Among the Dead Men, as well as a drawer full of fabulous fantasy maps from Fighting Fantasy. It's as great a treasure as any Smaug ever made a pillow of, believe me. And what a great birthday or Christmas present (is it too early to mention Christmas? sorry) for a fantasy fan.

STOP PRESS: Would you believe there has been some talk this week about Megara restarting that abortive Kickstarter campaign? I wasn't going to authorize licences for any more of my old gamebooks, but Leo seems keen and I'd hate to miss the chance to see his colour versions of all those old pics. So keep your eyes peeled for that.


  1. Talking about kickstarter, I was waiting for Fabled Lands 7 for years and years and years, then missed the actual kickstarter a month ago. Is there some kind of newsletter that would inform me of more fabled lands kickstarters?
    Also, will the book be available for me to buy as a non-backer?
    aaaaaaaah, I need it :(

    1. Well, Alexander, you could follow this blog. I never fail to give plenty of advance notice of these campaigns.

      There will be a paperback edition of The Serpent King's Domain (same format as the other new edition FL books) and that should be on sale next spring. After that, watch out for the FL8 Kickstarter.

  2. Alexander: It should be available in limited quantities on Megara's website when it is released. You can also find the Heart of Ice and Fabled Lands hardcover collector's editions there.

    To be informed about new releases, there should be an RSS feed on Blogspot.
    You can also join the Gamebooks and Fabled Lands Yahoo groups, as they are a very lively and informative lot!

    Also try the Fabled Lands public group on Facebook.

    Hope that helps!

    1. All good advice that every FL aficionado should follow! Thanks, Mike.