Gamebook store

Thursday, 2 September 2021

Hot off the anvil


The first two books in the Vulcanverse series are now out, with two more coming later this year. If you don't know what that means -- well hey, where have you been? (And check out previous posts here and here.)


There will be five books in the series, but they're open world solo roleplaying, which means you can start in any of the first four books and play them in any order. The numbers on the spines are just so you know where to put them on your bookshelf.

The art is by Mattia Simone, who also painted the cover for the Librarsi edition of Heart of Ice.


You'll be seeing more of Mattia's work on our future projects, I hope. Comments are open below if anyone has played Vulcanverse -- and there's a no-prize if you spot the itsy-bitsy deliberate mistake (I hope there's only one) in The Hammer of the Sun

If you want to order the full-colour hardcover editions, any bookstore should be able to do that for you and the details are:
  • The Houses of the Dead  ISBN 978-1-909905-37-5
  • The Hammer of the Sun  ISBN 978-1-909905-38-2
Or you can get the black-&-white paperback editions from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all the usual places.

hardcover

 
  
Also at Blackwell's UK:
And at Barnes & Noble in the US:
paperback



And by the way you can get copies of the Adventure Sheets (including maps) for the books from the Spark Furnace website: The Houses of the Dead and The Hammer of the Sun.

27 comments:

  1. Can't wait! Can't wait! Can't wait!

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    1. Hopefully you won't have to, Richie. Amazon often say it'll take 10-20 days to deliver, then rock up the following afternoon. Let us know what you think!

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  2. Dave, I had clocked that The Hammer of the Sun was pricier than The Houses of the Dead and was going to crack a joke about that presumably being due to the respective quality of writing. However, I've just gone to order them, and the latter is now pricier than the former, so that would have backfired. This was the colour versions by the way (I'm a sucker for nice artwork). It's now circa £8 more than it was on originally on for. Any clue why that is is? I don't mind so much if it's going in your pocket, but I don't want to feed any global behemoths unnecessarily! Thanks.

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    1. I've no idea what's going on there, Andy, but it might be related to Amazon wanting to put rival companies like Ingram Spark (who print the hardbacks) out of business. Certainly you should only be paying about £18.99 for the hardback of The Houses of the Dead, so my advice would be to tell Amazon to get stuffed and order the books from your local bookshop instead. Or failing that I see Blackwells are offering it for £21.68: https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/THE-HOUSES-OF-THE-DEAD-by-THOMSON-JAMIE/9781909905375

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    2. Thanks for the prompt response, Dave. They'll no doubt be cashing in somehow. I may leave it for a few days to see if it reverts back, if not, do as you suggest. That or bite the bullet and buy the paperbacks instead. Good luck with them. They deserve to sell by the bucket load from the bit that I've seen already.

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    3. I see that Blackwells are now selling the Houses of the Dead hardback for £17.34. Maybe snap it up now, as I doubt if they'll lower the price any further.

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    4. Houses at Blackwells is a bargain, just over £2 more than the paperback from Amazon. Ordered.

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    5. Amazon's markup on the hardbacks is pretty outrageous. They are supposed to be priced at $36.99 (£24.99) for Hammer of the Sun and $25.99 (£18.99) for Houses of the Dead. By shopping around, readers can find them at those prices or cheaper, but Amazon apparently bank on people not bothering to look elsewhere.

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    6. Thanks, Dave, just ordered them off Blackwells. I must admit to being one of those people. After grumbling about it, laziness would have won out and I'd have ordered them via Amazon. Thankfully, I looked back here first. I'll raise a few pints to you next time I'm in the pub. Perhaps if the writing gigs dry up, you could instead turn the blog into a book price comparison website? I'll try and think of a name for you!

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    7. That's a pretty good idea, Andy. I bet if I released an app that did that I'd make a lot more than I ever could by writing books!

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  3. I've got a question. I can currently only afford 1 of The 1st 2 and for Christmas I'll get whichever 1 I don't and Books 3 and 4

    So my question to you Mister Morris is this. In your honest opinion should I get Book 1 1st? or Book 2 1st?

    I you can tell me why without spoiling the book you recommend please do

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    1. That's an interesting question -- and a difficult one. I'm going to say you should get The Hammer of the Sun because it's twice as long as the other book (1706 sections compared to 830) so you'll get twice the adventuring value. Also, in The Hammer of the Sun you get to travel with companions, but you don't get that in The Houses of the Dead as they won't enter Hades.

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    2. Interesting that Hammer of the Sun is twice as long but with only about half as many code words.

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    3. I deliberately limited myself to 25 codewords as checking through a long list can be tedious for the reader. If a condition didn't change the world globally but only locally, I figure a tickbox does the job better.

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  4. I've had a idea for 2 characters that will sadly only work if you do either A Vulcanverse Book 6 or A Vulcanverse RPG and they're both cross-overs. Here they are. What do you think?

    1 idea is that to have Down Among The Deadmen set on the far side of the world but A Millenium or 2 in the past, so add in A Pirate King that's Skaravench's Reincarnation

    The other is to have The Fabled Lands Books set in A Different World in The Same Universe as The Vulcanverse Books and in Vulcanverse when you land the killing blow on Book 5's Main Foe have him invoke A Ancient 1-use Spell

    This will let him appear in Book 9 as a spirit, similiar to Kereep Tlotor you'll fight him in both Spirit Combat and Regular Combat

    But here he wants to possess your body so its Spirit Combat First, if you win A Ally sacrifices his or her body to stop him taking over yours, to defeat the monster and save your friend requires the use of Books 10, 11 and 12

    The final fight with him is in Physical Combat and that's cos similiar to how in Book 7 you use A Xibalban Lantern to draw Kerep Tlotor to you as A Spirit you do the same in reverse

    But in this scenario I'm suggestion you use something to draw him the monster to you in A Physical Form

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    1. The snag there is that the Vulcanverse is not FL LLP's intellectual property, so it can't officially be part of the Fabled Lands universe. The idea behind it is that the Greek gods have faded from memory, becoming weaker, and are now all asleep except for Vulcan, who understands modern technology and has used it to create his own universe. At least, that's my understanding of how it works but there's so much lore that I haven't read it all. Some of it is on their website (https://vv.vulcanforged.com/GameBook ) though I reckon they could do with an editor -- "it's [sic] own landmarks" for example. Ugh.

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    2. Actually, I mentioned this to Jamie and he said he has specifically included characters who connect between the Fabled Lands world and the Vulcanverse. He created the VV so I guess I'm wrong.

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  5. Jamie tells me he's spotted a mistake in The Houses of the Dead. Section 391 currently takes you to 751, but that should read 752. I will now kick myself.

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  6. My books arrived yesterday. I'm looking forward to getting fully into them.

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    1. Hopefully you got a copy that was printed after I corrected 391 in Houses of the Dead (see above) but if not... er, it's a collector's edition.

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  7. I got my books last night, and jumped right into Hammer of the Sun. Having barely scratched the surface, here are a few immediate reactions-

    The copyright page is interesting. (Yes, I'm one of those people). It basically states: "Copyright Dave Morris, except for A, B, and C areas. Those are copyright Jamie Thomson". I've never seen that in a gamebook before. But if Jamie wrote part of HOS, then it's small wonder that his own title is significantly shorter.

    The book makes great use of multiple embedded checkboxes. This is a great way to get a lot of mileage out of the same sections. I have to admit to being a little thrown off, at first, by the "Check this box if you were instructed to in the previous section" directions. (Well, WAS I? I don't THINK so...)

    D'oh! I bit the dust early, so I got to experience character regeneration right away. The good thing about dying early is that you don't have any equipment to lose. At any rate, I really like that feature of the book.

    I chuckled the Crocodile Dundee reference. (In my best Australian accent: "That's not a knife. THAT'S a knife!)

    I played for a couple of hours. In that time, I was killed and regenerated, switched my god allegiance, completed a quest for the temple of Ares, gained a companion, saved some village livestock from a cyclops, and did various sundry exploring. I didn't gain a single codeword, which again means I've barely scratched the surface.

    True exchange with my wife:

    She: "What are those boxes you got in the mail?"
    Me: "My latest gamebook order. I've been looking forward to
    these for a long time!"
    She: (Rolling her eyes) "Well, I guess I won't be seeing you
    for a long time, then.

    Just so. Can't wait to get back into this world and explore the other books too.

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    1. Don't feel too bad about the codewords, Gaetano. There are only 25 in a 1700+ section book, so it could take a while to pick them up. Having a companion should help.

      I should offer a prize for spotting all the movie references!

      I decided I should be quite rigorous about copyright in these books because the setting is being used for an online game/world and you never know how the IP will get passed around from company to company over the next ten or twenty years. If one of the characters I created goes on to make millions of dollars, I wanted to make sure I don't end up in a Kirby/Ditko situation. So all those people you're meeting and places you're visiting in Hammer, I invented 'em!

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  8. I don't know anything about that Vulcanverse stuff but if the two greatest gamebook authors are in a new project and this project is an open world experience like the unparalleled Fabled Lands I just have that instinctive urge to go to Amazon and push that "purchase" button as fast as I can. Can't wait to dive into these books! :D

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    1. Thanks -- I hope you like them. Come back and let me know what you think?

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  9. My Hammer of the Sun has JUST (10 minutes ago) arrived. And Jamie's one is on the way.... :)

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    1. They arrived in the right order, then, James :-)

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