Gamebook store

Wednesday 6 March 2024

Coming attractions

Just a glimpse here of upcoming titles from Alkonost, our French publisher. Finally the complete Légende series will be returning to France -- that's both Blood Sword ("L'Épée de Légende") and Dragon Warriors ("Les Terres de Légende"). More details on my Patreon page -- and it's an open post, so don't be put off if you're not a backer.

These are just mock-ups and may not reflect the final covers or layout, but the important thing is that the books will at last get an accurate translation. I'll give you an example. In The Demon's Claw, the third Blood Sword book, you confront your longtime rival Icon the Ungodly (to give him his proper title, Aiken, Lord of the Singing Mountain) and he replies to your attempted brush-off thus:

"By my honour, this is a call to battle. Do you mean to suggest that I am unable to destroy you? I’ll crush you like the merest ant. Like a thing without bones, you’ll squirm and die under the heel of my boot. For five years I have pursued you, since the days of your callow youth when by stark chance you managed to get the better of me in Krarth. When I arrived in Crescentium at the house of my sister Saiki, I discovered you were also in Outremer. Since then I have remained on your spoor, prepared to hunt you for hate’s sake to the very boundaries of the earth. This petty concern of yours for that magic blade is as nothing. My feud with you is like thunder. My wrath is the spitting of lightning!"

But in the original 1980s translation that became:

"Je vous poursuis depuis cinq années, depuis que vous m'avez ravi la victoire. Ma sœur Saïki m'a averti de votre présence en Outremer. Peu m'importe votre épée magique, je ne veux que votre sang..."

Which is to say:

"I have been pursuing you for the past five years, ever since you robbed me of my victory. My sister Saiki warned me of your presence in Outremer. I don't care about your magic blade, I only want your blood..."

It was a busy time in the 1980s with a lot of gamebooks getting published. Gallimard's translator may have been rushing to meet a deadline, which accounts for why that version was so perfunctory. Alkonost's translation team have taken the extra time and care to make a version that's true to the original text, so for the first time French gamers will get to experience the Blood Sword books as they were written.

(By the way, I probably don't need to point this out, but if your French is as lousy as mine and you want to follow that discussion with Laurent and Patrick in the video above, you know that thanks to AI YouTube does auto-translate, right?)


  1. I already knew Les terres de legende because I roleplayed it many times during the nineties, but I only discovered L'épée de légende during some familial hollydays in Québec 2 years ago (the gamebooks in the Gallimard version are very hard to find, and so very expansive unfortunately) and it was a shock ! I found them so good that I wandered how did I missed them in the glorious time of my 16 years old...! Well... precisely because I was 16 and so less interrested by gamebooks and more by rpg (and girls, but that's another story! 😅).
    Now that they will be avalaible with a brand new translation and improved by Alkonost, ah waw!! That will be a rediscovering, pleasure renewed and an extension to the dream! And knowing the excellent work usually done by the Alkonost team, no doubt that it will be an extra Ball!! 😊🥳

    1. Oh, the things we missed in our teens because of girls! (And no doubt there are girls out there blaming boys for the same problem...)

  2. A few key point from the youtube talk:

    Quest will be modernized more based around rpg and less around combats. So less time in dungeon and more time interacting in towns and travelling.

    Books number 7 and 8 will try to make the link between Dragon Warriors and Bloodsword.

    Previous French editions were censored around religion and violence, the censorship will be removed.

    All good things, so far.

    1. I probably wouldn't have included any dungeons if not for the expectations of players familiar with Fighting Fantasy (etc) in the 1980s. Certainly they're not a feature in my own Legend games.

      As discussed in previous posts, I don't really think of Blood Sword (quite high fantasy) as happening in the same universe as Dragon Warriors (which is far less epic). Blood Sword is the Saturday morning cartoon serial version of Legend, DW is the Netflix live-action show, and Jewelspider is the HBO down-n-dirty drama.

    2. My view on that is that it is a good thing to make the link with bloodsword, since it is the books 7 and 8, and thus, it is not part of the main rules, and hence it is optional.

      I think it is an error for a roleplaying game to restrict oneself to much in theme and setting. It is better if a setting and theme is a bit adaptable. Thus, different player group can use the same setting and same rules to play different genres according to their needs.

      In a campaign, gamers will have a choice, whether to go to high level and go toward more high fantasy, or whether to stay at low subtle fantasy.

      Both, low fantasy legend and high fantasy legend can easily be done with the core rules and the setting description.

    3. I'm all for players enjoying the game in any way that suits them. In the original DW book 6 I even wrote a short section about using the rules for other settings. I know that some players, perhaps having come to Legend via Blood Sword, prefer the D&D-style feel of those books and don't like the low-fantasy setting that I think of as "authentic" Legend, and that's fine, but I hope they give the low fantasy option a try because I think it's more unusual and interesting.

      High-fantasy fans won't get forgotten, though. Later this year (I hope) we'll finally see the English edition of Blood Sword 5e. If you are looking for epic adventure, that's where to go. And anyone who wants my flavour of Legend has only to look out for Jewelspider, also due later this year.

  3. I hope this collaboration will be better as with the previous publisher !

    1. Typically the problem gamebooks have had when handled by the big publishers (Penguin, etc) is that in traditional publishing a book is expected to blaze for a few months and then fade away as the publisher moves onto their next set of releases. The advantage of working with smaller dedicated publishers like Alkonost, Edizioni Librarsi, Mantikore-Verlag and the rest is that they appreciate that gamebooks & RPGs are a hobby interest, so they are in it for the long haul. Of course, some small publishers (naming no names!) can be quite an "adventure" to work with -- but we've learned from experience and I think we're now in safe hands!