I realise now that I was crying out for Fabled Lands.
|She also seems happy at the sight
of the Fabled Lands title.
Recently, the first four books have been republished physically. At the time of writing, the game has been released on the iPad and will soon be released on the iPhone with some great artwork including pieces by Russ Nicholson. Two RPG sourcebooks have also been released.
I bought the first four physical books as soon as I found out. I started reading them and quickly became immersed in the world I entered. In my next post, I will write about my first explorations of the Fabled Lands, but here I will give a brief overview of the setting and the game system.
|Where shall I begin?|
The Fabled Lands are a place of infinite variety and opportunity. You could travel across sea or land, climb mountains, explore forests, traipse through bogs or trudge across plains. On your travels, you may experience some good or bad events, but you it will be a different event each time.
The big things happen in the settlements. Each village, town and city has its own character from the stinky, sulphur choked Yellowport to the ashes and rubble of Trefoille to the fortified Citidel of Velis Corin. The writing and the illustrations really bring out the atmosphere of each place.
|What could happen in this city?
Each location has its own colourful band of people, some who can help you, some who may need your help and some who can just provide some interesting experiences. Yellowport alone contains a provost Marshal who has helped overthrow the king, a sneaky thief, a cult of cannibals, a sage in need and many others. Talking with these people can open up a wide variety of opportunities which may lead you to go on quests.
For example, a sage in a tavern in Yellowport will pay handsomely if you go to Scorpion Bight (which does contain scorpion people) and return a book to him. Fabled Lands is full of these opportunities which involve varying levels of complexity and difficulty and the more you explore them, the more these opportunities will become apparent to you.
|Take your pick. I wouldn’t recommend
taking the dragon, though.
The rewards are many and varied. They range from money (coins known as shards) to trade goods, weapons, armour and equipment to the use of a friend’s services (very useful if they are wizards) to having a stat increased to going up a level and therefore increasing your stamina and making certain tasks easier for you. If you are super lucky, you may find a way of teleporting all over the world.
As well as material rewards, you can also obtain titles, become an initiate to a religion, obtain blessings and make resurrection deals. The titles can make other characters react more favourably towards you. Being an initiate to a religion enables you to get favours from that religion, the main two being cheaper blessings and resurrection deals. Blessings allow you to reroll an ability roll if you fail or they may protect you from storms and disease. Reurrection deals allow you to wake up in a temple if you are killed. I like they way that they are described as ‘The last word on insurance’.
|Can’t we just do a bit of sightseeing,
Unlike most gamebooks, you are not told of any aim at the beginning. There are no quests to save the world and there is no way to ‘win’. It is not for people who want a set narrative and a quest to save the world, as this is not what Fabled Lands is about. On the flipside, it is kind of comforting that your character does not have the world on their shoulders and instead they can explore some inconsequential part of a mountain without the sands of time running down.
|Your choice of initial characters.|
You could also explore the wilderness where you will find all kinds of strange beasts and goings on. The more remote the area, the stranger the the encounter. They can range from bandits to scorpion men to dragons and faerie folk where all kinds of wierd things can happen.
|Merfolk are just some of the
you could come across.
The world certainly has a fantasy feel, but it is not over the top. Magic is quite prevalent as any character has a magic score and can attempt to cast a spell. However, low magic characters can’t do very much. There are also plenty of wizards and magical items in the world. Some magical items can be bought and sold for money such as potions that increase an ability score by one for one roll. Most items that increase your abilities are also described as magical. However, the game never degenerates into getting the shiniest toys.
Humans occupy most of the world with non human races living in the remote wilderness. There are no towns of orcs, elves and dwarves randomly dotted around the land and few non humans live in the human settlements. The geography also makes sense to me.
|Live in a castle, buy a ship, go around
the world – it’s all possible.
A lot of thought has gone into making this world into a believable fantasy world by allowing you to potentially become a part of its aspects – merchants sail to and from cities and trade goods, people travel between towns, disasters strike, such as having your house burn down. Most of the people have believable desires and lives rather than just being 2D fantasy stock characters and although there is magicand non human races, they have been added in a way as to not derail the world and just make it a big pot of fantasy cliches.
|Each land has a
The Fabled Lands have been meticulously constructed. Some of the descriptions are not too detailed, which the fans of epic narrative might not like, but part of the fun could be coming up with your own narrative. The book provides the events and you can fill in the details in the form on how your character feels or what they say or how other people respond to you.
So basically, the setting is a whole fantasy world chock full of all kinds of people and monsters. And you can do anything you like in that world and aspire to go from a lowly outcast to become anyone you want to be. Which should cover what most people are after.
How should I approach reading Fabled Lands?
The best thing about Fabled Lands is its huge world full of opportunity to get into all kinds of shennanigans. It lacks in some areas, but no series of gamebooks can match it for its huge sandbox style set up.
The best way to approach Fabled Lands is with the mindset that you can create your own story for yourself using the books as a guide.
|Where will you end up?|
As I stated, there are some things that are not everybodies cup of tea. There are no epic, over the top descriptions, espicially on areas which do not describe ‘quests’ such as the roads between large settlements. .
There is also no storyline in which you have to save the world or in depth description of your character’s feelings.
DARTH VADER: Where’s the Fabled Lands series? Is it safe?
Is it alright?
DARTH SIDIOUS: I’m afraid it died…It seems, in your anger,
you axed it.
Another thing is that you need to make sure that you have lots of time. Once you start to complete some quests, increase your ability scores and go up in rank, more of the world will open up to you like a big black hole as you will soon get sucked in, desperate to discover and explore more.
You will then be begging for the other books. BEGGING!
And then you will find out that books 5 and 6 are out of print, books 7-12
are out of print haven’t been printed yet and you will scream in anguish and frustration.
However, if sales of the relaunch are good then they might be released, so we have a new hope.