I will be reviewing The War Torn Kingdom in my next post. I have already posted on the concept of Fabled lands and the game system. In this post, I will highlight just what an addicitive gamebook range it is and tell you the story of my first play through.
There are some infinite loops but if you try to take
advantage of them then you will miss the interesting stuff
and the game will just drag on (get it?)
When I started, I went through a portal to come to a stinking heap known as Yellowport. I had a bare minimum of equipment and when I went to the market, a lot of the stuff was way above my price range.
However, I found 15 shards (the local currency, which are not actually shards) after I killed a thug who attacked me while I was exploring the rough area of the city.
It was an easy fight and I realised that if I did the same again, I could easily kill another thug and get another 15 shards.
However, I felt that this would not be within the spirit of the book. I should be exploring, not continuously killing some random mook for some paltry sum groundhog style day.
I then got kidnapped by some cannibals. I fell for the trick of answering a call for help and before I could do anything, I had been knocked out. I woke up, almost ready to join these cannibals as dinner, but managed to annoy them so much by shouting the name of their god that I escaped their bonds and fought my way to freedom.
I said earlier that I did not think it was right to continuously kill some mook just to get some paltry sum. However, when I bought a ship and a lot of cargo, which I later sold for hundreds of shards, I realised that some repetative things were OK.
|That hidden face dude was
lucky that his book hasn’t
been republished because
he definatley would have
stuck that sword in him.
|For maximum experience,
kill lots of these.
As soon as the rewards were big enough, the power gamer in me took over like some evil body snatching alien. Gone was the drive to enjoy the atmosphere and explore the lands – I wanted my stats to be as good as possible. I wanted thousands of shards.
When I was attacked by pirates and managed to win an outright victory against them (which I could do quite easily as a warrior), I was given a chance to level up. That was it. I became the scourge of pirates, buying goods in Sokara to sell in Metriciens and hoping that pirates would attack me so that I could loot their treasure, get more cargo and level up, making it easier for me to beat the pirates next time.
Soon, I was a level 10 warrior. I couldn’t stop – I went all over the place, slaying beasts and men, finding ways to increase my stats. This wasn’t min maxing. This was just maxing. After I repeated myself several times so that I could max out my stats I travelled around all four books causing havoc usually just wading in and slaying all my foes.
Then I had a realisation. I had gorged myself on Fabled Lands and now I was satiated. I wanted to go back to what I was originally doing – wandering around, exploring the terrain and talking to its inhabitants. I went back to the beginning, started with a new character and promised I’d just stick to the War Torn Kingdom and I’d explore it in the way the authors intended…
What did my first play through of Fabled Lands teach me?
|A big number on a piece of
paper is still just a number
on a piece of paper.
My first idea was to get all the best items and make my stats as great as possible. Most of the time, I wouldn’t read a paragraph in detail, but just skim it for any adjustments that I needed to make to my adventure sheet. Then, when it happened, I felt that I had missed out.
Looking at some of the first gamebooks I wrote, I realise that this was also the way I approached writing gamebooks. I would really neglect the description, storyline and three dimensional characters and put all of my efforts into making a balanced and fair game system where the hero could get plenty of rewards. These books were also missing out on a lot.
There is more to a gamebook than the system. The system is only there to support the narrative. If you make it all about the system, it just becomes another load of numbers, which, even if you get a big load of numbers, is still unsatisfying.
In the name of realism I may have a two profession limit (also, if you spend too man points on your professions, then your abilities will be too low to let you survive).
There is also a maximum limit for an ability which is 5 + the book number you are starting at.
|It can hold tons of grain but
it can’t hold some potions?
You can carry more of fewer items or you can restrict yourself to the number of blessings you can have or the number of ability boosting items you can have. Maybe you can limit the amount of money that you can carry around. For example, you can carry 250 shards and every 250 shards after than counts as an item.