The Man’Athor Mountains

I’ve finally finished adding the mountain sections! Who’d have thought fiddling about with long, convoluted lists of numbers could be so boring? Anyway, the adventure is now playable right up to the doorstep of Clavius Boon’s Tower. Click on ‘ENTER…’ should you be brave enough/ fool enough/ have a bit of time on your hands etc…

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The Forest of Langlorn

I have now updated the prologue (accessible by clicking ‘ENTER…’ above) to also include the forest sections which make up almost one half of the possible routes to Clavius Boon’s tower. More will follow when I have the time and energy to put in all the links.

Eagle-eyed adventurers will notice that on occassion there are references to theoretical pictures which should accompany the text. Rather than tell you why I haven’t drawn them, it might be easier to show you. The following, slightly disturbing image is the result of a good hour’s work yesterday evening:

It was meant to go in the header for the home page of this blog, but for obvious reasons it hasn’t. Let’s be frank – it isn’t very good. To quote my wife, it’s ‘interesting, but not in a good way.’

I could see in my mind’s eye what I wanted. I wanted a view of the hero from behind (in a gamebook it’s better if the face isn’t seen), overlooking a broad fantasy vista which would buoy the heart and cause the spirit to swell with joy and wanderlust. I thought it might be a nice touch, considering the comedic intentions of the story, if the hero were scratching his arse.

So, after half an hour of slapstick involving a couple of mirrors and a sketchbook, I gave up on drawing the position from life and decided instead to trace it from this famous Athena poster:

Posted by internetsense at Flickr

Some attempt was made to beef up the physique a little but the final effect still looks rather more effeminate and coquettish than I’d intended. I wasn’t really aiming for saucy but saucy, it seems, is what I got.

As a last ditch effort to save the picture, I decided to add some colour and ended up with this:

The upside is that it’s now obvious the hero is wearing trousers. The downside is that it looks even more like the sort of thing an overly doting mother would stick to her fridge.

So, there will be no illustrations until I can badger, threaten or bribe someone with artistic inclinations to do them for me. In the meantime, YOU must be the illustrator!

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Well, this is my first blog post. It occurs to me that I might easily be the only person to read it (Hi me! Don’t forget to take the bins out!) but I’ll assume an audience just in case.

The question I’ve been asked most (ie. once) since I started this site is “Why would you write a pastiche of a Fighting Fantasy book?”

The simple answer would be ‘because it’s there.’ Then again, it would also be a stupid answer. Clearly, it wasn’t there until I wrote it. So why did I write it?

Well, I love gamebooks. When the eight-year-old me was first given a copy of ‘The Warlock of Firetop Mountain’ to keep him quiet on a car journey, a beautiful friendship began. I was shaking my fist to roll dice long before adolescent boys usually find that motion pleasurable. The language and illustrations of those books are sunk deep into the strata of my subconscious.

Some people will say that computer games have superseded gamebooks, and I’m sure it’s true for the people who say it. But not for me. I enjoy both, in the same way that I like both films and books. There are pleasures in the written word which can’t be replicated by other mediums.

Since embarking on my task I’ve found that a lot of other people feel the same way. Developing ‘The Tower of Clavius Boon’ on writers’ sites, I had an excellent response from fans of the original books. I’ve also discovered that there is a very active and dedicated community of gamebook fans online, many of whom put me to shame with their knowledge of the format and skill in employing it (check out the Links section for details of some of these).

So, that’s why I’ve written ‘The Tower of Clavius Boon’. It’s the sort of gamebook that the present-day me wanted to read, something that pokes gentle fun at the conventions of the genre but is still a classic adventure at heart. The prologue I’ve posted here is self-contained, a rather linear mini-adventure, but the full book branches out into a far greater number of divergent paths with an inventory and a number of tricksy logic puzzles.

Anyway, I’ve had a blast writing it and hopefully others will enjoy it too. I’m always looking to improve so if YOU stumble across it on your journeys through cyberspace then please drop me a line to let me know what you think, which bits worked for you and which didn’t. I will be almost embarassingly grateful!

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Adventure! Sorcery! Romance! Etc!

Have YOU ever harboured a desire to be the handsome, drunken, boorish, easily-confused hero of your own fantasy adventure? Well now YOU can!

‘The Tower of Clavius Boon’ is my ongoing labour of love, an affectionate pastiche of the fantasy gamebook genre. Please click ‘ENTER…’ to play the prologue or scroll down to browse my more recent posts.

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