Mytago, a small publisher from the Czech Republic specialising in RPGs and gamebooks, will translate and publish Beyond the Morning Mountains for Czech speaking territories. They intend to print both volumes as full-colour hardbacks using my artwork, and this agreement caused me to consider how to best deal with the RARE items, which were available in English as an additional PDF purchase.
I’ve since made the decision to incorporate the RARE items into all versions of the books, so they are now included for free. However, using them must come with some sort of cost as they enhance the character’s skills and abilities beyond a normal level. Players wishing to use a RARE item will now be required to alter their starting health and amount of coins, so there’s an immediate decision to be made regarding overall health, wealth and abilities – and their impact upon the game’s difficulty – before beginning an adventure.
As a result of this decision an updated Second Edition of BtMMVol.1 is now available in PDF from DriveThruRPG, with printed versions currently in the production/approval stage for release in the near future. Owners of the original version of Volume One can simply update their PDF to the new Second Edition, and those who’ve purchased a printed copy of the book can download free PDFs of the RARE items and the revised Instructions, Rules & Maps to add this gameplay enhancement to their starting options. Players who previously bought a copy of the RARE items can then choose to play with the old or new rules, adjusting their starting health and coins only if they wish to do so.
This Second Edition also features an illustrated Character Record with space provided to note a RARE item, an updated map of Quahnarren, and revised location maps for Ustahm and Balquis.
Additionally, a free PDF document of the new Character Record and Battle Boxes is available to download via DriveThruRPG, offering three versions of the CR: colour with background, colour with no background, and grayscale with no background. This provides printer-friendly options for people printing at home in either colour or b&w.
Ongoing health issues have restricted my ability to complete BtMM Vol.2 in an acceptable timeframe, however, the creation process continues to slowly move forward and the adventure currently consists of approximately 98,000 words. I’m expecting that this second gamebook will be longer than the first (greater than 1,000 sections), although the length won’t be resolved until I’ve reached a later point, closer to Liust, where I’ll finalise my desired player options and determine exactly how many sections are required to conclude the narrative as I wish. The delivery of the completed book may be seriously and frustratingly delayed, yet it’s shaping up to be a very entertaining, varied and at times challenging piece of interactive fiction.
Work continues on Volume Two of Beyond the Morning Mountains, with some very pleasing progress being made to finalise all of my newly created creatures, monsters & spirits, developing and finishing numerous full-page illustrations, and writing an exciting, challenging gamebook for all lovers of interactive fiction.
Volume Two features a revised and expanded version of the Creature Compendium, which is now 50% larger in content, and features 8 new Creatures (including the highly dangerous ARGOROHR seen above) and 3 new Monsters & Spirits. This means that your chosen path will likely be populated with even greater dangers from the natural and unnatural worlds! Also, the second new illustration previewed here shows what can happen to those who disobey the local authorities – act with good sense on your journey or the noose may be around your own neck!
I’ve plotted an individual scenario from Volume Two to illustrate my preference for choice and consequence (above), showing how the various sections open up new opportunities, directly alter the progress of the narrative, and deliver rewards or penalties depending on the choices you make. This particular event is a forest encounter that features a few tricks and traps, possible combat and a key moral decision.
The creation of content for Volume Two of Beyond the Morning Mountains continues, although my current progress isn’t as advanced as I would wish it to be at this time. Despite this frustration, I’m really happy with the quality of the new material – both written and visual – and feel that I’m producing a lot of entertaining gamebook content.
There are two exciting additions to Volume Two. I’ve now increased the frequency and significance of the RARE items – both existing and new items created for the second volume, offering even more player options and adding extra replay value for the keen adventurer. I’ve also added TASKS. These are single or multi-part activities requiring you to search for hidden items, travel to a particular location or perform a series of actions to trigger a favourable event. Successfully completed TASKS offer a range of bonuses and add increased purpose to your journey.
Above is a preview of a completed illustration of a peculiar middle-aged man named Tulland, and below is a small preview of the map created for the village of Baylorn, which may be the first settlement you visit after leaving Balquis. There will be plenty of new maps in the second book – each one drawn with a different technique to maintain the diverse visual style of my artwork in this series.
With 2017 now well under way I thought it was time to post an update on what’s happening with development of Volume Two of Beyond the Morning Mountains.
The planning process for this second book has been significantly more complex than that of the first, as I am now incorporating all of the found or bought items from Volume One that will be of use and/or importance at some point during the second part of your adventure. This also includes the existing and new RARE items, which will play a much larger role in Volume Two, and offer some unique gameplay options for those carrying specific items in certain places, and for particular encounters. I’ve created the five new RARE items (and illustrated two of them – see the preview below) and am constantly adding further gameplay features around them to make their optional inclusion fully worthwhile.
Volume Two will be quite different to Volume One, especially due to its extensive forest and mountain environments – where many and varied unseen dangers lurk – and also owing to the changeable weather found within this part of Quahnarren. Most players will be tested during their adventure, suffering serious health loss and finding themselves caught in difficult circumstances, and I expect that it should be rather challenging at times!
I’ve added a number of new creatures, monsters and spirits to Volume Two, and some of those listed in Volume One‘s Creature Compendium, that never actually made an appearance, will now emerge from the wilds to make your journey increasingly demanding. I’m currently intending to illustrate everything in the expanded Creature Compendium for Volume Two, however, this will add quite a bit of work to the schedule, so I’ll see if that’s still an achievable aim later on this year.
Below are previews of three new section illustrations, including the agile and aggressive Elluanxa spider, and the two-headed Ghubben (which has already been added to this site’s Creatures page).
I’ve recently completed the design and layout for the town of Liust; your desired destination on the south-eastern coastline. An article describing the history of, and places of interest within this seaside settlement will be included alongside this map in the bonus pages following the adventure. Here’s a small preview of the map:
Also, I added two new items to different sections of the site not too long ago.
The Great Gathering of Principled People (Major Events page) describes how a rise in civil disobedience and minor disturbances led to Quahnarren’s current system of governance, and the establishment and selection of the seven Wardens that uphold the nation’s laws. The following map showing the geographical areas of responsibility will also feature in the back of Volume Two, together with an article describing these seven Wardens and individual portrait illustrations of each person. Warden Durvanne of the south-western area is shown below.
And, within the ‘Beyond the Morning Mountains’ gamebook page you’ll now find a ToQ Battle Process tab, which is a full ‘how to play’ example showing an encounter between the fearsome Makkhra (the cover star of Volume One) and myself. I’ve added this visual guide to show the Battle Process in full and to further explain the flow of my system. This isn’t something I’d ever desired to include within the book, but this website allows the opportunity to easily add such a detailed example, illustrating how to correctly use a Battle Box and the Momentum Sequence.
I’ll be posting more previews during 2017, and will also detail anything that I believe may be of interest as I continue working on the book. If you have any requests for specific information or simply wish to share your thoughts, please add a reply to this post or send me an email via the address listed in the About tab.
It’s finally here – Volume One is now available to purchase as either a full-colour Trade Paperback or hyperlinked PDF. Visit the ‘Beyond the Morning Mountains’ gamebookpage to find the purchasing and download links, and to read further details about this exciting fantasy project.
An important milestone has just been reached: the layout of Volume One has now been completed, and with the guidance of the gamebook gods to help it finally emerge in finished form, the overall page count has arrived at that most significant of all numbers – 400!
Four illustrations still remain to be completed, and the links are not yet set, but the progress made recently means that I’m now rapidly reaching the finish line. The layout process has been quite lengthy, as I’ve reread the book again and updated a few written sections that didn’t exactly capture the moment that I had envisaged, and I’ve subsequently then picked up a few minor errors, various typos and general inconsistencies that had frustratingly avoided detection until now.
As 2015 comes to a close, progress continues on Volume One of Beyond the Morning Mountains and its upcoming release is within sight! All writing is complete, the time-consuming editing and checking process is now done, and plenty of illustrations have been finished.
Above you can see a partial preview of a few new illustrations. The total of images to feature in Volume One has continued to rise throughout the development period as I balance the book’s visual presentation, creating the level of content I believe the project demands. As of now, the book will feature a total of 45 full-page illustrations – a significant increase over my initial aim of just 25!
My first Tales of Quahnarren gamebook has now been written. Volume One of Beyond the Morning Mountains consists of 1000 sections and over 145,000 words, growing from what was originally planned as a ‘large’ project to an absolute behemoth – and it’s only half of the full adventure!
From the initial conception for a gamebook series, I was always prepared to simply write what I wanted, without technical or creative constraints hampering my ideas or plot lines. Volume One has steadfastly refused to be hobbled or simplified, repeatedly increasing in scope and detail as the writing process continued to evolve naturally. I’m really pleased with the construction of the finished text, as the opportunities for exploring this ancient land of Quahnarren are plentiful, engaging and often brutally dangerous.
Now I just have to complete the proofreading, editing and play testing; illustrate the remaining colour images; renumber all the sections; finish setting the page layout; create the hyperlinks for the pdf version; and check, check, check again. So, only a few more tasks before completion …