BtMM Vol.2 XMAS UPDATE

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.

ToQ_illos_2017

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!

Vol2_RG

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.

Update on Volume Two of Beyond the Morning Mountains

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.

Tulland_strip

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.

Print

NEW black & white edition now available

A more affordable, black & white edition of Volume One is now available to purchase. This softcover book features exactly the same content as the full-colour version, and is also the same 6″ x 9″ Trade Paperback size. You can see from the images above (taken outside in the garden) that all of the colour maps and illustrations have been suitably adjusted to match the specific requirements of mono printing – I’m happy with how they present here, and know that this cheaper version of the book will please many who wish to play the adventure with a printed copy.

Volume One of Beyond the Morning Mountains written!

Print

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 …

100,000+ words

Bathouk

Volume One of Beyond the Morning Mountains has recently passed 100,000 words! There’s been plenty of good progress as this first part of your journey to Liust nears completion; including a few new illustrations (preview of the dangerous Bathouk shown above) and the creation of a new wrap-around cover design for this ongoing gamebook series. My revised word count of 110,000 is also likely to be exceeded before the adventure is finished, so there really is a wealth of included content – and therefore gameplay options – for all Quahnarren adventurers to discover.

Beyond the Morning Mountains expanded!

Balquis

Due to a not entirely unexpected excess of written content (currently at around 80,000 words) I’ve decided to split the Beyond the Morning Mountains adventure into two books. Volume One will take you from your home north-west of Ustahm down to Balquis, where you can extensively explore this large major city, meeting many of the beggars, thiefs, tradespersons and fellow travellers that this unique city has to offer. Volume Two will then continue your journey over the Morning Mountains to your final destination of Liust; a tough four-day journey across some of the most spectacular scenery available in Quahnarren.

Each book is expected to consist of approximately 800 sections (100,000+ words), with the first book scheduled for release in late 2015, and the second to follow in 2016.

Weapons, clothing and gameplay balance

Tales of Quahnarren: Beyond the Morning Mountains

As I continue writing and illustrating my gamebook, which is now at over 50,000 words, I’ve been considering the use of weapons in conjunction with the initial player statistics (most of which are set at specific values, rather than determined by dice rolls) and my desire to allow players to customise, personalise and upgrade their character by adding new items and equipment.

After considerable thought I’ve finally decided to incorporate both one- and two-handed weapons into my gameplay and fighting mechanics, eventually realising that it is a sensible and realistic addition that doesn’t over-complicate the simple system I favour for a gamebook adventure. I’ve now added short swords, which can be used as a one-handed option with an additional shield (providing an armour bonus) together with a two-handed option, utilising a long sword without a shield (providing an expertise bonus). Both options give a choice between attack and defense bonuses, which is more of a general preference for individuals to play and shape their character in a style or approach they prefer.

This then affects gameplay balance, as any two players may have very different characters depending on what bonuses they have added to the initial player stats. I now have to be very aware of the lowest and highest levels of bonuses available within the adventure at any point, so that all of the enemy encounters are set at a fair, yet challenging difficulty for any player. Most of the items with bonuses are reasonably expensive, so financial management is an important issue for players to consider when contemplating new purchases.

Every weapon or personal item that is found or is available for purchase during your adventure is given a short description detailing its construction, features and style, providing information for players who like to clothe and equip their game characters in specific ways. So, if you desire to attire your character in clothes of a certain colour, fabric or style, the Tales of Quahnarren series will be a favourite shopping destination!

35,000 adventurous words written

Remnants_strip

Good progress is being made in writing my gamebook adventure Beyond the Morning Mountains. Numerous improvements have been implemented to my original structure and many of the general gameplay ideas, the battle system has undergone further adjustment, and a new gambling dice game has been devised.

Above is a sneak peek at part of a new illustration from the forests of Quahnarren, and many other images are in various stages of design and completion. Plenty more work to do though …