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 …
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.
A preview teaser showing some of the recently completed illustrations for Volume One of my Beyond the Morning Mountains gamebook. I’ve decided to increase the amount of full-page images in the book (hopefully around 35), so there’s many more scenes still to capture.
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.
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!
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 …