BtMM Volume Two: January update

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.
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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).
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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:
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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.
btmmv2_wardens
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.
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I’ll be posting many more illustration previews during 2017, and will also detail anything that I believe may be of interest as I continue to write and illustrate this second gamebook. 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.

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) 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 end of Volume One, so there really is a wealth of included content – and therefore gameplay options – for all Quahnarren adventurers to discover.

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!