Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Step up from "Choose Your Own Adventure'

While listening to a recent episode of the Plaid Hat Podcast, I became aware of a genre of games that I can best described as a 'choose your own adventure' game mixed with an RPG. They play much like the classic book series that I was such a fan of as a child. You'll read a paragraph and then be presented with a choice which will then lead you to a subsequent paragraph and the cycle continues throughout the story. They do have an extra twist in that you also need some dice. Throughout the game there will be situations, such as combat, or performing tricky maneuvers, that the fates intervene.

Since discovering these types of games, I've been pleased to stumble upon a couple of them to explore a little deeper. The first one, "Cities of Gold & Glory" is the second book in the Fabled Lands series of books. The series of 12 books (although only 6 were released) spans the large region of the Fabled Lands, each books focusing on a certain region. You can start with any books, using either one of their pre-made characters or crating your own, and begin your adventure. Traveling from city to city and exploring whatever you come across. The interesting addition being that you can venture throughout the regions by moving between books, all while keeping your same character and stats.

I've only played a little bit of it so far and unfortunately I find it a bit lacking. I really admire the scope of the game, but it feels unfocused. The entire time I played I just wandered around aimlessly and was unable to find the beginning of the quest. It was just a little too open for my taste and would have appreciated a hint in the introduction that I'm looking for Person X who is located at Location Y. I will give it another shot, with maybe some help from online to get me started.

More recently I stumbled upon a copy of Gnomes:100, Dragons:0 from TSR. This book was part of a series the Catacombs solo adventure books based on Dungeons & Dragons. Compared to Gold & Glory, this book is a lot more focused and has a specific quest and character that the adventure is built for. The reader takes the part of a baker that finds himself leading a Gnomish army to clear out a cavern of dragons. It has a much lighter tone to it but looks very well put together. I appreciate being given a clear task to accomplish and I will most likely finish this one before trying the Gold & Glory again.

These books have been a wonderful discovery for me and I am looking forward to more. I have heard about an upcoming book entitled Destiny Quest that looks promising and I'll probably check that out when it is released. Are there any other good ones that I should keep an eye out for?

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