[Fighting Fantasy / Lone Wolf / Way of the Tiger] Mashup?

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[Fighting Fantasy / Lone Wolf / Way of the Tiger] Mashup?

Post by AlHazred » Tue Nov 13, 2018 9:23 am

I've been working out the details of a hexcrawl I intend to run (currently in 5E D&D, since that's what my available group knows best). My homebrew setting consists of things I've stolen or borrowed from many books and games I've read or played over the years. I've been on a gamebook kick, too, lately, and it occurred to me I could include some crossovers. My setting has a lot of fractures of Space/Time (called The Lattice) that the planet passes through on its orbit, that causes portals to open to other worlds, occasionally long enough for people to pass through. It is how many of the races got there, before becoming stranded when the portal that let them arrive closed up again.

I'm thinking of portals to the settings of three of my favorite gamebook series: Kakhabad, a wilderland from the world of Titan, setting of the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks; The Lastlands, a wilderland from the world of Magnamund, setting of the Lone Wolf gamebooks; and part of the Manmarch near the Rift, a semi-wasteland from the world of Orb, setting for the Way of the Tiger gamebooks (and one Fighting Fantasy one, Talisman of Death).

I've been considering one of my BBEGs, who comes up with grand plans, getting it in his head to collect the Crown of Kings from Kakhabad (which bestows supernatural wisdom and charisma to its wearer), the Doomstones of Agarash from the Lastlands (magical jewels which encapsulate powers of an evil god), and the Scrolls of Kettsuin from the Manmarch (scrolls containing words of power that can rewrite the creation of a world). I can conceive of ways that the items get to their respective wilderlands, and enjoy the idea of making three additional hexcrawl areas from the gamebook maps.

What does anyone think? Too ambitious? Not interesting? Only of interest to old-time gamers who remember the glory days of gamebooks? I'm interested in opinions and if anyone's used gamebooks in a tabletop roleplay setting and is willing to share some insights or fun stories to inform my own attempts.
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Re: [Fighting Fantasy / Lone Wolf / Way of the Tiger] Mashup?

Post by Yaztromo » Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:29 pm

The idea is great and the mechanics are definitely feasible.
I'd suggest you make a good use of the RPG module: The Crown of Kings, by Arion Games, that is simply a RPG coonversion of the Sorcery! series, as this is the most complicate gamebook source to convert to RPG.
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Re: [Fighting Fantasy / Lone Wolf / Way of the Tiger] Mashup?

Post by AlHazred » Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:56 pm

Yaztromo wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:29 pm
The idea is great and the mechanics are definitely feasible.
I'd suggest you make a good use of the RPG module: The Crown of Kings, by Arion Games, that is simply a RPG coonversion of the Sorcery! series, as this is the most complicate gamebook source to convert to RPG.
Thanks for the answer! I had been reading on the Fighting Fantazine forums that some purists consider the Arion Games material "non-canonical" -- a trick, since FF materials aren't centrally managed between license holders so all of them (Arion, Inkle, Tin Man, etc.) can do their own thing. Nevertheless, as something of a purist it gave me pause. I hate when I read a product based on one of my beloved nerd properties and find mistakes at a casual glance that even I would not have made. How are the materials in your opinion?
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Re: [Fighting Fantasy / Lone Wolf / Way of the Tiger] Mashup?

Post by Yaztromo » Tue Nov 13, 2018 11:48 pm

First of all, right now all FF licenses ARE managed centrally (by Jon Green, if I remember it right) and are explicitly canon (ask Steve Jackson or Ian Livingstone, if you don't believe me).
Said that, I think that Arion Games material is really good, although it lacks under visual point of view and there are quite a few typos, especially in the earliest publications and editions (and Crown of Kings is one of them). One defect that I think nobody can find on Crown of Kings is deviations from canon: personally, I think they even stuck too much to canon!
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Re: [Fighting Fantasy / Lone Wolf / Way of the Tiger] Mashup?

Post by Yaztromo » Tue Nov 13, 2018 11:59 pm

By the way, I'd suggest also to use AFF2 as a ruleset, as it is flexible enough to incorporate house rules covering Kai powers and Way of the Tiger martial arts moves.
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Re: [Fighting Fantasy / Lone Wolf / Way of the Tiger] Mashup?

Post by AlHazred » Wed Nov 14, 2018 12:49 am

As far as maps go, I have found the following online:
  • Titan: Kakhabad, the Verminpit at Earth End: A wilderness at the edge of civilization, during the wars of the past, creatures allied with dark forces were pushed back behind the mountains to the edge of the continent. There, they infested the region, which became a no-man's-land, with only two settlements of great size: Kharé, the Cityport of Traps, and the dark fortress of Mampang, neither of which are friendly places to live. The Crown of Kings was retrieved at the end of Steve Jackson's Sorcery! 4: The Crown of Kings, and we last see the Analander being carried back to Analand across Kakhabad by birdmen from High Xamen. But the way is long, and dangers abound in both land and sky. Some vicious beast (the Sun Serpent, perhaps?) could have attacked the vulnerable hero and brought him low. The Crown could, even now, lie in the hoard of some Kakhabadian monster.
    Image
  • Magnamund: The Wildlands and the Maakengorge: the portion of the world of Lone Wolf that I would use. The area was once part of the kingdom of Cloesia, but when the Maakengorge opened up and spilled out all sorts of Agarashi darkness-monsters, the area became unsettled. The monsters have (for the most part) been beaten back, but the area has still become a wasteland as a result. The only large settlement to survive is Ragadorn, a lawless city that was protected by its position in a sheltered coastal cove. My thought is that, prior to the formation of the Maakengorge and the disruption to the region, several Doomstones of Agarash could have been brought here by the demon-god's followers. With the subsequent destruction and chaos, the Doomstones were lost and still lie, waiting to be claimed, their evil auras contributing to the waste and desolation.
    Image
  • Orb: The Rift, the Bowels of Orb: At the edge of the Manmarch, lies the Rift, a massive gorge that drops into the bowels of the world Orb. Home to Dark Elves, Orcs, and many other fell creatures, some of them the abominable spawn of Evil Gods, it is a staging ground for the forces of Evil and Chaos. At the end of The Way of the Tiger 2: Assassin!, the monk Avenger brought the Scrolls of Kettsuin to the Temple of the Rock, on the Isle of Tranquil Dreams. However, the ways of magic permeate the world of Orb, and many wizardly followers of dark gods have mastered the arts of teleportation -- something which the monks of Kwon who guard the scrolls are little able to prevent. The Scrolls could easily be stolen again, and brought to the Rift by the thief, who would need to study the Word of Power they contain so as to bind a god into the Inferno for all time.
    Image
The only issues I have with the maps I've found is scale. The Wildlands/Maakengorge map has one -- I'm not sure how consistent the Lone Wolf maps are between books, but so long as I use just the one map the single scale reference is fine. The Kakhabad map bears no scale, and seems to be idealized. I'm thinking of trying to gauge the distances by determining how long the journey is in gamebook-play and then transferring that to John Blanche's masterpiece. The Rift map is problematic. The map bears no scale, and in the books, I don't know that a lot of descriptive space is given to the distances involved in travel.

Anyway, work continues.
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Re: [Fighting Fantasy / Lone Wolf / Way of the Tiger] Mashup?

Post by AlHazred » Wed Nov 14, 2018 12:52 am

Thanks for the Arion review. I'll have to check it out!
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Re: [Fighting Fantasy / Lone Wolf / Way of the Tiger] Mashup?

Post by Yaztromo » Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:10 am

we last see the Analander being carried back to Analand across Kakhabad by birdmen from High Xamen. But the way is long, and dangers abound in both land and sky. Some vicious beast (the Sun Serpent, perhaps?) could have attacked the vulnerable hero and brought him low. The Crown could, even now, lie in the hoard of some Kakhabadian monster.
Maybe the Birdmen (or the Genius) carried the Analander, exhausted by the many fights, just back to Lake Ilklala or so, and then he was supposed to walk back on his legs, passing by Kharé once more, but...

Talking about maps, the FF ones do not have scales on purpose, as they are supposed to be maps drawn by some kind of medieval mapmaker (that's why they look "idealized") and the distances are measured in "days of travel" rather than kilometers (I don't remember if and how this issue was resolved in the module by Arion Games, right now).
If I remember it right, the Way of the Tiger maps are a bit the same: you need to check on the gamebooks how long it takes to travel from "A" to "B", rather than measuring what the distance is on the map.
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Re: [Fighting Fantasy / Lone Wolf / Way of the Tiger] Mashup?

Post by AlHazred » Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:24 am

Yaztromo wrote:
Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:10 am
Maybe the Birdmen (or the Genius) carried the Analander, exhausted by the many fights, just back to Lake Ilklala or so, and then he was supposed to walk back on his legs, passing by Kharé once more, but...
Yes, one of the reasons I'm wrestling with scale is that I want the region to be sized appropriately for them to actually feel like they might find what they are looking for, not doomed to aimlessly wander an empty wasteland. On the other hand, it is the Verminpit at Earth End, so the region itself should be sizable. I'm thinking of using the Southern Baklands and the souther border of the Forest of Snatta.
Yaztromo wrote:
Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:10 am
Talking about maps, the FF ones do not have scales on purpose, as they are supposed to be maps drawn by some kind of medieval mapmaker (that's why they look "idealized") and the distances are measured in "days of travel" rather than kilometers (I don't remember if and how this issue was resolved in the module by Arion Games, right now).
If I remember it right, the Way of the Tiger maps are a bit the same: you need to check on the gamebooks how long it takes to travel from "A" to "B", rather than measuring what the distance is on the map.
It's one of the joys and frustrations of this bit of worldbuilding. I love poring over the maps again after so many years, but my purpose keeps me from enjoying it too much...
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Re: [Fighting Fantasy / Lone Wolf / Way of the Tiger] Mashup?

Post by AlHazred » Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:52 am

Although, as far as the Crown of Kings, it occurs to me that placing it in an undefined area, like the Avanti Wood, or Daddu Yadu/Daddu-Ley gives the DM a lot of freedom...
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Re: [Fighting Fantasy / Lone Wolf / Way of the Tiger] Mashup?

Post by Yaztromo » Wed Nov 14, 2018 5:23 am

I'm back home, I had a quick look at the Crown of Kings and, while the maps don't have scales (as in the gamebooks), in the text they specify the time required to go from "A" to "B".
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Re: [Fighting Fantasy / Lone Wolf / Way of the Tiger] Mashup?

Post by AlHazred » Wed Nov 14, 2018 5:35 am

Thank you!
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Re: [Fighting Fantasy / Lone Wolf / Way of the Tiger] Mashup?

Post by Yaztromo » Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:47 am

AlHazred (your nickname) actually appeared briefly in the Saga of the Prester John, another great gamebook series... maybe...
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Re: [Fighting Fantasy / Lone Wolf / Way of the Tiger] Mashup?

Post by AlHazred » Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:32 pm

Hmmm... My go-to source for gamebook info (https://gamebooks.org) is silent on this gamebook series. French? Is there an English version?
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Re: [Fighting Fantasy / Lone Wolf / Way of the Tiger] Mashup?

Post by Yaztromo » Fri Nov 16, 2018 1:25 am

Here you can find some more info: https://gamebooks.org/prjean.htm
It is overall a great, great series, well worthy to be together with the very best. It was left incomplete, but the last three installments were published by amateur authors: http://www.librogame.net/index.php/enci ... list&sid=2
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Re: [Fighting Fantasy / Lone Wolf / Way of the Tiger] Mashup?

Post by AlHazred » Fri Nov 16, 2018 1:54 am

Yeah, I was a huge fan of the gamebooks back in the day, but their heyday seems to have passed. There have been some Kickstarters that have completed one series (The Way of the Tiger), and restarted another (Fabled Lands), but overall it doesn't seem like a lot of the incomplete series will see a finale. It's a shame, I want to know what happened to my characters! :)
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Re: [Fighting Fantasy / Lone Wolf / Way of the Tiger] Mashup?

Post by Yaztromo » Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:45 pm

Actually, during last few years there was quite a lot of movement: Lone Wolf is getting very close to its conclusion after a very, very long break, Endless Quests is back on the bookshelves with four brand new gamebooks, last Fighting Fantasy by Ian Livingstone found a new publisher, that rebooted again the whole series, Jon Green keeps publishing bigger and bigger gamebooks year after year... and there are many brand new gamebooks by new authors. Perhaps they just don't make enough noise for everybody to hear...
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Re: [Fighting Fantasy / Lone Wolf / Way of the Tiger] Mashup?

Post by AlHazred » Sat Nov 17, 2018 6:11 am

I think a lot of the niche that was filled by the gamebooks back in the day is filled by solo computer RPGs currently. They still have their place as a literature form, but I think they heyday has passed. I'd be happy if that was not so.
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