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Sunday, 17 July 2011

To battle the Elf. Go to post 115

Do you remember Fighting Fantasy books then that heading will all be familiar to you.  For the unenlightened they were green spined roleplaying books from Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone (He runs Eidos now don't laugh) where you got to choose your own path through a fantasy story before succumbing to traps and ultimately cheating.  They were an integral part of 80's / 90's youth, where two dice and a pencil (oh and the ability to read) were all a young adventurer needed to have a reasonably great adventure. 

We came across some such weirdness the other day where a totally unrelated search for stuff brought up this weird little factoid.  Fighting Fantasy was released in Japan not only with the original covers intact, but bought right up to date with manga covers.  We can't vouch for the other illustrations and that, just that it seems to have quite a following in Japan (the Warlock magazine lasted way longer than here). 

Lone Wolf: Twice as rocking as this.  FACT.
To be honest though, even though I loved the Fighting fantasy books we loved Joe Devers Lone Wolf books even more.  With a cohesive storyline {you had to become a Kai master} and the chance to transfer skills and items to other books as you 'levelled up' this was about the closest you could come to RPG goodness without investing in 20 sided dice and joining a D+D group. 

We had about 20 of the books and managed to make it magnakai status back in the day.  Though to be honest we never actually used the battle system properly.  
This is how you should have done it back then.

1. Choose a number from the number grid (located toward the back of the book)  and while your there choose a number for the enemy.

2. Turn to the back page to see what results it gave you in the battle grid.

This is how we did it instead.

1. Close your eyes and pick a number from the number grid and pick a number for the monster you're battling.  If your number is higher than theirs take off the difference from their HP.  If you draw pick again and add the result to the numbers you chose.  If the monsters number is higher than yours then take off the difference from your HP.

I.E. If Elf rolls a 3 and Lone Wolf a 5, Elf would take 2 damages. Rinse and repeat untill either is dead.

We made one of the squares a K square.  If you landed on that you would instantly kill anything there with a critical hit and vice versa.
This revised ruleset saw me through a good 12 or so Lonewolf books untill the books disappeared toward the mid 90's. 

Both LoneWolf and Fighting Fantasy are available on DS, though Lone Wolf is currently Homebrew so you'll need either a Flashcart or an Emulator to enjoy it. 

Finally, (this was more of a junior school thing) there were a series of gamebooks called Choose Your Own Adventures.  They didn't have any combat, and you always seem to end dying a few pages in.  I know of nobody who made it through with a satisfactory ending, they either died or had one of the wanky endings where you lived out your life amongst nomads or as a pauper.

Summed up below with three atypical choices.

Young Peter Stupid was walking home from school when he is approached by a strange man driving an old Ford Fiesta. 
"Hey sonny, My names Professor Guy Dubious, I'm looking for a young lad to help track down some missing dinosaurs.  They've escaped through my time portal and I really need to get them back." 

Wow real live dinosaurs, that sounds pretty great.  If you'd like to help the Professor go to the next paragraph entitled bad outcome.

Hey dinosaurs don't exist any more, I bet he's a foreign agent or a weirdo of some kind,  Go to the paragraph after, called good outcome, to call the police on him.

If you'd like to ignore him and head home to play CODBlOps, turn to the final paragraph called unsatisfactory ending.

Dinosaur: Bad outcome.

You agree to head off on an adventure with the Professor, full of ideas about tracking Diplodocuses and evading Tyrannosauruses.  However before you can start hunting for dinosaurs, the professor puts a strangely scented rag over your face and bundles you into a large sack in the boot of his car.   24 hours later after unspeakable depravities are carried out you, your body is dumped onto waste ground at the back of Tescos where your corpse is found by dogwalkers. 

Dinosaur: Good outcome.

You are suspicious about something the Professor says, and decide to call the Police instead on your Mobile phone.  A squad of police officers in a panda car pull up and arrest the so called professor.

PC Copshop: Thats the third sighting we've had of Professor Guy Dubious this week, you've had a lucky escape sonny, he's no professor but a notorious child killer and a dinosaur buff, take this fiver as a reward for not talking to strangers.

Dinosaur: Unsatisfactory outcome.

Your mum told you not to talk to strangers, and you swiftly ignore the professor to head home to play CODBlOps with your mates online.  You load up the PC in your room and while it boots up you notice a shadow fall across the wall behind you.  Looking in the direction of the window you see a small Brontosaurus  walking through next doors garden.  Maybe the "professor" was telling the truth after all.

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