Monday, May 18, 2015

Monster Talents

Because why should Heroes have all the fun?

Here are a few generic Talents that can be assigned to all sorts of monsters. They work much the same way as Hero Talents,

This is a work in progress, and your ideas and input are appreciated.

Bloodlust X - Each time the monster inflicts damage, roll 1D6. On a roll of X or higher, the monster gains +1 Attack Strength until the end of combat.

Clearsight - As per Hero Talent.

Cowardly X - Each time a friendly monster is slain, roll 1D6. On a roll of X or higher, all Cowardly monsters attempt to flee the battle. 

Darkseeing - as per Hero Talent.

Demonic - Monster is immune to non-magical damage. Takes double damage from holy attacks.

Double Damage - Inflicts double damage with each successful attack.

Elemental - Monster is immune to non-magical damage. Takes double damage from its opposing element.

Fear X - Monster reduces opponent's Attack Strength by X.

Frenzy X - Each time the monster takes damage, roll 1D6. On a roll of X or higher, the monster gains +1 Attack Strength until the end of combat. 

Instant Kill - If the monster rolls a double for its Attack Strength, it kills its opponent instantly.

Leader - Each other monster of the same type in the area receives a +1 bonus to its Attack Strength. This effect is not cumulative.

Multi-attack - Monster can attack more than one target each Attack Round.

Immunity - Takes no damage and is unaffected by the thing it is immune to (fire, magic, etc.).

Poisonous - Monster's attack inflicts poison damage.

Regenerate - Monster regenerates 1-3 STAMINA points at the end of each Attack Round, unless it is killed first.

Resistance - Takes half damage and is only partially affected by the thing it is resistant to (fire, magic, etc.).

Spirit - Monster is non-corporeal, immune to non-magical damage and non-silvered weapons.

Undead, Greater - Monster is immune to non-magical damage, non-silvered weapons, sleep, fear, hypnotism & illusions. Takes double damage from holy attacks & sunlight.

Undead, Lesser - Monster is immune to sleep, fear, hypnotism & illusions. Takes double damage from holy attacks & sunlight.

Unstoppable - Each time the monster's STAMINA is reduced to 0, roll 1D6. On a roll of 6, the monster's STAMINA is 1 instead.

Vulnerable - Monster takes double damage from thing it is vulnerable to (fire, magic, etc.).

Monsters could also have Special Skills assigned to them, for those creatures that are particularly good at a certain ability (e.g. Climb, Dodge, Jump, Strength, Swim). A monster only Special Skill could be Flight, where the higher its score, the more agile it is in flight.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Long Time Gone

Well, I guess that's a quarter of the year gone already! Time flies when you're slaving away over a hot desk. I have been meaning to get back on here and type up some posts, but work and real life always seems to get in the way. Something I'm sure many bloggers can relate to. Rest assured that I have been working hard on a couple of FF-related projects. Here's a sneak preview...

In other news, The Trolltooth Wars graphic novel was successfully Kickstarted, and the release of the Sorcery 3 app by Inkle is only a matter of days away. Not to mention that Warlock of Firetop Mountain game app that features the writing of one Jonathan Green, the Pure Evil FF miniatures we saw at Fighting Fantasy Fest, the mysterious Fighting Fantasy Quest boardgame and an AFF Salamonis sourcebook from Arion Games.  Although it doesn't seem like we will be getting new FF gamebooks any time soon, at least we have some exciting projects to look forward to.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Real World Comparisons to Titan

Reading through Paltogue's truly excellent blog (check it out if you haven't already) got me to thinking about how certain corners of Titan are somewhat based on real-world locations right here on Earth. It's a very common trope in fantasy settings and varies to different degrees depending on the property. Below I have picked the closest real-world match for certain locations on Titan, along with my reasoning for doing so.

Please keep in mind that these are purely my opinions. If you think differently, let me know about it in the comments. :)

In this first instalment I will focus on the continent of Khul (and nearby islands).

Hachiman = Japan
Let's get the most obvious one out the way first - the land of Hachiman in south-eastern Khul is clearly based on feudal Japan. It features samurai, ronin, kappa, katanas, pagodas, shoguns and wingless dragons, just to name a handful! Sword of the Samurai portrays Hachiman as a more-or-less straightforward Japanese homage, except for the fact that the realm is part of a larger continent rather than being a chain of islands. Interestingly, Jamie Thomson, one of the co-authors of Sword of the Samurai, also co-wrote a Japanese-inspired setting for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay called Tetsubo. The setting was never published, but a PDF of the material can be found on the Fabled Lands blog.

Isles of the Dawn = China
Another obvious one, the setting for Black Vein Prophecy and The Crimson Tide is inspired by ancient China - see plentiful rice fields, monks and martial arts. Although Black Vein Prophecy toned down the Chinese influence, The Crimson Tide embraced it fully. In a similar situation to Hachiman (which is mentioned in the latter book), the Isles of Titan are a chain of islands, whereas our China is part of a massive continent. Another link to Japan is in the name itself - Isles of the Dawn is very similar to the Land of the Rising Sun!

 Kazan = Mongolia/Turkey
Several names from Daggers of Darkness are taken directly from the Book of Dede Korkut, which relates to the Oghuz Turks. The barbaric citizens of Kazan also seem to bear some similarity to the Golden Horde of the Mongol Empire.

Arion = Italy
A very tenuous connection here, but the two plumbers featured in Deathmoor, Oiram and Igiul, are based on the stars of Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. games. The location of Arion in the northern part of Khul, surrounded by grassy plains and forests also evokes (to my mind) visions of Italy.

Corda = Spain
Spain is close to Italy, and Corda is close to Arion - what more proof do you need? ;) The name is also very Spanish-sounding.

Neuberg = Germany/Holy Roman Empire
Neuberg itself is a very germanic name, as is Kleinkastel, a nearby frontier town. The lord of Kleinkastel is known as the Margrave, which is (as Wikipedia informs us) the medieval title for the military commander assigned to maintain the defense of one of the border provinces of the Holy Roman Empire. The largest territory of the Empire was, you guessed it, the Kingdom of Germany.

Wikipedia also helpfully points out that the Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in central Europe that developed during the Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806. That sounds like a real-word parallel for the Ximoran Protectorate (Ximoran, Djiretta, Anghelm, Buruna, Kalima, Kelther and Neuberg).

Inland Sea = Ancient Mesopotamia
Another easy one, as Seas of Blood takes many of its names from ancient real world locations (Assur, Calah, Kirkuk, Kish, etc.). The technology also seems to be from an earlier time, with oar-powered boats dominating the Sea.

Djiretta/Ashkyos/Kabesh = Persia
Just going off the names more than anything here, although the depictions of people and places in Master of Chaos is relatively standard medival european fantasy spec (although there is the robed weapons seller and the nomads in the desert).

Zagoula/Yaziel/Hyennish = North India
Again, a fairly thin connection here, but the robed Zagoulan raiders from Beneath Nightmare Castle always remind me of the Thuggee cultists from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

Marpesia/Kalim = South America?
Next to nothing has been revealed about these two huge islands, so why not the cultures of South America (Aztec, Mayan, etc.)?

Arrowhead Islands = Carribean
 Lots of tropical islands, Chaos-pirates roaming around - sounds like a good match to me! I'm envisioning a Pirates of the Carribean/Pirates Lego type theme.

Revenge of the Fanzine!

Happy New Year everyone!

I know I haven't been posting very often, but I did put my holidays to good use working on another project (more to come, hopefully).

In the meantime, issue #14 of the truely excellent Fighting Fantazine has just been released. Reviews a-plenty, an interview with Marc Gascoigne, a Lone Wolf solo adventure, and more! Stellar work as usual from Alexander Ballingall and the crew.

Download it HERE.

I have written the solo adventure for the next issue, Lords of Stone, so I had better hurry up and do the illustrations for it!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Titan's Timeline

Today I was poking around the timelines of the Demonic Three (Zagor, Balthus Dire & Zharradan Marr) and the Star Pupils (Yaztromo, Nicodemus & Pen Ty Kora), trying to figure out how the timelines of all six characters fit into the history of Titan. It was while doing this that I rediscovered my idea for working out the year that each FF book takes place in.

The book Titan - The Fighting Fantasy World puts the current date at 284AC. Having been first published in 1986, we could then assume that the earthly year 1986 = Titan year 284. If we follow that logic then we can work out what Titan year the events of a gamebook take place in by the earthly year of its gamebook publication. Now obviously this won't work for every gamebook, as many of them have already had their Titan dates specified (or at least narrowed down), but it could prove a useful system for dating those adventures that aren't tied down to any specific time.

The following timeline follows this method, but also takes into account any pre-existing lore (these titles are marked with an asterisk; many are estimated dates only). Let me know what you all think, and if there are any mistakes or omissions (and I'm certain there are - this was done a while back and is a work in progress):

175AC - The Tasks of Tantalon *
184AC - Legend of the Shadow Warriors *
187AC - Moonrunner *
279AC - Dead of Night *
281AC - City of Thieves

282AC - Island of the Lizard King
282AC - Scorpion Swamp
282AC - Fighting Fantasy
282AC - The Riddling Reaver
283AC - Deathtrap Dungeon *
283AC - Seas of Blood
283AC - Midnight Rogue *
283AC - Sorcery!
284AC - Titan - The Fighting Fantasy World *
284AC - Trial of Champions *
284AC - Crypt of the Sorcerer *
284AC - The Trolltooth Wars *
284AC - Creature of Havoc *
284AC - Demons of the Deep
284AC - Sword of the Samurai
284AC - Masks of Mayhem
285AC - Fighting Fantasy 10th Anniversary Yearbook *
285AC - Dungeoneer *
285AC - Blacksand! *
285AC - Demonstealer
285AC - Shadowmaster
285AC - The Warlock of Firetop Mountain *
285AC - Armies of Death *
285AC - Knights of Doom *
285AC - Battleblade Warrior *
285AC - Beneath Nightmare Castle
285AC - Phantoms of Fear
286AC - The Citadel of Chaos *
286AC - The Forest of Doom *
286AC - Caverns of the Snow Witch *
286AC - Chasms of Malice
286AC - Slaves of the Abyss
286AC - Stealer of Souls
286AC - Daggers of Darkness
286AC - Temple of Terror *
287AC - Portal of Evil
287AC - Vault of the Vampire
287AC - Fangs of Fury
288AC - Night of the Necromancer *
288AC - Master of Chaos
288AC - Black Vein Prophecy
288AC - Keep of the Lich-Lord
289AC - Tower of Destruction
290AC - The Crimson Tide
290AC - Siege of Sardath
290AC - Island of the Undead
291AC - Night Dragon
291AC - Spellbreaker
292AC - Deathmoor
294AC - Magehunter
294AC - Revenge of the Vampire
294AC - Curse of the Mummy
295AC - Return to Firetop Mountain *
295AC - Allansia *
304AC - Bloodbones
305AC - Howl of the Werewolf
307AC - Skullcrag *
308AC - Night of Necromancer
310AC - Eye of the Dragon *

The current year of 2014 would be the year 313AC on Titan, making next year the Year of the Ox. What do you think of this timeline? Let me know in the comments section below. :)

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Special Delivery

Look what finally arrived in the post!

Yep, its my Advanced Fighting Fantasy adaption of the classic Fighting Fantasy gamebook The Warlock of Firetop Mountain. I know it's been out for a while now, but this is the first time I've actually put my grubby mits on a physical copy. It's a real thrill for me to have contributed to an offical FF-related product and I'm proud to add it to my FF bookshelf (which you can catch glimpses of in the background of the photo).

There will be an article on the writing of this book in an upcoming issue of Fighting Fantazine (along with my new gamebook adventure The Lords of Stone, but more on that in a future post). I will delve into the many different sources that contributed to what is, I hope, the definitive look at Zagor's classic dungeon lair.

Special thanks to Graham Bottley for getting a copy signed by the legends themselves, Steve Jackson, Ian Livingstone and Russ Nicholson.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Back From the Pit...

Hi all, sorry for the long delay between posts. My life has been consumed with a recent wedding and honeymoon, both of which went wonderfully well. In a great bit of timing my copy of You Are The Hero finally arrived via courier just as we were about to set off down south for a week. It proved to be excellent reading material and I hope to write up my thoughts on it another time.

But for now I'm going to take a brief look at another iteration of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, the Lost Chapters game by Commando Kiwi. This game was developed as part of the Make Something Unreal competition in 2012. Four teams (Commando Kiwi - The Warlock of Firetop Mountain: Lost Chapters, Derp Studios - Citadel of Chaos: Dire Consequences, Digital Mage - Armies of Death: Rise of Agglax, Indigo Jam - Deathtrap Dungeon) each designed a game based on the Fighting Fantasy brand and using Epic Games Unreal game engine. Commando Kiwi's entry was judged the winner by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone.

The game itself is quite rough, and boils down to hacking and slashing your way through simple dungeons populated with blocky Orcs. It features many familiar locations from Firetop Mountain, such as the kitchen, torture chamber, chieftain's room and helmet room, as well as some new areas such as the mechanical room and tomb. I must admit that I've barely played the game itself, but I have spent some time trawling through its assets. In it I have discovered an interesting alternate version of our beloved Firetop Mountain.

In Lost Chapters the old infamous Warlock has taken over Firetop with his Orc army. Before he came along, however, the mountain fortress was once the seat of power of King Gregory. Gregory led his people to the mountain after the Battle of Spirescroft, where they constructed a mighty bastion to protect them from the wars that were ravaging Allansia.

Miners delved deep into the mountain, uncovering a vast network of caverns. Unfortunately tunnel collapses and Cave Spiders claimed too many lives and the King ordered the mine shafts to be sealed up forever.

Gregory lived from the years 353 - 426. After his death he was entombed within the fortress with his trusted retinue of knights.

At the time of the Warlock's invasion Sir Yotu Bourne, the sole heir of Gregory's line, was king of Firetop. The Orcs quickly took the outer halls, forcing Bourne to sabotage the great mechanical portcullis to hold them off while he and his men escaped through the caverns.

The King and his knights quickly returned to Firetop and fought their way to the throne room, where they found the Orc Chieftain waiting for them. The Orcs overwhelmed the knights and slaughtered them, ending the line of King Gregory once and for all. In the following years many brave and foolhardy adventurers have met their end inside Firetop. You, the player, are the latest to try their luck in its dark depths.

So, how do we reconcile this with what has already been established in FF canon? Dwarfs built the fortress inside Firetop, not Men. The years that Sir Gregory lived are in the distant future of the current timeline, so that doesn't fit either. Do we simply discard the storyline presented here, or is there some way to integrate it into the existing lore?

By the way, Lost Chapters should still be available to download for ios devices on the iTunes website.

Until next time, may your STAMINA never fail!