Friday 25 February 2022

LarpCon 2022

Next weekend, LarpCon 2022 is taking place at the Whitwick & Coalville Leisure Centre, in Coalville, Leicestershire, from Friday 4 - Sunday 6 March.

This year the event will be celebrating 40 years of Fighting Fantasy, and Sir Ian Livingstone himself will be in attendance.

To find out more, including how to book your ticket for the event, click here.

Friday 18 February 2022

Blast from the Past! Stormslayer

As people in the UK batten down the hatches in the face of the wrath of Storm Eunice, the Warlock thought it would be timely to transport you back to a time when the weather could not only be fought but defeated.

Stormslayer was published in 2009 as the fourth title in the newly-revamped Wizard Books Series 2, as they have since become known. Written by Jonathan Green and illustrated by newcomer Stephen Player, the adventure was originally pitched as Eye of the Storm. However, the publishers decided that a name change was required, so as to avoid there being any confusion between the new gamebook and the still relatively recently published Eye of the Dragon.

The first FF adventure to be set in Femphrey in the Old World, Stormslayer had the weather mage Balthazar Sturm interfering with the climate in order to wreak his revenge upon those he saw as having passed him over for greatness in the past. Green describes the adventure as, “an attempt to write a book that was more like the original adventures and also one that didn't rely on Demons, Chaos or Undead for the villains. It was to be more elemental altogether.” As with the other titles published as part of Series 2, Stormslayer featured a set of three pre-generated characters.

Simon Flynn, publishing manager of Wizard Books’ parent imprint Icon at the time and the person responsible for the relaunched Fighting Fantasy series, wanted to find a new artist whose style might appeal to a younger audience. He settled on the San Francisco-based Stephen Player, who had previously illustrated some of Terry Pratchett’s books, amongst others. However, he only received the commission after he had submitted a test piece based on an encounter the hero has during the course of the adventure with an ill-tempered Giant.

“It was one of my all-time favourite jobs so far,” says Player of his sole Fighting Fantasy commission. “As a fantasy illustrator there is nothing I like better than drawing monsters. This was an orgy of monsters and mayhem; never a dull moment. I also love working in black and white line; you can put all your time into the design and atmosphere and it also means the process is shorter with no time for boredom to set in.

"Jon Green's imagination is so fertile, the locations, events and creatures in Stormslayer so exotic and varied. It was like illustrating the climactic moments from twenty-five different books.

“There were also new challenges. How to keep the poses different and fresh when so many figures are advancing towards the viewer was one issue I had to wrestle with. Illustrating a collection of objects and weapons in an interesting manner was another.”

Stormslayer has been translated into French and was published by Gallimard Jeunesse in 2013 under the title Le Maître des Tempêtes (which translates as 'The Master of Storms').

While Stormslayer has yet to be republished by Scholastic Books, the similarly-themed Crystal of Storms by Rhianna Pratchett is still available.

Friday 11 February 2022

Deathtrap House of Dungeon Hell!

Publisher Tin Man Games is having a sale on Steam and, as a result, both Steve Jackson's House of Hell and Sir Ian Livingstone's Deathtrap Dungeon are currently available for only £1.15 each!

If you've not tried the Tin Man Games Fighting Fantasy adaptations yet, you are in for a treat!

You can make the gamebooks as easy or hard as you like and even turn on a special 'Free Read' mode to play the book like an old-school cheater, while Unlimited Bookmarks allow you to revisit difficult sections as many times as you like.

A map feature makes it easy to keep track of everywhere you have explored during current and previous playthroughs, and an Automated Adventure Sheet keeps track of your stats, inventory, and any knowledge gained during your journey. 

Deathtrap Dungeon features original artwork by Iain McCaig, which is all viewable through a collectable artwork gallery, while House of Hell has a specially composed, atmospheric score and sound effects.

Friday 4 February 2022

Dice Men Cover Reveal!

The cover for DICE MEN: The Origin Story of Games Workshop has been released by publishers Unbound, and it's another classic in the making.

The cover features FF fan favourite Iain McCaig's artwork for the original Games Workshop carrier bag.

The book tells the story of the first 10 years of the global games company, Games Workshop, and the struggles faced by Steve Jackson, Sir Ian Livingstone and John Peake at the time.

The book currently has 1538 supporters through Unbound, the crowdfunding publisher, and there's still time to lend your support, before DICE MEN: The Origin Story of Games Workshop is published this autumn.

In other news, did you see Sir Ian Livingstone on BBC 1's The Apprentice last night? In case you missed it, you can catch it again here, on iPlayer, if you are in the UK.