The War Torn Kingdom
Kampf um das Königreich (German)
Das Reich des Krieges (German)
Le Royaume déchiré (French)
Nicholson, Russ (interior)
December 1, 2010
0330336142 / 9780330336147
095673720X / 9780956737205 (reissue)
1909905232 / 9781909905238 (large-format reissue)
679 sections |
"Sokara, a nation at war with itself."
Not as skillfully written (or rather "constructed") as the sequels, but nevertheless a must have and much easier to play than the others.
The book contains Sokara, parts of the surrounding oceans as well as the Druid's Isle.
This is one of my all time favorite gamebooks. This book (and series) gives you a huge amount of freedom with some very simple game mechanics. The combat and skill checks are quick and easy. The check boxes and password system are implemented very well. Some might argue that Fabled Lands are heavy on Game and light on Book, and they might have a point. You won't find any meaty quest to undertake here; instead, you'll be faced with dozens of mini-quests, some of them lasting only a couple paragraphs. One thing that I find really cool about this series is that it really gives you a sense of an economy. You can buy, sell, steal, invest and even purchase a trade ship to make your fortune. If you like gamebooks and haven't read any Fabled Lands, do yourself a favor and track this one down. It's a lot of fun.
The War Torn Kingdom, which is the first book in the Fabled Lands series, is an ideal starting point. My first foray was as a rogue, and I decided to visit the big city. I immediately lost all my money gambling [damn those loaded dice], then I followed a fellow reveler into the street. He was set upon by thieves, and I forgot my calling as a rogue and helped him when I really should have robbed him. I then went to the temple to get a quest to get some golden armour from up north. So with no money, I set out on the dusty roads to seek my fortune. I have been instructed by she who must be obeyed to go and watch the potatoes don't boil over. (to be continued...)
While not as intricate or as fun to explore as later books in the series, The War Torn Kingdom still makes an effective introduction to this truly one-of-a-kind series.
As the title implies, this book covers a kingdom embroiled in civil war. You can choose to side with one or the other, and neither one is really "good" or "evil," more like "nice" and "stern." That was an option you almost never get in other gamebooks. For that matter, you almost never got to choose for yourself which of numerous gods your character worships, but in Fabled Lands, you do. It mainly comes down to rerolls of what stat you think you'll need the most, though.
The writing didn't really stick out among gamebooks, but there was one part that I remember very clearly. If you take up a quest to steal something from a certain temple, after you've gotten past all the traps and put your quivering hands on the loot, you're asked to make a sanctity roll. If you succeed, you're cursed for defiling a temple. If you fail (which is more likely), you don't feel bad about your bit of divine larceny and suffer no ill effects. That was rather amusing.
I had avoided this whole series for a long time. I feared that, being an "open world," it would be highly simulationist, with lots of bookkeeping, providing rations for every day, paying expenses etc.
Well, it turns out there's rather less of these chores than in your average Lone Wolf or FF gamebook. You're free to wander the kingdom of Sokara. Many roads don't even have random encounters. You'll only have to pay for inns if you're injured, and time isn't accounted for at all - with the exception of a clever checkbox system, which makes sure certain events only happen once.
The game system with its six basic stats is simple and interesting. Six classes give you different starting stats, and the rest will change during your adventures, reflecting your development. Everything just works well. Dice rolls are rather rare, but on some occasions, I was trembling while I rolled. Always a good sign.
So I kept walking around, leisurely looking for quests that would suit me. This is not a world without stories, it is a world with lots of little hidden stories. Sure, occasionally there is some tedium backtracking your ways, and the quests could be longer, but still, this is a beginner's book, and a very enjoyable one.
|Errata:||Section 85: option "416" > 364.|
Section 358: at the beginning add "Gain the codeword 'Apple' if you do not already have it".
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