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Series - Légendes et maléfices

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Language:French
Publisher: Hachette -- France
Categories: Complexity Level : Advanced (Full Game System)
Format : Paperback
Game System : Combat
Game System : Inventory Management
Game System : Randomization Method : Dice
Game System : Scores
Genre : Fantasy
Translated Into: Leggende e malefici (Italian)

This was originally envisioned as a four-book series. In each of the first three books, the reader would play a different character (a disgraced warrior-prince, a thief and a wizard) and in the final volume, it would have been possible to pick any of these characters as the protagonist. Unfortunately, the publisher aborted the series after the first entry, so only one volume exists. The book’s game system features several interesting ideas. Players have four attributes: Constitution, Strength, Dexterity and Intelligence. Constitution serves as hit points and is equal to the sum of the other three attributes (whose values are determined by point distribution). As Constitution lowers due to injury, the other attributes decrease as well (with their points lowered according to the reader's preferences). There are no random numbers used in the book; when a character must perform an action, his or her relevant attribute is compared to a difficulty table, and this determines success or failure. The reader must carefully manage the character's attributes in order to be able to succeed at critical points. Players must also keep track of gold and inventory, and in a final interesting touch, certain rooms may be searched, leading to the acquisition of items from a "search and discoveries table."

Gamebooks

1. La Naissance du mal

User Comments

This series, like La Saga du Prêtre Jean, met a sudden demise with the perceived end of the popularity of gamebooks. The authors wanted to write four books, all of them part of the same story. Each of the first three would have allowed the reader to play a different character (an unfairly-fallen prince warrior, a sympathetic and cunning thief and a powerful wizard). During the final book, the reader would have been able to choose his favourite character from those three and played using him. Unfortunately, though, only the first book was released.

La Naissance du mal uses an original set of rules. First of all, you don't need any dice. The character (Fanwyr) has four characteristics: Constitution, Strength, Dexterity and Intelligence. Constitution is the sum of the three others and representing your hit points. You start with 30 points in Constitution, and you must divide them between Strength, Dexterity and Intelligence. However, Fanwyr is a warrior, so you must allocate at least 12 points to Strength. It is rather logical but it limits your possibilities. I think we can decently imagine that, in the other books, the rogue would have had at least 12 in Dexterity, and the wizard 12 in Intelligence. All of this could have led to some interesting choices for the final book, but unfortunately we'll never know.

This system looks easy but there's something you should pay attention to. Constitution is the sum of the three characteristics and must ALWAYS be. So, if you lose four Constitution points, you must remove some points from the characteristic of your choice (or divide the loss of points between several characteristics). You probably wonder what happens when you must test your Strength or your Dexterity without dice. There's the following "Table de Difficulté" (Difficulty Table):

Very Easy: 1 - 3
Easy: 4 - 6
Normal: 7 - 10
Hard: 11 - 12
Exceptional (or Very Hard): 13 - 14
Miraculous: 15
When you need to test your Dexterity, for example, the text asks you if you can succeed at a "Hard Challenge". If your current Dexterity is 11 or higher, you succeed. When you fight, you test your Strength in the same way. You don't always automatically lose if you don't have enough Strength points; sometimes you are wounded (and lose Constitution points) and have another challenge to pass. Easy and deadly, but Fanwyr has at least 12 Strength points (when he's not wounded, of course), so the fights aren't the most difficult part of this book.

The rest of the rules set is interesting too: you have a belt with six pouches, and ten coins are considered to be one item, so you can't keep a lot of money on hand. There are three types of coins: "liards" (copper coins), "deniers" (silver coins) and "couronnes" (gold coins). 1 couronne = 5 deniers = 50 liards. So you should only keep "couronnes" if you can; otherwise, you'll soon have no place for important items. Fanwyr starts with no money at all.

There's one last twist: the "Search & Discoveries Table". Sometimes in the book, you can search for items in a room or on a dead body. Instead of telling you what you found, the book has you take the last digit of your reference number and look in one of the two tables to see what you found. It can be money, magic weapons, miscellanous magic items or even cursed items.

--Feldrin

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