Friday, 8 May 2020

Gamebook Friday: Vampires - The Dead and the Damned

Unusually,* this week I put out the call on social media for people to tell me what they would like to read in this week's Gamebook Friday blog post. There were a significant number of responses** - everything from where do I get my ideas from to how my approach to Kickstarters has changed over the last 8 years - but the suggestion that piqued my interest came from Ian Reynolds on Facebook who wanted this post to be about "Anything to do with Horror and particular Vampires!"

Since I am currently writing a gamebook about a vampire, I thought it might be fun to go back and look at how vampires have been portrayed in my previous gamebooks. However, before we proceed, I should warn you that this post will include SPOILERS!

Still here? Then let's get started...

Bloodbones (2006)

A vampire bat made an appearance in my second published gamebook, Knights of Doom, but the first full-fledged vampire didn't turn up until my fourth Fighting Fantasy adventure was finally published by Wizard Books in 2006.

Bloodbones was originally commissioned by Puffin Books in 1996. At the time, the publisher was intending to reprint the gamebooks but having edited them all to be only 300 sections long, so that's how long Bloodbones was. However, when Wizard Books agreed to publish it ten years later, they wanted it to be the traditional 400 sections long, so I had to add some new material.***

I did make up some entirely new encounters, including the Rainforest Sprite and the vampiric pirate Jolly Roger. Here is his flag-draped coffin, as illustrated by Tony Hough.

Howl of the Werewolf (2007)

Only a year later, another vampire turned up - or rather, a vampiress - in my gothic horror gamebook, Howl of the Werewolf. This was the Machiavellian Countess Isolde, a.k.a. the Lady of Maun and the illustration of her and her Werebat flunky by Martin McKenna is still one of my favourite images from any of my books.

Temple of the Spider God (2011)

Jump forward four years to 2011 and I was busy writing my contribution to Tin Man Games Gamebook Adventures series of digital interactive fiction apps. This is probably one of the most classically 'fantasy' adventures I have written and one of the encounters contained within it involved an island that was ruled over by a vampire.

Shadows Over Sylvania (2012)

Shadows Over Sylvania, the only Warhammer gamebook I have ever written, is also the most blood-soaked gamebook I have ever written, and is chock full of vampires. The reason for this is that you actually get to play as a vampire and can even choose which vampire bloodline you are from. This ultimately brings you into conflict with the blood-sucking thralls of other vampire factions, most notably at the climax to the adventure.

Good luck getting your hands on a copy of this, if you don't already own one - they are as rare as vegan vampires.

Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland (2015)

2015 saw the publication of Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland, which kicked off the ACE Gamebooks series.

In it, I re-imagined the well-known characters from not only Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventure in Wonderland but also Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There. And when you have an antagonist called the Red Queen, it is not hard to imagine where I went with that...

Here she is, as illustrated by Kev Crossley.

Dracula - Curse of the Vampire (2021)

Which brings me to the book I am currently writing, Dracula - Curse of the Vampire. Dracula is the ultimate vampire story, and I'm hoping that Dracula - Curse of the Vampire. will go down in history as the ultimate gamebook re-telling of the ultimate vampire story.

In the adventure you can either play as one of the Vampire-Hunters who are trying to stop the blood-sucking Transylvanian warlord, or you can play as Count Dracula himself, and try to stop Professor Van Helsing et al. before they stop you.

Dracula - Curse of the Vampire is scheduled to be published next March. If you missed out on the original Kickstarter, you can still place a Late Pledge here.

And remember - the blood is the life!

* In fact I think it was the first time I've ever done this.

** Which may well form the topic of other Gamebook Friday blog posts in the future.

*** Or more accurately, in some cases, re-instated material.

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