How to Write a FF Adventure: Part I
Greetings Adventurers! I hope you enjoy this complete Fighting Fantasy™ article that will reveal the inner most workings of designing, constructing and play testing amateur Fighting Fantasy™ adventures. I have gathered many of the Gamebooks most treasured secrets alongside some insightful information from Steve Jackson, Ian Livingstone and Jon Green themselves on how they have constructed adventures. Interested? Excellent! If you would like to write a well-written solo adventure that involve the reader and draws them into your imagination the following article is for you.
While all Fighting Fantasy™ adventures can at first appear quite straightforward to replicate, many you have discovered that is quite simply not the case. You need be committed and patient, familiar with the rules, organised and above all creative. So don’t start just yet. I know many of you are eager to write epic quests and introduce more complex rules. That which follows is a comprehensive guide to how to put pen to paper in order to write your own amateur adventure. Let us take our first steps …
Writing a Fighting Fantasy™ adventure is a time-consuming business. Just ask Ian, Steve and Jon Green. To avoid facing many of the problems beginners usually encounter your first priority should be to sit down with note paper and take time to throw around some ideas. Before writing any adventure begin by first spending some time working through any story ideas, battle encounters, challenging puzzles, traps, item collecting, new attributes and the settings that you would like the reader to experience. Creativity is the first hurdle you must face when setting yourself a goal of writing an amateur Fighting Fantasy™ adventure, and to save time and mistakes at a later stage plan out what you would like to include and discard those that you don’t like. These ideas will give you a starting block for the adventures main plot, story-line and possible encounters, which your reader’s hero will follow during the adventure. An adventure written around a sea setting will obviously provide plenty of scope for sea battles, sea creatures, and exploration in the ocean depths as well as on remote islands. Maybe even a pirate or too?
Once you have a basic premise, and lots of note paper you can begin to plot the path of adventure and whether you would like it to be linear or non-linear. If you choose to let your adventure have a single path to victory the Gamebook will offer little re-playability and introduce your many encounters in the same order every time the player reads it.
Creating an adventure that is non-linear bestows the possibility to create multiple paths or supplementary plotlines, and while harder to construct, promote a readers ability to replay the book since they can go through the adventure again and again in order to visit sections they missed previously. Non-linear adventures are far more popular as they bestow the illusion of choice to the player; reduces the linearity of the Gamebook and create a feeling that they have more freedom of control within the limited confines of the book. Offering alternative paths at the very start or during an adventure reduces the linearity of the Gamebook however care must be taken, as penalising a player for stepping off ‘the one true path’ is never popular with fans. Alternative paths if offered provide an excellent method of presenting sub quests and adventures that deviate from the main plot, but this can also affect the number of references that would otherwise be used for plot and narrative.
With this choice made, you are left with another conundrum. Do you include multiple endings? Multiple endings are another device that promote and enhance re-playability while making them more memorable. Offering a reader one of several alternative endings can prove immensely popular and ultimately provide a reader with a greater challenge of accomplishing the same objective. One to three alternative endings enable you to offer more than the usual take on the victory over the evil wizard, and instead allow excellent opportunities to shock or surprise your reader. Maybe even offer a climatic cliff-hanger! The Warlock’s own personal pet crow was recently despatched to the dangerous dungeons and lofty towers of renowned writer Steve Jackson, Ian Livingstone and Jon Green, together with a scroll commanding that they provide us with information on how to create a solo masterpieces such as Creature of Havoc, Crypt of the Sorcerer, and Bloodbones or they would be turned into Flapknot’s and sent to live in the dangerous, marshlands of the Kaylong Marsh in western Chiang Mai. This is what Steve and Jon quickly sent us…Ian’s scroll I have been informed on its way protected by armed strong-arms…