The Sword of the Bastard Elf
is a choose-your-own adventure that run on the Something Awful forums in June and July 2015. It’s a parody of the Fighting Fantasy series of gamebooks which I used to collect in the 80s and 90s.
The premise for the thread was that I’d found an old copy of the book and wanted to run through it with the forums posters making the choices. To make this work as a game I came up with stats and combat systems that superficially resemble those in the Fighting Fantasy series but actually differ pretty significantly. I also introduced item cards to represent the objects collected during the adventure and to explain their effects:
The Fighting Fantasy formula of a few choices at the bottom of each page with frequent game-overs would have been too rigid a format to be any fun for the SA forums. To get around this at the start of each update I presented the page with the options part missing – usually ripped off or badly scanned. The forums posters suggested the next move and I completed the page with the most popular of these choices made in the thread (plus whatever else I felt like):
The story ran for about a month with one update per day. The sketchiness of some of the drawings is due to the speed with which I needed to draw them to keep up with the posting schedule – I often didn’t have time to do more than a rough draft before uploading.
As the playthrough went on the suggestions from the forums posters (like game mechanics and ideas for decisions that weren’t selected) made it into the game. An example of this is the ability to take item cards from what could be seen in illustrations, and later on to combine them into other items.
The entire adventure is available online.