Choose Your Own Adventure…

2008 April 16
by Dante

Our good buddy Yax over at DungeonMastering posted up a whopping 83 free D&D Adventures. I don’t know whether it was the boldly advertised “adventures” in the title or the massive amounts of caffeine that I have ingested tonight, but it got me to thinking about the old school “Choose Your Own Adventure” book series.

I remember that one such book named “Space Vampire” (by Edward Packard) used to scare the crap out of me when I was a kid. It wasn’t the storyline, per se, but there were several “failure” illustrations that showed your gaunt dessicated corpse after the Space Vampire did his thing. Judith Mitchell certainly had the “creepy enough to seep into my dreams” illustration thing down.

Write your own adventure, or use a stock adventure?

This is one of the eternal questions, and it comes down to matter of preference. Personally, I find it generally easier for me to invest myself in a storyline or plot point if I create it from the ground up. I tend to either forget (I’m not much of a note-taker) or fail miserably at adapting the stock adventure elements to my own storyline, so I tend to prefer hand-rolling my own modular adventures.

There was a small part of me that was somewhat compelled to write my own “Choose Your Own Adventure” book when I was a kid, and I have to believe that was some of my proto-DM tendencies wanting to be released to the world.

Has anyone else been otherwise inspired by these books, or am I just particularly insane for keeping a special place in my heart for them?

5 Responses leave one →
  1. DNAphil permalink
    April 17, 2008

    I loved the Choose Your Own Adventure books. As a Kid I collected them like a madman. I also got the D&D ones.

    But my favorites were the Fighting Fantasy books by Steve Jackson, that were there own mini-game in each one. Perfect for an only child, and aspiring GM.

    I recently got to buy Choose Your Own Adventure books for my Nephew, who loved them.

    My favorite was The Third Planet from Altair.

  2. Anonymous permalink
    April 17, 2008

    That’s how I describe D&D to people who ask what it’s like. It’s a choose your own adventure book, plus a tactical battles game. Man I was bad at making decisions back then. I always ended up dying on the first decision.

  3. Michael permalink
    April 17, 2008

    These books lead directly to RPGs for me. Anyone remember the Zork books they did? Loosely based on the world the game was set in? I found the much more rewarding than trying to guess what the computer was trying to get me to type…

    I had another set of books, Lone Wolf, that were even closer to D&D, from what I remember. I think you actually used a character sheet, a 6 sided die, had some equipment, and hit points. The book sort of acted as the DM.

  4. Vanir permalink
    April 17, 2008

    The Third Planet From Altair!!! Also my favorite!

    We had a lot of fantasy-related novels like this. One was Sword Daughter’s Quest. I read those Zork books, too — my brother was a big Zork fan but I didn’t have the patience for the game either. 🙂 I was also a huge fan of the Be An Interplanetary Spy series.

    I read the HELL out of those D&D Endless Quest books. I really liked how your character was usually either just some average joe or already an established adventurer but they never rammed what class you were or any other game mechanic down your throat. You were just in a place and you had some abilities or options you could pick and it usually felt pretty natural, at least to a 10 year old.

    Speaking of, I had one of my first nerd-fantasy crushes on the Blue Lady from The Endless Catacombs. Ah, to be young and learning about boobs and sorcery for the first time again…..

  5. Dave The Game permalink
    April 17, 2008

    I read a lot of Choose Your Own Adventures, the D&D version of them, the Asterix version of them, and some Lone Wolf.

    Yep, that probably goes along with DMing…

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