Friday, 10 April 2015


Okay so, here’s the big announcement.

This is a decision that I’ve been continually putting off. It’s something I’ve always known that I’d eventually do, but not something that I’ve been particularly eager or excited to get started. That isn’t to say that I’m not looking forward to it – trust me, I am. Playing through the Lone Wolf series is something I’ve wanted to do since this blog began.

But, I’ve been avoiding it, because getting it set up, getting the ground rules laid down, are a bit of a chore.

The Lone Wolf series wasn’t a massive part of my childhood, unlike Fighting Fantasy. Although it’s still massively popular, it was just something that never really clicked with me. Sure, I was aware of it. I knew that it was a series in which you grew stronger as you played through them, in order. So you really should play through them like that. Like Sorcery!, but even bigger.

 But in terms of my own childhood, it never panned out quite like that. Rumour held that in order to ‘win’ the later books, you needed to have a certain weapon, only available in the second book in the series. I don’t, and still don’t, know if that’s true. But I took this to mean that the second book, Fire in the Water, was a must-own if I was to play this series. And sadly, it was out of print at that time. And extremely difficult for me to find.

By the time I had found a copy, followed by the third some years later, my interest in the Lone Wolf series had subsided.

Now, since this blog was initially created to a- focus on the Fighting Fantasy series, and b- to discuss personal nostalgia, I had put off the idea of embracing the Lone Wolf series. Until now.

Now like I said, laying the ground rules for this series is a bit harder than the Fighting Fantasy ones. Here are the ground rules that I’m establishing.

1- The core rules stay the same. Each book will be played ‘blind’, without any attempt to refresh my knowledge of the adventure or its requirements. Each book will be played fairly and genuinely, with combat and tests done via dice rolls, no ‘turning back to previous segments’ if I don’t like the outcome, etc. If the adventure qualifies as ‘too short’ for a blog post, I’ll restart it.

2- I will be using the Project Aon versions of the books, as these are the ones that are most accurate to the ‘nostalgic’ printed versions. This means that the reworked versions such as the Mongoose ones are not going to be featured.

3- In order to replicate the idea of progressing the character’s abilities with the completion of each adventure, the Kai skills will increase in each book as though the previous adventures had all been successfully completed – whether they have been successfully completed or not. Yes, you may consider this cheating. I call it ‘showcasing the franchise’s strengths’. That’s my justification, and I’m sticking to it.

4- I will determine starting stats and equipment in the first book, and the statistics will remain set for the entire series. Equipment will vary from book to book, with the exception of known 'special items' which WILL be brought over from one book to the following ones REGARDLESS of whether I died in their respective books or not. That is, if I find the Jewelled Mace in book 3, it will be in my inventory when I play book 4, even if I died during the later parts of book 3. The exception to this rule is if I lose said item and do not recover it by the time that I finish my adventure (ie, if I gain the Sommerswerd in book 2, lose it in book 3 and then die in book 3 before I recover it, I would then NOT have the Sommerswerd in book 4).

And now, the timescales we’ll be dealing with here. I will endeavour to upload a playthrough of Lone Wolf every other Friday. It may take longer at times, but that’s what we’re going to aim towards.

So, how you know. Big announcement, a lot going on. Should be a blast.

(If you've enjoyed this article, be sure to check out Justin MacCormack's two bestselling collections of dark fantasy stories - "Return to 'Return to Oz'" and "Cthulhu Doesn't Dance". His newest book, "Diary of a gay teenage zombie", is currently available for pre-order now)


  1. Regarding rule 3, the story might feel choppy if you don't win each book. Lone Wolf will be time travelling into the future with implanted memories.

    It would make more sense to win each book, even if that requires streamlining methods like writing more of the winning path sequence on paper with each fail, holding off the bookkeeping and random number generation (after X legitimate tries) until the winning path is found, making each book a save checkpoint, etc. It's a tough call on how much cheating is reasonable given that Dever was something of gambling enthusiast.

  2. That was something i considered heavily, and was one of the main reasons that I was hesitant to go into this series. I simply don't have the time to dedicate to a full series of 'until i win' playthroughs, between holding down a full time job and my writing career. That, and the concept of playing them blind and going through it without prior knowledge is something i did in the blog until now, so I really wanted to keep this as appropriate to the previous ones as possible.

  3. That's understandable as there are so many.

    I think many people felt some apprehension from uncertainty over the LW rules. I remember building a powerful character up to book 7 or 8, then I dared to jump ahead to The Captives of Kaag, book 14, because that was all I had. There was no chance to win even the first battle, and all my efforts seemed wasted. I might be remembering it wrong, but the books reuse the same (underpowered) character creation from book 1 and imply this will work in stand alone adventures. Tender flake LW is squashed like an insect right away.

    Apparent oversights hurt the series for me. Once the second set of disciplines is introduced, we don't even get a sentence stating if the healing from the earlier set still applies.

  4. In anticipation, I have dug out my copy of Caverns Of Kalte - the only Lone Wolf book I currently own.