Project Update: “The Dawnless Valley” Gamebook

WIP Cover

For those who don’t know, I’ve been working on a dark fantasy gamebook* for over a year. It’s been through several rounds of playtesting and lots of editing.

*A gamebook is like a choose-your-own-adventure book but with RPG-like rules and mechanics. Typically, you create and customize your own character, acquire items, and there’s usually some sort of combat resolution mechanic.

Work on this project has been erratic. I’ve taken time off to work on other projects, hone my writing, or even just due to burnout. I’ve learned a lot about writing and creating gamebooks while working on this book.

What is it?

A dead elven empire.
A valley buried under mist.
Lost treasures waiting to be plundered.
And a king who would kill the sun.

The Dawnless Valley is a solo RPG gamebook. It’s a book you play and a game you read. You will begin with creating your own character (or choosing a pre-made archetype) then reading through the rules to learn how the game is played. Once ready, you begin your adventure at entry number 1 and read the paragraphs presented.

Where are we now?

I am in the late editing stage, most of the way through the book. Below is a picture showing where I am and what’s left for this pass of editing.

This image shows a map of the final boss encounter and the different endings. Lots of branching. Red bubbles are parts I’m removing, while blue bubbles are entries I’m altering. Green is just to help me find the start point for the last encounter. The green check-marks indicate which entries I’ve already edited. Not much left!

What’s next?

Once this stage of editing is complete, I’ll run one last playtest. I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback before and hope to get more players. A game can never have too much playtesting.

Once the playtesting is done, then it’ll be implementing any changes needed based on feedback, then one last round of edits. After that, find a publisher crazy enough to publish the book. I plan on aiming for game publishers first since gamebooks seem to be growing in popularity in the tabletop world again, and I doubt many traditional book publishers would know what to do with a gamebook.

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