Lone Wolf choose-your-own-adventure series
August 28, 2010 8:24 AM   Subscribe

The Lone Wolf 'choose your own adventure' series [previously] is considered by many to have been the best of its kind. Author Joe Dever licensed the books in 1999 to be distributed for free online. Project Aon, the organization which distributes the books has now released a dedicated client for playing Lone Wolf, automating all record keeping and randomization. Kieron Gillen, comic book writer and games journalist, writes an appreciation of the series and review of the new client. If you don't want take the time to go through it on your own, rpg.net had a 'let's play' series starting here (index here). But go play it yourself, epic fantasy adventure awaits!
posted by Kattullus (51 comments total) 95 users marked this as a favorite

 
There are some issues with Windows 7 compatibility. If you have problems, go into the start menu, find the Seventh Sense program, right-click and select 'troubleshoot compatibility.' That will fix your problems and you're ready to go.
posted by Kattullus at 8:25 AM on August 28, 2010


Thanks to you and Juv3nal for pointing this out to me! I love this. Now, if only Stoke could win this game and I'd have the perfect beginning to the weekend.
posted by josher71 at 8:31 AM on August 28, 2010


Lone Wolf at TV Tropes. The "Unwinnable" entry snagged me more than once when I read these as a kid.
posted by gerryblog at 8:53 AM on August 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Does it allow cheating?
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:54 AM on August 28, 2010


Books I - IV have also been converted for play on the Nintendo DS, if you have homebrew-running capabilities. I'd never heard of the books before playing the first one on the DS and they're quite enjoyable, actually!
posted by Monster_Zero at 8:56 AM on August 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dever also wrote a series of post-apocalyptic, Fallout/Road Warrior style books called Highway Holocaust, also available to play.
posted by griphus at 9:05 AM on August 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


There is a great user-created mod for NWN based on some of these, too.
posted by Back to you, Jim. at 9:10 AM on August 28, 2010


The "Unwinnable" entry snagged me more than once when I read these as a kid.

Seriously. On the computer, how do I keep a finger in one page while I flip ahead and make sure I made a good choice?
posted by inigo2 at 9:21 AM on August 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


I used to love these as a kid. I actually bought the whole series on eBay a couple years back. Can't wait to give the client a try.

Hopefully an Android client will be along soon!
posted by speeb at 9:46 AM on August 28, 2010


I owe a huge debt to Joe Dever, and to the Lone Wolf books. I think I read Flight from the Dark somewhere around age 9, and it was the series that secured my love of reading. I have fond memories of wandering into B. Dalton or Waldenbooks to check to see if the next one had come out. And then the early internet led me to the unabridged British versions of the later books. Wow, a surprising amount of my life has involved these books.

It's also worth noting that Mongoose Publishing is reissuing the series and they promise to actually put out 29-32 when Joe Dever finishes them. They also have a multi-player rpg that's been getting mixed reviews on Drivethru RPG.
posted by khaibit at 9:47 AM on August 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Does it allow cheating?
drew@ingot:~/SeventhSense-1.6.2/src$ vi rnt.cpp

    //char fto[256];
    //sprintf(fto,"data/books/book%d/rnt.dat",book);
    MY_FILE file = game->loader.file.open_to_read(ss.str());
    if (!file.physfs_file)
    {
        if (game->diag) printf("Couldn't open random number table for book %d...\n"
               "Going ahead with boring defaults...\n", book);
    }

    for (int i = 0; i <>loader.file.readValue(&file);
            /*if (file.physfs_file) 
                table[j][i] = game->loader.file.readValue(&file);
            else
                table[i][j] = j;*/
            table[i][j] = 9;
    if (file.physfs_file) 
        game->loader.file.close(&file);
-- INSERT --                                                  104,22-29     11%
Sort of
posted by 7segment at 9:52 AM on August 28, 2010


Well, if the actress who plays Amy Pond likes them, I'm gonna have to check them out...
posted by Ian A.T. at 9:53 AM on August 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


HOLY SHIT I FUCKING LOVED THESE BOOKS

IN 7TH GRADE I SCREEN PRINTED A T-SHIRT WITH THE SOMMERSWERD ON IT

IT LOOKED TERRIBLE
posted by Greg Nog at 9:54 AM on August 28, 2010 [12 favorites]


Man, I remember these. My parents wouldn't let me play D&D (because I "didn't need those kinds of friends"), so I spent hours and hours playing through Lone Wolf books instead. And, of course, had no friends at all.

Fun books, though!
posted by vorfeed at 10:01 AM on August 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Joining the chorus of "Holy crap I remember these!"

I read one of these books while stuck at a cottage when I was 12 or 13. Hadn't thought about it AT ALL in years until I saw the words "Kai" and "Magna Kai" in some of the links and some really awkward pre-teen memories came flooding back.
posted by Kirk Grim at 10:04 AM on August 28, 2010


I loved these books too. I would buy the new ones that are coming out, but they only seem to be available in the UK. Maybe I can play these without cheating for once.
posted by demiurge at 10:05 AM on August 28, 2010


Hmm, never heard of this! It looks interesting, thanks!
posted by Calzephyr at 10:22 AM on August 28, 2010


The Lone Wolf books seem to be a primarily British thing; being an American, I have similar fond memories of "Wizards, Warriors, and You" instead, which I realize didn't have nearly the depth of "gameplay" as Lone Wolf, but were still pretty good.
posted by luvcraft at 10:27 AM on August 28, 2010


Oh dear god. I bought three of these books in junior high.

You just killed my entire Saturday. Dammit.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:30 AM on August 28, 2010


The typeface, yurgh -- until they bring the client in line with the far prettier HTML that Project Aon proper features, I don't know.
posted by lumensimus at 10:37 AM on August 28, 2010


Unwinnable

It's got nothing on Starship Traveller.
posted by Artw at 10:49 AM on August 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ha, never mind -- the data\fonts directory takes any font files you please.
posted by lumensimus at 10:52 AM on August 28, 2010


Dever also wrote a series of post-apocalyptic, Fallout/Road Warrior style books called Highway Holocaust, also available to play.

I wore my copies of this completely to a frazzle as a kid and wound up buying another set on ebay just to have them in my bookcase for the kids. AWESOME.
posted by rhythim at 11:05 AM on August 28, 2010


It's 2am where I am. I saw this post at 10pm and thought, "Hmm, that looks interesting, I'll take a look later before I go to bed."

At 10:30pm, all sleepy-like but curious, I clicked through to the Seventh Sense website from the RPS feature. I've since gone through the first three books and am completely exhausted and would happily keep on going except I would be utterly wasted tomorrow if I didn't get some sleep into my system. The flesh is weak...

I loved these books as a kid, and it turns out I still love them as a nearly middle-aged man. Thanks Kattullus for bringing it to the blue, and thanks of awesomeness to Dever and the Seventh Sense people for sharing these things with the world for the awesome price of free.
posted by WalterMitty at 11:10 AM on August 28, 2010


The Lone Wolf 'choose your own adventure' series is considered by many to have been the best of its kind

Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man. Especially if you played The Warlock of Firetop Mountain or any other of the better Fighting Fantasy gamebooks.

One of the first complex adventure games I ever wrote was an Atari 8-bit version of the FF book City of Thieves (basically a rip of Leiber's Lankhmar). It started off as the entire text of the book, with endless GOTOs. I quickly found out there was no room in the limited RAM for the basic interpreter, all the text, and some sound effects and joystick-drawn gfx. So I split the text into simpler chunks of commonly repeated phrases and POKE'd/PEEK'd into them to create paras. Then I found I could control the cassette drive to do staged loading. During the loading, thanks to the Atari's multi-head reader, recorded music played as the code was loading (mainly special effect noises from Doctor Who and Top of the Pops). Eventually the program worked, more or less, but the code was an unholy abomination. I wish I still had it so I could scare my grandchildren with it.

But the CYOA things were special I recall seeing Dungeon Master for the first time and thinking "Hey, it's like those books, only on screen".
posted by meehawl at 11:11 AM on August 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


I absolutely loved the Lone Wolf series as a kid and am looking forward to playing these again when I have the free time to spare.
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:25 AM on August 28, 2010


*SPOILER* for seemingly unbeatable thing in either book 2 or 3 (don't remember for sure, think it's 2)

Further spoiler, specific incident description
posted by juv3nal at 1:13 PM on August 28, 2010


Solution spoiler

errata to first spoiler in previous comment
posted by juv3nal at 1:22 PM on August 28, 2010



The typeface, yurgh -- until they bring the client in line with the far prettier HTML that Project Aon proper features, I don't know.


I don't much like any of the typefaces, but you do have quite a number to choose from in the options/ font settings if you didn't know about that. I ended up settling on Beryllium.
posted by juv3nal at 1:24 PM on August 28, 2010


I liked the Lone wolf books OK...until I found Grailquest.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:25 PM on August 28, 2010 [3 favorites]



Lone Wolf at TV Tropes. The "Unwinnable" entry snagged me more than once when I read these as a kid.


...and only after do I see that all my abbr-ing was pointless.
posted by juv3nal at 1:26 PM on August 28, 2010


...and I messed up the solution spoiler one anyways.
posted by juv3nal at 1:28 PM on August 28, 2010


Grailquest! OMG! I remember that! It was HILARIOUS!

Now, I was twelve. So it probably isn't hilarious at all. So shall I go find it? Hmmm, decisions decisions.
posted by alasdair at 3:51 PM on August 28, 2010


Mitty - I had a very similar experience when I first found Project Aon a couple of years ago. I love these books. And looking forward to showing them to my son when he's a bit older.
posted by rbellon at 4:10 PM on August 28, 2010


vorfeed: "Man, I remember these. My parents wouldn't let me play D&D (because I "didn't need those kinds of friends"), so I spent hours and hours playing through Lone Wolf books instead. And, of course, had no friends at all."

This is exactly how these books entered my life.

I look forward to trying this out. For some reason I could never get into the online version before, but I think this will be the jump-start I needed.
posted by HSWilson at 4:11 PM on August 28, 2010


SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:15 PM on August 28, 2010


In fact, my son's name is Kai. I just made that connection. Holy crap - I think Joe Dever may have subconsciously influenced what I named my child. Maybe I should tell my wife....
posted by rbellon at 4:17 PM on August 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


This was before my generation but looks really awesome. I can report that the standalone version of the windows program works very nicely under WINE in Debian.
posted by aesacus at 4:43 PM on August 28, 2010


We're actually working on putting out some of these sort of thing under the Kingdom of Loathing banner. Lone Wolf and Grailquest were my favorites as a kid, so it's kind of awesome to be a part of the new resurgence.

Question for you all: Did any of you, ever, play through an entire book actually using the combat system all the way through? Rolling the dice, tracking the stats, not cheating when you lost?
posted by rifflesby at 6:40 PM on August 28, 2010


My god I love the internet! I used to cruise the local used bookstore weekly in search of old choose your own adventure titles, Lone Wolf top among them. The D&D branded ones were not bad, either, at least in one or two cases. But, every Lone Wolf book I enjoyed.
posted by absalom at 6:53 PM on August 28, 2010


Question for you all: Did any of you, ever, play through an entire book actually using the combat system all the way through? Rolling the dice, tracking the stats, not cheating when you lost?

I did, yeah.
posted by infinitywaltz at 9:14 PM on August 28, 2010


I liked the Lone wolf books OK...until I found Grailquest.

I was just popping in to pump Grailquest. Choose Your Own Adventure as done by T Pratchett.
posted by rodgerd at 9:17 PM on August 28, 2010


I downloaded the Mac version and the first book. It crashes every time it gets past the rules options :(
posted by vertigo25 at 9:25 PM on August 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


rbellon - do not tell your wife. You'll NEVER hear the end of it.

(My son is named Isaac. A name my wife loved... until I introduced her to SportsNight. And I quote, "You named our son after BENSON?")
posted by m@f at 10:47 PM on August 28, 2010


So I played through to the end of Book 6, only to find that Seventh Sense is a work-in-progress and they haven't gotten the books after The Kingdoms of Terror out for the SS client yet. On the plus side, the developer says books 7 to 12 should be out much faster since all the iffy coding bits (the hardest part, apparently) are done.

Playing through the first 6 books brought back a lot of nice memories. This was Fun.
posted by WalterMitty at 5:15 AM on August 29, 2010


I downloaded the Mac version and the first book. It crashes every time it gets past the rules options :(

Ditto.
posted by schwa at 8:08 AM on August 29, 2010


From my crash report:
Thread 0 Crashed:  Dispatch queue: com.apple.main-thread
0   org.projectaon.SeventhSense   	0x00124b90 MAGNAKAI_DISCIPLINES::~MAGNAKAI_DISCIPLINES() + 41344
1   org.projectaon.SeventhSense   	0x00138542 MAGNAKAI_DISCIPLINES::~MAGNAKAI_DISCIPLINES() + 121650

MagnaKa Disciplines fail!
posted by schwa at 9:57 AM on August 29, 2010


Solution to the Mac OS X crasher: http://projectaon.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=seventhsense&action=display&thread=1799
posted by schwa at 10:11 AM on August 29, 2010


Joe Dever also wrote a series of inter-linked 1v1 combat books that I was always begging friends to play with me:

http://homepages.tesco.net/~parsonsp/html/combat_heroes.html

Scarlet Sorcerer / Emerald Enchanter seemed particularly awesome to me: Along with a pair of solo adventures, the books offered a dogfight between magical air ships. You'd take turns picking which control to press in the ship (ie. turn, dive, shoot, etc), do some munging with page numbers, and you each turn to the respective page in each book that showed the results of each others' moves.

I think I only managed to play it a dozen times in Jr. High, but...

it. was. awesome.
posted by deusx at 11:18 AM on August 29, 2010


Oh wow. Combat Heroes. Totally forgot about that game. I had the Black Baron/White Overlord books. Dont think I ever played them.
posted by schwa at 6:46 PM on August 29, 2010


Holy crap thank you.
posted by sacrifix at 11:10 PM on August 29, 2010


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