Project Aon: Magnamund

I remember as a kid when annual book fairs were the event of the year for geeky types rather than computer fairs which were only just getting popular. I believe the year was 1985, an unremembered book fair held at the World Trade Centre (or thereabouts) and I stumbled onto Flight from the Dark, the first book of what would prove to be a long running epic series by Joe Dever, illustrated by Gary Chalk. I was then reading Fighting Fantasy and The Way of the Tiger solo gamebooks but from then on none of them could compare to the Lone Wolf series.

I began to understand what it meant to be a Fan. The minute the next book in the series was released I would be among the first to get it and lock myself up in the room to partake in the next part of my journey through Magnamund. Why the attraction, you ask? A couple of things stood out. The quality of writing is better than most, I loved the illustrations, there actually was a coherent and engaging story, the world of Magnamund was intricately detailed and there were some genuine puzzles in the books that required you to think things through rather than pure hack and slash. More often than not, you won through a combination of wits and wise choices.

The books weren't actually hard to complete. I was never faced with the situation where I could not complete the quest the first time round. However the path I took may not have been the best possible way, so playing them again allowed me to try out different choices. But the good writing and strong sense of story meant that every couple of years I would take out the series and play them through from Book 1 to Book 12 (I stopped after the last of the Magnakai series)

Gamebooks as a phenomenon died by the mid-nineties. But during its heyday the Lone Wolf series is simply the best there was. For the young'uns or old coots who missed out the books when they were easily available (or perhaps never was in your part of the world) you can now catch up on what you missed; Project Aon. Started by a group of fans it received the blessing of the author to publish all the books online in a format that will allow you to read and play them. Give them a try.

Fans of Lone Wolf and Magnamund would not have failed to notice that Mongoose Publishing has released the Lone Wolf RPG. Perhaps its time to return to Magnamund.


Popular posts from this blog

Building the Ultimate Gaming Table

Making a Dice Tray version 2.0

SOG Game Highlight: Iliad