Glad you enjoyed it. TCOD is perhaps my best work - although 'Below Zero Point' has had some good comments and I enjoyed writing both.
Phil Sadler Sat Oct 18 01:04:11 2014
I'm very glad that you've took the time to write a full-sized sequel to my favourite FF book. Lots of nice monsters and a few interesting puzzles. The nods to the original were good too.
However, much like your Any Port in a Storm (which I also liked), there are far too many passages where you're not making any choices. Also, far, far too many tests. I mean when you fight the imps I think you test yourself about 7 times or something (assuming you have to fight them in that way).
Also, and I'm sorry to have to be a bit negative because I know personally just how much criticism can hurt; the start of the story is just too melodramatic. I want to get back to the house and fight demons, not listen to people arguing about other people. I'm also not too sure about guns in a book like this. I mean I know it's modern day, but it's also about demons, undead and the supernatural, most of which would probably laugh at firearms.
Let me finish by saying that it was still a good read and that I will go back to it like so many of us have done.
Robert Douglas Sat Oct 18 15:13:36 2014
@ Phil Sadler,
Thanks for the comments. I share your sentiments about House of Hell being a firm FF favourite; I enjoyed writing The Curse of Drumer and consider it one of my best works to date.
I appreciate that, on reflection, there were too many dice roll tests (something which I'm not keen on myself). If you're playing the online version, however, you'll find many choices and weapons/items possession factors are catered for automatically, making it appear that the player is railroaded down a path of half a dozen entries before making a choice or test roll. But the Download section has you 'noting' items and info on the Adventure Sheet then relying on you turning to the correct reference. Very old-fashioned, yet it will prove the above point.
As to the melodrama, I wanted to establish that the player's character appeared as a (seemingly) ordinary bloke in a (seemingly) ordinary setting (village, the pub, lunchtime) meeting with friends at some ruins which soon turns out to be the House of Hell. Everybody's taste is different, granted, but in my defence Steve Jackson narrated about a travelling businessman on a dark, stormy night, then presented the House as an old, isolated place, while only hinting occasionally at something wrong - long before the demons and ghouls ventured forth. I wanted some controversy between key characters, a dangerous conspiracy between surviving Black Night Brotherhood, while the authorities may have a part to play....setting the scene, setting the pace. I never like to drop players in at the deep end.
Watching an interview with Michael Biehn who played Kyle Reece in Terminator taught me a fine lesson: the story should always be told on the move, in segments, hinted at. You get the idea. Hence the dialogue and scene setting. Sometimes, a little prelude at the beginning of films - the scroll-up you see in Star Wars, or voice-overs by an actor such as in Enemy at the Gates - is quite acceptable. For gamebooks, this can be translated to the blurb you often see on the back cover. Something to get the audience hooked and wanting to watch/read more without giving too much away about what's to come.
As to the guns, on reflection I wasn't really sure about whether they were a good idea or not. I understand your point as to whether they're a credible tool against demons and the supernatural - but don't forget there's a (barely) human element at play in The Curse of Drumer. The Black Night Brotherhood are responsible for summoning such powerful entities to our world, as such they're probably just as influential to the plot, yet can still die normally. Saying that, play through it again and you'll find 'ordinary' bullets don't affect many of the demonic encounters in TCOD. Also, while TCOD had to have some continuity (references) with House of Hell, I wanted to pull away from repeating the claustrophobic, indoors atmosphere, while the player's character would have more of a criminal background, somebody tougher, somebody familiar with firearms...yet still loyal to his friends. A sequel should move matters apace, not repeat on what's already been achieved.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy further forays and succeed in ending the curse of Drumer!
Yaztromo Sun Dec 7 15:23:28 2014
Lots of LUCK/SKILL/FEAR/fight rolls...eventually I got a bad streak...
Old_Peculier Sat Jan 31 12:05:06 2015
This is one of my favourite FF games on this website.
Hang on...you're not having me on are you? Still, glad OP enjoyed TCOD.
Well, I can't prove that it isn't him...
Come to think of it, I can't actually recall ever seeing an example of either Jackson or Livingstone commenting on an amateur FF gamebook at all.
Welp I Tried Sun Feb 22 22:51:05 2015
Zai Alam Mon Mar 2 18:43:23 2015
Good game! Quite enjoyed it.
Robert Douglas Mon Mar 2 22:31:41 2015
Sorry you died, but at least you tried.
You had a good run, alongside some fun.
Amir Thu Mar 19 07:02:57 2015
I enjoyed the book! Nice variation of gamebook horror in a less claustrophobic setting. In particular, I'm curious if:
the author was explicitly thinking of the team up by Van Helsing, Holmwood, Morris and Seward in Bram Stoker's Dracula? I got a similar vibe here in how the group drew up plans to end the Cult of Earl Drumer, and joined together to root out the evil. Well, of course without a female heroine to save, but even that was alluded to in the backstory of the team members...
Phil Sadler Thu Mar 19 09:21:48 2015
Robert. Did you mean your last post here to rhyme?
Paul Mc Thu Mar 19 19:31:51 2015
Far too many die roll tests, I had a run of bad luck in the end
Paul Mc Thu Mar 19 20:08:39 2015
I did it!!! I got lucky with the stats and die rolls. To complete this you NEED to have good stats, Skill fear and luck must all be 11 or 12... and you need die rolls to go for you.
Robert Douglas Thu Mar 19 20:38:17 2015
Glad you enjoyed TCOD. In answer to your speculation: I think it's more fun if there's a group of people, or at least two, as a dialogue factor can help bounce ideas around, also aid times of suspense, convey matters of great import, a character's background, qualities and weaknesses can affect the plot itself, which serves to make the story less boring - if used well. The group idea has been utilized in many stories such as The Last Train, Domain, Descent, From Dawn Till Dusk....and many others. Dracula is a true classic and one of the many as you'd pointed out. Whilst writing TCOD, I left out any notion of female heroines and damsels in distress as it's been done too many times before. I'm not against romance, but it can at times get in the way. Still, I'm geared more towards a heroine, i.e: a sharp and spirited woman who can handle herself in a fight. Think of Sarah Connor (Terminator), Alyx Vance (Half Life 2), Ripley (Alien franchise). Yet they're still proud of their feminine side!
Ah, by backstory I'm guessing you've latched on to a certain character briefly met by the player in House of Hell? Sorry, I couldn't activate the 'spoiler' option - but that should be cryptic enough (please excuse the pun)!
Yes, I must apologise for the thousandth time about those infernal (excuse the pun) test rolls. I'm not sure if Andy decided to have a minimum Skill of 10 to 12 max (barring magical bonuses). Can't remember what we agreed upon. Before final editing by Andy., I l played through TCOD and got killed my own gamebook about half a dozen times!
Whatever made you think that....oops oh dear and drat!
meschlum Tue Jun 23 20:22:53 2015
Got the alternate weapon, picked the automatic Fear successes, wandered into the Pit of Doom, and failed the Fear check. So it looks like the automatic successes didn't work.
Robert Douglas Sat Dec 12 10:44:36 2015
I'm wondering if I should make a change to 'The Curse of Drumer'? That riddle used to open the secret 'hellclock' door doesn't make much sense with 'a couple' factored into the equation which was really intended for the 400 paragraph limitation; works well enough for Download Section version, but rather confusing for those playing the clickable version (in list above left).
We discussed this at the time. I found the puzzle in the original text incomprehensible as written (even though it's based on a fairly simple general knowledge question), and the online version cleared this up, in my mind at least.
I think in either case the confusion stems from the fact that Jimmy speaks instructions to the player rather than the character : "I know the long hand is used to halve the three digits", something that makes no sense for him to say.
I'm leaning towards just removing the references to the long hand altogether in the online version, it was never part of the puzzle anyway.
Robert Douglas Sat Dec 12 21:51:55 2015
That would be okay Andy. As you say, the long-hand part of the puzzle doesn't make sense for the clickable version of TCOD. But it does work for the Download version regarding the 400 ref limit. Apologies for the way it was written down. Sorry I didn't go with this before you put the adventure on the list. Entirely my fault.
Anon Sat Feb 27 23:54:16 2016
Terrible mechanics, impossible to win even with 12 luck because it's tested ALL THE TIME. Obviously this was never play tested. Not so much a FF adventure as a novel with annoying and impossible dice rolls.
Robert Douglas Sun Feb 28 15:44:01 2016
@Anon, I apologise for the frequency of dice rolls. However, it's not impossible to win as the above stars testify. Granted, TCOD is fairly hard to complete - but surely that's better than a really easy gamebook? How many fans have complained about such? Also, please bear in mind that, while it's a hobby done out of choice, amateur writers spend many hours and much effort completing their work. Even paid and published authors/artists have feelings. I've been through all this before and now I'm going to say this for the last time: CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM PLEASE!
Tammy Mon Feb 29 14:38:07 2016
Douglas, whether the comment was constructive or negative you learn from it. Why wasn't the gamebook liked? Maybe there's room for improvement next time. I always seem to get terrible reviews on stuff I've worked very hard on but I try to improve myself and try to understand what it is that made the person who read my gamebook dislike it so much? Of course, now I could really give a rat's ass about it all but I guess getting negative remarks on your work can strike a harsh cord.
meschlum Thu Mar 10 00:41:06 2016
Noticed a minor bug - towards the beginning, when attacked by zombies and skeletons, if the Fear check is failed (meaning the zombies cannot be shot), the opponents are two pairs of (weak) Zombies (sections 192 and 440), rather than Zombies then (stronger) Skeletons (sections 476 and 473) if you pass the check and do not shoot.
So it could be a situation where failing a Fear check is better?
friedrich berg Fri May 13 13:34:27 2016
It was pretty cool
Robert Douglas Fri May 13 23:35:38 2016
Thanks Friedrich. Sorry you got killed - just out of interest where did it happen?
Stinger Thu Jul 6 00:17:10 2017
Man I've played through three times now and still I find a way to die. lol Thanks so much for this really interesting, and scary little gamebook! :) The only thing I never understood was why I had to keep doing skill checks once I found the sacred axe, I forget now what its called. But I had to test my skill about three times over, and I never was clear on why? To may haps see if I were worthy? Thanks for this book, and this good group of friends we travel and fight here with, I really like the way they work together. My last lesson learned, never test your luck in a darkend passageway. :P
Stinger Fri Jul 7 06:29:13 2017
This time I started with SK 12 ST 24 LK 11 and fear 12. Glad I went with the 24 stamina, I needed nearly every bit of it! :) Not sure why I was unable to use the provisions in my previous game, possibly it had something to do with my IPhone? No clue, But I'll be playing on my desktop from now on.
finally, the nightmare is over - the Curse of Drumer has ended! Thanks again RD for another fun but on edge run through TCOD. Just glad I figured out the answer to the combonation door with the orb, methinks that helped a lot! Next play through I'll have to try the alternate weapon and choices. Thanks again! :D
Stinger Sun Jul 9 09:10:26 2017
Somehow I failed the tests, and was killed by the ice demon. ⚰️
Babap Tue Jul 25 14:34:13 2017
Took me long enough to find the good ending.
Surprisingly the first puzzle actually cause me a lot of time, for those who got stuck the answer is:
6 6 6 as is the number for the devil
Feels a bit sad that the ending results in the protagonist moving away from his/her home, as if he/she can't be the same again. Understandable, but still make the victory rang a little hollow to me.
RogueOne Tue Oct 24 01:12:44 2017
Fighting all four Champion Fire Demons at once was a bit rough. Perhaps the Hreinleika's effects aren't properly calculated: only 2 stamina was coming off for each hit, and their skill stayed the same.
Robert Douglas Wed Nov 1 03:50:38 2017
RogueOne, Well done! However,
there is a secret behind the Hreinleika axe that can be learned from a certain source. If you want to know where, let me know and I'll put the answer in the spoiler box. Otherwise the divine axe merely wounds them normally whereas ordinary weapons are ineffectual!
Robert Douglas Wed Nov 1 04:12:59 2017
A late reply to Babap's post during July: it wasn't actually the protagonist's home, the player's character was newly arrived to the area on 'business' with Scott and Jimmy (who were associates both local to the area). Terry turned out to be the brother of
Nel, a district nurse as described in 'House of Hell' entry 209 (with illustration). I'm certain I got her name from FF archives although perhaps it's made-up, I can't remember now.
It's possible he lived either locally or from some distance away yet endeavoured to find his missing sister, but by now resolved to avenge her. Whatever the case, he joined forces with Richard Ettingley, an aristocrat from a wealthy estate that has a long history of rivalry with the Drumers. With the player's quest concluded (entry 400), and haunted by the loss of his friend Scott, and all the horrors, he decides to leave the area for good.
Xena Mon Nov 6 11:47:23 2017
Babap Fri Jan 12 21:32:07 2018
Been a while, but playing it again. This book is always that awesome to me.
Anonymous Mon Apr 9 16:54:40 2018
Why is there ALWAYS bats in Fighting Fantasy adventures? They kill me every time, and i hate it! Good story, though.
Robert Douglas Tue Apr 10 15:44:32 2018
I feel a bit guilty about including bats within a villainous capacity; they're often misunderstood creatures. However, I don't think there are many people would have them as a pet, or keep them as they do pigeons or chickens. And they are creatures of the night so it's more convenient to categorise them as familiars for witches and vampires. On the other hand, bats are wildlife protected by the RSPCA and other animal trusts. Sorry you got killed, glad you enjoyed it :)