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Nye's Song

Robert Douglas
Sun Nov 25 03:50:19 2012
I've just come across Ashton Saylor's comments about Nye's Song. Very grim indeed. I was all set for entering Windhammer 2013 - but now I'm no longer interested. What's the point if I'm going to be attacked on all sides for writing a fun adventure?

I'll still be sending Sean Calibre Book 2 to this site if that's okay. I know this to be a friendly site that offers honest, constructive criticism. Also, I'm no longer interested in the Fighting Fantasy Forum. A writer's self-esteem is eroded by blunt single sentences.

Sun Nov 25 11:23:24 2012
Hey Robert -- don't take these things to heart. I thought it was a great read.

Robert Douglas
Sun Nov 25 16:32:56 2012
Thanks Glen, and glad you enjoyed it :) What I meant it's more about how people dish it out rahter than the content of the stew. I accept that I got a few things wrong when writing Nye's Song and it needs some improvement. Nevertheless, there were some pretty harsh reviews from both Ashton Saylor and SJ Bell (who doesn't really need to swear, by the way). Coming from 'fellow' gamebook writers - well, who needs enemies?

I don't want to come all over negative on a friendly site as FF Project. However, last night, I felt so low and considered giving up gamebook writing altogether.

Andrew Wright
Mon Nov 26 03:16:09 2012
@Robert Douglas: Hey Robert I wouldn't take it too personally - I don't think Ashton Saylor is a particularly intelligent reviewer (he completely missed the point in my Sea of Madness adventure and that went on to win last year!) - but he does have very good points with regards to gameplay. For example his criticisms, and those of others, regarding my entry this year,
Guild of Thieves confirmed some issues I'd began suspecting would be problematic. Also, a lot of his swearing and generally immature behaviour speaks volumes about his own potential insecurities.

Other reviews of Windhammer 2012 are here:




None of it is especially enlightened and a lot of it is pedantic, subjective and rant-filled. I got told last year by one guy "too many rules!" and this year "too simple!" You just have to deflect the BS and wade through the muck to see if there's any justified complaints on gameplay, take them on board, and move on. Life's too short to give up on your creativity because of the comments of a handful of fellow competitors.


Andy Wright

Mon Nov 26 08:01:51 2012
Wow, don't! We'd be losing one of our best! :-(

Mon Nov 26 09:34:41 2012
I read a few of Ashton Sayler's comments, and I have to say I disagreed with most of them. I haven't yet read Nye's Song, but, for instance, he was quite critical of my so far favourites (A Familiar Story and Guild of Thieves) while giving a lot of praise to Academy of Magic, which is probably my personal least favourite of those I've read so far (my reasons for this follow). What I'm trying to say is that his comments are just his opinions, and his opinions certainly aren't universal.

My dislike of Academy may come partly from my never having read Harry Potter, but it mostly came from the fact that though there were a lot of interesting options that made it appear have a lot of choice, there was really only one route as far as I could tell that would reveal the culprit and get all the items, and finding it seemed completely arbitrary. I also found I was given a lack of information about the people my character had supposedly been studying with for some time, until I'd chosen who to accuse. That made it more or less impossible to take an educated guess based on their personality, as you would have been able to in real life.

Robert Douglas
Tue Nov 27 02:00:48 2012
@ Andrew Wright, C-Star, pi4t

Thanks for the vote of confidence :) I've decided I'll keep writing Sean Calibre Book 2.

As I previously mentioned: admittedly there were a few things I could have done better with Nye's Song - yet I felt some reviewers comments were a bit over the top. Especially as how Ashton loftily advised I should read and write more to improve on my creative ability. All this said to me: an avid reader of Bernard Cornwell, John Wyndham, Peter F Hamilton, watching all eight seasons of a well-plotted 24, amongst varied ideas from action or war films to boot. Hmm.

Robert Douglas
Tue Nov 27 04:37:01 2012
The Brewin' website proved more constructive, and I've sent my gratitude in response (and agreeing on what I did wrong). It's really Andy's idea (when he put The Curse of Drumer online) that has solved the dreaded 7 or 8 determined for Skill and Luck! Another solution is the introduction of what FF is doing at the moment: pre-generated characters. Each with their own skills and weaknesses.

Wed Nov 28 08:45:53 2012
I tried Nye's Song, but had to stop. I think I encountered a bug, or the information was hidden too well for me to spot it. I went to the church first, and was instructed to deduct one from my patrol, but I hadn't been given any patrol stat! If you could tell me how many troops I start with, it would let me carry on :P

Robert Douglas
Wed Nov 28 12:08:03 2012
@ pi4t,

Sorry you had trouble determining the Platoon score. Entry 56 explains you have FIVE men under your command. I preferred to put this in the narrative as opposed to the rules section. Although, perhaps I should have written this in italics to have emphasized it better.

Fri Nov 30 13:18:09 2012
It certainly wasn't very clear, in fact I had to reread it twice to spot the passage after knowing which section it was in. I think singling out section 1 as the section which needed careful reading was a mistake which distracted me from looking through section 56 in more detail. The platoon stat never quite defined what it represented (it could, for instance, have been a combination of troop numbers and morale), though it nearly did.

The main problem, though, was the wording: 'Five men under your command have Suffields (sub-machine guns equipped with silencers) and Blakrite knives further, your stealthy approach will be aided by the growing dusk.' I understood this as 'five of the men under my command have Suffields and Blakrite knives, while the others don't'. Especially in the apparently post apocalyptic setting which the book is set in (though as there isn't really any backstory it's hard to tell: What victory? Where's Plassey*? Is this an alternative timeline, a completely different world, the future with a new date system, or what?), this would be entirely conceivable.

I think it's clear from this that rules and mechanics should be made clear, and not worked into (and hidden in) the text more than needed.

I'll give the book another go in a day or so.

Robert Douglas
Sat Dec 1 16:50:52 2012
@ pi4t,

You've made a good point; I should have worded it more carefully: 'You START with five men under your command, ALL armed with Suffield sub-machine guns and Blakrite knives' (words in caps indicate what I should have inserted into the text to make it clearer - and italicized it, drawing attention to an important detail.)

In answer to your question: yes, it's alternate history. Plassey was a famous victory won by Robert Clive of India. World of the Blight is based upon his victory but without his patrol having intercepted one of the Thuggee high priests. In other words: our world is based upon a certain Thuggee priest in possesion of evil, ancient writings being killed and unable to attend the ritual that would open a portal between Earth and Kali's domain. Mankind in Nye's Song erroneously believes Plassey somehow caused the Blight! They're oblivious to how close a British patrol almost saved the world as we know it.

Sat Dec 1 19:00:18 2012
Forget my last post, I managed to get the solution from the text version. WAY better ending this time around! And I'll try out Nye's Song as soon as i can. Sounds interesting.

Robert Douglas
Fri Oct 18 00:39:51 2013
Skull - non-optimum ending reached
Guess I've earned a 'skull n bones' for my trouble.

Tue Oct 22 08:00:11 2013
Nye's Song

Robert Douglas' gamebook is now ready for online play. This is an uncharacteristically short work (because it was written for the Windhammer competition) with a dark post apocalyptic setting based on an alternative version of history.

In 1757, British victory at Plassey wrought a cataclysm upon the world and mankind came close to extinction. However, even Kali - dark goddess of death - was confounded by such stoic resistance. The year is now 1905. YOU play Captain William Nye of the Warwick garrison - a disgruntled veteran about to embark on his next mission...

Tue Oct 22 16:02:22 2013
Just completed Nye's Song. Short and sweet. The setting is wonderfully syncopated.

Robert Douglas
Wed Oct 23 03:40:26 2013
@ Aiken,

Thanks for the compliment - although 'syncopated' is a new word to me! Looks like my vocab needs more work....

Phil Sadler
Wed Oct 23 04:18:55 2013
I looked it up and it seems to be something to do with music?

Robert Douglas
Wed Oct 23 14:52:48 2013
Just looked it up: it means off-beat, out of rhythm, notes occur where normally they don't. Alternate histories are a little stunted from our point of view.

Wed Oct 23 18:34:13 2013
@Robert Douglas

Robert, I meant it as a compliment- syncopation is a huge part of blues and jazz (and samba and most kinds of dance music)- it means a variety of rhythms which are in some way unexpected which make part or all of a tune or piece of music off-beat.

In this case, the blend of Indian mysticism, turn-of-the-century British military backbone and... blues music... several genres' rhythms combined to form Nye's song.

Which I loved.

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