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Bloodsworth Bayou
Golem Gauntlet
Shrine Of The Salamander
A Flame In The North
A Shadow In The North
Escape Neuburg Keep
Any Port In A Storm
Below Zero Point
Tales From The Bird Islands
The Ravages Of Fate
Nye's Song
A Knight's Trial
Return To G15-275
Devil's Flight
Above The Waves
The Curse Of Drumer
The Word Fell Silent
A Strange Week For King Melchion The Despicable
Sharkbait's Revenge
Tomb Of The Ancients
A Midwinter Carol
The Dead World
Waiting For The Light
Contractual Obligation
Garden Of Bones
The Hypertrout
The Golden Crate
In The Footsteps Of A Hero
Soul Tracker
Planet Of The Spiders
Beggars Of Blacksand
The Diamond Key
Wrong Way Go Back
Hunger Of The Wolf
Isle Of The Cyclops
The Cold Heart Of Chaos
The Black Lobster
Impudent Peasant!
Curse Of The Yeti
Bad Moon Rising
Riders Of The Storm
Bodies In The Docks
House Of Horror
Rebels Of The Dark Chasms
Midnight Deep
Lair Of The Troglodytes
Outsider!
The Trial Of Allibor's Tomb
Hellfire

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Below Zero Point




Robert Douglas
Fri Apr 11 21:45:47 2014
@bcyy and Tammy,

Yes, I could have used a test Skill or Luck roll instead of giving you the choice to dodge or return 'fire' - but after all the fuss about too many test rolls in my adventures....

Jason
Mon May 12 05:18:28 2014
Skull - non-optimum ending reached
I really enjoyed playing.

Robert Douglas
Mon May 12 13:10:04 2014
@Jason,

Glad you enjoyed it - and sorry you got killed!

Mike R.
Sun Jun 8 06:31:26 2014
Skull - non-optimum ending reached
Soooo clooose. Arghhhhhh!

Mike R.
Sun Jun 8 06:37:30 2014
That was a blast to play, on about my 4th run through, almost there... I got destroyed by a mechanical mechanic, but I WILL try and try again!

Robert Douglas
Sun Jun 8 20:51:18 2014
@Mike R

Sorry you got killed. Like Deus Ex, there are alternate routes in completing the mission. During writing, the asteroid base developed into a complex web of paths; a walkthrough would be a little misleading if players wanted to try a different way. But thanks for letting me know how you died!

Mike R.
Mon Jun 9 08:36:13 2014
Star - optimum ending reached
Run through number 5, a memento in my pocket, and some MTV on the tube, and the universe is safe... For now...

Thanks for the opportunity to play (and win) the game. :)

Mike R.
Mon Jun 9 08:39:03 2014
Oops, I meant 9, not 5...

Robert Douglas
Mon Jun 9 23:30:22 2014
The memento was something I'd borrowed from a film, although I could never remember what it was called. Plot-wise, a table-top wargames enthusiast turned out to be the villain. In the end, his nemesis picked up a Napoleon figurine and pocketed it. I thought it was a nice finishing touch with a message: 'I've won - and this will help remind me of what happened here.' Sean does the same thing, although in this case it's a Red Dragon, also an in-game nod to Games Workshop.

BTW, glad you made it...on the ninth attempt.

M M
Tue Aug 5 12:50:48 2014
Star - optimum ending reached
Nice one

Robert Douglas
Sun Aug 10 21:19:04 2014
@ M M,

Thanks, glad you completed it successfully.

Ness
Mon Sep 8 19:13:47 2014
Skull - non-optimum ending reached
Really hard

Robert Douglas
Fri Sep 12 23:57:14 2014
@ Ness,

Sorry you died there. Looks like BZP's difficulty slider might be set to 'hard' as you'd pointed out. Anyway, see how you get on in future forays - that golden star might be just around the corner!

@ Everyone,

Been away on holiday for this past week. Long time spent travelling, things went a bit wrong (as they usually do on trips!), and didn't get to see everything I wanted such as Melrose Abbey and Douglas Castle (the latter might be my ancestral home, not sure which particular branch of the Douglas Clan I'm on) - looks like I'll need another holiday to get over it! On the other hand, it was somewhat colourful and the caravan was a comfortable class. I might go back to the first place we visited which was a Buddhist temple in Scotland. It was undergoing renovations in the wonderful garden there; be nice to revisit there in a year or so, see how they've got on with that. Lovely place and very peaceful. Buddhists don't eat meat of any sort, although the vegetable dishes were very tasty. It was a bit strange having to remove shoes before entering dining hall but I rather enjoyed attending lunch and dinner in my bare feet. Liberating!

Tammy
Sun Sep 14 02:30:34 2014
:)

Stinger
Tue Sep 16 00:59:58 2014
Skull - non-optimum ending reached
Man, I really enjoy this game! Very well done!
Just sorry I died :P
I'll try again though. thanks for a fantastic evenings diversion! :D

Robert Douglas
Sat Sep 20 13:06:03 2014
@ Stinger,

Glad you enjoyed it - and hope you do okay next foray! There isn't any 'true' path in BZP; more down to choice with some useful (one essential) items, handy weapons, and high stats are always a plus.

daniel
Tue Sep 23 22:07:53 2014
Skull - non-optimum ending reached
Good game.

Clive55
Wed Oct 1 08:05:22 2014
Star - optimum ending reached
Good read.

hunt
Sun Nov 16 12:15:38 2014
Skull - non-optimum ending reached
good
very good

Mowen
Wed Nov 26 02:13:04 2014
This is one of my favourite gamebooks on the entire site. I love the PI/SciFi genre crossover aspect of it, and I found it to be well-written and balanced nicely with regards to combat, dice rolls and choices.


Robert Douglas
Thu Nov 27 23:31:10 2014
@Mowen,

Thanks, I was a bit worried about how it would fare as regards the gameplay. I got the sci-fi/PI theme from ideas such as Bladerunner and Mikal R Kayn (a character in the Starblazer comic books). Glad you enjoyed it! I've got halfway through Book 2 of the Sean Calibre Case Files. In the meantime, both Curse of Drumer and Below Zero Point have made some impact on FF fans.

Dustin
Tue Mar 17 02:10:58 2015
Star - optimum ending reached
Fantastic. Excellently written, and, as game-books go, not unfair in the slightest. Great plot; it was also interesting getting a glimpse into your knowledge of British slang (whether acquired naturally or otherwise)--I don't exactly get much exposure to that, being American and all.
Great job- I'd read a sequel any day.
-Dustin

Robert Douglas
Tue Mar 17 13:26:31 2015
@ Dustin,

Thanks for the comments. Regards British slang, are you referring to Vance (the Cockney officer with that weird thorn-net gun)? I'm concentrating on writing the next Windhammer then I'll continue with SC Book 2.

Robert Douglas
Mon Aug 10 20:34:38 2015
Hi All!

I've received a few questions regarding the historical background to Below Zero Point. I purposefully kept this in the shadows because an established timeline limits the scope of ideas as they emerge and might prove difficult to insert in future adventures. As such, in the narrative I was very selective in any reference to key events and scenarios. Please note the following may give arise to SPOILERS:

Q1) You mentioned something called 'The Great Anarchy'. What was this, exactly?
A) In short, a worldwide Dark Age would be the best way to describe it. In my mind at the time, over-population would be a chief cause, producing a catastrophic knock-on effect as regards trade and commerce, immigration, xenophobia, and so on. It's actually something we're experiencing today - but by around the 2030's (in BZP's history) it's like a volcano that finally erupts. Riots and wars spring up across the globe. Society begins to break down, made worse by dwindling fuel and food resources. A very nasty spiral indeed!

Q2) So the entire world is devastated?
A) To a certain extent. The more powerful nations retained some stability, order, and integrity, yet the victims numbered in tens of millions. There wasn't a nuclear conflict on a large scale (and if there had, even by 2202 humanity would still be struggling to recover from that dread scenario) but it's very likely to have occurred on a smaller, restricted scale.

Q3) Bubonic plagues were alluded to in the narrative: was disease one of the causes of The Great Anarchy?
A) No, they were caused by The Great Anarchy; a general breakdown in society affects almost every aspect of our lives and millions would experience a miserable existence at some level or another. In fact, there are (too) many nasty bacterial and viral diseases out there today, most of which have been eradicated or merely kept at bay by antibiotics in first world countries - but what if those medical facilities were suddenly removed, or stretched to breaking point? Furthermore, some viruses tend to evolve, rendering known vaccines useless. And without preventative measures and medically personnel in place, what happens in BZP is tragically inevitable.

Q4) You mentioned that these diseases were suddenly eradicated by arrival of the superbly-advanced Ageala - but, as an alien species, didn't they have a 'prime directive' similar to Federation law in Star Trek?
A) The Ageala - 'Ageal' is singular - are pacifistic, so from their perspective a stricken world would have been very heart-rending. And you're right: it's very likely an advanced space-faring species would uphold a strict non-interference policy in the natural development of another species. Yet it proved too tempting a crusading mission for one individual; the ship that landed at Talavera in 2087AD was actually commanded by a disillusioned element within Ageala society. Rebellious perhaps, but a timely intervention that changed the course of human (Terran) history.

Q5) About the fate of your native country (UK) in BZP, would you classify it as one of the 'powerful nations'?
A) Not quite. It has always relied largely upon overseas trade, and thus too small to ride the storm of The Great Anarchy, in comparison performing less successful than, say, the United States or China. While these and similar nations also rely upon trade, they have the capability to adopt isolationist policies and enact somewhat ruthless measures; certain civil liberties would be 'suspended' in favour of national survival. This actually sounds very similar to Nazi Germany in the 1930's onwards - but the arrival of the Ageala eventually negated any martial law and police states. Yet they still experienced turbulent times, hardship, and loss of life. Those who'd survived hailed the Ageala arrival - and the year 2087 - as a real turning point in human history, besides a true golden opportunity to ascend to the stars! As regards the UK, Sean Calibre Book 2 will give more details on its blighted history, 2020-2087.

7) Can you give us some idea on Book 2's progress?
A) So far, I've done about 70% of writing, have the rest of the story planned out in my head, and typed out almost half of the adventure. Now that my gamebook for Windhammer 2015 has been completed (and submitted), I'm very keen to resume Book 2. In fact, I'm only going to pause when latest publications by Bernard Cornwell and Peter F Hamilton are released. For now, I'm ready to get stuck into it!

Robert Douglas
Sun Aug 16 01:34:34 2015
Sorry, I forgot all about poor old question 6. I'll put it here without further comment...

Q6) So what type of government rules the UK in BZP's backstory?
A) First of all, I have to mention that by the mid-20th century it's no longer a 'united kingdom'; England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland went their own way - although ironically (being smaller countries) all four were further divided up into territories effectively ruled by rival corporations. These were originally founded by a conglomerate of wealthy companies: some specialized in transport, others military hardware, and a variety of other types of business, at the core of which pharmaceutical researchers provided improved (but not sufficient enough to eradicate the plague) antibiotics. In other words, this corporate society (each corporate often engaged in open warfare with others), holds the population to ransom with promises of a healthier tomorrow, that all must work towards this noble goal, any dissent will be met with force by 'security' forces and mercs....you get the idea. Such is the way of a 'corporate society'.
I'd actually recommend the film Rollerball (both versions) that provides some insight of life within such a beneficial yet uncompromising regime. Peter F Hamilton's Greg Mandel stories are set in a 2040's England gripped by global warming and just recovering from ruthless PSP rule, to a more democratic/capitalist style under the New Conservatives.
Coming back to BZP backstory, when the virtuous Ageala touched down and swiftly eradicated the plague, such corporations finally lost their leverage. They either had to adapt, or be destroyed by a stronger, vengeful populace: 2087 marked the beginning of Humanity's technological and cultural 'golden age'.
In the Epilogue (SPOILER!) Joe Saunders mentioned something about the Royal Family being evacuated to the Falkland Islands during The Great Anarchy. There would have been a core element still loyal to preserving the 'old order'. This would likely have been Guards regiments in the British Army, including some of the high-ranking generals, certain elements of the royal navy, a few politicians still hopeful for a democratic constitution, and certain other key people and bodies to help with the military restructure and civil admin. Effectively, it would survive as an insular 'Kingdom of the Falklands'. And why did I choose the Falkland Islands? The native populace has and will be pro-British even through the Great Anarchy; this provided a secure environment for the (now English) Crown. Besides which, those extra troops would bolster the former protectorate's defences. With the Great Anarchy somewhat subsided by the 2060's, diplomats from the KOTF would petition both governments of the United States and Canada for military aid to help the ailing populace of the former UK. However, many historians from Sean Calibre's era - with hindsight - would often speculate whether the eventual commitment to U.S/Canadian troops landing on British soil and subsequent attack on the fortified corporations did more harm than good; provoking the corporates only caused them to join forces, and the people suffered terribly from damage to property and infrastructure, while reprisals became commonplace. As the 'Liberation Wars' (as they came to be known) bogged down to a stalemate, the Ageala rendered the entire campaign moot. However, historians have the luxury of hindsight - nobody could have guessed aliens landing to solve the plague problems thus negating the chief purpose (and leverage) behind the corporation existence. The Ageala would have appealed to these corporations. Those that resisted found themselves outgunned and outmatched due to Ageala ship technology, force-fields, advanced robotics, etc, all readily supplied to a people deserving better.
The rest of the army would have disintegrated through mass desertion, supporting the increasingly powerful corporations as mercs, or even going into business for themselves and hiring out their learned trade (if they possessed the relevant expertise, i.e HGV vehicles, electronics, IT, engineering, etc). Many of the latter would eventually become disillusioned with the harsh rule of corporate society and join the growing resistance. Some would already be independent traders.

DarthLang
Wed Sep 14 05:50:01 2016
Skull - non-optimum ending reached
Had dinner with a crime Barron. Went to an asteroid and shot up some people. Tried to loot a corps and got thrown in jail. 10/10 would get thrown in jail again.

Robert Douglas
Wed Sep 14 15:39:33 2016
Went barefoot through London King's Cross and Waterloo Station, with the tube in-between.

Robert Douglas
Wed Sep 14 15:41:27 2016
Sorry you were thrown into jail, DarthLang. I think I know the section you were captured.

Stinger
Fri Sep 30 18:57:10 2016
Skull - non-optimum ending reached
I really dug this! Lots of action and suspense. Only thing is, if I fail a luck test, I feel like I shouldn't lose a point for failing. lol Its bad enough suffering the conciquences.
Great fun though thanks so much. Keep up the great work! :D

Stinger
Sat Oct 1 05:49:51 2016
Skull - non-optimum ending reached
Arghh! died thanks to that accursed Quanillian spider! Man that really seemed like a dirty trick. lol
Some of these enemys we face seem really tough though . I had a heck of a time with those REVIVED CYBORGS! And that scorpioid the way it blows up even after you defeat it. sheesh!

But, one day, one play through I'll make it all the way. but.. not even sure that was even close to my overall objective.
Is there somewhere I can find more ways of healing? I'm leaking stamina like a siv :P

Speaking of the revived cyborgs, I thought the following line would have been removed since I had a thermal mack.
Due to the intense cold from the shattered cryogenic pods, you must fight with your Attack Strength reduced by 1.
I just thought that would have been taken into account when fighting those things.

But, one day, one play through I'll make it all the way. but.. not even sure that was even close to my overall objective.
Is there somewhere I can find more ways of healing? I'm leaking stamina like a siv :P
So far I've found the meal/ration packs, and the pills, they all give four stamina each. But I've yet to find both of those items in one game. hehe

Never the less, this is an awesome gamebook! Thanks again, and every single time I play it. :)

Robert Douglas
Sat Oct 1 12:45:09 2016
@ Stinger,
Thanks for the comments. You bring up an interesting point regarding the thermal mac. However, I don't think Sean would be wearing it at the time - if I remember rightly it was a Backpack Item. Both Sean and Joe Saunders didn't plan on staying in the cryogenic chamber and, by the time the cyborgs are accidentally revived, it's too late for him to dig into the backpack and put on the mac. Later in the Polaris wastes, it turns out Sean doesn't personally require the mac as he's wearing an insulated armour suit. But the thermal mac does come in handy another way....

I apologise for the gamebook's combat difficulty, although I did insert opportunities for collecting meals and medication. Also, Sean's current Stamina is healed to its Initial score twice in BZP (and perhaps one or two Skill points, I can't remember). Also, loss of a Luck point - whatever the result - is part of the FF gameplay. Again, I do recall moments where Calibre receives Luck points if he learns valuable information or achieves mission objectives.

Anyway, glad you enjoyed the adventure. It was good of you to let me know how it went. Hope you succeed :)

bluejuice915
Tue Mar 14 21:55:58 2017
Star - optimum ending reached
Fairly good overall. It was rather long, and the new missions compound some confusion. The gameplay was fun though, and the many decisions and opportunities were great. The availability of weapons was skewed, with very few close-combat compared to the number of such fights, and vica versa for guns. Well recommended though for the obvious effort that went into writing all the plot and background.
Grade: 95.

Robert Douglas
Wed Mar 15 18:37:32 2017
Thanks for the comments bluejuice915. Some positive points, while others pointed out improvements. Some weapons provided a bonus but intended more as a superficial fun feature rather than drastically alter the gameplay.
Not sure what you mean by 'new missions' however. Calibre did cross paths with several characters having their own agendas, such as that dealer in alien antiquities, Graeme Hammond, offering to help Calibre's progress in return for a favour.
Apologies for the length, but one thing I didn't like about many of the published gamebooks (in particular the earlier ones) is that they seemed too rushed, the paragraphs too brief in content - there's always room for a bit of description, a bit more dialogue. Sometimes I like a bit of back-story to spice things up. I'm currently writing Sean Calibre Book 2 and, be warned, this will be even longer than its predecessor! But I'm hoping the content will have plenty of depth.
Well done for completing it successfully!



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