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Any Port In A Storm

Sun Mar 16 21:25:08 2014
Any Port In A Storm

I've added this gamebook by Robert Douglas to the downloads page. It should be already familiar to most of you as it was his Windhammer competition entry from last year.

Download DOC version or ODT version.

Fri Oct 3 08:33:45 2014
Any Port In A Storm

Robert Douglas' gamebook - an entry in last year's Windhammer competition - can now be played online.

A raging tempest transforms the ocean into seven foot waves. You can barely see anything through the relentless spray, struggle to keep your feet on the turbulent deck - yet somehow keep afloat in this maelstrom. Now, even in this foul night of slashing rain, you can barely make out the familiar shape of a lighthouse. Yet the sheer relief of reaching salvation blinds you to the unnatural eerie glow from its beacon...

Thanks to Alessandro Viola for providing the Italian dialogue.

Play it here

Fri Oct 3 20:40:31 2014
Skull - non-optimum ending reached
Argh! After over a year I forgot how to finish it...:-)

Jack Redland
Sat Oct 4 13:30:53 2014
Star - optimum ending reached
Heck, so THAT'S what happened while I was away?! From all the guys serving aboard the Chantilly: damn fine read, buddy! Be great to see a musical version of all this. Good going, Alex, gave those Elders what for! By the way, pal, do you still have my pin-up...?

Robert Douglas
Sat Oct 4 13:32:20 2014
Sorry all, couldn't resist doing the previous post :)

Andrč M. Pietroschek
Wed Oct 8 20:13:32 2014
Skull - non-optimum ending reached
Whoa! I really got proverbially drawn into the atmosphere straight from the start! Pretty cool that early gruesome death adds a kind of replay-value to it, too. Thanks for sharing this!

Feel free to read some of my own freely shared prose:


Fri Oct 10 20:35:35 2014
Sweet! Been waiting ages for a new playable book. Thanks!

Thu Oct 16 02:34:20 2014
Skull - non-optimum ending reached
I love this new game, keep making more.

Phil Sadler
Sat Oct 18 00:51:49 2014
This one's nicely written and has a few cheeky references to old FF books, which I liked. Unfortunately it suffers from having quite a few references with no choices. Meaning that it stops being an interactive book and becomes just a book. Honestly, at the point I stopped reading it there were a total of 10 references without a single choice.
Some nice comments today Phil. I think I know the section you mean, and it looks less interactive than it really is due to the online format. In the original there potentially are more choices, but in play if only one is possible (for example, if the others depend on objects you don't have) you are often taken straight there. Nonetheless, even online, Any Port In A Storm has a narrow victory path in which you have to get about 16 decisions correct to reach the very best ending (although there is a near-miss ending also).

Robert Douglas
Sat Oct 18 21:44:49 2014
@ Phil Sadler,

Thanks for the comments Phil. Apologies for the narrow path to success, but as 'Any Port in a Storm' was originally a Windhammer entry I was limited to 100 entries - which doesn't give me much room to play with. Even gamebooks at four times the volume it's amazing how fast they can be used up: I remember 'Master of Chaos' author Keith Martin explaining that the market section consumed more entries than he'd planned! I did try to give the player more choices (i.e which direction, enter or not, etc) than my previous attempt with Nye's Song that proved more linear and rattling with die rolls than I really intended. But hindsight is 20-20. Behind me. Regrettable? Only something in the past that I'd hoped to learn from and improve upon.
I wasn't criticising the narrow path to success, but pointing out the player does have quite a few choices to make. Probably as many as you can reasonably expect in a 100-reference gamebook with a decent storyline.

Sun Oct 26 14:14:43 2014
Skull - non-optimum ending reached
Hey! That's not fair! When I chose "go north", I meant to double back to the church! Not to leave it altogether!

That being said, nice work, Robert! Brings back fond memories of CoD. :-)

Robert Douglas
Mon Oct 27 17:22:56 2014
@ bcyy,

Oops, oh dear! Looks like you missed something or took a wrong turn there. Persevere and you'll determine the correct route. I can't use the spoiler tab as it won't let me do it; sorry I can't elaborate further to give you a hint. Let me know how you get on with further forays :)

Tue Dec 9 01:15:36 2014
Skull - non-optimum ending reached
Shades of The Wicker Man!

Sun Dec 21 02:48:24 2014
Star - optimum ending reached
I have endured, survived and destroyed the evil of New Strathbeg! Nice job once again Robert! All of your submissions are always unique and an excellent addition to the over-growing library of gamebooks. Thanks for another great one!

Robert Douglas
Mon Dec 22 20:55:49 2014

Thanks for the kind comments and glad you completed APIAS. I'll be back to writing in earnest next year: once Xmas and my reading Bernard Cornwell's latest publications are out of the way. I'm hoping to enter Windhammer 2015.

Half Pint
Thu Jan 15 15:01:02 2015
Skull - non-optimum ending reached
Very well done with Any Port In A Storm thoroughly enjoyed it, very Lovecraftian but also made me think of some of today's authors like Adam Nevill and Joe Donnelly. I enjoyed the strong visual style of the island with its mishmash of monuments of different time periods all pulled together and it kept a menacing atmosphere throughout. Been playing FF gamebooks since 1992/1993, - I'd be 7/8 years old, and always loved the ones set on Titan alot, then for Christmas 1995 one pressie was House of Hell which is one of my all time favourites and I'm always on the lookout for fan-made horror ones. Once again, well done!

Robert Douglas
Fri Jan 16 06:46:31 2015
@ Half Pint,

Thanks for the comments. Although, I regret at not being familiar with the authors you mentioned - which well-known titles did they write that you would recommend? Myself, I'm more into authors such as John Wyndham, Bernard Cornwell, James Herbert, and Peter F Hamilton (all of whom rate pretty high within their chosen genre).

Keith Roberts is rather difficult to read, but there is one title of his famous amongst alternate history circles: 'Pavane'. It's based on the premise that the Spanish Armada successfully invaded England in 1588, following an assassination of Elizabeth I. The collection of stories (or 'Measures') are set in 1968 - but one in which the Catholic Church still rules England. However, rebellion against the Papal forces is brewing... Interestingly, there's no mention of Spain in the narrative; many readers and reviewers suppose the once mighty Catholic champion eventually declined as it did it our reality, so England (ironically) rises to become a powerful player within the Church and her military arm. Bit of a twist there. I like AH because such worlds are truly fascinating how they might have looked 'what if'. However, historical fiction novelist Bernard Cornwell, although occasionally in conversation touched upon AH scenarios, politely regards the genre as 'pointless'!

Sorry to go on a bit there! But I will say it's one of my favourite novels. As a tribute, I would like to do a gamebook set within the world of Pavane, although I'm not sure if I'd be allowed. Sadly, Keith Roberts died around October 2000 (or 2001, escapes me) so it's difficult knowing who runs his literary estate as regards permission.

Fri Jan 16 20:15:13 2015
I'm sure you can write the gamebook if it's only fan fiction and you're not planning on selling it. If you're planning on making money off the gamebook then you need permission for sure.

Robert Douglas
Sat Jan 17 22:22:44 2015
@ Tammy,

I was thinking the same lines as regards profit and non-profit legalities. Still, the author or late author's family may object to certain fan-work ideas which would affect the setting or characters. I have wondered what Steve Jackson would have said of The Curse of Drumer (although I don't think he's ever read or likely to read it); I'd appreciate his opinions and criticisms since it is a sequel to 'House of Hell'.

While we're discussing Steve Jackson: has a fan written a gamebook prequel or sequel to 'Creature of Havoc'? This was my very first FF gamebook - yet perhaps not the best choice for a beginner due to its difficulty rating. But I will say that, over the years, I've become to appreciate the intriguing history, fascinating characters, the complexity and amount of effort put into the gamebook.

Wed Jan 21 18:32:42 2015
Skull - non-optimum ending reached
Boring m8

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