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My first GameBook "The House of Torment" WIP

A while back I started a "Game Book". That's one of those Choose your own Adventure type books but with the 'advanced' style which includes dice rolling R.P.G. elements.

For years I wanted to do my homage to the 1992 video game "Alone in the Dark". Computer compilers failed over and over and no matter what I tried it was always due to a technical difficulty. Now with plain writing in a CYOA style book nothing could fail me. Nothing except bad spelling that is.

So this started as straight out duplication of 'Alone'. As soon as I had it maped out and all the key elements down I realized so much of it was plain, ordinary and lacking any detail or flavor. So I started to customize it. More and more it began to mutate into something darker and more in tone with Lovecraft than its original inspiration. Finally someone told me to push futher with customization. The framework still holds it similarities but beyond that its my puppy now. Gone are the pirates and half the generic 3d monsters. Gone is the house that once rid of evil looks like a little repair would make it a nice place.

Traumetur , the house, is a rat trap destined for demolition. Mold, rot, broken windows, peeling paint and more makes this an abandoned place suitable for the torch. No longer 'alones' louisianna creole plantation this old farmhouse is in upstate Maine with Germanic roots.

Astral planes are implemented, the layout of the house is slightly altered, and the underworld provides an image vastly different than the game could ever present.

Here I provide the google drive link to the plain text html file. For some reason Google displays it as raw html text instead of an auctual web page. So you have to download it and reopen it as html. Theres no special code at all, just plain html without images or anything else. The converter from the original program that can swap paragraphs around messes up 'bold' text conversion so theres a ton of formatting issues. I provide it here so you can view it, play it, and give me feedback. I know the dice rolling system can be riped out and replaced. I've had my eye on a makeshift system I'ld be glad to go over later. Here it is. My big work.

Creative criticism greatly welcome. All save spelling errors that is. I know it needs fixing! I also know that the main diary entry that is found is not yet updated to other newer key elements.

I have a facebook page for it if anyone is interested.

Please report any major errors. Most of all have fun!


Questions and Feedback

Hi BigOleBob,

I have started to play the game. I have not finished but I have some questions and feedback based on how far I have got so far.

1. Not clear how many weapons you can have. Is there a limit to how many items you can carry?
2. When I got the shot gun in the attic, it mentioned there was no shells, but the description of the weapon indicated it started with four shells. Which is correct?
3. With the combat, does your player always go first and not the monster? That seems like a great advantage.

- Like the setting and time period. Really neat.
- I like the innovative aspect of having to collect codes which result in different paths. Really neat how to control a sequence.
- The combat is simple and I like how the different weapons modifies things.
- Description of things is great.

- I found it difficult to understand why a normal guy who has never maybe seen giant ravens and so on would continue to investigate. For me I would run out of there as soon as possible! I understand if you are a sword wielding adventurer or vampire killer it is understandable -- you are ready to fight and so would go in. Just seems to me there needs to be more motivation for the guy continuing to go through a dangerous place. Seems like he/she is more afraid of a mob than a zombie or giant raven :)

- I found that there was little description of how the guy *felt*. If I saw the types of things in there, my heart would race, sweat poor down my face and I would be terrified!

- When you investigate the big crate in the attic there is something below a trap door knocking on it. If I was there I would at least wonder whether to open it as it may be a trapped person. An idea is to at least give a choice of opening the trap door or not.

It is pretty neat, and I am enjoying it. :)


Re: DarkDream

1. There is no limit to the number of objects/items you cary or have. This is because items in gamebooks often double as code words. I also considered a weight system to limit items carried BUT this would mean the player would have to track wherever he DROPED items. That would be necessary to go back and pick up items that are required to finish the game.

2. I need to fix the description. It comes with 4 shells at start. General rule is that Stat information overrides description. BUT I must request that you mention the section # in the future. That's #305 for the rifle.

3.I never addressed which went first. For now play that you attack first. I believe I unjustly made the game too difficult. If you can not finish the game with attacking first then theres no need to bad guys attacking first. I believe I should go back through and customize each monster as to who attacks first. As stated. Playtest that you attack first, always.

Timeframe was set by the original video game. It's a great time for spooky old, yet somewhat modern.

The codes were required. I always wory that I should have gone A1 to A9 before starting with the next number. 1 to 5 seems somewhat short but easy to remember.

The combat was based on 'the falbed lands' rpg. I could rip out that system at a moments notice and replace it with something else. Elswhere on the blog I have info on a 5d6 dice pool system as a proposed replacement. If your good with systems I can email you a preview of it in full legibility.

Descriptions. I web searched as much objects from 1923 or before on the internet. I really wanted to make sure these things auctually existed or were believeable. Any object that gives a manufacturer or year often are real life objects. Don't trust my word, look them up.

Motivation of player character:
This is an area i left blank because I started the game as a simple conversion from the video game. I did not want to deal with 'fear, sanity, or halucinations' because it would be integrated into the dice rolling mechanic and that once took me on a 6 month dogleg before i decided to use an existing system. I suppose its also a perception i have of video games and text adentures. You are the adventurer and you are the player. Unless a sequence is scripted i would feel uncomfortable to add extra feelings in there. Mainly because theres only so many times you can 'jump in fear' or 'swoon with disbelief' or 'shiver in disgust' after some point it becomes so tired and overused that theres no need to mention it.

you mention the crate in the attic and the knocking. This sounds like a scripting issue. Could you give me a section # refference please?

I didn't want to spoil it for you but the front door is a death trap. That's why he cant escape. There are other flying Things as well that act as watchdogs. Unless you got to them then you have something to look forward too. A ton of influence came from H.P. Lovecraft but I also added in other things from movies, pictures that inspired me, nightmares, or just plain brainstorming the gruesom. There are a TON of unique death sequences in this game for both the player AND the monsters!

Most of all Keep playing the game. If you come across errors, report it so I can fix it!

Tiny updates

Inserted a third suspect an on and off again maid. Perle Adlersohn. This helps to explain the female zombie in the attic. Pearl Adler was a 1920's new york madam who started as a house cleaner and seamstress. Did I mention I love to shove in history refferences into my game before?

I shoved Tor Vormund's body into the astral plane desert courtyard but I wonder if its best to leave his body missing? To keep it a vauge mystery?

Discovered an missing code sequence on page 181. The 'Recurve bow' is (R5) and the '3 golden arrows' is (S1). The event code S1 was not listed in the opening section so thats a Fix I need to add.

Still wondering what you guys think about me switching the Event codes going from 1 to 9, instead of the original 1 to 5. For now for 'testing and fixing' I will not change it untill later.

As before and as again, Have fun, enjoy, doccument problems, and tell your friends about it! The more the merrier!

Couple ideas


Although I have not read the adventure ( or horror), I did see something I could offer as advice:

1. Instead of dropping items and having to track their location, you can do like the original Resident Evil game: have several locations where a player can store items. For example on the main floor you could have a cabinet in the study. On the second floor you could have a trunk. In the basement you could have a wooden shelf...
2. All a player needs to do is write down what he leaves in the designated area.

This is a go between solution to just dropping items anywhere...

I will take a closer read soon enough.


Paragraph Numbers

To fill in the numbers based on my previous comments.

305 - This is where I got the shot gun. This is also where you hear pounding on the trap door and you place the trunk over it. I was simply thinking here to have the option of allowing the player the choice to see who is pounding on the trap door (maybe a person trapped and needs help).

Some more feedback on playing it more.

157 - It is a little confusing with the options here. The first option check whether you have event codes F3 or D1 and if yes, "Skip to below." Does that mean skip to the options of going north and so on or does it mean to skip to the next set of event code checks right below the first set of event checks.

126 - There is no mention in the description of a bow. Just an option to get a bow. Seems like it should be described in the description.

124 - I think you have an infinite loop here. In 124, you check if have "F3" or "D1" if so then go to 178 to fight a zombie, after killing the zombie you go to 41 and get event code "F3" and "D1" and then continue to 124. In 124 you have "F3" and "d1" which leads you to the zombie again.


Simple rule

Storage places work on per area basis. So if you are on floor #1, you have access to ALL items in the filing cabinet. Same goes for floor #2, you can retrieve any item from the trunk.

For the basement, a shelf is boring. How about a broken down freezer. Outdoors can be an old shed...

You would need to define areas like floors, outdoors, etc. But this way you can limit how much a player can carry and make the "game" more realistic!

Re Questccg: Dropable Objects

To use a dropable object system I would have to seperate Event codes with no 'object' descriptions to them. Ie pure event codes.

I do like the idea of having 'floors' as dropable areas. Most likely unobstructed hallway areas. Any hallway area on that level becomes in essense a dropable area per floor.

Once you get to the Underworld where there are distinctly differnt areas, mazes, and one way passages it no longer seems to fit that concept.

However you do it in the house has to work in the underworld as well. It needs to be a unified mechanic so its the same in both sections. With all those differences in the underworld thats where it just falls apart.

Re. Darkdream: Intermediate fixes

305 is rewritten so the pounding increases untill it lifts the chest so it drops back with a thud. the pounding stops the anchor is understood.

157 Its a common premise in the gamebook for now.
"Skip to (Choices) below" Means to skip all questions about codes and to go down the page to where you see at the start of common options. I thought I made an example of this in the rules. On page 3 under 'Encounters'.

126 The bow is out in the open. Exposed items are often one liners. Especially if it ruins the 'mood description' of the room.

124 I have the yes and no at 124 in reguards to F3/D1 reversed. I had created a kind of This or that code between the 'zombie girl' in the attic and the 'hall zombie' so you would either one -or- the other. Not both. Looks like I goofed up there at 124

I really need to find a free hosting website so I can post this up and update quickly sice it's in html.

BigOleBob wrote:I do like the

BigOleBob wrote:
I do like the idea of having 'floors' as dropable areas. Most likely unobstructed hallway areas. Any hallway area on that level becomes in essense a dropable area per floor.

I was thinking something more subtle. Why? Because monsters can steal items lying on the floor of a hallway. Places that have storage are better. Things being left there are out of visible eyes...

"House of Hell"

Google Steve Jackson, "House of Hell". It is a book in the "Fighting Fantasy" series... This kind of reminds me of this...

Hoh & floors

-Re: The House of Hell.
I played it on the kindle. Old game books have many limitations that I am free from in this digital writing endevor. I can make this 'gamebook' as long as I desire. Those old books in the 80's were also primarily aimed at young teens so topics were curtailed. Due to the potentialy portable nature of the gamebooks back then they were the closest to handheld game systems of the modern erra. It also kept the game systems simple to a pencil and two dice. Too mugh dice rolling and you get yaghtzee

'Try the Sagard the Barbarian series to see what i mean'.

Too much story and you have an ordinary BOOK. In the middle ground you have a blend of story and dice rolling to balance out. "Thoh" did this balance great and focused more on story than my gamebook does. Mine started based on a video game and so it is more map and combat based. Thoh was great narrative but felt a little like a carnival haunted house. Perhaps I am biased as i percieve my gamebook to be one abnormal horror after the other. A little too much that it might hurt the story but not so much as to be annoying. One again Thoh is great!

-Re: Dropable Items
It is a given in any gamebook wither you list findable items or come across them in the narrative; Players will always find all objects and unchallenged code words in a gamebook. The concept of limiting objects in a gamebook serves the purpose of preventing a character from utilizeing too many tools simultaneously and unbalanceing the game's combat system. Half of my code word/objects are merely switches that open or limit paths for the player. the other half are still switches but they are described as items, Keys, guns, etc. Almost all of the objects in this game are ones that you NEED to complete the game. Everything else is filler. There is an easy way to tell. Is it a weapon, ammunition, or does it give you a 2letter code word? If it doesnt then its filler and there is no need to mark it down. Though that could be used as an evil way of cheating AGAINST the player. Evil evil but manipulative. So you see the idea of limiting what you cary also plays into 'droping objects' but the idea of one 'chest' is much like the computer rpg's 'unlimited money pockets' combined with an 'interconnected bank system'. these streached and unrealistic aspects of these computer rpgs serves a purpose to keep the game moving and continueing on. Implementing a weight limit and 'chest of holding' is like taking away the unlimited money pockets and demanding that you use the bank system, continously. the only purpose it serves is to slow you down or introduce you to other game quest givers. In a game book it is highly important to keep story or exploration continueing and anything that gets in the way tends to break this flow. If it could work easily into the system I'ld give it a go but I tried that once and ended up with another piece of paper as a 'bank'. To me it feels like an intrusion into the game.

-Re: Game map
I provide a link here to an image I posted. Its for development purposes only and will NOT be included in the game. Its enormous so you have to click original, and save. Then use an onboard preview program to zoom and pan.


I have been mentioning updates all along and I have to be fair. These updatets are on my personal copy. Every time I put a new file with the same file name on google drive it shoots out a brand new share link. Annoying as heck. Untill I start hearing about errors on differnt levels of the house, or when someone reaches the underground level I feel like I should hold off on updateing the online file. Tell me what you guys think.

A side note

If you haven't heard about interactive fiction it might be interesting for you.

Re: Why not make it as Interactive fiction ?

After this is complete I would love to have it converted to Inform. I tried in the past to make "Alone in the Dark" as a doom level, a quake 1 multiplayer map , and TADS interactive fiction. Each time I was met at programming failure that was not my doing. And that was just for the map only. This method of creation in plain text as a game book is the only sure fire method I could think of that was failsafe for completion. I would have to have someone else convert it but that's fine by me. The improvements to it would be that droppable object system and a carrying weight limitation for the player. There was a nice interview with the creator of "Alone in the Dark" on youtube. In it he said there were many pc rpg games at the time with # based stat systems. He felt it subtracted from the feeling of suspesnse and horror of the unknown that his game relied so heavily upon. If I were to have it reacreated as inform the number stats would be hidden from the player. Here is the link to the youtube interview. It starts out focusing on another game but wait a moment or two.
And a review

Still playing or Dead thread?

Just wondering if anyone is still playing my book. Feedback is greatly welcome.

Moving may Not Get To It

Hey Bob,

I was playing the book, but I am in a middle of a move from the U.S. to England. Don't have a huge a lot of time right now. Once I move, I will try to take it up again.


Updates and Best Wishes

I wish you an easy and smooth transition in the move from the US to England. Moving normally is hard but across an ocean must be right difficult.
As for the gamebook I've completely redone the diary, opening sequences, changed -a- monster around and added more background clues. Now it seems less a house inhabited by Ludwig alone and a place where people once lived. At least in history. I've also added additional pages. Cover, (in description) two pages of front matter, additional 'books' by 'dire decisions' in the back, and the first paragraph that seemed like an advert became the 'back cover' page. Yes I still am enamored of the idea of making it 'feel' like a gamebook of old. Unfortunately the adding of pages have shifted numbers all around. In addition to these changes I've completely redone two unecessary sections in the underground cave area. I wanted to remove them entirely but 'transition passages' were needed. I' throwing the updates through a spell checker now and will have a new 'updated' version online within a week or two. Lots of non editing stuff happeing on my end in real life so there may be dealays.
Once again best wishes in your travels and move.

H.O.T. update.

There has been a lot of changes to my game book since I last wrote in. The 3hd and 4th (attic) stories of the haunted house are now one level with the Library in the middle of it all. Yes the library is now two stories high. The Den (past the parlor) now has a different description. The rules are now a simplified version of the D&D ogl. Each combat area now has a 'retreat' option. There are now 4 player species and 5 character classes to choose from. Each has a distinct influence from Germanic folklore. Each class has its own distinct 'startup section'. I have contemplated turning combat into pure choice by having a blind link through the use of a table. The old documents were deleted.

Here are the links to the new documents
my Facebook page for easy responses and replies
Creepypasta inspired by my gamebooks
Shareable pdf file version .pdf google drive link

Most of all Enjoy!

As always, feedback is greatly welcome.

Time to complete

At this point I consider this game book done. I'm ready to convert it to a variety of formats. My program Advelh36e has issues converting it to .html. it messes up 'bold' fonts and gets various > symbols used as icons mixed up with html code. I'm also on 'Games of Choice' which uses some form of scripting that I have yet to decode. If anyone wants to check out my game book and see if its actually worth the effort please do so. Right now Feedback is a desired effect. I edited the link above to provide the current accurate link to the .pdf file.

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