I was a fairly solitary child. I had a few friends, but few of them shared my interests. That’s probably why I loved the Lone Wolf series by Joe Dever. While I could rarely convince anyone I knew to come and play Dungeons & Dragons with me, I could play these on my own. I stumbled across them in a remaindered book shop in Cornwall while on holiday and fell in love with them.
They were an evolved form of the classic choose your own adventure books, introducing random number charts and stats, along with items collected throughout the quests. Each book led into the next, and you could carry your stats and items on through the series. They were, essentially, role-playing games for the friendless. I couldn’t get enough of them, even going so far as to get the Magnamund Companion and teaching myself to speak Giak. In some ways it’s not too surprising that I couldn’t get people to play games with me.
I came across the latest iteration of Lone Wolf quite by accident while browsing Google Play. It’s been reborn as a mobile game, which manages to keep a lot of the atmosphere while introducing animated combat phases. Only the first section is free, though, and I’ve yet to get around to paying for the rest. It’s quite enjoyable, but not quite the same. Which is why I promptly went off and googled the books.
I was pleasantly surprised to find Project Aon, which has remastered all of the game books and posted them online for free download with Joe Dever’s blessing. The entire catalogue is there, and with hyperlinks to jump between sections it’s a great way to re-read and re-experience the books. I’ve emailed them to my Kindle and intend to while away a few lonely hours with them.
I’ve always loved the format. I actually plotted out a variation on the choose your own adventure theme for a digital comic that unfortunately fell through, and I’d love to have a go at it again at some point in the future. In the meantime, I’ll be hefting the Sommerswerd and heading off to fight some Giak. I’d ask you to join me, but this an adventure to have on your own.