My entry for the 2018 solitaire Print-and-Play contest is a 99-section, 14,000-word gamebook, Hero’s Arc: Under the Blood-Red Mountain. You pick the path, and your decisions shape the story.

I was inspired to create a modern alternative to the great gamebooks of the 1980s. Unlike those books, Hero’s Arc has story arcs, so losing a battle won’t always result in death, but may result in a setback of a different kind.

You’ll need pen and paper and three six-sided dice, each a different color or different size. One will be your strength die, one your dexterity die, and one your wisdom die. For trait checks, you’ll need to roll your trait or lower. Then you will use a designated die result for damage: e.g., a dagger takes the lowest die for damage, a bow takes the dexterity die, a magic sword might take the higher of strength or wisdom.

This makes an interesting dynamic: lower traits lead to lower damage (e.g., if you wisdom was 7, the most damage you could do would be 5, and that would require the roll to be 1, 1, 5).

The art is licensed from Axebane’s Fantasy Stock Art series. I commissioned him to create the custom cover.

Try the game out and let me know what you think. It takes about a half hour to play.