One-man D&D

Normally, I talk about video games, with most of my articles being about PC games and a significant chunk of them being about Team Fortress 2. Either way, my topics are largely about digital interactive entertainment. Today however I want to talk about something more physical.


I recently recovered these two books from my bookshelf. As the tagline on the covers suggests, it’s an interactive book where you make your own choices in the adventure. Much like a choose-your-own-adventure book, except that these books also have a combat system.

At the start of each book, you need to generate a character, with the three basic stats being Skill, Stamina and Luck. Skill is basically your attack power, and Stamina is your HP. Luck is a sort of a resource and stat hybrid. During a combat encounter, you can roll a dice to do a Luck check. If the number you roll is lower than your Luck stat, you deal extra damage. After each check, you deduct one from your Luck stat. In essence, the more you rely on your luck, the sooner it’ll run out. Thus, there lies an additional bit of depth in combat: do I try my luck and see if I can end this fight sooner, or should I just be a more conservative in case something worse comes along later?

stat sheet
This is how the character sheet for Howl of the Werewolf looks like. As you can tell, I tried going through it before. I remember kid me lost patience and never finished it.

The enemies you fight also have their own Skill and Stamina stats.


Some fights will also have additional conditions, such as this case against a stone griffin. Bladed weapons are less effective compared to blunt weapons, which makes sense. The combat and the character sheet is what reminded me of D&D. The book in this case is your DM. I only took part in one D&D campaign before, which we never managed to finish, but I must say having an actual person as a DM is much more fun, not to mention having party mates.

At 167, I get to choose between some places to go, and in 170 it is the marketplace in the first town and I need to stock up on resources.

In all honesty, this is less like D&D and more like the lovechild of a storybook and a text-based adventure game. The character creation is extremely basic, and the plot is fairly rigid with only one true ending. The various encounters, due to the limitations of the medium, have rather limited ways of resolving them. You simply cannot expect the level of interactivity of a D&D campaign or an RPG with these.

The illustrations for these books are rather great.

However, I cannot deny that these are good for a lazy afternoon. Just create a character and go on an adventure, maybe with a drink at the side. If you want a more laid-back experience with minimal hassle, this is a rather good choice. You don’t need to ring up a bunch of people to run a D&D campaign, and it is definitely less demanding of your focus and attention than a video game. I just wish I have the time and leisure for this.

If you don’t have any dice, just flip to a random page and look at the bottom to get a dice roll. Pretty convenient.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *