Review by C.J. Bunce
Anyone familiar with the Fabled Lands solo RPGs of the 1990s will take quickly to Spidermind Games’ Legendary Kingdoms campaign. Ultimately expanding to six books, the first of its roleplaying game books in the classic “choose your own adventure” and Oregon Trail format is The Valley of Bones, an immersive journey where you guide four characters there and back again, complete with many of the tools and experiences you’d find in a multiplayer Dungeons & Dragons campaign.
First, the Legendary Kingdoms campaign is set in a sandbox fantasy world, which aims to place the maximum decision making power in your hands. But it’s not just a free-for-all. This RPG has the easiest instruction guide of them all, filling all of 10 pages. The rest is entirely adventure.
Designed by Oliver Hulme, the game requires only pencil and paper and a minimum of six six-sided dice. You begin by selecting your adventuring party from six options. Choose four characters of varying skills, including fighting ability, stealth prowess, knowledge of lore, survival skills, charisma, and starting health status. Your characters are first-born knight Sar Jessica Dayne, sorceror Lord Ti’quon, Tasha the buccaneer, a druid in training named Amelia, Akihiro the swordsman, and the suave Brash the pot washer. Advanced rules at the back of the book allow you to create your own adventure crew members.
Game play incorporates dice driven skill checks, combat, and armor save defense/damage roles. Your characters cast spells, have romantic encounters, use money to buy their way out of trouble, wield objects, and more.
But the mechanics of the game consist entirely of classic “choose your own adventure” back-and-forth movement through the book’s 903 sections of action-driven storytelling. Each section, often a paragraph of text, provides a determination or decision point where you decide the next step, then follow the corresponding number to the next section in the book. Arriving by boat to a dock you may decide to land, or continue sailing either east or west, for example. When entering a library you may choose to pull some books from the shelves, or turn around and walk away. Arriving at a gatehouse weapon store you may be allowed to take one of five weapons with you. The rules could not be simpler.
But be aware of your Health points. If a character encounters wounds or damage and its Health number drops to zero, then it’s “game over” for that character.
Rules allow you to move on to other books in the campaign. So far that includes Book 2: Crown & Tower.
Begin your next adventure now. Perfect for fun between multi-player campaigns or just getting lost in your own imagination. Order Legendary Kingdoms’ first adventure, The Valley of Bones now here at the Spidermind Games website.