“The so-called heroes of the piece are all seriously damaged by their employment, and the world as a whole is a screaming bleeding mess as a result of the base assumptions it runs on. There’s no attempt to paint the action in terms of heroes and villains or good and evil, no sense that there is a right or wrong side to be on – it’s just hardened, damaged men and women trying to survive and making their own desperate best-guess decisions about how to do it. That was the tone I wanted carried over – and Liber Primus Games really delivered on it!” Richard Morgan
Children go missing in the marshes. Ancient spirits are awakening. Powerful machine-demons manipulate the fate of mankind. But all of this is just a game for even darker forces. In the first of its kind, bestselling author Richard Morgan brings his trilogy of novels to life as a three-player game-book set in the world of A Land Fit For Heroes. This story will change you. This story will touch you, one way or another. Be prepared. Read if you dare.
“What the gamebook will do is allow you to inhabit a character’s skin in a way you can’t with ordinary prose fiction: you get to govern their reactions to circumstance with your own, you get to put your own stamp on how they proceed through the story, you get to take chances and make choices. And, of course, you have to deal with the consequences of those choices, good and bad.” Richard Morgan
Kirellin of House Caith
You watch your twin blades embed themselves in your opponent’s chest with deep sadness. As always, the high-pitched shriek that follows is short, ending in sickening, bloody gagging and gurgling. You told the young daredevil not to take this matter so seriously. Leaving your swords where they are, you walk over to a nearby tree trunk and slump down, while the surgeons and seconds try to save the poor boy’s life, and you consider your options.
“I should have died on Rajal Beach” you mumble, getting to the same conclusion each and every time since the war.
You meet the second’s eyes and he shakes his head solemnly. Fuck. The guy’s dead. Of course, if someone with your fencing skills – blade-dancing as you liked to call it – shoves three feet of kiriath steel through a person’s lungs, death is inevitable…
Time to retrieve those blades now.
Sighing, you walk back towards the blood-stained grass and kneel beside your fallen opponent, looking questioningly towards the surgeon. He stands up, wipes his hands clean and nods. You close your eyes and with a swift, well-practiced motion you pull the blades free from the dead man’s body. You’re not queasy, but you do not like the jerking motion the bodies make when you retrieve your weapons. Blood does not stain kiriath steel for long. It trickles down the blades so fast as if the metal was doing everything in its power to get rid of it straightaway.
Another duel at dawn. Another victory. But why? Why do you keep fighting? Wouldn’t it be easier to allow one of the challengers to kill you? But you can’t help it. Once you see naked steel, something takes over you and you become a mere spectator in your own body. Parries, ripostes, counter-attacks, blood – no fight lasts for more than two or three minutes. Not since Rajal Beach, since the destruction of the 51st Rangers. The more you want to join them, the farther they move away.
Ilaria, Thief of Yhelteth
“Come back to bed” comes a voice from behind the curtain of the canopied bed. “Ilaria…”
But you continue ignore the voice and continue pulling your charcoal colored leather vest over your head. It fits your athletic body perfectly, wrapping all your curves and muscles like the most comfortable yet sturdy glove.
“It’s Mistress Ilaria, ” you hiss as you buckle the belt on your tight black pants. “Know your place!”
“Just come back, it won’t be long, I promise… I want to feel you again before you leave”
“Don’t ever talk to me like that again, Seleth. You are by far my favorite” you lean in to kiss her, but at the last moment, you bite her lips instead. “… but I’ll be back if and when I can. Don’t ever tell me what to do.”
Before Seleth would decide to disobey, you jump off her and stride out of the bedchamber.
Poor Seleth… Is she the one to chase away the darkness within? I should treat her better… But then again, she’s only a whore. She’ll learn her place or follow the others.
You fling the door open and take a deep breath of the muggy, night time air that reeks of moss and fish shit. The beauties of favoring a brothel by the dock. Fish shit served warm and toasty at all hours of the day.
Calnar, the Majak Warrior
The demons attack at dawn when the narcotic effects of the kumis have worn off. Sinking their claws into your mind they stir your thoughts like a fat chef stirs shol, a thick porridge soup made with goat milk.
Then the world explodes into smithereens, and when the pieces come together again, you’re long gone; you are far away in time and place.
The crack of a whip pulls you back into reality. Your skin bursts open from the fiery pain, blood gushing down your back, reminding you why you’re here. But if that wasn’t enough, your father’s livid screams wouldn’t let you forget anyway.
“Winners get glory and power” the whip cracks on your back again, grappling into your flesh. “Losers get the whip”
You hear the ruthless leather hiss through the air. Before it could strike down on your back again, you grab into the wooden pole you’ve been tied to, tearing your fingernails off while trying to hold on with as much force as you can muster. Sick as it may sound, you’re happy to feel a different kind of pain that can help you forget the sharp bites of the cat-o-nine-tails.
“Those born from my seeds are either victorious or dead!” your father screams as he strikes down again. Your body responds to the ever growing pain in a most peculiar way: it makes you feel aroused.
“Your mother fooled me! I have a daughter not a son. I should have known better and emptied my seeds on the back of the yurt!”
From the interview made by the Escapist Magazine (see full article here)
“Well, we decided early on that it would be a mistake to use the extant storyline – the books are pretty character-driven and there’s a lot of introspection, plus the narrative outcomes are pretty, ehm, ambiguous, shall we say,” he said. “Now that’s clearly not ideal for what is fundamentally a dynamic decision-based gaming experience. So we crafted a fresh set of characters and built a narrative that runs alongside the events of the original trilogy, occasionally intertwines with them – you do, at a couple of junctures, run into the protagonists from the novels – and has some significant impact on the outcomes you saw there. But at the same time, this is very much a separate story, and you don’t need to have read the books to ‘get’ the gamebook.”
Intrigued, I asked him what the process of translating the books’ chronology into the game was like, because he clearly had to do more than just copy the words.
“It was a lot of fun, and not least because other people were doing the bulk of the heavy lifting!” He said. “I’d already agreed with the team at Liber Primus Games that they could handle most of the writing. I’d had a look at the branching maps you need to put together a gamebook narrative and just reading them made my head spin. These guys, on the other hand, work with code on a daily basis so they were completely at home in that environment. And they were huge fans of the novels, they really wanted to get the feel of the world right.”
Morgan explained: “So what we settled on was a process whereby I’d act more or less as a showrunner, helping create characters and narrative arcs and keeping continuity with the fiction of the original trilogy, and then guesting as writer on a couple of occasions where my original characters showed up in the story. What that involved in practice was sitting down with the team and having these long spitballing sessions until we’d hammered out something we could all agree on, and then the Liber Primus Games guys went off and brought it to life. And then I went in during the final stages for a few finishing touches.”
Morgan says that one of the most pivotal elements to carry over from the books to the game was the tone.
“The whole idea of the original Land Fit for Heroes trilogy was to deconstruct the standard heroic fantasy tropes, hold them up to the light and see what horrors might be hidden there – the driving force behind it all was the question What would it be like to make your living from chopping up your fellow human beings with sharpened steel? And the base assumption is that it would fuck you up,” said Morgan.
“The so-called heroes of the piece are all seriously damaged by their employment, and the world as a whole is a screaming bleeding mess as a result of the base assumptions it runs on. There’s no attempt to paint the action in terms of heroes and villains or good and evil, no sense that there is a right or wrong side to be on – it’s just hardened, damaged men and women trying to survive and making their own desperate best-guess decisions about how to do it. That was the tone I wanted carried over – and Liber Primus Games really delivered on it!”
Given that the books are strongly character-oriented, with heroes described in shades of grey rather than good or evil, I asked how much agency the main characters in the game would have.
“Well, obviously this is a constrained narrative – we’re telling a story here, so it couldn’t really be otherwise. That’s the book side of gamebook!” Morgan replied. “There is a defined ending, and as a player – if you manage to survive – you will reach that endpoint. But as to what shape you’re in when you arrive there, what you’ve been through, that will depend very much on the choices you make.”
“What the gamebook will do is allow you to inhabit a character’s skin in a way you can’t with ordinary prose fiction: you get to govern their reactions to circumstance with your own, you get to put your own stamp on how they proceed through the story, you get to take chances and make choices. And, of course, you have to deal with the consequences of those choices, good and bad,” he said.
The game is based on the Land Fit For Heroes trilogy by Richard Morgan
The Steel Remains
Ringil, the hero of the bloody slaughter at Gallows Gap is a legend to all who don’t know him and a twisted degenerate to those that do. A veteran of the wars against the lizards he makes a living from telling credulous travellers of his exploits. Until one day he is pulled away from his life and into the depths of the Empire’s slave trade. Where he will discover a secret infinitely more frightening than the trade in lives.
Archeth – pragmatist, cynic and engineer, the last of her race – is called from her work at the whim of the most powerful man in the Empire and sent to its farthest reaches to investigate a demonic incursion against the Empire’s borders.
Egar Dragonbane, steppe-nomad, one-time fighter for the Empire finds himself entangled in a small-town battle between common sense and religious fervour. But out in the wider world there is something on the move far more alien than any of his tribe’s petty gods.
Anti-social, anti-heroic, and decidedly irritated, all three of them are about to be sent unwillingly forth into a vicious, vigorous and thoroughly unsuspecting fantasy world. Called upon by an Empire that owes them everything and gave them nothing.
Richard Morgan brings his trademark visceral writing style, turbo-driven plotting and thought provoking characterisation to the fantasy genre and produces a landmark work with his first foray.
Praise for the series
‘Bold, brutal, and making no compromises – Morgan doesn’t so much twist the cliche´s of fantasy as take an axe to them’ Sunday Times bestselling author Joe Abercrombie
‘Morgan brings a fresh approach to epic fantasy, giving his world a hard edge and blending in such SF elements as machine intelligences and extraterrestrial races . . . Morgan’s protagonists, with their tough outward demeanour and lofty ethics, lend depth and seriousness of purpose to high fantasy and should appeal to fans of George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series’ Library Journal
‘This is dense, gripping fantasy’ SFX
‘Passionate, fast-paced, smart and furious’ Wertzone
The Cold Commands
Ringil Eskiath, scarred wielder of the kiriath-forged broadsword Ravensfriend, is a man on the run – from his past and the family who have disowned him, from the slave trade magnates of Trelayne who want him dead, and apparently from the dark gods themselves, who are taking an interest but making no more sense than they ever have.
Outlawed and exiled from his ancestral home in the north, Ringil has only one place left to turn – Yhelteth, city heart of the southern Empire, where perhaps he can seek asylum with the kiriath half-breed Archeth Indamaninarmal, former war comrade and now high-up advisor to the Emperor Jhiral Khimran II.
But Archeth Indamaninarmal has problems of her own to contend with, as does her house guest, bodyguard and one time steppe nomad Egar the Dragonbane. And far from gaining the respite he is seeks, Ringil will instead find himself implicated in fresh schemes and doubtful allegiances no safer than those he has left behind.
Old enemies are stirring, the old order is rotted through and crumbling, and though no-one yet knows it, the city of Yhelteth is about to explode…
The Dark Defiles
It ends here…
North to the distant Hironish Isles in search of the last resting place of the Illwrack Changeling and the fabled floating city of An Kirilnar. A fine quest? Worthy of three heroic outcasts ready to reclaim their destiny? But on the bleak windswept turf slopes of the Isles the last resting place of the Changeling is rumoured to be everywhere and nowhere. And as for An Kirilnar…
Ringil Eskiath is running out of patience, Egar Dragonbane is desperate for a fight, any fight, just to break the monotony. Even the four thousand years of her heritage give Archeth Indamaninarmal no answers. Some tale of legend this turned out to be.
But the Dark Court, the ambitions of Empire and the greed of men have not finished with Ringil, Egar and Archeth. The Dwenda will not be denied, the Grey Places call, the magic burns ever more fiercely in Ringil. A war fought thousands of years before has not ended.
A Dark Lord will surely rise. But who?
Richard Morgan’s thrillingly dark and strange high fantasy reaches its stunning conclusion in a pell-mell race across a world tipping into war. A war of ancient races and their technologies but all too human motives and fears.
In Book 1, a young page embarks on his first mission to defeat a legion of undead and start to unfold an ancient conspiracy which banished a Goddess. During his travels, he will meet surprisingly civilized goblins, a forest of sleeping demons, a deadly swamp, forge alliance with the traveling folk and lastly, enter the Black Keep to meet the infamous Lord Malbor, master vampire.
In Book 2, our hero is promoted to be a squire and he get furthermore entangled into the fight against the forces of darkness. Up North, the orcs are gathering an army and it is rumored that the God of Orcs is leading it. Deadlier enemies, more challenging traps and riddles hinder his mission, and he can even visit a mysterious extraplanar fortress to meet the elusive Midnight Swan.
In Book 3, the hero is about to travel to the Swamp of Thousand Paths, where the Ancient Horror awaits as the next step to bring back the banished Goddess. The marshes are deadly, with many powerful enemies, half-human, half-crocodile beasts, snakes and marsh vampires. You can fall in love with an elf princess, join a peccary hunt, solve more riddles and ultimately, get the weapon to defeat Xaraxorn, the Ancient Horror.
In Narborion Origins: Lord Malbor, young Lord Malbor is visiting the Fangor Boarding School where he starts to learn the Dark Art. As member of a secret organization, he’s about to uncover something that was meant to be hidden and thus he will become the dreaded vampire lord of the Black Keep..
You can download the Narborion Origins: Lord Malbor from the app stores now! This is a stand-alone prequel to Narborion Saga, where you can take the role of the infamous Lord Malbor and experience his descent into Darkness.
You can download the Narborion 3: The Swamp of Thousand Paths from the app stores now! If you play Book 2, you will be able to transfer your character to Book 3, giving you a better chance to finish it and get all achievements!
The God of Orcs, Second Book of Narborion Saga is available to download NOW for Android, Amazon Kindle Fire, iPhone and iPad! Check out the section for new players for a quick introduction to the game.
You can download the First Book of Narborion Sagafrom the app stores now! If you play Book 1, you will be able to transfer your character to Book 2, giving you a better chance to finish it and get all achievements!
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