The "Fabled Lands" Javascript Application: Or, how I lost days of my life


#1

I heard about “Fabled Lands” for the first time from a reply on this forum. After some googling, I found this link I’m offering up for those interested. It’s a javascript app developed using the “Fabled Lands” sourcebooks. It’s essentially the same as the original, except it eliminates pen-and-paper record keeping and a copious amount of page turning. It’s free, but requires that you download Java.

http://flapp.sourceforge.net/

It’s an open world text-based choice game that is worth checking out just to have a model for similar games in choicescript. It’s great. I ended up sinking a lot of time into it. The world genuinely felt vast, open, and alive, which is amazing to me considering that the original books came out long before CRPGs and the like. IMO, the player’s choices seem to have more effect on the world state and game than something like, say, Oblivion, which is probably the benefit of not having to graphically render every little thing. Among other things, you can own ships and sail across the sea to other continents while discovering new islands and avoiding pitfalls like pirates and mutiny.

I’m sure there are people on this forum who are already familiar with it. If I was old enough in the early 90s, I’m sure this is exactly the kind of game I would play. Doesn’t require friends or the social interaction of DnD but offers the same kind of adventure! Oh boy!

Apparently there is (or was) a “Fabled Lands” mobile app from the original author, but I think it’s only for a few of the books. Alternatively, amazon sells the original books in kindle and paper editions.

There’s a lot of content available. I haven’t even explored half of absolutely everything there is to do yet, and I played it for days straight while avoiding work I should actually do! Yay for escaping into fantasy worlds to avoid the unending drudgery of life!

EDIT:

Originally I wrote: “I also read that the original author had plans to write the rest of the books (only six of twelve were ever written), but that plan never seems to have materialized.”

Well, I’m happily wrong. @PaulGresty below informs me that the next book in the series is being written, and close to being completed, by him! Yay! :smiley: Good RPGs are worth supporting.


#2

Ooh, there’s a Fabled Lands / Choice of Games connection, in fact - which is me, because I’ve written a couple of CoG games (ORPHEUS Ruse, MetaHuman Inc.) and I’m currently working on the new Fabled Lands book, the seventh in the series.

(Sorry to blow my own trumpet, here; I so rarely get a chance to…)

The six books that presently exist, written in the 90s, are, I agree, absolutely great, and are probably the most open-ended (and absorbing) pen-and-paper gamebooks ever written. Megara Entertainment released app versions of the first two books, which add images and music, and change the content a bit (a little bit of new text, some new items and whatnot). They are, I think, still available.

The Java Fabled Lands app you mentioned (JaFL, formerly known as FLApp) sticks exactly to the original text and artwork from the 90s, and covers all six books. Jon Mann, who coded it, is a lovely guy, and released it with the full consent of the two authors, and the books’ interior artist, Russ Nicholson. You’ve only lost days to that? I’ve lost weeks…

The seventh book - Fabled Lands: The Serpent King’s Domain - was funded by a crowdfunding campaign last year, and is not so far away from completion now. I’m writing that, though I’m in close contact with Dave and Jamie, who wrote the original books. It’s quite a bit longer than the original books, and should be on sale early next year. Will there be an app version? That’d be great - though I’ll confess it’s more of a long-term project for the series. We’ll see.

The Kickstarter campaign for that is long since over, but if you’re curious then its page is here.


#3

Days is a lot since I only discovered it a week ago haha.

I am so happy you decided to post here with all of this information! I’m a huge fan and have been trying to get everybody I know into it. I’m not sure why I thought the new books weren’t coming out, but I’ve never been so happy to be wrong before! Thank you! I am so excited! I was actually getting depressed I’d eventually run out of content. The original 6 books are a lot, but there’s a lot of cool stuff the last 6 promise to cover.


#4

I found that app by chance eight years ago now. I coulds cry tears of joy that books have hope of being finish. Honestly I love this game more than the other Scrolls series. When people talk about want to make an open world game using Choice strip. This should be their blueprint. Because this world has its own lore and history and all them are interconnected. Your character can rise High and fall low. You can be at night oh Lord a member of the Imperial Court. It’s kind of cool I mean I love it there’s the ability apparently to become enlightened in the litter box that weren’t released.


#5

I agree. I was struck by how immersive the world is, and how well it sets up its own lore. And, a lot of what happens to your game is actually pretty unexpected. Some of the moments that stick out to me so far are (Spoiler tagged for the protection of others):

[SPOILER]
-My character was ambling around a new continent lost as could be (as always happened every time she gets to a new place), and she encountered something that made her run away. She hid in a barrel fool of dye that permanently makes her skin blue. At first I was dismayed until I realize that her newly blue skin is beneficial, as the nobility in the capital city have blue skin. It’s a status symbol and actually got her out of trouble with the guards and into the court and more.

-My character was sent on a quest to kill a giant terrorizing the coast, or something like that. Anyway, the giant soundly kicked her ass so hard that I’m not sure what kind of powerful foolery would be required to take him down. The book in the library did hint at how he could be put to sleep or tricked with fairy ale, but I haven’t been able to make it work yet. :cry:

-Putting the ancient king back on the throne, which also melted the unnatural winter in that area of the continent.

[/SPOILER]

The wayfarer is a pretty good class, especially for beginners, I think. The bonuses to survival really help while you stumble around trying to figure out where you’re going and what you’re doing. It also has okay combat abilities, if I remember right.


#6

that’s the thing your character can eventually grow out of their class. Put some Quest you can only pull off if you are particular class. And some eventbwill bar can ever becoming said class. For example to being fully invested number in the Imperial Court in there pretty much there version of Japan you have to specialize whatever their Bard class is


#7

That’s what made the bard worth playing for me. There were quite a few opportunities where using your bardic talents is beneficial. And I always love games where I can go from rags to nobility. Were you ever able to complete the quests the Court of Hidden Faces send you on in Aku? Some of them are difficult. I haven’t been able to get through it all yet.


#8

dude Aku is like the late Eastern Roman Empire expected kinda of little bit of evil. God knowns where they find faceless babies. Honestly this is why more the books to you have to be released because I want to see the other class related content. I mean it has its own version of Grease that’s one of the areas you go to asses huge mega City. And of course the last really supposed to be the underworld. Which I literally almost stumbled to numerous times if it wasn’t for it existing.


#9

Aku is fun. If it had an alignment, I’d place it in the lawful neutral category.

Yeah! I also went over the mountains and reached the [SPOILER]wall that leads to the underworld[/SPOILER], and I felt pretty bummed to discover that the book for it doesn’t exist (yet). If the last book does get written, I hope there are weird, creepy cities to visit where spirits/demons/whatever live. Of course, that might not fit the lore of the world. Whatever it turns out to be, I’ll be happy.

The priests currently have some special content, and the game gives thieves the chance to sneak quite a few times, which is cool. I haven’t played a mage yet, although I joined the wizard college playing a non-mage class.

I really like how new characters start at your highest rank (level). Makes replaying more enjoyable.


#10

I kinda like how hard it is to get by in the being of the game. I make so much more enjoyable. Yes do need the dice god on your side in the being otherwise you can get your ass hand to you.


#11

The game can be merciless! There’s a lot of things that can and will kill you even if you’re careful. In addition, there are a lot of times when the game takes all of your equipment away, which sucks especially if you are stuck in the middle of the wilderness. It’s a challenging game, that’s for sure, but you’re right. It forces me to think more carefully before my character does something.


#12

you’ve really can’t get screwed out of gear of legendary proportion. One of the things I love about this game if you can get items as straight out of the lore but you have to do some insane stuff for it. When you get captured by slavers or one really f***** up pirate king got that painful. Now some sword of ancient king sword is floating around god known where.


#13

How do I play this? I’m on windows and I’m double clicking the flands .jar file but it won’t work. I’m using “OpenRAR”


#14

@Rogar

I feel like I got the word of the ancient king, but I’m not sure if I’m remembering right. I didn’t realize you could get cool items after being captured by slavers, and now I want to go do that. The game can actually be pretty generous with decent equipment even if it’s really easy to lose it all.

@TheGreatDunce
Okay, the most simple question I have to ask is if you’ve unpacked the rar file. Also, make sure you have java installed.

If you do have java and it’s still not working, then I actually had a similar issue where I had to completely uninstall java and reinstall it to get it to work. I might have had to turn my wi fi off too or something. But, that was an issue with java and not the flands.jar file.


#15

Once you know the game well, there are various ways to get your character to super-high levels, with a maxed-out score in every Ability, and amazing equipment. And that’s something we’re trying to tackle with the new book, certainly - finding ways to challenge even really powerful characters.

That doesn’t happen so often. You have to be a Rogue to get the Nightstalker title, for example, but that’s more the exception. In the example you’ve given here, the Troubadour can rise in the Imperial Court more easily than other classes, but it’s possible for everybody to do it. If you’ve heard the song of the mermaids in Book 3 (on the Violet Ocean), you can play that on the flute at court, and that has the same effect as being a Troubadour.

Of course, if you’re playing the dead-tree version and you don’t own Book 3… yeah, you really have to be a Troubadour to do that bit.


#16

I love after a certain point your characters lake level of ridiculousness and experience Adventure is straight out of like Conan the Barbarian or Greek antiquity. Hey Emperor I may be on Scruff Barbarian but I’m really good with the flute because I heard the most haunting Melody when I was merchant captain