Wednesday, 12 October 2011

GDI Rules Revisited

In my previous post, I mentioned (in an update at the bottom of the post) that frequent readings of the Fighting Fantasy gamebook, Creature of Havoc exposed a weakness in the GDI system.  I have since made some alterations to the GDI rules (including the addition of some rules I forgot to include in the previous post).

The new list of the GDI rules follow below:


RULE 1a): As a particular path to success is revealed and expanded upon while reading and re-reading the book, this partially revealed path to success MUST be followed in all subsequent reads.

This is the main change to the previous GDI rule system.  The previous rule 1 (now rule 1b) has been superceded by this one.

This rule is best explained by an example.  Let us say the correct path to success in a particular gamebook involved reading the following pages:

1 - 24 - 36 - 5 - 17 - 50

If, on the first read, you ended up reading pages 1, 24 and 36 and then went off the path to read pages 11 and 19, for all future reads you must always begin by reading pages 1, 24 and 36.  Continuing with the above example, on the second read, once you read page 36, the decision to turn to the correct page (5) or the incorrect page (11) will be decided by the remaining rules that follow below.

As a variation of the above condition, if it is possible to temporarily depart from the true path to explore other pages, without jepordising the following of the revealed path, this may be done, if the remaining rules (listed below) cause this to happen.  Using the above scenario again, if, on the second read, you read pages 1 and 24 and temporarily diverted from the true path (page 36) by turning to, say page 33, this is permitted if you eventually end up back at page 36 to continue along the correct path to victory without triggering an event that makes the book impossible to win.

Finally, if there are multiple paths to success (especially paths that are quite separate from each other), you can roll a die to decide which one to follow.

This rule overrides all other rules listed below.

RULE 1b): Each time the gamebook is read, it must be possible to complete the book EVERY time it is read.

This rule overrides all other rules listed below (but can be overruled by rule 1a above). The way it overrides the below rules is that it changes any potential compulsory selection of an incorrect choice to a random die roll between the correct and incorrect choice(s), where it is known that if the selection of a wrong choice is made, it will be impossible to successfully complete the book. (spoiler follows)

Example - In the Fighting Fantasy gamebook, "The Warlock of Firetop Mountain", one of the keys needed to open the chest at the end of the game is found early on, in a room, inside a box that contains a small snake. If any of the below rules force you to bypass the room that contains this key, you are to ignore the rule, but instead, roll a die to decide whether you enter the room or not.

RULE 2: When you are asked to make a choice between two or more pages to turn to, you must always turn to a page that you have not previously read.

Example. You walk along a road and arrive at a junction where you can travel to the east or west. If you travel to the west on your first read, you MUST travel to the east on your second read.

The above rule has two critical exceptions: Rule 1 (both parts - see above), and the below exception.

RULE 2 (exception): If, on a previous read, you have discovered that possessing an item of equipment or event (codeword) is needed to turn to a previously unread page, and you know both:

a) How to get to the page where you gather the item of equipment or codeword; AND
b) You have previously read the page where you cannot proceed to the unread page without having the item or codeword,

You MUST select the page number that will get you first to the item of equipment or codeword.

This is a complex exception and is best illustrated by using an example (spoiler follows):

In the Fighting Fantasy gamebook, Citadel of Chaos, the villain, Balthus Dire, has a combination lock to get into his war room for the confrontation at the end of the game. Let us say, for example, when reading the book, you discover the combination lock for the first time, but do not have the number for the combination.

Continuing on, in a later read, let us assume you discover the location where the combination is found but do not get to the combination lock at the end.
Because you have discovered both parts of the "solution" to this particular puzzle, for ALL subsequent reads of the book, you must ALWAYS seek out the combination first so that it can be used to unlock the room at the end, because there is an unread page that needs to be read. As long as there are still unread pages to be read after unlocking the door to the war room, this general path (seek the combination first) must be followed on every subsequent read.

If you have multiple examples of the above event, (i.e. You have discovered more than one item/codeword and where it can be used later on in the story), you must roll a die to decide which item/codeword you focus on (unless, of course it is possible for you to follow both).

RULE 3: When you are asked to make a choice between two or more pages to turn to and there are more than one unread pages to choose from, you must roll a die to choose between them.

This rule was alluded to earlier. Again, it encourages exploration of the entire book. Rule 1 (both parts) and Rule 2 (exception) can override this rule, however.

RULE 4: When you are asked to make a choice between two or more pages AND all of these pages have been previously read:

a) Select a page that will eventually lead you to an unexplored area
b) If all pages (or none) eventually lead you to an unexplored area, then roll a die to choose the next page

Where possible, all of the above rules can override this rule.

RULE 5: Making choices that do not involve turning to a page.

A typical example of this is choosing a list of items to buy from a store, merchant etc. where all the items are listed on the one page. In this scenario, once again, you roll a die to choose whether to buy an item or not. If you have limited money, then once again, you roll a die to reduce your selection of items to buy. Again, this rule can be overriden, primarily by rule 1 (both parts) or the rule 2 exception.

RULE 6: Avoid the instant failure page

If you reveal a path that leads to certain failure, you are not to follow that path again, if at all possible.


Thankfully, the calculation of this score is very simple. All you have to do is the following:

1) Read the gamebook again as you would normally read the gamebook (i.e. All gamebook mechanics are reinstated).

2) Using the path to victory you discovered when calculating the exploration score, as much as is possible, read the story through to its conclusion.

Expanding upon the phrase in point 2), "as much as is possible", here is a scenario where you may deviate from the pre-determined path to victory.

Example - Let us say, when calculating the exploration score, you followed a path that involved a section when you had to battle a difficult enemy that could have been avoided.  If, when reading the book with all gamebook mechanics reinstated, you were defeated by this enemy, you need to consider factors such as (using a Fighting Fantasy themed example):

What was your skill at the beginning of the story?
What was your stamina at the beginning of the story?

This can be up to the reader to determine, but if you had a starting skill of 9, but lost to the difficult enemy, the next time you read the book, and roll a starting skill of, say, 8, this may be a scenario where you choose to deviate from the pre-determined path and find a better one.  The process of finding an easier path would be up to the reader to decide.  There is no need to follow complex exploration rules like before because we have already calculated the exploration score at this point.  Continuing on, if you roll a starting skill of 10, because your chances for success are slightly better than before, you would remain on the same path and battle the difficult enemy.  If you lost again, perhaps you would not try that path again unless your starting skill was greater than 10, and so on and so forth.

This is just a small example of how to apply the intent of the principle that lies in the phrase "as much as is possible", in point 2.

So, there are the updated rules.  I hope the adjustments make the GDI a strong measuring device for the difficulty level of any gamebook.


P.S.  Now that the system has changed, I'm going to go back and re-calculate the score for "Invitation to a Feast", amongst other things....


I made a small adjustment, reinstating what is now rule 1b.  Previously, I removed it altogether, and then realised that it still served an important (though reduced) purpose.

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