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Monday, February 20, 2023

Gamebook Review: Spawn of Dragonspear by Steve Perrin

 Spawn of Dragonspear is a gamebook, a short adventure similar to Choose Your Own Adventure, or Endless Quest. Number 17 in the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Gamebook series, it is a little bit more complicated than the other, more popular series. Spawn of Dragonspear is the only gamebook to be set in the Forgotten Realms. It was released in 1988.

You play as Kelson Darktreader, an elven ranger from Daggerford. He also appears in the adventures Under Illefarn, Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle, Scourge of the Sword Coast, and Dead in Thay. The rules are explained at the start and they are very simple. You have hit points for health, skill points for skills, and experience points for adding to dice rolls. 

The year is 1354 DR, this being inferred since Kelvin is said to be 55, while in Under Illefarn he is said to be 58 in the year 1357 DR. 1354 is the same year devils take hold of Dragonspear Castle according to The Grand History of the Realms. Kelson during this time is in the Misty Forest, described as "several hundred miles to the southeast . . . of Daggerford" but it's really much closer (see the map).

I acquired the gamebook in the Summer of 2021, right around the time I started my YouTube channel, and I had a thought around that time to stream it on my channel. I waited until I had more of a following, and at the beginning of the year I finally did. I played with my wife and viewers for about an hour and a half. In the end we failed in our quest. You can watch the whole thing here.

Darktreader in 5e

It was a fun experience, though an interesting one. Choices are important. Even if you roll well on some things, you will get poor results if it's the wrong choice of sorts, though there are boons still to be had. I thought I was doomed in the first half an hour before getting a chance to have more adventures. It was thrilling and I am looking forward to playing again. 

The gamebook can be pricey if you find a copy, but it is worth it, especially if you find one with the original pull out character sheet.


You can track my current progress here.

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