Friday, August 17, 2012

Wayne Densley: Chronicler of Arborell

Continuing with my next community highlight, this week I'd like to tip my hat to Wayne Densley, creator of the world of Arborell, along with accompanying fiction, gamebooks and materials, and host to the yearly Windhammer Prize for Short Gamebook Fiction.

The Windhammer Prize has been a rallying point for the community since it's inception in 2008. I personally have entered twice, and won merit awards both times. I had always wanted to write gamebooks, but it was the Windhammer Prize which inspired me to actually get up off my rear end and do it. I have another horse in the race this year, and I encourage anyone out there who's like me and thinks about it, but hasn't actually done it yet, to join in and try your hand at writing a short gamebook too!

Wayne Densley is also the talented author of a truly sweeping series of fantasy gamebooks and novellas set in his original world of Arborell. I've read through all the ones that are currently available, and wish there were more. If you want to check out his stuff, I recommend starting with...

Windhammer, his first core novel-length gamebook. This is book one in the Windhammer series, telling of the Dwarvendim thief, Halokim Vesh, pulled from his cell in the moments before his execution to undertake a dangerous quest for powers he neither likes nor trusts.

Shards of Moonlight, a shorter adventure telling the story of a young hero's rite of passage, a difficult test that sends him into the ancient lands of his people. This is part 1 of the Jotun of the West series, which is a companion series to Earth and Stone, Book 2 of the core series. (See the chart.)

A Murder of Crows, second in the Jotun of the West series, tells of the hero from Shards of Moonlight as he sees his own father take the final steps into the next life.

The entire world of Arborell is lovingly built and detailed with Tolkein-esque precision and depth. There are myths, maps, novels, novellas, charts, language primers, glossaries, and more. I prefer to access it all through the Online Portal, where you can see what all is available online with a brief description of what it is. Go explore, and enjoy the fruits of Wayne Densley's rich imagination!

Last but not least, I'd like to mention again the Windhammer Prize. We really have Wayne to thank for this one. Over the last four years, some of the most innovative, fresh and exciting gamebooks published anywhere have appeared on as entries in the Windhammer Prize. It's been as good for the genre as anything else happening recently, giving the community something to rally around. I can't recommend strongly enough going to the Gamebook Archive to check out some of the excellent stories new writers have submitted.

Furthermore, submissions are currently open. Go check it out! If you're feeling adventurous, submit something of your own, or just keep an eye out for all the new gamebooks which will be published live on the 14th of September.

This year, there is an extra, special prize for the three winners: Tin Man Games has agreed to publish the winning entries in a compilation volume! If that's not awesome, I don't know what is.

Wayne, thanks again for bringing us all this great stuff. You are a pillar of the community. Good luck to everyone who is participating in the Windhammer Prize this year!


  1. If it wasn't for the Windhammer competition then I wouldn't have started my blog as I first started it to analyse gamebooks in order to work out where I had gone wrong with my first two entries. And then people started reading my blog and then people started interacting with me via my blog and now I'm writing gamebook projects such as the Adventurer system. So, in a way, Wayne is writing the Adventurer system.

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