DestinyQuest - So where do I start?
I've noticed this question come up a lot recently and obviously with the upcoming The Wrath of Ragnarok this is something that may frequently be on many people's minds. With four books in the series (each one a huge campaign adventure) and a new one on the horizon it is understandable that those new to the series are wondering... where do I start?
There is a short answer and a longer answer. Let's go for short first. I personally would recommend starting with The Raiders of Dune Sea - Book 4 of the series. The reason being, you need no prior knowledge of the previous books and it means you can get started on your hero and your epic adventure into the Dune Sea right away... because The Wrath of Ragnarok (coming to Kickstarter next month - 21 February) is the sequel, so you get to carry your hero across from Raiders to Wrath. You are essentially linking up two books to create a legendary gamebook adventure of ridiculously epic scope!
But, what about the other books I hear you cry. Ok, let's go for a longer answer...
Well, here is the thing. The Legion of Shadow is the first in the series and was written about 10-12 years ago. So, it has a special place in my heart but it never really ticked all my boxes in its execution because I was learning my craft and perhaps somewhat naive. The game balancing was a little rough at times which I know can put some people off and the story was perhaps - at times - a little 'simple' in tone.
I listened to feedback on that book and so, The Heart of Fire (Book 2) and The Eye of Winter's Fury (Book 3) hugely improved on the formula, making combat more fun, expanding on quests and game mechanics, and making it much more accessible to the average reader/gamer. I also ramped up the story to create truly memorable encounters, characters and world lore - the latter of which can be explored further in The World Companion.
So, if you are someone who must start at the very beginning, then The Legion of Shadow will offer you many ridiculous hours of gaming fun - but it is a tough cookie (Dark Souls-esque) that may give a misrepresentation of the rest of the series. That said, characters from my early books do make cameos in later books - including The Raiders of Dune Sea and The Wrath of Ragnarok, so there is an argument for exploring those early books for the complete experience if you like to know every secret, uncover every Easter egg, and become a DQ super fan!
But if you are a noob to DestinyQuest then you simply can't go wrong by grabbing a copy of The Raiders of Dune Sea and getting stuck in with the action. In fact, you can literally do that right now by playing a sample adventure with quick start rules, designed to get you up and running in no time.
The DestinyQuest series is rich in character and lore - and in an ideal world I would love everyone to play all of the books. But I know that people have time commitments and other pressures that make playing through a huge solo campaign sometimes difficult - so I understand people need to be selective.
So, yeah - I would certainly suggest starting with The Raiders of Dune Sea... especially as I would welcome your support for the upcoming sequel, which I promise will blow all your gamebook expectations out of the water. Check out the awesome launch trailer for a hint at the awesomeness to come!
Whatever you choose - and let's face it, this is after all 'a choose your own adventure' - remember to have fun and always have a health potion handy! :D