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The Universal Gamebook System Rules
Template and rules used in a series of rare gamebooks
HOW TO READ THIS BOOK:
Thank you for buying Salamander Icefort!
This is not a traditional book where you read the first page and continue to the last page like a novel. This is a gamebook where you will not only read this book, but enjoy choosing your own decisions, fighting dangers, writing down and erasing statistics, and avoiding getting “killed” in the narrative.
To prepare yourself before reading, you will need one die, a piece of paper, and a pencil. Often you will roll, write, erase, and take notes!
The Universal Gamebook System (or UGS) first made its debut in 2016, as an underground project called Hellfire Temple. UGS has a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license, where anyone can use the system in their written works and for commercial purposes. So as long the writer gives appropriate credit to the system ("UGS by pilleater”), indicates if changes were made, and does not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.
The purpose of UGS is to encourage new writers to implement a simple gamebook-style system into their work. New readers will discover the innovation and playfulness of the second-person narrative. While choice-based stories can be easy to write, it has always been difficult to implement a die, combat system, and inventory/stat system within a gamebook. …Until now!
Salamander Icefort uses the UGS, and you, the reader, will need to learn the system before reading this book.
HOW TO USE UGS:
On a piece of paper, write “LIFE - 10”, “ATTACK - 0”, “EVADE - 10”, and “INVENTORY:”.
The reader has a LIFE total of 10 POINTS. Throughout the narrative, the READER (that is YOU reading the text) may lose or gain life points. When the reader reaches 0 life points, the narrative immediately ends (the narrative may also instruct you to read a future passage if you reach 0 during that moment). The reader may start the book over again, or claim it as the narrative’s complete ending, finishing the narrative, and thus the book.
The reader also begins with 10 EVADE points. Evade points are spent during COMBAT (unless noted in the narrative). After rolling the die, the reader may spend 1 evade point to re-roll the result. The reader may only spend evade points after rolling a die during combat or when instructed to do so.
The reader begins with 0 ATTACK points and has no "bonus" points added during combat.
And finally, the reader has an INVENTORY. Throughout the narrative, the reader may gain or lose ITEMS that may help the reader in combat, introduce new rules, unlock new choices, etc. These items are written down under the word "Inventory:" as a list.
During combat, the reader will play a dice-rolling mini-game. The OPPONENT in the narrative will have two stats: LIFE and ATTACK.
The reader will begin the narrative with 10 life points and 0 attack points. Both life and attack points will change throughout the narrative. Combat will subtract the reader's life points.
An opponent’s text during combat will look like this:
[Bad Guy's Name here]:
Life - 6
Attack - 1
[Any special instructions]
The reader will roll two different dice rolls. One die is rolled for the reader’s attack, and the other die is rolled for the opponent’s attack. The opponent will attack first (unless noted), then the reader will make an attack roll. Both results are compared. Whoever has the highest attack value does 1 point of DAMAGE to the loser. If there is a tie, the reader and the opponent roll again. A damage point subtracts from the life total.
For example, The opponent rolls a 5. The opponent’s attack is 2. 2 is added to 5, making the opponent’s total attack value 7. The reader then rolls a 2. The reader’s attack value is 0, so there is no "bonus" to his rolled result. The reader may now spend 1 evade point to roll again. He spends an evade point and rolls a 6. The opponent has 7, and the reader 6. The opponent deals 1 point of damage to the reader. They keep rolling until either the reader or opponent reaches 0.
If the opponent reaches a life total of 0, the reader moves on with the narrative. If the reader reaches 0 life points, the narrative/book ends, with possible instructions on what happens next, if any.
Sometimes, the narrative will let the reader make an ESCAPE and avoid combat altogether. Rules of escaping will vary depending on how the text is written in that situation. The reader cannot escape from combat unless noted in that situation.
The reader will make choices throughout the narrative, beginning in SECTION 1. Sections are short, sometimes long, written passages. Sometimes the reader must fight an opponent or discover something new. Anything can happen! At the end of each section, the reader is given a choice (or none) and must TURN to that new section.
For example: After reading section 1, you may have to either turn to either section 56, 72, or 133. In that case, follow the number order written throughout the book until you get to that new section. DO NOT read any other section!
In each section, the reader may encounter an opponent (or several), gain or lose a new item or stat, or a new rule or situation the narrative will make up. Sometimes the narrative might ask if the reader has a particular item to turn to a new section. Eventually, you will get to a final section that will immediately end the narrative.
This book can end by either the reader reaching a unique ending (with a written conclusion), or the reader’s life points drop to 0, immediately ending the narrative (the book). If your life points drop to 0, the book is over.
To recap, the following is a list of key terms used in the UGS:
READER: You reading the text.
POINTS: A statistic measure. The higher the better.
NARRATIVE: The text you are reading with UGS.
LIFE: Points that measure the reader’s and opponent’s vitality. Once the number reaches zero, the opponent is defeated, or the narrative is concluded.
DAMAGE: When the reader or opponent loses life points. This is 1 point of damage dealt in combat unless noted. The opponent is defeated when he reaches 0 life points, and the narrative ends when the reader reaches 0 life points.
EVADE Points were spent on re-rolling the die and for other narrative purposes. Once the number reaches zero, the reader cannot spend any more points.
OPPONENT: The fictional enemy that faces the reader in a combat challenge.
COMBAT: A mini-game rolling dice back and forth to either conclude the narrative or defeat the opponent (the narrative continues if the opponent is defeated).
ATTACK: A bonus value added to the reader or opponent’s combat roll. Think of this as "bonus points" added after the die has been rolled. Whoever has the highest total deals damage to the loser.
ITEMS: Special objects gained and lost throughout the narrative. Items may act as “keys” to gain access to new sections or add bonus stats or new rules during combat. Items can vary whatever the written rule is.
ESCAPE: An opportunity to escape combat and move on with the narrative. The reader can only escape if the text permits it.
INVENTORY: The reader’s collection of items gained throughout the narrative. Often noted on a piece of paper.
SECTION: A passage that is read by the reader and follows. At the end of each section, there is a choice to turn to a new section. Continue the narrative to that numbered section. Otherwise, there may be an opponent, a new item, a dice challenge, or anything that the text could permit.
TURN: At the end of each section, the reader makes a choice (if any), and will “turn” to the next one. The reader turns to a new section by following the sections in numerical order written throughout the book.
Keep in mind that the written narrative takes precedence over these rules. Do what the text says and write down everything you gain or lose in stats or items. When given a choice, follow the next section accordingly. Follow the text! Always read a section from top to bottom. Do not read any other section you are not allowed to turn to.
Now get a pencil, eraser, die, and a piece of paper with the following written on it:
LIFE - 10
ATTACK - 0
EVADE - 10
You are ready to read Salamander Icefort!
Continue to read the gamebook’s introduction on the next page.