Rise of the Working Barbarian…

You are faced with a blog post discussing an online fantasy fiction project. At first glance it looks like it might be interesting and relatively well-written, but you’re wary. You’ve been burned before and are still smarting from that article that postulated that Game of Thrones was a bit like a soap opera. (It might actually be more like a 16-bit SNES RPG game.) Still sore and nursing the wounds inflicted while mourning the loss of several in your party, you tread cautiously and consider your options.

If you would like to retreat to something safer and potentially less risky, turn to this page of the internet. If you would like to read the blog post, carry on and continue below…

Ah, you chose wisely. I have an fantastical thing to share with you, friend, and that thing is The Life and Times of the Working Barbarian (or The Working Barbarian if you’re into the whole brevity thing). It is the brainchild of John Steele (Magus John the Steele) who is the venerable mastermind behind the monthly Pictonaut challenge. His wish is to make a Choose Your Own Adventure story happen on the internet, crowdsourcing the choices of people in cyberspace to make the narrative happen. A rag-tag bandit band of writers will then prolong that narrative and keep the quest going. I’m honoured and humbled to be one of those writers charged with the task of taking this forward. I’m not sure where it’s going to go or what I’m going to be contributing as it goes about getting there but, by Crom, I am all stoked up for it.

I think you should be psyched about it too. Now that The Working Barbarian has gone live I encourage you to head over to the site, follow it or bookmark it and start voting to make the adventure happen. It’s a fresh chance to channel the spirit of Fighting Fantasy adventure books and play a small part in the development of a story and mythos in a public space, all happening before your eyes and affected by your whims.

As I said, I’m looking forward to being one of the people involved in its unfolding. It’s not only a fresh creative challenge but something of a psychic throwback to childhood when I got high playing videogames like The Secret of Monkey Island and trawling through those Fighting Fantasy books. I always tended to make really bad choices and so repeatedly died or ended up doing silly things like opening treasure chests to discover deadly gemstones that blinded my character. I lost every fight, came out worse in every wager and was utterly humiliated in every drinking and eating contest. Thus, I had to cheat to actually finish the adventures and my compulsive personality and constant curiosity led me to flick through all the pages and explore all the options anyway. Ah, those were fun times and my fond memories encouraged me to back the recent Kickstarter campaign to turn Hamlet into an RPG novel and, yes, conjure up my magicks and excitedly commit to this.

Turning back to the project at hand, then: go forth and follow The Life and Times of the Working Barbarian. It will be epic. It will be entertaining. It will be high adventure of the highest quality and you will be helping it along. Make your choice well…

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