The Lone Wolf series may have been the apex of the 80s "choose your own adventure" craze, combining non-linear novels with game stats and dice rolling. They were essentially solitaire RPGs, so their reinvention as an actual RPG makes perfect sense.
I distinctly remember playing through the Lone Wolf books around age 11 or 12, sitting on the couch in the family living room, carefully noting my stats on a piece of scrap paper, loving the idea of a persistent character with evolving stats, and realizing it was like playing D&D by myself. Sadly, when the branching narrative fad faded, a bunch of Lone Wolf books went unpublished.
Since then the books have been back in print, some of the lost books were finally printed (mainly thanks to a popularity spike in Europe), and Mongoose Publishing even made two tabletop RPGs based on Lone Wolf, one a D20 game, the other using an original system. Those are both no longer in print.
Enter Cubicle 7, a British RPG publisher known for the Doctor Who and The One Ring RPGs. They're working with Lone Wolf creator Joe Dever to create a new RPG based on the world of Magnamund, where monk-like Kai Lords battle the forces of darkness. Like the original books, this Lone Wolf RPG is perfect for beginners, gradually increasing in complexity as you become more familiar with the rules and the world.
The Lone Wolf Kickstarter is already quite successful, with just a few days remaining. I spoke to Jon Hodgson of Cubicle 7 to get some details about Lone Wolf.
io9: How does the new system compare to earlier RPGs based on Lone Wolf?
Jon Hodgson: We start at a similar point – using the Lone Wolf solo game books as our inspiration and key texts. From there though we're heading in a unique Cubicle 7 direction. The Lone Wolf Adventure game layers in depth and breadth as you play, building the system from the basic solo game book rules, which are a great starting point for absolute beginners and younger players, to a really great rpg system with all the options you'd expect.
We're offering a lot of options at character generation for where your character comes from, what their role is, even within the Kai order as part of the core boxed set. With traits and skills, and the Kai's Favour score, characters become really unique.
A unique feature of the boxed set is random number generation – something fondly remembered by Lone Wolf officianados. Because the original game books didn't come with dice you used a Random Number Table at the back of the books to generate random numbers from 1 to 10. We're revisiting that with counters that you flip into the box lid, which has a Random Number Table printed into it. You can of course just use a regular ten sided dice if you hate fun!
io9: What do you have planned for supplements and expansions?
Jon Hodgson: We're bringing some familiar sounding supplements, which we're seeing as something akin to "director's cuts" of previous editions:
The Terror of the Darklords campaign for example has been completely reworked by Joe Dever, and will be appearing with the full Cubicle 7 treatment.
Sommerlund [the realm where most Lone Wolf adventures take place] shares some content with previous iterations, because Magnamund is still the same setting we grew up with, but again has been heavily reworked by Joe, and will contain as much material again, with new material in every section. If you've followed our One Ring or Doctor Who lines you'll know we're all about packing in material that's usable at the gaming table – plot hooks, NPCs, adventure locations and so on.
Heroes of Magnamund is wholly new because of the different way we're approaching the system with a lot more options for character generation.
The Lone Wolf Adventure Game is just the start of the journey – we very much see the boxed set as the starting point for getting a great roleplaying game into stores in front of as many potential roleplayers as possible.
io9: Are there any plans to create books in the original Lone Wolf style?
Jon Hodgson: We're currently focusing on the Lone Wolf Adventure Game, that brings a multiplayer roleplaying game experience to as many new gamers as we can, whilst satisfyingly scratching that Magnamund itch for more seasoned gamers.