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Publisher: DWDalton Adventures, LLC

TOTBL is the first in a series of high fantasy choose your path novels, penned by Whitney Award-nominated Derick William Dalton. 

Inspired by works such as Fighting Fantasy and Lone Wolf, reader choices and hero abilities allow a range of storylines and endings, one of which leads to the sequel, The Elusive Elixir.

Defenders has full color illustrations throughout. The introduction explains the mechanics of character traits, skills, combat, use of gear, and character improvement. No additional books are needed.

Miri Oliva sought adventure in the wilds for the excitement and to escape a culture that made her feel like a posession. 

Destitute but free, she agrees to help a village leader for far less coin than the job is worth. She recognizes their situation. They too are made to feel like belongings to a nearby group of marauders.

Miri doesn’t realize throwing her lot in with the village will set off an avalanche of events between leaders of the Realms, some friendly and some otherwise.

The game mechanics are based on Lone Wilderlands, the solo sandbox RPG in a cardbox. Also by Derick William Dalton, characters from TOTBL can be used in Lone Wilderlands adventures and vice versa. Lone Wilderlands RPG is also available from DriveThruRPG.





Here’s an excerpt from Throne of the Bandit Lord:


Lungs burning, Miri Oliva splashed into the shallow stream. Three strides, four, then up the other bank behind a tree. Pulling on a root to speed her exit, she winced at the rib pain but didn’t slow. Keeping the tree between her and the imp who’d bruised her with a club, she sprinted harder. Dodging a noisy pile of leaves, she slipped through quieter ferns, held her breath, and listened for pursuit.

Miri caught no sounds but her own rapid footsteps and her green cloak’s gentle ruffling.

She drew a deep breath after the pause and ducked a low branch, while the barbed arrowhead she had no time to remove worked farther through the hard leather under her tunic. She ignored the pain behind her shoulder and hoped the imp archer had no skill with poisonous elixirs.

Such hope was buoyed by their appearance and behavior. Miri doubted any creatures satisfied to clothe their short, stringy bodies with poorly stitched hides would have the patience to craft elixirs of any kind. Their language was crude and cruel. Their grins of pointed-teeth were wicked. Large ears gave them a bat-like appearance and aided in eavesdropping, plotting, and backstabbing. Miri didn’t know if their palor arose from lurking in the dark and under trees, but the cadaverous complexion of the imps filled her with revulsion.

Timing her breathing with her strides, she centered herself, pushed poisons and unhealthy skin from her mind, loosening her muscles for more speed. Miri looked up from the uneven ground for bearings. The rocky teeth that marked her safety still hid behind too many trees.

She’d stuffed the battered satchel at her hip with enough pine needles to keep the pile of coins inside from clinking in spite of her flight. It still banged against her leg, slowing her. She tried to shift it without dropping her spear, but it didn’t help.

A whistling arrow sped past, but not from behind. There was a second imp archer to her left, intent on reclaiming what Miri had pilfered.

Miri wouldn’t let that happen. She had a job to do, and she was too hungry to go unpaid. Her boots were worn, her shield was good for only two or three more blows, and she had nowhere to sleep but a leaky lean-to.

The stony cliffs, where Hillspire villagers awaited the return of their stolen wealth, were still out of sight. Shield held a little higher to protect her head, Miri felt her strides shorten. A second arrow skipped through the brush in front of her. She risked a glance, but saw no archer. Legs aching, she wondered: Turn and charge the archer, risking the other two imps overtaking her? Or drop her nearly-ruined shield, clutch the satchel tightly, and exhaust herself in a final flight to the cliffs?

The imp’s arrowhead and bruised ribs are painful, but don’t reduce Miri’s health as her armor absorbed the points of damage.

If Miri raises her shield and rushes the archer, go to section 29.
If her shield can best serve her as jetsam to molder in the forest, go to section 153.

Here’s a sample of the character sheets used in Defenders gamebooks like Throne of the Bandit Lord and the solo RPG Lone Wilderlands.

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