The Sword of the Bastard Elf

The Sword of the Bastard Elf

Kicked out of home at the cruelly young age of 60, you’re left to fend for yourself in the wilds surrounding Bilgeton. You are the Bastard Elf: embark on an epic quest in search of your human father and his fabled couch upon which you might crash, or blow that off as soon as something better comes along. Can you survive in this strange and vicious fantasy realm?

This epic gamebook adventure, probably the longest and definitely the strangest ever written, was two years in the making. Packed full of absurd humour, strange encounters, difficult choices and and dozens of locations to visit and thoroughly ruin, it’s unlikely that anyone will ever experience everything this book has to offer. Sword of the Bastard Elf differs from many other gamebooks in that success is whatever gets you from one end of the day to the other, and if that means throwing a fight or giving up on a puzzle then so be it. As a weedy half elf with no fighting (or any other) abilities, playing the hero is likely to get you dead, so be prepared to lie, sleaze and sneak across the land until you can find a place to crash that isn’t infested with ravenous monsters, or your hated stepdad Jeff!

Details and fun facts:
  • 1825 numbered sections, with hyperlinks in the PDF version 
  • ~350,000 words
  • 820 pages
  •  80+ large illustrations, numerous smaller graphics throughout
  • Unique but simple-to-grasp system for fighting and dealing with obstacles in the book
  • Entire 4-player roleplaying game with detailed rules and introductory scenario included for no good reason
  • The hardcover version of this book weighs in excess of 2kg/4lb
  • Available in b&w, colour, PDF and travel sized versions (see below)
  • Uses optional item cards (available separately, though the items are illustrated and detailed in an appendix in the book as well).
  • It’s a good book and I’m not just saying that
  • Written by Herman S. Skull, illustrated by S. Iacob, guest illustrations by Tony Hough and S. “Cobnut” Iacob Jr.

What people are saying about the Elf:

“This weighty tome contains potentially days of fun and adventure for you as the elf in question. The humour is great, laugh out loud in places. The locations and characters are both new and strangely familiar while their treatment is within the vein of the rest of the book. Thoroughly recommended.” 

“The writing is ridiculous and on-point; there’s never a dull moment in the adventure. There are tons of fun pop culture nods, great macabre and insane illustrations, a huge assortment of items and equipment to collect, and the book is big and heavy enough that it can easily offer bonus utilitarian uses, such as serving as a very awkward doorstop or makeshift murder weapon.”

“This is a gamebook, like I had in primary school. Make no mistake – this isn’t for everyone. It’s longer than the Bible and about as bloody, and parts of it are completely unhinged. What that means, though, is that if this is your kind of thing you can probably find a dozen paths through it (some which end in ways which can only be described as unhygenic). It’s replayable like no other gamebook I’ve ever seen.”

Where to get it/more information:

DriveThruRPG for all electronic and print options (price from $5 USD for the PDF, black and white softcover and colour hardcover options available)

Amazon US/ Amazon UK for a black and white printed version ($25/£20)
Other available products on DriveThruRPG:

Items List (free)

Care Package (free)

These two items are helpful to print out to save you flipping around to the back of the book or if you don’t like writing in your book.

Elf: Travel Edition ($18/£14) A smaller, cheaper version of the Elf, extensively reformatted to fit into a more portable size while still being readable. A couple of illustrations removed and some small sections of the text altered slightly for formatting reasons, but essentially the same book. It resembles more a large novel than anything that could be described as a tome and can reasonably be taken on holiday without attracting looks.

The Card Deck Book ($1.50/£1 for the PDF, $5/£3.50 for a printed version). The 200 or so item cards used in the game in an indexed PDF or printed booklet form. Far cheaper and easier to store than the actual cards which are available as well.