Joe Dever

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Joe Dever
Joseph Robert Dever (2).jpg
Born February 1956 (age 58)
Chingford, United Kingdom
Occupation author, game designer
Genre fantasy, science fiction
Notable works Lone Wolf

Joe Dever (born February 12, 1956, Chingford, England) is an award-winning British fantasy author and game designer. Originally a musician, Dever became the first British winner of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Championship of America in 1982.

He first created the fictional world of Magnamund in 1977 as a setting for his Dungeons & Dragons campaigns. In 1984, he released the first book of the Lone Wolf series of young-adult gamebooks, and the series has since sold over 11.5 million copies worldwide (as of September 2014). He experienced difficulty with his publishers as the game books market began to contract in 1995, until publication ceased in 1998 before the final four books (numbers 29–32) were released. Since 2003, however, the series has enjoyed a strong revival of interest particularly in France, Italy, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Poland following the re-release of the gamebook series in these countries.

From 1996 onwards, Dever has been involved in the design and production of several successful computer and console games. He also contributed to a Dungeons & Dragons-style roleplaying game for Lone Wolf published by Mongoose Publishing (UK) from 2004 to 2013 and Le Grimoire (France) in 2006–2013. In 2013, he wrote the story and in-game text for the Joe Dever's Lone Wolf video game series specifically designed for tablets and smartphones. Entitled Lone Wolf: Blood on the Snow, it was developed by Forge Reply (Milan, Italy) and published by BulkyPix. In February 2014, it won two Golden Dragon Awards from the Italian Video Game Developer's Association of Italy (AESVI) for Best Game Design and Best Indie Game of the Year 2013. [1] In April 2014, it was a finalist in the Develop Industry Excellence Awards. On August 22, 2014, the developer Forge Reply announced that Joe Dever's Lone Wolf had achieved two million downloads since its release in November 2013. On November 27, 2014, it was released via Steam for PC's and Mac computers. Currently, Dever is authoring the Lone Wolf Adventure Game with Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.,[2] and writing the final books in the core Lone Wolf series. The latter works are all scheduled for publication in 2015-16.

Biography[edit]

Dever was educated at Buckhurst Hill County High School. In 1976, he joined the studio-based orchestra of a record company in London known as Pye Records which provided accompaniment to prominent solo singers and artists. After 18 months, the orchestra disbanded and Dever then freelanced for a year before joining Virgin Records as a Recording Engineer based at Manor Studios in Oxfordshire. He was at Virgin for five years, working with a diverse mix of artists such as Frank Zappa, Peter Gabriel, and The Sex Pistols.[3] Dever has two children, Ben (b. 1981) and Sophie (b. 1987).[4]

Dever is an accomplished Bass Player and attempted to get a record deal when playing for Essex-based Band 'Seventh Seal'. This led to him getting involved briefly with Public Image, the break away Band formed by John Lydon, acting as road manager and tour manager when P.I. toured in Europe.

He is also an enthusiastic wargamer, boasting an extensive collection of both 15mm and 25mm metal miniatures, of which he has painted the vast majority.

During June–August 2005, Dever underwent extensive surgery for bi-lateral kidney cancer, involving a partial nephrectomy of the right kidney, and a full nephrectomy of the left kidney. Seventy percent of his remaining kidney was saved.[5] The surgical team was directed by J. L. Peters of Whipps Cross University Hospital in London. It proceeded without complications on August 10, 2005,[6] and subsequently Dever made a swift recovery, having retained sufficient kidney function to lead a normal life without any need for dialysis.[7]

Writings[edit]

Joe Dever was seven years old when he became a fan of the comic strip "The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire" which appeared in a magazine called Look and Learn. He also built up armies of Airfix Roman soldiers and converted their spears to laser rifles long before he was introduced to fantasy.[8] Dever was first introduced to "science fantasy" in 1970 by his Grammar school English tutor.[3] He was the first and perhaps only British person to compete in the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Championship of America, which he won in 1982.[4]

Dever originally developed the fantasy world of Magnamund in 1975, and in 1977 he began using it as the setting for his Dungeons & Dragons campaigns. Originally called "Chinaraux", at first the world consisted of only northern continent of Magnamund.[3] Dever stated that his earliest inspirations for Lone Wolf were English medieval classics such as Beowulf, Ivanhoe, and The Once And Future King. In his teenage years J.R.R. Tolkien, Michael Moorcock and Mervyn Peake, along with a keen interest in military history and Norse mythology, all contributed to the creation of the Lone Wolf series.

The story is based around Lone Wolf, who is a young cadet in a monastic order of warriors known as the Kai Lords who defend their home of Sommerlund from the forces of evil, embodied by the Darklords of Helgedad. After a surprise invasion, all of the Kai are massacred and only Lone Wolf survives the final battle. The rest of the book series follows Lone Wolf and, later, his successor in their attempts to take revenge on the Darklords and then to thwart the plans of Dark God Naar to control their world for evil.

Production[edit]

Lone Wolf had originally been intended to be a RPG system for Games Workshop, before Dever negotiated a better deal from Beaver Books, an imprint of Hutchinson Publishing Ltd., and released it as a connected series of solo gamebooks. [9]:46 Dever was originally contracted by this London-based publisher Hutchinson to write four books, but he had already planned for there to be twenty in the series. The first two books in the gamebook series were published simultaneously in July 1984. They sold in excess of 100,000 copies in the first week of release. Subsequently, the Lone Wolf series has been published in over 30 countries, translated into 18 languages, and has sold in excess of 11.5 million copies to date. The series was awarded the Gamemaster International "All Time Great" award in 1991 and also won "Game Book of the Year" awards in 1985, 1986 and 1987.[10]

With the help of Joe Dever, Paul Barnett (pen name John Grant) wrote twelve novelizations of the Lone Wolf books known as the Legends of Lone Wolf, several of which were heavily edited before publication.[11] In 2004, the Italian publisher Gruppo Armenia (Milan) reprinted all 12 novels in 5 volumes of anthology. Random House ceased publishing the novelizations when "the books weren't selling".[12] Dever has stated that as the game books precede the novelizations chronologically, they are the "authoritative" versions.[3] He also developed the character Grey Star, and a sub-series of four gamebooks were written by Ian Page using this principal character (according to a 2008 interview with Joe Dever, Greystar was actually Ian Page's player character in Dever's D&D campaign, and Dever convinced Page to write game books using this detailed character and his background).[3]

Only the first four volumes of the Legends of Lone Wolf were made available in the United States (though Sword of the Sun was divided into two separate volumes, The Tides of Treachery and Sword of the Sun), and only the first 20 of the Lone Wolf gamebook series were printed in the United States. The American editions of books 13–20 were abridged versions and are shorter than the UK editions which have color maps. In The Magnamund Companion, all the countries of the Lone Wolf world are described in some detail, as are Lone Wolf's main enemies - the Darklords of Helgedad - and their Giak language. There is also a Ragadorn Tavern Board Game, and a solo adventure where you play as Banedon the Magician.

The later 'New Order' Lone Wolf gamebooks (no.s 21–28) were printed in the UK in smaller volumes than the earlier editions, and have subsequently become highly sought after by readers eager to complete their original Lone Wolf collections. Copies of these scarce titles regularly sell for over US$100 each on the internet auction site eBay.

Between 1990–1996, three scripts were developed of Lone Wolf for a potential film release, but did not proceed beyond the pre-production phase.[13] Publisher Red Fox ceased publishing the Lone Wolf series after book 28, The Hunger of Sejanoz, citing fading interest in the interactive gaming genre, despite hundreds of requests for the reprinting of several Lone Wolf books that had gone out of print.[3] Dever is currently writing the last four books of the New Order series which are scheduled for release during 2015–2016.

In 1999, Dever gave his permission for Lone Wolf books, numbers one through twenty, to be published for free on the internet by the non-profit organization Project Aon. Joe Dever later gave his permission to publish the New Order series and The Magnamund Companion.[14] In July 2014, on the 30th anniversary of the first publication of Lone Wolf 1: Flight from the Dark, the 28th book in his Lone Wolf series was released online by Project Aon. The World of Lone Wolf series, The Magnamund Companion and several other Lone Wolf related written works are also available for free download from this site.[15]

Mongoose Publishing reprinted the original Lone Wolf gamebooks in Collector hardcover volumes beginning in 2007; besides expanding some of the volumes, Mongoose also promised to publish Lone Wolf through its entire 32-book arc - as Dever had originally intended - rather than just the 28 books of the original series.[9]:400 The first seventeen books in this series were published by Mongoose Publishing before it was announced that Mongoose had lost the license to publish the Lone Wolf line on February 27, 2013.[16] Shortly after this, it was announced that German publisher, Mantikore-Verlag, had acquired the rights to continue publishing the Collector series hardcovers in English from book 18 to 28, and has done so since June 2013. The 20th book in the series, The Curse of Naar, was published on September 18, 2014.[17] As yet, no publisher has been officially announced for the final books 29 to 32.

The first of the new Lone Wolf Collector Editions (Book 1: Flight from the Dark) was thoroughly revised and expanded by Dever with the addition of two hundred new sections. It was shortlisted for the 2008 Origins Fiction Award (Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design). In April 2010, the German language translation (Einsamer Wolf: Flucht aus dem Dunkel) won the Best Fantasy Gamebook Award at the RPC Event in Cologne, Germany.

Other creations[edit]

In addition to Lone Wolf, Dever has also created two other role-playing gamebook series (Freeway Warrior and Combat Heroes) and designed several best-selling computer and video games for PCs and consoles. The Freeway Warrior series of gamebooks are set in a post-apocalyptic, Mad Max-like world. The Combat Heroes gamebooks are illustrated adventures where each paragraph is a full-page picture representing what the player sees, with two modes. Alone, the aim is to escape from a maze. In one-on-one play, two players are dueling in a maze. Each player has a different book ; at a given page, the illustration shows an empty corridor; when the other character is in sight (i.e. the players read given page numbers), the player has to turn to another page showing the other opponent's position in the corridor. Combat is then resolved before the game continues.

Amongst Dever's video game contributions, he wrote the backstory for the best-selling Killzone game.[18]

Bibliography[edit]

Lone Wolf[edit]

Companion Book[edit]

Freeway Warrior[edit]

Main article: Freeway Warrior
  • Freeway Warrior 1: Highway Holocaust (1988)[19]:369
  • Freeway Warrior 2: Slaughter Mountain Run (1988)[19]:369
  • Freeway Warrior 3: The Omega Zone (1989)[19]:369
  • Freeway Warrior 4: California Countdown (1989)[19]:369

Combat Heroes[edit]

  • Combat Heroes 1: White Warlord (1986)
  • Combat Heroes 1: Black Baron (1986)
  • Combat Heroes 2: Scarlet Sorcerer (1987)
  • Combat Heroes 2: Emerald Enchanter (1987)

The World of Lone Wolf[edit]

  • World of Lone Wolf 1: Grey Star the Wizard (written by Ian page; edited by Joe Dever - 1985)[19]:372-373
  • World of Lone Wolf 2: The Forbidden City (written by Ian page; edited by Joe Dever - 1985)[19]:373
  • World of Lone Wolf 3: Beyond the Nightmare Gate (written by Ian page; edited by Joe Dever - 1985)[19]:373
  • World of Lone Wolf 4: War of the Wizards (written by Ian page; edited by Joe Dever - 1986)[19]:373

Legends of Lone Wolf[edit]

  • Legends of Lone Wolf 1: Eclipse of the Kai (co-authored with John Grant - 1989)
  • Legends of Lone Wolf 2: The Dark Door Opens (co-authored with John Grant - 1989)
  • Legends of Lone Wolf 3: The Sword of the Sun (co-authored with John Grant - 1989)
  • Legends of Lone Wolf 4: Hunting Wolf (co-authored with John Grant - 1990)
  • Legends of Lone Wolf 5: The Claws of Helgedad (co-authored with John Grant - 1991)
  • Legends of Lone Wolf 6: The Sacrifice of Ruanon (co-authored with John Grant - 1991)
  • Legends of Lone Wolf 7: The Birthplace (co-authored with John Grant - 1992)
  • Legends of Lone Wolf 8: The Book of the Magnakai (co-authored with John Grant - 1992)
  • Legends of Lone Wolf 9: The Tellings (co-authored with John Grant - 1993)
  • Legends of Lone Wolf 10: The Lorestone of Varetta (co-authored with John Grant - 1993)
  • Legends of Lone Wolf 11: The Secret of Kazan-Oud (co-authored with John Grant - 1994)
  • Legends of Lone Wolf 12: The Rotting Land (co-authored with John Grant - 1994)

It should be noted that book 3, The Sword of the Sun, was split into two smaller volumes by Berkley in the US: The Tides of Treachery and The Sword of the Sun.

Chronicles of Magnamund[edit]

  • The Lencian Trilogy 1: The Dragons of Lencia (co-authored with Richard Ford - 2008)
  • The Lencian Trilogy 2: The Shadow & the Skull (TBA)
  • The Lencian Trilogy 3: (TBA)
  • Rise of the Agarashi 1: Glory & Greed (co-authored with August Hahn - 2008)
  • Rise of the Agarashi 2: Sand & Sorrow (co-authored with August Hahn - 2009)
  • Rise of the Agarashi 3: Triumph & Tragedy (TBA)

Lone Wolf Multi-player Gamebook System[edit]

First published by Mongoose Publishing

  • Lone Wolf Multi-player Gamebook Rules (co-authored with Matthew Sprange - 2010)
  • Heroes of Magnamund (co-authored with Matthew Sprange - 2010)
  • Terror of the Darklords (co-authored with Pete Nash - 2010)
  • Sommerlund (co-authored with Darren Pearce - 2010)
  • The Magnamund Bestiary (co-authored with Darren Pearce - 2011)
  • Book of the Magnakai (co-authored with August Hahn - 2011)
  • Corruption of Ikaya (co-authored with Mark Gedak - 2011)
  • The Darklands (co-authored with Vincent Lazzari - 2011)
  • Stornlands 1 (co-authored with Vincent Lazzari, Florent Haro, Eric Dubourg, Emmanuel Luc, Gerald Degryse - 2012)

Mongoose Publishing lost their license to publish Lone Wolf on February 27, 2013. Shortly after, Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd., announced that it had acquired the rights to develop a new Lone Wolf roleplaying game entitled "The Lone Wolf Adventure Game" in conjunction with Dever. Following a successful Kickstarter campaign August-September 2014, it was announced that the new RPG will ship in May 2015.[20]

Graphic novels[edit]

"PhoneQuest" Interactive Telephone Adventures[edit]

  • Lone Wolf: The Forbidden Tower (1989)
  • Alien Intruder (1990)
  • Ninja (1990)
  • Tomb of the Sphinx (1990)
  • Vampire Hunter (1990)
  • Lone Wolf: The Fortress of Doom (1991)

Lone Wolf Audiobooks[edit]

  • Eclipse of the Kai (1992)
  • The Dark Door Opens (1993)

Lone Wolf Maps of Magnamund[edit]

  • The World of Magnamund (with Francesco Mattioli - 2011)

The Maps of Magnamund Collection:

  • Set 1: Sommerlund, Durenor, Vassagonia, Dessi (with Francesco Mattioli - 2012)
  • Set 2: Kakush and Valerion, The Galdonlands, The Stornlands, Talestria (with Francesco Mattioli - 2013)
  • Set 3: Bor & the Hammerlands, Lencia, the Drakkarim Homelands & the Hellswamp and Ixia & the Hardlands (with Francesco Mattioli - 2014)
  • Set 4: Eastern Darklands, Central Darklands and Skaror, Western Darklands, Eastern Kalte (with Francesco Mattioli - 2015)
  • Set 5: Northern Shadaki, Central Shadaki, Southern Shadaki, Shadakine Occupied Territories (with Francesco Mattioli - 2015)

Computer and video game design[edit]

  • E-Scape (1996)
  • Corazon (1997)
  • Nightlong: Union City Conspiracy (1999)
  • Flåklypa Grand Prix (2000)
  • Flying Circus (2000)
  • Wheelie (2001)
  • Top Down (2001)
  • Desert Gunner (2001)
  • Speedboat Racer (2001)
  • RVO Mech (2002)
  • Ground Control II (2003)
  • 2 Fast 2 Furious (mobile phone edition, 2005)
  • Lone Wolf: Blood on the Snow (tablet and smartphone game, 2013)
  • Lone Wolf: Forest Hunt (tablet and smartphone game, 2014)
  • Lone Wolf: The Shianti Halls (tablet and smartphone game, 2014)
  • Lone Wolf: Dawn over V'taag (tablet and smartphone game, 2014)
  • Joe Dever's Lone Wolf (for PC's & Mac Computers, 2014)

Wargaming[edit]

  • Mega Wargames (photography, 2013)

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Joe Dever's Lone Wolf on Touch Arcade". Joe dever's Lone Wolf. April 26, 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-13. 
  2. ^ "Joe Dever and Cubicle 7 announce major Lone Wolf deal". Cubicle 7. April 26, 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-13. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Blake, Jonathan (January 1, 1998). "Joe Dever". The Kai Monastery. Retrieved 2006-07-03. 
  4. ^ a b Baylis, Chris (January 1, 1993). "Interview with Joe Dever conducted by Chris Bayliss". Role-Player Independent Magazine. Retrieved 2006-07-03. 
  5. ^ Gordon, David (April 1, 2004). "Project Aon Forum". Project Aon. Retrieved 2006-07-15. 
  6. ^ Dever, Joe (September 8, 2005). "Update on Joe". Tower of the Sun. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved 2006-07-15. 
  7. ^ Blake, Jonathan (May 1, 2005). "Kai Grand Sentinel" (PDF). Project Aon. Archived from the original on June 4, 2006. Retrieved 2006-07-15. 
  8. ^ "Dicing With Death". Warlock Magazine. July 1, 1986. Archived from the original on May 1, 2006. Retrieved 2006-07-03. 
  9. ^ a b Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7. 
  10. ^ "Lone Wolf: Celebrate a decade of award-winning excellence" (PDF). Project Aon. January 1, 1994. Retrieved 2006-07-15. 
  11. ^ Dannenfelser, Randy M. (January 1, 2006). "Under hot lights and a falling sky welcome to the life and times of paul barnett". John Grant Paul Barnett.com. Archived from the original on May 5, 2006. Retrieved 2006-07-03. 
  12. ^ Egelstaff, Julian (September 1, 1997). "Paul Barnett". Kai Monastery. Retrieved 2006-07-03. 
  13. ^ Dever, Joe (July 1, 2004). "Joe Dever Interview". lobo-solitario.com. Retrieved 2006-07-03. 
  14. ^ "Project Aon will publish the New Order series!". Project Aon. May 18, 2006. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved 2006-07-03. 
  15. ^ Dever, Joe (January 1, 1999). "Joe Dever Permission Grant". Project Aon. Retrieved 2006-07-03. 
  16. ^ Dever, Joe (March 1, 2013). "Cessation of the Lone Wolf Collector Editions by Mongoose Publishing Ltd.". Retrieved 2013-03-07. 
  17. ^ Blake, Jonathan (June 3, 2013). "Lone Wolf 18 Dawn of the Dragons Collector's Edition". Retrieved 2013-06-04. 
  18. ^ http://fortressat.com/articles-interviews/689-q-a-a-with-joe-dever
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h Schick, Lawrence (1991). Heroic Worlds: A History and Guide to Role-Playing Games. Prometheus Books. ISBN 0-87975-653-5. 
  20. ^ https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/461807648/joe-devers-lone-wolf-the-lone-wolf-adventure-game