Note that this post has !!!SPOILERS!!! for the first fourteen books in FROSTBORN.
I really love a good dungeon crawl. A “dungeon crawl”, if you’re not familiar with the term, his a style of RPG where a party of adventurers descends into a subterranean ruin full of monsters in search of treasure or some other goal. Perhaps the earliest example in literature is when the Fellowship of the Ring enters the ruins of Moria in THE LORD OF THE RINGS.
The concept turns up in computer games a lot. Like some of the earliest UNIX text-based games, Rogue and the Rogue-like genre, were massive dungeon crawls. (A really good book on the history of the rouge-like computer games is DUNGEON HACKS by David L. Craddock.) Even computer games that aren’t mainly dungeon crawls do often have sections where the player needs to traverse a dungeon. Like THE ELDER SCROLLS games are a big open sandbox, but they have lots and lots of dungeons.
So, since many of my favorite books and computer games feature dungeon crawls, when I started planning FROSTBORN I made sure to put in a lot of dungeon crawling.
If you’ve read through the FROSTBORN series, you have probably guessed that I really like a good dungeon crawl. In fact, of all the FROSTBORN books, I think the only ones that don’t have at least a short dungeon crawl are THE IRON TOWER, THE WORLD GATE, EXCALIBUR, and THE SHADOW PRISON. That’s only four out of the fifteen!
The biggest dungeon crawl in the entire series is FROSTBORN: THE BROKEN MAGE, when Ridmark and company arrive at the ruins of Khald Azalar in search of Dragonfall. Most of the book involves their exploration of Khald Azalar and later efforts to escape.
Someday I think I would like to write an entire series about a dungeon crawl. It would be a short series – like five or six books, and it would be an interesting writing challenge to sustain a compelling story in a single dungeon crawl.
So computer games did indeed have a strong influence on FROSTBORN. But probably the thing that I’ve written that is most like a computer game isn’t FROSTBORN, but CLOAK GAMES: TRUTH CHAIN.