Edgar Allan Poe The Horror Gamebook, inspired as the title suggests by the thrill master Edgar Allan Poe, is the latest literary adventure signed by Valentino Sergi, illustrated by Francesco Corli, embellished with maps by Moreno Paissan and with graphics by Isaac Saccoman. Meningi workshop presented the project at the end of August 2020 on the Kickstarter platform and it was a success as it was funded in just 5 hours!
Go with the intro!

"...
Your Edgar Allan Poe
You got your unkind of ravens
And your murder of crows
... "

You're So Dark, One For The Road, 2013, Arctic Monkeys
Cover by Edgar Allan Poe The Horror Gamebook a fusion of The Crow, The Mask of the Red Death and a sense of "fall"
An image that brings together all of Poe

"...
The dreamer and the wine
Poet without a rhyme
A widowed writer torn apart by chains of hell
... "

The Poet And The Pendulum, Dark Passion Play, 2007, Nightwish

Sources of inspiration and style

In "Edgar Allan Poe The Horror Gamebook" it is very clear that Valentino Sergi drank fully at the fountain of the Boston writer. In previous works (which we have analyzed in the following two articles, The Necronomicon Gamebook - Dagon e The Necronomicon Gamebook - Carcosa), inspired by the other great American author Howard Phillips Lovecraft, the stories were "only" a source of inspiration while in these "two" works (we will reveal shortly why they are two), many of the themes most dear to Poe have been internalized, split and reshaped to give rise to a completely unique story of its kind.

Portrait of Edgar Allan Poe by Francesco Corli
Edgar Allan Poe portrayed by Francesco Corli

For Poe fans it will be fun to find references, situations and themes of the works of Poe that form the foundation for this / the gamebook (s). Il Pozzo and the Pendolo (1842) King Plague (1835) The Fall of the Usher House (1839) The Mask of the Red Death (1842) The Revealing Heart (1843) The black Cat (1843) The Premature Burial (1844) The truth about the Valdermar case (1845) and the ubiquitous poetry The Raven (1845), are just a few.
Furthermore, many of the obstacles (but not all, some are a little dissonant from the rest of the setting) that we will face, bursting directly from the passion that Poe had for cryptography and mysteries [The golden beetle (1843)].

Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."
Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."

The story up to this point

I mentioned earlier that "Edgar Allan Poe The Horror Gamebook" they are two books. The first, in fact, was released as an introductory adventure. A demo, almost a prologue, which shares the title and has its roots in it "The Well and the Pendulum".

The Pendulum swings inexorably
The Pendulum

The throb of a thousand running paws wakes you up: you feel them on your face, between your fingers. You stand still without opening your eyes, feeling a mixture of horror and disgust. You feel your body lying on your back, in contact with the damp stone floor, as the living whirlwind crowds more and more.

Here, I will not dwell further to avoid spoilers that may limit your descent into the abyss of mystery and terror of this title.

Game mechanics

As soon as you open "Edgar Allan Poe The Horror Gamebook" you will find yourself in front of the following disclaimer:

DO NOT READ THIS INTRODUCTION

Spoiler
You kept reading, huh? So you are curious to know the game mechanics ... Well, there is no real "regulation", we will not have a character sheet, nor will you have to roll the dice!
All you need is a pen and paper to take notes.
If we had followed the author's advice, and my warning at the beginning of the paragraph, we would have truly projected ourselves into a game experience that is nothing short of unique. We would have experienced a complete and profound immersion in a Maelström made of staggered perceptions (the protagonists of the story, in fact, from time to time we will be and will not be us, with an alternation made by simple and italic text and with different fonts to guide us in this subtle game, etc.), puzzles à la Poe, maps, mysteries and terror ...

Game material

It is always a great emotion when you hold the material of a long-awaited project in your hands.
First di "Edgar Allan Poe The Horror Gamebook", I had already received "Edgar Allan Poe The Horror Gamebook - The Pit and the Pendulum", so I already had my mouth on the graphic quality of the product. But when there in front of me I saw the bookmark (useful for keeping track of the paragraphs addressed), the artbook, the maps, but above all the three letters (black, red and blue, containing three additional chapters), well it was a nice see… and listen too! In fact, playing with a created soundtrack and following the best practices (one of the stretch goals) is very atmospheric!

Edgar Allan Poe The Horror Gamebook, The Pit and the Pendulum, bookmark, three letters with three extra chapters, the artbook. In short, a lot of material!
Here is everything you need to play.
The nut with the Raven is not needed (but it suited us in the composition!) And the Funko POP! is not included

“Edgar Allan Poe The Horror Gamebook”… conclusions

I am a fan of Edgar Allan Poe. He and the Providence Loner were my first readings (actually my father used to read them to me when I was little, so maybe that's why I'm like this today!), So it's easy to accuse me of being biased if I say that "Edgar Allan Poe The Horror Gamebook" it is a truly original work!

Certainly some stylistic choices could make the most experienced fans turn up their mouths, and linked to a slightly more retro way of playing, and perhaps also to new players, but it is precisely this nature of a broken mirror that is its strong point. , trust me!

The other seen by oneself and the self seen by the other, as distorted images, a frame that has its roots in the work of the Boston writer, while maintaining its originality, the taste for mystery and terror, the ability to project ourselves and make us sink into this abyss of anguish.

One last tip: if you have the way and desire to play this title several times, since the possible paths are different, as well as the possible endings!

Let us daydream so that we can know many things that escape you who dream only while sleeping.

Quote adapted from "Eleonora" (1841)