Joe Dever ( February 12 1956 - 29 November 2016,) is an award-winning British fantasy author and game designer. Originally a professional musician, Dever became the first British winner of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Championship of America in 1982, which launched his professional game design career.
He created the fictional world of Magnamund as a setting for his Dungeons & Dragons campaigns. He went on to write the miniatures review column Tabletop Heroes in White Dwarf with wargamer and artist Gary Chalk. In 1984 Joe released the first book of the Lone Wolf (gamebooks)Lone Wolf series of gamebooks, again, with Gary, and the series has since sold over 10.4 million copies worldwide. As the game books market contracted after the 1980s boom, Lone Wolf series finally ceased in 1998 before the final four books (numbers 29-32) were released. Since 2003 the series has enjoyed a strong revival of interest in Europe following the re-release of the gamebook series.
From 1996 onwards, Dever has been involved in the 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 :fr:Le GrimoireLe Grimoire (France) in 2006-2013. Currently, he is authoring the story and text for the first game of the Joe Dever's Lone Wolf video game series for tablets by Forge Reply called Lone Wolf: Blood on the Snow, co-authoring the next Lone Wolf roleplaying game by Cubicle 7, and writing the final books in the core Lone Wolf series. The latter works are all scheduled for publication in 2013-15.
Dever was educated at Buckhurst Hill County High School. In 1976, he joined a studio-based record company orchestra known as Pye Records in London which provided accompaniment to solo singers and artists. After 18 months, it disbanded and Dever then freelanced for a year before joining Virgin Records as a Recording Engineer at Manor Studios in Oxfordshire for five years, working with a diverse mix of artists such as Frank Zappa, Peter Gabriel, and The Sex Pistols. Dever has two children, Ben (b. 1981) and Sophie (b. 1987).
Early involvement in Fantasy Gaming
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 armies of Airfix Roman soldiers and converted their spears to laser rifles long before he was introduced to fantasy. Dever was introduced to "science fantasy" by his high school English tutor. He was the first and perhaps only British person to compete in the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Championship of America, which he won in 1982.
White Dwarf, Warhammer & Tabletop Heroes
After winning the D&D championchips Joe wrote several articles for White Dwarf magazine based on the Warhammer system, including it's first review. Joe also wrote the scenarios Thistlewood White Dwarf 45 - a scenario set in a small town, and Minas Tirith: The Battle of the Pellenor Fields (White Dwarf 53) based on J.R.R. Tolkiens Lord of the Rings for the Warhammer system. These scenarios appeared along side the regular miniatures review column Tabletop Heroes, co-written by Gary Chalk which reviewed and showcased miniatures from many manufacturers, as well as the Games Workshop funded Citadel. The regular column ceased production after the Citadel buy-out of Games Workshop and White Dwarf production was moved to Nottingham.
The Lone Wolf Saga
Dever originally developed the fantasy world of Magnamund from 1975 to 1983 as a setting for his Dungeons & Dragons campaigns. Originally called "Chinaraux", the world consisted of only northern Magnamund. Dever stated that his earliest inspirations for Lone Wolf (gamebooks)Lone Wolf were English medieval classics such as Beowulf, Ivanhoe, King Arthur's Knights of the Round Table. 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 cadet in a monastic order of warriors known as the Kai 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 rest of the book series follows Lone Wolf and his successor in their attempts to take revenge on the Darklords and then to thwart the Dark God Naar in his attempts to control their world for evil.
After the Dever was originally contracted by London-based publisher Hutchinson (publisher)Hutchinson for four books, but had planned for at least twenty for 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 10 million copies to date.
Alongside the gamebooks, Citadel Miniatures created a small range of figures based on the first two books and sculpted by the Perry Bros. with Warhammer statistics for the Giaks (goblin-like creatures) and details of their legions, appearing in the Citadel Journal Spring 85. These were also advertised in the back of the books.
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.
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. In 2004, the Italian publisher Gruppo Armenia (Milan) reprinted all 12 novels in 5 volumes of anthology. Random House ceased publishing the novelizations because "the books weren't selling". Dever has stated that as the game books precede the novelizations chronologically, they are the "authoritative" versions. He also developed the character Grey Star, and a mini-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 character in Joe Dever's D&D campaign, and Dever convinced Page to write game books using this detailed character and his background).
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 the Darklords of Helgedad, and the 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 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. 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. Dever is currently writing the last four books of the New Order series which are scheduled for release during 2013-2015.
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. As of February 2013, 26 of his Lone Wolf books, the World of Lone Wolf series, The Magnamund Companion and several other Lone Wolf related written works are available for download. Dever spends much of his time writing and editing Lone Wolf for its re-publication. The first seventeen books in this series have been published by Mongoose Publishing before it was announced that Mongoose had lost the license to publish the Lone Wolf line on February 27, 2013. Shortly after this, it was announced that a German publisher, Mantikore-Verlag, had picked up the rights to continue publishing the new version of the series in English from book 18 to 28. The 18th book in the series, Dawn of the Dragons, was released on June 1st, 2013.
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 AwardOrigins 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.
In addition to Lone Wolf, he has also created two other role-playing gamebook series (Freeway Warrior and Combat Heroes) and designed several best-selling Video gamecomputer and video games for personal computerPCs and video game consoleconsoles. 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.
- Lone Wolf 1 - Flight from the Dark (1984) - Extended version (2007)
- Lone Wolf 2 - Fire on the Water (1984) - Revised version (2007)
- Lone Wolf 3 - The Caverns of Kalte (1984) - Revised version (2007)
- Lone Wolf 4 - The Chasm of Doom (1985) - Revised version (2008)
- Lone Wolf 5 - Shadow on the Sand (1985) - Revised version (2008)
- Lone Wolf 6 - The Kingdoms of Terror (1985) - Revised version (2008)
- Lone Wolf 7 - Castle Death (1986) - Revised version (2008)
- Lone Wolf 8 - The Jungle of Horrors (1987) - Revised version (2008)
- Lone Wolf 9 - The Cauldron of Fear (1987) - Revised version (2009)
- Lone Wolf 10 - The Dungeons of Torgar (1987) - Revised version (2009)
- Lone Wolf 11 - The Prisoners of Time (1987) - Revised version (2009)
- Lone Wolf 12 - The Masters of Darkness (1988) - Revised version (2009)
- Lone Wolf 13 - The Plague Lords of Ruel (1990) - Revised version (2009)
- Lone Wolf 14 - The Captives of Kaag (1990)- Revised version (2010)
- Lone Wolf 15 - The Darke Crusade (1991) - Revised version (2011)
- Lone Wolf 16 - The Legacy of Vashna (1991) - Revised version (2011)
- Lone Wolf 17 - The Deathlord of Ixia (1992) - Revised version (2012)
- Lone Wolf 18 - Dawn of the Dragons (1992) - Revised version (2013)
- Lone Wolf 19 - Wolf's Bane (1993)
- Lone Wolf 20 - The Curse of Naar (1993)
- Lone Wolf 21 - Voyage of the Moonstone (1994)
- Lone Wolf 22 - The Buccaneers of Shadaki (1995)
- Lone Wolf 23 - Mydnight's Hero (1995)
- Lone Wolf 24 - Rune War (1996)
- Lone Wolf 25 - Trail of the Wolf (1996)
- Lone Wolf 26 - The Fall of Blood Mountain (1997)
- Lone Wolf 27 - Vampirium (1997)
- Lone Wolf 28 - The Hunger of Sejanoz (1998)
- Lone Wolf 29 - The Storms of Chai (2014)
- Lone Wolf 30 - Dead in the Deep (2014)
- Lone Wolf 31 (TBA)
- Lone Wolf 32 (TBA)
- The Magnamund Companion (1986)
- Freeway Warrior 1: Highway Holocaust (1988)
- Freeway Warrior 2: Slaughter Mountain Run (1989)
- Freeway Warrior 3: The Omega Zone (1989)
- Freeway Warrior 4: California Countdown (1989)
- 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
- World of Lone Wolf 1: Grey Star the Wizard (1985)
- World of Lone Wolf 2: The Forbidden City (1985)
- World of Lone Wolf 3: Beyond the Nightmare Gate (1986)
- World of Lone Wolf 4: War of the Wizards (1986)
Legends of Lone Wolf
- Legends of Lone Wolf 1: Eclipse of the Kai (1989)
- Legends of Lone Wolf 2: The Dark Door Opens (1989)
- Legends of Lone Wolf 3: The Sword of the Sun (1989)
- Legends of Lone Wolf 4: Hunting Wolf (1990)
- Legends of Lone Wolf 5: The Claws of Helgedad (1991)
- Legends of Lone Wolf 6: The Sacrifice of Ruanon (1991)
- Legends of Lone Wolf 7: The Birthplace (1992)
- Legends of Lone Wolf 8: The Book of the Magnakai (1992)
- Legends of Lone Wolf 9: The Tellings (1993)
- Legends of Lone Wolf 10: The Lorestone of Varetta (1993)
- Legends of Lone Wolf 11: The Secret of Kazan-Oud (1994)
- Legends of Lone Wolf 12: The Rotting Land (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
- The Lencian Trilogy 1: The Dragons of Lencia (2008)
- The Lencian Trilogy 2: The Shadow & the Skull (TBA)
- The Lencian Trilogy 3 (TBA)
- Rise of the Agarashi 1: Glory & Greed (2008)
- Rise of the Agarashi 2: Sand & Sorrow (TBA)
- Rise of the Agarashi 3: Triumph & Tragedy (TBA)
Lone Wolf Multi-player Gamebook System
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)
Planned by Mongoose Publishing before the cancellation of the line. Cubicle 7 announced that it was picking up the rights to make a Lone Wolf roleplaying game, although nothing has been said if it would be a continuation of the Multiplayer Gamebook series or if it was going to be a brand new system:
- Stornlands 2 (co-authored with Vincent Lazzari, Florent Haro, Eric Dubourg, Emmanuel Luc, Gerald Degryse; 2013)
- The Kai Monastery (co-authored with Vincent Lazzari, Florent Haro, Eric Dubourg, Emmanuel Luc, Gerald Degryse; 2013)
- Vassagonia (co-authored with Vincent Lazzari, Florent Haro, Eric Dubourg, Emmanuel Luc, Gerald Degryse; 2014)
- Drakkarim (co-authored with Vincent Lazzari, Florent Haro, Eric Dubourg, Emmanuel Luc, Gerald Degryse; 2014)
- Lone Wolf Graphic Novel: The Skull of Agarash (1994)
"PhoneQuest" Interactive Telephone Adventures
- 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
- Eclipse of the Kai (1992)
- The Dark Door Opens (1993)
Lone Wolf Maps of Magnamund
- 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)
Computer and video game design
- E-Scape (1996)
- Corazon (1997)
- In Cold Blood (video game)In Cold Blood (1998)
- 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)
- Killzone (2004)
- 2 Fast 2 Furious (mobile phone edition, 2005)
- Lone Wolf: Blood on the Snow (tablet game, 2013)
- Joe Dever at the Monde du Jeu 2009 in Paris
- More photos of Joe Dever at the Monde du Jeu 2009 in Paris
- Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf on Touch Arcade Joe dever's Lone Wolf 2013-04-26 http://lonewolfthegame.com/joe-devers-lone-wolf-on-touch-arcade/ access 2013-05-13
- Joe Dever and Cubicle 7 announce major Lone Wolf deal Cubicle 7 2013-04-26 http://www.cubicle7.co.uk/2013/04/joe-dever-and-cubicle-7-announce-major-lone-wolf-deal/ access 2013-05-13
- Blake Jonathan Joe Dever The Kai Monastery 1998-01-01 http://web.ncf.ca/as300/dever.html access 2006-07-03
- Baylis Chris Interview with Joe Dever conducted by Chris Bayliss Role-Player Independent Magazine 1993-01-01 http://www.projectaon.org/en/pdf/lwcn/Newsletter_NY93.pdf access 2006-07-03
- Dicing With Death Warlock Magazine 1986-07-01 http://www.btinternet.com/~julie20/dicing.htm access 2006-07-03 archive http://web.archive.org/web/20060501183643/http://www.btinternet.com/~julie20/dicing.htm archive 2006-05-01
- Lone Wolf: Celebrate a decade of award-winning excellence Project Aonformat=PDF 1994-01-01 http://www.projectaon.org/en/pdf/misc/LW_misc.pdf access 2006-07-15
- Dannenfelser Randy M. Under hot lights and a falling sky welcome to the life and times of paul barnett John Grant Paul Barnett.com 2006-01-01 http://www.johngrantpaulbarnett.com/interview2.html access 2006-07-03 archive http://web.archive.org/web/20060505185752/http://www.johngrantpaulbarnett.com/interview2.html archive 2006-05-05
- Egelstaff Julian Paul Barnett Kai Monastery 1997-09-01 http://web.ncf.ca/as300/barnett.html access 2006-07-03
- Dever Joe Joe Dever Interview lobo-solitario.com 2004-07-01 http://www.lobo-solitario.com/ access 2006-07-03
- Project Aon will publish the New Order series! Project Aon 2006-05-18 http://web.archive.org/web/20070928061426/http://www.towerofthesun.com/lonewolf/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=139&mode=&order=0&thold=0archivedate=September 28, 2007 http://www.towerofthesun.com/lonewolf/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=139&mode=&order=0&thold=0 access 2006-07-03
- Dever Joe Joe Dever Permission Grant Project Aon 1999-01-01 http://www.projectaon.org/en/Main/Home access 2006-07-03
- Dever Joe Cessation of the Lone Wolf Collector Editions by Mongoose Publishing Ltd. 2013-03-01 http://www.projectaon.org/en/blog/2013/03/cessation-of-the-lone-wolf-collector-editions-by-mongoose-publishing-ltd/ access 2013-03-07
- Blake Jonathan Lone Wolf 18 Dawn of the Dragons Collector’s Edition 2013-06-03 http://www.projectaon.org/en/blog/2013/06/lone-wolf-18-dawn-of-the-dragons-collectors-edition/ access 2013-06-04