Sword of the Samurai (book)

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Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks
Location: Khul, Titan
References: 400
Publication Details
Author(s): Mark Smith &
Jamie Thomson1
Illustrator(s): Alan Langford
Cover illustrator: Peter Andrew Jones
First published: April 24 1986
Number 20
ISBN: ISBN 0-14-032087-3
Previous Book: Demons of the Deep
Next Book: Trial of Champions
Wizard (Series 1)
Cover illustrator: Mel Grant
First published: June 1 2006
Number 25
ISBN: ISBN 1-84046-732-0
Previous Book: Talisman of Death
Next Book: Bloodbones
Wizard (Series 2)

For other uses of Sword of the Samurai, see Sword of the Samurai

Sword of the Samurai is a single-player role-playing gamebook written by Mark Smith and Jamie Thomson,1 illustrated by Alan Langford and originally published in 1986 by Puffin Books. It was later republished by Wizard Books in 2006. It forms part of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone's Fighting Fantasy series. It is the 20th in the series in the original Puffin series (ISBN 0-14-032087-3) and 25th in the Wizard "Series 1" (ISBN 1-84046-732-0).


  1. Interestingly, the Wizard Books edition reverses the author credit.



Can You save Hachiman from chaos?

Hachiman is in great danger. The Shogun's control is slipping. Bandits roam the land freely and barbarian invaders have begun to raid across the borders. All this because the Dai-Katana, the Shogun's great sword, has been stolen from the Shogun. YOU are the Shogun's champion, a young Samurai. Your mission is to recover this wondrous sword from Ikiru, the Master of Shadows, deep in the Pit of Demons.

Two dice, a pencil and an eraser are all you need. You have a choice of warrior skills which will affect the outcome of your mission. There are Honour points to be won and lost. YOU decide which route to follow, which dangers to risk and which monsters to fight.

The reader of this book assumes the role of a young Samurai Kensei, whose mission it is to recover a legendary Dai-Katana, the Singing Death, for the Shogun. The sword must be wrested from the grasp of Ikiru, the Master of Shadows, who keeps it hidden within the Pit of Demons. Along the way the player must face many foes, such as the traitorous Lord Tiesten and ronin Yoro Ginsei.

Introduction/Special RulesEdit

The book in general follows the original rules set down in The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (see Game System).

Unique RulesEdit

  • This book featured an honour score that could have an effect on events in the book. Should the score reach 0 the player is instructed to turn to (99), where they are shown to commit sepukku.[2]
  • It was also the first book to feature a list of "Special Skills" from which the player may choose and which affect game-play considerably. While it was preceded by Appointment with F.E.A.R. with the choice of particular talents, these are replications of "normal" skills, not super-powers. They are: Kyujutsu (Archery), Iaijutsu (Fast draw), Karumijutsu (Heroic leaping), and Ni-to-kenjutsu (fighting with two swords).[3]

Equipment List[4]Edit


  1. These are only available if the player chooses the "Kyujutsu" skill.
  2. This is only available if the player chooses the "Ni-to-kenjutsu" skill.

Cover and IllustrationsEdit

Main article: Sword of the Samurai (illustrations)


The original cover of the book was designed and illustrated by Peter Andrew Jones.

When the book was republished by Wizard the cover was once again re-worked, this time by Mel Grant.

Sword of the Samurai through the years
1986 1987 1989 1990 1993 2006 2006
Ff20puffin Figfan20n Figfan20n Ff25wizard
Zig-Zag Banner Dragon Format Dragon No No. No. Spine Only No Bronze-Foil Wizard "Special
Limited Edition"
£1.951 £2.252 £? £2.993 £? £4.99 £4.99


  1. Price of 1st~2nd Impressions
  2. Price of 5th Impression; £2.50 for 7th Impression
  3. Price of 8th Impression; £3.50 for 9th Impression


The interior illustrations were by Alan Langford. There were 30 full page illustrations and 6 minor repeated illustrations scattered throughout the text. The paragraphs with a full page illustration were: 8, 22, 30, 34, 66, 68, 75, 76, 78, 82, 95, 98, 110, 121, 126, 136, 138, 149, 155, 158, 185, 195, 201, 220, 250, 294, 378, 379, 385 and 397.

Intertextual ReferencesEdit

Other MediaEdit

Main article: Sword of the Samurai (computer game)

The book was supposedly converted into a computer game (Sword of the Samurai) but appears to only be known from adverts.

Main CharactersEdit

YOU: The Shogun's Champion



Further NotesEdit

  • This is the third book set in the continent of Khul, with Scorpion Swamp being the first.
  • It features a land similar to medieval Japan, and the book features numerous monsters from Japanese folklore. However, one of these - a type of Undead whose head detaches at night - is called Rokuro-Kubi in the book, but which is actually called Nukekubi in Japan.


  • (193) ignores the possibility that you have already lost your armour at (313), and doesn't offer an option for this eventuality.
  • You lose your armour at (167), and later at (97) are told to suffer 3 stamina points of damage because of this. (313), on the other hand, states a generic rule of having to lose 4 stamina points when you don't wear an armour.
  • (322) states 1 skill point is gained because of the Samurai armour, while at (366) it's 1 luck point instead.



See AlsoEdit


External LinksEdit


  1. Sword of the Samurai - Back Cover ("Golden Dragon" Edition)
  2. Sword of the Samurai - p.15
  3. Sword of the Samurai - pp.14-15
  4. Sword of the Samurai - p.12, 14-15

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