Fighting Fantasy Gamebook
Location: Old World, Titan
References: 400
Publication Details
Author(s): Jonathan Green

Illustrator(s): Tony Hough
originally to have been Mike Posen
Cover illustrator: Mike Posen
First published: scheduled for October/November 1996 but unpublished
Number 60 but unpublished
ISBN: ISBN 0-14-038317-4 but unpublished
Previous Book: was to have followed Curse of the Mummy
Next Book: Series ended
Wizard (Series 1)
Cover illustrator: Martin McKenna
First published: September 7 2006
Number 26
ISBN: ISBN 1-84046-765-7
Previous Book: Sword of the Samurai
Next Book: Curse of the Mummy
Wizard (Series 2)
Ff8new sml.jpg
Cover illustrator: Martin McKenna
First published: April 1 2010
Number 7
ISBN: ISBN 1-84831-119-2
Previous Book: City of Thieves
Next Book: Night of the Necromancer

For other uses of Bloodbones, see Bloodbones

Bloodbones is a single-player role-playing gamebook written by Jonathan Green, illustrated by Tony Hough and published in 2006 by Wizard Books. It was later republished by them in 2010. It forms part of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone's Fighting Fantasy series. It is 26th in the modern Wizard "Series 1" (ISBN 1-84046-765-7) and 7th in "Series 2" (ISBN 1-84831-119-2). There are currently no announced plans to republish this book as part of the Scholastic series.


"The whole atmosphere of pirates and Voodoo / black magic really came from On Stranger Tides."[1]

For a long time Bloodbones was considered to be the long-lost Fighting Fantasy book, however little was known regarding Bloodbones prior to 2001. Rumours correctly suggested Jonathan Green was the author of the book and there were also a wide variety of supposed publication dates ranging from 1996 to 1998: "I [Graham Hart] wrote to Penguin Books asking whether the Fighting Fantsay series had been discontinued, and I received back a prompt, though short, reply (dated 18 October 1996) informing me that: "The sixtieth adventure, BLOODBONES, is due to be published early in 1998."[2] Online book retailer Amazon.co.uk also listing Bloodbones as available for order in 1999 confusing many fans: "It's possible to order Bloodbones through several retailers, including Amazon.com (supposedly being released in paperback format in June 2001 for $9.95 U.S.) but this is likely based on speculation rather than actual word from Penguin."[2]

Light was finally shed on the mystery in 2001 when Jonathan Green wrote a letter to Fighting Fantasy fan John Stock containing details of the book. It was to be 300 paragraphs long with Pirates of the Black Skull (a working title Puffin later wanted changed) to be the first in a revamped Fighting Fantasy series in an attempt to re-connect with the young audience after later entries had become more complicated.[3]

It also concerned the player's quest for vengeance against the undead pirate Cinnabar, who was nicknamed "Bloodbones". Green stated that he was disappointed to hear of the series' cancellation as Bloodbones was his personal favourite of the gamebooks he had written and had plot outlines for several more. It would have been illustrated by Mike Posen,[3] although apparently Martin McKenna had been approached first: "It might be vaguely of interest to you to learn that I [Martin McKenna] was offered the job of illustrating that elusive 60th gamebook, so it was planned at least. I turned it down for one reason or another, and after that I heard no more about it."[4] According to his letter Green was finally commissioned to pen the story in January 1996 (delayed from early 1995 as the range came into difficulties) for delivery in February and publication in October/November of that same year.[3]

Around May/June of the following year (1997) Jonathan Green was informed by Puffin that the book would not be published, ending the range with his previous book Curse of the Mummy: "It had now been over 18 months since the last FF gamebook had been published and Puffin was cancelling the Fighting Fantasy series."[3]

For more information on the end of the series, see Cancellation of Puffin Range

In 2002 Wizard Books began reprinting many of the original Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, and at one point the official website featured a poll calling for fan requests with regard to upcoming reprints which included Bloodbones as one of the possible choices. Bloodbones was finally published in 2006, now a full 400 references long. The author has stated that this was the length he always intended it to be.


Bloodbones lives!

The dreaded pirate-lord Cinnabar, scourge of the twelve seas, plagued the seafarers of the Old World in a bloody reign of terror until a brave adventurer put an end to his evil. But now he is back from the dead, seeking revenge and with the dark powers of voodoo at his command.

YOU have your own score to settle - Cinnabar murdered your family when you were a child. Only YOU can end the horrific slaughter by destroying the pirate captain and his crew of cutthroats. Come hell or highwater Bloodbones must be stopped!

Part story, part game, this is a book with a difference - one in which you become the hero! A pencil and an eraser are all you need to make your journey. YOU decide which route to take, which creatures to fight & which dangers to risk.

Bloodbones - Back Cover

This Fighting Fantasy gamebook is set in the usual fantasy world of Titan, on the continent of the Old World. The player is seeking revenge on the pirate-lord Cinnabar for the murder of their family. It transpires that Cinnabar was killed but has been revived by Voodoo. The player must find the pirates' secret hideout, beginning in the Port of Crabs. The player character encounters Cinnabar in both his undead and fully revived forms, and has a final showdown with Cinnabar's Voodoo god, Quezkari.


  • The book in general follows the original rules set down in The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (see Game System).
  • In the Wizard "Series 2" edition, instead of rolling the stats for a character as per tradition in Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, the player has the option of choosing a pregenerated character from three choices (see "Further Notes" below for choices).

Unique Rules[]

  • The gamebook uses a time score to record the passing of time, but is not used after a certain point in the book.[5]
  • At the beginning of the book the player determines how many Gold Pieces they have by a 2d6 roll and adding 12 to this roll.[5]
  • The player begins the adventure with no Provisions.[6]

Equipment List[5][]

Cover and Illustrations[]

Main article: Bloodbones (illustrations)


The original cover of the book was designed and illustrated by Martin McKenna. The 2010 edition makes use of a section of the previous edition's cover art.

Bloodbones Cover Variants
2006 2006 2010
Ff26wizard.jpg 61 V2(W1) 01.jpg Ff8new sml.jpg
Wizard Wizard
£4.99 £4.99 £5.99


The interior illustrations were by Tony Hough. There were 30 full page illustrations and 7 minor repeated illustrations scattered throughout the text. The paragraphs with a full page illustration were: 1, 13, 26, 40, 53, 66, 79, 91, 100, 113, 126, 139, 153, 168, 182, 197, 216, 231, 247, 262, 280, 292 (a further black and white map), 306, 320, 333, 346, 359, 372, 385 and 398.

The black and white interior map is by Jonathan Green.

Intertextual References[]

Other Media[]

Main Characters[]

YOU: Hero of Bloodbones



Further Notes[]

  • Jonathan Green's map is dated 1996.
  • The adventure takes place in or about 285AC. We know this because the map of Port of Crabs by Mundi Pelago is so dated, and Jonathan Green is on record as saying that all his gamebooks (up to and including Night of the Necromancer) are set at that point in time.
  • The book uses codewords (all of which are words reversed: "Danger" becomes "Regnad") to record events that happen in the course of the book.
  • Mundi Pelago's name is roughly Latin/Ancient Greek for "the sea of the world".
  • Other influences for various characters included:[1]
  • Balinac, an Apeman (and an anagram), was based on Caliban and a character from one of the voyages of Sinbad. His master Erasmus is Prospero, from The Tempest.
  • Robinson Crusoe inspired Scrimshaw the castaway.
  • There was an invisible Spirit-Beast, which came from the mind-monster in Forbidden Planet (which was itself a remake of The Tempest, the mind-monster being Caliban).

Series 2 Additions[]



Wizard "Series 1" Edition[]

For Steve and Ian, who started it all.
For Dave Holt, who kept the faith.
And for everyone else who ever wondered...[7]

Wizard "Series 2" Edition[]

For Jake and Mattie
Avast me hearties![8]

See Also[]


External Links[]