Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks
Location: Old World, Titan
References: 400
Publication Details
Author(s): Jim Bambra &
Stephen Hand

Illustrator(s): Martin McKenna
FF40 Dragon Spine
Cover illustrator: Terry Oakes
First published: November 2 1989
Number 40
ISBN: ISBN 0-14-034456-X
Previous Book: Fangs of Fury
Next Book: Master of Chaos
Wizard (Series 1)
Wizard (Series 2)

Dead of Night is a single-player role-playing gamebook written by Jim Bambra and Stephen Hand, illustrated by Martin McKenna and originally published in 1989 by Puffin Books. It forms part of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone's Fighting Fantasy series. It is the 40th in the series in the original Puffin series (ISBN 0-14-034456-X). There are currently no announced plans to republish this book as part of the Wizard series.


I resigned from Games Workshop early in 1987 to concentrate on freelance writing and game design. A guy called Jim Bambra had left Workshop about a month or two before me, and we decided to get together to write some gamebooks. To be honest, we did not want to write Fighting Fantasy (excuse the heresy). We did not think that the series was particularly interesting, so we put some concepts together which we tried to sell to various publishers. Everyone rejected us, which showed what we knew!

Part of the problem had been that in the UK, the success of
Fighting Fantasy had resulted in every publisher rushing out Gamebook series of their own. Trouble was that most of these rival series were quite poor, which meant poor sales and lots of publishers getting their fingers burned. So while some people said nice things about our ideas, our ideas were not good enough and/or publishers were being too conservative. Enter, Mr. Robin Waterfield.

The way I understood the Puffin FF editorial system, there seemed to be two editors on the team. One editor was your usual management-type person who dealt with contracts, delivery schedules, arranging edits, supply of art etc., While the other editor was more a games content editor. The latter was someone who effectively policed the plot, game play, structure, style and consistency with the rest of the FF universe. Robin Waterfield was that man.

Robin said he had no interest in our original ideas, but that he'd like to see a proposal from us for a Fighting Fantasy book. As I say, we had not wanted to write FF, and there were parts of the "standard contract" that left something to be desired, but we ate a portion of humble pie and decided that the range would be good exposure - despite the tucking away of the authors' names in microdot on the inside cover.

Robin sent us the writer's guidelines, Jim and I put something together, and Robin offered us a contract. At which time the first of many Penguin editors got in touch. At this stage, I went out and bought the standard FF source books and a copy of
Tasks of Tantalon. I also had a few of the old gamebooks lying around. So we did some simple research and decided to use the Old World, simply because no one else was really using it, and because the few notes that had been written about the Old World meant we could have some fun with the place.

Jim and I had two different approaches to writing. Jim was more a standard fantasy scenario writer, whereas I was always trying to push the limits of what was possible, and was very much into pulp horror. Between us we found a good balance. We decided that we would ignore what had been written in FF before and create our own world within FF. "Our" Old World would be a grimy, realistic, human, political, horrific medieval world - a sort of Hammer Horror pastiche set in a plague-ridden peasant village. People would have real motivations, the world would be filled with dark secrets and terrible surprises. I know all this reads as arrogant, but that's the way we discussed it at the time.

On that first book, what happened was that Jim and I plotted all the scenes and characters together. Then we divided the different scenes between us, so I would write one area, and he would write another. When we finished, we actually swapped documents and edited each other's work. This may sound strange, but it worked and lead to a fairly even book written by two very different writers.

Dead of Night, Puffin gave us a choice of artists from their list. We had to choose one artist for the cover and one for the contents. We submitted three choices for each slot, but got none of them. At first we were a little disappointed, but that feeling soon vanished when we saw just how good Terry Oakes and Martin McKenna were.[1]


The Demon Lord Myurr seeks revenge!

YOU are renowned throughout the land as a Demon-Stalker, waging war against the creatures of Chaos. More than once you have thwarted the Demon Lord's evil schemes, but now Myurr has discovered a cunning way of exacting his revenge. There is no alternative. YOU must confront and destroy the Demon Lord, for the whole of the free world is threatened! Myurr's evil powers may soon enable him and hordes of his vile demons to cross from the Demonic into the Earthly Plane!

Two dice, a pencil and an eraser are all you need. YOU decide which paths to take, which dangers to risk and which foes to fight!

The player is a Demon Slayer whose parents have been kidnapped by the Demon Prince Myurr. The plot revolves around the player's mission to rescue them, travelling through various Demon-blighted regions and meeting up with old friends and allies in their homeland.


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

Unique RulesEdit

  • In addition to the regular attributes, Dead of Night features evil which start with an Initial score of 0.[3] Throughout the book the player may encounter people or creatures, or do things that will increase this score. As a result the player is asked to Test Your Evil at certain points in a manner similar to Testing Your Luck.[4]
  • The player also has a choice of three "Talents" from the following list: Banish Undead, Dark Veil, Heal, Holy Circle, Meditation, Sense Demon, and Speak Demon.[5]
  • A reality warping spell, the Seven Words of Akkarra, is known by the Hero of this adventure and it is mentioned as the only way to shatter a Death-Stone. This spell, known to the Hero from the beginning, is mentioned only when needed during the adventure and not at the beginning of it.[6]

Equipment List[7]Edit

Cover and IllustrationsEdit

Main article: Dead of Night (illustrations)


The original cover of the book was designed and illustrated by Terry Oakes.

Dead of Night through the years
1989 1993
FF40 Dragon Spine
No. Spine Only No Bronze-Foil
£2.991 £?


  1. Price of 1st Impression; £3.50 for 2nd Impression


The interior illustrations were by Martin McKenna. There were 30 full page illustrations and 6 minor repeated illustrations scattered throughout the text. The paragraphs with a full page illustration were: 1, 14, 28, 42, 56, 72, 85, 98, 113, 130, 142, 156, 171, 184, 198, 212, 226, 240, 254, 267, 281, 295, 310, 323, 335, 348, 362, 375, 386 and 398.

The colour map on the inside front cover was by Leo Hartas.

Intertextual ReferencesEdit

The Netherworld Sorcerers appear in this book.

Other MediaEdit

Main CharactersEdit

YOU: Hero of Dead of Night



Further NotesEdit

  • 25 instant failures, 2 victories, plus death by stamina loss or bad luck.


  • It is possible to destroy a worm-furnace in Axmoor with a cross (that is then destroyed) and then choose to go to Stanford to help a farmer defend his house with the help of the cross you have ruined destroying the worm-furnace.
  • It is possible to get unlimited skill and luck scores simply by going backwards and forwards between Axmoor and Stanford.


To Mandy and Pat

See AlsoEdit


External LinksEdit


  1. Interview with Stephen Hand at the Internet Archive record of - Retrieved 2013-09-28
  2. Dead of Night - Back Cover ("Golden Dragon" Edition)
  3. Dead of Night - p.10
  4. Dead of Night - p.17
  5. Dead of Night - pp.17-19
  6. Dead of Night - 69
  7. Dead of Night - p.20
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