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

Illustrator(s): Martin McKenna
FF48 Dragon spine.jpg
Cover illustrator: Terry Oakes
First published: March 26 1992
Number 48
ISBN: ISBN 0-14-034937-5
Previous Book: The Crimson Tide
Next Book: Siege of Sardath
Wizard (Series 1)
Wizard (Series 2)

For other uses of Moonrunner, see Moonrunner

Moonrunner is a single-player role-playing gamebook written by Stephen Hand, illustrated by Martin McKenna and originally published in 1992 by Puffin Books. It forms part of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone's Fighting Fantasy series. It is the 48th in the series in the original Puffin series (ISBN 0-14-034937-5). There are currently no announced plans to republish this book as part of the Scholastic series.


Moonrunner was the last of the three books I wrote, and was the most enjoyable to write. Again, we have a serious message. A war criminal commits atrocities but time has passed. Do you go after him and hold him accountable, or do you forget about it? The hero decides that he has an obligation to the victims of the criminal, and so seeks to enforce justice. Yet even here the villain is brought to trial, not killed. The main influence for this book was my love of 1940s American pulp film serials (The Crimson Ghost, The Whispering Shadow, SOS Coastguard etc.). And I wanted the player to feel like a hero in a pulp serial. So from the very first scene, in which the hero is found by a dead body and wrongly accused of murder, the pace never lets up. Karam Gruul himself is the archetypal Fu Manchu/Moriarty villain with death traps and evil schemes a-go-go. Martin was pushed for time on this project, so his work wasn't quite up to his usual standard - but was still awesome. How he managed to do the Shocker so well from the brief I gave him, I will never know.

Interview with Stephen Hand at the Internet Archive record of Advancedfightingfantasy.com - Retrieved 2019-10-26

Welcome to the Badlands[]

Bring Karam Gruul to justice!

The war between the kingdoms is over, but there is still much to be done. The evil generals who went to ground in the Badlands beyond Gallantaria have been tracked down by bounty hunters. The feared Inquisitor General, Karam Gruul, has eluded capture for so long, however, that many believe him dead.

You alone know different. Gruul is very much alive, and plotting to rekindle the flames of war once more. YOU must use your skills as a bounty hunter to track him down and bring him, finally, to justice.

Part story, part game, this is a book in which YOU are the hero! Two dice, a pencil and an eraser are all you need. YOU decide which routes to take, which dangers to risk and which foes to fight. Dare YOU face terrors that await you in the Badlands?

Moonrunner - Back Cover ("Dragon" Edition)

In this book the player takes the role of a veteran of the War of the Four Kingdoms in the Old World, now a bounty hunter dedicated to capturing war criminals who escaped justice. The last remaining war criminal is the notorious Karam Gruul, "The Hand of Death", who has been tracked down to a location near the town of Blackhaven in Gallantaria. The player is hired to find Gruul and bring him to trial. There are several ways to reach the successful conclusion, each following a distinct narrative.

Only near the end it will become clear the the hero has some special, personal reasons to go after Karam Gruul, beyond just his profession of bounty hunter.[1]


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

Unique Rules[]

  • The player has four "Special Skills" which can be chosen from the following list: Acrobatics, Climb, Combat, Con, Disguise, Lock Picking, Sleight of Hand, Sneak and Tracking.[2]
  • The number of Gold Pieces a player has at the start of the adventure is determined by a 2d6 plus 12 roll.[3]

Equipment List[3][]

Cover and Illustrations[]

Main article: Moonrunner (illustrations)


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

Moonrunner Cover Variants
1992 1993
FF48 Dragon spine.jpg 48 03.jpg
Dragon ver.III Dragon ver.IV
£3.991 £3.992

  1. Price of 1st Impression
  2. Price of 2nd~3rd Impressions; £4.99 for 4th 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, 16, 29, 39, 49, 61, 74, 87, 99, 114, 130, 144, 159, 172, 185, 200, 216, 232, 245, 260, 272, 284, 300, 313, 327, 340, 353, 369, 385 and 400.

The black and white interior map was by Leo Hartas.

Intertextual References[]

The book is a follow-up of Hand's previous Fighting Fantasy book Legend of the Shadow Warriors, which is set in a similar location and historical setting. The storylines share elements. Hand has written that he envisioned a third book, Blood of the Mandrake, which would tie together and conclude several outstanding plot lines begun in Legend of the Shadow Warriors and Moonrunner although the trilogy was never completed due to the Fighting Fantasy series being discontinued in 1995.[5]

Other Media[]

Main Characters[]

YOU: Hero of Moonrunner



Further Notes[]

  • The Introduction mentions several heroic feats the protagonist has performed prior to embarking on this adventure: "Exploring the Lacynthian Caves, striking beyond Orchelm enemy lines, rediscovering the Forgotten Temple of Daemos, defying the monstrous Vampire Lords of Vannan..."
  • (400) does not contain the successful ending to the adventure.
  • The book uses codewords (all of which are words reversed: "Undead" becomes "Daednu") to record events that happen in the course of the book.
  • Moonrunner takes place some years after the War of the Four Kingdoms (as YOU are a - still vigorous - veteran of that war).[6] It follows Legend of the Shadow Warriors, as indicated by the Kauderwelsch plot.



For Peter Cushing, whose dramatic exploits convinced one
young boy that vampires, insane monsters and crumbling
Gothic ruins really do exist if you want them to[7]

See Also[]


External Links[]


  1. Moonrunner - 30
  2. Moonrunner - pg.14-17
  3. 3.0 3.1 Moonrunner - pg.17
  4. Moonrunner - pg.14
  5. Letter from Stephen Hand at the Internet Archive record of the old Fightingfantasy.com - Retrieved 2019-10-26
  6. Moonrunner - "Welcome to the Badlands"
  7. Moonrunner - pg.4