Fighting Fantasy Gamebook
Location: Khul, Titan
References: 400
Publication Details
Author(s): Steve Jackson (2)

Illustrator(s): Duncan Smith
FF8 ZigZag.jpg
Cover illustrator: Duncan Smith
First published: September 27 1984
Number 8
ISBN: ISBN 0-14-031829-1
Previous Book: Island of the Lizard King
Next Book: Caverns of the Snow Witch
Wizard (Series 1)
Wizard (Series 2)

For other uses of Scorpion Swamp, see Scorpion Swamp

Scorpion Swamp is a single-player role-playing gamebook written by Steve Jackson (2) (the American game designer, rather than the series co-creator), illustrated by Duncan Smith and originally published in 1984 by Puffin Books. It forms part of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone's Fighting Fantasy series. It is the 8th in the series in the original Puffin series (ISBN 0-14-031829-1). There are currently no announced plans to republish this book as part of the Scholastic series.



Nightmarish creatures lurk in the slimy depths of Scorpion Swamp!

You're no fool. All your life you've heard tales of Scorpion Swamp and how it is criss-crossed with treacherous paths leading to the haunts of its disgusting denizens. One step out of place spells a certain and lingering death. But now, the swamp holds out the lure of treasure and glory - and you cannot resist the challenge!

Two dice, a pencil and an eraser are all you need to make your journey. YOU decide which way to go, which dangers to risk and which monsters to fight.

Scorpion Swamp - Back Cover ("Dragon" Edition)

Having acquired a magic Brass Ring from a mysterious old woman, which allows the player to detect Evil and always know which way is North, the player enters the notorious Scorpion Swamp.

Unlike other Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, Scorpion Swamp allows the player to choose one of three quests — each from a patron who is either Good, Evil or Neutral. The gameplay has a non-linear design, allowing the user to explore the swamp at will and return to locations previously visited, a first for the series.


Players choose from one of the following quests:[1]


A powerful magic plant is known to reside within the confines of the swamp. The player must locate it and bring back a sample to the good wizard Selator.[2]


A group of powerful wizards, known as "Masters", have taken up residence in the swamp. These wizards each bear a magic amulet which is the source of their power. The Evil warlock Grimslade pays the player to retrieve as many of these amulets as possible.[3]


A local trader by the name of Poomchukker wants to send caravans through the swamp to Willowbend. Doing so would save weeks of travel time, but he needs a map. The player must make his way from the southern side of the swamp to the northern end, and return a map to Poomchukker showing him the route.[4]

How to Fight the Creatures of Scorpion Swamp/Equipment/Magic/Mapping/Hints on Play[]

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

Unique Rules[]

Due to the ability to use Neutral spells to restore a player's stats, Potions and Provisions do not form a part of the starting equipment.[5]

Equipment List[6][]

  • Sword
  • Chainmail Armour
  • Backpack

In the course of events in the "Background" the player obtains a Brass Ring which points to true North and becomes warm in the presence of Evil.[7]

Cover and Illustrations[]

Main article: Scorpion Swamp (illustrations)


The original cover of the book was designed and illustrated by Duncan Smith.

Scorpion Swamp Cover Variants
1984 1987 1989 1990 1993
FF8 ZigZag.jpg Ff8.jpg
Dragon ver.I Dragon ver.II Dragon ver.III Dragon ver.IV
£1.751 £2.252 £X.xx £X.xx £X.xx

  1. Price of 1st~2nd Impressions; £1.95 for 8th Impression
  2. Price of 9th~10th Impressions


The interior illustrations were by Duncan Smith. There were 32 full page illustrations and 7 minor repeated illustrations scattered throughout the text. The paragraphs with a full page illustration were: 1, 4, 14, 27, 40, 53, 59, 66, 79, 92, 105, 118, 131, 144, 157, 170, 183, 196, 209, 222, 235, 248, 261, 275, 290, 305, 320, 335, 350, 375, 388 and 398.

Intertextual References[]

Other Media[]

Main Characters[]

YOU: Hero of Scorpion Swamp



Further Notes[]

  • 20 instant failures, not counting death by stamina loss or bad luck.
  • This was the first Fighting Fantasy book to be written by an author other than the two series co-creators.
  • The book has three different successful endings and unlike most of the other Fighting Fantasy books the 400th reference does not contain a successful ending to the adventure.
  • This is the first Fighting Fantasy gamebook set in the continent of Khul, although this was not made explicit until the release of Titan - The Fighting Fantasy World in 1986.
  • In Scorpion Swamp, the Foulbrood River flows west to east.[9] In the map of Khul in Titan - The Fighting Fantasy World, the river flows north-east to south-west.[10]


  • At (346) you cause one of several enemies to flee; however, there is no indication if it is the first enemy, the last, or perhaps even player's choice. (The latter makes sense since you should be able to select the "target", but the wording of the section makes it sound like it's rather a random enemy.)
  • At (258) you're given the option to cast Fear spell. However, you can only get there if you serve the good wizard Selator and there's no opportunity to pick up Evil spells along the way.
  • The wording of (323) ("If you did not slay them... fight them as they were when you escaped them.") strongly implies that there should've been an Escape option on (281), taking you to (309). There is no path through this encounter that can modify the status of the enemies in any way that doesn't result in you slaying them all.
  • At (364) it says you're back at clearing with the "healing pool". However, it is possible that you have not yet discovered the pool's properties.
  • If you do not fight the giant eagle, you can return to Clearing 16 and loot a Golden Chain as many times as your Luck would allow.
  • When you're on Selator's quest, the "help" from three of the Masters in the Swamp assumes you have not found the berry yet. If you have actually found it, this can be particularly problematic with one of them who transports the character (with no option for player choice) to the North - in the *opposite* direction to the one you need.


Dedicated to my mother —
my first writing coach,
and still the best
With thanks to the play-testers:
Allen Varney, Monica Stephens,
C. Mara Lee, Gerald Swick,
and Jerry Self[11]

See Also[]


External Links[]


  1. Scorpion Swamp - 205
  2. Scorpion Swamp - 371
  3. Scorpion Swamp - 206
  4. Scorpion Swamp - 173
  5. Scorpion Swamp - pg.15
  6. Scorpion Swamp - pg.16
  7. Scorpion Swamp - pg.28
  8. Scorpion Swamp - 359
  9. Scorpion Swamp - 339, 369
  10. Titan - The Fighting Fantasy World - pg.23/37
  11. Scorpion Swamp - pg.5