Fighting Fantasy Gamebook
Location: Orb
References: 400
Publication Details
Author(s): Jamie Thomson &
Mark Smith

Illustrator(s): Bob Harvey
Cover illustrator: Peter Andrew Jones
First published: December 6 1984
Number 11
ISBN: ISBN 0-14-031859-3
Previous Book: House of Hell
Next Book: Space Assassin
Wizard (Series 1)
News talisman.jpg
Cover illustrator: Martin McKenna
First published: April 6 2006
Number 24
ISBN: ISBN 1-84046-566-2
Previous Book: Freeway Fighter
Next Book: Sword of the Samurai
Wizard (Series 2)

For other uses of Talisman of Death, see Talisman of Death

Talisman of Death is a single-player role-playing gamebook written by Jamie Thomson and Mark Smith, illustrated by Bob Harvey and originally published in 1984 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 11th in the series in the original Puffin series (ISBN 0-14-031859-3) and 24th in the Wizard "Series 1" (ISBN 1-84046-566-2). There are currently no announced plans to republish this book as part of the Scholastic series.


I worked as an editor on White Dwarf magazine. My boss was Ian Livingstone. He was looking for writers, and I was in the next room!

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


The once-peaceful world of Orb is in terrible danger!

Dark forces are at work to unleash the awesome might of the Evil One, but their plans cannot be completed without the legendary Talisman of Death. YOU are the one who carries the Talisman, and only YOU can stop the Dark forces. YOUR mission is to destroy the Talisman before the dark lord's minions reach you. But beware! Time is running out!

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.

Talisman of Death - Back Cover ("Dragon" Edition)

How to Fight the Creatures of Orb/Equipment and Potions/Hints on Play[]

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

Equipment List[1][]

Cover and Illustrations[]


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

When the book was republished by Wizard a new cover was designed and illustrated by Martin McKenna.

Talisman of Death Cover Variants
1984 1987 1989 1990 1993 2002 2002
Figfan11.jpg Figfan11n.jpg News talisman.jpg
Dragon ver.I Dragon ver.II Dragon ver.III Dragon ver.IV Wizard
£1.751 £2.252 £X.xx £3.503 £3.994 £4.99 £4.99

  1. Price of 1st~2nd Impressions; £1.95 for 6th Impression
  2. Price of 9th Impression; £2.50 for 10th Impression
  3. Price of 12th Impression
  4. Price of 14th Impression


The interior illustrations were by Bob Harvey. There were 31 full page illustrations and 5 minor repeated illustrations scattered throughout the text. The paragraphs with a full page illustration were: 4, 13, 39, 52, 65, 69, 78, 91, 104, 117, 130, 143, 156, 169, 182, 195, 209, 222, 235, 248, 261, 274, 287, 300, 313, 326, 339, 352, 365, 378 and 396.

Intertextual References[]

Other Media[]

Main article: Talisman of Death (PlayStation game)

A PlayStation adaption of the book produced by Laughing Jackal and released in 2011.

Main Characters[]

YOU: Hero of Talisman of Death


  • Booker's Walk
  • Carriage Street
  • City of the Runes of Doom
  • Cobbler's Walk
  • Doomover
  • Garden of the Gods
  • Great Plateau
  • Greyguilds-on-the-Moor
  • Guard Street
  • Guilds of Learning
  • Hornbeam Road
  • Manmarch
  • Merchant Street
  • Moorgate
  • Mount Star-reach
  • Pallbearer's Row
  • Sacred Grove
  • Serakub
  • Silver Street
  • Smith Street
  • Spires of Foreshadowing
  • Store Street
  • Street of Seven Sins
  • Temple to Death
  • Temple to Fell-Kyrinla
  • Temple to Nil
  • The Red Dragon
  • The Silver Trinket
  • Thieves' Guild
  • Trader's Row


  • Captain
  • Cassandra
  • Dark Elf
  • Dark Knight
  • Death - Envoy/Minion
  • Elvira
  • Ghoul
  • Grendel
  • Griffin
  • Hawkana/Hawkana's Spirit
  • Humans - Back-Stabber/Barman/Cut-Throats/Monk of the Scarlet Mantis/Temple Guard/Thieves
  • Ice Demon
  • Mummy
  • Ogre
  • Orcs
  • Pteranodon
  • Red Dragon
  • Roc
  • Scarface
  • Triceratops
  • Tyrannosaurus
  • Tyutchev
  • Unseen Stalker
  • Vivisect
  • White She-Wolf
  • Willow Weird
  • Winged Skull

Further Notes[]

  • The world of Orb would go on to feature in the writers' books for the Way of the Tiger series of gamebooks. In the original series' missing final volume Redeemer, which was postponedly released in 2014, the theft of the Talisman which constitutes the plot for this adventure is referenced, along with a cameo appearance of three of the four crusaders who recovered the artifact.
  • The villain Tyutchev would reappear in Smith's Virtual Reality book The Coils of Hate.
  • The text copyright on the Wizard Books edition lists Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone (as opposed to Mark Smith and Jamie Thomson on the original Puffin edition), suggesting the rights were sold which was why this title was published by Wizard.


  • In (6) you are told to note down the specific words used to invoke a god's help, but when the opportunity to do so arises there is no indication that any foreknowledge is necessary.
  • (362) should presumably read "number rolled" instead of "Attack Strength" since the latter can never be below 10.
  • In (109), should you restore the gold which you did not have when you "began the adventure" but did get before you reached that point in time?
  • (273) is odd since it seems to assume that readers might lie about having received an invitation but not about owning an item.
  • In (370), what is it that the thieves know that they don't in (276) or (333)?
  • In (366) you are robbed of an item you may not have.
  • Willow Weird's stamina is different in (319) and (36).
  • Some of the rules are incorrectly printed in the Wizard Books version of the book due to text being copied from The Warlock of Firetop Mountain:
  • The rules state that Provisions can only be eaten when instructed by the text, which is not the case.
  • The book also incorrectly states that the player has two doses of their chosen Potion at the beginning of the book, when in fact they have only one.


Puffin Edition[]


Wizard Edition[]

To Devin
– Mark[2]

See Also[]


External Links[]


  1. Talisman of Death - pg.15
  2. Talisman of Death - pg.5