Fighting Fantasy Gamebook
Location: Isles of the Dawn, Titan
References: 400
Publication Details
Author(s): Paul Mason

Illustrator(s): Terry Oakes
Cover illustrator: Alan Craddock
First published: January 30 1992
Number 47
ISBN: ISBN 0-14-034555-8
Previous Book: Tower of Destruction
Next Book: Moonrunner
Wizard (Series 1)
Wizard (Series 2)

For other uses of The Crimson Tide, see The Crimson Tide

The Crimson Tide is a single-player role-playing gamebook written by Paul Mason, illustrated by Terry Oakes and originally published in 1992 by Puffin Books. It is the 47th in the series in the original Puffin series (ISBN 0-14-031922-0). There are currently no announced plans to republish this book as part of the Scholastic series.



Vengeance - or death!

Civil war wracks the Isles of the Dawn. You are a young farmer, unaffected by the turmoil until chaos strikes. A roving band of mercenaries ransacks your village, killing your father and enslaving your mother. This injustice must be righted!

Arcane creatures, martial monks and battle-hardened warriors must all be overcome, as your quest for justice leads you from your quiet village to the very Court of the God-King!

Part story, part game, this is a book in which YOU become 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 take up the challenge?

The Crimson Tide - Back Cover ("Dragon" Edition)

The Crimson Tide is set in the Isles of the Dawn in the Southern hemisphere of Titan. The events of the book take place after those described in a previous book, Black Vein Prophecy. The player character begins as a young child whose father has been killed and whose mother has been kidnapped by mercenaries. The story follows the child's progression towards adulthood and revenge.


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

Unique Rules[]

  • Because the player begins the book aged thirteen, their attribute scores may eventually exceed their "Initial" values which become fixed once they reach eighteen.[1]
  • age is an attribute of the book due to the young age of the player at the outset and has an affect on the gameplay. Also, at each age increase the player is able to restore their "Temporary" stamina to the "Permanent" figure.[2]
  • The Crimson Tide also introduces the attribute of ferocity which is determined by a 1d6 roll with the addition of half the player's stamina score (with halves rounded upwards).[3] Should the player's ferocity score fall to 0 or less they are instructed to turn to (200).[2] Also, for each age increase the player is to lower their ferocity score by 2 points.[2]

Equipment List[]

The player begins the adventure with nothing more than a Wooden Sword,[4] although they gain 2 Provisions in the opening paragraph.[5]

Cover and Illustrations[]

Main article: The Crimson Tide (illustrations)


The original cover of the book was designed and illustrated by Alan Craddock.

The Crimson Tide Cover Variants
1992 1993
FF47 FF47 Black Dragon
Dragon ver.III Dragon ver.IV
£3.991 £3.992

  1. Price of 1st Impression
  2. Price of 2nd Impression


The interior illustrations were by Terry Oakes. There were 30 full page illustrations and 6 minor repeated illustrations scattered throughout the text. The paragraphs with a full page illustration were: 1, 19, 33, 46, 54, 64, 83, 97, 103, 111, 129, 137, 146, 158, 166, 176, 198, 225, 231, 241, 253, 272, 290, 306, 322, 344, 356, 373, 381 and 388.

Intertextual References[]

The book contains a reference to the earlier Fighting Fantasy book Sword of the Samurai in that the player can encounter a character from Hachiman, the region in which the earlier book is set.


The Crimson Tide ties-in with Paul Mason's previous Fighting Fantasy book, Black Vein Prophecy. The player character meets several characters from Black Vein Prophecy, including the player character from the successful ending to the earlier book, who is now a king.

Other Media[]

Main Characters[]

YOU: Hero of The Crimson Tide



Further Notes[]

  • Unlike other Fighting Fantasy books is the fact that many of the premature endings to the book do not involve the death or failure of the player character. These endings include the player character living the rest of his life as a monk, a sailor or a basket weaver, without finding his mother or obtaining his revenge.
  • The copyright page of the first edition lists a map by Leo Hartas which is not present in the book.
  • The "Introduction" section is missing its page numbers.
  • The Shark-creatures featured on the cover play no role in the story.
  • (400) is not the successful conclusion to the adventure.


  • Almost every significant place or character name is actually a symbolic word or phrase, transliterated directly from Mandarin Chinese. Notable examples include: Baochou Monastery (Revenge Monastery), the main character's uncle and aunt Zhonggao and Yubei (Well-intentioned Advice and Preparation), the supernatural guide Meng Zhidao (Dream Guidance), the capital Shoudu (Foremost City, a term used in China to refer to the capital of a country or region), the rebel leader Suiyuan (Source of Water), the demonic creature Yuemo/Yümo (Fish Demon) and the demon advisor Pantu (Traitor). Due to the nature of Mandarin Chinese, other allusions may exist but cannot be confirmed, since the words written in the English alphabet may correspond to more than one equivalent word in Chinese. Merzei, Traole and Maior, among others, do not correspond to any known Mandarin Chinese words.
  • The naming of Feior and Maior's spells in Black Vein Prophecy follows the same convention: Baopo (Explosion), Biantai (Perversion/Mutation), Shangsuo (Apply Lock), Tiaohe (Rebalance).


  • One of the first enemies encountered is a Giant Mudworm, with a skill score of 12 (at this point the highest possible skill which the player character could have is 6), rendering the combat virtually impossible to win without having the player cheat at this point. This was an editing mistake by Marc Gascoigne (whom Mason later referred to as a "dingbat" and "a total idiot") who forgot that the player began the book as a child and altered the skill score of the Mudworm from 6 to 12.[6]


Dedicated to Keiko, Ambassador of Ai[7]

See Also[]


External Links[]


  1. The Crimson Tide - pg.8
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 The Crimson Tide - pg.9
  3. The Crimson Tide - pg.7
  4. The Crimson Tide - pg.14
  5. The Crimson Tide - 1
  6. Letter from Paul Mason at the Internet Archive record of the old Fightingfantasy.com - Retrieved 2019-10-26
  7. The Crimson Tide - pg.4