The Encyclopaedia of Orb (Version 3)

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Orb is fantasy world that appeared in a number of solo roleplaying gamebooks in the 1980s. It was developed by Mark Smith and Jamie Thompson and featured in the ‘Way of the Tiger’ six-part series and the Fighting Fantasy gamebook ‘Talisman of Death’ (number 11 of that series). This encyclopaedia is an attempt to collect together all of the information about Orb from the paragraphs of these gamebooks, and organise them under appropriate headings.

The encyclopaedia is indexed throughout with references to the source texts; this is more of an aid to myself as I check back on details in the books. The code should be self explanatory, but the first (Roman) numeral refers to the number of the book in the Way of the Tiger series (I is ‘Avenger!’, II is ‘Assassin!’, etc.), and the second number is the page reference from where the information comes. Note that TD means ‘Talisman of Death’. Where italicised text is inserted <between brackets> this indicates conjecture that has no basis in the text but is inferred or implied by the sources, or a brief entry describing a general area of the world with no specific references as such. The number ‘0’ for a page reference indicates that the information comes from the background/introduction section of the gamebook. When I get round to entering the information from the map inserts, the code ‘m’ will refer to this (e.g. II,m)

Current status

The encyclopaedia currently lists the information from books 1-3,5-6 and the ‘Talisman of Death’ (many thanks to Andrew Wright ( for sending me his copy of Warbringer) and runs to seventeen pages of a smaller font. I have corrected some of the (frankly appalling) spelling, grammatical and layout errors of version 2.

The encyclopaedia can be found on the web at Thanks to Justin Tan ( for this.

A final note; it seems that Smith and Thompson authored another series of gamebooks set in and around Orb. I have never seen these books, or heard of them until a few weeks ago, but if anyone is willing to send me information from the ‘Duelmaster’ series at for inclusion in the encyclopaedia I would be most grateful. The books were detailed as follows (thanks to Andy again) and certainly look interesting (especially book 3):

1 Challenge of the Magi (set in a planar environment called the Rainbow Land, with some ties to Orb)

2 Blood Valley (set in southern Orb, in the vicinity of Braggart’s Hold; where you escape from the Firedrakes)

3 The Shattered Realm (this occurred in Monsalyar the 'Little Known Lands' of the far NE of Orb, and also featured places on the map like the Dwellings of the Fey, Clonmel, the Ioun Straits, Tolkaday, and the land of the Firedrakes)

4 Arena of Death (set in the Arena in Mortavalon?)

Michael Spencelayh