Ninja! – Conclusion


Firstly, I want to acknowledge that David Walters, the sole credited author of this book, has followed this blog for some time, and his comments and feedback have been much appreciated.


Actually, there’s no but at all – I thought this gamebook worked beautifully, and had pretty much the desired degree of difficulty.

To write a successful gamebook, you really only need to consider two criteria :

  1. Is the ‘story’ interesting?
  2. Is the book too hard or too easy?

If your book is very interesting, then players won’t mind playing it through a few times, but boredom is death, particularly when it involves simply re-rolling dice ad infinitum to see if a particular obstacle can be passed.

That’s why Creature of Havoc is beloved, while Caverns of the Snow Witch and Crypt of the Sorcerer are spoken of with muttered voices in alleyways behind taverns.

After this preamble, I can confirm that Ninja! is an extremely well-crafted and atmospheric gamebook, with about the right level of difficulty and numerous interesting ‘NPCs’.

In fact, I would place it above ‘Redeemer’.  This is because Redeemer, at times, seemed overly keen to include and / or reference characters and incidences from the 6 books which had preceded it.  Perhaps because of the continuity-based restrains concerning Ninja!, David Walters gave careful consideration to the need to preserve the protagonist’s character, while throwing in subtle editorial references to the future path the character would take.

Although not every nook and cranny was covered in this play-through, I applaud the effort of creating a valid prequel that nevertheless did not undermine the books that took place chronologically in the future.

I should also mention that the strategem of having five cities from which flags could be ‘won’ worked very well, with each of the cities having valid choices (save and except the citiy which required infiltration and then also numerous successful dice rolls to evade capture – or maybe I just followed the wrong path.

Well done, Mr Walters!

For the curious, I’m going to write a general post on the series as a whole, and then a FAQ for all those who may come across this page in the future.  I’ll be starting Lone Wolf before the end of September.

Fair warning – I’m going to be demanding comments from all my followers regarding this blog, gamebooks and life in general!


14 thoughts on “Ninja! – Conclusion

      1. A Mother Superior gathers the Nuns in her convent and announces, ” I have to tell you all that a case of Syphilis has been diwcovered in the convent”. Among the expressions of shock and horror one voice says, “Thank God for that, I’m sick to death of bloody Chardonnay”.

        As an Off – licence worker I can tell you that blind tastings have had people who hate Chardonnay loving it when told its Sauvigon Blanc or Pinot Griogio and I personally have had customers telling me they can’t stand Chardonnay while looking for Chablis wine (which is Chardonnay grape). There is a wide variety of styles in Chardonnay, sadly thats part of its curse.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, you can put me down as pro-chardonnay (I think – I’m not very knowledgable on wine but I like it in general and tend to like most wines, and fairly different wines, as I try them), pro-socialism, and anti-and-very-bothered-by-moral relativism – though the morality I believe in as objective is purely consequensialist and fairly abstract, leaving room for lots of situational variance and parallell ethical paradigms being equally valid and in a real sense true.

      And strong agnostic, if anyone cares. The question is difficult and all that.

      And yeah, gamebooks. Yay!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. 20 years business experience. People sometimes get all caught up in their own eloquence about wine but its all just rotting grapes. Just as different cultures and chefs will do different things to the same basic food there’s an amazing variety of wine to enjoy, and if you’re usually happy with your wine then you know most of whats important (but never be afraid to ask for advise, we LOVE people who don’t pretend to know it all, we’ll recommend good wine for you and customer feedback tells me you’ll enjoy it too).

        Liked by 1 person

    2. “Chardonnay Socialism”, one of the things I love with this blog is while much of the views expressed are just like in Ireland I’ll then come across phrases/ideas like that which have me googling to find out what people are talking about. Coming from a working class pull yourself up background I’m opposed to socialism but know that some degree of welfare state is vital to preventing wide spread poverty and its harmful effects, getting the balance is the trick. In India, for example, if you’re officially below the poverty line they DON’T give you money, instead you can buy very cheap food in ration shops, but YOU still have to get the money, thats a good idea. As I see unemployed people coming into my shop EVERY day to buy beer, cider or vodka I like that aspect of their system (but of course it also has flaws).

      “Moral relativism”, is an amusing subject to bring up in a blog about a guy from a monastery who most in-worlders view as too absolutist and law imposing but is played by a ALF voting liberal. As for M-R and its competing theories, when a man wants an excuse to do something he’ll find one.

      Sadly I probably haven’t said anything you haven’t heard ad nauseum, shutting up now.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. A special thanks to you, David, because of this book and Reedemer! You let an old 90s teenage boy keep on going with the dream to see Avenger live after that dreadful Black Widow (I remember i checked out every section (just like every guy at that time) of Inferno, thinking “It’s not possible Avenger could die”)

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Many thanks! I’d like to finish the story in book 8 one day, as there were set ups in book 7 designed to be carried over and resolved there (perhaps there were too subtle). The whole reordering of the gods, the payback on who you saved from the rift, the Black Widow, the belt you get in book 7, Dore’s quest to become a god etc.
        In the original book 6 there was an option where you could select not to go into the Rift and instead you got Glaivas’s body parts delivered. This was edited out in the new Megara version of book 6, which I think aimed to give more of a reason to go into the Rift.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. Beautiful book, beautiful story, beautiful walkthrough! You definitely have got your first italian fan!!! Can’t look forward for the lone wolf’s walkthrough…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I admit my heart jumped into my throat when you wickedly and deceitfully put in a “But”, afterwards I enjoyed and largely agreed with your review.

    As regards getting me to comment on the blog, gamebooks and life in general I think you’ve seen enough the real difficulty is getting me to shut up, especially if lghr and I start going at each other again. 😉. The second difficulty is me getting me to write coherently and legibly.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I liked a lot Mt. Walters’ Ninja! for a particolar reason: while I also find the prequel idea particularly well done, I finally found a setting I was looking for. Let me explain: one of the few things that I didn’t like of the Way of the Tiger serie was the (for me unexpected) “ninja in medieval fantasy setting”. Hey, you’re a japanese assassin and I didn’t expect to fight orcs and help paladins and rangers!
    This thing at first bothered me a lot (probably because I played “La Loi du sabre”/Samurai, that introduced me to mythic Japan), then I became used to this weird mix (a year later I even played a samurai in our Ad&D weekly session).

    Still I missed a good oriental-fantasy setting, until now. I also liked a lot the prequel idea, and how you use an underpowered ninja. (It would be nice to have more adventures with another ninja, a disciple of the protagonist, like in Lone Wolf, the New Order serie)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had been developing the Islands heavily for the Orb RPG (yet to be published by Megara) and so had a lot of background material to draw upon. I even wrote two RPG adventures set on the island, one of which is to feature in the Orb RPG. I then combined this with a series of mythical Japanese monsters to give it that solid grounding for the origin of Avenger. I had thought about a spin off tale would be fun, but wanted to finish Avenger’s first.

      Liked by 1 person

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