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"You are Avenger, a ninja trained in the Way of the Tiger, a lethal master of unarmed combat who must confront the ultimate evil to avenge the death of your foster-father."
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Way of the Tiger is a series of Gamebooks written by Mark Smith and Jamie Thomson, set on the fantasy world of Orb. The player takes the role of a Ninja named Avenger, who seeks revenge against the killer of his mentor and father-figure, a quest that ends up drawing him into larger events on his world's stage.

The series originally ran for six books and ended in a massive cliffhanger where Avenger fell into the bottom level of The Bowels of Orb in the final paragraphs, leaving his fate in question. However, a Kickstarter campaign to revive the series succeeded, and work is being done to make hardcover versions of the books, as well as a prequel and a finale. At this time, the prequel and the six books have been done, and the finale (book 7) was written in November 2014.

Interestingly, this series was not the first appearance of Orb. The setting was previously used in the 11thFighting Fantasy book, Talisman of Death, which was also written by Smith and Thomson. Several characters from Talisman of Death return for Way of the Tiger.

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Way of the Tiger provides examples of:

  • Acquired Poison Immunity:
    • One of the abilities you can choose at the beginning. There are two instances where one can choose a new skill. If granted by Avenger's god, Kwon, it's as if he had studied since birth. However in a book where a Ninja Master offers to teach a skill, he says they just don't have the years to build up the immunity.
    • Honoric has this as well after surviving the first book. His god intervenes magically to keep him from dying from the Blood of Nil, and thereafter ordinary poisons (including your Spiderfish-poisoned needles) are nothing to him.
    • Your ninja opponent at the end of Assassin! has this ability, reacting contemptuously if you use a poison needle attack on him.
  • Admiring the Abomination: At the end of book 2, when Avenger stays with Lord Kiyamo, a rival Way of the Scorpion ninja sneaks past (and kills) seven samurai guards in order to make an attempt on Avenger's own life. After the latter comes out on top, Kiyamo expresses shock that his house's security could have been breached so easily, but Avenger consoles him: "Do not feel shamed, Lord. There was nothing you could have done in any case. He was Ninja."
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  • All-Powerful Bystander: Solstice always praise the high powers of Time, but never once he'll lift a finger to help you, no matter the cause.
  • Animal Motifs: Kwon and his cult has the tiger, Nemesis has the Hawk and the followers of Nullaq have both spiders and octopoids. The Dark Elves in the Rift have both spiders and crows.
  • Anti-Magic: Honoric's sword Sorcerak can render any spell null as long as it's unsheated.
  • Arc Villain: The Black Widow and her cult are this in the final two books, though the real final boss is unrelated to them.
  • Arch-Enemy: Avenger perceives Yaemon as this while growing up. After Yaemon dies, Honoric (his ally who survives the initial Roaring Rampage of Revenge) is more than eager to take Yaemon's place as your arch-nemesis for the rest of the series.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: The Way of the Scorpion ninja in Assassin!.
  • Arrow Catch: If Avenger has the skill Arrow-cutting, he can catch arrows in his barehands though he prefers to just deflect them away.
  • Assassin Outclassin': This trope is zig-zagged when Avenger gets into it with Mandrake, the Guildmaster of the Assassins and greatest killer in Orb. When they first meet in book 2, it is Avenger who is so badly outclassed by Mandrake's traps that (if he didn't take the right skills) he might need literal divine intervention to survive Mandrake's attention, and the latter escapes no matter what. But when Mandrake returns in book 4, it's possible for Avenger to be so on top of things that he not only sees right through Mandrake's expert disguise, but kills him with an easy die roll.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • Honoric is saved in the nick of time by Vasch-Ro's interference, so that he may come back to hunt Avenger.
    • If Foxglove is executed or dies while escorting you in book 6, she'll reappear in Book 7, revived by the Black Widow as her latest follower.
  • Badass Army: Book 5 has Honoric's Swords of Doom who really live up to their name and he gets further reinforcements including Scarlet Mantis Monks. Avenger starts off with the makings of one with his Shieldmaidens and he'll be able to recruit more - especially if he gets the Heroes of Fate on his side. Glaivas and Doré le Juine will then bring Elves, Rangers and Paladins to further Honoric's pain.
  • Barefisted Monk:
    • The evil Scarlet Mantis Monks.
    • Part of the portfolio of Avenger's god, Kwon, is Unarmed Combat. Most of Kwon's followers are depicted as martial arts monks, albeit not as skilled in fighting as Avenger is.
  • Barehanded Blade Block:
    • Generally averted — Avenger has thin but strong rods of iron built into his costume sleeves allowing him to block bladed weapons without injury.
    • That said, Avenger does do the "clap catch" technique in one fight with a sword-wielding Way of the Scorpion ninja. (The text at least acknowledges the "extraordinary judgment and coordination" you needed to perform the feat.)
  • Big Damn Heroes: Villainous version. When you're curbstomping Honoric down to a few measly hitpoints, his elite shocktroopers will jump in and drive you off with pikes and arrows before carting him off to safety. As Honoric is an Honor Before Reason kind of guy, he berates his troops (even as they're dragging him off) for besmirching his honor in such a way, too.
  • Big Red Devil: Astaroth's true form is this. His servants are more diverse, including a giant centaur with a snake for a tail and a lion skull for a face and two massive demonic hyenas.
  • Black Swords Are Better: Honoric wields the Sorcerak, a large black sword which costantly exudes smoke. Not only the blade is impossibly sharp, but it can also nullify all magic, cause supernatural fear in others and even fly and move on its own. Sorcerak is also a sentient demon in the shape of a sword.
  • Blade on a Rope: The Grandmaster of Shadows uses a (mispelled) Kyoketsu-shoge as a weapon, depicted as a long hair rope with a machete-like blade on one end and an iron ring on the other. He skillfully uses the weapon in an attempt to ensnare Avenger.
  • Boss Battle: Every book featured at least one climactic fight (and not always at the end), which usually involved a more complicated series of tactical decisions than the standard dice-roll battles.
  • Brain Monster: The Brain Maggot at first resembles a giant human brain before uncoiling itself in a giant snake-like form.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: The entire battle with Astaroth and his cadre: while you are fighting a Duke of Hell barehanded, it really feels like you're hopelessly outmatched, even with the help of Dama or Doré to even the odds. Fighting Astaroth alone has you suffering several wounds you just can't avoid, the only reason why you can beat Scourge is the fact that he's weaker outside of Hell and even after slaying a severely wounded Astaroth you're left too weak to keep fighting, forcing you to rely on your allies to take over the city of Irsmuncast.
  • Bullying a Dragon: If you spy on Honoric's training in book 1, you see him effortlessly best several soldiers at once (using an ordinary sword). Not to be outdone, Manse the Deathmage humiliates Honoric by turning the sword into a tulip in front of the assembled troops. Honoric responds to this by unsheathing his magic sword Sorcerak, which nullifies all magic, leaving Manse defenseless (and painfully aware of it). Unfortunately for Avenger, Honoric simply skulks off at that point rather than slaughtering Manse right then and there.
  • But Not Too Bi: In the reprint, it is stated that Foxglove's Charm Person can be used on men and women alike. Yet, during Book 6 and 7, she always tries her skill on men, never once trying to captivate Cassandra.
  • Call-Back: In book 7, many of the events that play out can be a nod to what happened in the previous books: you can contract plague (2), fight spiritual forms of Aiguchi, Jikkyu and Yaemon (3,2,1), get cursed by Nullaq's foul presence (4), get a face wound that temporarly disables your Arrow-Cutting skill (3), have to sneak into Irsnmuncast to deal with an impostor king (3 again), venture across the Rifts with heroes and villains in tow (6), run into Everyman the Golem (3).
  • The Cavalry: In Usurper, if you were nicely social to a knight errant earlier in the book, he will suddenly appear when you most need help against a demon lord and his minions. Failing this, you might instead have a talisman which animates a big statue of Dama to intervene against the demon lord.
  • Charm Person: One of the powers of the Sceptre which Avenger inherits as Overlord of Irumscast. In Book 5, you can use this ability to win over the bickering council who are deciding whether to send you reinforcements.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • In the first book if you spy on the 3 greatest champions of evil in the world, you'll see some hard feelings between Honoric and Manse the Deathmage. Manse is the world's best wizard and casts a spell at Honoric, only to find out — as noted above — that Honoric's magical sword instantly dispels any magic being cast. This becomes important when you decide the order of who to assassinate.
    • In the second book, you learn that Tyutchev, Cassandra and Thaum are wanted for murdering the High Priestess of Illustra and pillaging her church. If you manage to get your hands on Tyutchev's pouch in book 6 or 7, you can recover the Heart of Illustra and give it back to the heroes looking for it, so that they may escape the Rift with you.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: As a spymistress, the leader of a Gestapo-like secret police force, and a worshiper of a god famous for deception, Foxglove is definitely this. A lot of her favors have some hidden agenda attached. In the last book practically everything she does will get you killed (or captured and THEN killed) if you accept her pleas for help.
  • Cliffhanger: The series was an infamous example of this for many years, as book 6 was published in 1987 (and indeed ended on a cliffhanger), while the 7th and final book (concluding the storyline) did not appear until 2015.
  • Climax Boss: The Grandmaster of Shadows is the strongest enemy of Book 4 and fought in an intese, epic duel similar to the battle against Yaemon, but he's only the midway point of the game. Book 7 has the battle against the Brain Maggot to leave the Rift once and for all.
  • Combat by Champion: Book 5 touches on this when Honoric challenges you to a duel before your army clashes with his. The trope is ultimately averted, though, as a) neither of you believe you're dueling instead of letting your armies go to battle, and b) after you get the upper hand, Honoric's forces pull him away before you can finish him off.
  • Combat Tentacles: The Nyruk in Book 7 is a horrible skinless humanoid who can whip you with multiple tentacles from his back.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: The series observes this trope religiously. With one exception, Avenger never travels with other good ninjas and is therefore a badass who can carry his own gamebook franchise. The exception proves the rule, as it happens in the prologue book, which tells the story of how Avenger completed his ninja training alongside several other prospective Way of the Tiger ninjas. All of these ninjas-in-training are plenty badass already, but none of them (including Avenger himself) are quite as awesome as Avenger in the main series. Meanwhile, the evil Scorpion ninjas are only tough when they're alone (on a special climactic mission to assassinate you, you've mowed through their ranks to face their Grandmaster one-on-one, etc).
  • Cool Sword: Honoric's sword Sorcerak, a black sword that emits wisps of smoke when drawn. What sets it apart from other swords is that Sorcerak can generate fear, dispel magic from even epic-level wizards, and fly through the air. Avenger eventually learns that Sorcerak is a sentient Evil Weapon — and not above discarding a wielder that has disappointed it.
  • Cthulhumanoid: Old Ones are a race of squid-like, cave-dwelling evil humanoids of great power. You encounter one in an underground room of the royal palace in book 3 and later fight him to death in book 5.
  • Cruel Elephant: The Spawn of the Rift is a hideous abomination taking the form of a phantom, fleshless mammoth monster with three misshaped heads filled with horns, fangs and teeth.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Avenger can find himself on the receiving end of these when he makes a wrong move. Failing to deal with Yaemon, Honoric, and Manse in the correct order means you can end up facing Honoric and Yaemon together with predictable results. During Usurper!, unless you get help, you end up being being killed after Astaroth summons three other demons to help him when you try and retake the throne.
  • Dark Action Girl: Cassandra, a female warrior and psychopath.
  • Despair Event Horizon: In the final book, you can once again encounter Honoric, who has clearly passed this point due to being blinded and abandoned by his magic sword after you defeated his army in book 5. Despite all the shit the two of you have done to each other by this point, Honoric puts up only a brief, half-assed attempt at defense if you decide to kill him.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The world's mightiest wizards and warriors, primordial beastgods, giants, ifrit, an Eldritch Abomination or two, demigods and demons — all have died under the fists and feet of Avenger. Downplayed in that many times it's clear that Avenger is outmatched against certain monsters, such as the one-sided battle against Astaroth.
  • Do Not Attempt: At the beginning of every book. "Do not attempt any of the techniques or methods described in this book. They would result in serious injury or death to an untrained user."
  • Dragged Off to Hell: In Book 7, the already damned Yaemon tries to pull this on Avenger, so that he'll forever suffer in the lake of boiling blood.
  • Dream Team: Yaemon, Honoric, and Manse the Deathmage were a villainous version of this trope. Not only are they respectively the deadliest Scarlet Mantis master, the commander of the Legion of the Sword of Doom, and Orb's most powerful black magician, their plot for world domination would have brought even the gods of good to heel if Avenger hadn't stopped them.
  • Duel to the Death: Aiguchi the Weaponmaster will challenge you to a combat sacred to both Vasch-Ro and Fate in a sacred ring. If you refuse the challenge you get cursed by Fate, while if you accept you'll find out that for once the bad guys follow the rules to a T.
  • Evil Is One Big, Happy Family: The followers of evil gods in this setting — particularly Vile, Nemesis, and Vasch-Ro — never seem to have any issues working together, especially when it comes to making trouble for Avenger.
  • Excited Episode Title!: Every book has an exclamation point.
  • Expy:
    • The inhabitants of the Rift and the Rift itself call to mind the Underdark from Dungeons & Dragons, including a Lloth look-alike in the Black Widow, Spider People serving her as high-ranked servants and Illithid-like Old Ones.
    • The true nature of Sorcerak is a nod to Stormbringer.
  • Eye Beams: The Devil Beast can shoot red energy beams from the eyes, but can be recharged and used a second time.
  • Eye Scream:
    • Done to Avenger by a shuriken from an evil master ninja. This will be the worst hurt anyone in the series has done to Avenger (at least canonically).
    • Later in the same game, if you lack an Amulet of Nullaq, you can get rid of a Kraken by tossing a force-empowered shuriken in its eye.
    • If one was unable to kill Honoric, you'll find him as a blind beggar in the last book; his eyes torn out by Sorcerak as punishment for his failure.
    • In the last book, you can try to toss some Blood of Nil into the eyes of the Black Widow. All you get is a wound and her attention but also satisfaction.
    • In the same book, the Impostor subjected himself to this to impersonate the Avenger.
  • Fate Worse than Death:
    • Given that many of the evil gods are against you, it's not surprising that they're doing their best to deliver you to the eternal torments of their pits of despair.
    • If you don't kill Honoric in book 5 (and you probably won't), you can encounter him in book 7 as a blind beggar, having being reduced to the shadow of his former self by his own egotistic sword Sorcerak.
    • If you manage to successfuly tread the vengeance path in the last book, then that's what's presumably in stock for the Terrible Trio of Thaum, Tyutchev and Cassandra, stuck with the hostile denizens of the Rift.
  • Featureless Protagonist: While almost everyone assumes that Avenger is male (and the cover illustrations portray Avenger that way), the character is never actually stated to be male or female. The reprint specifically mentions that honeypot Foxglove is trained in seducing both men and women, so Avenger's gender remains ambiguous.
  • Fighting a Shadow: Killing demons sends them back to their home plane.
  • Fed to the Beast: How the priesthood of Nullaq carries on their sacrifices.
  • Femme Fatale: Foxglove. If you carry her around in book 6 she'll often try to seduce you so that she can enchant you.
  • Flesh Golem: Everyman is one, a disgusting, walking patchwork of different corpses and green ooze. Because he's made of so many people, you must kill him over a hundred times to finally put it to rest, a fight impossible for a human.
  • Flipping Helpless: Avenger can flip enemies on their backs with different throw techniques. He then follows up with an attack that gets significant bonuses to hit and damage.
  • Forest Ranger: Glaivas the Ranger, who is in several books. This is specifically his job title.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: The Impostor who takes your place in book 7, nearly destroying all you worked hard for and ruining the Manmarch? Just a nameless mook of the Way of the Scorpion who excelled at disguising, armed with a magic belt given to him by Landlack and Mandrake's enchanted rapier, made specifically to kill you.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • At the beginning of Book 2, you're told that you start the game without your dose of Blood of Nil, as you have already used it in book 1 to take down Honoric.
    • More generally, Avenger is not entirely protected by Critical Existence Failure. If you make a particularly boneheaded move (or bad die roll) in the wrong place, you can be instagibbed even if you're at your full 20 Endurance.
  • Golden Ending: If you stole Thaum's pouch from the second to last book, you can save Glaivas, Doré le Juine Thybault, Vespers and Eris (Taflur cannot be saved, as he does a Heroic Sacrifice at the beginning of the last book); and "get vengeance" on Tyutchev, Cassandra and Thaum.
  • The Good King: Avenger's father, the previous Overlord of Irsmuncast before the Usurper, was both beloved and just. Avenger can try to be a just Overlord himself, but it's not easy in a city with a budget, bickering factions, and a significant population of Nemesis worshipers.
  • Graceful Loser:
    • After his defeat, with his last breath, Yaemon congratulates Avenger for his skills before dying.
    • In book 4, if you ambush one of the Way of the Shadow ninjas with a poison needle, he will die cursing you and your god for besting him with such a simple trick... yet with his final breath concedes "But you are truly ninja..."
  • Gratuitous Ninja: Really, this is the premise of the series. In the '80s with a glut of gamebooks, the Way of the Tiger series set itself apart from the others with the main draw of being a ninja with "real" ninja skills.
  • Handicapped Badass: Avenger himself. He loses an eye in a later book but gets a little better via magical implant. Regardless whether he gets a replacement or not, he takes a rather significant hit to his combat abilities.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Averted. Avenger prefers to fight unarmed, using kicks, punches, and throws. His only "weapons" (shuriken, poison needles, and garrote) are assassination tools that he uses to one-shot enemies instead of fighting them. In fact, in the third book, if he uses a magical dagger that can kill demons in one hit, you have to roll a Fate roll because Avenger has never trained with the weapon.
  • Heroic Fantasy: The setting's overall genre, albeit with some Wutai around Avenger's homeland. The planet is a step or two closer to a World of Badass than usual, too.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Taflur in Redeemer! goes down trying to fight the Black Widow herself, losing his sword and his head to the arachnid's massive fangs.
  • Honey Trap: The Femme Fatale Foxglove has the ability to entrance men, which she can make semi-permanent if she manages to kiss them.
  • Honor Before Reason: No less than two villainous examples happen in the series.
    • In book 3, if you encounter Honoric, it's possible to get ensnared in a random hunter's trap during the confrontation. Honoric then has you at his mercy, but refuses to kill a helpless opponent — not even one such as you, who previously poisoned him with Orb's most metal venom while he was sleeping. Frustrated, Honoric spares Avenger's life, much to the latter's utter bewilderment.
    • In book 4, after you kill the Grandmaster of Shadows in his lair (and get maimed in the effort), his ninja followers rush in to surround you... but state that they are honorbound to let their master's killer leave (much as it irks them).
  • Human Popsicle: In the jail of the Forbidden Shrine you find out that most prisoners are kept frozen in blocks of ice. Some of them are poisoned, so that they suffer undying for a long time.
  • Implacable Man: Everyman, the golem that the evil gods send after you to avenge the death of Yaemon, Manse and (almost) Honoric is one — you can defeat him in combat, but he will just get right back up again and follow you no matter where you run to. It takes kicking him into the Rift (an almost bottomless chasm leading to the depths of The Underworld) to stop him. And even that doesn't kill him. In the last book, Everyman will attack a Giant Spider demi-god to get at Avenger (who himself is now stuck in the underworld). Presumably the spider takes the time to kill Everyman all 100 times required to kill him for good.
  • Invisible Monster: The Spawn of the Rift: if you don't have the Emerald Orb as your new eye, you're unable to see it coming and are mauled to death.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Averted. In fact, Katanas are almost never mentioned; the only time being in the prequel by Rōnin and Samurai. The evil ninja of the Way of the Scorpion have Ninjato Swords, but they aren't special (other than how cool you look when you inevitably disarm them, that is). Downplayed if you took Onikaba's warriors with you in Book 3, as their skill with their swords makes the difference in combat.
  • Ki Manipulation: One of the earliest examples in Western gaming, Avenger can tap into his "Inner Force", which allows him to strike with bone-shattering force. He can also expend his Inner Force to endure attacks on his mind or withstand harsh environments.
  • Kraken and Leviathan: The Kraken here is less than a Giant Squid and more like an Animalistic Abomination related to the vile goddess Nullaq. One guards the way to the island where the Scepter and the Emerald Orb are kept.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen:
    • In book 3, Aiguchi the Weaponmaster challenges you to a duel in a special divinely-sanctified dueling area. You can refuse the duel (or flee the area once you've accepted), but will suffer penalties if you do. To the Weaponmaster's credit, the fight itself is strictly one-on-one with no attempts to gimp you (or any other dirty tricks) beforehand. If you win, the evil priests who run the dueling area will respect your victory and allow you to leave unmolested.
    • Although less overtly stated than the fight with Aiguchi, Yaemon himself plays this trope straight when Avenger confronts him in book 1. Finding himself alone with Avenger on the rooftop of Quench-Heart Keep, Yaemon does not attempt to summon his guards or flee to safety. Instead, the two nemeses exchange a polite martial arts bow, trade a couple lines of surprisingly calm banter, and settle into the one-on-one battle that Avenger has longed for all his life.
  • Living Lie-Detector: If Avenger chooses to learn "Shin-ren" (Heart-Training) he becomes one of these.
  • MacGuffin Guardian: To reach the Orb and the Scepter, you have to pass over a giant Kraken (which can be pacified with the Amulet of Nullaq) and then fight against the ghastly Devil Beast lurking on the island.
  • Made of Iron: The Arabaru-Kami is inhumanly powerful and can shrug off even strikes imbued with Inner Force. Let's hope you still have a vial of Blood of Nil...
  • Magnetic Hero: The other power of the Sceptre is that it inspires loyalty in friendly forces. If your troops are positive to you, Avenger can even lead them against the Swords of Doom who's magic swords generate fear.
  • Makeup Is Evil: Foxglove is always describe wearing colorful, variegated makeup. She's also a dangerous and scheming priestess of Nemesis.
  • The Many Deaths of You: Like many gamebooks of the 80's, Way of the Tiger took an indulgent approach with player death scenes after bad choices or unlucky die rolls.
  • Master of Disguise:
    • One of Mandrake's more awesome skills, as he is able to impersonate even one of Avenger's advisors (and fool the other advisors) leading up to the final confrontation between the two.
    • While it doesn't come into play as often as his more lethal talents, Avenger himself has learned "the Seven Ways of Going", enabling him to travel in disguise as a seemingly harmless minstrel. (And yes, Avenger can perform as a minstrel, too.)
  • Meaningful Name: Avenger himself, whose initial goal in life is indeed to avenge his murdered foster-father. After he accomplishes this goal and moves on to other adventures, Avenger keeps his moniker as a Name To Run Away From Really Fast.
  • Mercy Rewarded: As tempting as it is, letting the Lord Steward of Nemesis go unharmed if you didn't make him member of your council and were insulted by him is the safest choice, as harming him will net you a loss of popularity.
  • Mind Rape: Old Ones and other people from the Rift can use their mind powers and sheer hatred to hurt Avenger, who must use Inner Force to resist their psychic attack.
  • Moses in the Bulrushes: How Avenger was found. Yes, he does have Royal Blood.
  • Multi-Melee Master: The proud Weapon Master Aiguchi is glad to show off his skills with his many weapons, including a recurve bow, a naginata (main weapon), a nunchaku (secondary weapon) and a truckload of daggers.
  • Ninja: Good-aligned ninjas practice the Way of the Tiger and follow the god Kwon; evil ninjas practice the Way of the Scorpion and follow Nemesis, the Supreme Principle of Evil. And yes, the Conservation of Ninjutsu is in play here.
  • Nintendo Hard: The series is definitely a gamebook example of this. One on one, Avenger can readily kill anything that's not a high-end supernatural being or epic villain, often without even being seen. Unfortunately, he's still far from invincible and healing is sparse, so every hit a mook does manage to land on Avenger adds up. Worse yet, modifiers to combat and/or new skills only show up in the first three books. If you don't play through these books, you're stuck using a bare-bones Avenger while the enemies become increasingly difficult.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Avenger may find to his cost that a demonic Duke of Hell can No-Sell an inner force powered punch directly to the face.
  • No-Sell: Some enemies are though enough to shrug off the effects of Spiderfish poison, but only a selected handful can tank the super-rare Blood of Nil. Starting from Book 2 onward, you may run into powerful demonic enemies (like the Araberu-Kami, Astaroth or the Brain Maggot) downright immune to your Inner Force-powered fists.
  • Oh, Crap!: The orcs near the beginning of Book 5 will have this reaction if you're able to fell the Cave Troll sent against you and promptly run away.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • As a ninja, Avenger specializes in these, as he is often able to instakill enemies with his razor-sharp garrote, shuriken, poison needles, or simply a well-timed (and, if necessary, Inner Force-boosted) strike or throw. If Avenger learns Yubi-jutsu (Nerve-striking), his opportunities for one-hit kills increase even more.
    • Manse does this to his victims with his favorite Finger of Death spell.
  • One-Man Army: In the first book, you can get the opportunity to spy on Honoric training. Using only a normal sword, Honoric has several soldiers attack him at once. Without much effort, he disarms three of them and drives the rest back, and Avenger can discern that Honoric could have killed them all at will. And this is without his sword unsheathed!
  • Optional Boss: In Book 2, before the final boss encounter, you have to fight two different opponents, depending on your choice: if you directly help the villagers, then you have to kill an Obakemono and the Hannya demon behind him, while if you proceed forward to Kiyamo's castle, you have to defeat Lord Jikkyu, an Arabaru-Kami.
  • Optional Stealth: Subverted in earlier books, where the stealthy approach was always the safest way out of trouble, though in Book 6 you have to make your way to the Rift: depending on your choices of path, you can either spend the entire book without triggering a single fight before you finally reach the climax or, if you're spotted, have to fight your way in the subterranean domain of evil.
  • Orifice Invasion: In Book 6, an unlucky choice will result in a tiny spider known as Daughter of Nullaq going down your mouth and living in your head. Get two of them and it's game over.
  • Orphean Rescue: Book 6 begins with Avenger setting off to rescue Glavias from Bowels of Orb.
  • Out of the Frying Pan: The finale of Book 6 has you, alongside the two parties of heroes and, possibly, Foxglove, escape down the Worldworm to evade the colossal Karthak beast and the Dark Elves guard on it: as a result, everyone end up in the lair of the Black Widow, the demigoddess who rules the Rift.
  • The Paladin:
    • Doré le Juine; a friendly Leeroy Jenkins-type.
    • The Paladin King of Tor; who is capable of taking down a dragon in three hits.
  • Playing Possum: With Feign Death you can pretend to die to make enemies lower their guard and get the drop on them. This is also the very last trick of the Impostor after you seemingly kill him in combat.
  • Poison Is Evil: Averted, as Kwon (and by extension Avenger) has no problem with this method of killing enemies. Specifically, Avenger has poisoned needles with Spiderfish Toxin, and the much rarer black blood of Nil.
  • Poorly-Disguised Pilot: The world of Orb and the characters Cassandra, Tyutchev and Thaum appear in the Fighting Fantasy gamebook Talisman of Death. (Especially obvious since most of the 'fantasy' books in Fighting Fantasy take place on a planet called Titan.)
  • Post-Final Boss: In Book 7, the battle with Landlack is this, after you dealt with the Impostor.
  • Power Up Letdown: When Avenger replaces his missing eye with the Gem. You'd think that a magical gemstone for an eye would be only good. But everything is seen as green and with swirling mist, so Avenger still has to keep that eye closed which means he's still only working with one eye. However the Gem does have magical benefits.
  • Press X to Not Die: The fights between you and Yaemon (then, in a later book, Honoric) are kinda like this. No dice rolls, instead you choose which attacks you wish to use against them. If you picked a good choice, then the enemy takes a set amount of damage that can be doubled by using Inner Force. Otherwise you take a set amount of damage and in some cases can wind up getting crippled in the fight. This can lead to a dissonance in play, where you can come out scoring a Flawless Victory against epic villains like Yaemon and wind up getting carved by an orc mook.
  • Puzzle Boss: Against certain opponents, like the Blue Dragon or the Kraken in book 4, you can't fight with standard martial arts, but rather have to find craftier ways of dealing with them. The Brain Maggot fought at the climax of book 7 is a really unforgiving example.
  • The Quisling: The Priesthood of Nemesis is nominally loyal to the Overlord. This doesn't stop them from try to welcome invaders from the Rift or usurpers of his throne should the chance present itself.
  • Religion of Evil: The priests of Vile, Vasch-Ro, and Nemesis are explicitly evil, never pretend they aren't evil, and have public temples in many cities (with followers comprising not-insignificant demographics in those cities). At one point, Avenger wonders what on earth possesses men to worship evil gods like this.
  • Religious Bruiser: With religious belief being so wide-spread and fervent, every character including Avenger is a faithful devotee and the vast majority of them are also dangerous in a fight. Handling the militant faithful becomes an important part of Avenger's life after becoming Overlord.
  • Revive Kills Zombie: In Usurper!, you are attacked by Ringwraith expies, the only way to kill one happens to be scrolls of raise dead. Holy water and other attacks merely drive them off.
  • Scars are Forever: In Book 5, there's two opportunities for Avenger to be badly mutilated in the face. This has dire consequences as he's looking for allies and no one wants to join with someone that hideous.
  • Scenery Porn: Assassin has a sequence when you are at a Lord's estate and you can't sleep one particular night and so you walk around. What follows is an evocative sequence of a palatial residence in the dead of night that creates a beautiful atmosphere while still giving off the feeling that something is wrong. Then you find a dead guard and you're suddenly being garroted and the book's climatic action sequence begins.
  • Scripted Battle: Like most gamebooks, combats in Way of the Tiger are resolved using die rolls (although unlike most gamebooks, you usually have a choice about which move to use). One standout feature of the series is that the climactic encounters go much farther than that, adding a series of tactical decisions (and chances to use your ninja skills) before settling into the die-roll battle.
  • Shoot the Mage First: Discussed in the Prequel; Avenger can walk into some kind of Summoning Ritual in a ship. If you attack the mage first, they will flashback to their Mentor saying "Yes, always attack the magic user first." This is also good advice any time you fight Tyutchev, Cassandra, and Thaum. Thaum will always open with trying to cast something nasty, so you want to interrupt him first.
  • Spiders Are Scary: The followers of the evil goddess Nullaq have an arachnid motif and attire, rule over venomous animals, can conjure web and feed their victims to giant spiders. You later meet the demigoddes Black Widow and her court of arachnid horrors deep in the darkest pits of the Rift.
  • Squishy Wizard: Manse the Deathmage is the most powerful wizard in the world, and can kill you with one spell. Unfortunately for Manse, he's also a Glass Cannon. You have to neutralize his magic in one of two ways (either by having a special amulet or stealing Sorcerak), but once you do, he's so feeble that you don't even have to roll dice or choose a tactic in order to kill him.
  • Spirit Advisor: The Spirit Tiger, a servant of Kwon the Redeemer, occasionally appears in dream sequences to help Avenger.
  • Story-Driven Invulnerability: Though you can fight many of the major villains in earlier books, you simply cannot kill them outright as they have to escape alive to appear in later books to avoid continuity errors. It is expressed in the reprints that the ones you did kill spent money to have a priest resurrect them.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: You managed to sneak behind a Dark Elf sorceress busy casting some deadly spells on your allies and you're given the chance of just taunting her to take her attention off your friends. She promptly turns around and finish casting her spell on you, with deadly results.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Played with — Honoric can throw his sword "Sorcerak" at you in one fight, but the magical blade has the specific magical ability to fly, making this a viable tactic rather than a desperation move. And rather than throwing it directly, he commands the sword to fly at you.
  • To Hell and Back: It's taken 27 Real Life years, but Avenger is finally coming home.
  • The Underworld: The Bowels of Orb, a seemingly endless underground network filled with evil beings of every sort. Its entrance is inconveniently close to civilized lands, too. Subverted in that it's not the place where the souls of the dead come to spend eternity, but just a domain of wickedness and depravity.
  • The Unfought: Played with, while you canonically fight and beat Honoric in Book 5 - that fight isn't lethal for him as his elite horsemen chase you away. If you are in the battle where Honoric does get killed, you never get the chance to re-fight him in the chaos of the battle. Instead it's Doré le Juine who's the one dragging out Honoric's corpse.
  • True Sight: If his missing eye has been replaced with the Gem, Avenger can look using the new eye and see through illusions.
  • Unwinnable:
    • If you manage to capture Cassandra at the beginning of Book 6, do not take her magic sword away, or you will die at the end of the book. (This was avoidable in the original, it is not in the reprint.)
    • In book 7, if you haven't found the Paladin's Sword by the time you meet Glaivas and Dorné, then just restart, as you'll be forced to handle the Scepter to Glaivas and it will be taken later by Foxglove.
  • Villainous Valour: In Book 3 and in Book 5, Honoric insists on fighting Avenger in a duel.
  • Weapon of X-Slaying: Mandrake makes a rapier engraved with a Rune of Eternal Sleep and your name, meaning that's a weapon crafted specifically to kill you.
  • Wutai: The hidden bases of the Tiger and Scorpion Ninjas as well as the Isle of Plenty. But outside these relatively small regions, the setting is a roughly traditional Heroic Fantasy.
  • Worf Effect: Depending on your choices in a fight, this could happen to you. For example, in book 6, if you fight a half-troll mook and use a throw that involves jumping at a foe and grabbing them with your legs, you'll die! The mook turns out to be part dwarf, making him a natural master of the axe and so he slams it into your crotch before you can land the throw on him. This despite you having earlier killed beings that are way, way, way above the half-troll's league.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • Manse the Deathmage who sacrifices children to his dark god.
    • In Book 4, if you go through the Valley of Undead Kings and try to rescue a child, the Ringwraith expies will kill her.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In Book 6, Avenger will get one from his god Kwon if he decides not to go rescue Glaivas. Kwon's so pissed that he takes a large chunk of Inner Force away from Avenger, who then decides to go on the mission anyway.
  • World's Best Warrior: Yaemon and Honoric are explicitly said to be this. Honoric is the greatest swordsman in the world, while Yaemon is the greatest martial artist. On top of this, Manse the Deathmage is best black magician in the world while Mandrake is the best assassin. The Forces of Evil just get the best of everything, it seems. No wonder the gods of evil get pissed when Avenger kills off their best toys. Unsurprisingly, Avenger himself is declared by the Grandmaster of the Island of Dawn to be the deadliest individual in the world after hearing of who you've killed.
  • You Have Failed Me: If you don't manage to kill Honoric in Warlord!, you'll find Honoric in the last book as a wreck of a beggar whose eyes were gouged out. This was punishment from his sword.
  • You Killed My Father: Twice. Yaemon killed Avenger's adopted father, setting off the latter's quest for vengeance. After Avenger defeats Yaemon, the latter reveals that he killed Avenger's biological father, too.

Alternative Title(s): The Way Of The Tiger

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