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Suikoden - originally Gensō Suikoden (Japanese: 幻想水滸伝), translated as "Fantasy Legend of Water Margin" - is a series of role-playing games by Konami, loosely based on the classic Chinese novel Water Margin. Suikoden is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese Shuihuzhuan (simplified Chinese: 水浒传; traditional Chinese: 水滸傳), meaning "Legend of Water Margin".


All Suikoden games are set during different time periods in the chronology of its fictional fantasy world. The inspiration of the Chinese novel confines itself to the main theme of the series (rebellion against a corrupt government or invading nation), and the concept of 108 heroes. Concrete storylines and characters are unique to the series, and its world has nothing particularly Chinese in it, actually having more in common with medieval Europe.

Individual Suikoden installments are usually not directly connected to each other story-wise, and take place in different regions of the series' vast world. However, many recurrent (usually minor) characters appear in all or most games, and they stories are united by a common historical timeline.


Suikoden series contain many basic elements of Japanese-style RPGs, such as random encounters, simple turn-based battle mechanics, and automatic leveling up of characters. In most Suikoden games, player-controlled party can include up to six active combatants. The series features several common gameplay elements which are present in each installment, and are normally absent from other games of its kind:

  • Runes: instead of using the more common magic points (MP) system, the characters in Suikoden games equip runes, each containing several levels of magic spells. Depending on the chqaracter's magic level, he/she can cast only a fixed number of each spell before requiring rest to replenish them again. Powerful True Runes can be sometimes acquired and used by some of the characters (usually the protagonist), and often play a prominent role in the story.

  • Recruiting the 108 Stars of Destiny: one of the main challenges in each Suikoden game is to recruit 108 characters (Stars of Destiny) to the army that confronts the game's antagonists. Many of these characters become eligible for the player-controlled party; others act as support characters of various kinds. Many Stars of Destiny join automatically, as dictated by the plot, but others must be actively sought out, which often requires experimenting with party formation (since some characters would only join if the player brings a specific character to meet them). Recruiting all 108 Stars of Destiny is optional; however, different endings are often unlocked by fulfilling this requirement.

  • Headquarters Management: in all Suikoden games, player-controlled party will eventually occupy a fortified location (usually a castle), which will serve as headquarters for the army. Recruited characters can be found within the headquarters. Characters who do not actively participate in battles are often able to enhance the headquarters in various ways. These enhancements range from combat-aiding activities (such as a blacksmith relocating to the headquarters and forging the strongest weapons and armor that can be found in the game), to purely aesthetic decorations and mini-games.

  • Three Kinds of Combat: traditional party-based exploration and battles occupy the largest portion of Suikoden games. However, each game also features two other kinds of combat, strategic army-vs.-army battles and one-on-one duels, which occur sporadically, usually dictated by the plot. The exact mechanics of these special battles vary from game to game.

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