The 108 Stars of Destiny are at the core of the plot of the Chinese classical novel Shui Hu Zhuan, which was written by Shi Nai'an in the 14th century and is commonly translated as Water Margin, Outlaws of the Marsh, or All Men Are Brothers. Suikoden, the Japanese translation of Shui Hu Zhuan, has been made into a series of role-playing video games. Based on the Taoist concept that each person's destiny is tied to a Star of Destiny (Chinese: 宿星; pinyin: sù xīng), the 108 Stars of Destiny represent 108 demonic overlords who were banished by Shangdi, a supreme god in Chinese folk religion. Having repented since their banishment, the stars are released from imprisonment by accident, and are reborn in the world as 108 heroes who band together for the cause of justice.
The 108 Stars of Destiny are divided into two groups: the 36 Heavenly Spirits and the 72 Earthly Fiends. Other titles for the Stars of Destiny include 108 Stars of Heavenly Earth and 108 Stars of Heaven and Earth.
Appearances and mentions in other stories
One Heavenly Spirit, Lu Zhishen, is represented in a folktale as a sworn brother of Zhou Tong.
According to The Oral Traditions of Yangzhou Storytelling, several popular folktales about Wu Song, a Heavenly Spirit, from the "Wang School" of Yangzhou storytelling, state that he killed the tiger "in the middle of the tenth month" of the "Xuanhe year " (the emphasis belongs to the original author).
In Iron Arm, Golden Saber, Sun Li, an Earthly Fiend, is portrayed as a fellow student of Zhou Tong and Luan Tingyu.
In Louis Cha's wuxia novel The Legend of the Condor Heroes, Guo Sheng, an Earthly Fiend, is said to be the ancestor of the protagonist, Guo Jing.