The Riddle Of Steel

Wikipedia: "In terms of GNS Theory, The Riddle of Steel may be classified as a Narrativist game with Simulationist system features."

Character Creation

The Spiritual Attributes are Innovative and interesting. Each character has five such attributes that are selected to represent areas that are most important to the player for his character and grant extra dice in those situations.

Task Resolution

Die pool system, with 1D10s against a target number, by how much determines degree of success.

Combat Resolution

Interesting combat system, quite realistic and very innovative and exciting.

  • Each comatant has a Combat Pool which is agility plus weapon proficiency
  • Attack maneuvers like cut, bash and Defence maneuvers like parry, counter are used. They determine the attack and defence difficulty along with weapon used.
  • Attacker decides how many dice to use in an attack.
  • Body Locations, 14 of them. The attacker aims at one.
  • On successful defence, the defender gains initiative.
  • On successful attack, the attacker keeps initiative and does damage which depends on strength, weapon's damage potential, number of successes and reduced by armour and thoughness.
  • Results are checked on tables for each location, and for type of damage (cutting, thrusting and bashing), which determines blood loss, shock and pain.
  • There is also a generic table for fire and electricity.
  • Shock and Pain reduce the combat pool making it harder to fight.
  • Combat pools refresh after every 2 attack/defend (except those lost to wounds of course).

Social Interaction


Character Development

Characters must act according to their spiritual attributes to earn points for character development.


Sorcery in TROS is very powerful and very freeform. (expand on how it works).

Publishing Company

Dritfwood Publishing (currently seems to have gone out of business or at least disappeared)


  • The Riddle of Steel


  • Jake Norwood


System Analysis

It is clear that realistic, gritty fantasy is what this system is meant for. Sorcery is very powerful and risky and careless combat quickly leads to death.

Very deadly, combat which depends on players knowing how to use it as player skill at using the combat system can be as important as character ability. TROS wants both tactical combat and storytelling style gaming, but the emphasis is on combat with much less effort on the spiritual attributes (this is from reviews rather than actual reading, so again needs confirmation).


  • Combat is innovative and involving
  • Sorcery is also fairly innovative and suitable for a low fantasy setting where magic is very dangerous
  • Combat is won with a few hits instead of having to grind down the opponents hit points


  • Each dual between two characters is handled on its own separately from others. If someone quickly chops down his opponent it is unclear how he would be able to help someone else win their fight as it seems each duel happens in its own little universe (this may simply be because I haven't read the rules properly yet, TBC).
  • Sorcery might be difficult to handle due to its freeform nature and figuring out spells might prove time consuming or difficult (there are some spells provided which helps).
  • Lots of tables that need looking up during combat
  • High level of player expertise needed to survive combat
  • Combat system in core book will struggle to simulate fights with non humanoids because of hit location tables, however there is a supplement "Of Beasts and Men" that might have mechanics to handle this.
  • There are suggestions in various reviews and forums that thoughness is too powerful, strength is too important and armour too hindering (this will need to be confirmed).

House Rules


This writeup needs to be completed and much improved, especially as it was done entirely from reviews, forums and resources available online.

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