What is The Riddle of Steel?


Since the dawning of time, when Triumph the Forger-God pounded out the world from the mists and ores of heaven, men have sought the Riddle of Steel…

Few have found it.
What is it?

It is invincibility—to strike with all and to be struck by none.
It is understanding—to ask questions and to know the answers.
It is peace—to walk without fear, to know that the end is in your own hands.
It is skill—to feel the elegance found in violence, and to know the beauty found in stillness.
It is Spirit—to gaze into the face of your God and to know him before he comes for you…

What is the Riddle of Steel? Where is it found?
That is the question with no answer…


More About TRoS

NEW! Realism in FRPG Combat, by ARMA Director John Clements

Spiritual Attributes, or "What's the Point?"

FAQ (and their answers)

Real time combat? Sort of...

Reviews (is TROS right for you?)


The Riddle of Steel™ is a unique Fantasy Roleplaying Game that breaks all the old rules and carries players and Game Masters alike into a new kind of RPG. Tearing away from traditional roleplaying conventions, The Riddle of Steel provide players with unequalled amounts of control over the creation and—more importantly—use of lifelike, well-thought characters. Focusing on story and "narrativist" premise this revolutionary new game builds on individual strategy, teamwork, group tactics, and the principle of “cause-and-effect” to provide a different, intense, and powerful alternative to hack-and-bash-and-slash or melodramatic storytelling found in today’s mainstream hobby-game market. We call it "Blood Opera," and after your first session you'll see why.

The Riddle of Steel™ features:

  • A quick, user-friendly priority-based character creation, allowing an infinite number of character types with minimum quantities of time and rules. Character creation focuses on “who”—not just “what”—you want to play, breathing life into each new character and creating the stories that you want to create.
  • Story and role-playing based character progression. Characters advance as they achieve their own goals and destinies, fighting for their beliefs, loves, and motivations—not as they slay hordes of monsters randomly sitting in some dark cave… Game sessions revolve around moral questions, important issues, and dilemmas deserving thought, bravery, or planning and skill.
  • The most realistic, dangerous, and strategic RPG combat system ever developed. Based on years of research, practice, experimentation, and training in authentic Western European Martial Arts, combat in The Riddle of Steel revolves around picking your fights—and carefully planning the ones you pick. No hit points or other absurd measures of damage or combat are involved, instead pitting skill and tactics against other deadly foes, where each fight might really be your last. Wounds, armor, techniques, and weapons are founded on real-world historical models. Found within the pages of The Riddle of Steel are over twenty detailed fighting systems, from Irish pugilism to the English quarterstaff, the German longsword and greatsword to early renaissance cut and thrust swords. This fully customizable approach to combat allows players to run quick, generalized skirmishes or drawn-out, detailed duels based on personal preference; each player develops and fights with their own style—no two fighters or fights will ever be alike! Players—not just characters—will find themselves in constant search of the elusive Riddle of Steel. These features make it the only RPG combat system approved and endorsed by the prestigious Association for Renaissance Martial Arts (www.theARMA.org), the number one authority and resource on medieval and renaissance martial arts in the Western Hemisphere. Thanks to die mechanics bordering on "real-time combat," all of this detail comes without slowing gameplay. In fact, combats in The Riddle of Steel are not only more engaging, but also run faster than most every other system available.

  • Powerful sorcery, disturbing the balance of all things. Wizards and Druids roam the world, wielding powers rivaled only by the gods. Founded on Celtic and Norse mythology, sorcery in The Riddle of Steel allows players and characters to create spells on the fly, producing the kinds of effects they want with speed and efficiency. No two spells—nor any to sorcerers—need aver be the same. With such unlimited options, each spell caster must decide how and when to use the subtle-yet-mighty forces in their hands…or be destroyed trying.
  • An enormous campaign world, Weyrth™, featuring over 40 distinct nations, cultures, religions, and races. Not unlike our own world in the late medieval period, players will confront warring political factions, religious tensions, and the ever-so-rare touch of the mythical Siehe and the Fey, the ancient inhabitants of the woods and mountains where no man dare walk. Each nation, culture, and faith is individually described, allowing players and Game Masters immediate reference. Included are “blank” countries—places to place favorite peoples or lands from other campaigns or of one’s own design. No matter what your taste—savage barbarians, wandering bladeslingers, valiant knights, honorable samurai, roaming nomads, or courtiers knee-deep in intrigue and politics, Weyrth has it.
  • Simple yet realistic rules handle as many—or as few—aspects of everyday life and adventure as needed. Running, falling, leaping, aging, economics and more are handled through fast and satisfying mechanics. No need to slow game-play down to search through the rulebook—the entire system is realistic, and therefore intuitive enough for all levels of players
  • Easy reference. We know how frustrating it can be trying to find a table or rule at the last minute. The Riddle of Steel includes a comprehensive index, locator tabs on every page, an organized format, and expansive appendices.
  • Online support. www.TheRiddleofSteel.net promises to grow with the game with downloadable player aids, forums, PDF supplements, and online releases. We even won an award for it.
All contents of this site are Copyright 2000-2005 Driftwood Publishing or the original artist. All rights reserved. Questions concerning this site or Driftwood Publishing may be directed to seneschal@theriddleofsteel.net.