The Riddle of Steel is a RPG by indie group by the name of Driftwood Publishing. To be officially released in August 2002, but with prereleases once available (sold out now). Update: It's quite available now. It has many of the standard RPG elements, such as Fey (elves yeah?) and Sorcery and so on. It includes a full and complete setting, with many nations, cultures, etc, not cookie cutter countries either. They nicely leave holes in the setting, for the GM to put in his own stuff without having to overwrite to original material. The sorcery is of the Mage or Ars Magica variety, very flexable, powerful, and dangerous for even the caster. The system also has interesting ways of encouraging role-playing, and staying in character without resorting to such foolishness as alignment

The star of the game however is combat. Combat is very realistic, which means that you can get killed. The effect this has is not to stifle combat but rather the make sure you think it through. Are there alternatives? What tactics will we use to take out the nasties? With high lethalness ambushes and suprise really matter instead of just being irrelivances at the start of combat. The combat mechanics uses a system of maneuvers that have advantages and costs. When hits occur (which is less often then one would think, what with parry and other defensive maneuvers) you consult a chart to tell you what that maneuver on the place you were aiming and with your degree of success would accomplish. Dead, lost limb, and other nasties are common enough that you think hard about fighting. Sword fighting may be hazardous to your health.

More information on this game can be found at the official site:

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