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Author Topic: Why Riddle of Steel - the title  (Read 5921 times)
Jürgen Mayer
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« on: May 16, 2002, 06:25:40 AM »

I was wondering why the game has the title "The Riddle of Steel"

If this was mentioned somewhere in a thread, I must have missed it...
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2002, 07:40:42 AM »

Jurgen,

The text of the game presents its justification of the title. It stands on its own, but I paraphrase it to myself in this way.

Why kill anybody?

People have fought and killed one another for as long as anyone can remember or record.  Why?

Take someone who's really good at it, whose lifetraining learning has honed his or her ability to damage another person so badly that they cannot live. Assign to this person a thinking, feeling mind. He or she is not a sociopath or an unquestioning pawn.

Why kill anybody?

And furthermore, recognize that just about everyone around this person will butt into the question.
"Kill the enemies of our people."
"Kill this person; he threatens to discredit the family."
"Those bastards over the hill have grazed their sheep on our field one too many times; kill one of them to teach them a lesson."
"Hey! That guy, you know what he said about you? That's a blot on your honor, man, you gotta kill him."
"They have gold and only three guards. Let's kill them and take it."

Why kill anybody at someone else's say-so?

Just being good at it isn't, itself, an answer. Answering this question is the Riddle of Steel. The game's Spiritual Attributes are the means to the answer.

Best,
Ron
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Christopher Kubasik
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Posts: 1153


« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2002, 07:49:02 AM »

Jurgen,

I believe this quote from dad to son in "Conan the Barbarian" has a lot to do with it:

"In all this world, you cannot trust gods nor men,
nor women or beasts.
In your sword alone can you trust.
But ever remember that a sword is not strength,
Strength is the hand that holds it.
Ever remember that a sword is not power,
Power is the mind that commands it."

This passage is referred to as The Riddle of Steel.  Steel is the only thing you can trust, but it is useless without the strength and mind of the user.

Which, as far as I can tell, is a lot of the thought behind Jake's design.

Also, Ron suggests, independent of the cool sounding quote from a Conan movie, that the Spiritual attributes inform a central question in the game:

"When is a man justified in killing?"  Or, "When can a man kill?"  Because in TRoS, a man will most off use steel to fulfill his Spiritual ambitions.  Can't do it all the time, of course.  But When?  That's the riddle of steel.

Best,
Christopher
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"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield
Christopher Kubasik
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Posts: 1153


« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2002, 07:50:13 AM »

Oops.  Cross post.

Strange when minds find themselve linked to the atomic clock of thinking.
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"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield
Nick the Nevermet
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Posts: 352


« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2002, 08:04:58 AM »

Two possible answers:

1) The Riddle of Steel is a legend in the game setting of a form of enlightenment that swordsmasters can achieve, that makes them essentially invincible in combat.

2) The game has a good combat system, something the designers are (justifiably) proud of.  Calling the game "the riddle of steel" emphasizes that.
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Jürgen Mayer
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Posts: 240


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« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2002, 08:13:35 AM »

Thanx for all the enlightening answers!
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