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Thursday, 24 December 2020

Mortal engines

For this year's freebie, don't thank me, thank Steve Foster. He's the designer of Mortal Combat, the homebrew RPG that pulled our thinking away from mega-hit dice heroes towards a grittier blood-&-mud style of fantasy that ended up inspiring Dragon Warriors, for one.

Steve has given his blessing to handing out free PDFs of this seminal (if rough-&-ready) work:
Just so you know what you're in for here, Mortal Combat is as old school as it gets. It's a combat system with spell lists, designed almost entirely for traditional hack-n-slash adventures. There's an implied medieval setting, but no social skills or details, no stealth, no rules for survival or climbing or lore or any of the other few dozen things you might try in a modern game. Back then, if it wasn't covered by the rules then you could do anything that seemed reasonable. Somehow we managed, and there are times when wrestling with GURPS's several hundred skills and perks when I've yearned to strip things right back. Maybe not quite that far back, but almost.

And you can see now why I didn't choose a career as an illustrator. Happy Christmas!


  1. I think you’re a bit harsh on your artistic skills Dave - they’re authentically “old school” style artworks! :-)

  2. I think the drawing is actually a work of genius. You've created a classic optical conundrum, Dave. Is it a Knight on the defensive, or is it a Ghoulie that's just copped a nasty one from the blunt end in the, erm...

  3. Thanks for sharing, Dave! You can really see the some of the bones of Dragon Warriors in there.