Orclsayer (1985) is where the pre-release of the GURPS combat system of Man-to-Man suddenly feels perilous to me. It is branded as a GURPS product, but also as “a combat supplement for Man to Man,” as if M2M was it’s own thing. Glad they got the branding sorted out before it became a real confusing issue.

Anywho, I am not sure what to call Orcslayer. I would not call it a combat supplement, actually — that implies to me that there are new combat rules. It introduces Yrth, a campaign setting that would later be expanded on in GURPS Fantasy, but it really isn’t a setting book — you just get some bare bones sketching of a locality and its politics and factions. Most of the book is dedicated to nine combat scenarios linked by roleplaying vignettes. These aren’t nearly robust enough to constitute a “campaign” and they don’t really feel like what I’d call an adventure, though I suppose that is the closest to what it is in form. I like the formatting, actually, with the roleplaying interludes clearly framed out before and after the equally clearly presented tactical battles. There is a lot of advice on how to run the battles effectively and most of them have interesting criteria and special rules that make them all feel different and exciting. I enjoy how linear the whole thing is, and how the writing acknowledges it but advising the GM to pretend to roll for things like NPC reactions that are preordained.

Excellent David Martin cover, too. I feel like he was really practicing his Frazetta-style butts for this one.

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