The Tale of Bas – An Ironsworn Saga – Ep01

So I’m delving into the Ironlands.
Ironsworn is one of the most popular solo RPGs, and I have put it off for too long.
I have not played Apocalypse World or similar RPGs in the past, so this is going to be a new experience for me.
To try it out, I will begin with a familiar world style and character.

Worldbook options:

The Old World

The sickness moved like a horrible wave across the Old World, killing all in its path. Thousands fled aboard ships.
However, the plague could not be outrun. On many ships, the disease was contained through ruthless measures—tossing
overboard any who exhibited the slightest symptom. Other ships were forever lost. In the end, those who survived found
the Ironlands and made it their new home. Some say we will forever be cursed by those we left behind.

Iron

The weather is bleak. Rain and wind sweep in from the ocean. The winters are long and bitter. One of the first settlers
complained, “Only those made of iron dare live in this foul place”—and thus our land was named.

Legacies

Before the Ironlanders, before even the firstborn, another people lived here. Their ancient ruins are found throughout the
Ironlands.

Communities

We have forged the Ironlands into a home. Villages within the Havens are connected by well-trod roads. Trade caravans
travel between settlements in the Havens and those in outlying regions. Even so, much of this land is untamed.

Leaders

Leadership is as varied as the people. Some communities are governed by the head of a powerful family. Or, they have a
council of elders who make decisions and settle disputes. In others, the priests hold sway. For some, it is duels in the circle
that decide.

Defense

The wardens are our soldiers, guards, and militia. They serve their communities by standing sentry, patrolling
surrounding lands, and organizing defenses in times of crisis. Most have strong ties to their community. Others, called
free wardens, are wandering mercenaries who hire on to serve a community or protect caravans.

Mysticism

Some still find comfort in the old ways. They call on mystics to divine the fortune of their newborn, or ask them to
perform rituals to invoke a bountiful harvest. Others act out of fear against those who they suspect of having power.
However, most folk believe true magic—if it ever existed—is lost to us now.

Religion

The people honor old gods and new. In this harsh land, a prayer is a simple but powerful comfort.

Firstborn

The firstborn have passed into legend. Some say the remnants of the old tribes still dwell in deep forests or high
mountains. Most believe they were never anything more than myth.

Beasts

The beasts of old are nothing but legend. A few who travel into the deep forests and high mountains return with wild tales
of monstrous creatures, but they are obviously delusional. No such things exist.

Horrors

We are wary of dark forests and deep waterways, for monsters lurk in those places. In the depths of the long-night, when
all is wreathed in darkness, only fools venture beyond their homes.


Bas is an orphan. His village was in the hinterlands but raiders came, and slaughtered everyone. He was found a few days later by a family of hunters and taken into their home at Bleakwood and raised along their own children.
As a child he was always wild, getting into fights and spending a lot of time outside. Now, at his maturity ritual he joins his stepfather in a deer hunt.

Name Bas
Edge 2
Heart 2
Iron 3
Shadow 1
Wits 1
Assets Wildblood, Wayfinder, Brawler
Equipment Leather armor, cloak, shield, spear, knife

Bonds

Toran, his stepfather
Emelyn, the girl he likes
Bleakwood

Background Vow

(Extreme): Find his home’s raiders and exact revenge

Inciting Incident

Quest Starter: You were witness to an attack by what you thought was an animal of monstrous proportions. No one believes
you. In fact, you are accused of the murder you blame on this beast. How can you prove your innocence? Can you even trust
your own memories of the event?

I’m running silently through the woods. We have found the deer tracks and are trying to circle around its possible location in an effort to trap it.
Suddenly I hear screams. I abandon the trail and head off to the source of the sound.
What I see I cannot fathom. I see a huge boar of unbelievable proportions goring through Kayu, a fellow hunter.
As it charges through, its gigantic tusk pierces through Kayu’s chest. It then moves on unhindered and runs away.
I speed to Kayu trying to close his wound, but the blood loss is immense. Soon, both of us are covered in blood and Kayu lets go of his last breath.
The rest of the hunters soon reach us and start murmuring as they see me drenched in Kayu’s blood.
“A giant boar killed him. It was tall as a tree and it went through Kayu before I could help!” I try to explain.
My stepfather is silent. He has defended me so many times, but now he seems at a loss of words. His gaze is down.
I understand the danger I’m facing. But I won’t be held accountable for a crime I didn’t commit.
I grab the iron haft of my spear, fall on my knees, and swear my vow.
“I will find the boar, and bring you its head. I’ll avenge Kayu. I swear it.”

I will be providing the dice results in the following format: (Action Die, Challenge Die, Challenge Die)

Swear a Vow: (6+2+1=9,6,4): Strong Hit
On a strong hit, you are emboldened and it is clear what you must do next (Ask the Oracle if unsure). Take +2 momentum.

Vow: Kill boar beast (dangerous)
Momentum: +4

The hunters are silent, and nod as I take my vow.
I first need to track down the boar. Once I have tracked it down, I need to set a proper trap and kill it. I don’t want to end up like Kayu.

Gather Information: (5+1+1=7,9,6): Weak Hit
On a weak hit, the information complicates your quest or introduces a new danger. Envision what you discover (Ask the Oracle if unsure), and take +1 momentum

Momentum: +5
Ask the Oracle: Breach Truth

As I try to follow the tracks through the forest, I can’t find anything that would relate to what I saw.
In a desperate attempt, I decide to follow Kayu’s tracks instead. Maybe he fell upon the creature’s den.
I follow the tracks into a ravine and come upon a sorry sight.
A sow and and her little piglets are slaughtered in a gruesome manner. I see Kayu’s knife in the dirt next to the dead boars.
That’s what the beast saw and went after the hunter.
Why would Kayu do such a thing? We have to respect the land and its creatures not destroy it. We have to hunt only as much as we need.
I’m disheartened, knowing that my Vow might have been taken hastily. There’s no honor here. Just the defense of my name, nevertheless a Vow taken must be kept.

Endure Stress: (1+2=3,5,6): Miss
Spirit: +3
Momentum: +4

Reach Milestone move: 2 progress tracks.

The beast was furious about the death of its own kind. I can use it to my advantage. I will set traps near this den that I found and use the boar remains to lure it in.

Secure an Advantage: (1+1=2,3,6): Miss
On a miss, you fail or your assumptions betray you. Pay the Price.

Pay the Price: 57: It causes a delay or puts you at a disadvantage

I’ve spent the entire day setting up traps and lures for the boar beast, but it’s nowhere to be seen. It either has picked up my scent or just didn’t come here again, since it killed Kayu and feels no threat.

Make Camp(3+5=8,7,2: Strong Hit
Relax: +1 Spirit
Spirit: +4


The next day, I pick up my spear and once again try to find any large hoove tracks belonging to the boar beast.

Gather Information:(6+2+2,2,2): Strong Hit
Momentum: +6

I’ve found the beast’s tracks, I ready my spear and see if I can locate it.

Face Danger:(6+1=7,4,4): Strong Hit
Momentum: +7

Treading like a wildcat, on the top of the forested hill’s ridge, I can see the boar down below. I have the advantage, I prepare my spear and brace it against the ground. It’s now or never.

Reach a Milestone: 4 progress marks

Enter the Fray:(2+2=4,10,9): Miss
The Boar has Initiative.
Pay the Price: 87: It wastes resources
Supply: +3

I’m about to call out to the beast to come and get me, but it already has picked up my scent, it runs amok around, and finding my backpack, it tramples through my stuff. Next it charges towards me, but it’s on a different direction. I had not expected this and I am caught unaware.

Clash: (6+3=9,7,3): Strong Hit
Inflict 3 Harm (6 ticks)

As the boar charges at me, my spear is set, and I manage to brace it against another rock. The gigantic creature’s steps thud through the forest, but my spirit doesn’t waiver. My spear finds its target, and the boar moans out wildly.

Strike: (6+3=9,8,2): Strong Hit
Inflict 3 Harm (3 progress)

As it pulls away, my spear catches in its ribcage and more blood spews out.

Strike: (4+3=7,6,7): Weak Hit
Inflict 2 Harm (4 progress)

I manage to make another thrust, but I overextend and allow for the beast to find an opening.

Clash: (3+3=6,8,7): Miss
Endure Harm: (1+3=4,10,1): Weak Hit
Health: +1

The beast gores at me with both its tusks. I spit blood as they rip apart through my leather armor.

Clash: (1+3=4,6,4): Miss: Burn Momentum: Strong Hit
Inflict 3 Harm (22 ticks)
Momentum: +2

I won’t let this beast bring me down. I call upon my vow, gather my strength, and jab at it, holding my spear with both my hands.

Strike: (6+3=9,7,4): Strong Hit
Inflict 3 Harm (7 progress)

End the Fight: (7,6,9): Weak Hit
Endure Stress: (1+2,10,3): Miss
Spirit: 0
Shaken
Momentum: +1
Momentum Reset: +1

The boar roars and charges one more. I scream out and charge at it back. My spear finds its target true, killing the beast. As it dies, it looks at my with a serenity and I realize I have killed a creature that meant no evil. It killed Kayu because he committed an atrocious act, and I only justified it.
Sickened, I push down the carcass away from me.
Time has passed away and I must make camp.

Reach Milestone: 6 progress

Make Camp: (6+3=9,8,7): Strong Hit
Recuperate: Health: +2

In the morning I take proof of the boar carcass and set off to return to Bleakwood

Reach Milestone: 8 progress

Fulfil your Vow: (8,10,8): Miss

I head back to Bleakwood. Wounded, Shaken, Bloody.
As I reach the village I expected people to come greet me.
Instead, they are shutting their doors and windows.
I reach the village center. The elders are waiting there for me. I see Kayu’s family standing beside them.
My stepfather is on the other side.
“Bas!” the elder speaks. “We have decided upon the matter of Kayu’s murder. We saw the wounds. The seer has spoken. No beast committed this act.”
“But, I have the proof here!” I shout.
“Silence!” The elder shouts back.
I shut up.
“Your father, has begged us, and Kayu’s family, and you shall be spared. You are to be banished from Bleakwood and never return.” He continues.
My eyes search around for support. I see Emelyn, our eyes meet, and immediately she gazes down.
“Leave!” He says again.
Without a home once more, I leave Bleakwood.

Session Background

What a twist in the end!
This was my first try in Ironsworn and I absolutely loved it.
I’m afraid Bas will have a hard time surviving in the Ironlands but it makes for an exciting story.
Overall it’s a very easy system to use and play.
Unfortunately I have everything in digital format, and having them printed would have eased my play even more.