Ironsworn: Starforged 009: Terrifying Manifestation

Previously, James “Basilisk” Rokuro had tracked his “quarry” the cultist Warden into the desert, thinking him lost or potentially injured. He discovered instead that Warden was leading a ritual and using a Precursor Key to open one of the portals into the Precursor Vault. Now a terrible, seemingly living miasma is emerging — the Terrifying manifestations of why Warden’s mother lawmaker Annora Ptrov had heart reports.


Momentum +7

Supply +5

Health +5

Spirit +5

Ship Integrity 5

Hunter Hunted Clock 1 / 8

They Progress 0 / 10 (Formidable)

Iron Vow 0 / 10 (Epic)

James is not interested in fighting the whatever-it-is, but needs to grab Warden and get out of there. That is the objective, and it is Formidable (meaning that making progress fills one box).

Let’s start by having James Enter the Fray. He will roll +edge because he is trying to rush in and grab Warden as fast as he can.

Action Die ROLL = 4 +3 = 7

Challenge Dice ROLLs = 10 3. A weak hit. Since James’ Momentum is already pretty high, he chooses to take control of the combat.

James huddled behind the tracked vehicle that brought the Field Dampener. He looks at his pistols and realizes shooting isn’t much use right now. Instead, he rushes out at Warden even as the weird, living cloud begins to send out black tendrils at the cultists.

James is going to grab Warden and try to forcibly move him away from the open aperture and the miasma. He isn’t trying to hurt Warden, so this is a Gain Ground move, rolled with +iron.

Action ROLL = 1 +2 = 3. Oof.

Challenge Dice ROLLs = 9 7. That’s bad. Maybe I should have taken that Momentum! Now James is in a bad spot and encounters a new peril. The miasma has noticed James and is coming for him now, too!

James grabs Warden but the cultist spins away and out of his ceremonial cloak. James sprawls onto the dusty ground, momentarily disoriented. He throws the cloak aside and as he does he sees a tendril of black smoke — not smoke, he thinks, but a cloud of tiny independent creatures, like gnats — reach toward him.

James must React Under Fire, rolling +edge to scramble away from the tendril of hungry nanobots and regain his feet.

Action ROLL = 2 +3 = 5.

Challenge Dice ROLLs = 1 1. WOOHOO! Not only a strong hit, but a match! James is in control, gains +1 Momentum, and has a new opportunity.

James rolls away from the reaching swarm and onto his feet — right into Warden. “Let’s try this again, shall we,” James grins and reaches for the cultist.

James is going to try to Gain Ground, again using +iron.

Action ROLL = 5 +2 = 7.

Challenge Dice ROLLs = 8 and 1. A weak hit. James will Mark Progress (1/10).

James grabs Warden by the arm and collar and begins to push him away from the aperture. “Your mother wants to speak to you, so be a good boy and come on.” Warden struggles against James’ grip and the outlaw loses patience.

This time James is going to Strike Warden, hoping to make more progress quickly. He rolls +iron because they are in melee.

Action ROLL = 6 +2 = 8.

Challenge Dice ROLLs = 9 1. A weak hit. James still marks progress twice (3/10), but finds himself in a bad spot.

James twists Warden’s arm and shoves him toward the vehicle. Warden lurches forward but suddenly James feels an impact as one of Warden’s fellow cultists bowls into him.

James isn’t giving up that easily, even if he is in a bad spot. He will Clash rolling +iron.

Action ROLL = 6 +2 = 8. Nice!

Challenge Dice ROLLs = 7 4. A strong hit! James marks  progress twice (5/10) and is once again in control.

Without letting go of Warden, James throws his weight and causes the cultists to tumble away — and into the cloud. The miasma pours into the cultist’s mouth, noes ears and eyes. The screaming is unbearable.

James wants the Hell out of there before he ends up like that poor bastard. James with Strike with +iron again, literally kicking Warden’s ass toward the vehicle.

Action ROLL = 1 +2 = 3

Challenge Dice ROLLs = 1 6. A weak hit. James has to be in control to try and “win” so he burns his momentum (+8) and takes the strong hit, marking progress twice (7/10) and remaining in control.

James is going to Take Decisive Action, shoving Warden into the vehicle and climbing in after him in order to escape the area and leaving the other cultists to whatever horrible fate the nanoswarm promises them.

For this move, James doesn’t make an action roll. His result is his Progress of 7. The results of the Challenge Dice will determine what happens.

Action ROLL = 7 (Progress).

Challenge Dice ROLLs = 5 6. No match, so this strong hit is treated as a weak hit: James succeeds but not without cost.

Cost Roll = 19: It’s worse than you thought — make a Suffer move.

I am going to have James Endure Stress and take -2 Spirit.

“I said get in!” James yells, punctuating it with a hard shove that sends Warden sprawling across the cab. James drops into the driver’s seat and starts the vehicle. As he starts to pull away, he looks and sees the other cultists. They have all been caught by the tendrils of the miasma. Their bodies jerk and spasm and they scream. Dear God do they scream — until they stop. Clouds of nanites pour out of their mouths and other orifices and their bodies seem to wither and collapse as their flesh is repurposed for the swarm. It’s a sight James will never be able to wash from his memory.

James has won, but now he has to get Warden back to the Vault Camp and figure out what to do with him.


Momentum +2

Supply +5

Health +5

Spirit +3

Ship Integrity 5

Hunter Hunted Clock 1 / 8

They Progress 0 / 10 (Formidable)

Iron Vow 0 / 10 (Epic)

Ironsworn: Starforged oo8: Finding Warden

When we left James “Basilisk” Rokuro, he was leaving the Vault Camp to enter the exclusion zone around the Vault in search of Warden, Precursor Cultist and son of Lastport lawkeeper Annora Petrov.


Momentum +7

Supply +5

Health +5

Spirit +5

Ship Integrity 5

Hunter Hunted Clock 1 / 8

They Progress 0 / 10 (Formidable)

Iron Vow 0 / 10 (Epic)

In order to track down Warden, James is going to make a Gather Information move as he follows the path Kaisa Valk and Static indicated Warden left with the field dampening equipment.

Action Die ROLL +wits = 1+1 = 2. Uh oh.

Challenge Dice ROLLs = 4 3. A miss! “You unearth a dire threat or reveal an unwelcome truth… Pay The Price.”

Pay the Price ROLL = 53: A friend, ally or companion is put in harm’s way, or you are if alone.

The question is, “Is Warden a friend, ally or companion” for the purposes of this Pay the Price? I will let the Oracle decide: 01-50, James comes across Warden in some kind of trouble; 51-00 James himself is in trouble.

Oracle ROLL = 91: Jmaes is put in harm’s way. What sort? I will roll on the Theme oracle to help define it.

Theme ROLL = 71: Religion. This definitely implies the Cult, or maybe a splinter of it. I will roll on Focus oracle in order to, well, bring the threat into focus.

Focus ROLL = 67: Relic. Oh. Well. It seems like something of the Precursors that the Cult worships has become dangerous for James. I will turn to the Sacred Peril oracle to determine what sort of threat the relic represents.

Sacred Peril ROLL = 96: Roll Twice.

Sacred Peril ROLL 1 = 83: Zealots enact a ceremony to unlock forbidden powers.

Sacred Peril ROLL 2 = 78: Unnatural corruption or decay fouls the environment.

It seems James, in his search for Warden, has stumbled across a splinter group of Precursor Cultists. Unbeknownst to Static, these cultists have gotten hold of a Precursor Key that has allowed them to open one of the many access portals allowing entry into the Vault. Even before Boss Takara began his push, these cultists debated whether to ignore the warnings of Kaisa and Static and claim their divinity. Once it became clear that Takara’s goons were going to be the first to enter the Vault, the splinter group decided they must not allow that. And it only seems right that Warden is the leader of these separatist cultists. He volunteered to take the field dampener out just so he and his followers could open the access they found. But they were not prepared for what awaited them inside.

James followed the tracks of Warden’s vehicle until those tracks suddenly veered off the route described by the scientist Kaisa. He examined the ground for signs and saw fresh boot prints converging on the spot where the vehicle changed course. Warden must have been set upon, thought James, probably by Takara’s thugs. Moving with more speed than caution, James hurried to follow the new path. A few minutes later, among the jagged rocks, sand and strange alien structures, James turned a corner and found himself shocked into immobile silence. A group of a half dozen figures in the gaudy robes of the Precursor Cult surrounded an aperture in the desert. The truck carrying the Field Dampener was nearby and James crouched behind it to watch as the lead Cultists manipulated some object while the others chanted their prayers. The aperture vibrated and sang with alien music, then began to iris open. The lead cultist turned, arms triumphantly raised, and James could see clearly that it was his quarry, Warden.

The music of the opening portal stopped and the cultists went silent. James’ own eyes were glued to the scene, so he saw it happen as a glistening, writhing, seemingly living miasma poured forth from the aperture. James instinctively reached under his poncho for his pistols, but something inside told him how futile that was. You can’t shoot a cloud, can you?

Looks like James as well as Warden are in trouble. Next time, I will establish a progres track for this “terrifying manifestation” and we will play to find out what happens!

Ironsworn: Starforged 007: Seeking Warden

Here is where play really begins!


Momentum +5

Supply +5

Health +5

Spirit +5

Ship Integrity 5

Hunter Hunted Clock 1 / 8

They Progress 0 / 10 (Formidable)

Iron Vow 0 / 10 (Epic)


When I first established Reverie and described what James would do, I said he “got a ride with the prospectors” out to the Vault Camp. I think that was a little out of line with the intent of “play to find out” so I am going to back up a little bit.

Walking the dusty “streets” — such as they are — of Reverie, James sees many work crews loading heavy equipment onto tracked vehicles and trucks. There’s movement happening here, and in a hurry. He listens long enough to realize that most of these folks are Prospectors in the employ of Boss Takara, heading to the Vault Camp to finally begin cracking it open. James approaches one such crew and with a broad grin and a tip of his hat, asks if he can get a ride out to the camp.

James is making a Compel move in order to get a ride with the work crew. As a charmer of sorts, James rolls +heart to convince them.

Action Die ROLL = 6 +2 = 8

Challenge Dice ROLLs = 9 and 3: A Weak Hit. The work crew agrees and James gets +1 momentum, but there is a cost.


The crew consists of three burly prospectors. They laugh at James’ jokes and invite him aboard the truck as they pull out and begin the hour-long trek to the Vault Camp. A few minutes into the journey, the driver — James thinks he is the foreman — picks up the radio and says, “This is Crew Seven, Valkyrie. We’re coming in and we have a guest — the kind who likes to hide pistols under his poncho.” All three members of the crew give James snarling smiles.

James would have liked to have arrived at the Vault Camp without arousing suspicion but now the Prospectors at least are going to know he’s there and is no laborer looking for work.


Upon arrival, James thanks the crew for the lift — despite the fact that he can sense the unease of the Prospectors. I think there is a decent (75%) chance Valkyrie is there to at least make her presence known to James, and if I roll a 90 or higher she is going to confront him.

ROLL = 96. Oof.

James jumps out of the back of the truck, tips his hat at the foreman and turns to disappear into the camp as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, a woman stands in his way. She is tall and handsome and scarred and no nonsense — and surrounded by strong and dangerous looking men. “Can I help you?” she asks cooly, eyes on the bulges beneath his James’ poncho. Nearby, both Scientists and Cultists watch uncertainly, wondering who this stranger is and what Boss Takara’s lieutenant is going to do with him.

James has no interest in getting in a fight right away, but he is interested in finding out more about this “Valkyrie.” James is going to try and mollify Valkyrie and get her on his good side. He is going to attempt to Secure an Advantage using +heart,

Action Die ROLL = 5+2 = 7

Challenge DIce ROLLs = 4 and 8. A Weak Hit. Take a +1 on your next move.

“Listen, love,” says James, “I’m just a man here on a job. I have no interest in disrupting your goings on.” He smiles at her and adds, “Unless you’re looking for an interruption.”
Valkyrie cocks her head at the flirt. She’s not convinced he is telling the truth, but it has been a long time since someone dared to compliment her. “You best hope I don’t feel like I need a distraction, friend.”

“Basilisk,” says James.

“Valkyrie,” she says before signaling her entourage and heading back to more pressing matters.


James realizes he has a relatively short time under watchful eyes to finish his job. Whatever is happening in this place is volatile and he wants nothing to do with it. So He is going Gather Information (+wits, +1 from the previous roll), asking around about Warden and hoping to find some clue about his target’s whereabouts.

Action Die ROLL = 6 + 3 = 9.

CHallenge Dice ROLLs = 9 and 4. A Weak Hit. Information provides new insight, but also complicates the quest. +1 Momentum.


Given the complication, I think this is a good time to introduce the other faction leaders.

James wanders the camp, asking workers, cultists and scientists about Warden. Few people seem to want to speak with him, until a young individual in Precursor Cult robes approaches him. “There are those that can help you, if you can help them,” the cultist says. James is happy to finally make some headway and follows them to a large temporary structure surrounded by what looks like scientific equipment.

Upon entering, he sees two figures who are currently examining a holographic map. One is an androgynous, old and haggard cybernetic figure, obviously augmented for scientific inquiry. The other is slightly unsettling: a man, broad and squat, but with a smoothness of skin and a strange inner light that makes him look like a holo-companion come to fleshy life. The latter wears a large slug thrower on his hip, while the former is unarmed but somehow feels more dangerous.

“Ah,” says the cyborg, “they found you. Good.”

James turns on his “have we met?” smile and opens his mouth, but the weird one with the gun says, “Don’t bother asking. Kaisa here is tied into the camp surveillance. I am Static.”

“We hear you are looking for mister Warden,” says Kaisa the cyborg. “What a coincidence. So are we.”

NEXT TIME: Scouring the no-go zone for Warden!


Momentum +7

Supply +5

Health +5

Spirit +5

Ship Integrity 5

Hunter Hunted Clock 1 / 8

They Progress 0 / 10 (Formidable)

Iron Vow 0 / 10 (Epic)

Ironsworn: Starforged 006: The Vault Camp Details

The Precursor Vault that prompted the establishment of Reverie is a mystery — even to me! So before James makes his way to the Vault Camp, let’s roll to find out some details of the Vault.

Location is already established as Planetside, so no need to roll.

Scale ROLL = 97: Vast Site of Unfathomable Complexity. It sounds like those sinkholes we saw last time do in fact have something to do with the Vault and the Precursors.

Form Roll = 34: Structure. It is however something recognizable constructed and stationary and meant to be occupied.

“Unfathomable Complexity” suggests I should skip the Shape roll.

Material ROLL = 97: Roll Twice. ROLLs 34 and 76: Metallic (smooth) and Bone-like. Perhaps it is the exoskeleton of a vast metallic creature, or at least was designed to appear as such.

Outer First Look ROLL = Electromagnetic Field. Maybe the reason neither the Cult, the scientists or the prospectors have managed to open it is because the Vault is surrounded by a powerful EM field, making the usual tools dangerous to use. That suggests to me that Boss Takara is tired of waiting and has ordered the opening of the Vault despite the danger.

I won’t roll Inner First Look or Purpose until (if) the Vault is opened.

I also want to know more about the Vault Camp. This is where the preparations are being made to finally open the vault, of course. For a long time it was mostly a few tents occupied by a few scientists and cultists who mostly argued purely theoretical ideas about opening the Vault. But now, with Boss Takara pushing, the three factions (Scientists, Cultists, and Prospectors) are more numerous and in tension with one another. I want to know who the leaders of each faction are and what they are about to help guide James’ interactions as he seeks out Warden.


Name ROLLs = 48 20: Kaisa Valk (they/them)

First Look ROLLs = 24 46: Augmented and Haggard. Kaisa is a cyborg (the science kind, not the war kind) but it has been a long time since they received proper maintenance. What’s more, all the political maneuvering has taken its toll on the scientist, who would rather be left to just study the Vault.

Initial Disposition ROLL = Wanting. When Kaisa hears an outsider has come, they are aiming to get James’ help to convince Boss Takara to not go through with trying to muscle his way into the Vault.


Name ROLL = 83: Static. I decided arbitrarily that the cultists go by Callsigns only.

First Look ROLLs = 84 15: Uncanny and Armed. There is something “off” about Static. Perhaps proximity to precursor artifacts and vaults has strangely altered his features. Also, Static is packing heat. This is the frontier, after all.

Initial Disposition ROLL = 56: Wanting. Static wants something, too. I am going to roll on the Focus core oracle to get an idea of what. ROLL = 25: Dimension. So — currently there are 3 factions (dimensions) interested in the Vault, where formerly there were 2. Static preferred it that way, and would like it to return to just the Scientists and the Cultists wrangling over the best way to study the Vault. Static wants Boss Takara and his Prospector faction out of the calculations, and is willing to use James to make it happen if he can.


While Boss Takara is the overall leader, I think there is a Prospector in charge of the Camp that is Takara’s chief lieutenant.

Name ROLLs = 47 91 25: Juro “Valkyrie” Creed.

First Look ROLLs = 6 64: Accompanied and Scarred. Valkyrie is never alone — she always has muscle on hand — and it is clear she has seen some shit.

Initial Disposition ROLL = 90: Threatening. Unsurprising. Boss Tanaka and his “Valkyrie” obviously use intimidation and threats to get things done. The Prospectors are going to crack the Vault, and anyone getting in the way is going to get cracked, too.

Finally, let’s roll to find out what Warden’s current situation is. I will use the Story Complication oracle for this. ROLL = 2: Crucial Equipment or Device Fails. Since it has been established that opening the Vault under current circumstances is dangerous, there must have been a plan to avoid the EM field problem. I think the Scientists and Cultists had managed to create a “field inhibitor” of some sort, although still a very experimental one, and Warden volunteered to place it and activate it so the Vault could be opened safely. That obviously hasn’t happened? Why? Did something happen to Warden when he tried to use it?

Next time, let’s play to find out!

As an aside, I definitely feel like I am prepping too much and playing too little. I will try and let James’ actions guide me over the next few sessions instead of trying to build the world he will be acting in.

Ironsworn: Starforged 005: Reverie

The Story So Far

James “Basilisk” Rokuro has been tasked by Annora Petrov, a lawkeeper on Lastport station, with finding her son Warden at a settlement called Reverie on an unnamed desert world where a Precursor Vault was found. Warden, a rebellious criminal to his mother’s lawkeeping ways, joined a Precursor cult that established Reverie to be close to the Vault. Others have since joined the settlement, turning into into a frontier prospecting town. Should the Vault ever open, it promises a boom on treasure hunters, scientists and criminals.

James has no connection to Petrov or Warden, except that the lawkeeper has promised to look into details surrounding the massacre of James’ people. He has been hunting They that wronged him for a while, acting as a fugitive and gunslinger, selling his services when necessary to survive. Perhaps James will finally find a home on Lastport and a friend in Annora, while still continuing his quest for revenge.

Opening Scene

Jame’s strange biomechanical ship, the Vengeance, which was James’ first and only clue to the identity of They who massacred his people, approaches the yellow-orange orb of the desert world where Reverie is found. From Orbit, James sees (ROLL = 48) rugged mountains and as the ship enters the atmosphere and descends toward Reverie, (ROLL = 2) cavernous sinkholes dominate the area. Was this world once wet, and the sinkholes are vast now dry reservoirs? Or did the Precursors mine and drill this planet to the point of such collapse? James doesn’t know, and doesn’t have time to worry about it.

NOTE: I never rolled to see how life bearing Reverie’s planet was, so let’s do that now.

Roll = 36: Extinct. It feels more and more like something happened here. Perhaps the Precursors drained this world of water and therefore life? Maybe. We’ll see.


Let’s roll to find out how organized Reverie is.

Roll = 79: Corrupt. Looks like the bad actors that came to Reverie after the Cult established it have taken over and now it is a hive of scum and villainy.

Basilisk hails the town, hoping for official permission to land just to make his life easier. Initial contact with Reverie is (ROLL = 8) welcoming. He and his ship have something of a reputation and whoever runs Reverie now is interested in finding out why the gunslinger is here,.

Upon arrival, James needs to make a Gather Information move to get the lay of the land. After securing the Vengeance, he walks the dusty trails into town proper in search of a saloon or other gathering place. I’m not sure what the “feel” of town is right at this moment, so let’s roll on the Inhabited Location Feature Table.

Roll = 16: Crews at work.

I think the new Boss of Reverie has put everyone to work trying to get the Precursor Vault open. This undoubtedly has the cultists and scientists on edge. These two groups probably don’t usually get along, but the common “enemy” of Boss (ROLL = 51) Takara has them at least talking. Meanwhile, the various prospectors and tradesmen that came here in hopes of making money are on Boss Takara’s side, suggesting a rift is growing in town.

Anyway, James needs to Gather Information.

Roll +wits = 5+1 = 6

Challenge Dice = 1 and 5 STRONG HIT!

“On a strong hit… the path you must take or action you must take to make progress is made clear.” Also, +2 Momentum.


The main road is lined with small buildings, most of which serve as businesses and workshops on the first floor and residences on the one or two floors above. James passes by the Precursor Cult “temple” (just a pavilion, really) noting that is is empty and quiet. The work crew on the street note his passing but are too busy preparing large equipment to make small talk. Eventually James comes to a saloon, Reverie Commons, and goes inside. It is quiet with only a few patrons since Boss Takara has most everyone working hard.

When James approaches the counter and asks the bartender about a man named Warden, the bartender sneers. “One of them cultists? Them and the pointy heads are all at the Vault camp. But if you want to talk to them, best move quick. Boss Takara is about to unseal the vault and those idiots want to be first in. Suicide, you ask me.”

James thanks the bartender and heads out. He approaches one of the crew obviously preparing to take their machine to the Vault to help open it. “I’ll be riding with you,” he says, not bothering to ask.

Next time, James will meet Warden and others at the “Vault camp” (whatever that is!) and we’ll roll to find out what sort of wonder and danger the Precursor Vault might hold!

Ironsworn: Starforged 004_First Quest

Last time, I finished up by determining that James “Basilisk” Rokuro had been asked for help “Investigate Terrifying Manifestations at a Remote Settlement” by an individual on Lastport while Gathering Information about the They that massacred his community. Before James embarks on that quest, I want to know more about the “quest giver”, the “remote settlement” and the “terrifying manifestation.”

THE QUEST GIVER: Annora Petrov (random)

First, I will figure out exactly who this character is by (of course) rolling to find out!

First Look (roll twice) Roll = 87: Visibly DIsabled and Roll = 74: Slight

Initial Disposition Roll = 09: Friendly

Character Role Roll = 45: Lawkeeper

Character Goal Roll = 19: Defend a Person

Revealed Character Aspect Roll = Law-Abiding and Roll = 32: Disabled (twice now!)

NOTE: I am using this “Revealed” table ahead of time, since this is the first NPC James will be interacting with and I want to build a full fledged character in my head.

Annora Petrov is one of the Lawkeepers on Lastport: part frontier sheriff, part attorney, and part city councilman. She retired to the job after being severely wounded in a pirate attack at the end of her “galactic ranger” days. She is missing her left leg below the thigh and gets around on a cheap but functional prosthesis. Her right hand is missing as well but she hasn’t bothered with a replacement. She instead uses a muscle articulated grip with which she can perform basic tasks. Her left hand is whole and still one of the fastest on the station when needs arise.

She took a shine to Basilisk the moment she saw him. She’s in her early middle age, notably older than James, but still attractive. When she caught wind of him asking around about the massacre, she listened to him and promised to look into it.

However, Annora has something more pressing on her mind. Back when she was a ranger, she frequently visited a remote settlement and has kept tabs on the place because someone she cares about lives there. Recently, news has reached her of something very bad happening there and she has lost contact with the person she cares about. She is in no condition to go find out herself, but James is and she promises to look into his They while he is checking on the settlement and her person for her.

THE SETTLEMENT: Reverie (I swear that was random; nice fit!)

Now, let’s figure out what and where this “remote settlement” is.

Location Roll = 40: Planetside

Planet Roll = 7: Desert World. Feature Roll = 100: Precursor Vault!

Population Roll = 61: Hundreds

First Look Roll = 83: Temporary location

Settlement Project Roll = 77: Spirituality

Settlement Trouble Roll not needed: “terrifying manifestations”

Reverie was established by a Precursor Cult — zealous but harmless — that came to the unnamed desert world when initial surveys revealed the Precursor Vault. Such vaults always attract attention, and while the cult only has a few dozen members, a large number of prospectors, scientists, ne’er-do-wells and profiteers have joined the community. If and when the Vault is opened, that number will swell from the hundreds to the thousands. For now, Reverie is a relatively small frontier town, with all that implies.

GOAL: Annora Petrov’s Son “Warden”

While the Precursor Vault is intriguing, that’s not why James is coming to Reverie. The goal is to discover the fate of Annora’s person.

Let’s start with Character Role Roll = 29: Fugitive. Interesting.

Let’s add a Character Goal Roll = 76. Spread Faith. Serendipity!

Name Rol = 95: Warden (we will just go with the callsign column here).

Finally, I am going to roll a d6 to see if Warden is 1-2 A familial relation of Annora’s, 3-4 A former romantic partner, or 5-6 A professional relation. Roll = 1: familial

Annora’s son Warden rebelled hard against his ranger mother and found himself in a lot of trouble across the Hidden Desolation sector. That is until he had a religious epiphany upon coming in contact with a Precursor Artifact. Soon after he joined the cult that would eventually found Reverie. Annora did not like it, but it was safer than Warden’s former life of crime, so she fought her maternal instincts and just kept tabs on Warden from afar. Now, there is trouble and she can’t remain involved any longer, so she sends James out to find Warden and at least make sure he is alive and well.

This is enough to get started. Next time, James will arrive at Reverie and we will roll to find out what happens as he looks for Warden and confronts “terrifying manifestations”.

Ironsworn: Starforged 003: Opening Moves

Let’s get this show on the road and start an adventure!

STEP 1: Envision an Inciting Incident

James “Basilisk” Rokuro is traveling the Hidden Desolation sector in search of that that massacred his community, “piloting” a biomechanical ship with whom he has somehow managed to form a symbiotic relationship. I am going to say that the ship looks mostly “normal” at first glance but it wouldn’t take long for someone inspecting it carefully to realize it wasn’t what it seemed.

Anyway, Basilisk has come to Lastport in hopes of tracking down some leads about the power that he is hunting — and is in turn hunting him. I am going to give him an 8 segment tension clock called Hunter Hunted. Anytime James makes a Gather Information move to discover the nature of the attackers, he risks exposing himself as a survivor of the attack. A miss on the check fills two segments and a weak hit fills one. When the clock is filled, the hunter becomes the hunted and They send a force to finish the job.

There is also a 

So James arrives in the “frontier” settlement of Lastport and after securing a berth for the Vengeance, he heads for the seedier sections of the station in search of clues. He rolls +Wits to Gather Information.

Action Die (d6) = 2 +1 Wits = 3. Oof. Not great.

Challenge dice (d10) = 1 and 5. Whew.

James gets a weak hit, meaning he fills one segment of the Hunter Hunted clock. He also gains +1 momentum (+3 total) and some insight into his quarry. I feel like word of the massacre has reached Lastport but the people James has talked to don’t know much more than that.

I am going to create a Formidable progress track that represents James’ uncovering the identity of They. This is only the first step on his ultimate quest. A strong hit on a move meant to find out more about them will mark progress. For now, James is still in the dark.

The weak hit also complicates his situation. Since this is just the start of the adventure and I still need an Inciting Incident, I am going to say that the individual James is getting information from needs some sort of help.

Let’s roll to find out what kind of help! (using the table on page 130)

Roll = 45: Investigate Terrifying Manifestations at a Remote Settlement

Wow — that’s a pretty heavy start. Next time, I will roll up some information about this particular “quest giver” so I can create a Connection track, as well as roll up the “remote settlement” and ask the Oracle about the “terrifying manifestations.”


Momentum +3

Supply +5

Health +5

Spirit +5

Ship Integrity 5

Hunter Hunted Clock 1 / 8

They Progress 0 / 10 (Formidable)

Iron Vow 0 / 10 (Epic)

Ironsworn: Starforged 000: Truths

This is the very first step, which I skipped in favor of creating a character and starting sector. However, I should establish these “truths” of my Ironsworn: Starforged setting before I begin my adventures.

There are 14 categories of “truths” about the setting. I am going to roll for each one, but reserve the right to reroll if anything butts up against what I have already established.

NOTE: The text in “quotes” is taken directly from the book.


Roll = 59: Interdimensional entities invaded our reality.

Roll = 10: They took the form of corrupting biological scourges.


Roll = 1

When the Exodus fleet set off on a ponderous journey to a new home outside our galaxy, they marked the Forge as their destination. Countless generations lived out their lives aboard those titanic ships during the millennia-long passage.

The refugees built a rich legacy of culture and tradition during the Exodus. Some even remained in the ships after their arrival in the Forge, unwilling or unable to leave their familiar confines. Those vessels, the Ironhomes, still sail the depths of this galaxy.

Quest Starter: Your dreams are plagued by visions of a lost and crippled Exodus ship. What do you see? Why does it call to you?”


Roll = 74

We have made our mark in this galaxy, but the energy storms we call balefires threaten to undo that progress, leaving our communities isolated and vulnerable.

Starships navigate along bustling trade routes between settlements. We’ve built burgeoning outposts on the fringes of known sectors, and bold spacers chart new paths into unexplored domains. But this hard-earned success is threatened by the chaotic balefires, intense energy anomalies that cut off trade routes and threaten entire planets.

Quest Starter: A balefire threatens a deep-space settlement. Can a rescue fleet be marshaled in time to transport the inhabitants of the station to safety? What foe stands in the way?


Roll = 25

Iron vows are sworn upon the remnants of ships that carried our people to the Forge.

Many of our outposts were built from the iron bones of the Exodus ships. Fragments of the ships were also given to survivors as a remembrance, and passed from one generation to the next. Today, the Ironsworn swear vows upon the shards to honor the sacrifice of their forebears, the essence of the places left behind, and the souls of those great ships.

Quest Starter: The iron shard you carry is a small piece of the outer hull of an Exodus ship. The navigational chart inscribed on its surface only reveals itself when exposed to the light of a specific star. Where is the map purported to lead, and why are you sworn to follow it? Who seeks to claim the map for themselves?


Roll = 74

Our communities are bound under the terms of the Covenant, a charter established after the Exodus. The organization called the Keepers is sworn to uphold those laws.

Most settlements are still governed under the Covenant and yield to the authority of the Keepers. But a few view the Covenant as a dogmatic, impractical, and unjust relic of our past; in those places, the Keepers find no welcome.

Quest Starter: A Keeper abuses their authority to take control of a settlement, and rules with an iron fist. What do they seek to gain there?


Roll = 23

Our gods failed us. We left them behind.

The Exodus was a tipping point. The gods offered no help to the billions who died in the cataclysm, and spirituality has little meaning in the Forge. Most now see religion as a useless relic of our past. But the search for meaning continues, and many are all-too-willing to follow a charismatic leader who claims to offer a better way.

Quest Starter: A charismatic leader claims to have harnessed a technology that offers new hope to the people of the Forge. What is this innovation? What is your relationship to this person or their followers? What grave danger do they pose?


Roll = 31

Magic does not exist.

Some look to superstition and age-old traditions for comfort in this unforgiving galaxy. But that is foolishness. What some call magic is simply a product of technologies or natural forces we aren’t yet equipped to understand.

Quest Starter: An ancient technological relic unleashes a power indistinguishable from magic. What is the origin of this artifact? What ability does it grant? Are you sworn to protect or destroy it?


Roll = 93

In settled domains, a network of data hubs called the Weave allow near-instantaneous communication and data-sharing between ships and outposts.

Because of their importance, Weave hubs are often targets for sabotage, and communication blackouts are not uncommon. Beyond the most populous sectors, travelers and outposts are still commonly isolated and entirely off the grid.

Quest Starter: After years of isolation, the launch of a new data hub will connect several outposts to the Weave. But a person or faction seeks to stop it. What do they hope to gain by keeping those settlements in the dark? Why are you sworn to stop them?


Roll = 17

Our advanced medical technologies and expertise was lost during the Exodus.

Healers are rare and ill-equipped. Untold numbers have succumbed to sickness, injury, and disease. Those who survive often bear the scars of a hard and dangerous life in the Forge.

Quest Starter: A respected leader has fallen ill, stricken by a sickness eradicated in the years after the Exodus. A vaccine was once available, but the only remaining samples are held in a research outpost on a remote ocean world, long-ago seized by a dangerous foe. What is your relationship to the sickened leader, and what foe stands in your way?

I like this one because it means the living ship with healing abilities is going to be important and valuable.


Roll = 99

Artificial consciousness emerged in the time before the Exodus, and sentient machines live with us here in the Forge.

Our ships, digital assistants, bots, and other systems often house advanced AI. For a lone traveler, machine intelligence can provide companionship and aid within the perilous depths of the Forge.

Quest Starter: A rogue AI has taken over a transport ship. The fate of the crew and passengers is unknown. What critical cargo did this vessel carry?


Roll = 28 BUT I chose the next Truth. No war is no fun!

Professional soldiers defend or expand the holdings of those who are able to pay. The rest of us are on our own.

Mercenary guilds wield power in the Forge. Some are scrappy outfits of no more than a dozen soldiers. Others are sector-spanning enterprises deploying legions of skilled fighting forces and fleets of powerful starships. Most hold no loyalty except to the highest bidder.

Quest Starter: A detachment of mercenaries was sent to put down a rebellion on a mining settlement. Instead of following their orders, the soldiers now stand with the miners. What forced this sudden reversal? What will you do to aid these renegades as the full force of their former cohorts are arrayed against them?


Roll = 10

This is a perilous and often inhospitable galaxy, but life finds a way.

Life in the Forge is diverse. Planets are often home to a vast array of creatures, and our starships cruise with spaceborne lifeforms riding their wake. Even animals from our homeworld—carried aboard the Exodus ships—have adapted to live with us in the Forge.

Quest Starter: On a scorching, barren planet wracked by massive storms, miners delve beneath the sands to gather valuable ore. But dangerous lifeforms live in the cool places beneath the surface, and several encounters have taken a deadly toll on the miners. Work is at a standstill. How are you involved?


Roll = 82

The biomechanical lifeforms we call the Remnants, engineered by civilizations as weapons in a cataclysmic war, survived the death of their creators.

On scarred planets and within precursor vaults throughout the Forge, the Remnants still guard ancient secrets and fight unending wars.

Quest Starter: A xenoarchaeologist studying precursor vaults has discovered a powerful form of Remnant. What is the nature of this being? What force seeks to take control of it?

Biomechanical, you say? I wonder if Basilisk’s living ship might be related to these Remnants…


Roll = 29

Put enough alcohol in a spacer, and they’ll tell you stories of ghost ships crewed by vengeful undead. It’s nonsense.

Within the Forge, space and time are as mutable and unstable as a flooding river. When reality can’t be trusted, we are bound to encounter unsettling phenomenon.

Quest Starter: You receive urgent distress calls from a ship stranded in the event horizon of a black hole. The ship itself is broken apart—a shattered hull trailing debris. There are no signs of life. And yet the ghostly messages persist.

Perhaps the Remnants left seeds or “a plague” that makes spacers think they have seen these things…

Ironsworn: Starforged 002: The Sector

You adventures in Ironsworn: Starforged take place ina sector of The Forge globular cluster that you develop in play. This where I will begin my adventures of the gunslinger James “Basilisk” Rokuro, as he both hunts and is hunted by those that massacred his community.

In this game, humanity has fled the Milky Way Galaxy for a globular cluster called The Forge approximately 1700 lightyears above the galactic plane. It is a place of nebulae, stellar phenomena, uncertain physics, and lost alien civilizations (NOTE: Starforged is human centric sci-fi and PCs are always humans descended from people who fled human space 200+ years ago).

STEP 1: Starting Region

There are 4 choices for this, going from the most “settled” to the least: Terminus, Outlands, Expanse, and Void. I am going to go with Outlands. It seems the right choice for my “gunslinger” in search of revenge on whoever killed his community.

STEP 2: Number of Settlements

Choice of region determines the number of settlements. In the case of the Outlands, there are 3 settlements. As the book states, they are “a nexus for roleplaying and quest opportunities.”

STEP 3: Generate Settlement Details

Finally, we get to roll some dice and find out!

Every settlement needs: a name, a location, a population, an authority and a project or two. I will be using the random tables for all of these. Note that against the book advice I am going to roll on one additional table: first look.

SETTLEMENT 1: Lastport (roll=44)

Location (roll=95): Deep Space

Population (roll=68): Thousands

First Look (roll=77): Sprawling or dispersed structures

Authority (roll=45): Tolerant

Project 1 (roll=54): Mining

Project 2 (roll=17): Defense

Lastport is a jumbled mass of a settlement, essentially a number of massive ships and small stations linked together into a single structure. It exists solely to mine the most valuable commodity in the Forge (whatever that is). A large asteroid or small planetoid was ejected from its original system billions of years ago and is composed entirely of the substance. Because it is so valuable, though, pirates make regular attacks and so the second biggest industry is fortification.

SETTLEMENT 2: Prism (roll=65)

Location (roll=66): Orbital

Population (roll=51): Hundreds

First Look (roll=40): Industrial Architecture

Authority (roll=35): Tolerant

Project 1 (roll=24): Engineering

Project 2 (roll=96): none

Prism is an engineering research station where the smartest minds of the Forge try to solve the most difficult problems for humanity in their new home.

SETTLEMENT 3: Forsaken (roll=29) — Fitting!

Location (roll=32): Planetside

Population (roll=53): Hundreds

First Look (roll=85): Toxic or polluted habitat

Authority (roll=81): Corrupt

Project 1 (roll=68): Salvage

Project 2 (roll=27): Entertainment

Forsaken was once a terraforming outpost with a lot of potential, but something horrible happened and now it is an ecological nightmare. After the terraformer colonists and scientists fled, criminal gangs flooded in to dismantle the facility and sell off the valuable equipment. Amidst the lawlessness, an opportunistic entrepreneur (who?!?) made the place a hotbed of sex, drugs and other illicit entertainments.

STEP 4: Generate Planets

Settlements orbiting or on a planet get some extra information about that world.


For Prism’s world I am going to just generate it’s type, since Prism is an orbital station only.

Class (roll=21): Furnace World

No wonder they stay in orbit! Maybe they chose this location because the intense volcanic and tectonic activity of the world is somehow useful in their work?


Since this settlement was a failed terraforming project, I am going to roll on some additional tables just to figure out what the planet looks like.

Class (roll=41): Ice World

Atmosphere (roll=45): Marginal

Settlements (roll=39): None, (besides Forsaken)

Observed from Space (roll=87): World spanning ice chasm

Life (roll=29): Extinct

When humans arrived at Forsaken’s world they found a hothouse world teeming with lower order life not entirely incompatible with Earth life. But the terraformers decided they needed to cool the planet a few degrees in order to make it habitable. Unfortunately, they lost control of the process and now the once blue-green world is a frozen lifeless hell.

STEP 5: Generate Stars

Mostly for flavor.

Prism’s Star (roll=18): Glowing Orange Star

Forsaken’s Star (roll=69): White Dwarf (I originally rolled a black hole, but since I already decided this was a terraforming project it did not seem a good choice.)

STEP 6: Sector Map

I am going to leave this one alone for now.

STEP 7: Create Passages

Passages are charted space routes. The Outlands get 2 passages, which must either a) connect two settlements, or b) connect a settlement to the edge of the sector map.

I am going to connect Lastport and Prism since the engineering facility probably needs what Lastport is mining, but also connect Lastport to the edge of the map since they probably don’t trade exclusively with Prism. Forsaken’s location was wiped from cluster GPS but some folks still know how to get there…

STEP 8: Zoom in on a Settlement

I feel like Lastport is the best “starting place” for Basilisk’s adventures, so I will roll on the “Settlement Trouble” table for it. (NOTE: The book instructs me to roll on the First Look table as well, but as noted above I did that already because I wanted additional information.)

Settlement Trouble (roll=76): Someone is ill or injured.

I am not sure what to do with this yet. Let’s see if further steps help me figure it out.

STEP 9: Create a Local Connection

I need a connection in the Sector. I don’t have a clear idea of who that person should be, so I will roll.

Connection Name: Logan MacKenson

Home: Lastport

Connection Character Role (roll=37): Historian

First Look (roll=71): Shifty

Character Goal (roll=15): Cure an ill (ooooh!)

Revealed Character Aspect (roll=69): Proud

Clearly, Logan MacKenson is ill and wants to find a cure. He thinks Basilisk must have a clue to that cure and summons him to Lastport (probably under pretense since he is Shifty). Maybe it has to do with why Basilisk’s people were massacred? Or possibly the living ship? Only time and dice rolls will tell…

STEP 10: Introduce a Sector Trouble

Let’s roll to find out!

Sector Trouble (roll=27): Energy storms are rampant!

STEP 11: Finalize the Sector

I need to give it a name, but I will decline giving it a powerful faction until I know more through play.

Name (roll=46/28): Hidden Desolation. I like it!

Ironsworn: Starforged 001: The Character

I have decided to embark on a solo Ironsword: Starforged campaign and to document it here. I fell in love with Ironsworn watching season two of “Me, Myself and Die” on YouTube, but am more interested in the sci-fi elements of The Forge than I am the rocky shores of the Ironlands.

So, first thing’s first: the character.

CHARACTER: James “Basilisk” Rokuro

Step 1: Asset Cards

Since I will be using PDFs, this step is unnecessary.

Step 2: Choose Two Paths

I have no idea what I want to do, so let’s roll!

Result = 56: Outlaw (FUGITIVE and GUNSLINGER)

FUGITIVE: I am hunted by a power or authority. Whenever I make a Move, I can improve the result to a Strang Hit, but doing so advances a 4-clock that, when filled, means I have been tracked down. If I manage to survive/escape/whatever, it resets the clock.

GUNSLING: Stare downs and blindsides give me bonuses and increase momentum.

Step 3: Create Backstory

Let’s roll to find out!

Result = 30: You are the sole survivor of an attack or calamity.

Since I am hunted, I assume that the force hunting me was the one that killed my family, friends and community. Maybe we were special in some way, or maybe we were set up to be an example?

Step 4: Background Vow

This one feels obvious: I am not going to die at the hands of the people hunting me that killed everyone I cared about. I am going to kill them instead.


Step 5: Board Your Starship

I have the Starship asset card. Let’s roll to find out the deets.

Result = 34: Discovered a derelict and patched it back together. I think that I was left for dead but whatever conflict killed my community resulted in damaged vessels owned by attackers and I took one of those as my own to help hunt them down.

Result 22: Hull is fused with organic growths. This isn’t a normal starship, which suggests that the people that killed my family weren’t normal either. It also suggests that “patched it back together” above might actually mean “helped it heal.” I think I have a bonded living starship.

Result = 96: Vengeance is the chip’s name. Since it is a living thing, I am going to interpret that as its motivation, which I share. Maybe we decided together that instead of dying we should get revenge and it was that vow that saved us both. We are linked down to the marrow.

Step 6: Choose Final Asset

I can pick another asset card. I feel like I should go with a Module to give my living starship some more character.

MEDBAY: Since I already said the ship and I healed each other, I think the living systems in the ship can link to other living beings and cure disease, heal injuries, etc…

Step 7: Stats

In Starforged, you get to distribute 3, 2, 2, 1, 1 amongst five stats.

EDGE 3 because I am a gunslinger

HEART 2 because I care about things, like this ship.

IRON 2 because sometimes the violence gets up close and personal.

WITS 1 because while I am not dumb, I do view things pretty simply.

SHADOW 1 because I like to face my challenges head on.

Step 8: Condition Meters

This is just standard stuff.

Step 9: Envision Your Character

I must define how my character Looks, Acts and what they Wear.

LOOK: Thin, almost scrawny, man with a lot more scars than anyone should have survived having gotten.

ACT: Affable enough, almost gregarious sometimes, but there’s a predatory look in his eye whenever he enters a new location, like he is hunting something.

WEAR: Simple enough clothes of a working class style, but always a jacket, poncho or other garment big enough to conceal weapons.

Step 10: Name

Let’s roll to find out!

NAME: James Rokuro. I think he is of mixed Asian descent.


CALLSIGN: Basilisk. Interesting. Maybe in his hunt for vengeance he has already earned a reputation that his hard stare freezes folks, worried he is going to shoot them down?

Step 11: Gear Up

Regular equipment isn’t really a thing in Starforged, but you are supposed to record any personal items or whatever.

I think James Rokuro carries two pistols — but they aren’t matched or expensive or even well made. One was taken from the body of someone he cared about from his community, while the other was taken from one of the fallen that attacked his community.