Solo Skald |||

Ironsworn Delve - Part 0

Since this is a solo blog, I think playing Ironsworn at least once is a legal requirement. Actually, I’ve played Ironsworn before, though only once and without Delve.

Last time, I took too many notes and focused perhaps too much on the mechanics. So despite the fact that the narrative interested me, somehow that adventure never got finished. This time, I’ve tweaked my approach a bit. First, I’m using the Roll20 implementation to manage my playthrough, although I’m still taking notes by hand as per my current favored method. Also, I won’t track the specific changes to each stat in my journal; the character sheet will do that for me. Finally, if a mechanic gets messed up, I won’t go back and redo things to fix it, although I’ll make a note to learn from it for next time.

I also purchased physical copies through DriveThru RPG. I don’t have much to say about these, except that I wish I’d ordered the hardcover of Delve as the softcover binding makes it difficult to use. Saving $5 probably wasn’t worth it for me.

Panorama in the Faroe Islands Photo by Karsten Koehn on Unsplash

World Truths

As usual, the advice Geek Gamers to set up the location first will guide us here. That is to say, I decided to go through the world truths before figuring out the character I want to play. To keep things straightforward, I’ll keep my playthrough in the Ironlands. With some minor reskinning (mostly for the assets), it wouldn’t be hard to play in some other setting, but this time I just want to get going.

  • The Old World was invaded by savage clans, and everyone who could escape sailed to the Ironlands.
  • Iron ore can be found in the mountains, but by far the most valuable is the starforged” black iron.
  • Legacies of some ancient people can be found everywhere in the form of mysterious ruins.
  • Communities can be found all over, connected by roads and caravans travelling through dangerous lands.
  • Leaders mostly consist of clan-chiefs with small domains, constantly engaged in low-level squabbling.
  • Defense is provided by Wardens, whether those charged with protecting a particular community or Free Wardens” who have a broader remit.
  • Mysticism suffuses the culture, but few people believe in true magic beyond simple folk rituals.
  • Religion is everywhere and many gods receive worship.
  • Firstborn are mostly only found in legends, although perhaps some remain deep in the mountains or forests.
  • Beasts roam throughout the Ironlands, occasionally attacking outlying settlements or caravans.
  • Horrors are known to haunt the darkest forests and deepest rivers.

Most of these could change somewhat if it turns out to fit our story better, but I think the idea of Wardens protecting communities from outside threats will form the core here.

Character Creation

I rolled a random name, Amara”. That sounds like a feminine name to my ears, so our pronouns are she/her/hers”.

Before assigning stats, I look through the assets first to get a sense of character possibilities. I think she’s either a Warden (possibly aspiring?) or otherwise connected to one.

After further consideration, I like the idea of an aspiring Warden who must undergo some trial for full promotion. Perhaps she has some connection to another Warden (past or present). So paths that make sense include:

  • Bonded
  • Honorbound
  • Slayer
  • Wayfinder
  • Witchblood

I decide to take Wayfinder, which focuses on undertaking journeys, plus a Combat Talent. Since she will be out and about, often alone, she’ll be an Archer, preferring to fight at a distance. After thinking about a Companion or Ritual, I decide instead to add the Slayer path to fight beasts and horrors.

This informs the stats we’ll assign: 3 in Wits, 2 in Edge and Heart, leaving Iron and Shadow at 1 each.

What about our bonds? We want to make a bond later with a Wardens faction, which I envision as sort of a revered guild. Instead, for now we’ll mark one for our home settlement. We’ll name it for a construction at the center and call it Watchtower”: a simple place near a forest where people have gathered together for mutual protection.

A second bond can link to some individual: perhaps her sponsor for the Wardens? What does the Oracle say?

  • Role: Pilgrim
  • Descriptor: Affectionate

If the Wardens have a spiritual, almost holy, aspect to them, then perhaps our sponsor is an older relative. I decide to name her Kalima, an older cousin who has been training Amara to become a Warden in sort of a Padawan learner” type of apprenticeship. Leaving the third bond open until we figure it out in play has proven prudent in the past.

The background vow need not be particularly concrete. Instead, it will represent her basic motivation: to defend Watchtower against any threat. I’ll mark it Epic.

Next time

We’ll pick up with an inciting incident and get started on venturing out into the dangerous Ironlands!

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