Solo Skald |||

Starforged - Exploration Part 6

Let’s see if we can’t make some legacy track progress today.

Starting up a session

We Begin a Session by thinking about flags. With the possibility of a romantic relationship arising with Khosla (although it may not), I want to restate that that’s not the focus of this game. Much like political intrigue, relationships of that sort may contribute to the texture and background but they’re not the focus. And any relationship that does arise will mostly take place outside of the narrative here.

In any case, last time Lux figured out that the key to understanding all the data and notes is to translate the symbols she found inside the factory. As these symbols seem to come from a precursor civilization, she sought help for this from a group of mystics who live in an asteroid settlement named Sigil. They are indeed helping with the translation, and in exchange Lux is helping them with some of their own problems by retrieving some cosmic scales” from Droplet, an ocean world in the sector.

Taking a look at our current progress tracks, we have:

  • Vow to learn the secrets about Kei’s discovery: 5/10 (Formidable)
  • Vow to recover the cosmic scales: 3/10 (Troublesome)
  • Connection to Khosla: 2/10 (Dangerous)
  • Connection to Firestarter: 0/10 (Dangerous)

Other complications mostly come from failed connections, including Jackal (a scavenger) and Takara (an agent for the Obsidian Heralds who rule this and other sectors).

On Droplet

After stopping at the orbital station Erebus, Lux and her crew head down to Droplet, an ocean world with almost no land surface. We know that there are some underwater resources from a prior civilization that the occupants of Erebus use for their black-market organ transplant facility.

Ocean world by NASA

The cosmic scales are mined from underneath the ocean; they seem like a byproduct of the resource extraction and research that’s going on there. We’ve already paid a significant price by giving small tissue samples on Erebus. So here, we’ll see if we can just make an offer to buy some of the scales. That is covered by the move Compel and we roll +heart: a miss, which we turn into a weak hit by burning our momentum (10 vs 9, 10). Momentum resets back to +2. But what’s the demand or complication?

The oracle tells us: [14] Bolster [66] Prize. We’re just not offering enough. We can handle this by Sacrificing Resources and marking down a point of supply to represent the extra costs.

We have the scales, though, which lets us Reach a Milestone on the associated vow (3 boxes).

Return to Sigil

This is a known route, so we can just Set a Course and roll +supply: a strong hit. We get back some momentum and the situation favors us when we arrive. As Lux delivers the scales, we Fulfill Our Vow and get a weak hit. That’s kind of unfortunate, because either we need to set things right or take no reward at all in terms of our legacy tracks.

What’s the complication? That is, what’s required? [84] Search [91] Trade. Perhaps these are insufficient, and in fact we need to find a different supply. I think three things come out of this:

  1. A new vow to find a different source for cosmic scales
  2. Receiving the translation of the symbols
  3. Developing the relationship with Khosla

We’ll take these in order. Lux is feeling a bit of a connection with the Order, who are helping her with the vow to move forward with her mentor’s life’s work. The previous vow was ranked Troublesome; this one will be Dangerous as it represents a bit more complexity.

I will find a source of cosmic scales that the Order can use.

To Swear an Iron Vow we roll +heart: strong hit. Lux knows where to start (which we’ll elaborate on shortly) and we mark +2 momentum.

As we receive the translation of the symbols, that also represents Reaching a Milestone on the vow to learn about Kei’s discovery. We mark +1 boxes on the progress track, now at 6/10. That also represents something we need to dig into a bit more as we decide what to do next.

Finally, we have the relationship with Khosla. We can Develop Our Relationship and mark progress. I don’t know exactly where that’s going; let’s see a revealed aspect of Khosla’s character: [100] Wise. Lux likely appreciates this about her new friend and welcomes the ongoing support. More than that, though, would need to develop over time.

There’s a lot that’s happened here mechanically, not all of which really needs to occupy foreground time (like the actual bartering on Erebus). But we can envision this moment with ChatGPT:

Lux stands before the Order of the Cursed Dagger, the enigmatic community of mystics that call the asteroid settlement of Sigil their home. She holds the cosmic scales that they requested in exchange for translating the mysterious symbols she had discovered in the ancient factory. The Order’s leader, a hooded figure known only as the High Priest, inspects the scales with a critical eye.

These are not what we asked for,” the High Priest declares, disappointment evident in their voice. Lux’s heart sinks, but she remains resolute. She had agreed to this exchange and she would see it through. They are low-quality replicas. Perhaps those who provided them to you did not deal honestly.”

Khosla, the young mystic who had accompanied her on the mission, steps forward. We can find a new source for the scales,” he says, her voice firm. Lux nods, grateful for the support.

We appreciate this offer,” the High Priest says, but you must understand the importance of this agreement. The scales are sacred to us and enable our work, and indeed our community, to continue.”

Lux nods, fully understanding the weight of her commitment. This was a critical moment in her journey, one that would deepen her connection with the Order and gain her allies in uncovering the truth about the ancient precursors. But it also represented a significant challenge, one that she was determined to overcome.


Lux, Khosla, and Crash confer together about where to go. In our view, though, we need to ask the oracle because I don’t really have an immediately obvious idea. Our Descriptor/Focus is [09] Barren / [52] Mechanism, and even when I play with the dice order, nothing pops out at me. So we’ll go a different way and narrow it down with a series of questions. We’ll use the settlements oracle first: it’s planetside, on a rocky world with a dense ring system and swirling low-lying gasses. We’ll also get a story clue: [41] involves a non-human being or creature. Is this in a system we’ve already visited (unlikely)? [29] No.

That means we’re going to Undertake an Expedition to find a source of cosmic scales Like the vow that goes with it, we’ll rank it Dangerous. For this segment, we’ll rely on our usual approach of staying vigilant, as we’re trying to see what could be here that we can use. We roll with +1 from Khosla’s help and +wits: a miss. Even with our best stat and some assistance, sometimes we have to deal with a crisis, immediate hardship, or threat, and Pay the Price.

To do this, let’s roll on the Story Complication table: [02] Crucial equipment or device fails. What failed on the ship? [05] A critical system is damaged. We’ll say it’s the ship’s engine, which is now inoperable. I envision this as serious damage (-2 to the ship’s condition track).

Floating in space, we’re in a bit of a bind. We can’t just sit here and wait for help to arrive. We need to find a way to get to the planet. We can try to Repair right here and roll +wits: a strong hit. We get things back online in the field without having to sacrifice resources. Having overcome the challenge, let’s Reach a Milestone on the vow to find a source of cosmic scales and thus mark 2 boxes on the progress track.

With the ship repaired again, we’ll try once more to Undertake an Expedition and roll +wits: a weak hit. We’ll reach a waypoint and mark progress (2 boxes). As we envision our location, we either suffer costs en route or face a peril here. I think this time around we’ll suffer and lose momentum (-2) due to having stopped to repair the ship. This affected the crew’s overall luck and confidence. As we arrive, where are we? Or more accurately, what do we encounter? [69] Debris field: Metallic wreckage.

A space station or a large ship broke apart at this anchorage. This may well be something interesting or at least valuable, so we’re going to Explore the Waypoint and roll +wits: a weak hit. There’s something perilous or ominous about the place, although we recover a bit of momentum. This wreckage represents a derelict that we can explore.

The debris floating in the emptiness of space glistened in the light of distant stars, a jagged metallic sculpture caught in a frozen moment of destruction. But as Lux approached in her ship, she realized that this was no mere asteroid field. The twisted metal plates and ragged edges hinted at something more sinister: a derelict vessel, long abandoned, with secrets to be uncovered within. She needed to resist the urge to explore, however, and piloted her ship away from the hulking mass. If she ever uncovers the truth behind this mysterious find, it will have to wait for another day.

As noted, it’s not what we want to focus on right now. So let’s mark its location on our sector map and move on.

Again, we discover a new passage and Undertake an Expedition for the next segment. We roll +wits: a weak hit again. This time we’ll face a spacebound peril: [06] automated defenses or mines protect this area. Is this related to the blockade (unlikely) or the cosmic scales? [74] no, it’s the cosmic scales rather than the blockade by the Heralds.

Lux knows she’ll need to dodge the automated defenses to get to the planet where they believe they can find the scales. She focuses on her piloting abilities with Khosla in the co-pilot’s seat. We’ll Face Danger with focus and roll +wits: a miss with a match. Not only do we need to Pay the Price, there’s got to be some twist here. First, I think the ship takes damage and thus we take -2 ship integrity from the laser fire by automated turrets. But what’s the dreaded complication? [20] Enemy unexpectedly benefits from your actions.

We really only have two enemies, one much more important than the other: the Obsidian Heralds (including Takara and Firestarter) and Jackal. Since we determined a bit ago that it’s not the blockade, is it Jackal (likely)? [43] Yes. Our rival has popped back up and is using our presence as a decoy to get past these same defenses.

Thinking quickly, Lux decides to try to change course and get around the other side of Jackal, using him as a sort of shield. That requires a great deal of piloting skill, so we’ll Face Danger and roll +wits: a strong hit! We take +1 momentum and get out of the kill zone. Does Jackal’s ship also make it out (likely)? [07] Yes, so he’ll continue to be a problem here.

Lux expertly navigates her ship, Newton’s Folly”, through the chaotic scene as laser fire rains down around her. She quickly realizes the source of the attack is a group of automated defenses, and she’s not the only one in the crossfire. Jackal’s ship, the Blackjack,” is also being targeted, and she sees an opportunity to use him as a shield. She deftly maneuvers her ship behind the bulk of Jackal’s, using it as cover as she makes her escape. She knows she’s taking a risk relying on her rival, but she’s not going to let the automated defenses stop her from achieving her goal. She guns the engines and puts as much distance between her and the laser fire as she can. She’s not sure what Jackal’s intentions are, but she’ll do whatever it takes to get out of this situation alive.

I don’t think we can reasonably consider this a milestone on the quest itself, but we do mark progress on the expedition.

The Planet

The rocky world, named Slate, has a beautifully dense ring system. Where are these cosmic scales, though? We’ll scan the planet for a bit and thus Explore a Waypoint, rolling +wits: a weak hit. We take +2 momentum (one from the move, one from the Explorer path) and see what interesting but perilous thing we’ve found: [50] an irradiated area. Is this the source of cosmic scales (50/50)? [95] no.

So what’s our situation? We’ve reached the planet and we’re confronting some sort of radiation, but it’s not related directly to the scales. Maybe it’s something generated by the rings, and we need to get down to the surface as quickly as possible. That sounds like Lux must Face Danger with speed, rolling +edge: a strong hit. We take +1 momentum and get to the surface, but we’re not done yet. We need to find the scales, and that’s going to require some more exploration.

Now that we’re down here, we’ll continue to look for some sort of mine or other source of these scales. Crash will scan ahead as we Undertake an Expedition which gives us +1 when we roll +wits: a weak hit. We’ll mark progress and face a peril. Again, I’ll ask the oracle: [30] Equipment fails or malfunctions. These low-lying gasses are interfering with our sensors. Our survey bot is struggling a bit and I think we’ll temporarily lose the benefits of its help until we can get someplace out of these gasses.

What’s here? What do we find? [50] Mutated flora. Are these the source of the scales (likely)? [38] Yes! This is what we’re looking for. I don’t think we’re ready to finish the expedition yet, though. Let’s Explore the Waypoint a little bit; what’s going on with these plants? We roll +wits: a strong hit. We’ve capped our momentum again and can envision a favorable insight, situation, resource, or encounter”. I want to roll on the Planetside Opportunity table: [89] Plea for help from a potential benefactor.

That’s the mutation: these flora are intelligent, or at least marginally so! Let’s understand them a bit:

  • Environment: Land
  • Scale: [63] Large (vehicle-sized)
  • Form: Plant / fungus
  • First Look: [57] Immobile or trapped (this sort of makes sense for plants)
  • Encountered Behavior: [85] Scavenger

What is the help they need, though? [100] Withdraw [44] Home. Our presence endangers them somehow. We pull back a bit and look around. How can we get these cosmic scales?

What if the scales are a by-product of their metabolism? The plants are scavengers, consuming other life forms or even these gasses. Maybe that’s the real problem: they’re immobilized somehow, but are normally motile. We need to find a way to get them moving again. By moving a bit, we’ve pulled out of the gasses and thus can use our survey bot again, although not down there where the plants are. Crash’s upgrades allow it to scout ahead and Secure an Advantage once per expedition, so we’ll do that now. We roll +its health: a weak hit. This lets us add +1 on our next move. We’re going to need to unblock a path, which is dangerous because of these gasses and also because destabilizing the rocks could lead to harm. That means Lux and Khosla will Face Danger together. Their plan relies less on raw strength to move the rocks and more on close observation of how to move things with minimal disruption but still allowing these plants to move. We roll +wits with Khosla’s help: a strong hit. The plants are moving again and the scales are left behind.

Let’s scoop them up and mark some progress! First, we’ll Finish an Expedition and roll our challenge dice against 8 progress: a strong hit. This gives us 2 ticks on our discoveries legacy track. Additionally, this means we’ve Reached a Milestone on the associated quest and Developed Our Relationship with Khosla by standing against hardship and leveraging their help in desperate circumstances.

To complete the vow, we need to do a few things:

  • Harvest the scales successfully
  • Return to Sigil
  • Have the scales appraised by the Order

In order to do the first, we need to prepare accordingly and Secure an Advantage. We’ll roll +wits: a strong hit with a match! We can add +1 on our next move. What’s the (positive) twist from the match? [50] Guarded [73] Salvage. Some of the scales have already been piled up by someone else here, making the task a bit easier.

That means we’ll Face Danger with expertise and roll +wits+1: another strong hit. We succeed, which lets Lux Reach a Milestone on her vow again.

Return trip

Lux and crew launch the Folly back into space and prepare to return to Sigil. She’s concerned about Jackal being in the area, though, and pauses to assess the situation by Securing an Advantage with observation, rolling +wits: a weak hit. We’ll add +1 on our next action roll, but I think it means that he is indeed here. Before we can safely leave, we’ll need to Face Danger with speed and roll +edge: a weak hit. We succeed in leaving the rival behind, but at a cost of -1 momentum.

Because we previously documented these passages, we can just Set a Course and roll +supply: a strong hit. We’ll mark progress on the vow as we reach Sigil and take +1 momentum. We’re almost done, and the situation is looking good.


Before we assume these scales are good, we’ll need to have them appraised by the Order. We’ll Gather Information and roll +wits: a strong hit. These scales are indeed the real thing, and so we can Reach a Milestone on the vow.

From here, we return to Mother and report our success. That means we can Fulfill Our Vow and roll challenge dice against 10 progress: a weak hit. There is more to be done. But what? I asked ChatGPT for some ideas:

  • The scales are only one piece of the puzzle; Lux must find other ancient artifacts to complete the puzzle and unlock the full potential of the symbols.
  • The Order has discovered that the symbols contain a hidden curse, and Lux must find a way to break the curse.
  • The Order has learned that the symbols are part of a map leading to a powerful, ancient weapon. Lux must retrieve the weapon before it falls into the wrong hands.
  • The Order has realized that the symbols are linked to a powerful precursor race. Lux must find a way to communicate with the race and learn their secrets.
  • The Order needs Lux to help them uncover a dark conspiracy that threatens the stability of the entire galaxy.
  • The Order needs Lux to retrieve a powerful, magical object guarded by a dangerous entity in a remote corner of the galaxy.
  • The Order is seeking a lost temple hidden within the asteroid that holds the key to unlocking the power of the symbols. Lux must find the temple and retrieve the key.

Of these, the last one appeals to me the most. It ties back to her vow for Kei’s research and keeps us focused on exploration. But it doesn’t quite make sense as written, because we already have the symbols. So I’m going to tweak it a bit: the temple contains information about using the scales. We’ll need to find it and retrieve the information it holds.

We’ll Swear an Iron Vow as follows:

I will find the temple and retrieve the information it holds.

Then I decide it’s Troublesome and roll +heart: a strong hit with a match. I’ll come back to this when we wrap up. First, though, we mark 2 ticks on our quests legacy track from the scales vow.

Lux also Develops Her Relationship with Khosla by completing a quest to the benefit of the Order. We’ll mark 2 boxes on the relationship track.


I’m going to End a Session here. We completed two fetch quests, ultimately for the same thing, although one of them had significantly more risk and drama. We also developed our friendship with Khosla and, to some extent, our relationship with the Order. It’s a bit odd to me that we don’t have bonds with communities in Starforged, as we did in the original Ironsworn.

Did we miss any progress opportunities? I think we captured everything on the last section. The remaining tracks are the secrets of Kei’s discovery as well as the temple itself. Lux’s relationship with Khosla is similarly going to max out on this quest, and then we’ll see what the nature of that relationship becomes. It could be romantic, but it could also be a close friend who stays behind in this community and can provide guidance, assistance, and information in the future. When we eventually try to establish the bond, that’s how we’ll find out.

Mechanically, we’re in quite good shape. Momentum is at +9 (actually, +10 now that we gain 1 from this move), Health and Spirit are both at +5, and Supply is at +4. Crash’s condition is at maximum (+3) although the Folly needs a bit of attention, as it’s at +3 out of 5. We’ll deal with that before we leave Sigil.

When we come back, though, the first order of business will be that temple. Based on the advice in the book, we’ll make the expedition one rank higher than the quest. And at some point, we might connect something here to her background vow about the balefires.

Up next Starforged - Exploration Part 5 Starforged - Exploration Part 7
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