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Ironsworn $0.00
Publisher: Shawn Tomkin
by Steven V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/30/2020 10:24:21

This is a very nicely put-together game. The core rules, which are available for free, are well-written, beautifully organized, and easy to understand. The game is engaging, and allows for interesting narrative RP -- a so-called "story game." Most mechanics of the game are highly abstracted, and this helps the player(s) to tell their story, without the need to chronicle individual actions like rolling a single to-hit with a specific weapon against an enemy's particular armor class.

Ordinarliy, I do not like it when the game's core rules are suffused with setting information, because to me, the rules should be how one plays, and the setting is up to the DM. However, in the case of Ironsworn, I think the setting material helps clarify and provide context for the rules. Although one need not use the Ironlands or its setting-specific material, the way the author sets up and explains the setting provides reasons why the mechanics work the way they do. For example, the "Iron Vow" mechanic, which is key to the game, particularly makes sense in the context of a harsh, unforgiving land where a broken promise could lead to suffering and death. Additionally, the Ironlands are a "low magic" setting, which explains why the magic system ("Ritual" assets) is rather minimal. There are no wizards hurling fireballs in this game (at least not without major home-brewing), and the setting explains why.

Additoinally, I find the setting highly attractive... the map is reminiscent of Greenland, and Ironlanders of the Vikings, and yet they are unique enough that they seem to be a land and a people all their own. I've told the author in the Ironsworn discord that I can easily picture a series of novels set in the Ironlands, chronicling the vows and adventures of those who swear to the Iron. In fact, the setting is so attractive that I have considered putting my next D&D campaign into the Ironlands and adapting some of its mechanisms to D&D play (mainly because I don't think I'd be able to convince my players to switch games). I love the idea, for instance, of telling my players they gain a level when they fulfill an Iron Vow....

I do not (yet) have a hard copy of these products, but I can speak for the quality of the PDFs, which is high. They are wonderfully bookmarked so you can find anything. The pages are laid out well. The black-and-white artwork is perfect for the mood and feel of the Ironlands (I'm sure it was done to cut down on printing costs for hard copies, but I think that the B&W works well thematically as well).

Overall, I can't say enough good things about this product. It's free, so it is a no-brainer on DLing the core rules. But it took me only one read-through of the free PDF to come back here and order the other books such as Delve. And I am planning to get hard copies of everything in the next little while... so that tells you how good this book is.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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