Brief intro: I originally played (wrote) this in Danish, and this was my first foray into Ironsworn. I made a character and started out with a physical playing space: dice and notebook, but then I switched to a dice bot on Discord which was a lot more effective. First game took me about an hour and a half. For this first game the rules naturally took much of my attention, and the first half is very bird’s-eye view because I was envisioning the character and her world. Later chapters become more focused on the fiction.
First, a very brief concept for the character and campaign: Shiro is the chieftain’s daughter and chosen to be a leader of the tribe. But destiny and forces of shadow lead her on a different path… She is of sturdy built, oriental facial features. Fights with a axe and shield. Wears a fishskin robe and deep-sea shells.
Stats: Edge 1, Heart 3, Iron 2, Shadow 2, Wits 1
Assets: Sunderer (Combat Talent), Shadow-walk (Ritual), Trickster (Path)
“Shadow in the Deep” is a clan of raiders. Superstition has prevented them from settling in the Ironlands, so over recent generations they have become increasingly scattered and weakened. They make camp around the boats and find shelter in hidden bays and coves in the Shattered Isles. From here they strike out and plunder the mainland.
Bonds: Shadow Wave (Shiro’s clan within the larger tribe); Kuram Ishi (shaman, mentor); Jakiro (sister)
When still a girl, Shiro left on the spirit quest that would prepare her to lead the tribe ashore. Together with to the mystic, Kumra Ishi, she lived for three years on the wild, desolate islands and learned the secrets of the Gloom.
Background Vow: “Is is my duty to bring the Gloom to Havens on the mainland!” (Rank: Extreme)
But when they return to the Shadows Wave tribe, a year late, the chieftain is dead, and a new fraction has taken power. The have promised Shiro’s sister to a wyrm (with an Ironland-tribe as mediator), in return receiving the Ironlanders’ blessing to settle there. Kuram Ishi and Shiro has been banned ostracised, but he steps up in order to save Shiro: He takes the punishment upon himself and walks into the desolation.
Inciting Vow: “I will free my sister from the deceitful betrothal to the wyrm!” (Rank: Formidable)
Swear Iron Vow: [d6: 4] +3 (Heart) +1 (Bond: sister) = 8 vs. [2d10: 4 og 5] = Strong Hit: clear purpose: I must take a boat to follow my sister; +2 Momentum)
A member of the Ironlander clan has stayed behind with the Shadow Wave in order to confirm the deal and make sure that Shiro and Kuram Ishi doesn’t show up and reclaim power – which is exactly what happens. Before heading out after her sister, Shiro decides to show the stranger his place and prove to the tribe that they made a mistake in yielding to the foreigners. She attacks him without warning.
Opponent: Ironlander diplomat (Rank 2: Dangerous, that is, he causes 2 harm, and he should have taken two whole progress (out of ten) in damage for every harm against him, but I messed up and counted 1 harm = 1 progress, making the duel a little longer than necessary)
Enter the Fray: [d6: 6] +3 (Heart) = 9 vs. [2d10: 10 og 10] = Miss (at disadvantage, foe has initiative, Pay the Price)
Pay the Price: [d100: 60] = It is harmful (which would have been the obvious choice, but this came from a roll on the table)
Endure harm: [d6: 1] +3 (Health) = 4 vs. [2d10: 2 og 2] = Health ÷2 (now at 3); Strong Hit (I choose to Embrace the pain; gain initiative; +1 Momentum)
Oops, I also forgot that a match on the Challenge Dice introduces a twist. So, for the double 10 (Miss): Members of the tribe join in to support the Ironlander – it is not clear whether they do so out of fear for him, or in opposition to Shiro. The double 2 (Hit): Shadows gather over the tribe’s boats, and a storm breaks out.
Shiro staggers backwards from the Ironlander’s resolute counter-attack that actually makes the renegades in the tribe step in to support him and scold Shiro for making a deceitful sneak attack.But Shiro notices the wind rising and points accusingly at the treasonous tribesmen: “You have sold out your chieftain’s daughter to a wyrm, and now you turn against your returning kinsman as well? Gloom take you! Come, storm! Throw anyone here serving the Ironlanders into the salty sea!”
Compel: [d6: 5] +3 (Heart) +1 (Trickster Asset) +1 (Bond: clan) = 10 vs. [2d10: 7 og 1] = Strong Hit (+1 Momentum)
Shiro doesn’t really command the storm, but she is bluffing, and her strong conviction, with the win tearing her fish skin-robe and braided hair, is enough to make the wily tribesmen rethink their interference in the battle between the Ironlander and the Shadow Wave-warrior.
Ask the Oracle: Ironlander name: Grog
The Ironlander, a hardened veteran named Grogari, has seen a lot and he grip his sword harder. “You will break the word of your tribe to the wyrm? Better for all that I put an end to you here and now, then.” Shiro snorts – the first step of this quest will be the blood of the stranger. They circle each other and suddenly she charges.
Using Sunderer Asset in close quarters; ÷1 Momentum (must be declared before the attack)
Strike: [d6: 2] +2 (Iron) = 4 vs. [2d10: 8 og 5] = Miss (lose Initiative, Pay the Price (well, that was stupid…)
Pay the Price: either Shiro takes a wound (likely) or Grogari throws her to the ground and humiliates her in front of her tribe
Ask the Oracle: [d100: 37] = likely (harm)
Shiro overextends in order to make the best use of her axe – but a sly, old fox, armed with sword giving him better reach costs her another wound.
Endure harm: [d6: 3] +3 (Health) = 6 vs. [2d10: 4 og 5] = Health ÷2 (now at 1); Strong Hit: Embrace the Pain; +1 Momentum (now at 6)
Once again Shiro rolls away – she is really good at slipping out of direct confrontations – this time with a bleeding stab wound just below her clavicle. But she shakes it off and regains initiative.
Her opponent is strong – she cannot back down, but clearly needs an advantage. Shiro gets an idea: The rain is pouring down over the rocky island while the two warriors circle each other. She will attempt to lure him onto a greasy outcropping where he will have poorer balance, and maybe push him into the sea – a fitting fate for this mainland traitor!
Secure an Advantage [d6: 5] +2 (Shadow) +1 (Trickster Asset) = 8 vs. [2d10: 2 og 9] = Weak Hit: +1 Momentum (now at 7)
It’s not perfect, but Shiro manages to position herself near the edge of the rocks, and the Ironlander cannot back down if he wishes to avoid losing face. He knows this is a trap, and his anger flares – if this doesn’t work, she will suffer terrible consequences.
Turn the Tide: once per battle: steal initiative and add +1 to your next move (with a Hit giving +1 Momentum)
Shiro risks it all and attacks with her axe…
Using Sunderer Asset in close quarters; ÷1 Momentum (now at 6)
Strike: [d6: 6] +2 (Iron) +1 (from Turn the tide) = 8 vs. [2d10: 2 og 1] = Strong Hit: Yes! 2 Harm (Dangerous foe), +1 Harm (for Strong Hit), +1 Harm (for Sunderer); +1 Momentum (from Turn the tide) (Momentum now at 7)
Note: I should have marked two full progress against Grogari for each harm, meaning he would already have lost 8 (out of 10), and I could now have skipped directly to End the fight.
For the first time, Shiro sees signs of weakness in Grogari as her axe bites into this mailed side– even though it is a risky attack, the ground beneath him means thast he is unable to answer back, and the force behind the axe blow worsens his footing even more. Time to make an end of it…
Strike: [d6: 3] +2 (Iron) = 5 vs. [2d10: 4 og 1] = Strong Hit: 2 Harm (Dangerous foe) +1 Harm (for Strong Hit); Grogari has now lost a total of 7 Progress (at least counting it the wrong way)
(I should probably have used Sunderer again, but I thought I’d save up Momentum to ensure a Hit).
Shiro steps towards her worthy opponent who, after another couple of hits and a misstep on the slippery stone, rests most of his weight on one leg – but his sword is still held high. She can feel her own exhaustion from the battle, and blood is seeping over her body beneath her clothes – warm, in contrast to the rain and the salty waves of the sea.
End the Fight: Grogari’s progress: 7 vs [2d10: 3 og 5] = Strong Hit (and that’s the end)
“Your blood belongs to the Deep now.” Shiro feints a blow to Grogari’s head, but as he lifts his sword to counter the axe, she kicks the leg from under him. His knee hits the rock, hard, and the pain blinds him for the brief moment that was his only chance to grab ahold of something or control the fall. A cold wave breaks against the rocks, salty water stings in Shiro’s eyes, and when it is wiped away, Grogari has been swallowed by the churning sea.
Shiro turns towards her people that are staring at her with horror, hatred, respect, and fear. The chieftain’s daughter called down the storm and killed the oppressor! Now she must make them tell her what has become of her sister – they cannot have gotten far.
Reach a Milestone: “I will free my sister from the deceitful betrothal to the wyrm!” Mark progress (now at 1)
That was a lot of fun! Even if I made a couple of mistakes rules wise. Next time I will try something a little less condensed (as is often the case with a battle), for instance a social challenge or travel activity.