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Ironsworn: A Tabletop RPG Of Perilous Quests

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4.54  ·  Rating details ·  121 ratings  ·  26 reviews
In the Ironsworn tabletop roleplaying game, you are a hero sworn to undertake perilous quests in the dark fantasy setting of the Ironlands. You will explore untracked wilds, fight desperate battles, forge bonds with isolated communities, and reveal the secrets of this harsh land.

Are you ready to swear iron vows and see them fulfilled—no matter the cost?
Hardcover, Print-on-demand hardcover, 260 pages
Published May 1st 2018 by Shawn Tomkin
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Fraser Simons
Ironsworn is a Powered by the Apocalypse game with a bunch of inspirations that make for a really elegant design. It puts an emphasis on undertaking quests in a dark fantasy world that can be tweaked to a groups tastes.

If you’re familiar with PbtA games, you’ll find a lot of moves; more than I generally like in a design. But the structure helps manage the cognitive load. Each set aside for a journey or combat, etc.

The major selling point for this game is the single player, co-op, or traditiona
...more
Paolo Zanella
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A truly well-designed narrative RPG, adopting the moves from the Apocalypse Engine and solid features to support GM-less play. And it works really well. Drawing inspiration from the Mythic Game Master Emulator Ironsworn offers a lot of setting specific tables to roll on when you don't know what happens next, who is you're talking to, what dangers you face, etc.
Brilliant. I'm starting and documenting a solo play right now, hoping to draw the wife in.
And it is Pay What you want.
Thank you Shawn Tom
...more
Terry
Dec 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, games
Ironsworn is a tabletop fantasy roleplaying game designed by Shawn Tomkin that utilizes the ‘powered by the apocalypse (PbtA)’ framework for its mechanics. This means that it is centered around the concept of “moves” which a character can (or must) undertake. It is highly story-driven, utilizing the moves to clarify what happens during key points of the narrative. Moves are defined in the book with the mechanics that lie behind them spelled out, along with any positive or negative effects that r ...more
Mark Austin
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
From first looking at the character sheet before even cracking the rulebook, I knew this was something special. I don't know how I knew, but having read dozens to maybe hundreds of RPG books something just clicked. My intuition was correct and here's a few reasons why:

Everything has a story hook. Make a settlement? What's interesting or vital or relevant about it to the story? NPC - same. Each creature has a bit left blank for the players to fill in about its connection to the world and backstor
...more
Dylan
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ironsworn is much smoother and fun than I could have possibly expected. I went into the my first solo-session assuming that it would be a fun thought experiment on what can be done to shake up my own preconceptions about RPGs. A couple sessions into my own Ironsworn campaign and I am delighted by the smoothness of the mechanics and fiction flowing into one another. This is a brilliant addition to the broad Powered-by-the-Apocalypse canon and everyone should at the very least read through it. You ...more
Tomcat
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful book, nicely edited and great layout. Outstanding rules for solo, co-op or GM play. This book and rules will help to drive the narrative of your RPG game, crafting great stories than you can use later in other adventures and campaigns. One of the most simple but clever game mechanics and conflict resolution I've ever seen in an RPG. Outstanding, a must-have in your library, highly recommended. ...more
Iggi
Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
I may adjust my rating after playing, but after just reading the thing, it seems like a well organized guide to a kind of game that fills a niche in my TTRPG repertoire.

Gritty fantasy? ✔️
Dark magics? ✔️
Themes of migration and colonialism? ✔️
Fronted and consistently represented by people other than burly, beardy men? ✔️
Richard
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite RP Games of all time. I find myself playing it more than any other game in my collection. Ironsworn is supported by a friendly author and one of the most welcoming communities I've ever been lucky enough to be a part of. ...more
Jeffery B Lopez
Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic resource for creative writing and group storytelling.
Ferio
Apr 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
He leído este manual para unirme a una partida durante el confinamiento. El trasfondo no es de mis favoritos (¿A Song of Ice and Fire + Vikings?) y las fotos de personas muy atractivas según el canon occidental actual que lo pueblan no me ayudan a meterme en harina, ¡pero que los árboles no nos tapen el bosque!

El sistema puede ser un poco confuso si se es jugador de RPG tradicionales, ¿o quizá no? Aquí, en vez de tener tus atributos y habilidades en una hoja, hay un juego de cartas que explican
...more
Alex
Oct 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So much gaming goodness in here.
* Ask the Oracle gives prompts for where the story might lead when I feel it's not obvious. It's a perfect tool/engine for getting that "tv episodic twist" that gives me — the viewer — what I didn't know I wanted. From a solo perspective though it gives me that twist while still fitting into my own expectation for what I want.

It's collaborative gaming without other people if I want that.
...more
Warren Cann
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, gaming
Well written and beautifully organised RPG. I doubt that I will play it, but I will borrow lots of ideas! Liked this statement a lot... ‘Without story, the game is an exercise in rolling dice. Without mechanics, your story lacks choices, consequences and surprises.’ The PDF is free too!
Brad Ellis
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Set in a harsh country known as The Ironlands, Shawn Tomkin has created a low-fantasy role-playing game system that allows for fictional narrative framing to both add to and be part of the game's mechanics.

In Ironsworn, players portray competent-yet-flawed characters who swear vows on pieces of iron (blades, coins, pendants...iron is their most valued and revered commodity) which come to be known as "Iron Vows". These vows are the plot mechanics which set the players' goals and move the story f
...more
Jason Vanhee
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great game, as written, and it sounds like it will play well. I like the reflavoring/updating of the Powered by the Apocalypse base into something unique and a little clunkier. The rules focus is heavier than a typical PbtA, which I prefer a few more rules honestly. The setting is only sketched out but is both familiar and evocative enough to work well. Great use of inclusive art and writing.
Mike Rowlands
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The most interesting book/game/creative tool ive come across in years.

Its essentially an RPG game that is focused mainly on solo or gm less role playing.

It has a fairly straight forward system based on swearing vows (quests) and using a system of moves to try and complete the vow and deal with the random events that crop up.

The story, the quests, the random events all have to be driven by you. There is a set of oracle tables that help make decisions from time to time but it works best when you h
...more
Memphis
May 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Marika is a ninsunu--one of a pair of living sacrifices that have kept the Undying at bay for a generation. When the other living sacrifice goes missing, she joins forces with the wolf-like varou to investigate the murder and make a perilous journey to sanctify the new ninsunu.

^That is the story I was able to create and play thru ALL ON MY OWN with the very cool solo play option of Ironsworn. That was about four hours of exploring the world building framework of Ironsworn and trying to learn and
...more
Krzysztof
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ironsworn offers a coherent world (or, rather, a set of assumptions about the setting) that pushes just the right buttons for me, and a ruleset that might just be the first Apocalypse World inspired mechanic that actually speaks to me. The added fact that this is first and foremost a solo RPG is intriguing, and the fact that the PDF is free to download is just icing on the cake.

Will soon check this out, but first impressions after reading it are extremely positive!
Re:no
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Ironsworn is not d&d. If you try and make it d&d it will not be a fun game for you. If you want to play a more narative driven game that self propels it's players at goals that they make for themselves then you will enjoy this game. It has a solo play mode that is amazing. It's completely free. Go get this game. ...more
Craig Stilabower
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a great solo RPG. Free in pdf. Amazing role play and will make you a better DM/GM/Keeper
Kenneth
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really intuitive rules make this a great supplement for story telling in groups, a pair, or alone.
John
Jul 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Interesting game that melds concepts from the Apocalypse World engine and the Mythic GM emulator.

At first glance it seems to break some of what I consider to be best practices when designing a Powered by the Apocalypse game, but that's because the focus is not really the setting. I don't know if this is technically a PbtA game, because the core mechanic differs, but I think it's close enough to count.

That core mechanic uses a d6 plus modifiers to beat two separated d10 rolls. If you beat one it'
...more
Neil
Sep 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recently have begun a campaign of Ironsworn, and it is an excellent narrative system for the kind of fantasy I enjoy... dark, gritty... sinew and iron vs. the wild and forsaken. This is not the cartoonish bloat that is D&D, but a level of sword and sorcery grounded in a faux-viking culture, with a very focused approach to vows, quests and the grim life of harsh adventure.

Flavor and feel is excellent, and supported by a level of procedure and structure often lacking in PbtA derived games. Becaus
...more
Antonio Soto Patiño
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excelente sistema de juego de rol en solitario, con el que escribes y disfrutas tu propia historia, y un muy elaborado sistema para que la aventura sea flexible y con giros y momentos creativos. Gran conjunción de libertad creativa con un esquema con el que te guías a ti mismo como director de juego o game master.
Joe Nehmer
Dec 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rpg
Ironsworn is an excellent fantasy roleplaying game that can be played solo or with others. It is essentially a story builder pushing your own ideas in new directions and exciting twists that you might not have come up with on your own. The rules aren't too difficult, but with enjoy depth that makes the game shine. ...more
Brian
Oct 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: role-playing
Fast read, well organized, with lots of great examples. I'm really looking forward to trying a solo campaign. ...more
Martin Gehrke
Jan 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Must have solo RPG.
Marc-André Durocher
rated it it was amazing
Feb 24, 2020
Tino
rated it really liked it
Jan 24, 2021
Daemor
rated it really liked it
Dec 17, 2019
Juan Miranda
rated it it was amazing
Aug 20, 2019
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