The Truths of the Forge, pt. 1

All right, then. I was going to give the rulebook a once over before I did anything, but given that much of it is step-by-step instructions, I figured I’d break the dice out and just see what I come up with.

You can follow along on this with your own copy of Ironsworn: Starforged or by downloading the Truths Workbook from the Ironsworn RPG website.

The core idea of the setting is a globular cluster of stars and nebulae called “the Forge,” located above the ecliptic plane of an abandoned galaxy; the people of the Forge are the descendants of those that fled. The initial questions ask, what made those ancients flee, and what is life in the Forge like now?

At each stage, it also suggests a pick from one of the cards in the Assets deck that will help define the character.

1. Cataclysm

I didn’t record the exact roll, but I got between 0 and 33, which states that, “The Sun Plague extinguished the stars in our home galaxy.” I then rolled for the cause, which turned out to be a “Scientific experiment gone awry.”

Now, as someone who believes in the pursuit of science, that’s a bit of a tough one, though I do mind me Spider Robinson tempering his own righteousness on the subject by remembering “Oppy and Teller” placing bets on whether the test-firing of the prototype atomic bomb would ignite the atmosphere (I’d look the quote up except the book, Callahan’s Legacy, I’m pretty sure, is currently packed away pending my move).

I started writing notes about an interstellar society being held back by cynicism, the idea that what we know now is enough. But suddenly, some dialogue leapt to mind:

“All we have to do is be willing to learn. Think about the lives that could be eased, even saved!”

“Save lives? Save lives?! Look out there. Look at that husk of a galaxy, its stars extinguished so long ago that we don’t even see their last light any more. Billions upon billions screaming and dying in the blackness, all because someone wanted to explore where open-mindedness took them. Tell me, then. Tell me how many lives science saved when the stars went out.”

“Ours. It saved ours.”

I set the VESTIGE asset card aside; we’ll see whether I hang onto it when creating the character through whom I’ll go adventuring. It’s an intriguing thought, though – a being found in one of the vessels that fled the Sun Plague, brought out of an impossibly long hypersleep: “You were there. You saw the suns go out. How can you possibly wish to pursue the same course that led to their extinguishing?”

2. Exodus

For this one, I rolled a 68-100, giving me, “Mysterious alien gates provided instantaneous one-way passage to the Forge.” I like the idea of my character attempting to unlock the secret of the gates, perhaps to make travel or communications easier. The OUTCAST card was an easy pick.

3. Communities

While I rolled between 1 and 33, giving me, “Few survived the journey to the Forge, and we are scattered to the winds in this perilous place,” I chose the 34-67 result, “Dangers abound, but there is safety in numbers. Many ships and settlements are united under the banner of one of the Founder Clans.”

The text also says, “Each of the five Founder Clans honor the name and legacy of a leader who guided their people in the chaotic time after the Exodus.” What are the names of the Clans, I wonder? Regardless, I like the idea of there being some sort of power structure in the Forge that my character may be pushing back against. The VOIDBORN card was my pick here.

4. Iron

This is the “Ironsworn” bit of Ironsworn: Starforged. The core character idea is that the character has sworn an oath on iron, in the form of an item they carry, whether a small token or a sword. The exploration of the character’s attempt to fulfil that oath is the core of the fiction I’ll be creating.

I rolled, “Iron vows are sworn upon totems crafted from the enigmatic metal we call black iron.” but chose, “Iron vows are sworn upon the remnants of ships that carried our people to the Forge.” I like the idea that the token my character carries is the last remnant of the ship he was found aboard before it was taken away and stripped for recycling, any higher-tech parts confiscated or destroyed.

No card pick here, as BANNERSWORN didn’t hold my interest.

5. Laws

I rolled, “Laws and governance vary across settled domains, but bounty hunters are given wide latitude to pursue their contracts. Their authority is almost universally recognized, and supersedes local laws.” but chose, “Our communities are bound under the terms of the Covenant, a charter established after the Exodus. The organization called the Keepers is sworn to uphold those laws.”

I like the idea that my character is on the run from the Keepers, who have been tasked with stopping him from encouraging exploration and discovery. the FUGITIVE asset card was therefore my selection from the offered options.

6. Religion

A roll of 21 (yes, I actually started writing my dice rolls own here) gave me, “Our gods failed us. We left them behind.” I found this attractive; I may believe that religion has its issues, but I’m starting to discover the power of faith, perhaps decoupled from a deity or other supernatural entity; faith in ourselves, each other and even, perhaps, the future – standing under without being subservient.

7. Magic

16 on the dice gave me, “Magic does not exist.” This I was okay with; I sometimes struggle with the supernatural in games (I found it a challenge in the superb heist game, Blades in the Dark) so I’m happy for it to not be a major factor here.

What’s next?

In the next post, I’ll detail the following seven steps of the Truths Workbook and my choices therein!

3 thoughts on “The Truths of the Forge, pt. 1

  1. Pingback: The Truths of the Forge, pt. 2 - GM Radio Rob

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