A solo Ironsworn: Starforged run

A break
  • Make camp. 1, 8 vs 4 + 5 supply = 9. Strong hit. Recuperate: +1 health for Gethin and Pebble (now at 5 and 4). Focus: +1 momentum (now 3).

Gethin wakes, with a start, to find Pebble between him and one of the raiders, growling. The raider is bound, and Asha sits on a log nearby.

“Ready to go? Only Selva here survived your staff,” she says, gesturing to the prisoner, “but that’s fine with me.”

“So we’ll be bringing in another one.” Gethin smiles grimly. “Let’s go.”

Asha tells Gethin that she learned of a coming raid and left Summersong to scout. Unfortunately, she ran into a whole clan, not just a raid, and was discovered and overpowered. The raiders then dispersed to loot the countryside–which is how Gethin ran into a lone raider earlier, and a guard of only three now.

“The Black Fangs have been increasingly active recently, which is also why you haven’t seen any caravans from the Flooded Lands up your way. When we get back to Summersong, we can probably get a location out of Selva here and your friend Lago. Either a caravan they hit, or a cache of the goods they stole. Hopefully that will get you your swamp mandrake. It would be the least I could do for you.”

The journey back to Summersong is quick and uneventful. The people are much relieved to see Asha back, and a little sheepish at having turned Gethin away. With Selva and Lago in separate cells in the dungeon, Asha and Gethin try a little “good warden, bad warden”.

In Summersong
  • Return to Summersong with Asha: Reach a waypoint on Missing Mandrake. +2 progress (now 4).
  • Question the raiders: Compel (threaten). 4, 9 vs 6 + 2 iron + 1 bonus from Asha = 9. Weak hit.

They are unable to get clear information on where the Black Fangs have been keeping their spoils, but Selva claims to be able to lead them to the remains of their largest score–only a few days old at this point, the goods might even still be there. It’ll have to do.

Gethin asks Asha to come along, but she says she’ll be too busy organizing Summersong’s defense and recovery. “But you’ll always have a welcome here,” she reminds him. “And I consider you a friend now. After you cure the blight in your home, we could use your help again–if we can survive the Black Fangs, we’ll then have to survive the winter.”

Departing Summersong
  • Forge a bond (Asha). 5, 4 vs 5 + 1 (heart) = 6. Strong hit. (Allow reroll due to rescue.) +1 spirit (already at 5), +2 momentum (now 5).

  • Swear an Iron Vow to help Summersong. 10, 10 vs 6 + 1 heart + 1 bond = 8. Miss, match. (On tens!!!) -2 momentum (now 3). Oracle: “Unexpected powers or abilities are revealed.”

  • Try again: Swear an Iron Vow. 1, 9 vs 1 + 1 heart = 2. Weak hit. +1 momentum (now 4).

  • New Vow: See Summersong Survive (formidable).

  • New Vow: Discover the identity of the Black Fang leader (troublesome).

“I swear it, that I shall return and see Summersong through the winter,” Gethin intones, grabbing the blade of Asha’s sword and drawing blood. As he does, lightning strikes a distant hilltop, though there is not a cloud in the sky. Selva, manacled, lets out a rough laugh.

“You can try, goatherd, but you have no idea what you’re up against. She’ll barely notice you. After I show you the caravan site, I’m running as far as I can.”

The prisoner refuses any more detail–he’s more scared of “her” than Gethin. Fine, thinks Gethin, I’ll show him. If I have to discover who this is to see Summersong survive, I will.

Gethin is not sure what, exactly, he’s gotten himself into. Well, perhaps Elstan or Kataka will have some idea… when he gets back with the mandrake, that is.

Ed note: With the 1% chance of double tens, I figured I had to make something dramatic happen, but I couldn’t really think of anything exciting. The Oracle roll reminded me that there’s always some kind of big baddie behind the scenes, so I figured it was time to add one that will tie it all together (including some of the setting and background vow that I’ve omitted from these writeups). Of course, I’m not exactly sure how she’s going to do that…

Mine arrived today! No photos because Santa’s helper grabbed the box before I could get to it, so I have to wait until next Sunday.

It probably looks a lot like mine which came on Friday!

Its quite nice

Damn those elves.

Looking good!

Woohoo! Mine got here this morning, and everything is physically nicer than I had expected. The illustrations look so much better than they did on a computer screen. I can’t wait to play!

Looking for the caravan
  • Gather Information. 1, 6 vs 4 + 2 wits + 1 hound = 7. Strong hit. +2 momentum (to 6).

With Selva guiding, the path to the caravan site is easily found and followed. Indeed, the remains of the wagons still contain some of the original goods. Why the Black Fang are so wasteful is puzzling, but, well, raiders–what do you expect?

Getting some help
  • Compel (threaten). 1, 9 vs 5 + 2 iron = 7. Weak hit.
  • Gather Information. 9, 10 vs 5 + 2 wits + 1 hound + 1 Selva = 9. Miss.

“All right, now help me find any swamp mandrake, yeah? Or I’ll just tie you to the wagons here and let your scary lady find you.”

“Untie me, and I’ll help you, and then I’m gone.”


Despite the raider’s aid in the search, nothing. Whatever else they may have left behind, it wasn’t mandrake. Surely they’re not collecting it themselves?

“Look, you seem like a good kid,” says Selva as the day wears on, “whatever it was you hit me with on that staff. As far as I know the clan was just coming up here for some of the usual loot and burn, but there’s probably something more going on. If you really want the mandrake, go south. We hit some more caravans and villages, yeah, and eventually you’ll get to the Flooded Lands, yeah? But for now, I’m gone.”

And he is. Shit, thinks Gethin. Pebble whines.

Heading south
  • Undertake a journey south, to find mandrake (troublesome). 3, 8 vs 3 + 2 wits = 5. Weak hit. -1 supply/4. 3 progress/3.

  • Gather information. 2, 10 vs 5 + 2 wits + 1 hound = 8. Weak hit. Complication: return to Olgar’s stand will require a journey (troublesome). +1 momentum/7.

Gethin heads south. The going is slow, as he stops frequently to search.

Nothing yet. Gethin finds increasing evidence of disarray as he follows what must have been the path of the raiding band, in reverse.

Further south...
  • Undertake a journey. 7, 9 vs 6 + 2 wits = 8. Weak hit. -1 supply/3. 3 progress/6.

  • Gather information. 5, 10 vs 5 + 2 wits + 1 hound = 8. Weak hit. Complication: return journey will be dangerous. +1 momentum/8.

  • Undertake a journey. 3, 7 vs 2 + 2 wits = 4. Weak hit. -1 supply/2. 3 progress/9.

  • Reach your destination. 6, 8 vs 9 progress. Strong hit. +1 to the next move.

Still nothing. Gethin is getting worryingly far south. Until… this is it! Gethin finds a cache–whether from the Black Fang hiding their ill-gotten gains, or locals or travelers trying to protect their own, it has mandrake. Will it be enough?

Scrounging the swamp mandrake
  • Resupply. 6, 9 vs 3 + 2 wits + 1 prior = 6. Weak hit. +2 supply/5, -2 momentum/5.
  • Reach a Milestone (missing mandrake). +2 progress, now 6.

It takes the better part of a day, but Pebble manages to sniff out enough swamp mandrake to fill Gethin’s pack. It is time to head back.

Ed. Note: It ended up taking a lot of time for poor Gethin to track down the mandrake. I was hoping to find some in the caravan, but rolling a miss on an action total of 9 was a pretty clear message that there was none to be found there! I’m not sure what the appropriate moves were for the rest of the search, so I just kind of winged it with a journey and some information gathering. I’ve just read the (free part of the) rules for Delve, and I think that framework would have been nice to use here. I do think that requiring a return journey to Olgar’s Stand, and upping the difficulty as Gethin had to go further and further south was an appropriate mechanical invention and it certainly built some tension for me.

I got the box a couple days ago but my wife wouldn’t let me open it, so I opened it this morning as a Christmas gift to myself! Very nice looking, going to enjoy poking through these books.

Yeah, it’s an outstanding looking package @BiggerBoat has managed to put together. Very impressive. I’ll even start actually playing it soon…!

The day after Christmas, some good reading by the fireplace.

Thank you all! Happy holidays! Really appreciate the support. Getting US fulfillment going was maxing out the stress meter, so really happy to see most of them landing just under the wire for Christmas.

Yeah, I had resigned myself to it being delayed beyond the holiday so this was great.

This is later, rolling up the universe:

The long road home
  • Undertake a journey back to Olgar’s Stand (dangerous) . 2, 5 vs 4 + 2 wits = 6. Strong hit. +2 progress/2.
  • Make camp. 3, 5 vs 6 + 5 supply = 10. Strong hit. Focus: +1 momentum/6. Prepare: +1 to next journey move.

Gethin and Pebble make quick time, getting back to the caravan site with plenty of time left in the day. They set up camp, making a quick stew from a river fish and some nearby herbs. Gethin plans out the remainder of the return journey, and gets a full rest.

  • Undertake a journey. 5, 6 vs 4 + 2 wits + 1 prior = 7. Strong hit. +2 progress/6
  • Undertake a journey. 2, 9 vs 4 + 2 wits = 6. Weak hit. +2 progress/8. -1 supply/4.
  • Reach your destination. 4, 9 vs 8 progress = Weak hit. Complication.

The land is now familiar. Pebble trots along, happy to be coming home, until she catches a scent and stops short, growling softly. They are in the hills now, and coming over the next rise, Gethin spots a pair of raiders–Black Fang scouts, to judge by their gear. Fear rises in Gethin: if they are this far north, already… and if these two find Olgar’s Stand, and report it as a potential target… Gethin will just have to make sure that doesn’t happen. He begins with the now-familiar blood rune.

  • Leech. 3, 6 vs 6 + 2 iron. Strong hit.

Excellent. Now can he get to the high ground?

  • Secure an Advantage (agility). 5, 8 vs 3 + 3 edge = 6. Weak hit. +1 momentum (7).
  • Enter the fray (facing off) vs pair of raiders (formidable). 5, 10 vs 4 + 1 heart = 5. Miss. -1 momentum / 6. Lose initiative.

He makes it, but they are charging towards him, and he is forced to backpedal under their attacks.

  • Clash (staff/simple weapon). 6, 10 vs 6 + 3 edge + 1 long-arm. Weak hit. +1 momentum (long-arm)/8. Suffer 3 harm, inflict 1 harm/1 progress.
  • Endure harm (3). -3 health/2. 3, 6 vs 5 + 2 iron = 7. Strong hit. -1 momentum/7, +1 health/3. Take initiative.

They trade blows. The first raider slashes lands a slash with the sword, but the pain energizes Gethin (or, perhaps, his runed staff) and he knocks the raider back.

  • Strike (staff/deadly weapon). 4, 10 vs 4 → long-arm reroll 5, 5, vs 2. Burn momentum for Strong Hit, reset to 2. Inflict 2 weapon + 1 strong hit + 2 leech = 5 harm = 5 progress/6. +2 health/5, +3 momentum/5.

Gethin follows with a blow straight to the head. The skin breaks and the staff sucks blood. He is down, and Gethin turns to his remaining foe. Pebble growls.

  • Secure an advantage (precision). 4, 9 vs 5 + 3 edge = 8. Weak hit. +1 momentum/6.

Gethin feints with the top of his staff and then hooks the raider’s foot with the bottom. He stumbles, but does not go down.

  • Strike (staff/simple weapon). 7, 7 vs 2 + 3 edge + 1 long-arm = 6. Miss, match. Lose initiative.
  • Companion Endure Harm (3). 1 health. 9, 10 vs 4 + 1 health = 5. Miss. -1 momentum/5.

Gethin strikes again, but the raider dives out of the way–directly at Pebble. He stabs her, and she panics and bolts, trailing blood.

  • Clash (staff/simple weapon). 1, 4 vs 2 + 3 edge + 1 long-arm = 6. Strong hit. Inflict 1 harm = 1 progress/7. +2 momentum/7. Take initiative.

Furious, Gethin assaults the man, landing blows and forcing him back.

  • Strike (staff/deadly weapon). 3, 3 vs 2 + 2 iron = 4. Strong hit, match. Inflict 3 harm = +3 progress/10.
  • End the fight. 1, 9 vs 10 progress = Strong hit.

Ed. note: That one started off awkwardly–Gethin is rarely going to directly start a fight to his advantage, with 1 Heart, but pretty early on I missed a strike, then missed the re-roll, and had to burn momentum. Of course, I should probably get in the habit of burning momentum more often as it tends to get up to 9 or 10 and sit there for a while. The fight was not without cost as now Gethin has to find and heal Pebble, though perhaps so close to home, some help is available…

I make this mistake too. I tend to hoard momentum like I would health potions in Skyrim.

Any dates in when the physical book will be available again? By the time I was ready to pull the trigger on it they were out of print. I’d thought you could only get them if you’d kickstarted but then saw them available and when I went back a couple of weeks later to order, poof, they were gone. I have the pdf but would really like this in book form. Along with the other doodads.

From the most recent Kickstarter update:

Starforged Launches into Retail

I’ve partnered with Modiphius for retail distribution and online sales of Starforged, and the release date is just a few days away — January 27th! Please share the word, including with your favorite local game store!

That’s today!


Those raiders won’t be reporting back any time soon… or ever. Pebble most likely headed home to lick her wounds, and indeed Gethin finds her towards the outskirts of Olgar’s Stand, with a familiar face comforting her.

“Kataka! We’re back! And we have the mandrake! And–”

“Slow down, Gethin, I don’t remember talking to you about any mandrake, and Pebble here needs our help first. We will come to the rest of it in time.”

A homecoming
  • Heal. 1, 8 vs 2 + 2 wits = 4 Weak hit. (Allow reroll due to aid from Kataka.) +2 health to Pebble/3 and -1 momentum/4.
  • Reach a milestone on Missing Mandrake, +2 progress/8.
  • Fulfill Your Vow on Missing Mandrake. 3, 8 vs 8 progress. Weak hit. 1 experience.
  • Reach a milestone on The Blight. +2 progress/6.

After tending to Pebble and taking in Gethin’s story, Kataka summarizes: “So Elstan–who wasn’t abducted by raiders, after all–sent you on a chase, but in the end his prescription for the Blight is swamp mandrake. Well, I can’t say that I’m surprised by any of it, other than the mysterious Black Fang leader your captive was so scared of. Though I’ll admit that a lightning strike on a cloudless day is a nice bit of theatrics.”

She continues, “Though I’ve run into a bit of a problem here. While you were gone, I’ve been able to stall the blight, but not reverse it. And the fine folks of Olgar’s Stand have decided that I must be the problem.” She holds up a hand to stop Gethin’s indignant response. “And I can hardly blame desperate people from acting on their fears, misplaced as they may be. You’re going to have to be the one to undo the curse, though I think with the mandrake and a few pointers from me you can more or less get it done. There still won’t be enough food for the winter, but perhaps you can use that to further your other goal: tell them that Summersong needs help, and can feed people who’ll fight against the Black Fang–and show them the gear of those two raiders you so handily dispatched to convince them of the urgency.”

“And what about you, what will you do?”

“Head south. The blight and this mysterious Black Fang activity could be a coincidence, but it feels wrong. I’m going to ask around about this new leader they have. Since you’ll be heading back to Summersong, meet me there.”

“One more thing–have you seen Elstan? He was supposed to meet me here.”

“Ha! No, I’ve seen neither hide nor hair of that one.”

Before they part, Kataka instructs Gethin on how to deploy the swamp mandrake, and what the villagers will need to do to reclaim their land from the curse.

Preparing the cure
  • Gather Information. (learning from Kataka) 2, 6 vs 3 + 2 wits + 1 bond (Kataka) = 6. Weak hit. +1 momentum/5.
  • Secure an advantage. (study the course of the blight near Olgar’s Stand and develop a plan). 6, 6 vs 5 + 2 wits = 7. Strong hit, match. +2 momentum / 7.
  • Reach a milestone on The Blight. +2 progress/8.

While Gethin doesn’t quite follow all the reasoning behind Kataka’s explanations, once he visits the blighted lands himself and applies the mandrake–combined with the other supplies Kataka left with him–it becomes clear. In fact, he quickly manages to restore a good swath of dead farmland to health; well, to fertility, anyway. Emboldened, he takes his case to the people of Olgar’s Stand.

A chapter closes
  • Compel (the people of Olgar’s Stand to fight the Blight). 7, 8 vs 6 + 1 heart + 1 bond = 8. Weak hit. Going off book here: +1 progress on the Blight/9.
  • Fulfill Your Vow on The Blight. 1, 2 vs 9: Strong hit. +2 experience/4.
  • Sojourn. 3, 2 vs 5 + 1 heart + 1 bond = 7. (Allow reroll for fulfilled vow). Strong hit. +1 Pebble health/4; +2 momentum/9.
  • Advance Hound and Long-Arm for 4 experience (2 each)–zero unused experience remaining.

Gethin convinces some of the villagers of his plan. It’s slower than he’d like, but eventually they get it cleaned up. And then, finally, Gethin is home.

But… things are not what they used to be. When he looks at his trusty staff, he cannot help but remember the miles and miles it has carried him–further in the last weeks than all his previous years. (When you Undertake a Journey and score a strong hit, or if you accompany an ally who scores a strong hit on that move, your staff provides support and comfort in your travels; take +1 momentum.) Pebble, too, seems changed; while no stranger to intimidation and occasional violence when protecting Gethin’s goats, she now has a ferocity Gethin never saw before. (Ferocious: When you Strike or Clash alongside your hound and score a hit, inflict +1 harm or take +1 momentum.) And his herd is still gone, and the people are still angry and scared. When they ask him what he saw, to the south, he carefully mentions the situation at Summersong. Finally, one evening at the communal hall, he lays it out directly.

“The Black Fang are a threat to us all,” he proclaims as he drops the raider’s swords on the table. “They are behind the curse that blighted our lands and herds. These swords come from two of their raiders I found just past our hills. Summersong has a stout wall, but if they cannot hold off the Black Fang, Eaglespire and Olgar’s Stand are next. I ask any who are strong and willing to come south with me, and meet the threat head on.” The villagers shift uncomfortably in their seats. “Plus, they have food.” Well, I hope so, he thinks.

Ed. note: My first real rules gripe is that getting a weak hit on Fulfill Your Vow reduces the experience you get. I guess I understand it, thematically, but experience is so rare (at least for me) that it’s a real feel-bad moment. Other than that, though, a satisfying close of the first chapter. I’m excited to see if I can put Gethin’s more-comfortable staff and more-ferocious hound to use. I think it’s also time for Gethin to try to take more control of his life, instead of just being sent on errands by Wardens.

Leave for Summersong
  • Compel (a group of villagers to come to aid Summersong). 2, 4 vs 6 + 1 heart + 1 bond = 8. Strong hit. +1 momentum/10.
  • Reach a milestone on See Summersong Survive. +1 progress/1.
  • Undertake a Journey to Summersong (troublesome, we’ve already been there). 5, 9 vs 1 + 2 wits + 1 bond = 4. Miss. Pay the Price (15): You are separated from something or someone. Someone runs off with food, -1 supply/3.

That seems to do it. Whether they are motivated by fear, vengeance, or the prospect of a hungry winter, a group of Olgar’s Stand’s ablest (and some not-so-able) citizens agree to head south with Gethin.

The journey south does not have an auspicious beginning. Barely a day into their travels, the group has shrunk by at least one person and a considerable amount of food. Whether they head back to Olgar’s Stand and hope to survive the winter with it, or try to sell it to the hungry, Gethin can’t know, but he calls an early halt to set up camp for the night.

A battlefield
  • Make Camp. 1, 10 vs 6 + 3 supply = 9 Weak hit. Prepare: +1 to next journey.
  • Undertake a Journey (toward Summersong). 6, 10 vs 5 + 2 wits + 1 previous = 8. Weak hit. +3 progress/3. -1 supply/2. Oracle for the location: Cold Battlefield.
  • Resupply (scavenge the battlefield). 6, 8 vs 2 + 2 wits = 4. Miss. -1 momentum/9.

The next day fares better. Supplies continue to dwindle, unavoidably, but progress is fast. They happen upon the remains of an old battle–more of a raid, really. It appears that some small group of people–merchants or wanderers or the like–met with violence as they entered the forest. Not much is left, just some broken wagons and destroyed goods, but perhaps something of worth can be scavenged.

After an hour of fruitless searching, they are left empty handed and demoralized.

A tree
  • Undertake a Journey (toward Summersong). 4, 10 vs 4 + 2 wits = 6. Weak hit. +3 progress/6. -1 supply/1. Oracle for location: Strange Tree.
  • Resupply (gather from the tree). 2, 5 vs 5 + 2 wits = 7. Strong hit. +2 supply/3.

The next days’ travel brings the band to a tall tree standing by itself in the middle of an open field. The tree is unfamiliar to Gethin, but one of the villagers, Lestara, claims that its leaves are edible, the fruit delicious, and the bark can be brewed for a restorative tea. With supplies running low, Gethin figures that they might as well give it a shot–and indeed, it seems Lestara is right.

  • Undertake a Journey (toward Summersong). 3, 5 vs 6 + 2 wits = 8; Strong hit. +3 progress/9. Long-arm: +1 momentum/10.
  • Reach your destination (Summersong). 6, 10 vs 9 progress Weak hit. Complication: Kataka is not at Summersong.
  • Reach a milestone on See Summersong Survive. +1 progress/2.

I tried a short journey to Summersong, relying on the oracle to add some brief flavor to the waypoints. I think it worked well. I intentionally kept the rewards/penalties for the journey simple to keep up the pace. Now that Gethin is at Summersong, and Kataka isn’t, we’ll have to figure out where to go next.

Very well! You’re great at this!

Aw, shucks. :)

What I actually meant, though, was that it worked well for me as a player, in that I enjoyed it. Glad to hear it translated well to the screen!

Side note: I’m now completely caught up to what I’ve actually played (no more notes waiting to be transcribed). What this means is (a) updates will slow down and (b) if anyone has suggestions, now’s the time!