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Iron kingdoms RPG musings


This week we will discuss role playing, since I finally got my copy of the IK RPG, I will eventually GM a new role playing campaign with it and writing stuff down helps sorting out my thoughts. As most people who got the IK book, the first thing I did was creating new characters and working out combos, but since this time around I’ll be managing the games, rather than playing in them, I decided to try a slightly different approach. I took the party of my playing group’s last role playing campaign (from roughly 2 years ago) and tried to retrofit those characters into the IK RPG system…

 

Heroes of old

As an introduction to the original characters (and their interactions), here is a short comic I made for the home page of that campaign (this was an actual session in the middle of that campaign). Side note: This was a ‘home brew clockwork setting’, while the combat/skill system revolved around FUDGE dice (four D6, each with two plusses, two minuses and two blank faces; four plusses or minuses cause critical hits/misses and increase your skill level in whatever you were rolling the check for; you will see them popping up in the comic…)

A new beginning

Originally we were a group of classic adventurers looking for trouble, but as the campaign progressed, we ended up mainly doing investigation work for the authorities or commissions for wealthy nobles, so if we were to continue our adventures in the Iron kingdoms, we would most likely start out as a group of intrepid investigators.

The requirement for it is that each character must have at least one career from the following: Alchemist, Arcane mechanic, Arcanist, Aristocrat, Explorer, Investigator, Military officer, Priest or Spy. The benefits are a 100 gold coins monthly pay (nifty) and (in my opinion much more importantly) the ability to gain the +1 on attack and damage rolls from two intellectual characters at the same time.

 

Baldric Kent

The player was new to pen and paper role playing and made it pretty clear that he wanted to play a min/maxed ‘melee tank’, akin to the Paladin class from Diablo 2. When he got in character he kept pretty close to the archetypical ‘Lawful-Good’ mind set, creating some funny interactions with the rest of the party, that was more of the ‘Chaotic’ type…

Anyway, knowing the player, in IK RPG terms he would certainly take the Mighty archetype with Beat back or Revitalize (since he rushed in the fray first, he often got pretty bloodied early and spent all his healing tricks to keep from dying…) as his archetype benefits. Next he would most likely take the Knight-Aristocrat career combo, since it is the closest he can get to a classic RPG paladin, without taking the Gifted archetype, to gain access to the Priest career (muscle was always more relevant than magic to him).

He would start out with Hand weapons 2, Shield 1, Rifle 1 (useful for using Cannon-shields, like the Man-o-Wars…), Cleave and Defender as his combat skills/abilities, while his Aristocratic skill set would help in non-violent situations… Since this is mainly a ‘tank’, he would spend his early advancements on Load bearing, Shield proficiency 2 and Defensive line and dump his occupational skill points into whatever social skills he fancied at the time…

 

Raztrelnikov Hudajeza

As you can see in the comic, this character was a scruffy sorcerer-alchemist with a propensity for drinking, miscasting and tactically retreating (shamelessly fleeing) whenever a combat went south.  As such he spent most battles hiding behind my character, throwing bombs and attempting to cast spells…

Now, in the Iron kingdoms he wouldn’t really change much: he would absolutely take the Gifted archetype and the Fire Sorcerer-Alchemist careers, with Combat caster or Quick cast feat (to cast a Fire wall or later an Ashen cloud to hide behind before the combat started) as benefits.

At the beginning he would have 3 fire spells (Fire wall, Fire starter and Howling flames), Fire immunity, Poison resistance, Grenadier, Hand weapons 2 and Thrown weapons 1 as relevant combat skill and a wide array of crafting skills from his occupations. Later he’d spend his advancement points into Thrown weapons 2 and extra spells (Ignite and Ashen cloud seem like strong picks), while investing occupational skill points into Sneaking, Alchemy and other crafting skills (our group always liked crafting a lot…).

 

Baffo Beardson (my character)

Conceived as a short range ‘bomber/tank’. my role in the team was acting as body guard to our more frail characters (the sorcerer and the bard), while supporting the fighters of the group with a barrage of alchemical grenades. As with the previous character, things didn’t change much with the ‘phase  jump’ to the Iron kingdoms.

Since I am primarily a crafter (and the Intrepid investigators double intellectual bonus), I chose the Intellectual archetype with the Genius benefit (boosted intelligence checks for all my crafting attempts!!!) to augment the Alchemist-Man at arms career combo (the Man-at-arms career is useful to better fulfil the ‘body guard role’ and to carry my signature tower shield from the start).

With this set up I would start with Hand weapons 2, Shield 1, Thrown weapons 1, Defensive line, Shield guard, Load bearing (racial benefit), Grenadier and Poison resistance, besides a bunch of other crafting occupational skills. Levelling up I’d take Fast cook (halves the time requirements for alchemy crafts, doubling up my grenade production potential), Shields 2 and Girded (so I can literally drop grenades while engaged and ignore the blast damage like a boss…).

 

Eros Tanathos

This was the most challenging character to fit in the IK careers line up, since there isn’t really a human bard equivalent (the trollkin Fell caller is probably the best parallel). My best approximation of a classic bard ended up being an Intellectual Military officer and Thief combination with Battlefield coordinator or the feat Plan of action as archetype benefits. Basically it is a support character that buffs friendlies in his command area, both with battle plans (in this case we’d call them Battle songs/sagas) and his Intellectual bonus, while using his shadier skill set from his Thief career to bribe, lock pick and pickpocket when needed…

Due to the peculiar career combo he would have the least impressive bare combat skills, but would have a lot of bonuses to its buff effects and assorted battle plans. As we’d grow as a party he would probably invest his advancements into Thrown weapons 2, Battle commander (to be able to use one battle plan for free each combat round) and some more battle plans, while investing his occupational skills into sneaking, command, medicine and other thieving skills…

Should be noted that he also had a non-combat animal companion: Goatsy (the narrator of the comic), whom mainly acted as the party’s shared stash while traveling.

 

Rico Hawkeye

Here is another weird character: a martial artist (classic D&D Monk analogue) with an unusual obsession for fashion and mushrooms, focused on dexterity and elegance in combat. Keeping that in mind the Skilled archetype is the most fitting, taking Virtuoso or Ambidextrous as his benefits. To best accommodate the players’ peculiar view of his character he would probably like the Duellist (to later gain Acrobatics) and Spy careers (to link his obsessions to his cover identity).

He would get Hand weapons 2, Thrown weapons 1, Battle plan – Shadow, Parry and Riposte as his starting combat skills and later probably invest into Two weapon fighting, Acrobatics and Unarmed combat 2, while filling out his occupational skills of Disguise, Deception, Lore (mushrooms) and other athletic skills like Climbing and Jumping

 

Pokor Beardson (my brother’s character)

My brother is a horror maniac and that often shows up in his gaming choices (usually playing/collecting undeads in any gaming system we play); in this case his character was a mix of slasher movie murderers (mainly Jason from Friday 13th and Leather face from Texas chainsaw massacre), resulting in this bloodthirsty psychopath inventor, with great medical knowledge (mainly to better butcher people). In IK terms he would likely take the Gifted archetype to unlock the Arcane mechanic career, taking the Quick cast feat benefit (to throw around buff spells like Refuge, before charging into combat). As a second career he would pick Man-at-arms, to gain Great weapon proficiency, some defensive abilities to tank damage better and later the Cleave ability…

That would grant him Hand weapons 2, Great weapons 1, Defensive line, Load bearing (racial) and 2 spells (Arcane bolt and Polarity shield) to start with, plus a number of very useful mechanica crafting skills, to produce additional devices of murder. An important benefit from the Archane mechanic career is the ‘free’ 750 coins mechanica weapon he starts with: his signature chainsaw. Rules wise this would be a Great sword (just the weapon casing costs 200 gc), powered by a Clockwork capacitor (80 gc) and with the runes of Accuracy and Grievous wounds on its plate to keep things fluffy (450 gc). Later he would surely take Cleave, Great weapons 2, some extra spells like Refuge and invest the rest of his advancements in crafting abilities and occupational skills.

 

So, I must say I am pretty happy with how our renewed party looks and works in the IK system. My favorite aspect is the wide range of combinations you can get from the archetype + 2 careers options, that even at this initial stage of development (first book of the line) allow you to field pretty much anything you can think up… Anyway, I guess this will be enough for this week’s article. In the future I might do some more RPG articles focused on concept drawings and ideas for random characters and NPCs, if there is interest for it. As always if you have questions, requests or suggestions, leave a comment below. Cheers!


My nickname means 'mustache' in Italian and dates back to my middle school days. As the name suggests, I am a fiercely hairy fellow and depending on the haircut I can be mistaken for Chubaka, Manson or Rasputin:) I am a mix breed of nationalities from Slovenia (not to be confused with Slovakia), a very small European country between Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia; our national meta is very small but has some fairly competitive players so we don't get bored. My main skills in tabletop war-gaming are sculpting, scratch-building and converting, so that is what my articles will cover... Anyway, cheers:D
  1. rolandhadley Reply

    Both the sketches and that hilarious play session are the best thing I’ve seen in a while. I hope all of that really happened.

  2. Baffo Reply

    Yes, the comic is actually a rather faithful retelling of that session. The unfortunate series of events on that game, was what stirred me to make this short comic out of it…
    My role playing group has quite a few peculiar players and our session can go on for 6-12 hours strait, with ample consumption of booze and smokes, so we often make strange choices and end up in weird situations… That makes it fun :D

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