A Look At The Fluff Of Iron Kingdoms
What happens when you combine Dungeons & Dragons, Firefly, and Bio-Shock? Honestly, I am not sure, but you would probably have something resembling the Iron Kingdoms role-playing game. Sound cool? Allow me to elaborate further.
So your characters are all part of this mercenary band that has been slightly down on their luck. You are a rather diverse group, consisting of a couple of elves, a troll-like creature, a goblin, and a few humans, all of whom look at the weirdness of it all as just another day at the office. You get a job out near some old mining town and take have to take a train to get there. On the way, the train is hijacked by train robbers, old-west style, and it is left up to your crew to take care of them. With that handled, you reach the station where you are met by military officers who are going to see that you are escorted to the mining town that has been overrun by some larger criminal band. The officers each have war-jacks, large steam-powered constructs (robots) that obey their every command, or at least are supposed to. That night, the three war-jacks are possessed by machine ghosts that cause them to turn on their masters and you, forcing you into battle with these iron behemoths. You defeat them with a combination of magic, swords, firearms, and explosives, but now have to make your way through the wilderness to reach the mining town to save the villagers, and that was all just in the first two hours of game-play.
Iron Kingdoms keeps itself fast paced, using that energy to envelope its players into its crazy world. The game seems to know just how ridiculous it can be sometimes, something other games just tend to either forget or ask that you ignore, and uses its fast paced flow to help players get sucked in. This, of course, is also to the credit of the Gamemaster running the game for us, though it was clear that the fast-paced rules helped make it feel much more energized. Too many games, even games I love, get bogged down with needlessly complex combat systems for the sake of either realism or balance, and Iron Kingdoms seems to care little for both, but this is all to its credit. If it did, then the game would either slow to a crawl or be completely unplayable save for the most devote of players
So, if fast-paced fun is what you are looking for in a game, then look no further, but Iron Kingdoms has a lot more to offer than just that. The world is very detailed, with each nation/kingdom truly coming into its own in terms of personality and distinctiveness. Our game took place in the lands of Ord, which is an independent kingdom that refuses to form an alliance with either of the two major factions that boarder it, holding on to its own rule with all the ferocity and spirit it can muster. Their navy is the greatest in all the world, and their commerce is made strong by the bounty of the sea. Like Ferelden in Dragon Age, the land and people of Ord are very endearing and very identifiable which are both enormous strengths of the game.
As always, I thank you for reading and wish you all good gaming.
Image Credit: Privateer Press