There’s a playtest edition out of Ironsworn’s science fiction sister game Starforged”. As someone who previously twisted Ironsworn to play SciFi I thought I should give the proper version a spin. As with Ironsworn, you are encouraged to use a World Trurths” exercise to define your game.

Note: I had originally provided my answers here to the first 20 question Truths exercise but I have removed those as Starforged’s author Shawn Tomkin released another update of the Truths exercise and encourage folks to use this version if they had not started their playtest yet. Seeing as I haven’t even made it to character building I figured I’d throw away my first run through the 20-question version and go with this.

In light of some discussion on the playtest discord I’m going to push myself to stay within the confines of the exercise because I’d like to reduce the amount of friction I have with the oracles in play. If you aren’t familiar with Ironsworn then you need to understand that many of the game’s rules interact with the various oracles” (random tables) the game provides and while it is easy to reskin these oracles to better suit your theme I’m not inclined to do so for a playtest.

So with all that in mind, let’s do some Truths once more with feeling!” style: (I’m going to take a few more notes this time as I go)

  1. Cataclysm: Everything fell apart in an age of chaos. A crisis was sparked by the rise of a fascist power.
  1. Exodus: Mysterious alien gates provided instantaneous one-way passage to the Forge.
  1. Iron: We swear vows upon the iron remnants of ships that carried our people to the Forge.
  1. Communities: Dangers remain, but we have made our mark in this galaxy.
  1. Clans: Through brute force or cunning, a few powerful clans control most of the settled territory and resources.
  1. Laws: Communities or clans define their own laws; there are no common laws which bind us. The exception is bounties on fugitives or criminals, which are almost universally recognized.
  1. Religion: Our gods failed us. We left them behind.
  1. Mysticism: Mystical powers are wielded by those rare folk we call gifted. The miraculous abilities are a product of: Evolutionary mutations?
  1. Communication and Data: Information is life. We rely on an clan of spacebound couriers–the Heralds–to transport messages and data across the vast distances between settlements.
  1. Medicine: The Menders are an order of sworn healers who preserve our medical knowledge and train new generations of caregivers.
  1. Artificial Intelligence: The vestiges of our advanced machine intelligence is coveted and wielded by those in power.
    • I changed my thoughts here from my previous assumptions based on a previous choice about the importance of a few powerful clans. It makes more sense to me now that this technology is limited, probably fought over.
  2. War: War never ends. Talented weaponsmiths and shipwrights craft deadly tools of destruction. The largest clans wield powerful fleets and hordes of planetside troops.
    • Have you fought in any wars?” Oracle says… 11: (Likely) no” and we asked for an Action+Theme I got Protect Disaster.” Maybe I was involved in some fashion but in a defensive capacity and the relevant war(s) never came.
  3. Precursors: An advanced spacefaring empire, what we call the Ascendancy, once ruled the entirety of the Forge.
    • Ok, I changed my answer again given some rethinking - particularly with the disabled jumpgate. To have built such a gate would have required some pretty advance tech that doesn’t really exist in a working, widely available state in The Forge. Possibly the Ascendancy had started to colonize The Forge but stopped ages ago for some reason.
    • Have you had any notable encounters with precursor ruins, relics, or tech?” 96: (Unlikely) yes”. A check on Descriptor/Focus tells me Rich/Installation.” Maybe I’m a scavenger. I’ll need to think on this a bit as it is a wrinkle I had not considered.
  4. Lifeforms: The Forge is a chaotic galaxy, but life has found a way.
  5. Essentia: Some may weave wild tales of encounters with strange beings, but we cannot deny an inescapable truth. We are alone.
    • There’s wiggle room for this prompt to be untrue” through play and that’s fine with me.
  6. Horrors: Put enough alcohol in a spacer, and they’ll tell you stories of ghost ships crewed by vengeful undead. It’s nonsense.
    • This is not an area of gameplay I intend to explore but I guess I’m willing to have my mind changed through play.

This went much better than my first time through. The writing is clearer and the choices seem more purposeful in some ways.

I’m very much used to the random chaos sandbox” nature that comes from relying on GM Emulators/Oracles - so if it pains you to watch me defer to random chance as to what my character will be I apologize but trust me when I say the fun in all this (for me) is embracing that chaos.

The nice thing about Ironsworn’s system is nothing will break if you ignore components of the setting as the game wraps itself around the fiction you create. There is a post-apocalypse tone to some of the prompts in the Truths material I was not inspired by but I think if you step back from those statements you can reshape them in your own image.

I found going through the truths section deeply rewarding as it did make me think carefully about where to set certain setting dials and that’s the goal of this material. It is an excellent part of Ironsworn’s first run” experience - out of the gate the game challenges you to think carefully about the fiction you are going to create. I’m happy Starforged has embraced this part of Ironsworn and I like that the Truths exercise feels more open and richly defined than the original game’s version.

September 16, 2020 · Ironsworn · Starforged · playtesting · Observation Deck


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