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Here's my First Impression Ironsworn (Bias)


Got a chance to watch the video on Ironsworn. The player-GM has great potential; from other videos she appears to be older and experienced. Her mention of Avalon Hill's Starship Trooper as a game aid was sweet (nostalgic, I owned that, long gone). She has fun in the action, though her bad dice got her hawk killed. Sort of sad. My bad dice usually only get me killed or cause Tony to lose precious, precious swagger.

It functions. It has it's mechanics. It was where I was at circa '82 in college with random D&D crawls supplemented by lots of charts. That's not a dig.

The Q&D tables relate back as both character narration and direct application of skill. It's one thing to tell someone that they have stress. In Cutlass you know why in the moment as the event occurs; the roll against Better Valor or Lordly trait tells you how your overcame or failed. It's easier to visualize (the dice high-low is an abstract); it's not dependent upon a good Ref adding color; That helps, but the Ref is an amplifer, not a narrator of exposition.

Cutlass is in many ways pointing where to go (before the player even realizes he's triumphed or utterly failed). The story occurs within the action, the event and the direction to character abilities. Sure, I embellish and speak the creed.

I guess RESOURCES in Ironsworn would cover much, but they are left too generic. Sorting dice and comparing percentals to tables misses an opportunity to educate the player on where he was and where he will be. How many times have people selected a Cutlass skill (on advancement) because they seem to see it in a table. Or earned swagger and later used the three dice. You feel more powerful than Plus three to Clash. Cutlass seems more visceral to me (more meaningful, even with no Ref).

Most of what I say is self aggrandizing. Both games have complications and a learning curve. I make no apology there. I've made one die, one action games like Stuff o Legends. It's a blast to play.

With Cutlass I have something which will move much further in the character's life than small group hero focused action and warfare. SPI had that in DeathMaze, Greg Costikyan, 1980. Nice system of tiles too. Cutlass has a scale that I've yet to see created elsewhere. Outlands, too.

Bottom line, my viewing of Ironsworn isn't the American inventor of mechanical TV seeing a CRT British TV and wondering why he wasted his life. Electronic TV was better. Cutlass is better.

If I had that Ref demo Cutlass, her voice would rise an octave in excitement, even as her bird dies. She'd recall when she got the animal, know how it helped her in travel and miss it later. Good Ref makes any game seem interesting. I wrote Cutlass to make a new or weak Ref deal a good time. I'd rather solo play Cutlass than play any other system, unless I know the Ref is great. Then, does it matter?



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I thought you would get a kick -- Fredrick Rourk (posted: 4/13/2019) 
The Questing Beast -- Iron Conrad (posted: 4/13/2019) 
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