I’m starting a new game today, playing Ironsworn: Starforged. This is, like Ironsworn, a solo- and coop-focused roleplaying game with a simple rolling mechanic, extensive built-in oracles, and an evocative book and setting. My goal for this game is to get a handle on the world I’m creating, get to know my character, earn a few XP to improve his current skills/equipment, and potentially have a start for a future game (including possible co-op play).
Reminder: You can find links to every one of my solo session game reports on my Campaign Logs page.
Alex Kade, better known as Mocker, is a Far Trader, riding the drifts to transport goods to where they are valued most.
Edge 1, Heart 3, Iron 1, Shadow 2, Wits 2
+Assets: Navigator, Trader
Although he’s a competent pilot and a pretty decent shot with a pistol, Mocker has long relied on his friends and reputation as a fair dealer to avoid trouble before it starts. When that fails, lying or sneaking usually work.
Backstory: 63. Cast out of former home.
Alex grew up on a world of unyielding laws and governance. Long chafing under the strict control of the commissars, Alex signed on as a spacer with a passing crew the first chance he got.
Character Goal: Escape a Captor.Alex is not a slave or prisoner, so this is going to be interpreted.
It did not take long for Alex to gain his new captain’s favor. He quickly rose in the ranks until he became the captain’s second-in-command. When the old man died, Alex inherited the ship–and the massive debt that came with it. Now Alex flies to service debt, and he longs for the day when the Antigone will be his, free and clear.
Epic Vow: Pay off the Antigone.
+Asset: Starship Antigone
The Antigone is a [oracle=51] once-beautiful ship, now scarred and battered by long decades of service on the drifts and years of deferred maintenance.
The last good thing Alex’s old master did for him, though, was fill the hold with goods worth selling. They might have been a bunch of less-than-legal guns from a warworld, and Alex might have had to use every trick he had to unload them–and that at a steal that barely turned a profit–but at least he left him with enough credit to get the Antigone fueled and spaceborne again.
+Inventory: brace of pistols, black iron key, one-credit chip, spacer kit
Growing up where he did, Alex brought little to the Antigone when he signed on–just the suit of clothes on his back. He quickly acquired a brace of pistols for when the ship docked in more dangerous ports, and he wears the first credit-chip he ever earned on a chain around his neck. He rubs it for good luck when times are hard. It serves as a reminder that with luck and effort he can actually own something, do something, be something, without requiring the commissariat’s permission.
Finally, he carries the black iron key that starts the Antigone. Three inches long, the metal seems dark and flat even under the most brilliant light. The delicate teeth fit into the ship to complete the eidolon drive’s circuit. Without it, the ship is dead in the void.
Mocker and the Antigone are in the Outlands–close enough to the Terminus that they can return if they need access to bigger markets, but far enough away that a man can lose his bad choices if he runs fast enough.
Sector: Blighted Crossing
Apogee Station (Orbital)
Projects: Engineering, Trade
Planet: Orbits the ice-world of Caradhras.
Notes: Trading and manufacturing center situated on the major drift lanes. Commerce hub for the sector.
Projects: Shipbuilding, Defense
Planet: Situated on the furnace-world of Themis.
Notes: A military slave-factory town. Builds weapons/ships for sale on Apogee Station.
Projects: Mining, Medica
Planet: Situated on the desert-world of Desolation.
Notes: A group of independent miners digging for rare minerals used in medical device manufacturing.
Sector Trouble (50): Parasitic Lifeforms Spread Like Plague
Drift passages have been mapped from Apogee Station to Redemption town on Themis. Likewise, Apogee Station is a known stop-over for travelers leaving the sector for other parts of the Forge.
Farpoint, the trade hub of Desolation, is unmapped. The handful of miners who live there are secretive and protective of their monopoly on the planet’s mineral wealth. A select few traders know the routes between Apogee and Farpoint and make the runs a handful of times a year.
Alex Kade begins the game on Apogee Station, so let’s zoom in to see what we know.
First Look: Defensible Location, Industrial Architecture
Bristling with guns to defend itself against pirates and petty warlords, Apogee Station is an engineering and technology center of some renown in the Outlands. Nothing to rival its Terminus cousins, of course, but there is a significant amount of research and manufacturing occurring here.
Trouble: Hazardous Environment. What does that mean? Finish Power.
Unfortunately, a significant amount of spent drive and manufacturing waste has built up in the station and the people who live aboard are frequently sick with low-level lung and skin maladies.
Alex doesn’t know many people on Apogee. The Antigone is new to the sector and he’s been trying to keep a low profile–earn a rep as a spacer who can get things done reliably and leave it at that.
But no one can go it alone. Lucas Booker–callsign ZEPHYR–is a materials broker operating out of the warehouse district on Apogee. He and Alex have done a few deals together, and both understand the other, give or take. Zephyr is sharp, suspicious, a little bit mean, and more heavily armed than most of the more upstanding merchants on Apogee Station. That said, he also pays on time and frequently has work, so Alex is pleased to work with him when he can.
+Troublesome Connection: Lucas ‘Zephyr’ Booker, Materials Broker
Apogee Station. Not great at the best of times. Terrible now. The short walk from the Antigone‘s dock to Zephy’s offices are enough to make him wish he’d brought his rebreather. The city smells like death and the other stationers don’t look much better.
Is Zephyr sick (likely): 64, yes.
Kade knocks on the door. After a moment, there’s a soft buzzing from inside and a chunk as the bolt retracts. Kade pushes the door open and enters into a cramped office.
“Mocker,” Zephyr offers.
“No, don’t get up,” Kade responds. He pushes the door closed and takes a seat. “You look like the dead.”
“Yeah, well, at least I’m vertical.”
Zephyr shrugs and waves a hand up in the air. “Who knows. Something coming out of the vents. Air got weird, folks started getting sick. No one in station admin is admitting to anything.”
Kade glances warily up at the vents. He thinks again about that rebreather.
“You working?” Zephyr asks.
“Why I’m here,” Kade says.
The man coughs into his hand, glares down at some mucus or something in his palms, and wipes his hand on his pant leg. “Good. Farpoint. You know it?”
“I know of it,” Kade answers. “Out there on Desolation, right? Bunch of sand-billy Dust miners.”
“Yeah, exactly. You ever been there?”
“Exactly again. Nobody’s been there. Just one ship, owned in co-op by the folks of Farpoint.”
“What’s this got to do with me?” Kade asks.
Zephyr isn’t aware that the cough might be caused by the system trouble parasitic infection. He thinks the issue is related to the hazardous waste problem on Apogee. We’ll let it be vague until Kade gets closer to actually solving the issue (if that ever happens).
“Dust. We need it. Medbay’s overwhelmed here with this damn cough. The Farpoint shuttle’s late, due a month ago, but never came. Need you to get out there and buy up a hold full of the stuff.”
Will the Farpoint miners trade with outsiders (unlikely): 20, no.
Kade arched an eyebrow. “What makes you think they’d sell to me?”
Does Zephyr give him a letter of credit (certain): 36, yes. +Inventory: Letter of credit.
Zephyr shrugs. “I gotta do everything for you? I’m not the trader. Convince them.” He drags a piece of paper from the desk and scribbles something on it before sliding it over to Kade. “Take this. With the way things are going, this Dust could make us both a fair bit of money.”
Kade looks at it. A letter of credit from Zephyr’s firm. Maybe not as good as raw cash, but it might work.
“You aren’t going to fuck me on this, are you boy?”
“I’ll bring it back,” Kade says. He means it, too. He thinks. A good broker’s worth more than a hold of Dust. Probably.
Swear an Iron Vow (Dangerous) to fetch medicine from Farpoint for Apogee Station: 5+3h+1(connection) vs 7|2. Strong hit. +2m (now 4) and it’s clear what I have to do.
Zephyr points at the door. “Get going. You think I’m the only guy with the idea to run down the Dust myself? We’ve gotta get out there before some other outfit buys up everything those knuckleheads have dug up.”
Kade offers up a sarcastic salute and leaves the office. Time to get to work. But before he can fly he has some digging of his own to do. He heads down to the spacer-side bar to ask about Desolation.
Gather Information: 6+2w vs 5|8. Weak hit. +1m (now 5) but the information complicates things.
“Those Desolation boys?” the bartender asks after Kade finally gets around to asking. “Popular today. You aren’t the first one to come asking. Sorry, I ain’t seen ’em, and I don’t know as there’s anyone else on-station who’s been out there. Except for maybe Rover. She’s old as the void. May’ve been out here when they first shipped out for that rock.”
Can Rover be found easily (50/50): 76, yes.
“You know where she is?” Kade asks.
The bartender shrugs. [Forgotten/Shelter] “I think there’s some little dive those old-timers like down below-decks. Might check there. But don’t get a taste for it. My liquor’s better anyway.”
Kade laughs and tosses the man a credit. He heads out for the elevator.
He finds the bar downstairs on his second circle of the entire floor. The place is little more than a closet crammed between two station auxiliary offices. A woman in flight clothes is drinking alone at the bar. Her skin is tight and youthful, but her eyes are the milky-white of a spacer who’s spent a lifetime–or more–on the drifts.
“You’re Rover?” Kade asks, but there isn’t much doubt. The old woman nods. “May I?” He gestures at the stool beside her.
Secure an Advantage: 4+3h vs 10|1. +1 on my next move.
She kicks it back with the side of her boot to make room for him at the bar. “What do you want, kid?”
“Mocker,” Kade says. He offers a hand. She considers it for a moment before shaking.
“I know. I came looking for you.”
Have the other spacers also coming for Rover yet (50/50)? 34, no.
“Huh. What for?” She flags down the bartender and calls for another bourbon. Kade is quick to pay for it.
The woman glances at him. “Dust, huh?” She coughs. “Not a bad idea. Who you working with?”
Kade pauses. It’s a gamble. Spacers are often loyal to one or a few brokers per settlement. If Rover wasn’t in with Zephyr…
“Does it matter?” he asks. “The station needs it. Even you’re coughing.”
She shrugs. “Fair enough. I can tell you how to get there. Not going to help you get dirtside though. That was one ornery bunch of bastards I took out there, I’ll tell you what. I don’t know what it is about the desert that calls all the weirdos.”
She draws a map on the back of a napkin and writes down some quick calculations. The directions are close enough to get him in the area at least. He thanks her and heads for the docks. It’s time to leave.
Mark Progress: Fetch medicine from Farpoint for Apogee Station :2 boxes
That was pretty fun! Not much actual gaming this time, but I ended up spending significantly more time than I thought building the sector and my first contact. The game’s oracles are a blast to use. Nearly every roll seemed like it could be spun off into its own story or side quest. I chose the one I did since it fit so nicely with Kade’s build (far trader), but there’s a ton more to explore here as well.
If I get around to it, I’d love to look more into how Apogee’s environmental hazards might be causing the ‘toxic’ status on the planet below. Who are the factions buying ships from Redemption? What lies at the bottom of the abyssal fissures on Caradhras? So much story still to tell.
Alex ‘Mocker’ Kade
E1 H3 I1 S2 W2
M5 HL5 SP5 SU5
Navigator 1, Trader 1, Scoundrel 1, Starship ‘Antigone’ 1
Inventory: brace of pistols, black iron key, one-credit chip, letter of credit, spacer kit
Vows: Fetch medicine for Farpoint (Dangerous) [2.0]. Pay off the Antigone (Epic) [0.0].
Notes: +1 bonus to my first flight move due to securing an advantage from Rover.