So there I was, Saturday of GenCon, and my host – Ninja Steve – and his stalwart companion Cromusz said “Hey, we’ve got spots in the Iron Kingdoms Unleashed demo today!” and I recalled that pal Rudy had mentioned there were occasional empty seats at the demos…
After figuring out exactly which hotel I needed to be in (man, the number of times I found myself not knowing just which corridor to walk down…) I sauntered into the room and found this handsome chap with a spot at his table.
Iron Kingdoms Unleashed demo with none other than Privateer’s head quill-wielder, Mr Doug Seacat? Why yes, thank you, I think I will…
[SPOILER ALERT: This article contains spoilers from the IK Unleashed demo scenario. Consider yourself warned if you’re sensitive to that kind of thing.]
First things first I was handed the character sheet and background for my characte, Zocha the Outcast. In rules terms, she’s a Gifted Bloodweaver/Scout. In my terms, she’s “Svelte, but Stabby”. Also, because of the way the change overtakes her, when she channels her bestial side her voice gets all low and masculine and mysteriously picks up fragments of an Australian accent. While this might normally be an issue, the accent has helped her buy uiske from the trading post without needing to show ID.
The background not only set the tone for the type of character I was to play, but it also took a moment to spell out my relationship with the rest of the party -the Pyg Troll, Bog Trog Bone Grinder, and Gatorman sniper. Yes, the Gator was our primary ranged attacker. Go figure.
The rear of the character sheet provided a handy-dandy guide to pertinent abilities, and a rundown on how Will-Weavers use their arcane abilities.
A laminated character sheet meant the dry-erase markers were out in full force. If you’re planning on running any IK Unleashed demos for your locals once the book is released (Doug suggested first quarter 2015 if all goes well) then this is a sweet time-saving feature fo multiple PC groups. I’ll freely admit, as a newb to the RPG I appreciated having it all laid out in front of me.
Also, being able to use Accurate Strike and Brutal Strike every turn with my Sacral Blade meant that my attack every turn had boosted attack rolls and boosted damage rolls. Like I said – Svelte, but Stabby.
One other particularly neat feature of the demo was the custom models. Unless I’m mistaken (and I’m willing to make that allowance), there were maybe 2-3 stock models on the tables, and everything else was a custom model. Reposed Farrow (both Brigands and Slaughterhouses) made up our foes, while each of the PCs also had a custom model. The most exciting thing about this is the potential for there to be a boxed set of demo models for IK Unleashed featuring the four PCs and a selection of models to represent thier foes. Again, if you’re a PG and planning on running multiple demos, this could be a very real thing. Also, if you’re a Farrow player and just like more poses.
Hopefully without spoiling TOO much of the storyline, the adventure begins with our motley little crew trying to track down a Farrow warlord who’s causin grief for us all one way or another. In my case I’m pretty sure he’s somehow responsible for the river that feeds my tribe drying up.
Clearly, the solution is to sneak into a small Farrow camp and apply stabbity means of interrogation to find out that which we desire to know. This was my first experience of Iron Kingdoms Unleashed combat, and it started with a *splurt* thanks to Blood Burst. From the word go, goo was the order of the day, and it was only reinforced by the Bone Grinder looking at some of the remains and thinking “Hrm… with some bladder and a loop of intestines, I can probably jury-rig something the Gator can tie to the end of his rifle…”
After the least visceral of our cadre had some questions answered by a hobbled pig-man, we found our way to the main encampment, where that nefarious Farrow chieftain had dammed the river, and was filling the still area in front of it with barrels full of explosive goop with timers on them. If he opened that dam the entire area downstream would flood, and those barrels would obliterate anything they came near…
This would not stand! While I snuck around behind the building, our intrepid leader drew fire and the two amphibious members of the team hit the water. The end result?
One dead chieftain. We almost lost Gullin, but Lurk stabilised him while Longchops and I dealt with the bad piggie. VICTORY FOR THE PC’s!
In the end, if I have one thing to say about Iron Kingdoms Unleashed, it’s that it’s visceral. Make no mistake, the wilder sides of Immoren care not for civility or propriety. It’s kill or be killed, and you can by any means make further use of the corpse of your fallen foe, then my all means go to town. I love that the setting is fully compatible with the characters we’ve developed in Iron Kingdoms Full Metal Fantasy (IKRPG), but be aware of all those old adages about life in the Old West being cheap, short and brutal.
Also, Gatorman with a rifle. Just think on that one.