In a bit of a departure from the normal wargaming stuff, I have a bit of new reading material in the form of a belated Christmas present, the Iron Kingdom Roleplay Game Core Rulebook.
But first an admission. I do not do roleplay games anymore, and I haven’t for a very long time. This is largely due to time limitations but also because I much prefer the arty side of miniature gaming. This said, my roleplay credentials, while a bit out of date, are extensive; including Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, Dungeons & Dragons, Shadowrun, Mechwarrior, Torg and many others.
I am also a bit of a fluff bunny when it comes to my wargames and sadly enough, I really enjoy reading all of the background stories. This is one of the weaknesses of the main Hordes and Warmachine rulebooks and while they give a good impression of the Iron Kingdoms, they are hardly comprehensive guides.
So enter the Iron Kingdoms Roleplay Game Core Rulebook (IK RPG for short I think). I finally got my copy and I have to say, my first impressions were very very good. The book itself is a very solid (and rather heavy), full colour hardback. Unlike the Warhammer 40000 book, nothing in this book seems superfluous and the book itself is not unwieldy (Games Workshop, take note). As always, the artwork and production are top-notch.
The first part of the IK RPG fills the void in the two miniature game rulebooks and covers the history of the Iron Kingdoms in broad terms from a world history point of view, up to the events described in the MKII Forces books. This means there are no Colossals in the Iron Kingdoms, or at least not quite yet; but instead we get a comprehensive history of the Iron Kingdoms.
For fans of Hordes, or the lesser races in the IK world, it should be noted that the Iron Kingdoms themselves receive the most attention. The wilder parts of Immoren will have to wait until a later expansion book.
The next big section is about Life in the Iron Kingdoms. This describes the Kingdoms themselves, the religions, races, languages, technology and the place of magic in the world. This is the section I’m reading at the moment and I have to say I’m really enjoying it.
I haven’t gone into too much detail about the game itself yet, however it is unusual in that the core mechanics are based on the miniatures game. This is a similar approach to Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay and greatly decreases the learning curve for fans coming to the roleplay game from Warmachine or Hordes. For my point of view, this is a good thing, however I could imagine serious roleplayers might be put off by this.
Character creation seems pretty straightforward, however as an interesting twist characters can combine two different career paths. This means the relatively limited section of careers in the Core book actually provide a lot of variety. So far I think my personal favourite has to be the Iosan Mage Hunter Gun Mage. Now all we need is rules for bringing this character into my Retribution army as a solo…
Anyway, the main rulebook also has rules covering magic, building mechanika items, and even rules for warjacks. Yes, there is also a warcaster career path.
The only things missing are a detailed guide to a single city in the Iron Kingdoms or an introductory adventure. However this is being picky and Privateer have already uploaded a lot of resources on their website (including an adventure), plus the Urban Adventures book. And there has also been a lot of support for the IK RPG in No Quarter which is good to see.
In conclusion, this fanboy is impressed. If RPGs are your thing and you play Warmachine, I don’t think you will be disappointed. And I for one can’t wait until Privateer start releasing more sourcebooks for the IK world.