Sunday, 28 September 2014

Iron Kingdoms RPG Review - No Quarter 53-56 and The Monsternomicon

Privateer Press have been very active recently, churning out either books, new models, new plastic versions of old models, and of course great content in their magazine, No Quarter.

In the pages of No Quarter there have been a number articles for the Iron Kingdoms RPG. There have been adventures, new careers for characters, new equipment, locations and conversion guides for models.

Over the last 4 issues of the magazine, there have been a number of adventure modules, that collectively form a longer campaign.

It all starts back in No Quarter 44, back when IKRPG first was released and they presented the quick adventure, Spirit in Steel. The adventure there and the new module, rely on the antagonist, Vladislav Abrosim, a rogue Grey Lord on a quest for his own immortality. In the original adventure Abrosim was already testing concepts and ideas from the dark book of mechankia, the Librum Mekanecrus, and had placed the soul of a man into the body of a steamjack.

Part 1 of the "Immortality" campaign, "Undeath Metal", takes place near a small Khadoran town. People have been going missing, and Abrosim's lackeys have taken to continuing the experiments, this time utilizing the technology of the Convergence of Cyriss (let's not kid around, Cyriss tech is just a cleaner, less evil variant, of certain necromantic arcane technologies). This adventure is a pretty standard series of encounters with the aim of stopping the bad guys and saving people (you know... the family business).

Part 2, "Act of Murder", picks up the trail of the Abrosim lackey, and takes the troupe to a Khadoran city, Gorogrey, on the the boarder to Ord. Where the last adventure was simpler, and featured some Cyriss based enemies, this adventure is more complex. It's a murder mystery. The adventure has some great locations and set pieces, such as the theatre and the rail depot, and this adventure ties up the plot from part 1.

Part 3, "Mercilessly Alive", follows up on Abrosim's research, either following on from "Act of Murder", or drawn by strange disappearances and apparent slow death of the town of Erofeev, just on the boarder to Ord. Here the investigation concerns the work of a rogue alchemist, and the results of their terrible experiments. While previous adventures have had a sense of either the undead or necromancy to them, much of this adventure, and the following part, "Many Deaths, One life", rely on a sense of body horror. Again in this adventure there are plenty of good set pieces, and give a great feeling of how the Iron Kingdoms are populated by these small towns.

What is important to take home from all these adventures is that they present many non-combative solutions to particular sections, and in fact, finding these routes is often given a greater reward both in terms of plot and experience points. Also it is important to note, where possible, even for these adventures presented in the magazine, we get brand new art. Privateer Press is putting in a lot of work to support the RPG, and to give examples of different story types (something we will pick up on with the adventure they released recently, "Bitter Medicine").

The Monsternomicon was perhaps two books that really sold how different and diverse the Iron Kingdoms is, especially back when the RPG was designed to use the D20 system. What we have here is the long awaited return of the books, with the new rules system. In the issues of No Quarter, the free bestiary download, Full Metal Fridays, and Urban Adventures, we already got a good selection of monsters and creatures, and some of those make a return here. That isn't a bad thing, since it is easier to have it all in one book, rather across many different downloads. But we do get a lot of good new stuff.

Critical to the new book is the idea of creature templates. These are essentially ways in which the based creature stats and skills etc. can be modified to represent variants on the monster. So a juvenile creature, or one that has magic abilities etc etc.

Highlights in the book have been the Croak Hunters (I just painted one for my Gatorman army), the Dracodile (will this be the Minion gargantuan beast!), a infernal beast, and of course Dragon Spawn!

Now is it a book to buy? Maybe not as a hard copy. You will be only using one or maybe two creatures from this book at a time in any one adventure. After all, IKRPG is not a dungeon crawl! Of course you may think "Where are the Farrow? Gators? What about some Everblight Dragon Spawn!" Well we do have Unleashed coming up, don't we, where we can play IKRPG in the wilds of Immoren, and play as plenty of those creatures.

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