Random Things you might find in the Lost World

Our random things articles are designed to give quick hits of inspiration for time-pressed GMs who want to inject some additional details into their game, when you’re stuck for a detail roll 1D20 on the table below for an idea. Although these articles are mostly fantasy-based in nature we’ve strived to keep them generic enough that they can be used with most games.

Lost worlds and valleys are a staple of many pulp and fantasy genres, whether it be a lost plateau in the mountains where dinosaurs still roam or a mist shrouded valley filled with giant mushrooms and prehistoric plants, you should find something useful in this article.

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All About Aspects: Magic Powers as Aspects

Magic Powers as Aspects

We’ve explained the basic formatting for our high concept aspects in one of our previous post, in this post I provide a single descriptions table (that can be used instead of the ones in previous articles) to add aspects concerned with psychic or magic powers.

Please note: This article does not actually provide the rules for the powers, that will be down to whatever system you decide to use (although you can do a surprising amount with skill rolls and invoking/compelling aspects in Fate).

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Fate magic – Aspect based magic

One of the questions that I see pop up more than any in discussions about
Fate is people asking how to implement magic using the system; there are
a number of suggestions and possibilities (I offered one such suggestion in my previous possibly the worlds simplest Fate magic system post); recently I downloaded copies of the 1st and 2nd edition of the Fate RPG out of curiosity to see how the system had evolved, and one thing in particular caught my eye in the first edtion, it was a system for improvisational magic.
Effectively the system allowed you to make a series of choices on a number of tables defining the effects of your spell, this would then give you the difficulty of the roll that you needed to make.
I like the flexibility of this magic but didn’t think it would really work that well with the current iteration of Fate, it occurred to me that perhaps magic could be represented by allowing the spellcaster to create aspects; aspects are used to establish facts within Fate, if you have an aspect saying “fastest gunslinger in the west” then the you are in the fastest gunslinger in the west.
Being able to Cast a Spell
In order to cast any sort of spell the character must have an appropriate
aspect that explains either their magical training or innate talent, this aspect can also be invoked/compelled as normal.
Creating a Spell
Spells are used to create aspects, in order to do this the character has to make a roll using an appropriate response or skill (whether this is a magic skill or an existing skill  is down to you, although Lore would probably be suitable from the Fate Core list).
Each use of magic costs a fate point.
The difficulty of the roll begins at mediocre (+0) and is modified by the choices that the caster makes from the following table.
The scope of the aspect is…
  • Boost (gives the caster a temporary aspect that can be invoked free once and then disappears) +0 
  • Situation aspect (lasts only for a scene) +2
  • Consequence (inflicting harm on a target) +2 (mild consequence) +4 (moderate consequence) +6 (severe consequence) +0 (if the target is a mook) +2 (if the target is a significant NPC) +4 (if the target is a PC)
  • Character aspect +4 (permanent but only applies to one PC or NPC) +0 (if the target is a mook) +2 (if the target is a significant NPC) +4 (if the target is a PC)
  • Game aspect (a permanent fixture of the campaign world) +8
Additional modifers
  • Target of the spell is the caster only -2
  • Spell takes a single action to cast +2
  • Spell takes a scene to cast +0
  • Spell takes a session to cast -2
  • Spell takes several sessions to cast -4
  • Spell requires no components +2
  • Spell requires easy to obtain components +0
  • Spell requires difficult to obtain components -2
  • Spell requires extremely difficult to obtain/unique components -4
This system is only a rough system, and may require some tweaking but it should be workable in a Fate game, although I would suggest having even game aspects having only a limited life-span to prevent your game being overrun by loads of aspects.


[RPG Blog Carnival] Campaign Idea: Putting a twist on transport circles

Campaign Idea: Putting a twist on transport circles

Continuing the December Blog Carnival idea of putting a twist on things (the original post can be found here), this blog post is an idea for a campaign setting that puts a different spin on the transport circle; this idea will work best in a fantasy-style campaign where magic is available and their is some reliable means of magical transporting available, whether this be transport circles, portals or whatever, for convenience i’m going to refer to them as transport circles in this blog post.
Campaign Idea: They Come from the Circles
Background: Transport circles are one of the most convenient forms of transportation for those who have either the magical know-how or the money to pay someone who does, allowing for almost instantaneous transportation from one circle to another, no matter the intervening distance. Occcasionally people feel a little nauseous or dislocated for a few moments after transport, but it quickly passes and the effects are harmless.

To the lay-person it seems as though powerful mages and articifers are capable of creating transport circles wherever they wish, however, the truth is a little more complex, normally the innate reality of the word resists transport magic, making it very taxing to cast such spells, however, there are spots in the world (that can be identified by the those with the appropriate arcane learning) where the reality of the world is weaker, allowing for construction of transport circles with far less effort and expense, large cities tend to build up around these areas as wizards and those seeking to benefit from the circles flock to such sites.

The campaign begins: Below is the suggested sequence of events for a campaign using this model, feel free to intersperse events and adventures not related to this plot between the suggested points otherwise it will feel like everything is connected somehow to the transport circle and it may seem a little laboured or forced.

  • Have a few adventures reference the use of transport circles in very minor ways, perhaps have the PCs use them or an ally use them, but make them seem very much like a convenient plot device or background element trying not to draw too much attention to them.
  • A notable mage vanishes whilst attempting to create a new transport circle.
  • If there are any mages in the party perhaps have them make a couple of rolls to determine some basic facts about transport circles, such as the weak points in reality that allow them to be easily constructed.
  • Over the course of the next half dozen sessions a number of people are found brutally murdered and torn apart near transport circles.
  • The bodies of the murdered people appear to have been slashed to pieces by extremely sharp and thin blades (infact two-dimensional claws).
  • In the area where the murders took place, both existing transport circles and any magic dealing with transportation or planar travel is easier to cast and lasts for far longer (this is due to the fact that reality has been weakened by the appearance of the creatures from beyond the circles).

The Truth

The weakened points of reality that allow for the construction of transport circles are actually areas where creatures from another dimension have broken through into ours; normally these creatures do not appear in our world, however occasionally the conditions are just right (the stars align, ley-lines converge, or whatever is suitable for your game) to allow these creatures to enter our reality and hunt the people and animals that live there (whom they see as particularly favoured prey). When these creatures arrive they shred reality in the surrounding area as they pierce the invisible membrane between our world and theirs, weakening it to such an extent that magic can be used in our world to travel from one location to another.

Messing around with transport magic in the areas of weakened reality eventually attracts the attention of the creatures who hunt, attack and eventually kill their quarry; inevitably the creatures will eventually catch wind of the PCs and will attack them. Unfortunately the creatures (which resemble two dimensional hounds made of shadow) are very difficult to destroy since they are capable of instinctively using transport circles themselves, however, any effect that prevents magic or stops a transport circle working binds them to our dimension for it’s duration making them easier to deal with. The creatures are intelligent hunters who are fully capable of withdrawing if they seem outmatched (aided by their ability to instinctively use transport circles or just fade back into their own dimenion) and using pack tactics; a party who believes they have successfully seen off the hounds may find themselves menaced again by shadowy creatures from transport circles in the future.

Additional Suggestions

Perhaps the PCs eventually find a way to enter the Hounds own dimension and take the fight to them or perhaps there is some way to poison/proof transport circles and magic against the attention of the Hounds.

Possibly the worlds simplist Fate magic system?

I think there has been possibly more discussion about magic systems in Fate than anything else so i’m not going to go into a massive study of it or detailed system creation in this post, an internet search will reveal no shortage of inspiration for people in that regard.
So why the post then?

Well, inspired by the “Avatar: the Last Airbender” fate game that my wife ran recently, the excellent “Spirit of Steam & Sorcery” web expansion by Tom Miskey (available here – http://evilhat.wikidot.com/sos-s) plus some other games i’ve played in recently I decided (as an exercise) to see if I could come up with a very simple magic system that would be ready to use and could be used with either Fate Core or Fate Accelerated.
So here it is…

In order to use magic the character must devote one of his Aspects to it mentioning that they are both a spellcaster along with one word that defines their magic style.

Examples: wizard of fire, druid of the earth, sorceror of death.

It also allows them to justify certain actions within the game fiction because of their powers.
For example:
  • The wizard of fire could justify an attack by shooting a fireball from his hands.
  • The druid of the earth could justify adding bonuses to perception by sensing vibrations through the earth.
  • The sorceror of death could add the bonus to recruit a minion, representing them summoning a spirit.
Spellcasters must then also spend 1 refresh on the stunt Spellcaster.

The Spellcaster stunt allows the player character to add a +2 bonus to their dice rolls (in addition to any other bonuses from Stunts/invoking Aspects, etc) whenever using sorcery (that can be described appropriately according to their style) in order to accomplish a task.

    Anything else…?

    This system doesn’t posit the addition of a magic skill (in Fate Core) it assumes that the players will use the appropriate Skill/Approach and that their effort is re-inforced by magic; however a magic skill would be easy enough to add if desired.
    Edit: Christopher Ruthenbeck on G+ was kind enough to point out some errors in the initial post and these have now been amended, he also had issues with the spellcaster Stunt being too powerful given that it allows a +2 bonus for a larger range of actions that is normally permitted. I can see his point, a large part of this system is based on the “Avatar: the Last Airbender” style game we ran where pretty much everyone had some form of magical power so it wasn’t an issue.

    That can said I can see a couple of easy solutions:

    1. Restrict the actions that the spellcasting stunt can perform or split it into a number of Stunts with narrower purviews.
    2. Increase the refresh cost of the Spellcaster Stunt.
    Edit: Paul Kießhauer has revealed a far simpler system for magic in Fate that you can look at here – https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/100662698267895582168/112230078537377625576/posts/WkXBEgMcMnA

    Planning for my first G+ game

    Okay, so a few friends of mine who I do LARP (Live-Action RolePlay) with and myself were chatting a while back about tabletop roleplaying and I was telling them about some of the games that i’m GMing at present; now most of them live a fair distance away and a couple of them were lamenting the lack of tabletop RPG action in their area, also, although we all meet up for weekends of LARP there’s not quite the same impetus to travel the length of the country in order to do a single night of tabletopping. Given that a few of us have been getting more into Google+ and Youtube recently (https://www.youtube.com/user/MrLARGEJO/) and i’ve seen numerous recording ‘actual-plays’ of people using G+ hangouts to play RP sessions over the net we talked about doing something similar; now life, as it often does, got in the way and we never really got to do anything about it as we were swept up in the chaos of the 2013 Lorien Trust LARP mainline seasion.
    Recently I decided that we really should make an attempt at actually pushing forward with a session, partly because i’m keen to experiment more with G+ hangout roleplaying and also because i’m interested in seeing what it’s like tabletopping with people whom i’ve only ever really done LARP or boardgames before (both of which are quite different); so I set up a facebook event and arranged a date (this Sunday evening), but then of course we were left with the question of what do we play?
    I have numerous RPGs on the shelves in my room but, given that this is the first TT experience for a couple of the players and that it was our first time at RPing over G+ I wanted something that was simple to pick up, kept the game very dramatic and allowed it to move along reasonably rapidly since we only have about four hours of gaming realistically since most of us have work the next day, I want to cram as much game into those four or so hours as possible. As usual when I want a good game to introduce new-comers to TT RPing i’ve turned to one of my favourite systems, Fate Accelerated Edition (FAE) along with a brilliant G+ Fate roller extension (http://www.diceboy.com/).
    One of the players is quite new to TT and wants some sort of easy to get into fantasy game because, although new to TT, the LARP that we do is fantasy based and he has experience of lots of fantasy films; this is fine, i’ve already done some consideration of how to adapt FAE to a D&D-esque setting (detailed in previous blog posts). For this game though, i’ve decided to keep things simple (anything not mentioned below is as it is in the core FAE book):
    Aspects: In addition to their High Concept and Trouble, players will also have a Race aspect (dwarf, orc, etc) that can be invoked (as normal) whenever they perform an action that fits with the concept of their race (i’ll be keeping it pretty simple and stereotypical for this game, orcs are brutish and violent, dwarves are rigid, stoic craftsmen, etc etc).
    Magic: In order to have magic a sorceror must have the Aspect ‘Sorceror’, they must also have a Stunt (or Stunts) that defines their type of magic; for example, a sorceror may have the Stunt ‘Fire magic’ and all of their spells will involved heat or fire in some way. Magic will use the normal action rules as described in FAE (attacking, defending, etc).
    Equipment: Unless taken as a Stunt equipment is assumed to be of insufficient quality to make any real difference to the dice rolls, if taken as a Stunt then it can add the normal +2 to an appropriate situation.
    Taking inspiration from the recent Dungeon World session that I ran, I intend to use the player character Aspects (and a brief Q&A with the players at the start after character gen) to create a rough map of the world and detail out the major threats/challenges, once we have this i’ll run with what i’ve got and see where it goes from there. Assuming all goes well with the technical side of things then the game will be recorded and uploaded to my Youtube Channel  when we’ve finished the session.

    Iron heroes review

    Iron Heroes is by no means a new book, it was written by Mike Mearls, published by Fiery Dragon and was in written in a similar vein to Monte Cooks Arcana Unearthed and later Arcana Evolved alternate players handbook; recently (as detailed in my last blog post) i’ve been considering creating a nordic, survivalist setting that, as it slowly evolves in my mind, has become a low magic, humanocentric fantasy setting with a bit of a swords & sorcery flavour to it. I’ve had a copy of Iron Heroes sat around on my bookshelf for some time and, whilst I remember enjoying reading the book when I first got it, i’ve never really used it to run a game or had a setting that it suited; part of the point of this review is that i’ll be looking at the suitability of it for my proposed campaign idea in addition to all the normal review-style stuff in this entry.

    What is Iron Heroes?
    Iron Heroes describes itself as “action fantasy” and claims that the rules inside are designed to promote that style of play rather than the standard D&D rules; the introduction explains that the one of the main design ideas of Iron Heroes are that “options and choices make a fun game”, this is something that I very much agree with and i’m very in favour of giving the players a degree of narrative control and power within the game, making an RPG a more collaborative experience all round IMO.
    Chapter One : Abilities
    This is pretty much the standard chapter on ability scores that most D&D and Pathfinder players will be familiar with, the opening peragraph is interesting that it discusses the normal range of abilities for your everyday average person and quite clearly places the heroes of an Iron Heroes game in the ‘above average’ bracket. The rest of the chapter is pretty much standard fare with a list of the standard abilities (STR, DEX, CON, INT, WIS and CHA), how scores translate into modifiers and what sort of things the abilities can be used for; the end of the chapter covers numerous methods of generating these scores for players (and everyday people), it is noticable that Iron Heroes default assumption is that players will use a points-buy method of determining their scores, all abilities start at 10 and it costs 1 point to buy a point of an ability up to 15, 2 points to buy up an ability between 16-17 and 4 points beyond that, players can also designate a score as a weakness, the score drops to 8 (and may not be bought up further at character gen) and the player gains 2 bonus points to spend on other abilities. Player characters start with 24 points by default and may not buy higher than 18 in any ability at character gen (although the GM can alter the amount of points if he prefers a grittier or lower powered campaign), important NPCs also receive 24 attribute pointsd whereas average people start with 8 in each of their ability scores and have 16 points to improve them.
    Whilst I didn’t find this chapter particularly interesting to read this isn’t really a criticism of it, generally I don’t find such chapters particularly rivetting in any D20 book, but they’re a necessity; this chapter does what it sets out to do with a couple of interesting tweaks and largely solid writing.
    Chapter Two : Traits
    This is a chapter that I found extremely interesting; the core Iron Heroes book largely assumes a humanocentric setting where most of your PCs will be human (ala Conan, etc), in the absence of any different races or racial abilities Iron Heroes has introduced the concept of Traits, small elements that either relate to your background, your mental and emotional makeup or your physical prowess. At character generation each PC selects two of the Traits from the large list provided in the book (including such gems as Arctic Born, Child of Faith, City Rat, Bewitching, Bloodthirsty and numeroud other); players are only allowed to select a maximum of one background Trait but may select any combination of the others (up to their limit of 2).
    The Traits grant bonuses in certain situations or additional abilities for the player characters, within each Trait there are a couple of different options that can be taken.
    For example: The Arctic Born Trait gives a +4 against cold effects, a +2 survival check and can trait heavy snow as normal, rather than difficult, terrain; also the player can select Bears Toughness (allowing them to heal/recover from nonlethal damage more quickly), Ice Water Veins (bonus to resist mind effects) or Wanderer at the Edge of Creation (bonus to balance, climb and survival).
    I really love this idea of distinguishing characters via Traits, I know that Iron Heroes probably wasn’t the first to do it and lots of books have done it since under a variety of guises; but I like the idea of tying the various background traits into different parts of a campaign world or different cultures, the variety of different Traits available in this chapter is great.
    Chapter Three : Character Classes
    Arguably the main difference between Iron Heroes and the core D20 books (D&D3.5/Pathfinder) is that the classes listed in the game focus less around professions or life-paths taken on by the players and more around their preferred methods of combat; this definitely slants the game more towards a hack and slash or swords and sorcery style of gaming (which is no bad thing if that’s the campaign flavour you’re going for and is one of the stated aims of the book). Instead of using Armour Class (or AC) to make players harder to hit, Iron Heroes provides players with a defense bonus and has armour provide damage reduction, absorbing the harm of a blow rather than making the blow less likely to land in the first place; this is a largely a matter of personal preference and I don’t see it making a massive difference to the game, although I do think the idea of battered armour constantly ringing with the blows of enemy weapons fits the swords and sorcery feel quite well.
    This chapter also covers gaining skill points, feats and ability adjustments as characters go up in level, with a brief mention of multi-classing and how that work, again all pretty standard for a D20 game; although Iron Heroes does introduce the concept of Feat Mastery where you can gain progression in different categories to gain access to more powerful Feats.
    Most of the classes within the game also allow you to build up tokens for undertaking certain actions, these tokens are then spent on triggering class abilities; I found this a very compelling idea and certainly a lot more interesting than the standard “you may use this ability x times a day” ruling from a lot of D20 games, effectively the lure of token gain should encourage players to act in ways appropriate to their class and by doing so they gain the power to activate their abilities more often, I think this is a great idea. Players are limited to a number of tokens equal to 10 + their class level.
    The book contains the following classes:

    • Archer: Master of long ranged combat who gains tokens for aiming at opponents and then unleashing them in a deadly storm of projectiles.
    • Armiger: Heavily armoured warriors who wear down their foes, they gain a token for every 10hp of damage their armour soaks.
    • Berserker: Violent, furious warriors who gain tokens when either they of their friends are injured, allowing them to unleash their rage.
    • Executioner: Silent assassins who call on their abilities to strike at an opponents weak points.
    • Harrier: Scouts and rangers who rely on speed and striking from surprise to take down their foes.
    • Hunter: Tough, independent tacticians who use their knowledge of terrain to help them overcome their enemies.
    • Man-at-Arms: Master of many weapons who can tailor their abilities each day to confront the challenges that they face.
    • Thief: Golden tongued tricksters who strike from the shadows and then fade away to be lost in the crowd.
    • Weapon Master: Individuals who hone their abilities with a single weapon to almost supernatural levels, they gain tokens from attacking the same opponent with their signature weapon.
    • Arcanist: Users of strange and arcane powers who channel mana through themselves to create otherworldly effects.

    Most of the classes are quite interesting, some have token pools and others don’t and, since they are based on a particular style of combat, I can see how those classes not suitable for a particular campaign could be tweaked or removed without it having such a noticable effect on party makeup as say, removing clerics from a D&D3.5 campaign; that said the inclusion of the Arcanist class seems a little strange and more a concession to the fact that players of D&D3.5 and the like expect to be able to have a magic wielding class, however, the class itself is relatively well written and provides an interesting alternate spell point system that could be used instead of the standard D20 Vancian magic system (not sure if i’ll allow it for PCs in my own game but it’s nice to have the option). One thing I particularly like about this chapter is that each class write-up has a few suggestions at the end for how that class might fit in to various campaign models.
    Chapter Four : Skills and Ability Checks
    Iron heroes does away with the idea of cross-class skills by allowing anyone to buy ranks in different skills, however, your class gives you access to a group of skills, and each point spent on a skill group buys you a level in all the skills covered by that group, making it far more cost effective to purchase skills related to your class; this is a slightly different way to the manner in which Pathfinder would later handle this (in Pathfinder you buy levels in any skill but receive an additional bonus on your check when using class skills) but seems no less valid.
    I do like the way this chapter provides details on what specific difficulty rolls can accomplish, it also provides details on how players can impose penalties on their own rolls or voluntarily increase the DC of a challenge in order to gain specific additional benefits should they pass/succeed at the roll; there follows a fairly exhaustive list of modifiers, synergy bonuses and sample task difficulties which is fairly comprehensive although I feel it may lead to a little more page turning than I generally like in game, and I think that i’d probably create some sort of quick reference sheet when and if I was to use Iron Heroes. The section on skill challenges is well written and provides clear guidelines as to what benefits you can gain by voluntarily accepting a penalty or increasing the DC of a skill roll; these include a +2 bonus to attacks in the round, a +2 bonus to damage in the round, a bonus to a future skill check equal to the penalty and others.
    Chapter Five : Feats
    Again this is fairly well-trod ground for anyone familiar with D20 games, although Iron Heroes splits Feats into two types, General (those that have few pre-requisites or that can be mastered by anyone) and Mastery Feats (ones that require advanced training); basically Mastery Feats allow you to select a Feat multiple times as you progress in levels to unlock higher abilities that are all loosely thematically related, some mastery Feats also characters to accumulate token pools (in the same way as certain classes) in order to power their abilities.
    Chapter Six : Roleplaying Iron Heroes
    Given how much detail the system gives to combat I was a little worried that the actual RPing elements of the game were going to be overlooked, however this chapter contains some very useful advice and suggestions for ensuring that the RP isn’t lost amongst all of the combat options provided by the system; I particularly like how the segments stresses players should think about how the characteristics of their characters would be shown or acted on in-game, this is something i’ve often seen, where characters have great and detailed backgrounds but not much of it actually gets shown in play (and i’m sure i’ve been guilty of this too), so it’s nice to see this addressed in the book.
    This chapter also does a fairly good job of painting in the default assumptions for an Iron Heroes campaign and it was memories of reading this chapter that have prompted me to re-examine it for possible use in my (as yet unnamed) nordic post-Ragnarok style campaign; the default assumption is that there are no spell-casting clerics and that the gods never directly intercede in human affairs (with most religious leaders maintaining their position via political power), civilisation is small and scattered with a lot of the world being unknown or given over to wilderness and barbarism, humankind is the only player race available in the default setting (non-humans are distrusted and alien) and magic is rare. A capsule sample setting called ‘The Swordlands’ is also provided that could, with some effort, be worked up into a full setting.
    Chapter Seven : Equipment
    A pretty standard list of equipment with stats for the game, the only real deviation from the norm that jumped out was that Iron Heroes adds additional descriptors to certain equipment that links in with certain feats and powers possessed by characters in the game.
    Chapter Eight : Combat
    This follows the standard D20 game mould with a few exceptions, characters do not die automatically at -10 hit points but make a roll each round to see if they stabilise or die, characters also possess a number of reserve points that can be used at appropriate moments to speed the healing of damage; without any clerical healing in the game this is no doubt a necessity to prevent player parties having to stop and rest after every other combat. Unfortunately the chapter also seems to get caught up in examining grid-style combat in almost excrutiating detail, this may be useful for people who use miniatures or find the tactical minis element of comabt interesting, however, I generally prefer to rely on description and dramatic pacing in combat rather than minis and so a large part of this section wouldn’t be of particular use to me.
    Chapter Nine : Adventuring
    This chapter includes the rules for the game which aren’t covered by Feats, Skills or Combat, such as breaking objects, movement and encumberance; the material is well written and clearly laid out.
    Chapter Ten : Magic
    Covers the magic system of the game, it proposes that casters draw on a form of energy called mana that they attempt to bend to cause certain effects; in order to cast a spell an arcanist gathers mana shapes it into an effect based on what schools of magic they have mastery over (abjuration, divination, necromancy, etc) and then channels the spell (making the roll to cast it); each school of magic contains numerous methods (spells) that will look familiar to anyone who has played a D20 game before, however certain aspects of the method are based on how much mana a spellcaster puts into it, a spellcaster can spend over their maximum mana pool but they must make saving throws or suffer unpleasant side-effects.
    I think this idea is very interesting (although i’m not sure if it fits in with the low-magic feel of the rest of the rules) but I can see how with an indecisive player or a GM it may cause the game to bog down due a debate about how much mana to spend optimising a spell; given this i’m not entirely sure whether it is any great improvement over the standard Vancian magic, I think that anyone desiring a spell point style system may be better off just adapting the various psionic rules available for D&D3.5/Pathfinder.
    The appendix contains some useful information about importing material from other D20 games into Iron Heroes campaigns and vice-versa.
    Overall Iron Heroes is a bit of a mixed bag, there are a number of things that I like and dislike about the game; i’m a big fan of token based systems that allow players to marshal their resources and decide how important passing a certain test is to them, I know they aren’t to everyone’s tastes but I personally quite like such systems and think that the classes in Iron Kingdoms do them well, i’m not sure about the idea of keeping seperate pools for each type of ability and think I would probably just have PCs put their gained tokens in a single pool.
    The book is extremely well laid out with a nice uncluttered background (meaning that PDF versions are quick to load, unlike some more recent RP PDFs that seem to take an absolute age to load and are riddled with unnecessary graphics), the art in the book is nice and all feels appropriate to the style of setting and in general the writing style in concise and to the point. I do feel that in some sections of the book it goes into fair too much detail, devoting countless pages to skill examples and such like, but this is not a major downside for me. As discussed above i’m not sure about the magic system, I believe that it could slow down a game.
    I think for my campaign that i’d probably take the classes (although NOT the arcanist), traits, skills, feats and such like from Iron Kingdoms but (assuming I decide to allow player character magic classes) would probably take the psionic classes from Psionics Unleashed by Dreamscarred Press and come up with a background of Vancian magic having existing when the gods were alive but that their downfall bought the end of both traditionally arcane and divine magic, leading to psionic style magic being discovered by the survivors of the god-pocalypse.