The Iron Isle
A Song Of Blades And Heroes Campaign
For our summer campaign, we decided to do a map-based story game set on The Iron Isle, a small landmass developed during Tim's Dawn of Worlds session last summer. (Dawn of Worlds is a collaborative worldbuilding game where players create their own unique fantasy world. It's also a free download if you'd like to check it out.)
We're using Song of Blades & Heroes for our games, along with the excellent campaign rules in Song of Deeds and Glory. The idea is to use the map to guide the narrative flow of our game, rather than to get bogged down with fiddly campaign mechanics. The spirit of Song of Blades & Heroes is very much focused on casual, character-based story gaming, rather than min/max powergaming, and that fits well with our club's play style.
Each player will begin with a 1,500 point Song of Blades & Heroes army. From that roster, players will assemble 300 or 400 point warbands for individual games. Losses are deducted from army lists, while survivors will gain experience.
Here are the individual battle reports. We played about 20 games over the course of 7 separate sessions.
- Session 7 - Escape the Iron Isle!
- Session 6 - Exploring the Iron Fortress
- Session 5 - Fortress Besieged
- Session 4 - Burn Them Out!
- Session 3 - The Deserted Village
- Session 2 - Of Watchtowers and Haunted Forests
- Session 1 - Coming Ashore on the Iron Isle
Here's a brief synopsis of our campaign world. Astute fantasy fans will recognize any number of inspirations and borrowed names on the map itself.
Not too very long ago, within the living memory of some of the more long-lived
races, the great empires fell. This calamity can be traced back to a series of wars led
by the immortal demigods. Some say
that the demigods agreed to leave before they destroyed their creations. Others think one god
found a way to destroy the others. Of course, which god this might be varies from one
storyteller to the next. There are also those believe that gods did not, perhaps could not,
leave and that stories of their direct influence were always overstated.
Whether there were any gods, and whether they were ever owed any allegiance is
a debate for another time. For now, we will assume that the gods do exist and did leave.
This lack of guidance control led to the collapse of empires as various internal factions fought
over the remaining vacant seats of power. These empires crumbled
into localized territories held be a shifting cast of warlords, wizards, kings, and charlatans.
With the final departure of the demigods came the Godkiller, a rain of metallic shards that pelted the world and left strange, magical artifacts embedded in the very earth itself. These metal fragments seem to have an intelligence of their own, sometimes hunting and
attacking those who served the newly departed demigods.
These shards, along with fragments of other magic
metals, are highly valued and sought by adventurers who still wander into the remote places of world seeking artifacts in ruins, battlefields, schools of magic and abandoned castles.
The Iron Isle is one of these remote places. It is a small volcanic island situated near the center of the Ashen Sea. Some 30 miles across, the entire
island is under constantly shifting cloud of ash from the volcanoes clustered near the center
of the island.
The first settlers on The Iron Isle were the dragons. They slept for centuries in
caves beneath the mountains and the volcanoes, perfecting their necromantic magic.
After they awoke and began killing and taking anything they might like to, the Sabazian Empire initiated a series of wars against the dragons.
Believing they had destroyed the dragons of The Iron Isle, the Sabazians erected the Iron Fortress. It is widely
believed that the fortress held a secret sect of researchers seeking to adapt and advance
the dragons' corrupt magic.
When the empires crumbled and fell, the Iron Fortress was abandoned and has fallen into ruins. The shattered ruins are avoided by the small population that remains on The Iron Isle, for fear that any interference may release some foul necromantic magic.
Indeed, the dead have been rising under the shadows of the ash cloud that blankets the island, given life by some as-yet-undiscovered dark magic.
are few permanent settlements, with a handful of small farms clinging to the coastline in Olaster Province and Balthus Province. Adventurers come to the island, but they are regarded coolly by the cautious villagers who farm the agricultural lands, ever wary of the wilderness that lurks deeper within the island.