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Thread: Iron heroes

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Iron heroes

    I am going to run a campaign using the iron heroes alternative phb. The two main reasons being that is really cool and fits my game rather well. The campaign is placed on a small island and has a large ‘lost’ feeling. Thus no +3 great swords of killy doom to boy. The iron heroes system keeps the heroes up to power at higher levels without having to have weapons of mass destruction. But anyway, getting to the point. I am sure somebody has been using it an can tell me the pitfalls of the system. What should I look out for, or perhaps what is really cool to do.
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Iron heroes

    I haven't started my own IH campaign yet, but I'll keep you posted if I find anything. From Hearsay I gather that some classes (Armiger, Arcanist) are less fun to play than the rest, due to clunky mechanics and the like.

    http://ironheroesfaq.pbwiki.com/

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    Default Re: Iron heroes

    Quote Originally Posted by YPU View Post
    I am going to run a campaign using the iron heroes alternative phb. The two main reasons being that is really cool and fits my game rather well. The campaign is placed on a small island and has a large ‘lost’ feeling. Thus no +3 great swords of killy doom to boy. The iron heroes system keeps the heroes up to power at higher levels without having to have weapons of mass destruction. But anyway, getting to the point. I am sure somebody has been using it an can tell me the pitfalls of the system. What should I look out for, or perhaps what is really cool to do.
    I just wrapped up an IH campaign. Issues I noticed:

    #1. Challenge ratings for monsters from the regular Monster Manuals are kind of wonky, especially as you get into high levels. IH characters will have a much tougher time with flying enemies and with anything that has unusually high DR (15+). On the other hand, anything that relies heavily on special attacks that grant a saving throw will be much reduced in power, since IH characters have hella saving throws. Be careful what you throw at your PCs, and be ready to adapt stats on the fly.
    #2. The Armiger and Weapon Master are... meh. Not much fun to play, and underpowered into the bargain. Men-at-Arms, on the other hand, rule, both in terms of being fun and being powerful.
    #3. The Arcanist is just a mess. Some abilities are way too weak, others horrifically overpowered. I ended up designing my own caster class from scratch to replace it. You might want to do the same, or else import some other caster class from regular D&D. The warlock (Complete Arcane) seems ideally suited to the flavor of Iron Heroes, and will be a lot cooler in a setting where nobody else has any magic.
    #4. Mid- to high-level thieves are a bloody nuisance! They pile so many modifiers onto every roll that you need a master's degree in algebra just to figure out if you hit or not. Also, be prepared to clamp down heavily on what can be done with social skills, especially in combat. Don't worry about crippling the poor li'l thief. Thieves are plenty powerful... they're like insane uber-bards.
    #5. Money means nothing to Iron Heroes characters unless you go out of your way to make it useful. The wealth feats from Mastering Iron Heroes are very handy for this. Otherwise, don't expect your characters to get all excited by the promise of a dragon hoard.

    Please note that all this applies only to the original Iron Heroes. I haven't seen the revised version yet.
    Last edited by Dausuul; 2007-05-13 at 11:41 AM.

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    Default Re: Iron heroes

    Quote Originally Posted by Dausuul View Post
    I just wrapped up an IH campaign. Issues I noticed:

    #1. Challenge ratings are kind of wonky, especially as you get into high levels. IH characters will have a much tougher time with flying enemies and with anything that has unusually high DR (15+). On the other hand, anything that relies heavily on special attacks that grant a saving throw will be much reduced in power, since IH characters have hella saving throws. Be careful what you throw at your PCs, and be ready to adapt stats on the fly.
    #2. The Armiger and Weapon Master are... meh. Not much fun to play, and underpowered into the bargain. Men-at-Arms, on the other hand, rule, both in terms of being fun and being powerful.
    #3. The Arcanist is just a mess. Some abilities are way too weak, others horrifically overpowered. I ended up designing my own caster class from scratch to replace it. You might want to do the same, or else import some other caster class from regular D&D. The warlock (Complete Arcane) seems ideally suited to the flavor of Iron Heroes, and will be a lot cooler in a setting where nobody else has any magic.
    #4. Mid- to high-level thieves are a bloody nuisance! They pile so many modifiers onto every roll that you need a master's degree in algebra just to figure out if you hit or not. Also, be prepared to clamp down heavily on what can be done with social skills, especially in combat. Don't worry about crippling the poor li'l thief. Thieves are plenty powerful... they're like insane uber-bards.
    #5. Money means nothing to Iron Heroes characters unless you go out of your way to make it useful. The wealth feats from Mastering Iron Heroes are very handy for this. Otherwise, don't expect your characters to get all excited by the promise of a dragon hoard.
    1. The IH has recommended that any monster that has not been converted to it (aka Iron Heroes Bestiary) to have any Save DC they have for any attack/spelllike ability they use to be increased by about 2.

    2. Eh, it's player's preference really. The IH also suggest that instead of using the variable dice for DR, you can use a fixed number (an averaged dice result), it should help Arminger a little and cut down the dice rolling overall.

    3. Yeah it is a mess, it was a shame that Mike never got around to really correcting it before he was hired and told to stop working on these projects.

    4. No comment/opinion

    5. Well, you can use low magic items, if you don't want them to use them too much, it is recommended that you give them drawbacks. A potion of bull's strength? Add penalties to it the same stats that a Half-Orc have racial penalties to. A potion of cat's grace? Add -4 to Constitution. Bear's Endurance? -4 to Dexterity. They only last as the duration of the spell, so you have risk verus reward. Another example drawback is that some potions may be addictive (required a save roll against being addicted) like a bad drug.

    An outsider is immune to any drawback of a magic item like a sword or armour he might be using because he is simply an outsider, otherwordly, and use powerful magic. Whereas a simple character who tried to used said sword or armour would feel the bite of the drawbacks. The drawbacks here almost overcompensate for the advantages which is kinda the point.

    So there you have it, low magic items that may be common in D&D settings would be rare and usually are not worth it in the IH world, a +2 sword with little drawback would be a legendary artifact in IH as opposed to a +5 sword in D&D.
    If you really want to work on it, it's doable.
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Iron heroes

    Quote Originally Posted by Hurlbut View Post
    1. The IH has recommended that any monster that has not been converted to it (aka Iron Heroes Bestiary) to have any Save DC they have for any attack/spelllike ability they use to be increased by about 2.
    Hmm, missed that bit. I'll have to keep in mind if I run another IH game.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hurlbut View Post
    2. Eh, it's player's preference really. The IH also suggest that instead of using the variable dice for DR, you can use a fixed number (an averaged dice result), it should help Arminger a little and cut down the dice rolling overall.
    That's not the problem I encounter with armigers--the problem is that they're so heavily dependent on getting monsters to hit them, and they don't have enough ways to make that happen. Any sensible monster will hit the armiger a couple of times, then say, "Hmm, you know, this guy isn't really hurting me, and I'm not hurting him. Meanwhile, his berserker buddy is tearing into me. I think I'm gonna kill the berserker instead."

    IMO the armiger should have been designed more along the lines of the knight from the PHB II, where you can call out your enemies and force them to attack you. Combat Magnet is a step in the right direction, but you shouldn't have to take one specific ability to make the class work, plus you have to soak 30 points of damage before you can even turn it on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hurlbut View Post
    5. So there you have it, low magic items that may be common in D&D settings would be rare and usually are not worth it in the IH world, a +2 sword with little drawback would be a legendary artifact in IH as opposed to a +5 sword in D&D.
    If you really want to work on it, it's doable.
    Like I said--you have to go out of your way to make money mean something. It's certainly doable, it's just not built into the system from the get-go the way it is in D&D.
    Last edited by Dausuul; 2007-05-13 at 12:29 PM.

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    Default Re: Iron heroes

    Meh, I played a weapon master...if you use two handed double weapon (like the double-bladed quarter staff or double ave) their not all that bad....
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    Default Re: Iron heroes

    Iron Heroes rocks. I haven't got round to playing it yet and I can already tell. They made two-bladed swords finessable. Hell, they made Finesse a viable fighting style, thats enough for me.
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    Default Re: Iron heroes

    Head over to the Iron Heroes section of Monte Cook's message boards. There you will find a veritable treasure trove of discussion, and not a single +1 longsword in the whole pile.

    In general, I've found that it takes players a while to get the hang of a system that rewards them for using skills and scenery creatively, so be sure to demonstrate things like stunts and skill challenges on them early so they get into those good IH habits.

    That, and ROCK ON!


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