Ironmaster Session 1/11/13

Posted on Saturday, November 2nd, 2013 at 02:25

Okay, this is a bit of an unusual post as I’m writing a lot of it before the event.
I thought I’d show you how I use T13’s Plot-Dæmons to create a little narrative for the players of the world-building game.

Currently I’m not thinking about any long term arcs (the players are going to help me with that later), but I do need a nice story to get their feet wet and get them thinking.

The Characters

The characters are:

  • Stephen Smith – a trained Blacksmith and engineer
  • Mercurio – a mad scientist who has just got himself a cushy research job
  • Annie – a Fæ-blooded noble in hiding who wants to become a Judge
  • Jack- Annie’s older and less legally inclined brother

Currently Annie and Jack’s work is driving a wedge between their family connection and they are drifting apart. Jack is trying to place himself with London’s criminal fraternity, while Annie is trying to get herself appointed as a high court judge (and eventually a Law Lord of the Autumn Court [who deal with mortal law]). For both of them their Ambitions (in the form of the acquisition of Alliance/Guild memberships and Annie’s Ambitious x13 Handicap) are starting to interfere with Jack’s Devotion to Annie (x16).

This makes an obvious Liberty vs Dominion Conflict (at the moment Jack’s Devotion is dominant).
It might also hints at a Liberty vs Quiet Conflict later, when Jack’s Devotion meets Annie’s Dependance (Ambition) head on.

Jack will embody the conflict internally, but to draw in the others I will need to add additional embodiments to the mix. So lets go and have a look at the Dominion and Liberty pages, did anything catch your eye? Well, embedded in the newly formed mythology of the world of “Ironmaster” (which is also known as Regina Venefica) there is actually a Liberty-Dominion Descendant of some power (The Summer Court or Parliament of Dreams), which seems tailor-made to explore with this plot, but we’ll put that aside for the moment and examine the other PCs in light of Liberty and Dominion.

For Annie Dominion is her Guild and her brother is Liberty. Both are calling on her time.

For Stephen Smith the obvious choice is that his Guild will embody the Dominion side of the Conflict (although we can think about Madnesses, swarms, and a control quest) and he the Liberty, but to make it a little less obvious we can add a Rake, a Liberate quest, a Nightmarish monster or a Prevailer…

For Mercurio he has a Madness Handicap (“Touched by Madness”) so he may embody that, we can use the same embodiments we choose for Steve as well if need be).


Liberty has a Surreal Tone which we can use, Dominion has a Political Tone (which I could use but the Characters are a little too young and under-powered to play at politics in Regina Venefica so it’ll have to be done carefully).


We next need to investigate possible hooks for the Characters. Which means a closer view at those Character sheets and look for some probable Hooks.

Annie- is a Deviant – she needs someone to lie to. I think I’ll have her reconnect with an old friend who I intend to use in the novel. Detective Inspector Hoxton (actually he may have been promoted by now).

Jack- is a Sleuth – he needs defences to penetrate… and has a Devotion.

Mercurio- is a Sphinx – he needs someone to confuse… and he is Touched by Madness, a Handicap we can trigger.

Steve- is a Smith, but also a 9 geometry, he needs to hinder another or build something…

Which means we have someone who needs to be confused, hindered and lied to (not all necessarily the same person), while Jack needs to break into something.

The Story

Since I want to explore the Summer Court (and the relationship with the other Temporal Courts) I decide that I need to use it in the story as an external embodiment of both sides of the Conflict (and is a major L-D Alliance that they may consider joining).

I’ll also look at the Card Ordeals page and see what sort of Ordeals we may want to deal with. Dominion is a Clubs Facet and so we’re looking at: Barter, Control, Corrupt, Emotional Intensity, Guard, Magic, Might, Politics, Power, Self-Defence, Socializing and Trade for it. Liberty is a Hearts Facet and favours: Blending-in, Cooking, Escaping, Healing, Hiding, Hunting, Insulting, Joke-telling, Lying, Mimicry, Riddling, Spinning a tale, Surgery and Survivalism. Which gives me some ideas about the Ordeals that I might want to run.


First we need to gather the characters, ideally Jack will do this following his Hook. Then the action can begin… the hook needs to reveal the Conflict (although not directly but in a narrative metaphor) as Liberty vs Dominion. We’ll assign some cards for random events to those Scenes we have no event for.

  1. Jack’s hook, a criminal gang wants to get Jack to break into the Summer Court and Liberate something. So what is it? It is a painting called “The Dream of Duke Huffington”. This is an Artefact and may be important later… there is also a Lore on the Guardians of the Summer Court which should be told at this point (The Guardians are a Huge Pack of 100 Cu Sith, or Goblin-hounds. Huge, dark-green, demon-dogs with red ears and eyes that glow with bale-fire, if you hear three barks from a Cu-Sith you are doomed!).
    Embodiment: Internal Jack, but also External Liberty Quest vs Party (Dominion)
    Tone: Dark
    Location: A Dingy corner in a London Pub (The Magpie) (5 Yarn)
    Characters: Jack and A Grunt gang member (7 Yarn)
    Motif: Magpie (+1)
    Descendants: Grants the Guardians a Lore (2d4+1) (cost 23 Chi)
    Total Yarn: 13
    Chi-Halved: 9
    Scene Dice: d4+d2 / d5+1
  2. Mercurio’s hook, who should he confuse and why? His boss so he can help Jack? (10 ♥ – Beginning: Ask or answer a Question). Mercurio’s boss states simply that he has been sleeping badly, he wonders if there is a technological way of getting better sleep as he rather distrusts the “Parliament of Dreams”.
    Embodiment: Tension Mercurio’s Boss L Mercurio D
    Tone: Investigative
    Location: His bosses office (6 Yarn)
    Characters: Mercurio (4 Yarn) (and Jack +1) and his Boss (+6 Yarn) (10/11 Yarn)
    Total Yarn: 16/17
    Chi Halved: 11
    Scene Dice: 2d4/2d6-2
  3. Steve’s Hook- he could be asked to build something, perhaps one by Jack and one by his new Guild (Tesla corporation). It also suggests a Dream metal (Somnadium) – which should have the properties of being light, quite ductile and not very strong, but does promote sleep and dreams. However, it does become harder and stronger if placed near someone who is having bad dreams. Perhaps the Tesla Corporation may feel that Steve should not still be working with a known Darby Metal employee…
    Embodiment: Tension Steve L vs Guild D
    Tone: Political (hey what do you know I managed to use it)
    Location: James Thomas’ Forge (8 Yarn)
    Characters: Steve (4 Yarn) + JT (3 Yarn) + Mr Githam (Tesla Corp Manager)(+1) + Jack and Mercurio for free(+0) (8)
    Total Yarn: 16/17
    Chi-Halved: 11
    Scene Dice: 2d4/2d6-2
  4. Annie’s hook- (5 ♥ Revelation – Mentor (Hoxton) reveals the plot) Hoxton is going to act as Annie’s Mentor. He wants Annie to get in with the other Judges, he believes that she can make it. But she’ll need help, if its known that her brother is trying to get in to a Criminal gang that would not go well for her. Although Hoxton hopes that Jack makes it and feeds information to Annie and him, as there is no connection between Hoxton and the Crime lords (the magical criminals are not known to exist to the police and Hoxton wants the information, Annie can use this connection and Devotion of Jack to get the information for Hoxton and that he will let her make her name with the case, but Jack can’t know about it).
    Embodiment: Internal (Annie)
    Tone: Conversational
    Location: Annie’s Office (6 Yarn)
    Characters: Annie, Hoxton (5 Yarn)
    Total Yarn: 11
    Chi-Halved: 7
    Scene Dice: d3+d2/d4+1
  5. A trodding (magickal travel) ordeal for Jack to gather the party (may be split between these Scenes). This starts out as a Low Stakes Ordeal.
    • Trip to the Pub – Easy (4)
    • Meet a Magpie (Broccen Bulmäs) – King’s Cross (10)
      – What happens when he meets that Broccen (using the name Marquessa Margot Pica, if it comes up) depends on what Jack does. He could learn something incredible about Trodding (such as the ancient Trods have tones of the same name stem along them, or are connected by other things, the connections are important-not the places or distance), or get himself eaten, he might just decide to run, which would delight the Broccen with a real hunt.
    • Gather the Party Trip 1 – Moderate (6) / Running away (10)
    • Trip 2 – Moderate (7) / Running away (Jump 10 )
    • Trip 3 – Moderate (8) / Running away (Dangerous Stunt 10)
    • Trip to the Summer Court (Dangerous Stunt 10)/ Running away Easy route(3)

    Embodiment: External Liberty Quest Dominion party
    Tone:: Odyssey
    Location: Large Island Province(Britain) (+23 Yarn)
    Characters: The Party (5 Yarn) + Bulmäs/Magpie/ Mqsa. Margot Pica (+9 Yarn)(+1 Yarn)
    Total Yarn: 37
    Chi Halved: 25
    Scene Dice: d10+3/d12+2

  6. any other characters (who may be confused, lied to etc) technically one for each but we only really need one for the story (Ace ♣ – Starting a new Job / Trigger Devotion) – This is a reminder scene. The Mobster’s Leader remind Jack that they think of their gang as a family. People get very protective of family, don’t they? I hear you have a sister… So you’ll understand.
    Embodiment: Tension Liberty (Jack) vs Dominion (Sir Geoffrey)
    Tone: Dark
    Location: The Magpie Pub (+9 Yarn)
    Characters: Jack (4 Yarn) (or the Party 5 Yarn), Sir Geoffrey Voleur (Solo) (+6 Yarn), Some Thugs (20 Chorus +5 Yarn)
    Total Yarn: 24/25
    Chi-Halved: 16/17
    Scene Dice: d12/d10+1

The Act therefore has…
Locations: Britain (all locations are within Britain) (23 Yarn)
Characters: 20 Chorus (5 Yarn), 2 Grunts (4 Yarn), 6 Mercari (6 Yarn), 2 Solos (7 Yarn), 1 Broccen Bulmas (9 Yarn). (22 Yarn)
Motif: Magpie (1 Yarn)
Total Yarn: 46
Chi Halved: 32
Up paid Sway: 13+16/17+16/17+11+37+24/25 = 117-120 Sway
Act Dice: 4d4/2d6+3/2d8+1

Frame Archetype NPC

  • Facets: All the same Boon (15)
  • Handicaps: As Facets. Up to 5.
  • Personality Boon: 51 (2d10)[11][3]
  • Skills
    • Number: max 5
    • Boon: 24 (d12)[6][2]
  • Talents: 30 (d8+3)[8][3]
  • Powers: 44 (d10+4/d12+3)[9][3] with up to 5 Nimbeds


We work the conflict with Liberty pressing the advantage on Dominion. Mercurio as the Madness embodiment should experience some madness and is also on a comedic fall to the rest of the party’s tragic rise. They are trying to liberate the painting… this should require planning, preparation and some dreams.

  • Warp: (10 ♣ Uncertainty – Dream) They dream the Summer Court. Very odd stuff, Magpie turns up, they see the Guardians of Summer, Liberty vs Dominion emphasis, embodied as Swarms and Nightmarish versions of Annie and Jack. This dream is probably an Ordeal.
    • The Gallery – where the painting is held is where the dream begins (8 ♥)
    • Main Staircase – (6 ♠)
    • Main Hall – (6 ♥)
    • The Main Doors – Obstacle (a locked door A ♦ (diff 17)) (Q ♣)
    • The Gardens – Where the Hounds are… (8 ♠) Low stakes Fight if injured you wake up
    • The Gates – pursued by Hounds? (a locked door A ♦ (diff 7)) (Q ♣)

    Embodiment: External Quest vs Party, Tension (Jack vs Mercurio), Internal Annie
    Tone: Surreal
    Location: The Summer Court (Large Building Province) (11 Yarn)
    Characters: 100 Goblins (The Guardians) (9 Yarn)
    Descendants: Artefact painting (6 Yarn)
    Total Yarn: 26
    Chi Halved: 18
    Scene Dice: 2d6

  • Weft: (8 ♦ Revelation- Not what it seemed – They realise what they have been asked to Liberate is not what they are getting… The Painting is no Portrait…)
    Embodiment: Tension (Jack vs the Party)
    Tone: Conversational
    Location: Could be anywhere… Probably a room (6 Yarn)
    Characters: The Party (5 Yarn)
    Total Yarn: 11 (ish)
    Chi Halved: 7 (ish)
    Scene Dice: d3+d2/d4+1
  • Warp: (K ♠ Battle Villain and henchman (20 Chorus))
    The Guardians or the Mobsters attack depending upon what they are going to do.
    Embodiment: Rational Jack vs. Sir Geoffrey or Hounds vs Party
    Tone: Combative
    Location: Could be the pub, could be elsewhere (9/8 Yarn)
    Characters: The Party (5 Yarn) and one of

    • 100 Goblins (9 Yarn)
    • Sir Geoffrey Voleur (Solo) (+6 Yarn), Some Thugs (20 Chorus +5 Yarn) (11 Yarn),

    Total Yarn: 22-25
    Chi Halved: 15-17
    Scene Dice: 2d6-1/1d10+1

  • Weft: (Queen ♦ Revelation – Discovery reveals plot)
    Embodiment: Internal Jack and Annie
    Tone: Investigation
    Location: Could be anywhere (8 Yarn)
    Characters: The Party (5 Yarn)
    Total Yarn: 13 (ish)
    Chi Halved: 9 (ish)
    Scene Dice: d4+d2/d5+1

This places the Loom as having
Location: The Summercourt (11 Yarn), Some rooms (9 Yarn)
Characters: The Party (5 Yarn), Sir Geoffrey Voleur (6 Yarn), 20 Thugs (5 Yarn), 100 Goblins (9 Yarn)
Descendant: Artefact Painting (6 Yarn)
Total Yarn:51
Chi Halved: 36
Up payed sway:26+11+22/25+13 = 72-75 Sway
Total Sway: (72-75 + 111-114)= 183-189 Sway
Act Dice: 2d10

Loom Archetype NPC

  • Facets: All the same Boon (17)
  • Handicaps: As Facets. Up to 6
  • Personality Boon: 59 (2d10+1)[12][4]
  • Skills
    • Number: up to 6
    • Boon: 28 (d4+5)[7][2]
  • Talents: 35 (d6+5/d8+3)[7][2]
  • Powers: Boon 51 with upto 6 Nimbeds


The Final Ordeal

The actual break in to the Summer Court and liberation of the painting (or this might turn into a very different event depending on what they choose to do).

  • The Gates – enter the Palace Gardens (a locked door A ♦ (diff 8)) (Q ♣)
  • The Gardens – Where the Hounds are… (8 ♠) – Stakes go up to Medium Fight begins.
  • The Main Doors – Potentially followed by hounds. Obstacle (a locked door A ♦ diff 18) (Q ♣)
  • Main Hall – Ditto on the Hounds… (6 ♥)
  • Main Staircase – Ditto on the Hounds… (6 ♠)
  • The Gallery – and the Painting (8 ♥)

Embodiment: Quest vs Party
Tone: Action
Location: The Summer Court (11 Yarn)
Characters: The Party (5 Yarn), 100 Goblin-Hounds (Cu Sith) (9 Yarn) / 1000-1999 Extras (9 Yarn)
Descendant: Artefact painting (6 Yarn)
Motif: Magpie (1 Yarn)
Total Yarn: 32
Chi Halved: 22
Scene Dice: 2d6+1

Completion Event

Depending on how things go the Completion Event may vary, but the Plot Daemon would like to achieve this particular Completion Event (Ace ♣ – Happy Hollywood [Dominion victorious]).
While this is a good thing for the party, Guilds and the players with Madnesses, those with Devotions should also suffer through this ending slightly (it should be at best bitter sweet for Jack and Annie).
Embodiment: Internal Jack and Annie, Tension Devotions vs Guilds.
Tone: Dark or Conversational
Location: A room somewhere (4 Yarn)
Characters: The Party (5 Yarn)
Total Yarn: 9
Chi Halved: 6
Scene Dice: d5


Depending upon what happens we have differing results.

  • Revolution

    If all goes well and the party succeed, they all secure their Guild memberships. Mercurio should come out on top somehow (his Madness may become a Leader Personality or Dominator Core). This plot revolts and becomes a new Dominion vs Liberty story.

  • Revelation

    The problem isn’t really dealt with, but is revealed. This may happen if they decide not to go forward with the plot once they realise what is actually at stake. There will be another Liberty vs Dominion story, perhaps a deeply political tale with Annie needing help.

  • Rejection

    Doesn’t pay-out! If all goes pear-shaped and they avoid the conflict then they all risk/lose their jobs and this plot increases a rank. Liberty in terms of dreams may overtake them as they lose connections to their guilds.

  • Reversion

    Doesn’t pay-out! The situation returns to its original set up. We’ll need to run this plot again with different dressing. Plot increases a rank.

  • Reconciliation

    We hates this choice remember. An accord is reached, Liberty grants concessions to Dominion. They get to join their respective guilds but restrictions are placed on how often they can call each other in, or under what circumstances the Guilds get priority. The plot can come back, but only as an Act in some later story.

  • Resolution

    In a true resolution of this plot we will pay off the Devotion Handicaps (turning into a Prevailer Core or Rake Personality/ Dominator Core or Leader Personality), and can create a “Dream Control” [L-D] or “Political Games” [D-L] Skill Descendant for the other players, or the PCs may join the Summer Court using the Gain to buy membership and level.


The final payout from this story (which reflects the Resolution). This particular story favours this particular Gain: (9 ♥ – Warning: The characters are warned about the plot and the Internal embodiment) This is the final payout of the Story and pays out: All Yarn (64) , Chi (155 ish) and Sway (235 ish) there are 4 characters so…
Each: 16 Yarn (184 Sway), 38 Chi (76 Sway), 58 Sway, which is 318 Sway or 159 Chi / (22 Yarn +6 Chi)
Embodiment: Internal Jack and Annie, Tension Annie+Jack vs Mercurio
Tone: Conversational or Dark
Location: Some room somewhere (6 Yarn)
Characters: The Party (5 Yarn)
Total Yarn: 11
Chi Halved: 7
Scene Dice: d4+1

Overall Zenith…

Location: The Summer Court (11 Yarn), a couple of rooms (7 Yarn)
Characters: The Party (5 Yarn), 100 Goblin-Hounds (Cu Sith) (9 Yarn) / 1000-1999 Extras (9 Yarn)
Descendant: Artefact painting (6 Yarn)
Motif: Magpie (1 Yarn)
Total Yarn: 39
Chi Halved: 27
Up paid Sway: (32+9+11+)=52
Total Sway: (183-189)+52 = 235-241
Act Dice: 2d4+4

Zenith Archetype NPC

  • Facets: All the same Boon (13)
  • Handicaps: As Facets. (4)
  • Personality Boon: 46 (4d4/2d6+3)[10][3]
  • Skills
    • Number: 4
    • Boon: 22 (2d6-1)[6][2]
  • Talents:27 (2d4+2)
  • Powers: 39 with 5 Nimbeds

Story Total

Locations: Britain (all locations are within Britain) (23 Yarn)
Characters: The Party +other Mercari (6 Yarn), Sir Geoffrey Voleur + Mercurio’s Boss(7 Yarn), 20 Thugs (5 Yarn), 100 Goblins (9 Yarn) 1 Broccen Bulmas (9 Yarn).
Descendant: Artefact Painting (6 Yarn)
Motif: Magpie (1 Yarn)
Total Yarn: 66
Chi-Halved: 46
Story Dice: 2d12/2d10+2/2d8+4

Story Archetype NPC

  • Facets: All the same Boon: (22)
  • Handicaps: As Facets. Up to 7
  • Personality Boon: 74 (4d6)[14][4]
  • Skills
    • Number: 4
    • Boon: 34 (d6+4)[8][3]
  • Talents: 45 (4d4/2d6+3/2d8+1)[10][3]
  • Powers: 64 (d20+2) with up to 7 Nimbeds


That’s pretty much it, there are other things I could do…
I could create a Character Sheet for all the NPCs that I have noted in the plot. But I don’t have to. Their Dice pools and so on are fairly easily judged from the Scenes, and their power levels (The Mercari are roughly equal to individual members of Party in power, the Solos are about the power level of the whole party, so they should draw about the same number of cards as all of them).

I could treat them as an Extra, but instead I’ll give them a bit more of a work over and assume they have all Facets at 12 as they are pretty important to the Conflict, but I don’t want them to be too hard. So I decided that they are a Dominion Monster, a swarm of a Wyrd Monster (They can play cards as they are Fae, although they shouldn’t in the dream) (and yes, you can do that if you want to make your Monsters more complex, but I wouldn’t do it too often or with too many different types) and they will also have extra Handicaps (for the Twists)

Offensive (Smells of rotten meat)x12 (a 2/2 Rook Handicap);
Defensive (Hypervigilance)x12 (a 2/2 Trial Handicap)
and Duty (Duty to guard the Summer Court)x12 (a 2/2 Inertia Handicap).

For each Handicap that’s 1 Proficiency (Guard, Blind-fighting, Fast), and an Umbral penalty and a -12 to rolls and -1 Proficiency Die when invoked. Each time one is activated grants 1 Chi (or 1 Twist if I go Daemonic on that Handicap).

They can store 3 Twists, which they probably start with. Because I’m treating them as a Swarm this actually means the Pack can store and spend more (Store 300, but spend up to 8 (3+5 from the Sway table for <500) at once [although somewhat limited in scope] they can puppet possess, but not anything better, they can spend 8 to Soul-steal or on Vampirism but normally they are restricted to 3).

The Hounds may be able to Nightmare fuel from the Party if they have suitable Proficiencies, Descendants, Annexes or Handicaps (they don’t yet have much in this department, but who knows what they’ll buy on the way).

If we assume Personality of Guard and Core of Poser (+2 success levels when biting) both at boon 12…
That gives a Personality Value of (59×5=295), Boon 33, 2d4+3 (8)
The Hounds have Proficiencies in Tracking, Guarding, Hunting, Teeth and Claws, and Biting as well.
Skills of Boon (19) (d10 [5][2])

  1. Nose
  2. Ears
  3. Paws
  4. Teeth (+2 success levels when biting)

Talents of Boon 24 (d12) [6][2]

  1. Senses- Always on –
  2. Prowl – Never completely accurate
  3. Bite – Halved against Earth, Water, Fire, Air (+2 success levels when biting)

Power – Baying of the Cu Sith – Boon 24, (d12) [6][2]
Root: S, U: Loud Noise (Fury); N: Target is aged 5 years; N: Affect 303 cubic metres (+4 pips for extra targets), Channel: T;- Creates a Curse on those who hear it

Note that because this is a Swarm of these creatures they use the swarm rules for Combat etc.

I’ll summarize the scenes and available Dice-pools.

Story Act Scenes
d20+2/5d4 Frame: d10+4/d12+3 Scene 1: The Magpie pub: d4+d2 / d5+1
Scene 2: Mercurio’s Hook: 2d4/2d6-2
Scene 3: Steve’s Hook: 2d4/2d6-
Scene 4: Annie’s Hook: d3+d2/d4+1
Scene 5*: Trodding: d10+3/d12+2
Scene 6: Reminder: d12/d10+1
Loom: 2d10 Warp 1: Midsummer’s Night Dream: 2d6
Weft 1: It isn’t just a painting: d3+d2/d4+1
Warp 2:The Attack: 2d6-1/1d10+1
Weft 2: Discovery reveals the plot: d4+d2/d5+1
Zenith: 2d4+4 Final Ordeal: 2d6+1
Completion: d5
Final Gain: d4+1

*Scene 5 runs concurrently with the other Hooks, with Jack taking a Stage for each of the scenes… I probably should rename it Scene 0 to make that more obvious, but it’s done now.

So that’s the sketched out Plot (with some flesh applied to its bones). As I intended it to go. The details of how it actually played out are slightly different, but Margot Pics will definitely be back as Jack rather successfully charmed her into Mentoring him, and due to player brilliance I rearranged the order of the Loom’s warps and wefts. All of which I will detail later.
Although one semi off topic note is that the size of the Wyrd Tarot Hand is going to change from a maximum of 7 cards down to a more arithmetically friendly 5 cards, for Mercari and go up to 10 for Solos.