Iron Edda: War of Metal and Bone
I grew up playing Battledroids and later Battlletech. Eventually I transitioned to Robotech and Mekton. And at conventions I still gravitate to the mecha tables. I love the genre of mecha combat, guns blazing, missiles flying, and lasers ripping into the enemy. I also grew up with a passion for Norse and Teutonic mythology. Movies like the 13th Warrior get my blood boiling with passion and leave me ready to leap into battle against enemy hordes. Not comes Iron Edda: War of Metal and Bone by Tracy Barnett. This game takes my love of Viking culture and Norse Mythology and mashes it with my love of mecha combat. I gotta say I love the concept and give it three thumbs up.
Iron Edda: War of Metal and Bone uses the FATE CORE and Fate Accelerated Edition rules, but with a number of house rules. As with most games that use FATE CORE, this one contains a number of tables for character creation that make use of the Fate/Fudge dice. While I am not a fan of these kinds of table in a game, they seem to work for this setting better than one might expect. The game does a good job of giving many examples of play and for a novice or veteran gamer, and the system is well suited to the style of play.
The setting itself is a fantasy world with strong mythological influences. The writing is well done and evokes the kind of imagery that one might expect to have in a game dedicated to Viking culture but while it has this great familiar feel, there is an alieness to it all that works. Here is an example:
MIDGARD, OUR LANDS
From the northern ice, and the Frostreave Wastes, to the south, along the edge of the River Gjöll; from the Endless Ocean to the west, to the Hnitborg Mountains in the east we hold dominion. People cover the whole of Midgard. They range from the Frostreave Wastes in the far north, all the way to the edge of the River Gjöll in the south. As well, they’re found from the shores of the Endless Ocean in the west into the Hnitborg Mountains in the east. No one person rules all of it, though there are Jarls who have tried. Most of the lands are ruled by a Jarl who claims a set area of land. There are also areas of great emptiness, where only beasts and Low Men live. As well, there are areas of great darkness; places where witches, spirits, and beings from the Lower World are said to gather. As promised, I will only speak of what I know to be true, having been witnessed with the eyes granted me by the gods. I will also speak of what is whispered, for even a whisper can carry the breath of truth.
As you can see, the style of writing is beautifully executed and actually helps you feel what it is to be a character of this world.
The artwork throughout the book is primitive and evocative. I was reminded of the artwork from CHILL and while not my favorite style, it seems to work for this setting. Throughout the book you will find ways to create the story that you desire with an immense amount of flavor. The adventure example is excellent with well thought out encounters and monsters that you may wish to tone down if you are dealing with novice players. The game is rather deadly but what else would you expect from a game based on Norse Mythology.
Tracy Barnett says, “The heart of what makes War of Metal and Bone sing is the collaboration that takes place among everyone involved. From the words you are reading here to the decisions the players make during setting creation to the GMs preferences and skillset, all of these things must blend together to create your Midgard.” Paging through the book I couldn’t help but notice that this game is more of a story telling collaboration than many others of a similar nature. In the game you build a world through a series of events and the actions of the players but more importantly, the players build the story. I really like this concept and will have to write more once I put it into action.
Overall, Iron Edda: War of Metal and Bone, works. From the smallest detail to the largest the game evokes a passion of war and intrigue. I can imagine the Dwarven armies at the city gates and I along with my friends stand ready to enter a rage and show them our berserking nature. I would love to see this setting redone in the Savage Worlds system. Though I am not a fan of the FATE CORE system, this game has made me reevaluate my prejudices as it is written in a way that touches on my greatest passions. He has managed to take my love of giant robots and my love of the Viking genre and merge them in a way that works. Bravo Mr. Barnett, Bravo.
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