Ironsworn: Beast of Cindermeet

April 6, 2024 ◇ 12 min read

Adventure introduction

Beast of Cindermeet is an original improvised actual play example of Ironsworn core rules, I focused on elements found in free Ironsworn rulebook that can be downloaded here on drivethrurpg. To track everything and help me with oracle rolls I used Pocketforge app.

Character creation

In this adventure, I wanted to play a mystic character with specific assets in mind. I have created a new hero with Ironsworn origin, hit Edit and adjusted Description a bit to better describe my character and manually picked assets: Hound with Ferocious ability (companion), Wildblood (path) and Augur (ritual). Augur is a really fun asset that can be used just as described, limited to summoning crows, or as a Speak with Animals spell.

Kanno Cragsmere
Description: Successful, Sociable, Reclusive
Race: Human
Role: Traveler
Backstory: You are haunted by past actions or failures
Goal: Defend a place
Motivations: Resist Dream, Hold Protection, Break Warning
Inciting incident: Important event threatened

Kanno is a traveling druid and prefers to resolve conflicts peacefully if possible. Wits will be his main stat, it is used in Augur and potentially Wildblood assets, then Heart as it will be important in many relationship moves and Edge as his main combat stat.

Edge: 2, Heart: 2, Iron: 1, Shadow: 1, Wits: 3

Blaenstead village

Settlement Blaenstead
Description: Protected, Lush, Shadowy
Initial contact: Wary
Authority: Tolerant
Population: Dozens
Projects: Salvage, Trade
Settlement trouble: Raiders prey on the weak

I started with generating two settlements, adjusted their populations and troubles. This gave me an idea on how to link those two villages and how to proceed with the adventure. One of them is Blaenstead, a small village that is recently plagued by raiders. Some say the raiders are from one of the neighbouring towns, but there's no incriminating proof yet. Raiders targeted mostly trade caravans for supplies. They are quick, efficient and well organized. Wynne, Blaenstead's overseer, is looking for a solution.

NPC Wynne Jarsyn
Description: Critical, Old, Suspicious
Role: Leader
Goal: Restore a relationship
Activity: Raiding Honor
Disposition: Helpful
Motivations: Hide Relationship, Depart Trade, Clash Spirit

Townspeople are frustrated and restless. On top of that, they are incited by the overseer's daughter and possible future town leader, Mona.

Mona Jarsyn
Description: Angry, Attractive, Dangerous
Role: Warrior
Backstory: You rejected a duty or destiny
Goal: Prove worthiness
Motivations: Acquire Trade, Uphold History, Search Weakness
Inciting incident: Old wounds reopened

Mona believes there's no other solution to this situation other than a show of force, otherwise the raids won't stop, preying on her town's weakness and lack of action. Wynne wants to avoid unnecessary bloodshed, but she is slowly being outvoted. Wynne decided to summon Kanno to resolve this situation before it ends up as an open conflict.

Swear an Iron Vow
When you swear upon iron to complete a quest, write your vow and give the quest a rank. Then, roll +heart.
Vow: Stop the raids on Blaenstead (dangerous).
Challenge: 10, 2. Action: 7 (+heart), weak hit.
On a weak hit, you are determined but begin your quest with more questions than answers. Take +1 momentum, and envision what you do to find a path forward.
Action: Serve.
Theme: Safety.

How difficult a vow should be? For example, dangerous rank marks 2 progress boxes per milestone and needs 5 milestones to fill its progress track completely. Formidable marks 1 progress box per milestone and requires 10 milestones, so the difficulty is more or less doubled. For a one-shot play, troublesome or dangerous ranks usually work best.

Added personal Vow to Kanno's Tracks section. Possible milestones:

  • Find and question the raiders
  • Reach the suspected village
  • Find out who's responsible for the raids
  • Stop them from continuing this shameful activity

I scored a weak hit on Swear an Iron Vow and decided to roll Action and Theme, this is completely optional and up to you. I rolled Serve Safety.

There are a lot of unknowns at this point and while Kanno considers what approach he should take, Mona jumps in. She's determined to do things her way. She will join Kanno and make sure that if he fails, the raiders will still be dealt with.

I often play with more than one character. It's similar to guided play, which is one of the options when playing Ironsworn, so there's no issue with balance. When playing with more than one character, most of the time I bump rank of combat or scene challenges a bit. I had a specific character in mind when I started thinking about this adventure. For Mona, who is a skilled warrior, I picked Loyalist (path), Skirmisher and Shield-bearer (combat talents).

Edge: 2, Heart: 2, Iron: 3, Shadow: 1, Wits: 1

Mona suggested that they should head towards Cindermeet. The Raiders were the most active in that area. They agree on that. For now, it's their best bet.

I created a new challenge track, Journey to Cintermeet and set its rank to troublesome. It's a well-known path, but they could still encounter wild beasts or raiders on the way.

Undertake a Journey (Kanno)
Challenge: 7, 1. Action: 8 (+wits), strong hit.
On a strong hit, you reach a waypoint. If the waypoint is unknown to you, envision it (Ask the Oracle if unsure).
You make good use of your resources: Mark progress.
Waypoint: Rough, Civilized Forest

Once they exited the village, they went through the surrounding forest, with local woodcutters at work.

Undertake a Journey (Kanno)
Challenge: 6, 9. Action: 4 (+wits), miss.
On a miss, you are waylaid by a perilous event. Pay the Price.
Pay the price: It forces you to act against your best intentions. -1 momentum.
Waypoint: Flooded, Beautiful Swamp

Rains were particularly heavy recently and the path through the forest that is normally passable is now flooded. Passing the swamp will take some more time than anticipated.

Undertake a Journey (Kanno)
Challenge: 9, 6. Action: 7 (+wits), weak hit.
On a weak hit, you reach a waypoint and mark progress, but suffer -1 supply.
Waypoint: Flooded, Peaceful River Ford

Undertake a Journey (Kanno)
Challenge: 4, 2. Action: 7, strong hit.
Waypoint: Rich, Ruined Mountain

Luckily, the rest of the travel went without major obstacles, and they arrived before the gates of Cindermeet, a small village sitting in a valley surrounded by mountains.

Reach Your Destination
Challenge: 4, 2. Action: 7, strong hit.
On a strong hit, the situation at your destination favors you.
Make another move now (not a progress move), and add +1.

Reach a Milestone: Stop the raids on Blaenstead. Milestone: arrived at Cindermeet.
Progress 2/10


Kanno and Mona arrived at the destination. Mona is known among at least some townspeople of Cindermeet, including its guards, there was no hostility or suspicion in their welcome. It could be a facade, it's possible that the whole raiding is a well-kept secret or that people living here are innocent.

Settlement Cindermeet
Description: Wide, Defended, Blighted
Initial contact: Welcoming
Authority: Tolerant
Population: Dozens
Projects: Terraforming, Subsistence

They spent some time in the village to get any hint on what is going on here. Mona is itching to challenge the village overseer right away. Kanno decided to summon his flock of crows and ask a question "Are people of Cindermeet raiding travelers".

Challenge: 3, 5. Action: 10 (+wits, +1 add from reach your destination), strong hit. On a strong hit, you interpret their calls as a helpful omen.
Action: Surrender.
Theme: Disease.

Reach a Milestone: Stop the raids on Blaenstead. Milestone: find out who's behind the raids.
Progress 4/10

The answer is yes, people of Cindermeet are not innocent, but there's more, a hint of corruption plaguing this town. There's a reason they are doing that and trying to keep it a secret. This is enough for Mona, she did not need any more answers. Kanno stopped her and advised caution, this could be a delicate matter. They disagreed on the next steps.

Face Danger (Kanno)
Challenge: 3, 2. Action: 4 (+wits), strong hit.

Face Danger (Mona)
Challenge: 8, 5. Action: 9 (+iron), strong hit.

Mona won the disagreement, both scored strong hit, but her action score was higher.

Mona is relentless and although Kanno's arguments are reasonable, she came here to settle matters herself. She stormed to meet the overseer. Entered the mead hall and declared: the crows have spoken, the secret is no more, she demands a formal duel in the name of Blaenstead people. The raids must stop, spoils returned.

NPC Bas Starhenge
Description: Passive, Reclusive, Agreeable
Role: Leader
Goal: Protect a secret
Activity: Patrolling Opportunity
Disposition: Indifferent
Motivations: Persevere Ruin, Investigate Momentum, Learn Advantage

Draw the Circle (Mona)
Challenge: 7, 9. Action: 7 (+heart), miss. On a miss, you begin the duel at a disadvantage. Your foe has initiative.
Pay the Price: It is harmful. -1 health.
Endure harm: Challenge: 10, 5. Action: 10 (+health), weak hit. On a weak hit, you press on.

This was extremely reckless and Bas' personal guards were on her in seconds. One of the guards tried to incapacitate her, and she was slammed with his shield. Bas interrupted the scene, commanded his guards to stand down. He will not shy away from a challenge.

Added a new track Duel with Bas and set its rank as formidable. This is a duel, only Mona will fight.

Face Danger
Challenge: 1, 2. Action: 9 (+iron, +1 shield-bearer), strong hit.
When you Face Danger by holding a foe at bay using your spear's reach, roll +iron or +edge. If you score a hit, you may Strike (if you have initiative) or Clash now, and add +1.

Sometimes, to get some inspiration during the fight I roll combat action, method and target.

Combat action: Take a decisive action.
Combat method & target: Breach Opportunity.

Challenge: 4, 4. Action: 8 (+iron, +1 skirmisher), strong hit. Match event: Assault Land. +3 harm.
Progress: 3/10

Mona took a stance and waited for any openings Bas might have. Once she noticed one, she struck.

Challenge: 4, 2. Action: 5 (+iron), strong hit. +3 harm.
Progress: 6/10

Challenge: 4, 8. Action: 6, (+iron), weak hit. +2 harm.
Progress: 8/10

They circled each other, she kept him at a distance, thrusting her spear at every opportunity.

Challenge: 10, 6. Action: 6 (+iron), miss.
Pay the Price: -3 health.
Endure harm: Challenge: 6, 2. Action: 8, strong hit.
Embrace the pain: Take +1 momentum.

Bas, realizing that he's at a disadvantage and slowly getting outmatched decided to risk it and move much closer, where Mona spear is not as effective.

Challenge: 1, 5. Action: 7 (+iron), strong hit. +3 harm.
Progress: 10/10

Bas successfully hit Mona and tried to take advantage of the situation and overpower here, but she parried incoming strike, bashing Bas' weapon away and thrust her spear at the exposed flank.

End the Fight
Duel with Bas resolved. Challenge: 4, 3. Action: 10, strong hit.

Mona won the fight and demanded for raids against Blaenstead to stop. Bas swore that he won't harass them anymore.

Reach a Milestone: Stop the raids on Blaenstead. Milestone: won the fight against Cindermeet overseer.
Progress 6/10

But the situation is more complicated than that, there's a reason the raids started and there's a risk that not everyone will submit to his command. Cindermeet has its own troubles, there is a Beast on the hunt. For some time now a fearsome beast is harassing his people, making it hard for more remote homesteads to farm and keep their cattle safe. Some of them grew desperate and started raiding, so far without harming anyone.

Blaenstead should be mostly safe now, but if they truly want to end troubles in the area, the beast must be vanquished. Cindermeet hunters tried to defeat it themselves, but were unsuccessful. If Kanno and Mona can do what they couldn't, they will be generously rewarded.

For Kanno, this was the real problem that needs to be resolved. Mona admits that while the immediate issue is resolved, with the beast around the problems could resurface or her village itself could be the new target of this monster. Kanno swore that the beast will be gone.

Swear an Iron Vow (Kanno)
Vow: Vanquish the Beast (dangerous).
Challenge: 3, 9. Action: 5 (+heart), weak hit.
On a weak hit, you are determined but begin your quest with more questions than answers. Take +1 momentum, and envision what you do to find a path forward.

The beast of Cindermeet

Kanno and Mona can't afford to make more reckless actions and have to prepare properly. They decided that Mona must heal her wounds first. She tried to leverage her position as a neighboring village overseer's daughter.

Secure an Advantage: Aid Your Ally (Mona)
Challenge: 2, 8. Action: 4 (+heart), weak hit. +1 momentum (loyalist). +1 momentum for Kanno.

Sojourn (Kanno)
Challenge: 10, 5. Action: 7 (+heart, +1 advantage), weak hit.
Kanno: Plan: Take +2 momentum.
Mona: Recuperate: Take +2 health for yourself and any companions.

Heal (Kanno)
Challenge: 3, 4. Action: 5 (+wits), strong hit. +2 health for Mona.

This could be a real challenge, Kanno didn't want to risk it and spent some time to heal Mona fully before going after the monster.

Gather Information (Kanno)
Challenge: 8, 7. Action: 9 (+wits, +1 wildblood), strong hit.
Reach a Milestone: Vanquish the Beast. Milestone: investigated beast's location.
Progress 2/10

Kanno and Mona pinpointed location of the beast den based on information provided by the townspeople about recent attacks and direction in which the beast usually retreated. They also learned that only livestock was killed, hunters and farmers were only wounded before the beast left them alone. The beast's origin is unknown and people are convinced there's magic at work. This journey is troublesome.

Undertake a Journey (Kanno)
Challenge: 10, 10. Action: 7 (+wits), miss. Match event: Escalate Vow.
Pay the Price: A new danger or foe is revealed.
Progress: 0/10

NPC Kayu Farseer Description: Quiet, Clever, Charming
Role: Guide
Goal: Avenge a wrong
Activity: Inspecting Survival
Disposition: Friendly
Motivations: Protect Fear, Protect Blood, Affect Opportunity

Some distance away from the village, Kanno and Mona were approached by a man. He seemed friendly but kept his distance, congratulated Mona on her fighting skills and explained how, regrettably, he can't let them continue their hunt. Or return to the village. At this moment, a huge wolf-like beast emerged from the forest's edge.

Challenge track (Formidable): Fight against beast duo.
Progress: 0/10

Enter the Fray (Kanno)
Challenge: 4, 9. Action: 3 (+heart), miss.
Pay the Price: suffer move, -3 momentum.

Enter the Fray (Mona)
Challenge: 8, 8. Action: 5 (+heart), miss. Match event: Release Love.
Pay the Price: It causes a delay or puts you at a disadvantage. -3 momentum.

The course of events shocked both Kanno and Mona, the stranger shouted a command, and the beast jumped at them.

Face Danger (Mona)
Challenge: 10, 6. Action: 8 (+iron, +1 skirmisher), weak hit. -1 health.
Endure harm (Mona)
Challenge: 6, 10. Action: 6 (+health), miss. -1 momentum.

Mona immediately took a defensive stance with her spear and shield. The beast circled her, then lunged again.

Clash (Mona)
Challenge: 7, 1. Action: 6 (+iron, +1 skirmisher), weak hit. +2 harm.
Pay the price: It is stressful. -3 spirit.
Endure stress (Mona)
Challenge: 3, 6. Action: 8 (+spirit), strong hit. Embrace the darkness: Take +1 momentum.
Challenge track (Formidable): Fight against beast duo.
Progress: 2/10

She has never faced such an enemy and felt completely overwhelmed. The wolf-like beast was big and fast, its bites barely blocked by the shield. It nearly knocked her down with its weight, but at least she managed to land a hit.

Face Danger (Kanno)
Challenge: 2, 5. Action: 9 (+wits, +1 wildblood), strong hit.

Kanno focused on defending against Kayu, each of them armed with a staff, looking for an opportunity to trip or knock down the opponent. Kanno blocked each hit and found an opening.

Strike (Kanno)
Challenge: 3, 1. Action: 4 (+iron, +1 hound), strong hit. +4 harm, +1 momentum.
Challenge track (Formidable): Fight against beast duo.
Progress: 6/10

He hit Kayu, made him take a few steps back from the impact, and his hound locked his jaws on Kayu's leg, biting viciously.

Combat action: Leverage the advantage of a weapon or ability.
Combat method & target: Sunder Balance.
Secure an Advantage: Aid Your Ally (Mona)
Challenge: 2, 8. Action: 8 (+iron, +1 loyalist), weak hit. +1 momentum (loyalist), +1 momentum for Kanno.

Mona saw what was happening to Kayu and tried to trip him with her spear, trying to give Kanno and his hound an opportunity to eliminate Kayu from the fight completely, but she was only able to push him back without losing his balance.

Strike (Kanno)
Challenge: 10, 1. Action: 5 (+iron, +1 hound, +1 advantage), weak hit. +3 harm.
Challenge track (Formidable): Fight against beast duo.
Progress: 9/10

Kanno closed the distance and kept attacking Kayu with his hound in tandem.

Face Danger (Mona)
Challenge: 10, 6. Action: 10 (+iron, +1 skirmisher), weak hit. -1 health.
Endure harm (Mona)
Challenge: 3, 10. Action: 6 (+iron), weak hit.

The beast charged at Mona, both paws on her shield in a blink of an eye, huge jaws gnawing at the shield's rim. The beast was too big; one of the paws slipped past the shield and slashed her.

Clash (Mona)
Challenge: 6, 3. Action: 7 (+iron, +1 skirmisher), strong hit. You bolster your position: Take +1 momentum.
Challenge track (Formidable): Fight against beast duo.
Progress: 10/10

Using the beast's own weight, Mona switched her position and pushed her shield hard, throwing the beast away. Then she immediately struck it. It retreated, wounded in several places, foam dripping from its mouth. It looked briefly at Kayu, made a few uncertain steps, and then ran away into the forest, abandoning its master.

End the Fight
Fight against beast duo resolved. Challenge: 10, 8. Action: 10, weak hit. You’ll pay for it: An objective falls out of reach.
Reach a Milestone: Vanquish the Beast. Milestone: defeated beast's master.
Progress 4/10

Kayu, lay on the ground, breathing heavily, and watched as his beast disappeared between the trees. This is not the end, he promised. The beast will be back. They bound him tightly and prepared for their next move.

Ask the Oracle: Will they continue to pursue the beast to its lair?
(Likely): 79, Yes.

They decided that it's better to act fast, Kayu, bound and unarmed, won't cause any troubles.

Undertake a Journey (Kanno)
Challenge: 7, 6. Action: 7 (+wits), weak hit. -1 supply.
Waypoint: Blocked, Blighted Thicket.
Progress: 3/10

Undertake a Journey (Kanno)
Challenge: 10, 2. Action: 4 (+wits), weak hit. -1 supply.
Waypoint: Rich, Empty Thicket.
Progress: 6/10

Undertake a Journey (Kanno)
Challenge: 2, 2. Action: 9 (+wits), strong hit. Match event: Journey War. +1 momentum each.
Waypoint: Exposed, Contested Pass.
Progress: 9/10

Moving through the thicket wasn't particularly easy, but they eventually managed to reach a ravine with unnatural tracks leading to the beast's den.

Reach Your Destination
Journey to the beast's den resolved. Challenge: 8, 2. Action: 9, strong hit.
Reach a Milestone: Vanquish the Beast. Milestone: reached beast's lair.
Progress 6/10

Inside the shallow cave, on a small stone altar, lay a talisman made from wood and bone, bound with hemp. The place smelled like a wet dog, chewed bones scattered around. No doubt, this was its resting place. Kanno picked up the talisman and, after a while, told Mona that this was the source of the beast's unusual strength. Kayu cursed the creature and forced it into submission, but the process should be reversible. He will attempt to break the curse and needs her to stand guard.

Challenge track (Dangerous): Lift the Curse.
Progress: 0/10

Enter the Fray (Kanno)
Challenge: 4, 8. Action: 9 (+wits), strong hit.

Kanno sat down, with the talisman in one hand and the other one on his hound lying down next to him. He closed his eyes, performed a short ritual, and when he opened them again, the cave disappeared. He entered the world of spirits. Right in front of him, the manifestation of the beast's own spirit, bound by the curse's black vines, thrashed around, unable to escape.

Strike (Kanno)
Challenge: 2, 7. Action: 5 (+edge, +1 hound), weak hit. +3 harm. Progress: 6/10

Kanno assaults the curse, trying to untangle the weave, his spirit hound wrestling the threads.

Face Danger (Kanno)
Challenge: 6, 3. Action: 9 (+wits), strong hit.

The curse tightened for a second, then lashed out, pushing away Kanno and his hound with a shockwave. Kanno stood his ground and responded with a decisive strike.

Strike (Kanno)
Challenge: 5, 8. Action: 5 (+edge, +1 hound), miss. Burnt momentum. Challenge: 5, 8. Action: 10, strong hit. +4 harm, +1 momentum.
Progress: 10/10

End the Fight
Lift the Curse resolved. Challenge: 1, 9. Action: 10, strong hit.

The curse lost its grip on the wolf's spirit, its weave untangled and slowly disintegrating. Kanno retreated back to the cave from the spirit world. Somewhere in the distance, the wolf's howl could be heard.

Reach a Milestone: Vanquish the Beast. Milestone: lifted the curse.
Progress 8/10
Fulfil Your Vow
Vanquish the Beast resolved. Challenge: 5, 9. Action: 8, weak hit. +1 exp for each hero.

Reach a Milestone: Stop the raids on Blaenstead. Milestone: resolved Cindermeets troubles.
Progress 8/10
Fulfil Your Vow
Stop the raids on Blaenstead resolved. Challenge: 8, 3. Action: 8, weak hit. +1 exp for each hero.

With their captive still bound, Kanno and Mona returned to Cindermeet and told Bas what happened and what Kayu did. The beast is no more, people can return to their normal lives, now the only case left is that of the rogue ritualist. What was his motive? Did he want to overthrow the current overseer and become one himself? Or was he only a pawn in a greater scheme?

Forge a Bond (Kanno, Cindermeet)
Challenge: 10, 2. Action: 8 (+heart), weak hit. Reroll. Challenge: 4, 2. Action: 8, strong hit.

Forge a Bond (Mona, Cindermeet)
Challenge: 7, 6. Action: 3 (+heart), miss. Reroll. Challenge: 7, 6. Action: 8, strong hit.

Bas was thankful, the people of Cindermeet won't forget what Kanno and Mona did for them. Just like Wynne from Blaenstead was grateful that Kanno prevented a much more dramatic scenario with both communities being at war with each other.

Forge a Bond (Kanno, Blaenstead)
Challenge: 6, 5. Action: 7 (+heart), strong hit.

Mona, being the daughter of Wynne, is already bonded with her village, so I only rolled Forge a Bond for Kanno. This concludes this short adventure.


This was an example of an improvised adventure, with nothing planned beforehand. I started with generating a Settlement, rolled Raiders prey on the weak and decided that I want another settlement for said raiders. Then, that one had Beast on the hunt, and I decided that the raids are only a consequence of the trouble with the beast. Once I started a journey to resolve the beast on the hunt trouble, the accidental encounter sparked another idea, the beast was the product of a curse placed on a regular wolf by the rogue ritualist and vanquishing the beast could be just lifting said curse. That felt much more interesting than a simple hunt and provided a setting for the next adventure, with the question of why Kayu placed that curse in the first place.