Posted on March 15, 2010 by Michael Brewer
Available at RPGNow.com
Rite Publishing’s Ironborn of Questhaven introduces a Pathfinder RPG compatible race and related mechanics in the vein of the Warforged from 3.5 Eberron and 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons. I was pleasantly surprised at the cohesiveness of the product and only one thing made me frown while reading the 21 page e-book.
Ironborn of Questhaven was designed by Steven D. Russell and illustrated by Hugo Solis.
I really like the race description as it is told in the first person perspective by the first Ironbound, Firstbuilt. Firstbuilt tells about how his race was born when a great artificer found her assistants lacking, so she built a construct to serve her. Then he, Firstbuilt, created another who also created another and so on.
I especially like how it plays up the slavery and mistrust angles. The one time I lost my suspension of disbelief is when, while speaking in the first person, Firstbuilt talks about alignment and specifically labels his lineage as “neutral good” (an Ironborn shares the alignment of its creator, which does make for interesting backgrounds and character development, but referring to the game terminology in the first person rubs me wrong).
Each Ironbound can create one more of its kind and so that was how the race procreated until the tomes explaining the process fell into the wrong hands. Since Ironborn share their creator’s ethos, this is how less than respectable Ironborn came to be.
One final interesting note is that all Ironborn have a Burden, which is the role they were created to fulfill. It’s sort of like built-in programming that Ironborn must comply with. Failing to engage in activities related to its burden results in an Ironborn losing control.
The best part about Ironborn is that they provide quite a bit of customization as far as Pathfinder RPG races go. You can choose a straight +2 to Strength or place two bonuses in the Ability Scores of your choice along with a penalty to one other.
You may also choose to be a size other than Medium (Small or Large) by not taking the Secondary Ability from the Ability Package you choose. An Ability Package is a set of two powers that reflect the purpose for which an Ironborn was constructed.
There are 22 packages to choose from. An example package is Combat Virtuoso whose primary ability gives the Ironborn character a +2 to Combat Maneuver rolls (Battle Tactician) and secondary ability allows an Ironborn to use its Combat Maneuver check in place of its Combat Maneuver Defense (Counter Design).
Other traits include rust vulnerability, immortality, natural armor, immunities (sleep & poison), and are able to get by on ¼ of the food and water than normal humanoids require. Since Ironborn are still humanoid (they have organs inside the metal shell), they are able to heal and die normally.
The book also packs in a decent amount of supplemental mechanics to give plenty of options for Ironborn players. While I haven’t play-tested any of the mechanics, they appear to be very well written.
Constructed Sorcerous Bloodline
A bloodline with a progression of powers that enhance animate object spells and grants an Ironborn construct traits (chance to ignore critical hits, spell resistance, and damage reduction). It also allows the Ironborn sorcerer to affect unintelligent constructs with compulsion effects.
The book provides 10 new Feats, all dealing with Ironborn or constructs. A couple of Feats include Improved Natural Armor and Intricate Joints, which makes an Ironborn character no longer able to be flanked.
A wind-up construct version of a base familiar, the clockwork familiar gains hardness and a vulnerability to rust as well as needing to be wound up every day in order to function. It also has some bonus to Craft and Disable Device skills.
I really liked the Ironborn of Questhaven book. I think it adds a valuable and interesting race to the Pathfinder RPG game and clocks in under $4 for a PDF. The racial traits and description all meshes nicely together in a cohesive whole, leaving few gaps. It’s customizability is its most important attribute.
|Mechanics:||4.9||Great mechanics, well thought out & cohesive, but I wanted more feats…|
|Illustration:||3.5||Consistent but sketchy style. I like Solis’ work, but this piece needed more graphics.|
|Layout:||4.5||I prefer landscape format for e-books and hyperlinks; otherwise, solid layout.|
|Editing:||4.9||I didn’t find anything wrong, but that 1st person mention of alignment terminology…|
|Value:||4.5||An interesting take on the construct race and lots of options for $3.75, good deal!|
Note: Scores are out of a possible 5.0 points.
Review by Michael Brewer