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Iron Claw, the chain of rulers

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The full list of rulers of the Kingdom of Iron Claw, from the first to the present, and the years of their reigns.




Historic Notes

King Graam


First King of Iron Claw Kingdom

King Goldulf


Established laws to allow slaves to purchase their freedom through a sheriff. It did not function very well and was prone to corruption.

King Aelfwon


Laid down most of the laws of the Kingdom, abolished slavery

King Radior


Commissioned the weaving of the Royal Sage Robes of Office. Encountered the Barrow Lands. Proclaimed an edict that the Barrow Lands would be free of settlers for one hundred years.

King Areneth


Fought Krakmoor at the Ferris Delta and died on the battlefield

King Bruxhold


Fought Krakmoor at the Ferris Delta and died on the battlefield

King Heolfwyr


Fought Krakmoor at the Ferris Delta and died on the battlefield

King Tarbenn


Fought Krakmoor out of the Ferris Delta but was assassinated by poison in revenge

Queen Wynter


Ruled after Areneth and her three sons’ deaths, each son taking the throne and then killed on the battlefield with Krakmoor forces until Tarbenn: who used mage cadres to destroy incoming Krakmoorish supply ships. Generally thought of by historians as the last of the golden age of Iron Claw’s establishment. Initiated construction of the Iron Fortress.

King Wyradir


Remembered as ‘The Giant Slayer’, was killed after his vanguard fell to a hill giant charge, is said to have slain seven giants before he was crushed, portraits depict Wyradir as nearly seven feet tall. Moved throne to Ferris to oversee construction of Iron Fortress.

Queen Haethwyn


Ruled in her husbands wake after he died on the battlefield defending the Iron Claw City against Hill Giants from the northeast. Established the Rangers of Iron Claw from the few remaining elite troops after the war for Ferris. Restarted construction of the Iron Fortress. Attempted to settle the Barrow Lands but the efforts she inspired and subsidised were cut short after Haethwyn was slain by a shadow assassin undead.

King Hadramyr


Took the throne after his mother’s death. Dubbed Hadramyr the Griever. Commenced a campaign to raze the various barrows and tombs from the Barrow Lands. Whilst the campaign was underway he secretly provided aid to Philo in their war or independence. Hadramyr was forced to cease the Barrow Lands campaign as the Great Plague began to rampage through the Kingdom. His three children all died to the plague and later his wife perished in a horse riding accident. After the Great Plague came to an end he resumed the Barrow Lands campaign only to abruptly cease. Two years later, after forbidding anyone in the royal court to speak about the Barrow Lands campaign, Hadramyr proclaimed a one thousand year edict freeing the Barrow Lands from settlement save for a road and a wayside inn every twelve leagues.

King Odimor


Odimor was a scholarly king who greatly increased the volumes in the royal libraries writing over 60 various treatises, studies and cyclopaedias on various subjects native to the Kingdom of Iron Claw. His last work was on the Bronzewood Trees of the far northern forests.

King Goldulf the Second


Completed construction of the Iron Fortress, instituted the edict of royal reserves all up the east bank of the Ferris River.

King Melfanner


Rumoured to have been a sorcerer, almost achieved an agreement with Krenshae, historical texts state Melfanner inadvertently offended the Kinetic Wizard’s Guildmaster, losing his right eye and hand in the altercation that followed. Longest lived of all the Iron Claw Kings at 141 years old. Melfanner’s Wake is now a public holiday in early spring.

King Eddarath


Eddarath was slain in battle by Goblin incursion forces that marked the beginning of the Red Bluff actions towards empire.

King Wyrayeth


A poet-warrior and master archer, left many works and two epic poems, ‘The Last Ride of King Areneth’ and ‘Queen Wynter’s Dirge’, now famous in Ferromaine speaking courts. Wyaryeth fought his whole life against the forces of the Red Bluff Empire as a King in exile. It is said he died of a broken-heart after the town of Yellowbar was slain and raised as undead by Blakh in revenge against a successful sortie. The fragments of Wyrayeth’s experiences at Yellowbar are a popular piece of reading for scholars; it is usually presented as ‘The Siege of Yellowbar’.

King Rowanos


Established fortress at Kalebo Pass, established Kalebo naval station in anticipation of further Red Bluff incursions. With King Michairius the Eleventh Rowanos orchestrated the Battle of Red Bluff where he died in its failure.

King Eadraith


Eadraith capitulated to the Goblins of Red Bluff and began paying tribute. It is said by the more stoic scholars that Iron Claw would have been destroyed if Eadraith did not do this.

King Merran


Military genius, had a critical hand in pushing back the forces of Red Bluff and almost completed the campaign. Merran was shot dead by a Hobgoblin troop of ‘Those without Shadows’ elite assassins.

King Radicane


Completed the pushing back of Red Bluff forces mainly with heavy cavalry and mage cadres.

King Cannamyr


Credited with the design of Iron Claw Ranger’s armour. An artisan-smith and master swordsman who established many training disciplines amongst the standing armies of the Kingdom.

Queen Alponna


Built the toll bridge over Ferry River, moved throne back to Iron Claw City

King Gaar


Raised the toll on the bridge to force the use of ferries to approach the city of Ferris from the east

King Athalor


Initiated relations with Krakmoor so that trade could expand without the Philo council leeching wealth as a middle-man

King Oldifane


Forged the Hill Giant Alliance, laid first stones for Elyos castle, laid first stones for the north Dassault fortress, implemented a large number of extra fortifications for the Iron Claw City palace, commissioned thirty navy ships

King Tarasvan


Issued royal navy notes, invested in mining the Central Mountains, coined first platinum mantles, led campaign against Krenshae resulting in his death

Queen Kelaren


Took over the throne of Tarasvan, Little known fact: Queen Kelaren paid an undisclosed weight of gold to prevent forces of Krenshae razing Vulcan Springs and poisoning the Ferris River

King Gravurgath


Cunning bastard-son of Kelaren managed to take the throne for a few years before the rightful heir, Nessican, cornered him long enough to lay a claim through a Royal Sage overseen duel.

King Nessican


History records Nessican as an unrivalled cavalier who led a military campaign against Goblin insurgents from the Wild Lands and fought them back into the high plains of Stonecrest. Nessican is credited as the designer of Iron Claw heavy infantry plate armour.

King Tarasvan the Second


Commissioned the ‘Avenue of Kings’ a street of statues depicting all the Kings who died in battle, Tarasvan is not depicted since he died in his sleep at the age of 89.

King Olaf


Established a speaking relationship with Krenshae, Thieves’ City. Organized a great deal of public works, arranged for Phrad to use Iron Claw currency, annexed Port Lenongard.

King Uthas


Current king of Iron Claw; dubbed ‘The Wise’, recommitted to the Hill Giant Alliance, trade alliance with Mekong Reldeng, trade alliance with Philo, extracted a tariff from King of Krenshae, incorporated the Borderland City States into the kingdom with a defence-vassal arrangement, annexed the free-cities of Da Dong and Saltive, formed mutual defence alliance with Kingdom of Dun Rohan, defended against invading forces of the Veyrr, pronounced Saint Fergus untrustworthy, rekindled relations with Ferromaine

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Armour, system-mechanics, and cultures


Modelling armour in RPG’s is a finely balanced affair. At once the mechanics have to support what’s known about armour and yet remain playable. For instance:

  • Armour doesn’t slow one down like to the degree that fictional films portray lumbering knights
  • It does make one tire far quicker since heat cannot escape the body as efficiently
  • Heavy mail and plate will turn aside almost all slashing attacks
  • Targeting the less armoured points will likely require called shots, or a greater abstraction that leads to less distinctive effectiveness between armour ‘suits’
  • Massive cost of armour
  • Full metal armour either includes, or requires, full under-padded suits which are themselves light armour

Taking into account just the above considerations necessitates a choice:

Detail & crunch,

or Abstraction & vagaries.

Armour is also inextricably linked to the damage mechanics of an RPG rule-set.

To use the DnD armour system as a benchmark, all it really does is make it a bit harder to have a chance to inflict random damage. It slows the character and with the heavy armours a dextrous character is actually better off without. This makes armour pretty much a waste of metal. However, if character dexterity’s stay in the average to above average range (+0 to +3) then heavy armour will remain somewhat effective – however armour doesn’t make it harder to have a chance to inflict damage. It flat out reduces the ability of an attacker to inflict damage at all. That’s where the main challenge comes in.

In simple systems this is all just abstracted away. For crunch this needs detail. If you want to actually have a functional difference between a double-mail hauberk and a suit of half-plate and mail then you require an armour & damage system that has enough granularity to reflect the difference.

A double mail hauberk is very heavy, has fantastic slashing protection, good puncture protection and good crushing protection. To penetrate this armour an average attacker would have to deliver a near perfect blow with a dedicated armour piercing weapon. However, the hauberk does not cover the feet, ankles, lower leg, hands, face, throat, etc. So most attackers will be trying to strike these areas. The defender in the hauberk will realise this and it will give them a tactical advantage in that they need not defend with full energy their entire body because the risk of damage is only significant enough to defend the face, hands and feet. Tactically and systemically it makes the combat a little more different than attack, defend, attack, with a tempo like an old kung-fu movie. Knowing that your attacker can only really injure you in three places means you have a lot more energy to move towards offense than, say, you were wearing only a leather cuirass protecting your torso.

Given these ideas of how fighting in and against armour functions it means any abstractions need to weigh these details in to the final decision. The final litmus test is that armour is actually worth wearing – because if it’s not, then it would never be kept and sold past the realisation of it’s ineffectiveness.

The only real exception to this is the armour that is culturally more significant than it is utilitarian. And that kind of armour is very rare throughout history.

Now in particularly stagnant cultures, like traditional fantasy elves, they’d have very fine armour that a craftsman could spend a century making but has not been improved in design since they so rarely war. Against cultures whose armour is tested every summer for the same duration they elves would be far behind in terms of design. It’d be like the most gorgeous suit of armour from the iron age is suddenly compared to the most recent but ugly development from the late 14th century Milanese armourers (who’d tempered the metal like spring-steel). Pressures of constant war push technology further than placid supposed superiority. This concept means that the classic elves would have beautifully made and functioning armour that is ‘antiquated’ in design and likely materials – luckily they can magic their way out of it in most settings.

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Khara Thel Worldbook

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It is done. The first draft of the Khara Thel Worldbook, written in system neutral language, with illustrations. It is a hefty 16Mb downloadable free 164-page PDF of a massive fantasy world that is low on the ‘fantasy’ and high on the ‘world’.

Please download and give me some feedback at this blog. Bookmark, add to favourites and subscribe to the RSS feed.


Khara Thel – Worldbook System Neutral Draft

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Big Disorganised PDF

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This is a kind of “dump” off all the formalised material I’ve written for Khara Thel. It’s already been viewed by Jensan of Rustfoot who gave some kind and useful feedback. Don’t take this file as a completed piece of work but a first draft of kludging all my notes into one document.

Without more ado:

Khara Thel_Big Disorganised PDF

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Cultures: Barduk

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A semi-nomadic people with curly black hair, hulking strong frames and wide faces with flat noses. They are tanned but not dark and have a respect in their culture for strength, music and family. Technologically they are in the stone age on their own but are adaptable enough to adopt new artifacts easily. Barduk have an egalitarian culture between the sexes with women and men having no fixed roles. The women of the Barduk are known for their sexual aggression as much as the men are known for their impressive strength. Music is popular with the Barduk, they have songs and ditties for all occasions, with most being able to hold a tune quite well. Warriors of the Barduk wear bone scale-mail armour, traditionally wield semi-edged hardwood clubs but now favour falcata, axes and bardiche, and are fond of taking trophies from their fallen foes – fingers, teeth, ears, etc.

Height: 5’8” to 6’10”

The Kryuk’all

Ma’rdul, Kechaine, Theurk and Lorbad closed on young Mardin before he realised what they were doing.

We’ve been watching you.” Theurk said.

Why?” was Mardin’s automatic response.

You show promise.” Ma’rdul said.

Promise to be one of blood-kith, a Kryuk’all.” Kechaine expanded.

Mardin gasped. Here were four of the most dangerous people in all the Barduk tribes. Kryuk’all were like dark spirits in man flesh, capable of the ultimate stealth, brutal martial skills and cunning beyond that of an old lone dara’garn.

You think I could be Kryuk’all?” Mardin asked, confounded and stunned.

Yes. You will hunt with us in the coming days. We will trek to the crater the twigs call Calnogarr and there you will take the test.”

When?” Mardin asked.

Now.” Lorbad said. His frame, huge even amongst Barduk, loomed closer to Mardin making the young man feel smaller than before he passed his rites of adolescence.

You have no choice in this.” Kechaine said.

My axe, my armour. They are in my yurt.”

We know.” The familiar voice of Uncle Brumord approached carrying Mardin’s axe and armour, as well as a few bags of food and trail satchels.

Now we leave.” Lorbad said. And they did.

The Kryuk’all are a sect within the Barduk tribes. They pick what they see as the elite amongst their people, the best trackers, the best warriors, the smartest connivers and tacticians, the most powerful of the mana-touched, but most importantly those that are highly skilled in all those things. Through a dangerous ritual in the Calnogarr Crater involving hallucinogens, trances and hypnotic suggestions, they test them and shape the promising members into the Barduk’s secret forces. Kryuk’all have a set agenda of maintaining the Barduk tribes, protecting their plains and hills, gathering information from the neighbouring and far-flung lands, and waging hidden war when the Barduk people are in conflict. Within the tribe they are feared, respected and almost venerated by young warriors but quite a few think they are spirits or old tales.

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