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I'm trying to convert my mindset from DnD, and I'm especially confused when facing initiative in Ironsworn.

I get it that the side with initiative is meant to be winning in combat and pressuring the opponent and the losing is trying to defend from the attacks, but as a GM/co-op players, how to narrate and asking 'what do you do' question when I have initiative and when I'm not?

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When you tell someone with initiative what they're up against, describe problems they can choose to overcome to accomplish their own goals (take a significant item to negate or mitigate a disadvantage, lay into a particularly enticing foe) or help others (provide covering fire against archers, steal aggro from a dangerous beast, guide or direct an ally into a less vulnerable position), based on what you find interesting for them. When a hero with initiative is due to act, it's generally a good time for a recap of the scenario. Give them opportunities to be proactive, and ask them, "What do you do?"

When you tell someone without initiative what's happening to them, describe the problem they must take action to overcome if they wish to avoid taking more harm than necessary (usually an enemy's impending attacks, whatever those may be, but other good options include being directed into environmental hazards such as low ground or running water or a cliff's edge). Describe the potential harm that could befall them (establishing meaningful stakes), and ask, "What do you do?"

When a hero who doesn't have initiative is in a dire situation, remind them that they can Turn the Tide at any time, unless they've already done so in this fight. When they do so, they can take action to perform any one move, despite overwhelming pressure. (N.B. The only advantage of trying to Strike instead of Clash is not having to Pay the Price on a weak hit.)

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