Gods of Irongrave

Posted: 25 June 2011 in Settings
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"As flies to wanton boys are we to th’ gods; they kill us for their sport." – Shakespeare, King Lear.

A few Savage Saturdays ago, I talked about the Chosen. Now I turn my attention to those who choose them; the players and the GM, as perceived by characters in the game.

Characters in the game are controlled by the players, the GM, dice and a deck of cards. I’ll refer to the GM as the Adversary, the dice and cards as the Fates, and the players as mixtures of Richard Bartle’s player archetypes: The Achiever, the Explorer, the Socialiser and the Killer.

SW is designed so that the players control some of the Extras even if their PCs do not control those NPCs. However, the dice and cards can throw any plan into disarray.


  • There are beings outside normal experience, who select the Chosen as their avatars. They have many names, but each is a complex mixture of several primeval forces, one of which is generally dominant at any given time.
  • These beings manipulate people and events to make the lives of the Chosen more meaningful and memorable, although what that actually means depends on which force is dominant in the being.
  • The Fates are also involved, and support or hinder these manipulations at random; nothing is preordained, nothing is certain.
  • If you are Chosen, you are an avatar of one or more of these beings. If you are not Chosen, you may still be under their control from time to time; this is especially true if you are in the retinue of a Chosen.
  • One of these beings – the Adversary – is more powerful than the others. He generally opposes the other beings. Heroes are made by surmounting obstacles, and it is the Adversary’s role to place these obstacles in the hero’s way.
  • Anyone, however ordinary, can overcome the Chosen if the Fates are on their side. Alas, the Fates are fickle and immune to influence.


  • None of the higher powers are entirely good or wholly evil, but they all strive either to create obstacles for the Chosen, or to overcome them by acting through one of the Chosen; except for the Fates, who are simply not interested in what happens in the mundane world.
  • The Chosen are lightning rods. If (as an ordinary person) you crave power, wealth or abnormally high prowess in any field, you ally yourself to one of the Chosen. If all you want is a quiet, comfortable life, you avoid the Chosen like the plague.

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