Iron Stories: Forbidden Lands - Introduction

Forbidden Lands is a game of exploration and discovery, a classical hexcrawl - a map divided into small parts, to be explored one by one. All the while adventurers need to keep their supplies in check, get enough sleep and be always wary of dangers around. In a way it is very similar to survival videogames.

You are not heroes sent on glorious quests - instead your are raiders, rogues, scoundrels, fortune seekers, adventurers or treasure hunters, setting out to make a mark in the world. There are dungeons to be plundered, great treasures found and strongholds to build to keep these riches secure.


Mechanically Forbidden Lands is very simple. If you are familiar with other Free League games, most notably Mutant Year Zero, you will see similarities. The core resolution mechanism is rolling a pool of six-sided dice (or d6 for short). If you roll a six on any of the dice, whatever you wanted to achieve succeeds.

The pool is built by three different types of d6, represented by different colors. White or Base Dice correspond to the characters base attributes such as Strength or Agility. Red or Skill Dice represent the aptitude of the character in a particular skill. And lastly there are black or Gear Dice, tools and equipment that help the adventurer in their journey.

You will find these type of boxes in the session notes. Everything mechanical will be handled in here, like rolling dice and clarifications on certain decisions within the narrative. Kind of like the commentary track in a movie. You can decide yourself if you want to read these or not, or after you have read the story completely.

The different colors of the dice will be represented here as well as you can see above. Any die roll will be prefaced with 🎲 followed by which character does the roll and to what skill the roll applies to.

If you would not roll any six during such a test, you can push the roll, rerolling almost all the dice. Every one that you rolled before and after however, will then potentially break your gear, or wear you down until your injuries are more than your character can handle. But in exchange you can gain Willpower, that power special talents and powerful magic. It is a risk, that has its rewards.

Exploration is dictated by special journey rules. A day is split into 4 quarters, that allow you to spend time in the wild as you see fit. You can march on and explore new areas or gather supplies such as water and food. At least for one quarter you should sleep and eat, lest you suffer consequences for not doing so.

Instead of keeping track of every bolt and arrow, waterskin and ration, supplies are abstracted in Resource Dice. These range from a d6 to a d12, a twelve sided die. Whenever you shoot an arrow or drink some water, you roll the resource die. If it show a 1 or a 2, the die is stepped down. So a d12 is stepped down to a d10, then to a d8 and so forth. If you roll a 1 or a 2 on a d6 Resource Die, you spend all of that resource and you need to resupply.

Solo Rules and Setting

Although not initially designed to be played solo, I've gathered several supplements and rules to make it work. Free League is also publishing a set of solo rules in their newest supplement Book of Beasts, that has been funded on kickstarter. My rules are different from those but will include some elements of it.

Instead of using the supplied hexmap of the Ravenlands, I will generate the hexmap randomly. This gives me some surprise as well when I explore the lands. It will also help incorporate my own setting a bit better. My world is heavily inspired by old norse mythology and plays on Jarneyna, the Ironlands (a continuiation from my Ironsworn playthrough.

Additional information, supplements and charts will be supplied in the Show Notes as needed.