Iron Edda: World of Metal and Bone One-Shot

My Monday gaming group's regularly scheduled Pathfinder game was postponed due to player absence this week, but those of us who could make it still wanted to play something. I offered to run Iron Edda: World of Metal and Bone, my *World game of epic Norse fantasy coming soon from Sand and Steam Productions.

The first step of the game is holdfast creation, in which the players generate the issues facing their community in the land of Midgard. The players came up with Shieldhaven, a riverside holdfast in the shadow of Dragon Peak (so named for the dragon that lived there in ancient times). An unnatural winter had settled over the land, freezing the river and threatening traffic along the waterway. Some people had grown desperate; a group of bandits had formed and begun raiding merchants from the Petruvian Empire. The Empire was threatening to cut off trade. And finally, a new dragon had settled on Dragon Peak and was snatching up cattle and messengers of the Horse Clan as they traveled to neighboring holdfasts. The warriors of Shieldhaven were having frequent duels to decide who would answer the dragon's challenge to battle the holdfast's greatest warrior.

It was finally decided that Sven, a berserker of the Dragon Clan, would slay the beast. Siða, a skald of the Raven Clan, and Ulf Ulfson, a go ði of the Hammer Clan, would accompany him. Ulf called upon the blessing of Sif to guide them in battle, and she granted a boon that each would strike true with their first blow against a chosen opponent.

The three set out across the frozen plains, but Ulf's poor guidance cost them half a day's travel. Along the way, Sven heard the sound of a dozen riders approaching. While Siða and Ulf hid on either side of the road, Sven stood his ground and met them. The men were bandits, and their leader liked Sven's armor and axe. When he tried to take them, Siða shot an arrow over his head and Ulf tripped his horse with his staff. Sven then ordered the man to yield, which he did, while the other bandits fled like cowards.

The bandit's name was Darri, and Sven took him on as his new bondsman. The four then continued to Dragon's Peak. They tackled the treacherous climb up the icy slopes like heroes, arriving at a large cave draped with ice so it looked like a giant maw. Inside, they found the remains of an ancient dragon and then discovered that the dragon that had been plaguing the land was not flesh and blood but the specter of the legendary beast. Sven flew into the berserkergang and attacked the shadow, but Siða realized that the spirit could best be dispatched by destroying its mortal remains. Still, the strength of Sven's fury did a fine job carving up the specter's intangible darkness. It was a final blow from Ulf's staff, caving in the mighty ribs of the skeleton, that dispatched the spirit.

The specter had snatched up Darri the bondsman and wounded him dearly. The heroes worked hard to save the man's life. A voice from the shadows wondered at this, and when the figured stepped out, the three soon recognized Loki himself. The trickster gave them a warning of the source of the unending winter in the mountains far to the north. They traded words with him, and then Loki left, bidding them to do what must be done or not, as they saw fit.

The three returned to Shieldhave to feast and see Darri placed with the healers there. The next day they set out to the north. This time, Sven's eyes did not give fair warning, and the heroes found themselves surrounded by a century of Petruvian legionaries. Their centurion claimed to be on a mission from the Emperor himself to uncover the source of the extended cold. Siða calmed their tempers, and the Petruvians agreed to travel with them.

They followed the river north for several days, arriving finally at the mountains. There they beheld a terrible sight. Several hundred dwarves were constructing engines of war at the feet of an ice giant, enthroned in the mountainside. Sven, heeding no reason, strode defiantly toward the giant, sending unworthy dwarves to their deaths as they sought to stop him. Siða, calling on her blessing from Sif, shot an arrow into the giant's eye, partially blinding it. She then directed the Petruvians, who had brought catapults of their own, to hurl flaming rocks at the giant. And Ulf rushed through the dwarves defenses to support the berserker.

The battle was mighty, and both Sven and Ulf nearly fell beneath the giant's blows, but in the end the heroes prevailed. The legionaries dispatched the last of the dwarves, and then uncovered an even greater horror in the mountain. The dwarves had been only days from completing a mechanical behemoth, larger than the giant itself. While Ulf used his skill with tools to disable the machine, the others fed as much metal into the still-hot forge as they could, to keep anyone else from completing the dwarves' work.

And with the giant vanquished, Spring soon returned to the land. Songs were song of the deeds of the heroes of Shieldhaven for generations that followed.

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