Ironclaw: The Book of Monsters, by Tempe O’Kun and Ursula Vernon – Review by Sha

by Pup Matthias

Welcome to Sha of Red Furros — the Spanish language furry news site out of Mexico City, founded in 2009. Some articles will be translated for other readers to enjoy, with light editing to make it smoother. – Patch

Here’s an addition to our articles about Ironclaw, the anthropomorphic role-playing game in it’s 20th anniversary. Recently, Ironclaw’s “The Book of Monsters” was presented at Anthrocon. It’s a bestiary for the base game.

This book originally began its Kickstarter on Aug 21th, 2018 where it quickly reached its funding goal.

It’s a collaboration between Tempe O’Kun (Windfall, Sixes Wild) as the writer, and Ursula Vernon (Digger, Dragonbreath series) for illustrations.

For Sanguine Games Book Of Monsters, Tempo and Ursula reimagine the world of Ironclaw with the premise that in a world where animals can talk and form societies, why wouldn’t plants be able to walk and hunt?

Imagine a tree that can walk and transform into any other character, or fungi that attacks using toxic mist. These imaginative scenarios can make for very funny situations (like being chased by a maniacal, murderous onion), to very creepy ones with a tree-clone of a recently-deceased loved one following you around.

Ironclaw is a very immersive game, more focused on the diplomatic side, that invites you to interact with the civilized world around you (even when it’s about animals). However, this new expansion adds more interesting enemies and adventures that some of the critics of the game found lacking.

While I was reading this book, I couldn’t stop thinking of the Ghost of a Tale videogame, and the excitement I felt scurrying around as Tilo, in a dungeon filled with rat guards.

I think Ironclaw, and this new expansion, are a great way to play a bit more interactively with fursonas that are a bit reminiscent of the old Furcadia MUCK.

Ironclaw is a game with a difference from other pen-and-paper games. It doesn’t use the hitpoint system, and it’s more based on placing status onto other characters based on successful dice-throws. This may be a bit confusing or off-putting at first for old-school players of more complex games like D&D, but it quickly becomes fun and immersive due to it’s complex societal and diplomatic relationships and stories.

I think it’s the perfect games where RPG veterans can introduce newbies to the RPG world, in a way where they also have to manage more complex stuff (like the gifts or managing the status hierarchies.)

The design of the interior is pretty good and has a nice continuity with the base Player’s book. The cover art might benefit from a more modern look since it looks a bit dated even when it’s just been released. However, that part also helps to keep that feeling of continuity with the entire series.

Ironclaw is a game by furries for furries. (And not just for furries, of course). It’s very well made and very fast to start playing as it doesn’t take a lot of setup to start from your character sheet (it even has some pre-made) to begin the adventure itself.

You can get your copies of Ironclaw and “The Book of Monsters” on DriveThruRPG.

– Sha

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