The Iron Wind (1984)

The Iron Wind was the second thing Iron Crown published (in 1980; this is the expanded 1984 reprint). It followed Arms Law, which was the foundation of what would become Rolemaster, but in 1980 was merely an alternate combat system for Dungeons & Dragons. The Iron Wind at that point was a collection of campaign setting information and a large dungeon, making it essentially a D&D module, but also the start of one of the earliest campaign settings.

Once Rolemaster emerged as a system, Iron Crown reprinted its early modules under the Loremaster name. There were four (guess what the rest of the week is!) and they would mostly collectively form the foundation for Shadow World a few years later. Iron Wind details an island called the Mur Fostisyr, in typical Iron Crown fashion – cultures, fauna, flora, history. It is a format that will at one be familiar to fans of their MERP supplements while also seeming strange and new, since none of the Tolkien touchstones are obviously present (they couldn’t entirely escape Tolkien though – see that giant Eagle?).

Honestly, this world feels quite a bit more dynamic than Tolkien’s. The island is a place of constant struggle between its people and the forces of Unlife (the titular Iron Wind). There’s also demons in their citadels, volcanoes and an astrologer with a super sweet stronghold, which makes up the eleven level (!) dungeon that serves and the main adventure site of the book (in very small print). All accompanied by Iron Crown’s unusually attractive maps. A pretty solid start to a campaign world, I think!

Much love for the cover treatment and Chris White’s painting, too.

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