Monday, February 16, 2015

First Impressions: Iron Falcon

I've supported Chris Gonnerman's Basic Fantasy RPG for years because it's free, because it has a strong community ethos, and because it was a major trailblazer for the OSR. But I've never switched to it completely, because it was just that little bit different from how I wanted things. It was B/X but not as much as Labyrinth Lord, and not OD&D enough. Now, Chris has released the very early version of a new clone, Iron Falcon. It's an OD&D clone, but a clone of OD&D plus Greyhawk, for the most part.

From the draft thus far, it's really close to how OD&D ought to be, with Greyhawk included. A few anomalies – like percentile Strength and weapon versus AC – that I'm not fond of go away in this revision; I can't say that I mind. All the things that Gonnerman had done away with in BFRPG, like descending AC and alignment, are all there in the core section. The spells that are there work like in OD&D, such as Charm Person, which lacks Greyhawk's convoluted saving throw scheme (also familiar for AD&D players).

Where Delving Deeper is a clone which is obsessed with getting into the gritty details of the original OD&D booklets, and where Swords & Wizardry is a nice, light game that is more in the "ballpark" of OD&D, Iron Falcon is looking to be a tight, feature-complete clone of OD&D as it was played in the early days. As Chris says on the BFRPG forum thread:
Greyhawk is the first published book that shows the game in a recognizable form; it's how Gary's own game worked, as much as he was able to publish it. I recall having heard that the game was undergoing heavy development, changing all the time, so Greyhawk can be little more than a snapshot... but it's the only snapshot we have.
From what I've seen, and from what Chris has put forward thus far, it's an extremely worthy effort to put together rules that would have been recognizable in 1975 as the D&D rules. If it continues on these lines, I could seriously see switching to Iron Falcon as my go-to rule set for OD&D type games. It has everything I would want from a clone. (Well, everything except robots. But that can be fixed.)


  1. I like "Iron Falcon" too. I'm keeping an eye on this project.

  2. Tight is the right word. Solid, tight, precise. It's very pretty and pretty efficient. It's good. And the more, the merrier.

  3. Hey, thanks for the kind words, guys! Surprisingly, I find myself really enjoying this project... it's actually less a creative endeavor than my other game, so I didn't think it would be fun to work on. But it is. I'm really looking forward to running some really, REALLY Old School adventures with it.

  4. Uh oh, is this going to affect the start up of our monthly 1E game Wayne? :)

    1. No, I don't think so. I could see it becoming a go-to for my "OD&D as an erratic online pick-up game when I have time."

  5. Thanks for the kind words, guys. Ron, nice to see you around. I've updated the main page at with more info about my goals and methods in developing this game system, and of course discussions continue on Dragonsfoot and the Basic Fantasy forums (links on the main page for those interested).

  6. So, Wayne, now that Iron Falcon is completed, have you had a chance to take a further look at it?


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