Ironrise Setting Primer in Spirel | World Anvil

Ironrise Setting Primer

Spirel has a long and insidious history. The one mercy its citizens are granted is that they don't remember it. Eighty-eight years ago the first generation simply woke up from a dreamless void. They woke in a vast and empty city known as Ironrise and they had nothing but the clothes on their backs and dog-tags bearing a name they don't remember. They called themselves Orphans and they overcame the surreal first days of sudden awareness to eventually settle the city. From this first, bold generation an entire nation was born and new cities founded. Industry thrived, the long reach of a new government cast its shadow across and the land and the mysteries of the past were largely forgotten. Yet, the past has not forgetten about them. Below the world, a dreaming darkness known as Oblivion stirs, desperate to sate its hunger on the world above. Rumors abound of the time before the first Orphans woke, an age when machine ruled and life existed only to bolster their unshakable belief that they alone were true gods. Lurking in the untamed wilderness and depthless oceans are all manner of scorned monstrosities. Jealous of a time before the expansion of Ironrise when they could roam freely and humans knew their proper place and the old ways were followed.

What Should I Know About Ironrise

  Below are the absolute basics a reader should be armed with before exploring this setting. Also, we're now live on Kickstarter too! Please, come check out the page and spread the word!    


Ironrise is first and foremost a game about lurking nightmares and tyrannical undertakings. Spirel, its setting, is no different. Characters will have the opportunity to delve into the secret past of Spirel and come face to face with the ancient forces that once ruled. If they're fortunate enough to survive then they'll come away from these encounters with more questions than answers. The only other possible fate is that their life becomes a cautionary tale to others: Do not dig too deeply into the unknown. Enjoy your brief moment under the sun before the old masters awaken to reclaim what is theirs.

Now is the Time of Tyrants

Fascism spreads from Pinnacle Tower in Ram's Rule like a cancer and it has infected every one of its Vassal Cities to the core. Callous, brutal and unrelenting soldiers known as the Ram's Wrath carry out the dictates of Ironrise's Prime Minister. Dissenters and malcontents are rooted out with cruel efficiency and reeducated. This tyrannical sense of order extends to rulers of Ironrise's colonies. The rulers of these distant cities answer only to the Prime Minister of Ironrise and even then many of them harbor secret ambitions aimed at revolution. One might welcome a change in power if the prospects for whom might be the new inheritor weren't so bleak.

An Age of Heroes

Despite the oppressive march of tyranny and the inevitable return of ageless horrors there is hope. Intrepid adventurers from all walks of life strike out on their own or with like-minded heroes to bring hope to the world. They push back against Pinnacle's rule. They seek out the deserted temples to the old gods and thrawt their return. The cosmic terror that is Oblivion and its servants are sealed away and the lurking monsters that stalk the edge of civilization are hunted down. These men and women are all that stand between the darkness and the light. The light is growing

Ironrise and its Vassal Cities

Ironrise -
Capital of all of known Spirel and the city to whom every living citizen is ultimately loyal to. Ironrise was the first city to be settled after the First Awakening and has become home to the Prime Minister and his invincible government. It is also the largest of the cities and the most diverse of the cities. Districts like Silken Row are home to famed celebrities, theaters, brothels, and cafes. The deafening hammer of pistol falls continue all day and all night in the industrial hub of Iron Twist. The Construct Quarry is the sole source for mechanized labor now that Clocktower is closed off and buyers from around Spirel flock here to make their purchase. And, looming above it all, is the blade-like structure known as Pinnacle Tower, home to the Prime Minister of Ironrise and his dangerous regime.

  Clocktower -
The second of the Vassal Cities to be founded, Clocktower used to be known as the center for research and development. Its factories supplied Spirel with most of their airships and constructs until a terrible disaster unfolded four years ago. The city's newest factory, an automated and machine controlled facility became self-aware and used its countless legions of constructs to bring the city to the brink of destruction. It is now a war zone where man and machine are locked in a bitter battle for survival. The Prime Minister of Ironrise is content to quarantine the entire area and welcome whichever side should emerge victorious back into the fold.

  Nightfall -
The city under darkness, as it is often called, was third Vassal City to be settled. When one thinks of Nightfall the first thing that comes to mind if the Veil of Darkness, an unnatural inky blackness that shrouds the city in perpetual night. The second thing that comes to mind is the people. They are reluctant to embrace common technology like farspeakers and constructs. Superstition, fear and paranoia dominate their humble lives and the only light they look to in dire region is that of their mysterious, reclusive leaders. The Shaw family.

  Port Shatter -
Far to the east of Ironrise and across the warm waters of the Endless Blue Ocean is a region of scarred, jagged islands known as Shatter Mass and the region's capital of Port Shatter. Wealthy citizens from every city dream of taking holiday in the tropical paradise by day and indulging themselves into a stupor in the streets of Resurrection Parish by night. They are willfully ignorant to the slave labor that keeps the city functional, the gang violence that unfolds between criminal guilds and zealots of the Enarchi church and the growing danger of the Kraken-born monstrosities that rise up from the ocean floor.

  Iron Reach -
The smallest and most recent of Ironrise' Vassal Cities, was founded only a decade or so ago. Explorers found turbine stations and infrastructure identical to those of Ironrise buried in the icy mountains. The mystery of how this duplicate technology could exist there and who placed it there was irresistible to many. Others tired of the oppressive rule of the other cities felt the call to this frontier wilderness as well. The freezing winds and dangers lurking in the tundra are not the only threat travelers must face here. There are stories of a great palace-like structure far up in the reach mountains. Wild tales are told about it being a tomb city to one of the old gods, The Winter King. These stories say that the Winter King is freeing himself from the shackles of death... that he looks down upon a world filled with the verminous infestation that is human life and dreams of a way to silence it all.

What Is Ironrise



My name's Christopher and I've been a world builder, gamer, and storyteller for about 22 years now. I and my two partners decided to take a custom setting I had been using for our group's tabletop role-playing games and transform it into the setting for an action-adventure story-driven board game of our own design. Together, we developed a unique, exciting system, an engaging set of mechanics using to play out the struggle between good and evil in our setting. Our hope is to present a game that showcases the journey of Spirel's heroes and villains, and that ultimately decides the fate of the world.

Genres and Themes

Spirel is absolutely a Dieselpunk setting with strong noir, horror, weird war and pulp action tones. Fascism, criminal empires and the secrets of a distant age are the foundation for all of the challenges that the heroes and villains of Spirel must confront or embrace as they seek to tip the balance. Moments of hope, comedy and romance are peppered in among the otherwise grim stories being told here.

Game Information

Ironrise Games is a Chicago-based company focusing on story-driven games and content. Our first release will be coming to Kickstarter in mid-April of 2018 and is based on a custom setting originally used for our local tabletop RPG group.

Play Time- 90 minutes to two hours

Players- Play is optimized for four though games of between 2-6 players are supported by the rules

Game Style- Ironrise is an action-adventure, story-driven board game that falls into the American Style of board games (as opposed to the resource management heavy European Style). Players are organized into teams of either Heroes or Villains in equal number. These two teams then compete for victory.

Core Mechanics- Ironrise is played primarily with a hand of cards drawn from either the Hero or Villain Asset deck. These cards help your character (who has their own set of unique, game-altering abilities) accomplish their goals, aid their allies and eventually tip the balance in favor of good or evil. Cards are used during the turn to enhance your character and during Challenges (poker-style confrontations that determine the outcome of game events) against players from the opposite team.

How to Win- The balance between good and evil is represented by victory points earned via several avenues. The first team to reach the maximum number of victory points(as determined by the number of players) wins the game. Victory points can be earned by breaking the will of characters on the opposite (reducing them to 0 persistence), accomplishing various different side quests and completing the major plotlines of the game (Endeavors for Heroes and Schemes for Villains).

Cover image: Cover Art by Cold Castle Studios


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