Our House Rules


Playing Quest 1 of King Ironheart’s Madness, “Border Run”

I’ve mentioned a few house rules we’ve established in other posts, but will gather all of them here, for easy reference. I’ll update this post whenever we develop a new house rule (or when I remember to add one I had forgotten).

Characters, Merits, and Flaws
  • No Character can have more than 2 Abilities, and you can not select a second Ability unless you also have an Advantage, an Art, and a Treasure. Abilities increase your Might, Savvy, or Resolve and if you use enough of them you have a Character that has a value of 5 for each of these, which makes game play rather boring, as there would be few Waylays that are a real challenge, and hardly any Trial you will fail.
  • Your Character can not have Merits (like some Ally mounts) that allow you to travel more than one League at a time, for more than a single turn. You can also only have one Merit that allows you to travel faster, and one that needs to be exhausted to do so. This is because it is too easy to win most Quests against your opponent if you can move quicker through Leagues than she can.
  • You need at least one Art, unless you have a good role-playing reason not to have one. Initially, we often overlooked Arts, as they do not seem to offer as much as an Ability or Advantage, and need to be exhausted to be used. Arts are mostly directed at your opponent. They generally do not help you as much as they thwart your opponent. This means they require more strategy–it makes the game more than a “beat the Waylay each turn” game, which is so much more fun, and allows for much more enjoyable replay.
  • If you play multiple Quests with the same Character (using the Chronicle Play rules), especially if you play the Quests in order, you can not start the first Quest(s) with an Ally. This rule has not much to do with game play itself, but more with the storytelling aspect of the game. It just does not make all that much sense that a person with no real experience would already have an entourage, even if only of one. You can only gain Allies with subsequent experience.
  • When you gain experience and can choose new Merits, you may choose to get rid of a Treasure or an Ally and use its Merit points to gain new Merits. (For example, I have gained 2 experience points, and I also have a Treasure of 4 points. I may choose to get rid of that Treasure so I can choose another Merit of up to 6 points.) All other Merit types must be kept, as they form the personality of your Character.
  • Every Character needs a Flaw. The rules make this optional, but we’ve found it much more fun to make this compulsory. In our house rules, your opponent chooses your Character’s Flaw, and this has to be a major one–not the 1 point Enemy cards that have little effect on the game! In selecting the Flaw, though, storytelling is again important: it has to fit whatever else the Character already has, and there has to be some background story to go with it. When we are creating a new Character, we assign each other a Flaw before we finalise our Character’s Merits, as that helps not only to compensate for the Flaw, where necessary, but also to make a more realistic Character–someone who struggles with this particular Flaw, but found a way to make it liveable.
  • If playing solo, you have to draw a random (major) Flaw.
  • Flaws can never be eliminated by extra experience points. Experience can only get you more Merits.
  • If you spend one turn resting in your Base Camp, you may regain an Art you discarded earlier. The recovered Art will be exhausted, though.
  • The official rules are unclear about what happens when you pass the Leave Trial of a League, but then fail the Enter Trial of the League you want to move into. We have decided that if this happens, you will not need to roll again for the Leave Trial of your current League, only for the Enter Trial of the League you are moving into. (It is as if you’ve moved to the border of the current League, but then cannot move onwards. Otherwise, you risk getting stuck for turns on end, which makes for rather frustrating–and often tiresome–games.)
  • Per game, you may play a maximum of 1 Waylays that remain on the League they are played for the rest of the game.
Winning and Losing
  • When all your Merits are discarded, you are transported back to Base Camp (or another League), as in the official rules. If you are then defeated by a Waylay, you automatically lose the game. Your opponent still has to complete her Quest to win the game, which means there might not be a winner. If you are playing the Quests in order, both of you will have to retake that Quest before being able to move to the next one.
  • If playing solo, you are automatically defeated whenever all your Merits are discarded.

4 thoughts on “Our House Rules

  1. I love the rule for flaws, that you need one and can’t select it yourself. Seems true to life!

    The enemy flaws seem pretty useless, no? I don’t have a lot of cards, but I don’t have any card that these flaws would apply to. i had a look at the card descriptions on some other site, and did not see anything there either. So what is the point of them? I suppose you get an extra point for merits, which is cool, but apart from that they are really pointless.


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