Author: Samuel Rondon (@SamuelRondonRPG)
Where to Buy: https://samuel-rondon.itch.io/quest-fronts-issue-1
When I first started playing Powered by the Apocalypse games, the idea of Fronts grabbed my imagination and refused to let go. I mean, after I figured out what they were talking about, that is. Instead of plotting everything out and preparing every last detail of an adventure or campaign, fronts allowed the GM to set up a few loosely defined threats that will come to pass unless the players actively work to stop them. More than this, it allowed for heavy player input in defining the world and the forces working within it. Many narrative-forward TTRPGs use the idea of fronts, and Ironsworn is one of the newer RPGs to use fronts in exciting and innovative ways.
Enter Quest Fronts, Issue 1. This new RPG magazine not only provides seven well-developed and interesting fronts, it also provides rules to implement fronts in any RPG system. Creating worthwhile adventure fronts can be difficult, as GMs have to have enough details for players to latch onto without providing so much that there are no questions for the players to answer. The fronts presented in Quest Fronts do this perfectly, providing inspiration for a variety of adventures rather than dictating what players should do and closing off player’s narrative input.
The fronts are also wonderfully diverse in terms of scope and subject matter. Some are as seemingly straightforward and mundane as protecting a noble from a group of deserters while others stretch the boundaries of Ironsworn’s default low-fantasy setting. My favorite front, White Bastion, focuses on a village of hunters living within the magical bones of an ancient beast. I won’t say more than that because I don’t want to spoil the author’s hard work, but I know my players will latch onto this front and run with it in all sorts of interesting directions.
Beyond the fronts, the universal rules provided are worth the price of admission alone. If you’ve got a system you’re comfortable GMing but are looking for a unique way to track quests and threats, these rules allow you to graft one of the best features of Ironsworn directly onto your game. There’s also a handy Oracle with a variety of tables that will be useful to solo/co-op players as well as those running more traditional games with a GM/Player dynamic. All of these rules are necessary to run the fronts as written, however if you want to just…steal the ideas and import them into your game without learning this additional system, I’ll never tell.
There are no weak points in this magazine. Art, layout, writing, it’s all things you would expect from some of the bigger companies but that are really remarkable given that they’re coming from the first effort of a team of independent contributors. I’m curious to see what future issues contain. Will there be more optional rules or will they refine their scope to just include fronts? Either way, I will be a customer as long as they keep putting out such high-quality material.
DISCLAIMER: I do not know anyone involved with this game, nor did I receive anything for free in exchange for this review. Also, I’m posting this while on vacation! VACATION!!!