Fulgrim’s Backpack

What is in your backpack?

This month’s RPG Blog Carnival is titled “What’s in your backpack?” asking for what folks have in their real life backpack or their character’s backpack. I found the topic interesting and was initially going to talk about the art of selecting items for a character’s backpack or what a standard load for the backpack should consist of.

But then I started thinking. That is all fine in theory, but what happens as a character progresses? What really happens to the items they carry in their backpack? So I decided to let one of my characters empty out their backpack and see what they have accumulated over the early levels.

Fulgrim Ironforge

With that, meet Fulgrim Ironforge, a 4th level Barbarian from the Pathfinder RPG System. Let’s see what he has to say.

“Backpack? Ye want ta’ see in me backpack?” the dwarf with a shaved head and long, thick brownish beard says looking up his chair. “I ‘spose I got time fer that.”

The dwarf slides a worn leather backpack from one side of the chair. Several straps hang from the pack with similarly worn brass buckles, scratches scoring the surface of the metal. A battered tankard clanks against one of the buckles as the dwarf finishes sliding the backpack in front of him.

The dwarf reaches to one of the side pockets of the backpack and begins to draw things forth, placing them on the table. From a side pocket he pulls out a ball of twine, several pieces of chalk, and a whetstone. “Can mark ye way wit da chalk if needed. Dat twine, never know when it might be handy.” Fulgrim states as he moves to another side pocket.

From that pocket he pulls out a dingy cord about three feet in length, stained with dark red and rust colored spots and places it on the table, followed by a vial of thick, silvery liquid. “De cord is a good way ta’ keep yer weapon on ye if somethin’ try to take it from ye. Dat silvery stuff can ‘elp against stuff resistant ta normal weapons.”

Fulgrim moves on to the next side pocket and slides out a much used deck of cards. The edges are worn and marred with dirt. He shrugs as he places them on the table “Somethin’ ta play in de evenings.”

Finally the dwarf opens the top flap of the backpack and begins removing items from the pack. Several vials, a flask or two are placed on the table. A silken rope is placed next to the vials as Fulgrim rummages around in the backpack more. “Flask ‘o de finest dwarven liquor fer de cold nights.” Fulgrim says, still rifling through the pack.

Fulgrim pulls a blanket out that seems unusually bulky, even for a blanket. He smiles as he places it on the table and slowly unfolds it revealing several caltrops, a hammer and a water skin. “De blanket keeps de spikes from pokin’ a hole in de pack. Helps muffle de sound too, keeps ’em from clankin’ in when ye don’t need ’em ta be.” Fulgrim adds.

Reaching further in the dwarf pulls out several more items, several small pouches of powder, trail rations, flint and steel and another waterskin. “Dat looks ta be it.” Fulgrim says.

Fulgrim gazes at the items on the table for a moment, “Guess it don’t hurt ta be prepared!”


Here is a list of what was actually in Fulgrim Ironforge’s pack:

  • Alchemist’s Fire Flask
  • Antitoxin
  • Blanket
  • Caltrops
  • Chalk (x3)
  • Flask
  • Flint and Steel
  • Hammer
  • Marked Cards
  • Tankard
  • Oil (x3)
  • Powder (x3)
  • Rations, 1 week
  • Rope, Silk (50′)
  • Twine (50′)
  • Waterskin (x2)
  • Weapon Blanch, Silver
  • Weapon Cord
  • Whetstone x3

I tend to load my dwarven characters up with more supplies than I do other races.


I think it is interesting to see what characters tend to keep in their backpack. I tend to vary mine from character to character. Some are pack rats and fill their pack full of miscellaneous items and others only pick up the bare essentials. Fulgrim is just one glance at one character to see what is carried


New Year, New Games

photo rights to canonsnapper

The folks over at Gnome Stew are hosting a New Year, New Game blog carnival as part of their 2012 New Year, New Game contest. This post is The Iron Tavern’s participation in their blog carnival.

New year, new game. Sometimes groups get in their groove and neglect checking out new games. I am extremely guilty of this. In fact, of the people in my local weekly gaming group, I am likely the one most guilty of not playing a lot of new games. I tend to get pretty focused on a system and not drift too much from that.

I always have good intentions of course. But with what limited gaming time I have, I try not to spread myself too thin or not want to give up a gaming night to another system that I would be learning from scratch. This results in me sticking with my game of choice at the moment.

Now over the course of 2011 I did get to play some games outside of my normal preference of the fantasy genre. The Kingmaker game I am running went on hiatus for a few months and this presented a great time for others in my group to run a few things. So we saw Supernatural run, Call of Cthulhu and a mini-arc Star Wars campaign. Okay, I admit, I’ve played Star Wars before, but the others were new to me. I had a good time playing the different games and I should make a more conscious effort of trying games outside of my norm more often.

Given the routine I get in, let’s look at some of the things that do get me interested in breaking that rut and trying something new.

The biggest thing? One-shots. Tell me the game is a one-shot and I am much more open to trying a game. The risk with a one-shot is minimal, if I don’t like it I only spent one evening on it and still managed to hang out with friends. If I do like it, then we can go from there and maybe work the game into rotation more frequently.

Next up is the excitement from the person proposing the new game and how good they do selling it. Want me to be interested in trying out a different game? Tell me how it is cool, what makes it unique? Do you seem excited when you tell me about it? The pitch for the new game is a big factor in how warm I am to trying it. Sell me on it.

Finally, I like for the person that will be running the game to know the rules pretty well. A lot of questions come up in one-shots. How does this work? I want to do this, what do I need to roll? What skill do I use? Do I want to roll high or low? Quick answers to these questions keep things moving quickly and keep things from getting bogged down during play.

I have been pretty spoiled by our de facto RPG expert in our group. He is very well versed in all things RPG and is an encyclopedia of rules knowledge of a myriad of systems. When he’s pitching a new game system I am much more apt to say yes.

Now that I have covered what gets me most interested in breaking my routine and trying a new game, let’s look at what I most want to try out in 2012. I have three games on that list. FiascoThe One Ring, and Dragon Age.

Fiasco interests me because I keep hearing great things about it on various social networks. It is also outside my norm from what I understand, yet it still intrigues me. My RPG expert in my group is familiar with it, now I just need to talk him into running it!

The One Ring is a game I have purchased and also have interest in either running or playing a small mini-campaign in. Followers of The Iron Tavern have seen me talk about the game before, but it looks like it does an excellent job of painting a Tolkien world through game mechanics. The combat system also looks interesting too me and quite different than many of the d20 systems I am used to.

And finally, Dragon Age has recently caught my eye. The artwork on the cover of the upcoming 3rd set is very impressive and I downloaded the Quickstart Guide as a result. It looks very promising and might be a viable option for remote play over Google Hangouts or Skype due to less dependence on a battlemat.

In closing, here’s to breaking out of your normal gaming routine to try something a little different in 2012!