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I14 Swords of the Iron Legion (1e)
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I14 Swords of the Iron Legion (1e)

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Ravening armies sweep across the land! Vast hordes of foul monsters lay siege to mighty cities! Tremendous battles are fought to decide the fate of entire lands?and you are in command!

Swords of the Iron Legion is an anthology of adventures set in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting for large-scale battle using the Battlesystem rules for mass combat. The adventures, written by a group of talented designers, range from simple skirmishes to all-out wars! Flying creatures, war machines, fortifications, and plenty of other twists ensure that each scenario is more than a simple bash-'em-up. Some adventures also include roleplaying opportunities for characters, who get a chance to perform individual heroics to lead their armies to victory!

These adventures are suitable for one-time play, or they can be inserted with ease into an existing campaign. Complete descriptions of the armies, special characters, terrain, and other interesting features to guarantee you hours of fun on a grand scale are included in each adventure.

An adventure for 6 to 8 characters, levels 1-15 and up.

Product History

I14: Swords of the Iron Legion (1988), by Jay Batista, Scott Bennie, Bill Connors, Christopher Mortika, Rick Reid, Roy Schelper, Rick Swan, and John Terra is the fourteenth intermediate-level adventure for the AD&D line. it was released in April 1988.

Continuing the Intermediate Adventures. Swords of the Iron Legion was another anthology of adventures, like I13: Adventure Pack I (1987) immediately before it. However, unlike the previous books the adventures in this one were lightly connected, with a plotline and common geography running between them. This showed the continuing evolution of adventure design at TSR: they first pushed hard into anthologies in 1987 and now were figuring out how to make these anthologies more cohesive.

Swords of the Iron Legion is also notable because it was one of the few AD&D 1e adventures to bear the Forgotten Realms logo, following on from N5: Under Illefarn (1987).

With the advent of AD&D 2e (1989), TSR would totally change their module coding, doing away with almost all of their old series and replacing them with setting-specific module series like "FRA", "FRE", "WGA", and many others. Thus, Swords of the Iron Legion would be the final entry in the "I" series, which had been one of the most prolific AD&D module series in the 1e era, trailing only the 16-book "DL" series (1984-1988).

The Battlesystem Connection. It's somewhat surprising that this adventure doesn't also have a Battlesystem (1985) logo, because it was one of the most Battlesystem-heavy adventures in the AD&D corpus, rivaling the better-known "H" Bloodstone Pass series. Each of the eight adventures in Iron Legion has a connected Battlesystem combat, and many of them are just excuses to get to that Battlesystem scenario.

Adventure Tropes. Some of these adventures are a bit thin because of the focus on Battlesystem, but the ones that include more RPG material tend to be fairly complex and event-driven — something that was rare in the AD&D 1e era (1977-1989) outside of the "DL" and "UK" adventure series.

The first adventure, "The Storm of Greshlyrr" by Bill Connors, is particularly interesting because it effectively deconstructs the hash-and-slash tropes of D&D — something that was pretty daring for a TSR adventure in the '80s.

Expanding the Realms. All of these adventures are set in the Vilhon Reach, a part of the Forgotten Realms that previously had received almost no attention. Here, players get views of Turmish, Condath, and a few nearby lands. Swords of the Iron Legion also puts a nice spotlight on the deities of the Forgotten Realms, giving particular attention to Bane, Tempus, and Tyr.

The anthology contains an adventure called "The Khan's Mighty Army" by Jay Batista that GMs might just want to reskin, lest they undercut the Empires event (1990), which similarly has a khan invading the west.

Future History. Many mercenary companies from the battles of I14 return in FR15: "Gold & Glory" (1992). Meanwhile, the Reach would get more attention in late 2e supplements like The Vilhon Reach (1996) and Sea of Fallen Stars (1999).

About the Creators. This was another supplement with work from a variety of freelancers, showing how TSR's creative process was changing in the late '80s.

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.

 
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Product Information
Artist(s)
Rules Edition(s)
Pages
64
Edition
1.0
ISBN
0-88038-559-6
Publisher Stock #
TSR 9226
File Size:
20.14 MB
Format
Scanned image
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File Last Updated:
November 10, 2014
This title was added to our catalog on November 11, 2014.