Thoughts on Privateer Press and their Iron Kingdoms RP
I'll put it short and bluntly about Privateer Press, they are juggling too many projects so it does not seem like they are progressing with the roleplaying game, however, this is really an illusion as they are releasing so much information about other products that their No Quarter magazine, which is released every 2 months, is overshadowed. These magazines contains between 3-6 pages of content for Iron Kingdoms, which is a lot more than other producers do with their RPs.
When it comes to Iron Kingdoms itself, I must say that it is one of the most balanced systems I've ever played and ran. It is a solid game because it is based on the wargames Warmachine and Horde, where balance is enforced to ensure that the game is fair. The rules for combat is the same for Iron Kingdoms and the wargames but the RP has more non-combat abilities and runs a lot of "lowscale" adventures which means it has some talents that changes the flow of the game to be somewhat different from the wargames, but there is still a lot of tactics involved.
A stone sorcerer can cast stone stance to gain immunity to knockdown, then he can cast earthquake to knock down everyone around him (including himself, which he is now immune against), then hit the enemy with a pickaxe, which automaticly crit against prone targets (is designed to damage toppled steamjacks and mine for ore).
The main problem with the game is why it is good, it got an insane amount of interessting careers, and at start, you pick 2 and make a combination, increasing the amount even further, and later, you can get even more, ending up with 5 careers on a single character. There is just so many interessting combination.... and then the players go for "ummm... solder + pirate sounds good", 2 core careers that is very basic, while they can still be good, it just does not show the flair from the getgo. There is also the problem with "too many choices"... so the game is robust, solid, easy to learn, plenty of choices, and too difficult for indecisive people.
I really want to run this game, but I struggle with getting players and comming up with a campaign, the only idea I have at the moment is to get the players involved in a plot in Llael (France equivalent) where a GMPC plays a major role in a book I'm considering writing, but because GMPCs is in general a bad thing, I want that NPC in the background or the PCs to take part in the shadowplay around the book.