My thoughts/intentions for how to handle these in-game.

If you Swear an Iron Vow relating directly to a battle (such as swearing to gain glory or even just swearing to gain victory), in some ways progress in the battle should directly count as progress in the vow. Such a short-term vow will probably be achievable in a single battle played out as a series of combats with each combat marking progress ticks in the vow.

There may be other short-term objectives arising in battles so that not everything is directly a combat (eg. Sneak round to their stores or ships and set them on fire).

Overall victory in the fiction may sometimes (often) be determined by the GM from the timeline of the Pendragon Campaign. Player characters might “win” or “lose” their part in the fighting while the overall outcome could be very different.

Because Troublesome Vows get 3 progress ticks at a time, it should be possible to “win” just three combats and get to 9 Progress, then risk the “Fulfil Your Vow”.

In the combats themselves, you can accumulate ticks and then risk trying to End the Fight early.

Likely Battle play…

  • Enter the Fray (Opening the Battle)
    • Decide what level of risk you are intending to take (often there will be a narrative minimum and maximum)
    • If you push for additional risk, are you seeking Glory or Loot?
    • Make the Move
  • I plan to borrow something from the new DELVE play-test rules and have a list of potential Battle encounters rated Common, Uncommon, Rare, Unforeseen. Using the initial Move result and the narrative as a guide, I’ll determine what Foe or Situation you run into. It will typically be of the expected level of risk but might occasionally be higher or lower.



  • Play through the Fight as usual with mainly Strikes and Clashes (but other moves can often fit the narration), marking off Progress Ticks against the Foe/Situation
  • The result of the “End the Fight” will determine if you are immediately thrown into a further combat or have chance to make some other Move.
  • Victory in a Fight will also mark off progress in the Vow
    • Troublesome Vow & Troublesome Fight Victory = 3 ticks
    • Troublesome Vow & Dangerous Fight Victory = 4 ticks
    • Troublesome Vow & Formidable Fight Victory = 5 ticks
    • Dangerous Vow & Troublesome Fight Victory = 2 ticks
    • Dangerous Vow & Dangerous Fight Victory = 3 ticks
    • Dangerous Vow & Formidable Fight Victory = 4 ticks
    • Dangerous Vow & Extreme Fight Victory = 5 ticks
    • Formidable Vow & Troublesome Fight Victory = 1 tick
    • Formidable Vow & Dangerous Fight Victory = 2 ticks
    • Formidable Vow & Formidable Fight Victory = 3 ticks
    • Formidable Vow & Extreme Fight Victory = 4 ticks
    • Formidable Vow & Epic Fight Victory = 5 ticks
    • Extreme Vow & Troublesome or Dangerous Fight Victory = 1 tick
    • Extreme Vow & Formidable Fight Victory = 2 ticks
    • Extreme Vow & Extreme Fight Victory = 3 ticks
    • Extreme Vow & Epic Fight Victory = 4 ticks

I don’t think an Epic Vow could be just about a single Battle. Even an Extreme Vow would be unlikely.


By this I mean non-combat encounters occurring during a battle, or possibly just additional things to throw into a combat scenario.

For example, I listed “Barricades” as a potential situation in the Battle of Mearcred table above…
The enemy have erected barricades and are able to shoot arrows through slits and stab through with spears. The existing combat continues as normal, but the player also needs to gain two successes using Face Danger (either a Strong Hit or two Weak Hits) to break through the barricades. They need Initiative in order to make the attempt..

For example, I listed “Oil-filled Ditches” as a potential situation in the Battle of Mearcred table above…
This assumes the player characters (or their companions/troops) are advancing toward the enemy lines and step into a low ditch that has been soaked in oil. The enemy then shoot fire-arrows to ignite the oil and straw in the ditch.
This could require a couple of Moves to deal with and could be classed as one higher rank of danger than the general battle – probably Face Danger needing two successes (either a Strong Hit or two Weak Hits). Maybe could affect both the Player Character AND the Companion on a 1,2 or 3 on the Action Dice.

For example – helping some non-combatants exit the battle-zone. This could require some a couple of successes at Compel (either a Strong Hit or two Weak Hits).and a couple of other successes (something narratively appropriate) to get them clear and would usually be “normal” or “easier” level of difficulty – roll the Challenge Rank oracle but cap it at the “normal” level.


Ironsworn Pendragon MickH666