Sep 16

The Trial of Cold Steel Wardens Recap & Review



Hello and welcome to The Trials. Our new system play test Actual Play podcasts from The Rpg Academy. These games are from one-shots of us playing a new system and giving it a trial run.  This is the Trial of Cold Steel Wardens. Superhero RPG’ing in the Iron Age of Comics.  CSW is the brain child of local game designer A.P. Klosky. It was successfully Kickstarted a couple years back and is being published by BlackFallPress (@BlackFallPress).

I met the author at CincyCon earlier this year and demo’d his game and really liked it. I invited him to come on and do a Trial of it for our show and here it is.  The first 25 minutes or so of this episode is a rules review and then we jump into the actual play. We will have our traditional recap episode after the AP episodes.

Also, A.P. will be at AcadeCon this year demoing this game and new in-development board game he’s working on.

For players –

I am playing Sawbones  (@theRpgAcademy)

Caleb is playing Cadia (@TheCalebG)

Rohit from is playing Ambush (@Gamersplane)

and friend of the show Jason is playing Camshaft (@23rdian23)





Comments and Feedback are always welcome.
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  1. So, it seems like this game was overall liked a lot by those who played it with a few things that people didn’t like as much, depending on certain things.

    I think that this game to be fun has to kind of have that Batman Detective feel, because of the amount of dice that are rolled it makes combat, which can even in something like D&D 5th Edition, slow down the game. Where as when you are rolling dice in a roleplaying situation, if it slows it down a little bit, you aren’t undercutting the intensity and in fact the longer time of adding up numbers can almost add to it, but in combat when it is supposed to be like – bam bam bam- I can see how rolling a large number of dice twice could really slow things down.

  2. I’m really flattered at the high praise from the RPG Academy gang. Much obliged.

    Just a few comments in response–yes, CSW definitely seeks to ape a more investigative, “slow-burn” feel. Combat in CSW is meant to be frenetic and deadly; entering combat is a big deal and even an experienced Hero can go down in a hail of gunfire to a bunch of faceless mooks.

    For those not used to it, a dice-pool system can seem slow, but I attribute much of the slowness to the fact that everyone, save myself, was learning a new system. Once you’re more familiar with what you’re rolling on a regular basis, it moves pretty quickly.

    I think Caleb got let down by a few key rolls, particularly at the end, when he attacked the Boyd-creature and attempted to entangle it. His tactics were solid (and he could potentially do solid damage), but the dice said no…which happens. In all honesty, though? Cadeia is probably the best hand-to-hand fighter of the group outside of Tong Jeung (a character that no one played, who’s meant to be an homage to Iron Fist).

    All in all, I’m really flattered at the high praise. Can’t wait to bring CSW to AcadeCon, along with Dwarven Defenders!

    • mrm1138 on September 27, 2015 at 12:05 pm
    • Reply

    Out of curiosity, have any of you tried BASH! Ultimate Edition? It pretty much hits the sweet spot for me as far as supers RPGs go. The complexity is somewhere between light and medium. (The powers are what bump up the crunch a tad as their mechanical properties definitely require the player to know what they do, either by memorizing said mechanics or having the description written down on the character sheet for easy reference. In that way, they kind of reminded me a little of spells in D&D.) Also, it really understands how to balance things so that non-powered characters can fight alongside those with superpowers.

    One of my favorite things about BASH! UE, however, is its resolution mechanic, which is 2d6 X relevant modifier. The multiplication really allows powers, attributes, skills, etc. to scale nicely and in a way that really emulates the genre. Plus, the low number of dice means that you don’t have to roll a bucketfull of them and then pick through to find the successes and failures.

    After a Vampire: The Masquerade campaign a few years ago, I pretty much decided I was not a fan of success-based dice pools. Even after getting used to doing it, it still felt like it slowed down the action (especially in combat when the pace should be picking up). I think Fantasy Flight Games has the right idea with their Star Wars RPGs by removing the numbers from the dice and replacing them with symbols to streamline the process of counting successes and failures.

    Anyway, I highly recommend contacting Chris Rutkowsky, creator of BASH!, and asking him to run a game for you guys on The Trials.

    1. I can’t say i’ve heard of it, but no time like the present! I’ll certainly send a msg along and see if we can get a Trial in the works.
      Thanks for listening and thanks for the suggestion!


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