The Ironheart Trio consists of a triple threat of Play-By-Post Freeform Role Playing Games hosted in the RPG section of the Giant In The Playground forum board. The first chapter, Escape From Ironheart, chronicles the struggles, successes, and failures of a disparate band of convicted felons (justly and unjustly) as they cope (or fail) against the challenges of life in the highest-security Prison to be found in the Barony of Ghast, and indeed, the known world, the titular Ironheart. Started by diabolical mastermind, Game Master, and self-confessed Magnificent Bastard 'Inspectre' on January 14, '08, Escape From Ironheart concluded 11 months and over 800 monumentally text-heavy posts later. The game is currently progressing through the second installment in the projected trilogy, Flight From Ironheart, continuing the sagas of the survivors of the initial chapter as they have escaped or been released from Ironheart in various ways and for various reasons. Inspectre has confirmed the working title of the third and final chapter as Return To Ironheart, though all further details depend almost entirely on the results of the current game and cannot be specifically predicted by even Inspectre himself.
The game's genre is a Frankenstein's Monster of Horror Survival, High Fantasy, and Gothic Horror/Fantasy genres, borrowing appealing elements from each without ever remaining true to any one archetype. Characters range in power level from Original Vampire Lords and Miriam-Blessed Holy Paladin Generals all the way down to simple pick-pockets (with minor magical talent) and scared little girlsnote .
One of the key facets of Inspectre's Game Mastering style is the high number of players simultaneously interacting, or more often acting completely independently, in the game at one time. Ironheart has run no less than three separate 'Recruitment Drives' to recuperate for lost players that dropped out from the original lineup. Though players from each Recruitment have held in and are still currently active, the game's 'mortality rate' of players and equivalent characters has been notably high, as characters whose players vanish or leave the game are said to have 'died' as a result of the rigors and dangers of the prison. This means that Ironheart has become a War of Attrition, both for in-game characters and out-of-character Players... and so far? Inspectre's winning.
This series has a Character Sheet page.
- Achilles' Heel — Sohssal's weakness to silvered mirrors.
- A Form You Are Comfortable With — Miriam and Athelon appeared to Ander as his parents.
- The Alcatraz — Ironheart itself. Ironheart was constructed by the Baron of Ghast to be the ultimate prison, and has had prisoners shipped in from all over the kingdom so that the individual Baronies don't have to bother with them.
- BFS — Largely averted, but they do pop up here and there. Usually Justified by the creature/character wielding them actually legitimately possessing the muscle to realistically wield the things' weight.
- Badass Preacher — Ander.
- Black Magic — Ooh, boy. We're talking BLACK.
- Body Snatcher — Sohssal is a semi-spirit being, and can/must possess willing subjects in order to fully interact with the world (unconscious counts as 'willing' by default).
- Broken Angel — Marisel the Protector, known more familiarly as Mar.
- Corrupt Church — But one of the Villains Galore to be found in the world of Ironheart. Primarily opposed by Ander.
- Crapsack World — Of the Mutable variety, but not easily. Inspectre has stated that though things are unapologetically bleak, the PCs can always do SOMETHING to make things at least a little bit better.
- Deal with the Devil — Seldom a good idea, but that never stops 'em. Note, however; the Devils have had a lot more practice at the whole dealing thing than you, and they tend strongly toward coming out ahead.
- Despair Event Horizon — One of Inspectre's mainstays, and a staple of the series. One in particular stands out: At the climax of Escape From Ironheart, it appeared for a few DMs that Azguloth had been released despite the PCs level best efforts to ensure the contrary.
- Elemental Powers — Many.
- Even Evil Has Standards — Played Straight and Subverted multiple times on either count, depending on character, and even Inverted at least once.
- Fallen Angel — Melcara, formerly one of the three Archangels of Heaven, fell some thousand years ago and is still hated by Miriam and Athelon for her apparent sins. Seems quite friendly, but her true motives are still unexplored.
- For Magic — Sohssal's primary motivations. ...As far as any of us can tell.
- God Couple — Miriam and Athelon, though they seem more like adult siblings than romantically involved.
- The Gods Must Be Lazy — Played straight. Though the machinations of the Church and the Baron have more or less nearly emptied Heaven of Angels, Miriam is only just reacting.
- Somewhat justified by a stated Time Dilation/Distortion between Heaven and the Mortal world, and Miriam's lack of an Avatar with which to personally interact with the mortal world. As things stand, they rely almost entirely on 'mere mortals' like Ander— or, on those 'less bound by the parameters of perfection', at least.
- Half-Human Hybrid — Sohssal fused his soul with demonic powers to live longer and gain more strength (and for the lulz).
- Healing Hands — Pyrene's most recent manifestation of her sorcerous ability.
- Healing Shiv — Sohssal has taken to healing through his enchanted letter opener, playing this trope completely straight.
- Knight in Shining Armor — Several. Ander Windrivver, General of the Armies of Heaven, was sent back from his justly deserved afterlife to cleanse the corrupt church (he got sidetracked). Hondshioh
- Living Aphrodisiac — Self-touted 'Grandmaster' Vylethar, Horny Devil and Evil Blonde, Lord of the Screaming Estate, exudes a Come Hither aura that causes women's panties to spontaneously evaporate. Conversely, it seems to have a nauseating effect on males within proximity (Heterosexual ones, at least).
- Living Forever Is Awesome — Umber, one of the original Lords of Blood, and Sohssal, magical Mad Scientist, both have gone to extreme measures to ensure their own immortality. So far, they're loving every minute.
- Loads and Loads of Characters — Inspectre's workload 'comfort zone' peaks at 16 players and one DM a week, and he has restocked players to torment three separate times when too many wimped out.
- Lovable Rogue — Tare, live-by-luck Street Thief with a penchant for being in the wrong place at the right time and a Big Brother Instinct.
- Mission from God — Ander's crusade against the corrupt church has come, literally, from Miriam's own mouth.
- Tailor-Made Prison — Ironheart was constructed not only to be the biggest prison ever, but the best. Its wardens pride themselves on being able to devise Oubliettes for the most powerful and uncooperative beasties, magical and mundane, the world over. Even a full third of the Divine Trio that brought the universe into existence. But they probably had help on that last one.
- Overshadowed by Awesome — Mar, Pyrene, and Tare at the climax of Escape From Ironheart. They're getting better, though.
- Our Vampires Are BETTER — Emo vampires do not exist. Any that do are stricken from existence by Word of God and Player Fiat. Also: The Lords of Blood.
- Powers That Be — Many, only half of which the Players have gotten a good look at. Among others; the Baron, the Demons, the Church, the gods, the Elves, the Vampires, several Cults, and whoever it is that wants Azguloth released.
- The Red Mage — Sohssal seems to be something of an Arcane Dilettante, though he does have obviously preferred methods that get more use than others. Tare seems to be going this way.
- Sealed Evil in a Can — Azguloth, the Unmaker, has been emprisoned beneath Ironheart for eons untold. He's very close to getting out now.
- Took a Level in Badass — Pyrene is a successful example. Everyone else was already Badass to begin with, and Mar and Tare are on their way.
- Playing with Fire — Korram has a Fire Sprite bound to his arm that grants him Truly Ridiculous Amounts of Firepower. Verily, this hand of his glows with an awesome power.
- What Is This Thing You Call "Love"? — Hints at romance have begun to appear at the fringes of Tare and Melcara's relationship.