Locke is hired by Jessica Usagi to figure out who framed her husband. As Locke investigates the crime scene, he comes across some unsettling discoveries.

Chapter 1: Who Framed Roger Usagi?

Who framed Roger Usagi?


⚡ Welcome to Chapter 1 of THUNDERFANG.

This will be a write-up of my current Starforged game. I'm going to do my best to not exposition everyone to death. Similarly, I'm also not going to just flat out say, "He has these assets." I want to try and reveal some of that when it's necessary. Just know, I'm already locked in on my Truths and his starting assets. I do have an idea about the overall story I want to begin telling, but am more than willing for the dice to shake things up, for better or worse.

I will however give you all the moves I make and my thought process behind the results. I think that's interesting. 😅 The move will be bolded in the style of comments in a program (//TODO: Insert stuff here), but the results and further explanation will be beneath a toggle, to reduce spoilers and lessen unnecessary information.

I will start you all off with this bit of information, mostly because I couldn't find a good spot for it narratively in the story:

My character's first name is Locke.

// Swear an Iron Vow, +1

7 vs 2,7. Weak hit. 

+1 momentum[3]

Saffron's moon seemed frozen in place high within the sky. The night air was chilly and things were quiet all around Portent. Too quiet.

This instantly made my skin buzz.

A settlement of over ten thousand people was never "quiet," even at this hour. Workers of all kinds, manufacturing this and that, filled Portent to over-capacity. It contained more than a dozen ports and the shipyards were constantly lively. If Portent was ever quiet, it meant that someone was trying to hide something.

Take Baker's Shipyard, for instance. For the last five years, I've been renting space for the Scarlet Adler and have lived and worked from here. It was a rare occasion to not hear someone taking off, hosting a party, or just being loud. Do you know how hard it is to keep a ship silent? Baker's Shipyard was home to over a thousand ships, and none of them could exactly leave or dock quietly. Hell, most of them couldn't even sit still quietly. While this itself wasn't suspicious, it added to the sense of dread I was beginning to feel.

As I stepped off my ship, I realized I hadn't heard the typical background noise since my latest client, Jessica Usagi, left hours ago.

Something was happening.

It was a short walk to Golden Age Headquarters, the scene of the crime. I passed by multiple businesses and homes, all turned in for the night. I preferred to do my recon under the cover of darkness. Fewer questions that way.

"All we know is that Roger Usagi -- age 49, male, now former employee of Golden Age -- was accused of killing Karot DeWolf, his manager. His wife, Jessica, insists that he wouldn't do something like this." I spoke in a low voice so that only Watt could hear me. Watt made an almost silent buzz in confirmation. It hovered next to me, a floating ball of tech that I had modified to provide me with additional functionality. It was the only thing in existence besides the Scarlet Adler that I trusted as much as myself.

("JAXA ISS Int-Ball" (https://skfb.ly/6URXw) by pergamond is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) No changes were made. In fact, it's just a screenshot from the website it was offered on.)

The streets were still oddly silent, despite numerous people moving about. I didn't like it. I've been working as a private investigator ever since I got to Saffron, and if it's one thing I know, it's that you have to always keep an eye out for the details that others miss.

// Gather Information via Sleuth, +2

3 vs 2,4,10 => 3 vs 2,4. Weak hit. +1 momentum [4]

What do we find? Descriptor + Focus => 23, 96: Contested Viewpoint

For instance, I could tell that a simple push from the 8th-floor window wasn't possible. The Golden Age Headquarters building loomed before me, and it was clear that if Roger did kill Karot, he was hiding a few things. The windows on that building were made to withstand a lot. You'd have to plow through them with a large courier vessel to shatter them. But, from this distance, I could see the covered-up window. And it was the only one broken.

He could do it if he was Branded.

The thought made me shudder. Being Branded was too rare, though it would explain how all the damage seemed to be localized. Surely the law here, as ineffective as they were, had the same train of thought. I refused to make this my primary assumption, though. If it came down to being the only possibility, then I'd have to suck it up. But until I could get a good look at that office, there had to be another reason why.

// Progress on Roger Usagi vow.

[2/10; Dangerous]

We've arrived at the area where the crime was committed and have come to a realization: either Roger didn't do it, or if he did, he was Branded...

A few homeless people were scattered about and there was an occasional squad car making its rounds. Not enough eyes to give me any worry. At this hour, I knew the building was locked. But we could handle that with no problem.

I glanced over my shoulder and mumbled under my breath, "Building seems pretty secured, but I know you're better than anything they could implement." Watt made another near-silent buzz that only my ears could pick up and he floated to an access panel by the door. Small hatches opened on either side and cables jetted out from them. Watt linked itself to the building and a small progress bar appeared on one of his screens.

// Face Danger via Watt, +4

7 vs 6,9. Weak hit. Watt, +1 momentum [5].

Troublesome cost will be that while the system is deactivated, it's not deactivated for long. We will nullify the +1 momentum we got from Watt, bringing us back down to [4]. We have a vague time limit within this building.

As Watt retracted his cables, the panel flashed green. I nodded and smiled to my partner—it was always good to have Watt around—and pulled the door open. For all its good work, we would need to be quick. Buildings like this always had backups and security cams.

Using the information I got from Jessica Usagi and the news, as well as actually being able to see the damaged window, I knew exactly where to go. Watt and I moved quickly and efficiently to the scene of the crime.

// Gather Information via Sleuth, +2

6 vs 2,6,6 => 6 vs 6,6. Miss + match.

We up this Dangerous Mystery to a Formidable one, keeping 2 progress boxes.

Twist... Action + Theme => 36, 38: Destroy Freedom.

I know exactly how to "destroy" his "freedom."


Scorch marks covered the room. There was no way the law didn't think a Branded did it. I resisted every urge to kick something.

I directed Watt to take photos and analyze the room while I inspected it with my own eyes. This amount of localized fire damage meant that Roger was Branded. Infernobranded, to be more accurate. Outside of SIEGE, I hadn't come across one in quite some time. The heat needed to reduce the safety windows to nothing meant they were experienced and knew what they were doing. And the burns—

The burns... It was faint, but still there, lingering in the air even after a day. "Watt, run a diagnostic on—" Watt had already completed the scan before I could finish. Flashing on its screen was a single word. "Accelerant."

This was both better and worse than a Branded being behind all this. A Branded I could talk to. I could confide in a Branded, get them to stop and lay low. Branded to Branded, we could figure a way out of this mess.

But the fire wasn't caused by a Branded. Infernobranded could generate their own flames. While it wasn't unheard of to get a bit of a boost from extra equipment, the room practically reeked of some kind of accelerant. Too much for a Branded to use.

"Watt," I said. The more I looked around the room, the more of the story I began putting together. "I think a Mimic did this."

Watt beeped and showed a surprised facial expression on its screen. Mimics were definitely more abundant than Branded. Finding one was always a toss-up. You'd either get a human just trying to do good, emulating powers they were not granted from the chaotic energies that granted the Branded their "gifts" (and forced us all to the Forge to begin with).

Or you got particularly heinous individuals who were just in it to cause mayhem and give the Branded more of a bad name than we already had.

I had to assume the latter, seeing as they shoved someone out of an 8th-floor window.

I motioned for Watt and we made our exit.

⚡️ THUNDERFANG #2: Close to Holmes
Locke begins gathering clues as to why someone would want to frame Roger Usagi. What he finds shocks him.
The next chapter

Want to figure out what assets Locke has, the progress he’s made on his vows, and more game-/lore-related knowledge THUNDERFANG has? Check out this page!
This work is based on Ironsworn: Starforged (found at www.ironswornrpg.com), created by Shawn Tomkin,
and licensed for our use under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Want to own Starforged for yourself? Grab it on DriveThruRPG!
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