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Rise and Shiningstar Creator Interview

Updated: Oct 19, 2022

Editor's Note: Ironsworn: Starforged was designed and written by Shawn Tomkin. It can be found on DTRPG.


Welcome to another creator interview! This time, I talked with Tavon Gatling (@gatlingxyz), the creator of the Starforged adventure Rise and Shiningstar that I will be playing over the next few weeks. I first encountered Tavon on Twitter while discovering Ironsworn initially, back in early 2022. I must credit him with the inspiration to get serious about starting this blog. His series THUNDERFANG (a Starforged actual play fiction) really showed me what one could accomplish by combining TTRPG and quality writing. I figured, how better to begin my very first experience of Starforged than to play his adventure. But let's get to the interview questions!

1. What were some of your inspirations for Rise and Shiningstar?

Rise and Shiningstar takes a lot of inspiration from a 5e solo supplement called, "The Dead Don't Sleep." I have a habit of putting new 5e characters through that before playing them in a one-shot or if I just want to test drive a character for a bit before committing to it elsewhere. In it, you create a randomly generated dungeon on the fly. You have a handful of prompts that send you to this dungeon, and you find clues along the way that help paint a bigger picture. Essentially, it's a Starforged expedition.

2. What motivated you to write the adventure?

Piggy-backing off the previous answer, I wanted something like that for Starforged, too, where I could test drive a character and make sure the asset interactions worked the way I intended. And I got to stretch my content creation muscles just a bit more. Starforged doesn't have all the complexity that other RPGs might have, so I figured if I wanted to start somewhere in the TTRPG space, I could start here.

3. Do you have any advice for people who'd like to do something like this themselves?

Just do it! Don't wait until you feel completely ready, just do it. We tend to get trapped in this cycle where we don't create because we don't feel ready, but I'm someone where I learn best by doing and failing. I originally didn't format Rise and Shiningstar as a PDF because I didn't know how, so I decided to throw it onto my blog. If I had waited, there's a chance it would've never been done. And by "just doing it," I was able to use some of what I learned to write a case file for City of Mist. I turned around and used what I learned writing and formatting that to format Rise and Shiningstar. I'll keep using what I learn for future projects!

4. What do you have in the pipe?

I have entirely TOO much in the pipe but I'm so excited for all of it! I'm actively working on writing up Merx, my City of Mist Actual Play Fiction. THUNDERFANG has been stewing in the background and I'll be able to start that once Merx is in a decent state. I also have plans on writing another Starforged adventure, taking some inspiration directly from THUNDERFANG. I think that's it for now, but—knowing my brain—who knows what'll be cooking in another few weeks? Everything I do can be found over on my blog at or on my ko-fi, and you can follow me @GatlingXYZ on Twitter.

Please give Tavon a follow! You won't regret it. I'd also like to thank him for taking the time to answer my questions and for all of the dialogue we've had about APs and blogging.


If you'd like to check out Session 0 for my Rise & Shiningstar series for Starforged, you can do so here.

Affiliate Note: The Dragon's Den is an affiliate of DriveThruRPG and receives a small amount of kickback whenever you purchase something using the provided DriveThruRPG links. Its a way for you to passively support the blog! Thank you for all of your support!


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