Actual Play – All Aboard the Black Hand (10/11/2011)

GM: Shaun “Sub 1” Hayworth
Players: Eric Smailys, Justin Diehl, Kristin Hayworth, and Sean Nittner
System: Burning Wheel
Setting: Burning Theorsa

I’m jumping into this actual play out in the middle of our campaign, so there is a little that needs to be established up front.

Theorsa is a medieval setting where an usurper king has taken control of the kingdom. Our characters have been sent by Duke Roderick to find the last remaining heir of the old line and bring him safely home.

Moya – The Duke’s hidden bastard child who works for him as a war wizard. She is conniving and manipulative but sees the duke’s goals as well as protecting her (unknowing) half-brother Baldric.

Sir Baldric – The Duke’s oldest son, sent to retrieve he heir. To protect his father’s involvement he killed another knight (Sir Catamere) and took his crest, he now masquerades as Sir Catamere (a loyal servant of the Userper king).

Sir Madoc the Blunt – A warrior who earned his fiefdom and title from his actions, not his blood, and certainly not his manor. Having successfully brought Baldric down a peg, he has now turned his attention to Moya, of which he has more carnal desires.

Eogan Ninian – By Argent, By Ferros, By Plomae. The Silver Star, The Iron Nail, and the Lead coin. By mind, By strength, By body. He’s a devout follower of the three gods, and suffers them insufferably (at least to the two knights who both share very divergent religious views).

A rude awakening

Having lost our old lodging due to a fight breaking out, we were holed in up in a dingy inn called the rats nest. We were awoken to the sounds of people being pulled from their homes.

Balrdic did not know what was going on but decided to find out. Whatever the reason, clearly these people hadn’t done anything wrong. The discussion with the guards, within the context of the story, was really just context for Madoc and Baldric to make open their dislike for each other, in the form of Baldric getting a chamber pot emptied on his head.

Though the confrontation with Madoc went poorly (falling out of the same window Balric intended to throw him out of), what I loved was the Duel of Wits after between Moya and Balric over who should change their ways. Baldric when 0-3.

Tail between his legs, Baldric begrudgingly admitted that Madoc was probably choosing the wisest course of action by keeping a low profie.

The Black Hand Sails at Midnight

We met Liam the first mate on the docks and he promptly handed us ropes and pointed at the ship of the King’s Navy. “That’s the Black Hand?” we asked. “She will be!” he answered. The pirates had violence in mind but Baldric and Moya convinced them that between his new garb (the crest of Sir Catamere) and Moya’s “ship inspection crew” we could get the ship cleared off without bloodshed.

Only they are bloodthirsty pirates and killed people just the same. Bloody Pirates!

Oh… and Eogin had leprosy. Great!

Thoughts on the game.

Baldric and Moya’s duel of wits has been the best scene for me of the game so far. I could just see him furiously scrubbing the refuse from his body while she was behind a screen waiting for him to be ready. I even scripted “Avoid the topic” just so I could spend a volley bitchign about being so filthy.

It seems that Baldric and Madoc’s differences have been assuaged for now, but I suspect they will come back up as the question of how a knight should behave returns. Hopefully we have believes that run counter to each other, and that causes us to write beliefs about the other again.

Gaming online has a weird effect that it is hard to know when you’re taking up too much of the spotlight. Even with video it’s hard to tell from people’s body language if they are getting bored, tried or restless. I remember when Shaun said the pirates were stabbing guys in the back I totally wanted to say I was going to do something about it but it was late, and I had just had several scenes so I didn’t want to jump into anything. As is it worked out well (fodder for the next game).

Curses from the gods are awesome. Yay leprosy for a day!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *