Actual Play – Burning Warcraft Wednesday (1/7/2009)

GM: Sean Nittner
System: Burning Wheel

Wet started back into the Burning Wheel game. Genn argued dwarf legends and defeated a drake. Luke too charge of Arthas’ armies and lead the first “real” assult on the orcs, taking advantage of the distraction caused by Jordan, meanwhile Jordan channeled the light to consecrate the ground around him, blinding the orcs with the light and then dashing into the encampment to rescue the prisoners and have it out with corporal Aaron once and for all.

What rocked

Genn, amazingly killed a Drake. Not a full blow dragon mind you, one of his brood, but still, I figured he would end up running away. He was burned by it but ultimately landed a killing blow that felled the beast… single handedly (or at least mostly, on occasion he had help from his #2).

We tried out both Range and Cover and Fight! It was slow (see below) but things picked up after we had gotten through a few volleys. I’m very glad we tried this as I feel much more confident about doing it again next time. By the Light, Jordan is hell on wheels with his hammer!

Sorcery mishaps. Words of wisdom turned into a howling demonic wind that chilled the spirits of man and orc alike. Bravo Captain Luke!.

Luke called Uther and old man and Arthas a boy! And he failed his roll, thus pissing both of them off. He recovered later by proposing a plan, one only he could devise as he was the only living person (that they knew of) who saw the inside of the Orc encampment.

Day one of battle began. It’s a siege, sieges are slow, costly and unpredictable, but Luke’s plan was decisive and took advantage of the distraction caused by Jordan. He made an uncontested roll and broke the orcs front line. Let’s see what happens next time when the reinforcements come in!

What could have been improved

I was tired last night and didn’t feel like I was giving it my all. Too much playing of the WoW and not enough getting sleep.

Even though I had JUST read the Range and Cover and Fight! rules, I still had to do an enormous amount of cross referencing. The game was slow and less than I was hoping for happened. This is so typical for me. I really need to be better at cutting to the heart of the matter.

I don’t feel like there is a great space for Captain Luke to shine. Right now he’s got his sights on being the captain responsible for leading this charge and is accomplishing that but I feel like the other players are getting much more screen time than him. I want something personal for Luke to happen. Not necessarily even a challenge, just something to give him more personality. I think I’m going to invent a fondness between another character to Luke and see how he responds.

Even though we’ve all agreed that this is not really a “cooperative” game where all of the characters are in a convention party, I still miss having most, if not all, the characters in a scene. On the one hand it means that in each scene each player gets the spotlight focused brightly on them, on the other, it means that in each scene two players aren’t doing anything. We’re mitigated this in some cases by having the players play the NPCs but last night they didn’t feel like doing it so there were long periods of downtime for each of them. I was happy with Buffaloraven’s suggestion at the end of the game that one of the character’s whose goal is to be a great leader change his believe to specifically contest the other heroes for superiority. This will hopefully force two players, if not all back into conflict with each other. Good call!

Still not 100% sure how I’m going to handle the battle. I know these things. 1) The Heroes stakes and the orcs stakes are by no means exclusive of each other, both could win. 2) There are at least to separate conflicts here: Do I defeat the orcs AND Do I get credit for it? There are five players vying for glory here, the three heroes, Arthas and Uther. So winning isn’t enough, you have to win BIGGER than the other four. 3) I’d like to pit these goals against each other. When athletes compete they do all manner of horrible things to win; take steroids, weight their bats, play unnecessarily rough, sabotage their competition, all to get that little extra edge. I’m trying to figure how to make each hero’s contribution count but really make them work to have it count the MOST. Right now, the battle is being handled as a linked test, with each day of the fight representing a roll and the successes being tallied, and that is fine for describing the backdrop, but in the end I want one big showdown between Jordan’s Faith, Genn’s Falsehood, Luke’s strategy, Arthas’s Conspicuous and Uther’s Doctrine (or something along those lines) to determine who gets the glory and maybe who gets the girl! Have to think about this more.

Reference. I printed out the eight page GM screen that has a LOT of useful tables on it but haven’t mounted it to anything. I need to build a good GM screen that I can put those sheets on.

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