Actual Play – Charge (1/10/2012)

GM: Shaun Hayworth
Players: Sean Nittner, Kristin Hayworth, Justin Dhiel, Noam Rosen
System: Burning Wheel
Setting: Burning Theorsa

How much am I dating myself here that whenever I see Noam I want to yell “Noam!” like they did when Norm walked in the bar on the show Cheers? It’s not like Noam looks like George Wendt, it’s just that he’s got that same kind of soft spoken awesomeness… and his name is one letter away.

Noam joined our group (temporarily, permanently, we’re not sure) and played the role of the future king Owain (raised Aziz). Though he wasn’t really familiar with the game, Noam breathed love into the Owain and made him a really fun character to play off of.

Fighting like brother and sister

We started the game, unsurprisingly with Baldric and Moya arguing. The heir (Owain/Aziz) was injured from the fall, but Baldric wanted to keep moving. They had been resting for hours and were in an enemy’s lair, it was only a matter of time before they were caught. Further, his not so hidden agenda, was that he wanted the boy to toughen up a bit. Owain had taken a blow to the head and Baldric had seen men fall asleep after such blows and never wake up, it was time to move. Moya, on the other hand wanted to rest and recover, wait until we were healthy and hale.

Despite our character’s determination we agreed that the stakes were low enough we should just handle it with a vs. test. I got lucky.


Since she had lost her spell (Havok’s hand) Moya cast it again; sustaining it so she would be prepared for battle. Normally I wouldn’t mention a spell being cast but this one was important. She failed her tax roll completely, dropping her already weakened Forte down to 1. This was particularly significant later when Kristin realized that if she cast another spell (especially a powerful one like Rain of Fire) it would probably kill her. Yikes.

As we moved through the underground tunnels we came upon a room filled with caged salves and their monstrous slaver (half-snake, half-women). Startled, we reacted accordingly. Yay, yay, yay, I got to invoke Glory Hound. While Owain and Eogin worked to break the locks and free the slaves and Moya snuck around into the shadows to drive her Havok’s hand into the first monster than came around the corner, Baldric charged forward “No man will ever a slave to you monsters!” I rolled lots of success, many more than I needed to put the pointy end all the way through her chest.

Yay for a dead monster, and of course the several guards that came charging in. Shaun decided to handle it as a bloody versus. Their goal being to capture us, ours to drive them off. The roll was pretty easy. We kicked their asses, but something amazing happened in the middle of the fight.

Baldric pick up the sword from the fallen slaver and tossed it in front of Owain’s feet. He shouted “Take the blade and defend your people!” This was pretty tense specifically because of these two beliefs:

  • Baldric: Owain must be ready for the throne. I’ll find him a new blade to wield.
  • Owain: I am no one’s king!

We brought it to contested persuasion rolls and Baldric won out, but only barely. The boy picked up the sword to defend his people. Awesome. His belief for the next session:

Owain: I am no one’s king! There will be no more bloodshed in my name.

Even more awesome.

After the fight we heard a terrible roar from further down the tunnels and the freed slaves huddled in fear, speaking of the “godling”

Meeting a God

When we got down below, we figured out what all the hubbub was about… The Kashkyr don’t worship a serpent demon, they just worship a giant serpent, otherwise known as a Dragon!

We found the child of Saleth chained in a pit, held captive by the ophidians (snake women)… and a small army of the Usurper’s men!

Without thinking Owain ran to kneel before his caged god.

Thoughts on this game

I really didn’t know if it was kosher to put Noam/Owain in such a pickle, or rather to say that I want the stakes of a versus test to be going against your beliefs, but having talked to Noam about it, he was cool with it and I thought it was an awesome twist in the story.

Havoc’s hand is a scary as spell. Done.

Tax potentially killing you? Also scary.

My favorite outcomes this game were the result of contested persuasion rolls and failed religious history rolls. This game rocks.

I was a little torn on our stakes for the bloody versus. It seemed like their stakes were “capture us” while ours were “kill them” even though we said it was to drive them off. I mean, I guess I don’t care too much about some random guards lives, but it seems like there is an interesting question of what happens after a bloody versus is over if the victor doesn’t want to relent? The rules say it is over, but I think the GM needs to contrive something in the fiction (they flee, another threat present itself, etc.) to prevent a persistant player from turning a fight into a slaughter.

I’m itching for another Fight! Or Duel of Wits. We’ve had so many things that were so close. I’m sure we’ll get one soon.

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