Actual Play – Empire of the Golden Dawn (5/15/2010)

GM: Sean Nittner
Players: Chrissy, Travis, Fattig, Shaun and Babe
System: Burning Wheel
Setting: Fantasy Pseudo-Egypt

Back in the saddle! Yes, for those of you who are particularly observant (read: bored with nothing better to do), you might have noticed that the name filling up the GM slot in many of my play reports has not been Sean Nittner in some time. Or if it has, it’s been for single session games. It’s been a while since I ran a campaign game, in fact, it’s been back since the Silver Age Sentinels game, which I was running while grinding to a creative halt.

So, what is this new found thing I’m doing? Probably my favorite game to run: Burning Wheel. We sat down over Chinese and talked about settings we could do with Burning Wheel. Several licensed properties were suggested (Discworld, Song of Ice and Fire, another I’m forgetting) but we couldn’t establish any common readership and/or interest in any of them… so we started talking flavor and quickly settled on Fantasy Egypt-like. Sure, we’ve got Osiris and mummies and what not, but that is decidedly not our limiting factor. We’ve also got a conquering empire of Elves (called Ironbound) from the North who have seized control of the Empire using the power of their military troops, the Arachnos (Using the Great Spider life paths but introduce in the fiction as just emotionless soldiers).

We all agreed that rebels/freedom fights/terrorists are fun to play, so the characters will all be fighting for independence of the EotGD against the evil Ironbound transgressors. Yeah, it’s a bit Star Wars, but so is every great epic.

The characters, as I know them are:

Aytreus the Jackal – A recently freed Gladiator who was told his profession was “barbaric” and being outlawed under the new Ironbound law. While he has them to thank for his freedom, he’s also without a job.

Siti – An assassin trained by an ascetic order founded on the belief that death must be paid for by life. Each assassination is paid for by giving a child to the order. Siti now seeks the parents that gave her away as a child.

Rishidi – Master of the Dead. A temple priest in the Cult of Amet. Brother to the High Priest and lover of his wife. Osiris has tasked Rishidi to purge the corruption from his Temple, starting with his brother. Nothing tastes better than a little Fratricide in the morning.

Hassad – Captain of the Capital City Guard (Blessed Isle of Osiris). Hassad seeks order in a time of chaos. He was given the job of ensuring safety for the Ironbound as they addressed the dessert people and told them who their new leaders were.

Oneris the Spirit Binder – A traveler who has returned to find his home sold off to the Ironbound. He seeks to free his people from their rule but at the same time learn of their magic.

The game kicker:

During the new prince’s speech to the people, a riot was started and the guards were overwhelmed by peasants. One woman broke through their lines and buried a dagger in the chest of the prince. All assembled have gone mad. The Arachnos will take a price in blood for their masters murder, the princes brother seeks to fill his shoes, and the peasant woman hopes to escape with her life. Our heroes are right in the middle of this… in the moment of calm before a horrible storm.

My NPCs:

Bainwen – The Prince’s younger brother, ambitious and hungry for power.
Sipho – The captain of the prince’s personal guard, an Arachnos with disturbingly human passions.
Riska – The peasant woman who started the riots and killed prince Kiel. She seeks to cause such chaos that the Ironbound cannot possibly rule. Oh… and she’s a sorcerer to boot.