Actual Play – Evil Machinations Afoot! (4/6/2009)

GM: Sean Nittner
System: Burning Wheel

The game started off a little slow. Genn, Jordan, and Colin all in Perinolde’s camp. Somehow, Jordan only saw the good parts of the camp. Peasants weren’t having to work too hard and they didn’t react poorly to him bringing an orc into the camp. The latter really shouldn’t make you feel at ease, but it made Jordan happy. In fact he’s starting to think the Perinolde people aren’t all that bad. Once he finds out that they have lots of peasants because they forcibly conscript them from villages and because they occasionally feed them to the cannibal orcs, this will get a little hairy.

Rather than recap all, here were some highlights.

Brighton – Intent: Bribe Genn into blackmailing Arthas for him with the promise of removing Uther from his presence.
Genn – Intent: Convince Brighton that he’s working for him and that he doesn’t need an escort.
Result – Tested independently against each other’s will. Brighton succeeds and Genn agrees to go in his stead. Genn is so convincing to Brighton that he is his man, that Brighton introduces Genn to the orc Gorund who is his liason to the Horde. Not exactly someone the alliance should be mixing company with. As payment for his summons Gorund devours Brighton’s peasant servant. Scream. Crunch of bones. Yum.

Luke had a sword thrown at him by Arthas. Just a warning shot but a fun sign of Arthas’s madness brewing.

Colin, Brighton and Luke went out for a hunt… but none of them cared about hunting. Colin found out that the stories of Genn were total lies. Great hunter? Pfft. Genn however was able to separate Colin from the group and charge him with his task. Some unlucky scripting and worse die rolls ended in a flawless victory for Genn (not even a minor concession), using his rank to force Colin into sealing the peasants from Spruce Hill away

Jordan saw a caravan and realized: if it is a caravan, it must be in danger. After insulting the Dwarves in the caravan by calling them “little brother” he recouped some of his lost face when Orcs attacked and he charged into to fray heedless of danger to battle them. Some lucky rolls and he got out of the fight with naught but an arrow in his chest and a spear in his leg. Burning Wheel fights are brutal.
Luke returned to his chambers, tired and weary, only to find the cannibal messenger boy waiting in the shadows for him. He barely caught sight of the boy before he leapt upon him, hungering the taste of Luke’s entrails. There was quick bloody versus that ended in a tie, both got what they wanted. The boy took Luke’s finger with his knife and Luke knocked him unconscious.

The next morning Luke took the boy and made an example of him. He claimed that any who defy him, defy Arthas and the Crown! He then had a soldier hold the boy’s hair and with this sword beheaded him. After that he channeled silver flames and incinerated the boy and the cart he was on. Wow, that made an impression. Enough, in fact to make the traitor flee. A shame how hard it is to catch a sorceress. Next up Luke vs. Jaina! Woot.

We ended with the Dwarves entering the camp to put Genn on trial as an Oath-Breaker. Fun for next time.

What rocked

The conflicts with Luke were super charged. I loved them. Everything mattered in large amounts.

Jordan actually got to find a place where there was some peace for him. No asshole soldiers abusing peasants (at least not that he saw), no members of the Silver Hand around to abuse their faith, nobody trying to kill the woman he loves (well, at least not the one he thinks is in danger, Jaina on the other hand!). After several sessions of living on “tilts” he finally found a “platform”. [1]

Genn got something really juicy out of Brighton. He might not use it yet, but having a liason to the orcs is a powerful tool either for blackmailing Brighton or to find out about the other side.

Colin got to uncover one of Genn’s lies. If he keeps digging deeper he could be a real threat.
Fight! without positioning works really fast. I know positioning is important, but I like the speed of Fight! without it.

What could have improved

The pacing. Man, I was trying to figure out ways to round robin quickly so that nobody got to bored so I bounce back and forth between scenes instead of finishing one and then moving. This slowed things down and made the scenes lose momentum. Next time, I’m going back to just running once scene and then the next.

Also, I don’t quite have a juicy hook for Colin yet. I want to make something good out of this “free the peasants” affair. I’ll work on it.

[1] From Play Unsafe by Graham Walmsley


  1. I think having that place of relative calm will make Jordan that much more likely to do something drastic when he finds out all isn’t as it seems. 🙂

    Also, I think it was Colin, brighton, and Genn who went hunting, not luke.

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