Actual Play – We all have secrets (7/18/2012)

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

Gaming on time. No rescheduling. It’s amazing. Well, it actually wasn’t all that smooth, mostly because of me trying to get the kids in bed, packing them up for a trip, having to cut out for 10 minutes one time to move locations, and 20 minutes another to take an important phone call. But other than that, things went swimmingly.

That actually illuminates something I really appreciate about Shaun and Kristin (and Justin). We interact as people first, then as gamers. When life happens there aren’t any guilt trips or pressure to compromise for the game, instead we reschedule, cut game off early, start late, or in my cause last game, take some significant pauses in the middle. For some groups, that dynamic would be frustrating, but more and more, I find I want a group that is flexible and doesn’t freak out if game is interrupted. If I want non-stop gaming on a schedule I’ve still got plenty of cons to get that in.

Where’s my son?

The first scene wasn’t what I expected. Baldric and Moya has two conflicting beliefs (I know, big shock there):

Baldric was born to lead this army to victory but he and I need to come to terms with whats happened. I will convince him to put aside his feelings for me, stop drinking, and lead this army to victory over the usurper!


I can’t allow my dishonor to soil Moya’s good name. Only a few guards were present for my indiscretion. I’ll silence them before rumors can spread.

I deserve these chains. I’ll face my punishment with courage and honor.

Moya lead the army into the Duke Roderick’s keep and told him all was well. He was happy about the victory at Redvale but was immediately distracted at the absence of his son (Baldric for those coming late to the party). She told him “Baldric is with the troops” trying to dissuade him from investigating further, but the duke missed his son and persisted. “He’s with the prisoners” Moya finally relented.

When Baldric and Rolf were released from the prison caravan and brought before the duke, the trial I expected was summarily cut off. It boiled down to “we’ve got bigger problems than worrying about you killing a prisoner.” And done.

A royal wedding

One of those problems was a letter, rather an invitation from King Kentigern, sent to all lords in the realm, including those he was at war with, inviting them to his daughter’s wedding in Rathmore.

Something about the daughter’s name looked familiar and it was Moya that suggested maybe this woman Aeric was in love with. Sure enough, after searching his room thoroughly, she found one of the letters left behind, confirming their love. Ah people in love, don’t the do such wonderfully stupid things.

Of course were Aeric to marry into the Kentigern family, that would destroy the Auley families image as being loyal to the true king. Kentigern, in one master stroke would destroy the rebellion without ever having to raise his sword.


Oh… and a province in the south that was loyal had fallen to Kentigern’s seige. We were now surrounded on both sides by duchies loyal to the usurper.

Double balls.

Rolf and Afon – Thick as thieves

Afon escorted Rolf to his cell and shared a certain amount of sympathy with him. Rolf was just trying to protect his own soldiers, after all. And that’s something like protecting your family after all. And yeah, he believes Moya is a witch who has ensorceled Baldric, and possibly the duke. And Afon is closer to Moya than anyone else, but you know, maybe Rolf just needs some time to come around with her.

Heavy is the head that wears the crown

After the hall had cleared Baldric consulted with his father. “Now is the time to act. We need to stop that wedding, and take the throne in one fell swoop. I know he isn’t ready for it, but it’s time for Owain to claim the throne.”

Roderick wasn’t much thrilled with the idea either but he agreed that it must be done. Baldric excused himself to find the once and future king.

So what happens? I’ll tell you what happens. Baldric goes to convince Owain/Aziz to announce himself as king of Theorsa… and the little twerp convinces Baldric instead that nobody will ever follow him, the Auley family (Baldric’s family) has a legitimate claim to the throne, and one of the Auley’s should don the crown! Holy crap, that is what I love about Burning Wheel. You can believe something all you want, but if someone wins a Duel of Wits against you, they convince you to do otherwise. As a player, I would have never accepted those terms at face value… but Aziz fought HARD to stomp on my belief (about him taking the crow).

Great, just great. King Auley.

Still my aching heart

Moya approached Baldric in his quarters. He was in a perplexed mood. “I know what you’re thinking. I should be in the dungeons know.”

“Baldric, you fail at mind reading class. I came to tell you ‘I’m sorry.’ What I said after you killed Andon wasn’t true. I just said it to hurt you.”

That left Baldric MORE perplexed.

And, pretty much to my surprise, the debate started again, but this time both of us were pushing hard (as apposed to the typical Baldric in pursuit and Moya trying to evade him). We both wanted something, and we both wanted it NOW.  Moya wanted Baldric to clean up his act and lead the troops. No more lovesick fawning, no more drinking, no more giving up command. Baldric wanted Moya to profess her love for him and accept him openly. Moya protested, there were secrets he didn’t know, things that would change how he felt. He had to wait until they took the throne for them to be lovers. Baldric countered, there were things she didn’t know. There were secrets that would be revealed much sooner, and he needed to know that she loved him before they were announced. We all have secrets.

Another brutal duel of wits. This time though, we both lost. Both hit 0. And we could choose from there, what do do. Either we both loose, Baldric goes on drinking and pining and Moya keeps her distance, or we both win: Baldric gives up the bottle and Moya shares his bed.

WINNING! Crazy as Tom Cruise or Charlie Sheen, because it was all great… until we all find out Moya is Baldric’s sister. Awkward.

Thoughts on this game

Wow, so much happened. Baldric was in chains at the start of the game, and with his lover (consenting lover even) at the end.

Afon’s loyalty is really in question. Siding with Rolf will be interesting for the future.

Moya. I feel sorry for Moya. The only way she gets to be happy is to be miserable. I think it’s an oldest child thing.

And since this AP report is being written a week late, all I can say is “By Argents Tits!* Wait till the next one comes out!”

* An expletive in the Theorsa setting.


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