Actual Play – The Fires Burn DEEP! (1/28/2008)

GM: Sean Nittner
System: Burning Wheel

Wow, Wednesday’s Burning Wheel game rocked. Jordan was corrupted by Mannoroth, exchanging the pollution of another knight for his own. He terrified his betrothed and discovered Jamie, just as she was trying eviscerate him. This WILL continue to heat up and I’m looking forward to it.

Genn on the other hand came back expecting a triumphant praise but was met with Arthas’ disdain for abandoning his post. He then found veteran sergeant Leon Musgrave in captivity for slighting his name and spreading rumors of his descent. The two were locked in confrontation as Leon, protected by Uther of all people, could not be slain outright and held the secret that could bring down Genn’s fame and glory.

Captain Luke faced his most brutal encounter on the battle field ever. Not only were the ors using there black blood magic, but they also had a warrior filled with unending rage. His enchantments made him indestructible, while he savaged the human who were pitted against him. To add to that a demon was summoned, vile and surrounded by poisonous fumes, he destroyed all those in his presense. Armed with only mortal magics and human troops, Luke’s forces suffered horrible losses and the advantage he originally posses was turn against him. On a personal front however, he did succeed to completely ostracize himself from Uther, while driving a wedge even deeper between him and Arthas.

What rocked

Hell, what didn’t? I loved the Duel of Wits between Luke and Uther, they started pensive and end both going for kill.

The dynamic relationships of NPCs who shift sides and have motivations that affect and interact the PCs has been great. I’m really happy that the players have as much an agenda with the NPCs as they do with each other, it creates a very rich setting.

Jordan blew the hell out of an Ork ritual room. They have not more implements of torture… they have now way to summon forth another demon… except of course, through HIM!

Failed rolls that were still interesting, in fact more interesting that success. Cleanse the taint? Sure…but you get it instead!

The heroes finally got back together. Jordan had some success in stopping the ritual from proceeding. Genn returned with Dwarven reinforcements. Luke is quickly becoming the dominant force amongst the Alliance. Let’s see how they all get along now!

Paladin Death From Above… What do you do when five Armored Paladins leap down from a ledge, surrounded by a field of force preventing them from harm, whilst they swing giant Lucerne Hammers into your skull? You die, that’s what you do. You die a lot. Wow, that was uber!

What could have been improved

Genn didn’t get a lot of screen time; we need to give him some love next session.

Still looking up a lot of rules, which slowed things down. I NEED to get that GM screen so I have them handy. Should be arriving soon.

Actual Play – Burning Warcraft (1/21/2009)

GM: Sean Nittner
System: Burning Wheel

Last night started off late due to me missing an email. Even after everyone arrived we had to decompress for half an hour before people were ready to game. Starting at 10 when I originally hoped to end by 10:30 meant I was fairly restrictive about the scenes, essentially ever character got one conflict.

Jordan had to win back the heart of Jaina, which after a brutal DoW he did by claiming his devotion for her and asking for her hand in marriage. What a dirty old man.

Luke got wind or rumors that the Gilnean army had deserted the alliance when they were needed the most. Through bullying his own troops and royally pissing off Uther he found the source of these rumors; a one eyed grizzled veteran who Luke will cast before the feet of Arthas for justice.

Genn swore and oath to bind the Stealtoe dwarves and man together and then set off into the cave. He nearly made his orienteering roll but failure meant he was caught by the dragon Searinox and not the other way around. Searinox was amused by the mechanical contraction he used, impressed somewhat by his boldness and mostly believed he found an agent to rid him of pester some Dwarves. An extremely one sided Duel of Wits sealed Genn as his agent.

What rocked

The Duel of Wits between Jordan and Jaina was brutal. Each of them wanted to change each other in ways that were personal. I finally felt like the stakes were something that rested on internal and emotional consequences rather than external political ones. Don’t get me wrong, both kinds of stakes are important, but I was missing the “human” element of the game and this provided it quite nicely. Jordan won but by the smallest margin of error. He won back Jaina’s heart but only by promising never to leave her side. They are now betrothed. Rock.

Luke is really starting to show his true colors. He is a bloody bastards who chews threw everyone and anyone to get what he wants. Arthas wanted the source of the rumors found and like a bloodhound on a trail Luke found them. He proves over and over what he is willing to do for status and power. I’m really warming up to this character. Next stake will be something more personal, will he give up something he actually cares about to move on?

Genn got to cheat death, claim victory over the Dragon and unite the Dwarves and Humans… pretty much all through lies and betrayal. See below, however, for why this kind of sucked too.

What could have been improved

Pacing. I didn’t intend for this first battle with the Orcs to take so long. Considering that in the scope of the campaign arc, it really is a blip on the radar I was thinking we’d be at it for only a couple of sessions. Were now getting into the “several” category and the battle is far from over. This isn’t a problem per se, in fact it really fits with the Burning Wheel system, but it feels a little less epic than the Warcraft campaign setting, where crazy shit is happening all the time.

No Macro Level mechanics. While I said last time I was going to use a linked vs. test, there is of course complications. Luke wants to bring his sorcery into play, and of course the Orcs have their own demonic magic, plus the blademaster who is essentially invulnerable and I have to figure out what to do with all of that. In the end I think I’m going to turn spells into advantage dice, with the cost that a Forte roll must be made to compensate otherwise the leader will be taxed during the time he needs to be barking orders. Still, feeling dissatisfied with this.

Hesitation = Fail. Before the DoW with Genn and the Dragon they made apposed intimidation rolls, the looser gaining hesitation by his margin of error. The Dragon’s intimidation is epic, he rolled 13 sucesses vs. Genn’s 4. Genn had to sit through nine actions of Searinox destroying him in a DoW, standing and drooling. In a lot of ways it makes sense. Dragons do have such overwhelming presences that people should be awed and broken by their will. But the problem is that is no fun. I mean why play at all if the GM is going to dictate your outcome. Yes, it was a gutsy (if stupid) move to approach the dragon alone, but I don’t think any of us wanted to see Genn so thoroughly destroyed and unable to gain even minor concession due to hesitation. This left a bad taste in my mouth, enough so that I have been thinking about how to put those two together again. Here’s my ideas and I want feedback from the players:

  1. Searinox lied. He said he would sleep for 200 years but you know what? Dwarf meat is tasty and he wants more. A message is sent to Genn that he either needs to provide some fresh dwarf meat to the dragon or Searinox is going to go out and get it himself, making everyone know Genn lied. Negotiations will have to open back up.
  2. After a fight with the Orcs both Arthas and Luke are going to realize that the Blademaster is indestructible by mortal means, including sorcery. The doesn’t mean the battle can’t be won, it just mean that the Orcs will have a brutal advantage that can’t be mitigated without the orb of fire. Between Luke, Arthas and the Dwarves putting their heads together, going back to get the Dragon’s heart will become the obvious decision, and who better to do it than Genn (well assuming he convinces everyone that he is the only one why could find the Dragon’s body)?
  3. My least favorite idea, but doable. We retcon the DoW. Instead of destroying Genn while he hesitated the dragon gloats. He’s a billion years old, he in his own domain and believes himself invulnerable. Like a cat and mouse, it is no fun if your prey can’t put up a fight, or at least give you chase. So rather than taking advantage of Genn’s hesitation, he rides it, casting insults, and generally being a self absorbed asshole until Genn recovers his wits and can properly debate the topic.

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.

Actual Play – Burning Warcraft (12/17/2009)

GM: Sean Nittner
System: Burning Wheel

Last night was a lot more fun than I was prepared for. In fact, I really didn’t prepare at all. The characters had all put themselves in horrible situations and I really left it up to the players to figure out what to do about it. This report will be rather short though, as I’m tired and my tooth hurts.

What rocked

Complete player initiative. I really didn’t do anything other than use the rules to demonstrate the severity of their situations. Steel checks, pretty dire consequences and a few graphic descriptions of cannibalistic orcs eating men alive pretty much got the players kicking asses and taking names.

Dragon hunting! Yeah baby. Genn Blackstone, if successfully will not only hunt down the Black Dragon, but also gain the alliance of the Dwarves. Genn pulled through in all the right ways. First, he doled out 9 successes on the OB8 (it was 4 but he wasn’t trained) Soothing Platitudes roll to impress the Dwarves, then pulled the OB5 Resources test out of his ass to present a worth gift to the leader. It was freaking awesome. Genn might just become the great captain he’s been pretending to be.

NPC conservation. I realized this game that the same runner, who has not yet been asked his name knows a ton of the PC business (they send him to do their work all the time). As we’ve already determined that there is a spy for Kel’Thazad in the group, he became the natural candidate. Add that and a healthy dose of cannibalism and my rosy cheeked runner just became WAY more interesting. Similarly, the masked knight we know is Aaron, the corporal who is a bitter rival to Jordan. I’m not sure how this is going to come back, but I know it will. In blood!

Sorcery burns…. Like crazy. Wow, I’m going to have to re-read the rules but as far as I can tell, a sorcerer with a high Forte is insanely deadly.

A Deed. Though the vast majority of the NPCs will not see the full sacrifice that Jordan has made, I gave him a Deed point last night (or at least nominated him for one and the other players agreed) for sacrificing what was left of his small regiment to save his fallen comrades from tortures worse than death. It was dangerous and dumb, but it was for the Light!

What could be improved:

I really wish I was more prepared with the rules. I’ve wanted to do a Fight! Or a Range and Cover for a while, but haven’t spent the time reading over them. I really need to hammer through all of that stuff.

I thought my introduction of the junior insurrectionist was a bit forced, I decided to pull it out of my ass rather than require several more tests to find him. After all the Circles roll was made, but I don’t think I delivered that part well.

I need to figure out what Captain Luke is doing. He got very little screen time last game because he had very little to do. He essentially delivered a message and made it out alive. An impressive feat, but not a very exciting story arc. We need to hammer out his beliefs and give him some more immediate goals.

We’re taking a few weeks off, which is just as well. I’m hard into the WoWCrack so time off means more time leveling. Bad GM, I know.

Actual Play – Burning Wheel (12/10/2008)

GM: Sean Nittner
System: Burning Wheel

Burning Warcraft last night was a lot of fun. We did spend a lot of the time talking about rules and beliefs however, so game play was somewhat reduced.

What rocked:

We had some killer consequences to actions. As a result of three failed tests, Arthas knows Luke is hiding something from him, knows that Jordan is sleeping with Jaina, has confided as much to Genn, who then used it to blackmail him. Further Uther thinks that Jordan is the least temperate Paladin that has ever served him. He knows that Jordan comes from a bad past so is trying to be lenient, but Jordan is fast on the path to being denounced from the Silver Hand, which would be an interesting foreshadowing of the Arthas story.

In general, players were fairly aggressive about pursing their beliefs and instincts. I put each of them in situations (see next entry) and they acted in ways they (for the most part) stuck to their guns, which in general earned them Artha but weakened some alliances. This was cool, but I don’t want to give the impressions that BITs (beliefs, instincts, and traits) are just ways for me to weaken the characters. Challenge, yes. Take away options, no. This needs to be worked on.

Connections to the storyline. I’ve been creeping in elements from the canon storyline, specifically the Black Dragon Searinox, and the Dwarven Dragon Hunters that seek to slay him. It definitely exited the players when they realized I was including that bit.

The meeting of the minds. It took a little work, perhaps too much work, but I was able to stage a confrontation between a wounded ork of the Burning Legion and Jordan. Jordan got his chance to question the orc, but this warrior had little to offer him other than his desire to blot out the light that filled Azeroth. I realize in retrospect the orc should have qualified himself as a just a warrior and not a warlock or priest, thus unknowledgeable in the specifics of their religious beliefs. I’ll need to bring that back up later, perhaps when Jordan encounter another orc face to face.

Bloody Verses. I introduced this fight mechanic for the battle between Jordan and the orc. They tied, so it was hard to see if the mechanic actually worked or not, but I think it has promise for quick battles.
Brutality of War. Twenty mounted knights, paladins of the light, charge at a well fortified orc encampment. What happens? 6 of them make it out alive, retreating into the woods. Fuck yeah!

Bangs. I had three bangs for each player but only two of them came out. Crap I threw at them to test their beliefs or instincts. Here they are, clumped by character:


Belief: Right is might and I will show them I am right
Bang: A detachment of orcs is detected by the rear guard. If the army stops now to engage them it will slow their progress significantly. Gain glory at the price of personal risk and breaking up the already diminished detachment?
Reaction: Yeah, Luke used his sway with Arthas to command his troops to break off from the caravan, hunt down the orks and slay them.

Instinct: Never share my true thoughts.
Bang: Arthas rides up beside his good friend Luke and tells him of his concerns for the men and for Lorderon. He wonders why Luke pushed so hard for the troops to restock but in the end ceded to Jordan. “Tell me your mind Luke.”
Reaction: Luke held his tongue and lied to Arthas. He failed his falsehood roll and was left with a sharp reprimand from Arthas “Captain, if we do not act as one, we do not deserve the protection the Light offers us. Divided we WILL be destroyed.”

Genn Blackstone:

Belief: Nothing is wrong unless you get caught. I will blackmail anyone anytime I can get away with it.
Bang: One of Perenolde’s men (a one eyed veteran of the Second War) approched Genn. He is only a meager Sergeant (due to his injury) but he once fought along the armies in Durotar and doesn’t remember seeing Genn there. The veteran tried to blackmail Genn to stay quiet.
Reaction: Genn countered by threatening how someone could get hurt spreading such rumors. Their verses test was tied so neither of them have achieved what they want.

Instinct: Always keep a set of clean clothes.
Bang: As they are departing the quartermaster reprimands lord Genn for his lavishness and begs him not to slow the troops down by making the men move his personal effects.
Reaction: Genn overrules the Quartermaster, insisting that his finery is required for the trip and will be vital to the success of the mission.


Belief: All people should follow the light. I will find out why the orcs do not.
Bang: When catching up with the troops Jordan found a wounded orc left to die on the battlefield, cursing the name of Captain Luke. This is a demonic orc consumed by hatred.
Reaction: See above. Jordan tried to discover the truth about the orcs but learned only that they worship a demon.

Instinct: I always flirt with women with blue eyes.
Bang: Jaina showed up during the beating to stave the violence AND (more importantly) to warn Arthas of a new threat.
Reaction: Jordan couldn’t resist seducing her once again. He angered Uther with is intemperate behavior and later caused a divide between him and Arthas once the young prince witnessed them in the act of love.

What could have been improved:

While I think the bangs were cool, they ate up too much of the game time. I noticed that the players hardly had any time to do the things they wanted to instigate. I think I need to not be afraid of dead air, be willing to sit around and see what the players do. Once the players were given free reign they pulled off some miraculous stuff (sending out scouts to find dragon caves, leading a charge of the Silver Hand, offering to be the emissary to the orcs, etc.) I need to have more faith that my players will dive into interesting conflicts all on there own.

Beliefs, as discussed before, need to be looked at and honed. We’re working on this now.

There was a little confusing at the end (at least for me) about what was going on. I got that weird vertigo feeling of knowing that actions were happing but not really knowing the sequence they were happening in or how they affected each other. It was getting late at the end and I tried to cram to much stuff in. I need to cut things off sooner.

Bringing the pain. I don’t want to punish the players by any means but I feel that I’ve been a bit light on the characters, specifically Jordan. He’s defied Uther with his intemperance, the soldiers with his violence against them, Arthas by sleeping with Jaina and leading members of the silver hand to their death against overwhelming odds. So far the only people he hasn’t pissed off are Jaina and the peasants. I feel some crushing blow needs to land that will change Jordan or change the people around him. Maybe if Jordan is successful he convinces Arthas that only blind faith and courage will prevail and that he should no longer listen to the strategy of his captains. This will progress Arhtas down the path of insanity a little faster. Or possibly Uther will kick him out of the Silver Hand? I’m not sure. The point is that characters change, and I think Jordan needs some serious external forces changing around him, not to mention internal strife.

Looking forward to next week. I’m going to set the scene and then shut the hell up and see how it goes.

More Fuel for the Fire

I’ve been reading the Burning Wheel forums and realizing that my approach to tests has not been as explicit as it should be. All tests should involve a task, intent, and a consequence for failing the test:

  • Task: How or what you are going to do (e.g. I go hunting with my soldiers)
  • Intent: What you want to accomplish (e.g. I want to take down a yeti)
  • Consequences: What will happen if you fail the test (e.g. Umm… here’s the problem, I didn’t specify the consequences, this is a big deal in BW and something I should have done)?
  • Once those are stated, there is a negotiation. The player can say opt to change his intent and or task in order to mitigate or change the consequences. For example, had I said, if you fail you will take a severe wound from the Yeti while you bring it down* the player could opt to say, “Hmm, maybe I’ll hunt for something safer, like mountain lions instead.”

After the stakes are settled, we roll and find out what happens.

I need to specify the consequences before the roll is made! So far I don’t think it’s been hurting the game, but I can see players getting very frustrated if they don’t know what they are facing on a failed roll.

* Note, I failing the test does not have to mean losing your intent. The classic example is the thief picking the lock which NEEDS to be opened. Instead of a failed die roll meaning the lock can’t be picked, it can mean the lock is picked but not before the guards come running down the hall, or that it is picked and trap is sprung, etc. As a rule of thumb, win or fail we always want the story to move forward, opening up more options rather than closing them.

Actual Play – Burning Wheel Warcraft Wednesday (12/3/2008)

GM: Sean Nittner
System: Burning Wheel

I can’t believe I gave Shaun at This Modern Death a hard time for being a Luke Crane fan boy. Oh the irony. I’m totally in love with this game.

Last night entered the third (and probably final) hero entered the story. Captain Genn Blackstone of Gileas, who lead the armies into the Dark Portal and BACK again! (Or at least, that is what the world believes) We decided to ramp up the mechanics and bring in the Duel of Wits, not once but twice. Sweet!

What rocked:

Characters were driven by their beliefs, instincts and traits. Everyone was rewarded a nice handful of Fate Artha for perusing their BITs! Because we reviewed the Beliefs and Instincts both before the game and after the game I think it helped up stay focused on what matters to the players and allowed their beliefs to change in a very organic manor.

Captain Genn decided to go hunting… and came back with a YETI! I couldn’t believe it. He had a B2 hunting skill. Since he was using his men, he could flush it out (+1D for advantage), on horseback he could move faster than it (+1D FORK riding) and he was an expert with the heavy crossbow (+1D FORK from crossbow). He threw in a Persona and raised his pool to 6D vs. OB 5. He shoots, he rolls 4 successes but 3 of them were 6s, he drops the Fate to make them open ended and POW, he hits it dead on. The War Hero returns to the camp with a bloody Yeti head. Huzzah. The obstacle was awesome, we never thought he had a chance. The narration of the scene was cool. The outcome was amazing.

Dual of Wits! Two of them. The first was an impromptu court marshal overseen by Captain Genn and Uther Lightbringer. Jordan faced off against Sergeant Aaron, a man full of rage. The Duel was vicious and both men want to see the other destroyed. Jordan won but only by the thinnest of margins, and in the end submitted to a public beating in order to see the sergeant stripped of his rank (see below). The second was between Captain Luke and Paladin Jordan over the movement of troops. These are both PCs and the characters are old childhood friends who have taken different paths in life, somehow ending up together again but now as rivals. They argued in front of Arthas whether the army should make the prudent move of restocking their supplies or strike out against the orcs immediately to save the knights that had been captured. Again, Jordan won but just barely. His body of argument was reduced to less than half and he had to make a major concession of leaving the foot troops and most of the camp behind, which allows the army to restock but means that the forces will take greater losses recovering the men.

A public beating! Jordan, for killing a soldier was sentenced to a public beating to humiliate him in front of the soldiers. The Sergeant, however took the greater blow. He lost his rank and the respect of his troupes who were all assigned to latrine duty to learn discipline.

Trait vote. The Paladin Jordan that was anything but “Disciplined” lost that trait, but had it replaced by “Vindictive”. Similarly, the political climber gained “Penny Pincher”. Good times.

Player contribution, the players really drove this story. I put in the seeds of conflict but there they took it was up to them. I really like having the loose framework of following Arthas’s campaign but that not being the major focus of the story. In many ways I feel like the characters ARE on a train, but we only see their passage when we take the time to look out the windows, all the interesting stuff happens in the dining car.

My killer (or not so killer) intro video. I took a three minute clip of 13th warrior when the small village was being attacked and mixed “O Fortuna” in instead of the movie audio track. I played this video as the intro the game. This is what happened last night, it wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t honorable, it was savage and bloody and muddy and strange. They all attacked and then, as if on cue fled back into the woods, disappearing like smoke in the wind. The only part that sucked was that my laptop was freezing up and having buffer problems. My bad for trying to play it off the network.

Is this good or bad? I was talking so much, having such a good time, I lost my voice. Whisper for the win.

What could have been improved:

We had some downtime looking up rules. This is improving however as we all become more proficient with the system. It is organized to be read and less so to be referenced. Luke did include summaries at the end but I often find I need to look up the rule anyway. So long as this isn’t frustrating the players much, I don’t mind. I feel that I am really learning the system rather than just winging it.

A lot of time to start and wrap up. We spent a lot of time in the beginning reviewing the characters (specifically beliefs, but other bits as well). After the game we did the same review as part of the Artha awards. It was fun and reminded me of what BITs (Beliefs, Instincts and Traits) aren’t coming into play that should be, but it did take a while. I’ve thought about awarding Artha in game, but this post ( confirms for me that I’m doing the right thing by awarding it at the end.

Some DoW confusion. What happens when you Obfuscate vs. a Rebuttal? Who speaks first? How do you play that out? Does loosing an Incite really give your opponent advantage dice equal to the margin of error (it was 8D in our case due to a botched Incite roll, Avoid the Topic, Will 6 and +2 OB from the Thick-Skinned trait, which seems over the top)? How liberal are GMs with FORKs? I was open to almost any idea that included a clear using of the skill. Debating with Oratory, while FORKing in Doctrine to speak the religious ideals and Philosophy to talk about the decisions we make as men define who we are, all seemed very reasonable to me. Some however, like using seduction to impress the village women who had no say in the outcome I cut because, while some villagers might swoon, the judge officiating the hearing was utterly unmoved by that (he even has a belief that says so).

I need to make a cheat sheet of the character’s BITS, affiliations, relationships and reputations so that I can remember to bring them into play and challenge them. I think the game was full and didn’t need to see EVERY thing on ALL the character sheets, but there were some omissions that I need to rectify quicky.

All said, I can’t wait till Wednesday. The hunt is on!

Actual Play – Burning Wheel (11/26/2008)

GM: Sean Nittner
System: Burning Wheel

This report is coming a bit late because of Thanksgiving and having to work this weekend, which is really a shame as a lot happened in the game and I don’t think I’ll remember all of it.

Julian – A peasant conscript who is getting in over his head.
Jordan – A paladin of the Silver Hand who’s righteous temper is going to earn him a court martial.

Wow, I’ve been told before that Burning Wheel rocks, but I didn’t realized quite how much until I ran it. I’m in love with this game. Also, we only used the simple mechanics for the first game (as per Luke’s suggestion). So even though there were wounds I didn’t use DoW or Fight mechanics, we’ll get to DoW next session and then in a session or two I’ll do range and cover and fight. I guess I should be more specific and stop gushing.

Actual Play Report