Monday, September 29, 2014

Blame Brandon

I was lucky enough to get an analysis of the first sesssion of our BW campaign by Brandon, our GM. This is an invaluable look inside the head of a Burning Wheel GM who is running the game for a bunch of new players.  Thanks goes out to  Brandon for writing this up.  I hope we can get plenty more "Blame Brandon" posts in the future, but I'm not going to ask him for one after each session.  I don't want to burn him out or scare him away.  Running a game for my particular group can be a trying affair.  Brandon has no idea what's in store for him.   My comments are in bold italics.  So, here's....

Blame Brandon


I was woefully under prepared after a month of not thinking about the game. So after my initial “lay down, try not to cry, cry anyway” nervousness was overcome, I looked through what I had prepped: two jerk nobles and entourage on the road. Which would hit several Beliefs and Instincts. Okay, I felt better. And it feels good to be playing again after a year away from Burning Wheel. Like nice comfy slippers.


The Jarl was browbeaten by a few group-members in the great hall into giving up some horses after a failed (Beginner’s Luck) Persuasion roll and some Helping dice. That’ll come back to haunt the group, but for now the Jarl is just being tight-lipped and none-too-pleased that he was just sassed to in front of his court. (Wow!  I had no idea we had pissed off the Jarl) But since the Rule of Law die came up a success I decided it would be improper to let the prince tramp through the spring thaw on foot.

I had Calder Circle up his mother - who is the sister of the King of Erenland (I think? We need to draw that family tree)(We had established that my mother is the daughter of the King) - not to find her, but to see what her disposition was like when he went to see her. Success, so she is happy to see him. Another failed Persuasion roll. Okay, I shouldn’t have had him roll Persuade here, but since I did I’ll roll with it. She gave him five of her personal house guard and a personal mission. There’s more to the “why” but I’ll leave it there for now. Intrigue‘s certainly afoot.

As they are gathering information, and rangers, Calder’s player hit me with a Wise-style fact: each of the houses has their own fort they are responsible for on the wall. Oh. Erm. Okay! Well I had thought that each fort would just be under-manned, but with that information it means that most of the forts are now abandoned! I smile evilly. (Someday I'll learn to keep my mouth shut!)

When Rysdan talked to the Jarl I made sure to mention that Calder’s brother was smirking. Calder has been away from court for a few years being a Captain at the Wall. His brother has been up to no good while he was gone.

The letter was totally unexpected and a good surprise for me as well. If Daschell hadn’t corrected the hot-headed prince’s words, those two nobles that were my only prep would have been turned into assassins. Way to save the prince from himself spymaster. So those two nobles I’d prepped became the representatives. I love it when serendipitous events like that happen.

Those two nobles were big jerk-faces. They insulted, they whipped their servants, they rolled their eyes and laughed at the “Raven Prince“. I was trying to get someone to come to blows with them, but cooler and clearer heads prevailed. Probably for the best, since Jarl Esben would have used that against House Dale, if possible. I was surprised that Rysdan didn’t get to torture them though, since I was trying to push for it. In the end the two Gunnar nobles were so verbally tongue-lashed by the group they gave up the beans anyway. But not all of them, only what the Intent of the Interrogation made them.
Thinking back on it, it would have been a good time for a Duel of Wits. Since they wanted something from the group. Maybe I’ll start there next session? Or maybe I’ll let it go and save it for the next time they meet.
I hesitated on starting a fight with some goblins. At least one of the players looked like he really wanted to smash some orc. But I really didn’t want to slow down the game or change the pace of the socially-focused session. Plus the group spent a long time working out defenses for the gap in the wall, so I let it go.

Next session might have a big fight though, depending on what the group does of course. Thorin and Arvidus both have Beliefs about protecting Calder, so it should probably happen. I’m just not looking forward to a five player combat. Then again after they experience a BW combat, and get horrible injuries, they might avoid it next time. If it comes up I’ll talk about Bloody Versus, Fight, or even Range and Cover if combat comes up.

Fun times! And wow I'm long-winded. (Nope.  If you were long winded, you'd have a blog!)