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Thread: [BW] Burning Corruption

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    Default [BW] Burning Corruption

    Recently, I've convinced a group of friends (and gamers) to play BW. We did character and world burning a month or so back but have been busy since and hadn't gotten a game in... until yesterday. Only one player (out of three) could make it, but that worked fine.

    Game Situation: One of the characters is heir to the lordship of a particular fief in a borderlands-kind of kingdom. While studying abroad, his two friends, a moralist assassin in service to the lord and his family and a sorcerer, uncover a plot to raise the heir's bastard brother instead. The culprits: the assassin's mentor and the sorcerer's master (the chancellor and and records-keeper).

    Beginning Play: Looker, the sorcerer, having deciphered this information amongst scrolls, messages and logs, tells his assassin friend who is fiercely loyal to the heir about what is happening. The sorcerer sets out in falcon form to find the heir and warn him that he may be hunted.

    The assassin also sets off for the pre-determined rendezvous, Meadenval, 250 miles southeast...

    Shadow's Tale: Part I
    Determined to leave, Shadow makes for the keep stables in the middle of the night. Stealthily, he sneaks to the doors and spies (Perception 3s) a single groom sweeping hay into a stall in the dim light. Then came the first Fight! for both myself and Pat (Shadow). Shadow wanted to enter via stealth, incapacitate the groom and take a horse to speed his trip.

    Positioning test: Unopposed as I ruled the groom was utterly unaware of Shadow's approach (Stealthy 4s vs Beginner's Luck Observation 1s). Steel test for the groom and he ended up hesitating for 4 actions. Since Shadow'd said the groom's back was to him to explain the extra successes on his Stealthy, Shadow's Close/Lock took him completely by surprise. Power vs. Power was 3s (!!) for Shadow to 0s for the groom, a -3D Lock. Groom lost consciousness and the Fight! was over. (Pat, who'd only played a few sessions of 4e D&D freakin' loved that he could do that.)

    Shadow chose a messenger's riding horse (not a warhorse) because I told him that a warhorse would definitely go noticed and there were only three of them. All were branded with the House sigil, regardless. He debated taking a warhorse anyway, for the heir when they met up, but decided it would bring too much trouble and he wanted a good lead before anyone decided to come looking for him. To ride, Beginner's Luck Riding test (Will B4 vs horse's Will B1 -- I decided -- doubled to 2) and he got 2 successes. Just enough for managing a horse at a walk.

    "I want to know the guard who's at one of the gates from the keep to the city. How do I do that?" Circles! B2 + 1D reputation amongst the city guard at Ob 2. Success! He named the guard and used Falsehood B3 + 1D Persuasion + 1D reputation + 1D advantage (he roleplayed a good lie, easily believed given he often came and went in the night). The guard bid him good hunting and opened the postern. He was now in the city proper. When he got to the gate watch, Let It Ride came into play and he made it through without issue and was beyond the fortified town.

    With the spectre of a Resources B0 and a 9-day trip with no Hunting or Foraging skill... he decided to make a stop outside the walls. Around the gate was small collection of markets, inns, taverns and businesses, especially along the main road leading to the town. Beyond those were hovels, homes and shacks where laborers and such lived.

    He went into a tavern ("The Roadside Wench") and found the proprietor. Through roleplaying, he got the man talking. He wanted to know if there was any trouble in that outer town that he might help with... for small payment. Persuasion B3 + 1D Streetwise vs Will B3 and he freakin' did it again! Success. "Aye, I'm in debt to Furlow, a creditor in the Warrens. Twelve stags [silver pennies] I'm owin' him!" Shadow asked what would be in it for him if he could rectify the problem and the innkeeper told him he'd pay him what little he could (+1D cash on hand sort of thing) and give him drink and food for as long as he wished!

    Pat sensed a chance for two things: 1) he needed something to help him make his first Resources test to advance from B0 to B1, and 2) he wanted a friend on the inside, so to speak, for when all three characters returned to the town to bestow the lord title to the rightful heir. Awesome! Played to his Belief "I will do anything to restore my lord to his rightful place."

    With instructions to find Furlow's house, Shadow departed. It was raining lightly and very dark as he attempted to be Stealthy through the narrow, muddy lanes. (Can't remember if he did a Linked test with Stealthy --> Inconspicuous, but he didn't do well on either. No successes. The funny thing is... the two thugs watching Furlow's place rolled Observation B3... three 1s! No one saw him, regardless of his poor stealth but with his 3 successes on Perception, he saw them just fine.)

    One thug was sitting on the doorstep, whittling under the eaves of the roof, out of the rain. Another was a ways away, within sight, grumbling where he sat on a barrel against a ramshackle wall. Pat decided he was going to have a tough time with them, so he wanted to climb an adjacent building and jump across to Furlow's roof. Climb B2 vs Ob3 (including a +1 Ob disadvantage for the rain) and no go. He decided to take the thugs out from a distance with his throwing knives.

    This was a freakin' funny R&C. With the rain and darkness, there was a +3 Ob for Throwing (making it Ob 5). He won the initial positioning test vs the barrel thug who stood and drooled 3 actions (attacked out of nowhere in the dark -- Steel test for sure and the shock and pain warranted stand and drool and not swoon, I felt). Eventually, after 6 exchanges of them chasing him and him winning every positioning test... he'd nicked them enough that they both swooned due to injury Steel tests.

    With a Perception test to find them where they'd tried to Stealthy swoon (miserable failures), he cut their throats and tried to move them. Power vs Ob 3... no good. They were too heavy for him.

    He then approached Furlow's unguarded house and used Climb linked to Stealthy (we probably should have reversed that...) to go through a window but thankfully the thug inside, asleep on a stool near the door, didn't wake up. (He failed the Climbing but did great on his Stealthy even with the disadvantage.) Thug's Perception while asleep was at double Shadow's Stealthy roll of 3s -- I said -- and he only got 1s. He snorted and continued sleeping. Stealthy Let It Ride got him inside Furlow's bedroom. Furlow had Light Sleeper trait, though, and woke up. However... he didn't see the silent and hidden form of Shadow.

    This was a freakin' long Fight!. Could have done bloody versus, but Pat and I really wanted to get the hang of Fight!. Three exchanges with Shadow vs Furlow before his bodyguard woke up in the other room, assessed what was happening, stood up, got a weapon, and was able to close the distance. Shadow took no freakin' injuries (+2 Ob dim light disadvantage for everyone) and took another 5 exchanges to inflict enough Light wounds to put them at -4D. Positioning and the back and forth was awesome, though, and we were both really into it, despite the time it took. Finally the two thugs dropped from the mounting dice penalties and he ended their misery. I told him he could let them bleed out, but he didn't want to risk them coming to and being healed and give him away. Pat never wants his character to be known or identified.

    He found +5D cash on hand in Furlow's locked chest (Furlow had the keys), +1D in Furlow's locked desk drawer and had found +1D on the thugs combined. He was sitting pretty at +7D! I told him, though, that having that much cash on hand created a +1 Ob disadvantage to Stealthy and Inconspicuous due to the pouch's clinking. He also found Furlow's account ledger in the chest, which Pat tried to read to see if the tavern owner was in there. (Beginner's Luck Read... failure.)

    He returned to the tavern and the owner invited him into a back room. He introduced himself as Bannon. He crossed his name off the ledger and Shadow magnanimously gave him his 12 silver pennies back (-2D). Utterly grateful, Bannon swore Shadow could eat and drink his fill, at any time, and he would be at his service should Shadow but call! Given the insanity leading up to this, I gave this guy as a relationship to Pat. He'd earned it, I felt!

    Wanting to waste no further time, Shadow purchased some provisions for the road (went from Resources B0 to B1 and went down another cash on hand die to +4D).

    Being set up for the road, off he went into the night. . .
    Last edited by Rafe; 04-19-2009 at 05:40 PM.
    -- Patrick

    Realm Guard: Rangers of the North (v1.6), a MG hack for Lord of the Rings (hack concept by Saint&Sinner).

    "Main thing the game needs? More balrogs. Could be balroggier." -- Chris Gardiner

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    Shadow's Tale: Part II
    (In which Shadow looks to investigate crime in the town of Meadenval... but the crime investigates him!)

    Remembering that his horse had the branding of the House stables, he wisely decided to sell it in exchange for some money and more provisions before he arrived at Meadenval, his destination. He got swindled! Lost the B1 he'd had as well as 2D from his cash on hand. (Easy come, easy go! Haha!) He was once more at Resources B0 and had only +2D in loose coins.

    Entering the town from the north, along the road, the single guardsman watching the flow of traffic in and out spotted him (Inconspicuous 1s vs Observation 2s) and pulled him aside. He asked his business, noting he wasn't a trader or a peasant heading to the market. With Persuasion, he got through by saying he was a simple traveler looking to stay a few days. He got word of an inn, and off he went. Rolling Resources for room and board for two weeks, he had only his +2D vs Ob 2. Failure! No more cash on hand and his Resources were still at B0.

    (The reason there were all these Resource tests, by the way, is because the world is on hard times since the fall of the Empire of the Dawn. It's hand to mouth for almost everyone.)

    Pat decided he'd look into the underground in Meadenval. He did a Streetwise B3 vs Ob 2 (2 successes) linked to Beginner's Luck for Rumor-wise (he wanted rumors on who was running things in town). Failed Rumor-wise and heard a lot of conflicting rumors about who was in charge. Thinking it was someone named Krage (it wasn't -- he's a high-up enforcer for 'the man'), he went for a Circles test to find him. Failure... enmity clause!

    As he came out of a dive where he'd been looking around, three rogues surrounded him. (Stealthy 3s vs Perception 1s) Startled, he had a hesitation of 2, enough for them to Close on him with weapons drawn. "Looking for Krage, eh? Guess what, stranger. He knows it and is looking for you."

    Pat didn't feel he had a chance of outrunning them in their own town, and... well, he did want to find Krage, after all. (I explained what the Enmity Clause meant: He would have found Krage on neutral or amenable terms had he succeeded his Circles test. As it was, Krage was none too happy about hearing about someone come lookin' for him...)

    Down into a cellar near the docks they went, and through damp and narrow passages he was led. Finally a door opened into a well-lit room with an ornate desk stacked with loose papers. Behind the desk in a high-backed chair was a thick, mean-looking brute of a man staring utterly nonplussed at Shadow. Two well-armed thugs stood at the door and the three rogues who'd brought him were also there. A scrawny, bookish man stood behind Krage.

    One of the rogues stepped forward and said, "This is the bootlick, Krage. I say we dispose of him and toss him in the river!" Krage looked at Shadow. Pat, at this point, was starting to sweat a bit. *evil GM glee* "I'm better than these lackeys of yours. Put me up while I'm in town and you'll see."

    Duel of Wits! He was arguing with the main rogue, not Krage. Krage was the 'audience' and final arbiter.

    Body of argument: Boil (the rogue) used Persuasion B3 and got 2 successes (BoA 6). Shadow rolled Persuasion B3 and got 1 success (BoA 5). First exchange was: Boil -- Point, Rebuttal, Feint. Shadow -- Point, Incite, Avoid. Boil reduced his BoA by 2 and Shadow reduced Boil's by... 0. Incite vs Rebuttal. Boil had no action and Shadow reduced his BoA by 5! Next volley: Boil's Feint vs Shadow's Avoid. No actions. Second exchange: Boil -- Dismiss, Point, Avoid. Shadow -- Avoid, Point, Avoid. Oh oh... But Boil (even with the +2D for Dismiss) only reduced Shadow's BoA to 1 (2s)! He lost his next action, Point! Shadow's Point: 4s! Bye bye, Boil.

    So Krage (Instinct: Always keep an eye out for new talent.) decides to put Shadow up in a slum tenement. Boil, enraged, storms out. Shadow makes an enemy! The major concession is that Shadow has to do a job for Krage, at Krage's convenience, and Shadow gets none of the profits -- Krage doesn't trust him but is willing to give him a shot.

    We ended there. Shadow was established in Meadenval and had a place to stay where he could wait out his friends' arrival... though a mystery obligation hung over him like a headman's axe...

    We had a freakin' blast. Pat needs to revise his Beliefs as they really couldn't be catered to much, though he did earn 1 Fate and 1 Persona. He loved how he could pretty much do anything he could imagine and how failures were fun and not go/stop like D&D tests often are. He especially enjoyed how his character progressed -- he's a huge fan of skill/stat advancement and learning new skills. It was an awesome game for us and has great potential for future games when the sorcerer and noble-gone-strider enter the scene.

    Any feedback or criticisms or questions are appreciated! This was only my second time GM'ing BW and it was Pat's first time playing (and only his 5th or 6th time playing a table-top RPG of any kind).
    Last edited by Rafe; 04-19-2009 at 06:01 PM.
    -- Patrick

    Realm Guard: Rangers of the North (v1.6), a MG hack for Lord of the Rings (hack concept by Saint&Sinner).

    "Main thing the game needs? More balrogs. Could be balroggier." -- Chris Gardiner

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    Indy Pete is offline Broken on the Wheel Lord-Pilot Anvil
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    Great AP Rafe, thanks for writing it up. Reminded me of the Si Juk thread in the 1-on-1-ness coolosity.

    Could you please post Pat's/Shadow's BITS? That way when I'm reading along I can reconcile stuff that's narrated with you/Pat banging on those BITS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Indy Pete View Post
    Great AP Rafe, thanks for writing it up.
    Thanks, Indy Pete!

    Quote Originally Posted by Indy Pete View Post
    Could you please post Pat's/Shadow's BITS? That way when I'm reading along I can reconcile stuff that's narrated with you/Pat banging on those BITS.
    Yeah... that's a bit (har har) of a problem. Some of Pat's Beliefs were irrelevant to what was happening; they're too forward-thinking and I ought to have made him change them. But he couldn't really think of anything specific and I decided not to push it so he could see the drawback. Also, we wanted to focus on getting mechanics down for his first game. We kinda had an overall idea of where things would go (goal: Meadenval). So yeah... I didn't push too much on the Beliefs. Pat's also really new to the idea of roleplaying so I kinda let him go where he wanted in terms of that. I didn't want him to feel constrained but we will definitely have to work out his Beliefs for next game so he can maximize the system and get it working for him.

    Here they are, though:

    Beliefs
    1) Necessity overrides society's laws. (this came into effect)
    2) I will do anything to restore my lord to his rightful place. (irrelevant to the one-on-one session)
    3) I will not leave my friends behind. (utterly irrelevant)

    Instincts
    1) Always have a dagger hidden on my person. (he had a dagger on him even after being searched in Krage's presence)
    2) Never trust the official word. (led to him to try to find Krage)
    3) Always have a dagger out when being Stealthy.
    Last edited by Rafe; 04-19-2009 at 02:36 PM.
    -- Patrick

    Realm Guard: Rangers of the North (v1.6), a MG hack for Lord of the Rings (hack concept by Saint&Sinner).

    "Main thing the game needs? More balrogs. Could be balroggier." -- Chris Gardiner

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    Yeah, his beliefs could definitely be tightened up. The first two are kind of proto-beliefs, in that they say something about the character's outlook, but they don't have an immediate goal to accomplish. The 3rd Belief sounds more like an Instinct to me than a Belief.
    I don't know what I'm doing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaGreatJL View Post
    Yeah, his beliefs could definitely be tightened up. The first two are kind of proto-beliefs, in that they say something about the character's outlook, but they don't have an immediate goal to accomplish. The 3rd Belief sounds more like an Instinct to me than a Belief.
    I hear ya. The thing is, I can't state what his Beliefs ought to be. He's got to have that "AHA!" moment. Part of that happened at the end of the session when we did Artha rewards. Need to have a rethink with him before the next game so he can maximize on what is a great character concept.
    -- Patrick

    Realm Guard: Rangers of the North (v1.6), a MG hack for Lord of the Rings (hack concept by Saint&Sinner).

    "Main thing the game needs? More balrogs. Could be balroggier." -- Chris Gardiner

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    Sounds like you had a good session there. So how are you findign the transition to BW?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dsellars View Post
    Sounds like you had a good session there. So how are you findign the transition to BW?
    Loving it. However, like most things, I'm finding that playing trumps reading and the assumptions about how things work. I found Fight!, R&C and DoW less of a challenge than I thought they'd be, though I know I left out (purposefully and accidentally) some of the intricacies of those systems.

    I also needn't worry about my players' responses to those three conflict systems. Based on Pat's experience, they'll get right into 'em. I actually think I'll have a tough time convincing them to do bloody versus instead of full-blow Fight!s. heh
    -- Patrick

    Realm Guard: Rangers of the North (v1.6), a MG hack for Lord of the Rings (hack concept by Saint&Sinner).

    "Main thing the game needs? More balrogs. Could be balroggier." -- Chris Gardiner

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