[1 on 1] Decline of the Pin, Session 1

My friend and I have recently started a new one-on-one campaign, of indeterminate length. The setting: deep in the future, a utopian space-voyaging vehicle was built to house a new kind of society, ironically free of the corrupting influence of technology. The ship is a long, spinning tube, hundreds of miles in length, artificial gravity sustained by centrifugal force; it is known as the Pin. Many generations into the ship’s flight, its denizens have forgotten that they are on a spaceship, and where they came from. They live in a medieval theocracy, a corruption of the Catholic Church sustained by “prophets”, people with whom the nigh-omnipotent AI which runs the ship chooses to communicate, to facilitate order (faith in our game is the AI system performing “divine” help). However, the system is falling apart—resources are scarce, the AI “god” is erratic, and the social order is fraying. There are new batches of heretic prophets, and rumors of strange newcomers at the far end of the Pin.

My character is Father Evered Bennet, a street thug turned priest; a bull of a man, intolerant of bureacracy and hypocrisy, who struggles endlessly with the city government to keep his starving parish alive. He has sworn to leave behind the violence of his youth, but many other devious means he considers appropriate to his task of saving his parishioners, and rooting out heterodoxy.

Lifepaths: City Born, Street Thug, Temple Acolyte, Temple Priest

First session report later today!


Father Evered’s BITs at the session’s beginning:

B1: My parish is starving—I will convince that worm, Magistrate Wright, to give us the money we need.
B2: Some of my flock are being led astray—I will find this so-called prophet and expose him as a fraud.

I1: In spare time, practice reading
I2: Never solve problems with violence
I3: Intimidate those who get in my way

Traits: Cruel, Strong-willed, Faithful, Vested, Believer

Father Evered began his day with a heated meeting with his local magistrate, Galwell Wright. He barged into the meeting early, shoving aside aides, and demanded what his parish was owed from the magistrate’s coffers, and an additional sum to cover the damages inflicted by a recent flood. The magistrate, ever weary of Father Evered, told him there was not enough money, but that if Evered could, quietly, take on an inquisitorial role in patching up the spat of heretical preachers in his parish, perhaps the money could be found. Father Evered demanded an advance, which he received (1D cash). No dice were rolled in this scene.

Before seeking out the new prophet plaguing his parish, Father Evered decided he needed more assurance than Wright’s word—he set about trying to find someone who could tail Wright, and dig up some dirt on him as leverage. Father Evered headed straight for an old bath house he used to frequent as a young ne’er-do-well, a meeting place for scoundrels and underclass folk. I decided to use a linked test of streetwise-to-circles to try to nab an advantage die on my circles test. I then FoRKed in oratory, suasion, intimidation, and brawling into my streetwise test—Father Evered barreled into the bathhouse, shoving a hapless bystander into the baths to get attention; he then proceeded to lay into the assembled crooks and scum, who know him well (Father Evered has a local reputation as One Tough Priest), shaming them for their ceaseless sins, and guilting them with all the help he has tirelessly given to their squalid part of town, and threatening them with everything he could think of—bodily violence, Hell, the police, while his audience looked on, bemused and also nervous. I passed the Streetwise test with no problem, but proceeded to fail my Circles test, even with a reputation and an advantage die.

My GM used my failure to dictate that while a suitable Tail could be found, who had the right clothes to blend in, he was an inveterate drug addict, who would need a dose of Soma to be in any way effective. Father Evered set to work finding the stuff, with a linked test of Streetwise into Resources. I ended up using the cash that Magistrate Wright had given me to pass the Resources test, and sent my hire on his way.

Father Evered then asked around and quickly found the “prophet” of his parish, who had been telling of visions he had from the Lord insisting that his people take up their possessions and flee the city, and make their way to the far end of the Pin, for unknown purpose. The prophet was a young man, previously a lawyer, now dressed as a traveler, and somewhat awkwardly stating his case.

I immediately called for a duel of wits with him, as he led his followers through the streets. Father Evered boldly stopped his progress and called him out as a charlatan and cheat misleading the poor, while he insisted on his sincerity.

We both rolled 7 for our bodies of argument, and a bitter Duel ensued, involving multiple incites. Early on, I had him dead to rights, bringing his BoA to 3 without losing a point, but then got hit with a heavy point, bringing it to 3 to 4. The gist of the argumentnfrom Father Evered was that the man was playing with the lives of the poor and committing sacrilege for his own amusement, while his points were that everyone could see how bad things were getting, and that I was an uneducated bumpkin.

Ultimately, a well-timed dismiss ended the Duel in my favor. Since I won, he had to vacate my parish, but he compromise was that if he could summon a miracle then and there, with my helping dice of prayer, I would accept his prophesying as legitimate. His prayer failed, and he left in shame, leaving Father Evered to meet again with the magistrate—next session.


This sounds like a fun game. I’m looking forward to reading more!

That first Streetwise Test sounds like it got a suspicious amount of FoRKs, though!

Y’know, I’m never sure how to handle that kind of thing! Is there an implied FoRK limit? The RAW is pretty open-ended about it. I do feel a little like I’m cheating, but it also encourages so much flavor to my description of the action!

Also, are linked tests supposed to be rare? Cuz I definitely jonze for that extra advantage die, but I also don’t want to just be munchkining all the time.

Overall, I think that Burning Wheel is a toolkit. However it works for you, it works.

If you guys are getting juice outta narrative description and having a good time with the system, you might not have a problem.

Aside from that… It’s the GM’s job to disallow FoRKs and disallow or call for Linked Tests, so… It’s their fault! :stuck_out_tongue:

It bears remembering, though, that Linked Tests have in-fiction consequences all their own.

And keep in mind that there are always two Advantage dice up for grabs without any mechanical leveraging.

EDIT: If you feel like you’re cheating, it might be an issue of the FoRKs in question not being relating to the Task and Intent. Is condemning local rabble (Suasion) going to help you navigate the seedy criminal underbelly of the settlement? MAYYBE. Is it going to do so in a way that helps you make contact with clandestine criminal agent? I personally could use some convincing on that front.

When is this coming back? :innocent:

I assure you, I’m more impatient than you :wink: My GM much prefers in-person sessions to zoom, which limits our opportunities—hopefully a new session in the next week and a half! And maybe with an additional player or two.

By the way, Gnosego, thanks for being such an active presence on the forums!

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You know, I can’t fault 'em for keeping to the gold standard.

Aww shucks… :blush: I have a lot of enthusiasm for this game, ya know? :innocent:

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