Great Session Last Night

I had a session prepped and then Burning Wheel happened.

The players were offered a job by a factotum of a noble who has not revealed themselves. This is a job to try them out and see if they are worthy of further patronage.

The players have a focus on witch finding and rooting out of demonologists. The job was offered to them in the Archbishopric of Magdeburg in 1620. I am working in Blood in the Chocolate into the Enemy Within campaign.

On the face of it the players were ready to reject the job. They said, “this sounds like commercial espionage. We strike against Satan. We don’t count coins!” The factotum added that “when people partake of this chocolate, they take leave of reason and can no control themselves.” This addition made them prick up their ears.

I was ready to roll the narrative forward to the coast of Frisland at that point. The players had other ideas. They decided that they wanted to acquire some of these chocolates and find someone who was in their grip. The player who qualifies as a noble did not have enough circles to hit an Ob4. So they went low instead of high. One of the players has War Wizard and Prostitute in their life paths. They also have a 2D affiliation to one of the longstanding military units that last for generations and fight in the incessant wars of the European continent. So they wanted to circle up a smuggler who was originally a procurer of supplies for the unit. They have left the service and now smuggle goods up and down the Elbe. All good. I try my best to lay out the fail result of tests before the dice hit the table. So I said to the player If you succeed, you find them and they are amenable to you. If you fail, you find them but they are angry as hell for the time that you gave them gonorrhea. They marshalled their dice and threw.

They failed of course. This then led to falsehood, forked with soothing platitudes, helped buy a Swiss mercenary intimidating behind. They convinced him that it was not the character, but it was someone else. The smuggler pointed them to the house where he had delivered some of these special chocolates and he had heard blood curdling screams from inside the house.

After further shenanigans, the players were in the chamber of the screaming noble purporting to treat their malady. This was an excuse to make an alchemy roll, helped by the meagre first aid of the Swiss mercenary (really he was just holding the afflicted down - failed help die) and the advice from the war wizard (anatomy). I told them that if they failed, they would diagnose the toothless, rotting mouth and screams as demonic possession.

They failed of course. This then led them to seek out an exorcist in a strongly Lutheran town. It told them that if they failed the circles roll, they would get a -1D bad reputation in town. This then made very poignant all the helpers who were looking forward to difficult tests for their feeble skills. Everyone then had skin in the game. Lucky for them the roll was successful. The next bit of the game is going to be set in Magdeburg, so a bad rep in town would have been an impediment.

Thanks Luke.


Lovely report. They’re such ne’re-do-wells!

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One of the glories of this game of yours Luke is that intent is so central to the test. So failure does not mean that nothing happens. Quite the opposite, something does happen, just not your intent. As a gm I make the failures as explosive or as exquisite as I can. The game is not stopped by failure, often it simply gets a lot more spicy,


It’s a sublime feeling to see you understand my intent so well!


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