I am having a hard time coming up with tough challenges in my current Burning Wheel campaign. So far, Pete, the player is pushing all the scenes, driving his character to hit is beliefs. In opposition, I am playing the NPCs as best as I can. Mean landlord and his goons, condescending steward of a noble house, suspicious smugglers, incredulous urchins, and sharp witted Madame of a brothel.
Its good, but I feel like I need to bring on the pressure.
So far, this players hasn’t failed too many tests. Even a Ob 4 Persuasion test with 5 dice was passed.
So far he hasn’t had to run for his life, smooth talk himself out of life threatening danger or jail time.
We are in session 4, so maybe we are just laying the foundations?
Obviously its great to see a player with that kind of investment into the Burning Wheel BITs engine and I am so happy, when he throws Tenebrous’ schemes at me, but I feel like I should be scheming too.
How do you suggest I tackle this?
Character’s Beliefs are:
1. My father is innocent. I will infiltrate the upper class and discover who led my father down this dark path.
Context: His father is a wealthy merchant with a shipping business. Tenebrous witnessed his father selling corpses (very taboo) to an official from the King’s court that might have had some zombie body guards.
From Session 1 Pete has pushed this belief by trying to infiltrate a fancy wedding between two noble houses. In this resource poor world (Fresh game is very scarce because the surrounding countryside is monster infested swampland). His butcher friend has a contact that supplied him with beef. So tenebrous used that info to approach a Steward from House Elaxor and promised to get him 5 carcasses for the wedding. He then stole it from the swampland rangers that bagged the beasts. He succeeded in the heist (falsehood and disguise with help), succeeded in the trade and got paid 5D cash (haggling), and finally he pushed to meet the Head Chef of the party (Difficult Persuasion) fail with the consequence that he cannot try that angle again.
2. People of Gristle Row are Missing. I will discover who is behind this.
Context: I feel this is my belief to bring out the cultists and assassins. The people that Tenebrous’ father was selling corpses to. Out in the swamps, cultist from the nobility have encountered an ancient sunken ziggurat. There may or may not be a Cthulhu creature out there demanding corpses. In Tenebrous’ neighborhood, the local street urchins are full of a lot of kids whose parent’s were scribes from Ink Pot Alley. They are being used to copy the forbidden demonic language inscribed on the walls of the ziggurat. Maybe it’s a summoning ritual?
So far Tenebrous hasn’t done much to investigate the abductions because he is too busy paying the rent.
3. I want a simple and beautiful world where I can build a family. I will dismantle the corrupt structures of society by inspiring the poor of Gristle Row to stand up to tyranny.
Context: we are really trying to establish a setting that’s a horrible dystopia. Squalor, filth, corruption, bureaucratic, and oppressive. So far tenebrous has given an inspiring speech to the street urchins, and has also tried to tell a prostitute that this kind of life is not what their lot should be. There is a better way. I should do something to frustrate this belief as well!
Thanks for reading.