Had an interesting situation come up that I wasn’t sure how to handle.
We have a young player at our table who is still struggling with writing beliefs. Normally, I spend a little extra time with him to make sure I know what his goals are for the session, but I was a tad behind schedule so I decided to go with what he had written.
The belief he wrote down this time was: “The hermit knows something about the fates; I must speak with him.” (the fates had previously taken his memories and made him into a skilled monster hunter, and now he’s wanting to get his old life back).
So, I gave the hermit the trait ‘Brook no Fools’ and the belief 'I must never speak of The Fates. They are too dangerous to contend with."
The hermit and the monster hunter get into a DoW, the player writing the statement “the hermit must tell me what he knows.” and the hermit something like “stop seeking the fates.” we agreed to the terms and started scripting.
The hunter rolled incredibly well, and the hermit incredibly poorly. Duel ends up without any need for compromise.
So, the Hermit must tell him what he knows… Which now I realize that I, as the GM, have not figured out yet.
I told him that I would finish the scene at a later date, because I wanted some advice in this regard. It seems like I’m in a position where I could screw this up. This Hermit npc was the result of another player’s circles test in the prior session, was dealt with and then scuttled back into seclusion. I hadn’t actually thought about what he knows, how he came about knowing it, etc. I feel like I have to give the Hunter player something here, but I am not sure what will satisfy this success while also keeping the story grounded.
My idea was to give him the list of material components needed to magically bind The Fates, meaning he could compel them to do what he wants without having to compromise with them. But I’m then pointing him to do a fetch quest, where normally success would shift the narrative in the direction the player wants…
Basically, I’m realizing that ‘tell me what you know’ is a tricky goal. It feels like this belief just becomes 'Gm, tell me what to do from here," and it seems very not Burning Wheel to me.
I’m curious about your thoughts on this.