Session 1 Account
March 12th 5351, Friday - morning
Sir Vornal [Adrean’s PC] and Master Ath [NPC ~ minor relationship] are departing Ye-Ril for northern domains of the Duchess. The northern road follows the river. The further from civilization the bloom grows along the bank, becoming denser and more frequent. There are few attempts to control the growth away from villages and cities. This was some simple descriptive roleplaying to set the scene.
March 14th, Sunday - midday
As they approach Toover-Shy, the areas around The Bloom patches show signs of cultivation, seemingly containing it. This was unusual, to say the least, as fire was the only known method of curtailing The Bloom’s spread. Sir Vornal made no attempt to hide his presence as he approached the village, which gave ample time for the villagers to notify their lord.
Adrean asked if Sir Vornal knew Lord Utury. Vornal has four circles: City, Noble, Professional Soldier and Noble Court. This was enough context for a Circles test to establish the relationship between the characters.
Circles - Obstacle 2.
Success: they are on cordial terms with some shared history.
Failure: the Enmity Clause, Lord Utury will be obstructive and unhelpful, though not outright.
Sir Vornal had embarrassed Lord Utury years ago during Sword Training. All Social tests made against Lord Utury would face a +2 ob, and his Body of Argument for Duel of Wits has +4D.
The reception from Lord Utury was icey, and dismissive. A failed etiquette test, in an attempt to smooth over ruffled feathers, only made Lord Utury disinclined to offer any help or hear advice. If it wasn’t for the message from the duchess, Lord Utury would’ve sent Sir Vornal away.
Etiquette - Obstacle 3
- Success: Lord Utury will offer full hospitality, and hear out the duchess’s message with open ears.
- Failure: Lord Utury will offer the barest amount of hospitality, and continue to humor the messenger, as to not offend the duchess.
I am not happy with this test, it does make a sense and is valid but we were both a bit rusty playing Burning Wheel and it felt kind of weak
Utury offered the barest amount of hospitality, as to not lose face at Court for mistreating a messenger of The Duchess. Utury brought Vornal to the old long house to read over the letter from the Duchess. Vornal sent Ath away with Nistwar, Utury’s stablemaster, to tend to the horses.
In the hall, Utury read the message and dismissed the “solutions”. His family has cultivated the land for generations, and have had peace since they began to tend to the Bloom rather than destroy it. An argument led to a Duel of Wits.
Duel of Wits
Vornal: Burn the bodies of the dead, follow the duchess’s commands.
Utury: The old ways are working, we have no reason to change.
The dice hated Lord Utury. Sir Vornal surprisingly won the DoW with a compromise.
- Compromise: Lord Utury will go to the council to hear out the duchess and other council members, but will not deviate from tradition until then.
I wasn’t super happy with this Duel of Wits. As I said, we were a bit rusty and partly due to dice results the DoW went two exchanges too long. It got to the point of “lets just roll dice and be done with it, we’ve already made our points”.
After the most awkward luncheon, Sir Vornal and Ath are sent away to see “the peaceful village” for themselves. Utury offering them little beyond a night’s stay in the stables for Ath, and a bench for Vornal.
When they left the old long house, Amoithi, an old soldier, approached Vornal with a disturbing story. Weeks ago, three children, including one of her own, went missing in the Old Wood. She hopes that a Knight of the Duchess will help find the children or at least their bodies. Vornal agrees to help. She guides them to her home, just outside the village, where her husband, Hadaria, is tanning hides. She tells them about the old wood, where the dead are traditionally buried, and Lord Utury not allowing a search due to other pressing needs. The Lord considers the children as good as dead.
We took a short break right here, and the second half the session picked up as we found our groove.
March 14th 5351, Sunday - afternoon
Amoithi takes her spear and dons armor, and leads Sir Vornal to the Old Wood. Sir Vornal takes the lead and makes an unskilled Tracking test.
Tracking Obstacle 4 (Beginners Luck Penalty)
- Success: The path the children took is found via scraps of cloths, and clumps of hair. It leads to a thicket, where the bushes grow strange berries.
- Failure: Sir Vornal stumbles upon a Field of Bloom, where the dead are buried, and stranger things await.
The Tracking test failed. Sir Vornal saw the Bloom all around, and quickly surveyed the area. This led to a Stealthy vs Observation test, as a living Meat-Eating Plant was creeping up Vornal.
Stealth vs Observation (Beginner’s Luck)
- Success: The Meat-Eating Plants are seen in time to act.
- Failure: The Meat-Eating Plants get the drop on the party and attacks.
Sir Vornal sees the Meat-Eating Plants approaching, he gets supplies from his Page and tries to start a fire quickly with an unskilled Firebuilding test.
Firebuilding - Obstacle 4 (Beginner’s Luck)
- Success: A fire is built and drives all the Meat-Eating Plants back.
- Failure: A Meat-Eating Plant attacks and knocks the tinderbox out of Vornal’s hand.
Sir Vornal wasn’t fast enough, and the Meat-Eating Plant knocked the tinderbox to the ground. Seeing no other choice, Sir Vonral draws his sword and starts hacking away. We do a big Bloodi Versus test.
- Success: Sir Vornal and friends make a fighting retreat out of the field.
- Failure: They are surrounded and captured by the Meat-Eating Plants.
There is nothing in the universe that steel won’t cut, the blades sang true and the Meat-Eating Plants fell before the wrath of Sir Vornal, Amoithi and Ath. The Bloody Vs resulted in a Mortal Wound against the Meat-Eating Plants, sending the plants “heads” flying. Sir Vornal carefully placed one of these “heads” in a sack, to bring to Lord Utury, in hopes to spur him to action.
March 14th 5351, Sunday - evening
It was nightfall by the time Sir Vornal, Ath and Amoithi made it back to the old longhouse. It was supper, the Lord and all his attendants were dining. Sir Vornal made a dramatic entrance with a successful Conspicuous test, which linked into a Intimidation test to instill fear of the Bloom into the hall-goers. This Intimidation Check failed, Utury called for his guards to escort Sir Vornal off his lands.
- Conspicuous vs Obstacle 3
- Success: everyone is stunned into silence as the ichor covered Vornal & friends throw the hall door open.
- Failure: All the attendees rebuke the Knight for his arrogance, breach of etiquette and unkempt look.
- Intimidation +1D for Linked Test, +1D for throwing the head of a Meat-Eating Plant. vs Obstacle 6!
- Success: people are terrified and spurred into action against these carnivorous plants.
- Failure: Uturty sees this as a breach of hospitality and . He sends his guards to remove Sir Vornal from his lands
As the men-at-arms advance on Sir Vornal. He draws steel and attacks the nearest one. This begins a very one-sided (the dice were against me) Fight! that ends in seconds with Vornol decapitating one of the Lords men. I ran a quick Bloody Vs for the NPCs, and Amoithi and Arth handly wounded the other men-at-arms.
At the start of the fight, I had Lord Utury test his Steel. He succeeded and ran towards the stables at the first sign of trouble. Vornol gives pursuit, and fails to catch Utury on foot before he reaches the stables. As the Utury rides off into the night, Vornal loses sight of him. Vornal attempts to follow his trail with a Tracking test which fails, and Vornal spends all night on a wild goose chase.
- Speed vs Speed! Failure!
- Success: Catches Utury before he reaches the stable
- Failure: Utury reaches the stables and rides off! +1 ob to the next test.
- Riding vs Riding! Failure! +1 ob!
- Success: Catches up to Utury outside the village
- Failure: Utury loses Vornal outside the village. +1 ob to the next test.
- Tracking - Double Obstacle (Beginner’s Luck) +1 ob! Failure
- Success: Utury is tracked down, hiding in an old abandoned tower.
- Failure: Vornal spends all night, lost outside the village.
March 15th 5351, Monday - dawn
Sir Vornal, Ath and guided back to Amoithi’s home outside of Toover-shy only to find Hadaria missing and the hut ransacked.
2 Fate points for following beliefs.
1 Fate for playing traits.
1 Persona point for embodiment! That scene in the long-house was just awesome, vibrant, wonderful blood and thunder sword & sorcery.
The failed circles roll set the entire tone of the session. It was fantastic, and one of my favorite mechanics. The use of a failed circle rolls to have an inimical rather than outright results was exactly right for the situation. I’ve gone to the “mwahaha ill intent route” too many times, which makes a game feel utterly divorced from emotional reality as the NPCS wind up being cartoon characters, who solely exist for contrived conflicts.
The first half felt a lot rougher than either of us were happy with. A lot of “ummms” and rules look ups. We didn’t lock down the events as strongly we should have. The Task part of Intent & Task is more important for determining failure and future constraints on events. The second half, we shook the rust off, and it was so much smoother.