The Servant and the War

The game starts at around 56 minutes in if you want to skip the character burning and belief writing.

The Situation

Our scoundrels were not going to make it to the table tonight, so we went to the Burning Wheel Campaign Ideas and chose one. Sean got stuff ready so we could stream and he got it up in about fifteen minutes; it was a heroic effort.

Sean narrowed it down to 3 and he chose some of my favorites from the list. In the end we chose this one:

shoeless situation

BW campaign idea: You are a shoeless peasant. The armies of the dwarves, elves and humans will soon clash near your home. #burningwheel

Burning

Sean did a great job of walking through the lifepaths and teasing out the setting implications of his choices. Bina was a captive of war turned servant who married into the village, built around a tower at the crossroads. Bina has a husband who is a wheelwright and a lover who is a hunter. She has a 4 year old child. She serves the lord knight who rules this tower at the crossroads, where farmers from all over meet for market.

To the north are the mountains, ruled by dwarven princes. To the south is the ancient forest, ruled by elves. To the east is the capital, ruled by the human ducal council. The elves forbid anyone from going too far west.

I peeked at an old article, Elves at War, on the BW forum written by Luke.

burning battles

Wheel

Beliefs

  • Convince Deek to flee.
  • Keep Bodnar from raising the alarm.

Instincts

  • Keep Bodnar’s flagon full.

We got up and moving pretty fast. In that time we cleared up our expectations. Sean seemed to be expecting a fast and furious one-shot but I’m more into a long, slow burn with BW. I’m glad we cleared that up.

Sean definitely burned up a character who gave me plenty to work with but it was challenging. Bina is not a traditional fantasy novel protagonist and I liked that. As the situation demanded, she is a normal person swept up into an epic and dangerous event.

Deek Nandor – Bina’s husband, a wheelright

Nara – her 4 year old daughter

Sir Bodnar Butond – the knight in whose tower she serves

Vas – her hunter lover, tired of waiting, wants to run away with her

I prodded at Bina for a few hours. We rolled some dice, played out the consequences – did a Duel of Wits and learned how far Bina will go. We got to know the place, this lonely tower at the crossroads where farmers and shepherds brought their goods to market. We got to know the important people in Bina’s life a bit. I left Sean with a terrible choice, putting the life of the lord-knight directly into her hands.

We’ll find out what choice she makes next time.

 

Art

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “The Two Armies” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1530. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/d576ac40-e6d6-0132-8b89-58d385a7bbd0

Edited by me using pixlr.

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Burning Greyhawk, Comic Strip AP, Episode 6

archer-and-hawk

MP3

After Session Thoughts

I was hoping for some time to let the Range & Cover mechanics breath a bit, have some arrows and fireballs flying around the back-alleys of Greyhawk but the dice decided and death was swift.

Accererak is in the mix! I was excited when I heard that the Tomb of Horror‘s demi-lich was back in action in Tomb of Annihilation. This episode pre-dated that announcement by a few weeks.

Thanks again, Rich for the wonderful editing and playing.

What is Comic Strip AP?

Comic Strip AP started as a short, 10-15 minute actual play of Dungeon World at the end of every episode of Discern Realities. It is like sprint training for GM’s, really making me think about how I manage a 15 minute time range.

I wouldn’t want to play every game like this but it is a fun weekly exercise.

If you like this, you might like the Sorcerer game Rich and I played, where demons are buildings in New York City.

20151025_215411

 

Art

General Research Division, The New York Public Library. “Buteo Cooperii, California Hawk.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1860. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-5741-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
General Research Division, The New York Public Library. “Franc-archer, archer de la garde : 1460.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1910. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e4-4971-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Burning Greyhawk, Comic Strip AP, Episode 5

Burning Greyhawk, Comic Strip AP, Episode 5

gloam circle

Episode 5

MP3

greyhawk-castle-border

Threads

Reading about Greyhawk in old school forums is kind of like reading about a religion with many different sects. I have found it fascinating and often inspiring.

Dragonsfoot: Talk to me about Gloams

In the Gord the Rogue books, specifically in City of Hawks, Gord travels to the Shadowplane and encounters evil beings known as “gloams”. The leader of these monsters, called Imprimus, is referred to as a vampire lich.

Does anyone know anything more definitive about Gloams and specifically Imprimus, such as a monster description and/or stats?

Dragonsfoot: About Vecna

Vecna’s not from Greyhawk.

Reddit: Greyhawk synopsis from the upcoming Tales of the Yawning Portal

Greyhawk, the pinnacle of D&D settings, is reduced to a few blurbs here and there in WotC’s new supplements.

Sad state of affairs, really.

greyhawk-castle-border

NPC’s

Mavis, Tanday the Gloam-walker’s apprentice

Harkhim, Tanday the Gloam-walker’s lost apprentice

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Art

Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. “Diagram of an eclipse of the sun, with the moon casting a shadow cone.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1260. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-e574-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
British Library. “Castles and their Heroes…With Illustrations, etc” British Library Flickr. 1891. https://flic.kr/p/hWA5wk
Burning Greyhawk, Comic Strip AP, episodes 3 & 4

Burning Greyhawk, Comic Strip AP, episodes 3 & 4

Copy of Greyhawk

Episode 3

MP3

greyhawk-castle-border

Episode 4

MP3

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NPC’s

Gazer of Homlet is played by Felicia Pearson

Kieren Jalucian is played by Rami Malek

Tanday the Gloam-walker is played by Forest Whitaker

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Thoughts

One thing I’m looking for in between episodes is how much freedom I have as a GM to frame the scene. Did we end on a cliffhanger that means we have to start in the very next moment? Was Rich taking his character into motion, going about the next item on his task list? Is there a way I can prod at a bunch of beliefs all at once? Is there a consequence to an action that should hit the table?

Traditions of the Swordlords: Faith and Taxes

Back in the Riverlands

It was difficult getting back into the groove. It has been so very long.

The session itself was solid. We rolled some dice, earned some personna artha and got to see each other’s faces once again – a lovely way to spend any evening.

Red Apple and Silver Bells. A book of verse for children ... Illustrated by A. B. Woodward

Lifestyle and Taxes

The last game was a long, long time ago. So the snow is thawing and it is time to think about the Lifestyle Resources roll and taxes from the various towns.

They made their ob 9 role for a ducal lifestyle with plenty of cash dice from taxes to spare. Drew brought me back to the Riverlands with descriptions of the tax montage scene; it is a good reminder that we have to link these rolls to in-game, in-world descriptions. Especially after long times away from a world, I find that I still forget that.

We talked about wax tablets and the gold vault’s walls being made of slate that the accountants use to keep tally of where various payments come from. They suspect Jiri, the pimp-knight in charge of the prostitution in the Riverlands, is holding out on them.

Red Apple and Silver Bells. A book of verse for children ... Illustrated by A. B. Woodward

River Tolls

A detail that came up was that the rivers were being used by merchants without tax nor tariff going into the High Swordlord’s coffers. Rachel circled up a Swordlord and a knight to deal with the situation. The Swordlord was Lom Godina; I had very little written about him and everyone else’s notes didn’t amount to much. I picked a picture for him from the Swordlords Pinterest page and played him with some swagger – a general who got captured early in the war and who had said the way they were fighting the Brevosi wouldn’t work but did his best to make it work until he was taken.

The knight was the warden of a debtor’s prison named Mihaly Warden; he had a pinterest pic already and was known as a humble knight, having led the debtors into the Riverlands due to a letter written by Ivo way back in the day.

Lom was all about sticking it to Mivon and making war on their soft, merchant-princes. Mihaly suggested setting their tolls at a price point that specifically would not start a war. They were sent off to do their work, to set the prices at a reasonable sum, fortifying a bridge already build on the Thorn River.

Red Apple and Silver Bells. A book of verse for children ... Illustrated by A. B. Woodward

The Priest and the The Bishop

Drew had a belief about unburdening Ivo of a book filled with the names of Drajnov’s dead that needed to be read out loud in a ritual meant to put the dead to rest. He wanted to discharge this list to the Church of 1000 Saints. It was an old summoning debt. The Sorcerer and the Swordlord called on Brother Johd, who was now a priest but in the old days of the uncivilized Riverlands he was a wanderer with faith in the Sword Saints. Now he is a priest, and apparently, a priest who had attempted to become a Bishop of the Riverlands in the recent elections but had fallen short.

Johd seemed out of place. He was comfortable in the old Riverlands, on the fringe of civilization and now civilization had come to him. The church had politics that were outside of his comfort zone. Johd was sad. I didn’t realize he was so until Ivo and Zora tracked him down.

But who was the bishop? I thought about that for a second. The older Sword-Matron had been dismissed by the High Swordlord. The priesthood wasn’t sure of its place in the Riverlands. The High Swordlord was not interested in giving them power or access to ways of making money that they had in Olde Rostland. The priests were scared and so the bishops who had been elected to serve throughout the Charterlands were the priests who had offered solutions, humble solutions.

And there was Bishop Ayub, an older priest who lost his sight late in life, a stone-carver who makes statues of the Sword Saints and sells them out of a barn. After the encounter, Drew said, “I liked your rabbi, Judd.” That was apt. I don’t think Ayub was any rabbi I’ve ever known. Maybe he was the rabbit I’d always wanted.

Ivo suggested that they give the remaining bits of taxes to the church to loan out at fair rates to the Riverlanders. And so the church became a bank.

Interesting times.

Red Apple and Silver Bells. A book of verse for children ... Illustrated by A. B. Woodward

Why the blog post?

The Burning Wheel forum is slowly closing its doors. I thought it was a good idea to start putting all of my Actual Play posts here.

 

British Library. “Red Apple and Silver Bells. A book of verse for children … Illustrated by A. B. Woodward.” British Library Flickr Collections.
LINK

Burning Greyhawk, Episode 2

nypl.digitalcollections.510d47dc-3f90-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99.001.w

MP3 link

Gauntlet Patreon Link

Burning Wheel

Locien’s Spellbook

Using Art Magic from the Burning Wheel Codex

Fiery Phoenix Sword

Summons a finely balanced flaming hand and a half sword with phoenix iconography.

Sorcerous Weapon, Obstacle 3, Superior Quality

 

Locien’s Burst of Speed

Grants the caster fleetness of foot.

Advantage, Obstacle 2, +2D to Speed for a Conflict

greyhawk-castle-border

Link to previous episode’s blog post.

Art

Spencer Collection, The New York Public Library. “Front cover” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1909 – 1887. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47dc-3f90-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
British Library. “Castles and their Heroes…With Illustrations, etc” British Library Flickr. 1891. https://flic.kr/p/hWA5wk
Burning Greyhawk, Episode 1

Burning Greyhawk, Episode 1

archer-and-hawk

MP3 link

Gauntlet Patreon Link

Burning Wheel

Locien Wester (played by an older John Cho)

Belief 1

I will recover the eye and hand of Vecna to resolve this cold war, reuniting The Circle of Eight and maintaining stability in Flanaess.

Belief 2

I will ensure that my archers are hired as city guards.

Belief 3

???

Locien Wester’s Character Sheet and Google Doc notes

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Greyhawk Resources

World of Greyhawk by Gary Gygax

The Free City of Greyhawk map

Flanaess names

Dragonsfoot Greyhawk Links

 

NPC’s

Jallarzi is played by Issa Rae.

Gazer of Hommlet is played by Felicia Pearson.

greyhawk-castle-border

Art

General Research Division, The New York Public Library. “Buteo Cooperii, California Hawk.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1860. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-5741-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
General Research Division, The New York Public Library. “Franc-archer, archer de la garde : 1460.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1910. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e4-4971-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Title: “Castles and their Heroes … With illustrations, etc”
Author: HUTTON, afterwards ALEXANDER, Barbara.
Contributor: BOWERS, Georgina.
Shelfmark: “British Library HMNTS 10349.cc.17.”
Place of Publishing: London
Date of Publishing: 1891
Identifier: 001778831