Burning Wheel tales by the fireside?

edited April 2013 in Story Games
So, at long last, my copy of Burning Wheel Gold came in the mail today. I'm wicked excited to dig into it. If anyone is down, I'd love to hear tales of awesome Burning Wheel moments . . . great characters, quests, surprises. Ideally, I'd like to hear stuff that happened in a game which was encouraged by the Burning Wheel system and not just generic awesome that could have been in any game. But, if there is an especially terrific thing in a Burning Wheel game that you are willing to share, please don't feel restricted, I'm open to all BW stories. Thank you!

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  • Well, there was the time when one of the characters got away from the player...

    It was about three sessions into the campaign. The characters were searching for magical artifacts being smuggled into the byzantine city. Tensions were running high because the Emperor was rumored to be dying and the two major religious/political factions were maneuvering for power. The players had determined that several illegal artifacts were in the personal possession of the nobleman who was ostensibly supposed to be confiscating them. The nobleman was clearly looming as their major antagonist.

    One of the player characters, a smuggling mage, had the trait 'paranoid'. The player was playing up this angle of the character: he made sure none of the other characters knew where he lived, he took extra precautions not to be traced back to the scenes of their earlier mayhem. One of the other characters, a sculptor turned warrior, had the instinct to "always shield others at the first sign of danger."

    When the PCs discovered that the nobleman was going to hold a secret party soon, they secured invitations by posing as the friars who had been requested to chaperone the nobleman's daughter. At the party, the warrior watched the girl (and kept an eye on the rest of the partygoers) while the rest of the group inconspicuously searched the mansion. The mage ran into a problem at this point: a victim of an earlier con showed up at the mansion intending to denounce the PCs, or at least identify them. A clever use of the Persuasion spell put the lid on that, but emphasized a cruel streak that had been building in the character.

    As midnight drew near, the nobleman prepared to reveal his new acquisition, an artifact unlike any other, one that not even he had seen. He uncovered it to reveal...a mirror.

    All of the characters had to make a Steel check.

    The mirror was loosely based off of the virgin mirror in Avram Davidson's The Phoenix and the Mirror. Every character got a personal vision of the future the first time they looked into it. The GM went round the table describing each vision and noting that the characters were staring transfixed at the mirror until their shock wore off, unaware of what was going on around them. This included the nobleman NPC.

    The first one to have the shock wear off was the paranoid mage. With the brief moment when no one was watching him, he casually stabbed the nobleman through the heart, and then quickly moved away.

    Having casually committed cold-blooded murder unseen in plain sight, and the decadent crowd already shocked by the visions, it wasn't too hard to start a panic. The party quickly looted the artifacts that they could grab and escaped in the confusion.

    Next session, the mage's player said that while the events had been awesome, he was increasingly uncomfortable playing the mage, so he played out one last session as the mage betrayed the party and descended into a spiral of psychotic attempts to cover his trail. This failed, because, during the scene at the party, the warrior followed his instinct and shielded the girl he was chaperoning so she was the one person who didn't look in the mirror. Consequently, she was the one person who saw her father's murderer.

    The mage became the main NPC antagonist and the player rolled up a mage-hunter character to bring him to justice.
  • edited April 2013
    Here's a quick-and-dirty one that happened because of a Duel of Wits.

    1: I chose an untrained Incite for my NPC, who was a member of a secret council and very peeved with the PC's cavalier methods (which involved dragging a suspected assassin behind a horse). The PC was trying to get the secret council to agree with his harebrained scheme to go slay the dragon that a lord was leveraging as intimidation against nearby noble houses. The Incite failed badly, and granted loads of advantage dice due to a double Ob.
    2: The PC's next action was a Dismiss. The PC also had a 2D Reputation: "The Lion of Braeland." He laid into the NPC hard, clinching it with the line "I AM THE F#$%ING LION OF BRAELAND!" It instantly dropped the NPC into at least -4 Body of Argument, with no BoA harm suffered.
    3: The NPC got completely shamed and thrown out of the council.

    It was awesome.

    Okay, second story.

    Same PC humiliated a farmer who'd made an accusation of witchcraft against a woman who turned out, indeed, to actually be a witch. The PC had gone out in a fight, and taken a Shards to the chest while simultaneously gutting the witch. When he recovered, he found that the farmer had been attacked by the Lion's bewitched friend. Both the farmer and the PC's friend were severely wounded.

    That PC, the Lion of Braeland, who was only partly healed, got up, and in amends, got the farmer's family to hook up the plow. Then he started plowing the field.

    I had him make a Forte test to stay standing as he plowed, and he failed. So the Lion fell to his knees, and got back up. According to Let it Ride, he didn't reroll, so he just kept falling, rising again, falling, rising again, and so on. He kept trying to plow the field, and his companions found him at his knees, behind the plow.

    A failed Forte test and Let it Ride made that one of the most poignant moments of the game.
  • The Ballad of Hal Whitewyrm is an inspiring read: http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/the-song-of-hal-whitewyrm
  • edited April 2013
    The Ballad of Hal Whitewyrm is an inspiring read: http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/the-song-of-hal-whitewyrm
    Definitely! Someone force @Judd and Daniel to update it more often.

    One of my faves from our home game is this DoW between two Sewerjacks of Nuln, @mcellis with his Seargent Harald Konigsman and my former criminal Oldred Montag (the link is to the setup and the DoW happens further down thread). @steerpike was GMing. It's a perfect buddy cop moment where we have an argument about whether we shoot the noble woman we have just rescued in the head because she's obviously been tainted by Chaos magic. What's great about it is that neither of us have the skills for Duel of Wits. The Sergeant is all about proper form and Commanding people and Oldred is very facile with lies and intimidation, but when we try to really talk to each other it's a Beginner's Luck roll. What you get is this great moment between two men, friends, who would risk their lives for each other but are incapable of being sincere with one another.

    Another favorite of mine is this session from a game that starts here. We're all a bunch of street thieves, sworn brothers in a little gang that's beset on all sides. My character, Cricket, is a reluctant sorcerer who has vowed to avoid black magic, but Dan's character Shriv asks him for help exorcising a demon that is riding around in his head. I knew what Dan was going to ask and I knew that Cricket would go against his Belief in order to help a sworn brother of the Bloody Roosters. There's this great beat where @steerpike realizes that I'm about to resolve one of Shriv's beliefs for him, which isn't right. So, he turns to Dan and baits him to act.
  • This was an Orc campaign I ran one time.

    One of the player characters, Drodush, was an aspiring warlord with no troops and wanted revenge on a human guard the shot him and had since become hailed as a hero. Drodush gave a plan to an NPC orc clan leader Lord Slyside where he would command some of the troops and raze the town and he'd have the hero taken alive.

    We rolled dice for his command and played out a brief war scene over a few rolls with all the characters. The result was that the orcs won but lacked discipline and they killed first and prioritised bloodthirsty violence over their specific order to lure the hero who managed to escape in the chaos.

    The next scene was Lord Slyside taking the stage of the burning town and addressing the troops, congratulating them on total victory. The player playing as Drodush admonished the troops berating their lack of discipline and this escalated to an argument with Lord Slyside. We didn't roll any dice for this, it was entertaining play.

    What happened next is what really made me think.

    I said as Lord Slyside, “Watch your back warlord!” and then described him turning to walk away.

    The player said “I get out my axe and plunge it into his back!”

    This surprised me. I did not see it coming. Had I made a BIG mistake in having my NPC do that?

    The player said “I’ve got 6 dice for my axe skill… Did you want me to roll it?”

    I thought about what was happening for a second and I said, “Actually, I don’t think that whether you kill him or not is what’s important here. He’s turned his back on you after saying his piece. This isn’t about whether you can kill him or not but how he is remembered! You two just made speeches. You’re killing him because you want the soldier to respect you, right?”

    “Yes, I want them to follow me.”

    “Well here’s what we do. I roll Lord Slyside’s oratory skill and you roll yours for the speeches we just made. If you succeed he’s remembered as a fool who turned his back to you and you’re your axe and if he win’s he’ll be a martyr to his clan making you a lot of enemies.

    “Whoa! Actually that makes sense!”

    We rolled the dice and Drodush won.

    I described the shock from all the onlookers. But whenever anyone ever mentioned Lord Slyside again it was always remembered how foolish he was for opposing Drodush and dying in that way.

    From that point on I understood the game I was running much better, I knew just what sort of focus it had, and I ran it more effectively for doing so.
  • These are amazing!
  • My disgraced sea captain Jessup did a dive to the wreck of his ship in a leaky bronze age diving apparatus. He was looking for an artifact that would've cleared all the heat off his name and restored his fortune to boot.

    I pulled like a dozen dice together for the test. I exploited every fork, every helper, and I burned all the Artha I had. I don't remember the exact details because this was almost a decade ago and in an earlier edition of BW where the Artha rules worked differently. But I had a lot of dice and it was all beautifully fictionally justified. I'd been planning for this roll all week.

    My massive dice pool showed two successes on an Ob 4 test. My guy survived, but just barely.

    Big turning point for my guy. I'd like to say he got humble, ditched the asshole god he worshiped and turned to a life of service. But he didn't, he just surrendered to bitterness and lived out the rest of his life in surly isolation.
  • Best thread.
  • edited May 2013
    This thread got me to pony up for Burning Wheel. I'm glad my local game shop had it stocked.
  • Our group is starting our very first Burning Wheel campaign next week. I look forward to adding to this thread one of these days. :)
  • This thread got me to pony up for Burning Wheel. I'm glad my local game shop had it stocked.
    Okay, now it is officially best thread.
  • Go on the Burning Wheel forums and search for a thread about the one-on-one series of sessions that Luke ran several years back. It's an amazing and thought-provoking read. And I suspect much of that play was driven heavily by the rules.
  • edited May 2013
    Three powerful elves, a skyship captain, a soldier, and a prince turned spymaster (all PCs), have returned from a 40 year voyage in the skyship to find the world as they know it destroyed - cities burning, great navigational beacons gone, humans living in elvish ruins, orcish armies besieging elvish citadels. They make their way over the course of months to the center of the Elvish lands, the First Throne, join up with the remnants of the elvish fleet, and run the orcish blockade into the capital. There, the prince, along with his sister (an NPC they found along the way) can use the First Throne to sing the world back together, and one of them will be able to take the throne (there's some disagreement as to who is fittest).

    The soldier, who has fallen to Spite during the journey, tries to enter the First Throne, where the prince and princess are singing songs of unification, sending their strength out to the furthest outposts. The skyship captain has vowed the spiteful soldier will never enter. But there is a rule that blood must not be spilled inside the chamber of the first throne, lest doom befall us all. So the soldier just walks past the guards, who can't stop him.

    The captain tackles him, and they have a massive brawl on the steps of the throne where the world is being saved, neither willing to escalate to bloody violence, so they quietly, and with great determination, lock each other into submission. That image, of two extremely powerful elves who have been friends for centuries rolling on the ground, punching each other like savages, while a third desperately tries to sing civilization back together... that's very BW to me.
  • My character Brutus began the game as a three lifepath ditch digger. He has since then swore an oath to a Fairy Queen to bring blood and fire to the world, became bonded to the throne of the shapeshifting ancestors of his people, and worshipped the corrupted cannibal wolf god of winter (Winter's Breath) and became a shapeshifter himself. His friends helped him to realize what he was turning into, not a hero but a monster, and so he went to confront the wolf god where he lived in a place called the wolf dreams. He told Winter's Breath a story of the god he used to be before his corruption, running through green grass and dark wood. Winter's Breath moved to strike him down but as Brutus told the story the corruption reversed and Winter's Breath's coat turned from white to sable, and he became the wolf god of the woods again.

    (Epic Folklore test, something like Ob 8. Spent a Deeds, Persona, all sorts of stuff, with the stakes to purify Winter's Breath of his corruption)
  • My character Brutus began the game as a three lifepath ditch digger. He has since then swore an oath to a Fairy Queen to bring blood and fire to the world, became bonded to the throne of the shapeshifting ancestors of his people, and worshipped the corrupted cannibal wolf god of winter (Winter's Breath) and became a shapeshifter himself. His friends helped him to realize what he was turning into, not a hero but a monster, and so he went to confront the wolf god where he lived in a place called the wolf dreams. He told Winter's Breath a story of the god he used to be before his corruption, running through green grass and dark wood. Winter's Breath moved to strike him down but as Brutus told the story the corruption reversed and Winter's Breath's coat turned from white to sable, and he became the wolf god of the woods again.

    (Epic Folklore test, something like Ob 8. Spent a Deeds, Persona, all sorts of stuff, with the stakes to purify Winter's Breath of his corruption)
    Holy moly.
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