Maxim’s Story – Session 01

So, on the 1st of the month, I met online with a new roleplaying buddy Blaine, to organize a pair of one on one Burning Wheel games. The plan is to meet weekly and switch off on GMing every week (So I control a PC one week, GM the next, and so on). The session 0 we had was pretty sweet and I had been working on writing it up, but in the interest of getting the actual AP written up, I’ll just summarize what we came up with for this game and get right to it.

We had decided pretty early on that we both wanted to play nobles who had gotten screwed over and were out for revenge. By virtue of the fact that it made for some better drama, and the fact it saved an RP during character burning it ended up being our PC’s uncle who was our enemy. It’s a parallel in both games, so when I go into the other game next week, expect to see it again.

We rolled a die at the end of session 0, and so for our first week Blaine was GMing and I was running Maxim Volkov. This game is set in a poor medieval Russian like country, in the decade following a costly war. A small border skirmish escalated into a nation-wide conflict, and in the end, the very territory that was being fought over ended up being desolated by powerful Sorcery.

This game was kind of pitched as a revenge story with a bit of the A-Team thrown in. It stars Maxim, a noble born that was charged with desertion as a result of his actions in the previous war and the machinations of his Uncle to gain control of his estate. He travels around with a former slave of his Uncle and budding sorcerer Anya, really just trying to get by in a poor country that still hasn’t recovered from the war.

We start the game with the two of them desperate and broke.

Maxim Volkov, my PC:
Born Noble -> Student (Noble) -> Lord -> (Lead to Soldier) Captain -> (Lead to Outcast) Desperate Killer -> Outlaw

  • B1 My Uncle Yuri will meet his end at my blade! I have heard, Nikita, the former head of his guard has retired to a nearby village, I will find him and gain his aid.
  • B2 Anya deserves to live through this, I will protect her. I need to make enough coin for us to last the season.
  • B3 I’m no hero, I won’t stick my neck out if there isn’t anything in it for me.
  • I1 When entering a room, check for exits
  • I2 Never give my real name
  • I3 Never leave a man behind

Anya is his sidekick (under the bodyguard/squire rules)
Gifted Child (Codex, Servitude setting) -> Harem Slave -> (lead to Outcast) Desperate Killer -> Vagrant

  • B1 I’ll never be a slave again, I will repay the injustice done to me with Sorcerous Fire!
  • B2 I’m not the little girl I was when Maxim rescued me, I’ll prove to him just how useful I can be.
  • B3 As one of the Gifted, it is my duty to use my powers to make the world a better place.
  • I1 Never allow myself to be bound
  • I2 Always carry a knife.
  • I3 Always extend proper courtesy to strangers

Anya’s school of magic Arcanus Prodigium, has Advantage, Hinder, and Destroy With Sorcerous Fire as her primary effects. The idea behind it being that her self-taught magical skill (such that it is at a B3), mostly manifests in the form of good luck, and the occasional rage-filled BBQ. Actual Wizard things are harder for her.


We start off in the beginning of Winter, as Maxim and Anya crest over the hill and see the village on the other side. Between them they have 0 total resources stats, and a single die of cash. I could have maybe not bought that cash die for Maxim, and upgraded his gear a bit, but, I felt that having one last tiny amount of cash somehow felt more desperate than truly having nothing.

Either way, they spy the village, and see that it is in a sorry state. This is not unusual, many of the outlying villages have been ignored by the powers that be, but this village seems in a worse state than normal, and it looks like whatever happened, happened recently. They head into town, and meet Alexi, a local militaman. They find out that this small town has a bandit problem. Maxim identifies himself as Dmitri, a mercenary and asks to meet with the person in charge.

They meet with Sergey, the commander of the militia who gives Maxim the rundown. There seems to be about 10 of these guys with about half as many horses. The town really doesn’t have much to offer, but Maxim can get rights to the Bandit’s gear and loot, and they are implied to have some valuables. They also hear that Nikita had passed through the town about two weeks ago. Maxim consults with Anya for a moment.

It’s a crap deal, since they don’t really know if these Bandits will have anything of value. And they don’t want to lose Nikita if they can help it. But in the end they can’t afford to be picky about their prospects. Maxim agrees to help, and decides that he wants to track these guys to their base. Not being much of a tracker himself, he enlists the aid of a village expert. He guides Maxim until they reach some hard ground and the tracks go no further. Maxim sends their guide back, and he and Anya try to press on in the same general direction in hopes of getting lucky.

Eventually, the arrive at the bank of a River, and are ambushed by three men. They want their valuables, but Maxim isn’t having that. Their leader, a man in a red hat, rushes them, while Maxim draws his sword and Anya distracts him with magic. We do a quick bloody vs and the bandit gets NO successes while Maxim gets a handful on both Attack and defense. Maxim disarms the man with his superior swordsmanship and scares them off.

I consider trying to follow them, but I worry about being led into an even bigger ambush so Maxim just calls them out and heads back to town. He waits a bit for a retaliatory strike that never comes, and then the two of them try to take a look at a map and figure out where these guys are coming form. He is offered a few militia men to go with him, but I am hoping to avoid an encounter at all, rather than have more backup and get into one, so Maxim refuses the help.

A failed link test means things don’t go that way, and Maxim and Anya end up running into even more bandits this time. Maxim feels a bit outmatched, but he both can’t afford to part with his gear or valuables, and doesn’t really trust these guys if he does, so he gets ready for a fight. He tells Anya to run, which just annoys her more than anything. Red hat leads the charge again, and there is a brief period before the others join in, which we run as one fight! Exchange.

Or rather, it turns out to be a single volley, as the Red Hat Charges but fails to knock Maxim down and ends up skewered on his blade, with Anya’s dagger in his back. This manages to scare the other bandits off again, and Maxim really wants to question this guy so he tries patching him up with field dressing.

He fails, and so he has wasted critical time without stopping the bleeding. It’s only a severe wound, so there is still time before it bleeds out into a mortal one, but Maxim wasted a lot as a result of his failed test. He tries just carrying him back to town, and we leave his survival up to the die of fate.

Amazingly, he makes it, and Maxim offloads him to the town doctor. He then heads to the local hostel on his own to get himself cleaned up. There he meets Breven, a former private in his unit, who manages to recognize him. He says he’ll keep Maxim’s identity secret and seems almost over eager to help him out with the Bandits (even saying he didn’t need a share of the loot). Maxim is a little suspicious of him, but could really use another sword on his side for this one. Since Breven hasn’t seemed to see him and Anya together yet, he finds her when he gets a chance and asks her to keep an eye on him.

We called it there. A small amount of fate was thrown around, but we didn’t really get to anything persona worthy just yet. Was a lot of fun and I am looking forward to both our Blossoms game next week and resuming this game the week after!

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