Maxim’s Story – Session 03 – Into the Fire

This was a fun session.  I need to say that first, because I am likely going to spend a lot of time complaining about things that went wrong.  But I did have fun, so lets clear that up first.

We pick up right where we left off, the church had just erupted in Sorcerous Fire, and Maxim did not know where Anya was.  The explosion had knocked the barricaded door off of its hinges and so Maxim braved the flames to get inside.  Inside there was a body, and no one else.  The place was not safe, so Maxim got close enough to determine the body was not a woman, and got out of there before the building fell down on him.  The arcane fire died down, and so Maxim checks where Anya was posted.

He finds signs of a struggle, one of her daggers, and a taunting message scrawled in blood, great.  He follows footprints in the snow until they abruptly end.  He stands there for a while, trying to figure out his next move, when he hears a voice call out to him.  It turns out to be Breven, who is armed with a crossbow.  They talk for a bit, turns out he is with the masked man that Maxim killed earlier.  Maxim admits it, but gets frustrated with the whole conversion, and asks Breven to help him find his friend or shoot him, and Breven agrees to help (perhaps wanting another sword arm to take down Nikita).

Breven uses some magic (of course he is a wizard as well) and is able to continue following the tracks.  Maxim fails a forte test against exhaustion and cold and is going to be at an obstacle penalty until he rests.  They find more bandits, Maxim fails a roll and kills an unknown guy in one of their tents, but they manage to take them out.  The one surviving bandit doesn’t want to talk and Maxim gets pissed and tries to torture the guy (which he is not good at), mangling his hand, and knocking him out.  They investigate the dead guy, and Maxim identifies him as a noble.  He might have known something, but Maxim is not in the mood to feel too bad about it.  He takes everything valuable he can find while they plot their next step.  Maxim is actually up to 8 cash die at this point, so pay wise this job wasn’t that bad.

They have no leads, so when Alexi comes and tells Maxim the village is on fire, much like what happened at the church.   Maxim reluctantly goes back to help.  He meets Sergey in town who asks him to help organize a bucket line, but Maxim knows that won’t really help with magic fire, and he spots a group of strange men in the distance, assumes the wizard’s gotta be with them, and so he rides towards them on a Militia Horse.

There is Nikita with some of his goons, and he has Anya tied up.  Maxim wants to negotiate for her, and Nikita asks what’s a shitty mage like her to him.  Maxim doesn’t want to admit that she is basically the only friend he’s got at the moment (she is), and he certainly isn’t going to say he loves her (he might). He wanted to not seem too desperate about it.

So he says “She’s a good fuck”, which is hugely insensitive especially given Anya’s background, but it is what he says.  Whoops.  Nikita doesn’t seem to want to negotiate for her, so he just suggests he’ll see that for himself and tries to leave.  Maxim stopped giving a shit about the possibility of getting help from this guy right then.  I shoot him in the back.

Or rather, I try to.  I spend some artha to shake off my exhaustion for the scene, like you would a wound.  I put my will to live persona into my Bow skill.  I BARELY make the roll.

…And he no-sells it.  This was bad Burning Wheel play.  I think one of us (not necessarily Blaine) should have caught it.   What happened right there was that I only succeeded at my task, hitting him with an arrow, not my intent, killing the fucker.  I actually don’t know WHY the arrow did nothing, might have been armor, might have been magic.  But whatever it was it should have either increased the obstacle, or I should have been told it wasn’t a valid intent (because magic) and we could have just gone directly to the no-sell. We both got caught up in the moment over the particulars of the rules right there, which happens, but the game would likely have been better (or at least a more satisfying use of my last persona) had we followed them more closely.

I then get in a Fight! with this guy.  I won’t go into the blow by blow but I get off my horse for the sole reason that I don’t want to get into the mounted combat rules.  I also waste two actions cutting Anya free which I take a Midi at the end of.  Now, I was fine with this, Maxim’s only real goal was to free Anya, if he HAPPENED to get out of this fight intact as well, that was just a bonus.  I make it to the end of the round, fails to disengage, just barely, but my horse would likely have made it.  I take a 2nd midi, which knocks Maxim out.

He wakes up some time later in what’s left of the town with the various friendly NPCs looking after him, his wounds have been treated, but have not closed.  He asks for Anya and she got taken again.  It’s annoying because Maxim had a pretty good block and strike situation set up, which, if he had used that from the beginning instead of cutting her free to apparently no use, he might have won.

He tries to stand, fails, and tries again.  Eventually he gets up and starts putting his armor back on and getting his things together.  He’s told he should rest (and at -2 dice he really really should), but he asks Breven if the Winter Wolves (their unit in the war), ever left a man behind.  Breven admits they didn’t and offers to go with Maxim, his group is trying to take out Nikita as well after all.  Maxim welcomes the help and we call it there.

I at the very least get a nice handful of artha for all of this, but that is all likely going to the health tests I still have to make, and it is likely going to be a bit of a rough road ahead.  Maxim has a handful of skills he simply can’t use because of his injuries and most of the remaining skills are at b2 until he recovers.  The upside being, if he survives long enough, he’ll likely earn some sweet stat tests between now and then.  There were definitely some shaky spots near the end there where I think our communication/rules mastery could have been better, but I do want to reiterate that I did have fun overall.