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.

 

Maxim’s Story – Session 02

These games are the first time that I have done serious one on one play, as well as the first time I have done bi-weekly sessions (at least by intention and not by people flaking). Honestly, while I might notice some differences in pacing or something in the long term, I didn’t see much difference with a week to week game, and I slide back into it about as well as a session 2 can be expected.

We kick things off the next morning, with Maxim being the first up in the barracks, some of the Bandits are feeling pretty brave and just stride right in to try and talk with him. They want their friend back, and are willing to pay to get it. They even offer to go bother some other town as well, but Maxim doesn’t really believe them. He could take the money and abandon the town, but he didn’t want to just abandon them. Besides, he reasoned, if they could offer him his much just to get their friend back, there’s probably more where that came from at their base. The men tell him to go ahead and keep the money, and turn to leave. Maxim stabs their leader in the back.

One of his cronies run, the other reaches for his sword, and Maxim is able to dispatch him too. One of the two is ‘merely’ mortally wounded, and Maxim tells the militia members to get him treatment “If you think he deserves it”. He goes and reports this to Sergey, when Anya (who was taking a watch) arrives and says she chased after the runner, but he got away. She DID manage to get a crude map off him, to what she thinks is their hideout. The man they captured is still in treatment, so it is as good a lead as any. Maxim actually takes some Militia with him this time (3 of them) and they head out.

On the way, they encounter a man in a mask, leaning over the body of a bandit, repeatedly stabbing him with a knife. Maxim tries to talk with him and he tries to bolt. Maxim manages to get a hand on his robe, and has the militia grab him. He killed a bandit, and he might have a good reason for it, but if he’s not saying anything Maxim feels like he can’t let him go. He has one of the Militia bring him back to town and presses on with the other two.

After a bit, the remaining Militia ask where we’re going, and when Anya shows them the map, they freak out. Apparently, it is the ruins of some village that was destroyed in the war, and it is ‘cursed’. Maxim says he isn’t going to force them to come, but if they don’t deal with their hideout, their village won’t really be safe. Maxim is untrained in persuasion (but has a high will), but it is not good enough. The remaining Militia bail, warning Maxim to stay out of the church. Anya thinks the whole thing is bullcrap, and that is good enough for Maxim.

They press on, and make it to the edge of the clearing where the town is. A voice tells them to stop. They look around, and eventually find a masked man in the tree (It might have been the same masked man?). He demonstrates some magical power, and tells Maxim to not get involved. They debate a bit, and Maxim is pretty much ready to either work with this guy in taking out the bandits, or just take the gold he got as his bribe and let this guy finish the job for him. And then he reveals he is here to kill the Bandit’s leader, who of course happens to be the man Maxim is looking for.

Maxim draws his bow and shoots him, clipping the mask and knocking him out of the tree. Anya stands over him and seems pretty pissed at him, demanding answers that he isn’t giving, and generally upset at another wizard acting as an assassin and giving the rest of them a bad name. He begs for his life a bit, but it eventually becomes clear to Maxim that he will just go ahead with his mission either way. Maxim gives the go-ahead to Anya and she ends up killing him.

The noise from this whole thing has attracted a pair of the bandits, trudging through snowy meadow and trying to find the source of the sound. They stay just out of range of Maxim’s bow, and ask if Anya’s “Advantage” effect could get him there. This was almost certainly a major bend of the rules (I am pretty sure art magic is meant to be read conservatively in terms of effect), but Blaine allowed it. Maxim spent time lining up his shot, and just BARELY met the increased ob. Clipping the guy in the leg, he fails at trying to reposition in secret, but gets a challenging speed test in the process! I’m actually getting more speed tests than BL steathy tests with how Blaine was rolling tonight, but that means I am no only one difficult away from advancing speed, sweet!

Anyway, they’re coming after Maxim instead of going for help, so he shoots them again as they get closer. Taking out one, Anya manages to incinerate the other with magical fire! Maxim makes sure they are dead (by stabbing them for good measure), and they press on.

They find the town mostly in ruins, all that is standing is a church, a grainery and a militia office. Having been warned by the militia to stay away from the church, they naturally check it out first. There seem to be people inside, who almost notice Maxim, but he manages to hide to the side of the window when they go to investigate. There are at least five of them, but there seems to be no way for them to get into the church. The windows are boarded up, and the door was barred from the OUTSIDE. They could remove the bar, but since those people had weapons, Maxim suspects there is another way in, and the front door is a trap.

They investigate the office, finding papers inside, including a note that Nikiat wrote about having one of his underlings send a letter to Volkov Manor. The letter itself is sealed, so Maxim takes it, but doesn’t open it yet. When they leave, they see a man looking around outside and notice Maxim’s tracks in the snow. He runs into the Grainery and seems to disappear. Maxim is able to locate and force open a trap door, leading to a cave beneath the surface.

Anya suggests that going down there might be a mistake when the two of them can just wait the people in the church out, and Maxim thinks she has a point. However, she wants him to stay in the office while she stays in the Grainery. Maxim suspects that she just wants to go down there on her own, and demands they switch positions, which she eventually relents to.

After a while with no movement, Maxim suspects that there may have been another way out of the church (perhaps the tunnel also led somewhere else) and goes to retrieve Anya. At that point, the church erupts in magical flames.

We called it there and handed out a number of fate points, no persona yet, but I think we are getting close. In two weeks we will likely wrap up the matter with the bandits, one way or another, but in the meantime we’ll be diving back into Kento’s story!

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.

Continue reading