Burning Locusts: Character Creation

A Campaign Building and Character Burning Session

Note: This post has content disclaimers.

I have been playing a Burning Wheel Gold (BWG 📖) campaign set in an Arthurian-inspired setting, with heavy nods to the amazing Excalibur. I wrote and from sessions of that game. The Game Master (GM 📖) of that game asked to take a pause and to see if others might be interested in running. Another player stepped up, so the four of us spent last night further delving into another situation.

The Situation

I’m taking creative liberties to write-up the situation, and may refine as we further discuss.

Welcome to Scintillante and Hartheld, one of the many warring city states. This is an educated era of literacy and commerce; of ideology and competition.

All know that as this month ends the new year arrives and heralds in the Year of the Locust. Every seventeen years, the Cicada Company descends upon the city states; though always passing over the heart of Scintillante.

Long dead advocates would say, “Look to the ancient engraved contract still honored by the Cicada Company.” But who amongst the living heeds the dusty moldering words of those lawyers who’s bones are bleached and buried.

Established Facts

  • Most everyone is literate and can write; in fact Illiterate is a character trait.
  • The contract protects that which is in Scintillante city proper.
  • There are other city states in the region.
  • The only way Dwarves generally divorce is through widowing.
  • Scintillante surrounds Hartheld, the dwarven citadel and lone mountain.
  • Knowledge about Cicada Company city contract is an Ob 3 Cicada Company-wise (Uncommon Knowledge).
  • Humans of the Scintillante have the cultural traits: Open, Educated, and Complacent as character traits. Dwarfs of the Hartheld have: Educated, Traditionalist, Parental.

Originally, we had talked of having Scintillante be analogue to Florence and the Dwarf holds akin to Byzantium in it’s waning years. We instead chose to place Hartheld at the center of Scintillante, two separate cities entertwined yet distinct.

We’re considering that Ansidora’s father, Charles the Master Engraver, may have engraved the original contract. There are non-annexed portion of Scintillante that would be vulnerable to the Cicada Company. The city of Hartheld is not covered by the contract.

The Characters

Lord Antonious di Mari

I’ll be playing Lord Antonious di Mari. I knew I wanted to play a former captain of a mercenary company, and had originally thought of a captain by way of a freebooter. But in of BWG, I burned up the Non-Player Character (NPC 📖) Vars as a rather grim freebooter, so I wanted to steer away from that.

Seventeen years ago, he was the the long-standing captain of the Radiant Company, and in one overstretch he saw the company decimated by the Cicada Company. He retired and became a painter and teacher. Now, people seek him out to lead, but instead deflects towards instruction.

We establish that Antonious knows of the ancient contract that still binds the Cicada Company.

Details of Lord Antonious di Mari
Lifepaths
Born Noble
Lord
Lead to Captain
Captain
Lead to Thinker
Beliefs
At months end the year of the Locust begins and I have not forgotten their last plague. But I'm too old for this shit and it is time for someone else to fight. Me, I'll just work on my paintings.
There is an ancient contract between the Cicada Company and Scintillante, I must learn more about it to understand why they keep coming back.
Frederico came to me eager to sink his teeth into the heart of Scintillante, and I'm curious about their intentions. I have offered my services as a tutor and will see what he wants of me.
Instincts
Never be the first one to speak to the crowd.
Always talks about my latest painting.
Always haggle for an exchange of goods and services.
Traits
Your Lordship (character)
Educated (cultural)
Complacent (cultural)
Open (cultural)
Mark of Privilege (die)
Bookworm (die)
Savvy (call-on)
Inspirational (call-on)
Skills
Campaign-wise B2
Cicada Company-wise B3
Circles B4
Command B5
Contract-wise B4
Haggling B5
Health B5
History B4
Hunting B2
Instruction B4
Logistics B2
Oratory B5
Painting B4
Persuasion B3
Philosophy B2
Resources B6
Steel B7
Strategy B5
Strategy Games B4
Sword B4
Reputations
Former Captain of the Radiant Company B3
Tutor B1
Affiliations
Hinterland Players (specialized various Go players) 1D
Nobility 1D
Property
Painting workshop
Villa
Relationships
Biagio di Bartolo (Important) Former quartermaster of the Radian Company, regular game player with Antonius, city council member.
Maccio the Younger (Minor, Distant Family) Nephew, learning sword and strategy, sworn to protect Antonius, former insurrectionist now clerk.

Ansidora

Ansidora is a divorced dwarf woman. And it was not an amicable divorce.

Details of Ansidora
Lifepaths
Born Artificer
Tinkerer
Lead to Wife
Lead to Rune Caster
Beliefs
I require the services of a painter, but ever since the divorce I have been light on coin. Antonius de Mari is one of the richest painters I know, perhaps he will accept services rather than asking for payment directly.
Frederico has been known around the block as a problem solver, perhaps I can hire him to liberate some of my funds from Vadam's coffers, whether by hook or by crook.
Tumol is turning 70 this year, and he still hasn't found himself a wife! I must provide my matchmaking services to anyone who seems like a good fit for my Tum-Tum.
Oath, My son Tumoll is my greatest creation, I must protect him from becoming like his father, regardless of the cost.
Instincts
Always give my opinion on any topic being discussed. Always.
Never give up a chance to slight my ex-husband .
Traits
Bearded (character)
Curious (character)
Slave To Fate (character)
Educated (cultural)
Traditional (cultural)
Parental (cultural)
Accustomed To The Dark (die)
Greed (die)
Oathsworn (die)
Shaped from Earth and Stone (die)
Stout (die)
Tough (die)
Atravieso (die)
Aura of Martyrdom (die)
Dispute-settler (call-on)
Skills
Bad End-wise B3
Circles B3
Clan-wise B3
Coarse Persuasion B3
Dwarven Rune Script B3
Family-wise B3
Foraging B3
Haggling B4
Health B7
Mending B3
Resources B1
Rune Casting B5
Scavenging B3
Soothing Platitudes B3
Steel G4
Stuff-wise B3
Ugly Truth B3
Reputations
None
Affiliations
Former Coward 1D
Property
None
Relationships
Tummoll (Minor, son) Artificer (though his grandfather pulled some strings and he skipped Ardent).
Charles (Powerful, father) Master engraver, father, eternally disappointed with Ansidora's choices
Vadam Samaal (Minor, ex-husband) awful. Husband -> Trader (tension between Vadam and Charles)

Frederico Pascolini

Frederico is an outlaw and trying to find their place. They have ambitions.

Details of Frederico Pascolini
Lifepaths
City Born
Smuggler
Fence
Scout
Archer
Beliefs
Soldier. I will raise my position in life. I will use others around me to help me do this. I will get to know more about this Cicada Mercenary Company.
Spy. I will work as a spy for powerful families. I will only take low risk jobs. I will use my information peddling as a tool for social climbing. I will find a patreon.
Thief. I will plan infrequent robberies around expensive jewelry. Perhaps every 3-5 years, I will pull of a great heist which will allow me to live off of that income for the next few years. I shall attend parties for nobility and start taking notes of the great pieces of jewelry that I see there.
Instincts
When danger is around, I will always try and hide.
When confronted I will become subservient and use deceit and charm..
Traits
Educated (cultural)
Complacent (cultural)
Open (cultural)
Ambitious (character)
Paranoid (character)
Shrewd (character)
Glib (call-on)
Aura of Innocence (call-on)
Skills
Appraisal B2
Armor Training
Bow B4
Brawling B2
Cirlces B2
Falsehood B2
Fletcher B2
Foraging B2
Forgery B2
Guard-wise B2
Haggling B2
Health B3
Inconspicuous B2
Lock Pick B2
Observation B3
Orienteering B2
Persuasion B2
Resources B1
Soothing Platitudes B2
Stealthy B4
Steel B7
Streetwise B2
Sword B2
Reputations
Problem Solver 1D
Affiliations
Thieves Guild 1D
Property
None
Relationships
Lady Jade (Minor, forbidden, lover) Wife of a noble, underhanded

Conclusion

We’re scheduled to play . Our opening scene will be at Lord Antonius’s villa and workshop.