Session 2: The Mistimed Scroll an Eberron Campaign is a game session report for Burning Wheel Gold. We played via Discord and Roll20 on .
At the end of our first Mistimed Scroll session, Keth and Vars were taking a trail to New Cyre, while Cloak and Soliana were preparing to follow them.
Redirecting on the Road
We start the session with Vars and Keth.
After walking five minutes on the trail, Vars turns to Keth and asks, “What was that back there? They were offering a place to stay and food.”
- Keth wants to Persuade Vars.
- To convince Vars to wait until tomorrow to head back as there really wasn't anything obvious.
- Vars is unconvinced and will double back right now.
- Obstacle (Ob 📖) 4 (Vars's Will exponent)
- Persuasion 3D
- Falsehood 1D
- Trail-wise 1D (explaining that the only way they know back was the trail they left on)
“If you do this on your own, you can meet me for dinner afterwards,” says Keth.
Vars beats his cudgel on a tree and bellows, “Fine, tomorrow I’ll get some real help and pay a visit.”
Following on a Mountain Path
Soliana and Cloak agree that they need to shadow Vars and Keth. Soliana begins singing the Threne of the Chameleon. This will give +1D to their future Stealth test. Cloak listens in wonderment reminded of those quiet evenings watching the encampments, communing with the near silence of owls in flight.
Familiar with the area, Cloak begins orienteering along a goat path. An Ob1 test, that they succeed with extra successes. This will also give +1D to their future Stealth test. They take a little known short-cut, reserved for goats and the unencumbered.
As Cloak and Soliana draw near, I call for a versus test. This will be Soliana’s Stealth versus Vars or Keth’s Observation.
For Stealth tests, I like to have the least stealthy make the test. For Observation tests, I like the most perceptive to make the test. This aligns with advice in Burning Wheel Gold 📖 and which I’ve written about in Thinking Through Group Rolls for Stars and Worlds without Number
With the preliminary situation established, we move to a versus test. Soliana and Cloak want to learn more about the intentions of Vars and Keth. The consequences of failure will be that they stumble onto Vars and Keth and things will escalate to violence.
They’ve already had one conversation, and if they succeed, Vars will launch into another conversation that will give them their intent. I don’t want to say “You’ll have heard that conversation.” I explain that success will mean that Vars will launch into another conversation.
Soliana will be making their Stealthy test and Vars will be making a Beginner’s Luck Observation test.
Soliana gather’s her dice:
- 2D for Stealth
- +1D help from Cloak
- +1D from Threne of the Chameleon
- +1D from Cloak’s Orienteering linked test
And Vars gathers his dice:
- 6D for Perception
- +2D for help from Keth.
Vars rolls 6 successes, and with Beginner’s Luck that becomes 3 Successes.
Soliana adds one Persona to the roll and on the six dice, but gets two successes. We’re escalating to violence.
Don’t Call It an Ambush
I position everyone with no clear advantages nor do I call for a Steel test. In this moment, Vars and Keth are on the trail to New Cyre and the other two are at a low point. There’s about 30 paces between them.
Instincts trigger and Keth, Vars, and Cloak are all at the ready with missile weapons.
Dredging up memories of Hacking Together a Burning Wheel Conflict Resolution on the Fly, I ask everyone to declare their intentions:
- Vars is going to shoot Cloak
- Cloak is going to shoot Vars
- Keth is going to shoot Cloak
- Soliana’s going to drop and plead to not escalate
Each character rolls their Speed.
Dropping to one knee, Soliana attempts to Persuade everyone to hold their fire. Alas, no one’s listening.
Vars fires their crossbow and sticks harmlessly Cloak in the composite plating of Cloak’s chest. Had Cloak’s composite breastplate (and a few bits of Persona) not held, it would have been a B8 wound.
Cloak returns fire with their hunting bow and pierces Vars’s reinforced leather breastplate, inflicting a mortal wound (a B10). Vars crumples.
Keth, seeing the situation holds their fire and instead says, “Tend to him, I hold you responsible for his fate.”
A Binding of Fates
On instinct, Soliana scampers to Vars and begins singing her Song of Soothing to staunch the bleeding. She succeeds and says, “I have done what I can, but we must found a Jorasco House of Healing.”
Keth shoulders Vars and they march to New Cyre, a refugee city, with temporary housing and wooden palisades. Guards quickly lead them to House Jorasco.
The halfling healers begin their triage and one comes forward to talk about the terms of payment.
Keth offers, “I’m quite good at finding things, and I’m sure you have somethings that need finding.” The halflings look at the half-orc in a new light.
“We’ll use as down payment the coin of the man you brought to us. Come tomorrow morning and we’ll discuss what we need you to find.”
We ended our session there, but positioned for the next session. The players know we’ll start the next session with an awkward social situation in which Keth, Cloak, and Soliana come to terms with the current situation and the need to work together.
Then, there will be the discussion of what exactly the halflings of this healing house need. Ideas were to retrieve things from a cache, go prospecting for dragonshards, or even deal with some bandits.
I haven’t run a game in over a year, so this first full session felt like I was shaking off some cobwebs.
I also realized how tense I felt having an Non-Player Character (NPC 📖) fire a crossbow at a Player Character (PC 📖). In Burning Wheel Gold missile fire is unpredictable and dangerous. It could have quickly taken out Cloak.
As written Burning Wheel Gold assumes a rather gritty injury and healing cycle. With Eberron 📖 there’s an assumption of healing magic. I need to spend a bit of time codifying more of House Jorasco’s abilities.
I’ve used a bit more of the rules than perhaps I should have, but we’re walking this path together. I’m taking the time to explain the different aspects and their significance. I’m definitely avoiding Range and Cover and Fight! though those would’ve been an interesting way to resolve the confrontation.
I think each character got about 3 to 5 tests in this session, and they brushed up against several of their beliefs and instincts. I’m also checking with the group to make sure that this current situation is okay with them. And if not, how we refine.
When I thought of the campaign, I didn’t know how I’d bring these characters together. They each had their identified situation role. And it wasn’t clear how far into the “group formation” events we would start. I’m liking the current situation, and appreciate using one of the character’s relationships to drive the characters together.
Now, had Vars’s attack on Cloak inflicted a B8 wound, we would’ve been exploring a very different path.