Burning Locusts: Session 2

Laying the Foundation for Future Sessions

Note: This post has content disclaimers.

Burning Locusts: Session 2 is a game session report for Burning Wheel Gold. We played via Discord and Roll20 on .

Below are links to further details of the player characters.

Based on I revised Lord Antonius di Mari’s beliefs:

Beliefs
At months end the year of the Locust begins. I have not forgotten their last plague, but now is not my time. With Lord Jade's hired help and Maccio's clerking, I will instead focus on my paintings and attracting students.
There is an ancient contract between the Cicada Company and Scintillante; Ansidora has promised me an etching of the contract in exchange for a painting of her son. I will hold her to that promise.
Lord Jade asked me to dismiss Frederico, yet I made a promise to that young man. I'm no vernal fool, I may have need of such a man as Frederico. I will convince Biagio to act as our intermediary.

And Ansidora shifted her beliefs:

Beliefs
Antonius di Mari wants access to an etching of the Cicada company contract, which means talking to my father Charles. News about the divorce hasn't spread far, so hopefully I can get through one conversation without him prying another disappointment out of me.
Tumoll has been courting some human in his spare time, which would be fine if he got himself a proper dwarven wife first. I will make sure to harangue them about their intentions and make sure that mayfly doesn't ruin his prospects!
Tumoll is turning 70 this year (in a month and a half), 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.

The Session Notes

Frederico’s player was unable to attend our session but we proceeded, as each character had things that they needed to address.

This was a heavy dialogue session, but instead of writing transcriptions, I’m going to summarize.

Ansidora Visists Her Father

The game facilitator asked if Ansidora’s player had an image in mind. We went with the Jeweler by 000Fesbra000.

We established that Ansidora’s father, Charles, had a messy workshop where he had a mental inventory of everything there. With Ansidora’s atravieso trait, we assumed that her visits always distressed Charles.

Through play we learn that Charles is super attentive but fails to see the big picture.

Ansidora went to talk with Charles—her father and a—or the?—master engraver. He affirms that yes, the Dwarves have the contract in the Hall of Contracts, but he doesn’t have access to it. He’ll ask around for an etching.

Charles begins asking about Ansidora, Tumoll, and Vaddam. Ansidora wants to tell him the truth of the divorce without breaking Charles’s heart.

It’s important Ugly Truth, Bad End-wise, Clan-wise, and Family-wise. +1 Obstacle (Ob 📖) consequence is he’s going to reconcile the relationship.

Task
Ansidora wants to break the Ugly Truth of the divorce
Intent
She wants to avoid breaking his heart.
Consequences
Charles is going to attempt to reconcile the relationship.
Obstacle
Ob 3 (a base of 2 for a family truth, but +1 because of the cultural stigma of divorce)
Dice
3D for Ugly Truth, +1D Bad End-wise, +1D Clan-wise, +1D Family-wise
Result
Failure!

Charles commits himself to reconciling their relationship.

Ansidora starts explaining Vaddam’s failings and how he left her penniless. Ansidora attempts to color Charles’s opinion of Vaddam.

Task
Ansidora drops another Ugly Truth
Intent
Ansidora wants to sour Charles's opinion of Vaddam; to help her get what's hers.
Consequences
Charles doesn't listen and attempts to reconcile them for "love"
Obstacle
Ob2
Dice
3D for Ugly Truth, +1D Clan-wise, +1D Family-wise
Result
Success! Charles will help them contractually rejoin, so as to keep the family and wealth together.

With Let it Ride, Charles set his mind to reconciling their marriage. The second Ugly Truth shaped that reconciliation to be all about name and distribution of wealth; nothing about love nor fidelity.

I was not part of this scene, so I started taking notes of the conversation. It’s not fully accurate but highlights the nature of the conversation.

Raw Transcription Notes

Ansidora heads into Charles’s workspace. There is no new items that could trigger Greed. Charles has his own organization system, but the workshop is rather messy. Charles’s working on an engraving. There’s lots of ceremony around the making of plaques and contracts.

Ansidora’s attravesio does not trigger.

“Be careful, leave it all alone. I don’t want to forget where I put stuff.”

I have a friend, he’s interested in the Cicada Company contract. I hope you can get me an etching.

“The contract keeps them out,” Charles, “These humans don’t make anything to last. Don’t care about a damn thing except the here and now. I need to ask around a bit for a key to the room. I’ll get working on that for you. Now, how’s Vaddam and TumTum?”

“TumTum’s doing well, I’m trying to find him a wife.”

“It’d be great to have a full family portrait,”

“The painter said it would take a month for one person,”

“Who’s this painter? He sounds pretty slow.”

He makes good work, he had me drooling in 2 seconds flat.

Why didn’t he have some students do it?

Captain painter business, I don’t know about that.

He triggered the greed. I saw it I wanted it.

Let’s commemorate TumTum’s 70th. I’d love a wife and all our family.

What’s Vaddam up to?

“Oh this and that”

I just worry that things aren’t going in a good direction. Maybe we should have a sit down, and I want to see everyone. Maybe I could talk with Charles and make the arrangements.

He’s super attentive to the details but misses the big picture. Not a transactional person.

Ansidora wants to tell him the truth of the divorce without breaking Charles’s heart. It’s important Ugly Truth, Bad End-wise, Clan-wise, and Family-wise. +1 Ob consequence is he’s going to reconcile the relationship.

“Vadam is a menace and I curse his name, I am through with that man!”

“Ansidora, he’s a trader, he doesn’t have the skills. You went on your own way and he stuck with you. Your mother and I. We gotta stick together, it’s all about family. We build things to last.”

He took everything, and I had to barter just to get the summer house.

Ansidora drops another ugly truth about wealth. He’s a greedy man and he kept everything.

Success: getting Charles to help get Ansidora’s possessions, you’re together in name but divided resources. Consequence of failure, is Charles goes into denial and start problem-solving.

Total outcome: Charles is eager to rejoin them in name, keep the family and wealth together, and I’ll talk to Vadam.

“He kept the Chronicles!”

“What? That’s my wealth too.”

“If you need help with paying for the painter…”

Antonius Seeks a Favor from His Former Quartermaster

Where Antonius took the Thinker lifepath after the decimation of the Radiant Company, Biagio dove into the workings of the city. Antonius idles his days away while Biagio is an exemplary civic servant.

Antonius seeks out Biagio di Bartolo—Antonius’s most trusted friend, the former quartermaster of the Radiant Company, a city council member, and a regular Go opponent for Antonius. Knowing that Biagio’s days are often full, Antonius spends much of the day drifting from cafe to cafe, playing games and waiting until supper time.

At Villa di Bartolo, Antonius challenges Biagio to a game of Go, while also asking a favor.

The favor is as follows: Biagio will be the intermediary between Antonius and Frederico. As the year of the Cicada draws near, Antonius recognizes the advantages of having one such as Frederico on payroll.

Biagio agrees, but the score is now such that Antonius owes Biagio a favor. Both the Game Facilitator and myself struggled with any kind of test, but both acknowledge that Antonius owing Biagio a favor was setting a deep plot hook. Biagio, the loyal civil servant, knows full well the skills, abilities, and talents of Captain Antonius di Mari.

Biagio talks about the mercenary companies of the city states are not getting paid, and have begun raiding caravans. Lean times are coming.

Help Arrives at Villa di Mari

Antonius returns to his villa, and at the door stands a dwarf. The dwarf introduces himself as Fiego, sent by Lord Jade to serve as Antonius’s doorman.

Antonius invites Fiego in and they strike up a conversation. Fiego wants to be wealthy, like Antonius and Lord Jade. While Fiego’s serving Antonius, Antonius agrees to teach Fiego the art of negotiation. Antonius is going to Instruct Fiego on Haggling.

During their conversation, Antonius walks Fiego through his villa. Fiego succeeds at his Greed test regarding Antonius’s Scintillante cityscape.

Fiego will manage those seeking Captain Antonius; he shouldn’t just let them in but they can schedule time with Antonius. Those seeking painting or other services are more than welcome.

Ansidora Seeking Her Son’s Girlfriend

After talking with her father, Ansidora wants to find Tumoll’s girlfriend Ginna. We establish that Tumoll’s girlfriend is a human, and has the reputation “Prettiest girl in Scintillante (according to the dwarves).” Since Ansidora doesn’t have any human lifepaths, she must Circle up a dwarf that has a relationship with Ginna.

Task
Looking in Dwarf taverns.
Intent
To find someone that knows Ginna.
Consequences
Obstacle
Base Ob of 1, +3 Ob for a specific disposition.
Dice
3D Circles +1D for Clan-wise, +2D Persona
Result
Failure! The Game Facilitator invokes the Enmity Clause

Ansidora finds Silas, a dwarf brewer, deep in his cups, lamenting his lost love…Ginna. Silas and Ginna shared a love of brewing and drinking.

“If she’s not a good match, she’s gotta go,” says Ansidora.

“She’s perfect,” replies Silas as he stares into the bottom of his frothy mug of Nog, “and I’ll help you find her if you promise to help us get back together.”

Task
Ansidora attempts to Coarse Persuade Silas to help her find Ginna.
Intent
Silas will reluctantly help
Consequences
Silas will help but will need assurances that Ansidora will help win Ginna back.
Obstacle
Base Ob of 4, +2 Ob for the enmity Enmity Clause, -1 Ob for Silas being deep in a mug of Nog.
Dice
Base of 3D for Coarse Persuasion +1D for Clan-wise.
Result
Failure!

To appease Silas and get his help, Ansidora swears the following oath: I swear to treat Gina fairly in my appraisal and if she is not right for Tumoll, help Silas get back together with her.

Again Antonius and Fiego

Learning that the mercenary companies are not all getting paid, Antonius wants to track down Ansidora to expedite gaining access to a rubbing of the original Cicada Company contract. Antonius asks Fiego to assist him in tracking down Ansidora.

Fiego failed his Circles test, so they were unable to find Ansidora. We chose a Circles test as Ansidora and Antonius have only recently met. And given that Antonius didn’t have a Dwarven lifepath, Fiego needed to make the test.

As they make their way back to Villa di Mari, Antonius says, “Fiego, you said that you failed to negotiate for more from Lord Jade. For your help today, I want to give you this purse of silver.“ Antonius makes his Ob2 Resources test.

Conclusion

As a player, I rolled dice once during the session. That worked alright for me. After the session we talked about Biagio and Antonius.

Those two have been through the worst of war, and trust each other. Where Antonius withdrew from life, Biagio entered civil service.

With mercenary companies turning to banditry and the Cicada Company set to arrive, the favor Antonius now owes to Biagio will most certainly launch him into action.

Does Biagio want Antonius to negotiate a contract? To speak to a crowd and quell their anxiety? To train a new Captain? Antonius knows but has yet to accept that he will once again throw himself into the public eye.

I’m loving that we’re focusing on small stakes as the world churns. This aligns with the “complacent” Scintillante cultural trait. The Cicada company is coming.