Burning Locusts: Session 4

Further Exposition as We Learn of an Art Theft Scheme and Hiring Personal Mercenaries

Note: This post has content disclaimers.

Burning Locusts: Session 4 is a game session report for Burning Wheel Gold. We played via Discord and Roll20 on .

Ansidora’s Rune Casting

Following up on session 3, Ansidora heads home and performs a Rune Casting on Vadam. This is an Obstacle (Ob 📖) 4 test.

Vadam’s Beliefs are:

  • “I never liked Charles but this is the last straw. What right does he have to barge in and make demands? The old coot even called in some favors with the Engraver’s Guild to block me from using them to draft new contracts. He even suspects what Stavros and I are up to. Something must be done about Charles.”
  • “Ansidora and Charles are really getting on my nerves, to spite them both, I’ll entice Tumoll to leave with me and Stavros when it is time.”
  • “So Ansidora is pushing to get her stuff back? I’ll find the least worthy buyer by the end of next week (December X) or I’ll put her stuff out on the street and burn it.”
  • “Stavros and I have a good with our art theft ring, we will continue working together until we have amassed enough wealth to set up somewhere else.”

Ansidora modifies Vadam’s belief: “Ansidora and Charles are really getting on my nerves, to spite them both, I’ll demand Tumoll to leave with me and replace Stavros with him by the end of the month.”

Ansidora Meeting with TumTum

Meeting with Tumul, he’s meeting Ansidora for lunch at the Mad Blossom Bistro.

Tumul asks what’s up.

Vadam’s blocking Ansidora from getting her stuff. He’s really being nasty about the divorce.

Ansidora drops some Ugly Truth about Family. The divorce is not going well, and Vadam’s kind of being nasty. The failure condition is Tumol thinks Ansidora’s being nasty. Success. Tumol’s swayed.

Tumul says, mentions Vadam’s old friend Stavros, a delver. Whenever Tumul walks into the room, they hush up. Vadam’s acting strangely.

“If he asks anything funny, you can say no,” says Ansidora.

On brighter news, I happened to meet Ginna. She invited me in.

“That’s odd that you ran into her,” says Tumul.

“I was out birthday shopping. I am getting a painter to paint you.”

“Could he paint him and Ginna?”

I’m sure he would.

Tumol’s serious about Ginna.

Ansidora tests Falsehood about being in “the area.” Consequences is Tumul will clam up about Ginna. Failure!

“Please stay out of my affairs,” says TumTum.

Antonius Connecting with the Party Host

Antonius wants to meet with the person throwing the social event. He Circles up Adriano Faraldo. (Circle Ob 4, 5 successes after call on). Antonius brings a caricature painting to butter him up. This is a Linked Test. Antoninus succeeds, but no extra successes.

After a bit of conversation, Antonius learns that Adriano wants a cook for the upcoming social event. Adriano is amendable to Antonius recommending some help for the social event.

/Later in the session, we hand wave that Maccio, Antonius’s nephew, will join the party in the kitchen. Maccio’s prior lifepath for Clerk was Insurrectionist. He has a storied past./

Meeting with Lady Jade

Frederico meets with Lady Jade at her apartment.

“With whom can we distract Lord Jade?”

Lady Jade provides some world building context: many of Lord Jade’s caravans are being rob/extorted by mercenary companies. He’s been pushing on the city council to act.

Lord Jade’s putting together a small security force of dwarves. They’re armed and he’s training them. Lord Jade was a moneylender with shady past.

“Tell Lord Jade that Frederico’s your trusted messenger.”

Frederico’s going to use Forgery to craft a business card to help Lady Jade. Ob 1. Consequence is that Lord Jade is running the credentialed courier service and will be upset that Lady Jade’s not using it. Success but not enough for a linked test.

This Linked Test will go towards Lady Jade’s future Falsehood.

Frederico’s Going and Looking for Plans to Vadam

Frederico tests Law-wise, hoping to establish the fact that you can get plans from an office. Failure consequence is that this office doesn’t exist. But Frederico’s successful, with style!

And with a bit of charm, he gets the plans.

We’re All Together

Frederico shares that he’s building a private army of dwarves, to deal with the mercenaries stealing stuff. Also, Frederico doesn’t know how to cook, so he won’t be joining the staff at Adriano’s party.

Ansidora shares about Old Roanie and asks that Antonius add Ginna to the painting she’s commissioned from Antonius.

Here Antonius tries to renegotiate their previous arrangement, and we engage in a Duel of Wits.

Antonius’s Statements of Purpose is: “Ansidora will arrange a meeting with her, Old Roanie, and myself before I even put paint to canvas for her Tumul. After all, if Scintallante burns, so does her TumTum.”

And Ansidora’s is “You’re trying to renege on a contract. You’ll buy back my stuff from Vadam, paint Ginna and Tumul, and then I will take you to Old Roanie.”

Both Ansidora and Antonius are primed for Duel of Wits. Each has a B6 Will and a B5 in their primary skill: Haggling and Coarse Persuasion. Antonius starts with a 7 Body of Argument. Ansidora spends 3 Persona (in service of a Belief) and starts with a 13 Body of Argument.

We resolve the Duel of Wits; Antonius loses and Ansidora has 6 remaining in her Body of Argument}. I forgot to use this as an opportunity to start opening more of Antonius’s skills.

Concession: Antonius apologizes and offers to buy the Family Chronicles. Counter Offer: Ansidora counter-offers that the painting doesn’t have to be first, but Ansidora wants her stuff back before they meet Old Roanie. That is the binding agreement.

Ansidora Meeting with Stavros

Ansidora’s tries to track down Stavros, an Ob2 Circles test. She fails, and we invoke the Enmity Clause: Vadam has already gotten to Stavros

Stavros is working at an excavation of Hartheld.

Ansidora drops an Ugly Truth: Vadam’s going to betray Stavros. Now true . This is an Ob1 plus an additional 2 difficulty because of the Enmity Clause. The failure consequence is that Stavros is going to bring this back to Vadam, and they’re going to actively work against Ansidora.

Success! Ansidora seeds in Stavros’s mind that Vadam will betray him.


Rune Casting is a powerful skill, and in a traditional Role Playing Game (RPG 📖), one might flinch at seeing a character’s beliefs. Instead it drew attention to off-camera situations. This added tremendous flavor.

I’m still on the fence as to whether I’d allow Rune Casting outside of the presence of someone. But as a table, we agreed that Ansidora could do this outside the presence of a character. And it’s proven to be quite good at nudging our campaign.

The Duel of Wits between Ansidora and Antonius helped bind the characters together. I also appreciated that process of establishing a compromise. The rule binding nature of Duel of Wits really helps cut out any lengthy in-character disagreements.

When in doubt, agreed to the stakes and consequences, then throw the dice.