Burning Locusts: Session 10

A Few Dossiers, a Street Chase, and a Warning from a Concerned Friend

Note: This post has content disclaimers.

Burning Locusts: Session 10 is a game session report for Burning Wheel Gold. We played via Discord and Roll20 on .

The person playing Ansidora was out this week. We played without her.

Frederico and Antonius Meet with Alfanso

The scene occurs on 4912-12-24.

Having learned that Alfanso likely knew how to find Lucianno, Antonius and Frederico head to Alfanso’s office; a non-descript simple office.

In session 7 during Adriano Faraldo’s party, Frederico connected with Alfanso, who agreed to pay Frederico to recover some of his debts.

Frederico and Alfanso get down to business; Alfanso gives three packets of documents to Frederico. Each packet details folks who owe him money:

  • Ginna (3D of Cash)
  • Lucianno (2D of Cash)
  • Adriano Faraldo (4D of Cash)

In session 2 we learn about Ginna dating Tumol, Ansidora’s son. And in session 3, Ansidora meets with Ginna assessing that she’s a good match for Tumol.

Alfanso reiterates that he doesn’t want to see people roughed up, he simply wants his money back.

Alfanso turns and asks why Lord Antonius de Mari has paid a visit. Antonius mentions that he’s also looking for Lucianno.

Alfanso mentions that a dwarven man in a green coat came looking for Lucianno; Antonius describes Captain Jarek. Alfanso confirms that was the dwarf.

Antonius and Frederico read the packet on Lucianno. Alfanso hired some men to track down Lucianno. He lives in an abandoned building in the Chutes district of Scintillante. They skim the other packets, and decide to gear up to head to the Chutes

Frederico and Antonius Track down Lucianno

The scene occurs on 4912-12-24.

With bombings and growing civil unrest, those in Scintillante with means are now wearing armor. Antonius dons his reinforced leather and Frederico his light mail and head to the Chutes. A district where we establish, through a failed Law-wise test, that the city guards of Scintillante don’t patrol. As they enter the Chutes, Antonius is on the look out for someone he previously met. Someone that might help them be a bit more discreet as they track down Lucianno. He’s looking for help on a Streetwise test. Antonius attempts to Circle Up this person. It’s an Obstacle (Ob 📖) 4, and even with Antonius’s Call-on trait of “savvy”, he fails. The consequences are he recognized a performer, talked briefly with them, but was getting no where. And the performer chooses to tail them and maybe cause some grief.

Antonius and Frederico are trying to look like they belong here. Their intent is to not tip off Lucianno and avoid undue attention in these dangerous parts. This is a Beginner’s Luck Streetwise test for Antonius. Frederico helps with his Streetwise. The base Ob is 4; doubled to Ob 8 due to Beginner’s Luck. Then increased further by the prior failure of the Circles Linked Test. It won’t track as a test to open Streetwise)}}}. But maybe with a bit of luck Antonius can secure a coveted Perception test? Failure. In trying to blend in, Antonius and Frederico draw the attention of four sketchy looking tough teenagers, and the performer joins that group. The group accosts Antonius and Frederico. With five against two, they demand Antonius and Frederico hand over their money.

Frederico looking around for guards, tries to calls for help, but there is no. Frederico attempts to use Guard-wise to establish that there’s regular guard patrols in the Chutes. Failure, and we establish that the city watch doesn’t patrol the Chutes. Antonius draws a deep breath and speaks to the toughs. His intent is to avoid violence. With Oratory he first offers to buy them all a nice meal.

He succeeds, and the five toughs say, “Just give us some money and we’ll get out of your hair.”

Antonius tosses two small purses of silver their way.

And as this is going down, Frederico notices Lucianno a few dozen paces down an alley. Locking eyese with Frederico, Lucianno takes off running.

The chase is on. We break out Burning Wheel Gold (BWG 📖), turning to page 531; The Chase is On.

We start with an opposed Speed test. And it’s a tie. Frederico’s light mail reduced our dice pool by one.

Running through the Chutes, we now test Forte. And Lucianno wins, avoiding capture.

Sucking wind, and breathing hard, Frederico and Antonius look around. It’s been almost 2 decades since Antonius has previously been to the Chutes.

Feeling a moment slipping, Antonius begins canvassing the Chutes. This is a Circles test, with the intention of finding Lucianno. It’s an Ob 6 test, but Antonius only digs out 5 successes.

Failure, with the consequences being that Lucianno slips away to a safehaven with fellow insurrectionists. Further Lucianno knows Antonius is looking for him.

Antonius and Frederico Seek out Biago Regarding Their First Trip to the Chutes

The scene occurs on 4912-12-25.

In Burning Locusts: Session 5, Antonius asked Biagio to track down a lawyer who might help expose and exploit the contractual loophole.

Biagio had previously attempted to Circle Up a lawyer, but failed invoking the Enmity Clause.

As we cut into this scene, the Game Master (GM 📖) resolved an off camera situation; an Extortion test made by this new “enemy” of Biagio. The Extortion test failed.

Maccio, Frederico, and Antonius head to Villa di Bartolo to talk with Biagio. Antonius wants to both update Biagio and check-in on the status of Biagio finding a lawyer.

Biagio went looking for a lawyer. And they’re trying to pull up stuff from his past. They don’t want to do business with the counselor. Grace from the High Collared gang; they go after slavers but also anyone in power.

Antonius wishes to establish that Lucianno is part of the High Collared gang; with the intention being that he doesn’t want another faction gnawing away at the bones of Scintillante. The GM sets an Ob 4 Gang-wise test; with Beginner’s Luck that’s an Ob 8. Failure, Lucianno’s not connected to the High Collared gang, which establishes that there is at least two dangerous factions.

Antonius provides Biagio with a brief recap of the details of the party. You can read about them in Burning Locusts: Session 6 and Burning Locusts: Session 7. Antonius recounts the trip into the Chutes and discovery of what was appeared to be a somewhat fortified stronghold.

Biagio, we may need some decisive action,” says Antonius as he looks at Maccio for approval to continue.

Maccio nods in approval, and Antonius continues, “With the men from the Stalwart Company, Lucianno’s arson, and this stronghold, there’s something larger going on.”

Biagio acknowledges all of this and then begins talking of the even more dire circumstances.

“The city has long used mercenary companies for it’s security efforts, and even the watch is hopelessly entwined with the companies. Which is why, Lord Jade’s private security detail may be the best hope,” says Biagio as he continues.

Lord Jade has been looking for his men to be the security detail of the city. But the other council members require convincing. Perhaps Lord Jade’s private security detail could handle this, act in an investigative capacity.”

With the mention of investigative capacity, Frederico volunteers to help an investigator. He asks for police powers. A goal of Frederico’s.

Antonius hearing this angle, begins haggling with Biagio. “You know, we could work with Lord Jade. Give Frederico these powers, he’s resourceful and we could route out these insurrectionists.”

This would have been a delicious Duel of Wits but thus far we’ve only invoked this subsystem once. We’re quite content with a single dice roll determining these things.

Task
Frederico is trying to Persuade Biago.
Intent
Frederico wants to secure police powers.
Consequences
Biagio will reject outright, will remember a rumour about Frederico being part of the thieves guild, and will begin keeping an eye on him.
Obstacle
Ob 6; Biagio’s Will exponent.
Dice
With the help of Antonius and some Artha, Frederico brings 10 dice.
Result
Failure by one. But there was a 6. Alas, Frederico had no Fate to spend. Biagio looked poorly at Frederico.

Antonius looks to Frederico in consternation. And Biagio emplores Antonius to dissociate with this guy, “He’s cooking up an angle on you.”

Frederico tries to further evade and lie, but fails. “Get out of here,” howls Biagio; in essence Frederico has established an Enmity Clause with Biagio.

And Biagio is angered with Antonius.

With contrition, Antonius says, “Biagio, you are right and I’m sorry. You know me. I’m always looking at how a new recruit might help the company. You are my most trusted friend, and I take your advice to heart.”

“You hang around that guy he’s going to screw you over,” says Biagio.

“What would you have me do?” asks Antonius

Antonius, you are a man of action. You should be recruiting. We need you. Lord Jade is bank rolling this. His caravans are getting robbed. He’s recruiting dwarves. But he’s a banker not a captain.”

“We need to prove the Green Cloaks can handle a situation,” says Biagio.

Reflections

This was a pulse pounding roller coaster, in which we as a table helped craft meaningful and toothy consequences.

The Guard-wise failure increased the potential desparation of parts of Scintillante.

The failed Circles to find Lucianno establisehd that there is an insurrectionist stronghold in the Chutes.

And then the failure to connect Lucianno to the High Collared gang via a Gang-wise test means that instead of having one faction pointed against Scintillante’s interests, we have at least two.

These fiction building tests continue to color, shape, and fill-in the fictional reality of the campaign’s situation. I’m to the point where I am looking to bring Wises and Circles into any Role Playing Game (RPG 📖) that I run. These generative procedures really help me as a player feel deeply invested in Scintillante and the game we’re playing.

Further, I’m loving that the GM is pausing the action and resolving off-camera situations in the open. The GM shares a summary of what’s at stake, we might nudge the consequences a bit. And then they throw the dice.

The effect? The GM is sharing their vision of the world. This both shapes player knowledge and by extension shapes character behavior. After all, I as a player don’t know what it’s like for Antonius to move about his day. However, as I play Antonius my player knowledge informs how Antonius acts.

In otherwords, my knowledge can be rationalized as Antonius’s intuition that he’s developed living in Scintillante.

BWG’s chase procedures are exceptional. The rules are simple, building from the precedences of Let it Ride and Help. They provide a meaningful mechanism for transitions.

And we witnessed the detremental aspects of wearing armor; namely a reduced Speed and Ob for Forte tests. To twist the old Scoobie Doo quote: “He wouldn’t have gotten away if it hadn’t been for this blasted armor.”

Finally, we watched as a relationship triangle developed between Biagio, Antonius, and Frederico. This is an interesting challenge. Frederico and Antonius are Player Characters (PCs 📖) and Biagio’s an Non-Player Character (NPC 📖).

To address this contrition and still “keep the party together”, I know that I’ll need to point Antonius’s beliefs at Frederico.