My (real life) burning wheel game came to an end last night, and without getting into a long story that’s probably quite dull for people who weren’t involved in it, it has completely energised me!
Real life is out - the reason our game came to a close is because two of the four players are moving away next year and the other two are joining the formula one circus and will spend so much time travelling that we just won’t get the time to play anymore.
So play by forum is it for me for now - and as much as I’m loving Pendragon, and hopefully you are too, I don’t get the writing itch scratched - I can come up with subplots and mini adventures all day long, but I enjoy more than anything writing campaigns, and it just so happens, I’ve got one ready!
What I plan to do is allocate time to each main game - this one and Pendragon - I’ll start with alternating days and on that games day, I will give it close attention, have the books out etc - while the other game I’ll answer questions I know and light attention, but nothing too in depth, unless there are special circumstances or a crisis.
I’ve actually run a full month this way already to check that it works out OK - simply because after my mini grand prix travelling adventure, I was so behind I had to work intensively to catch up and I found that a day on and a day off was working well for me - I had a day where I could glance at the site and do the minimum, then a day where I was into the game while I pared back on my rendering and editing schedule - I feel this is sustainable without risking burnout and the game is getting plenty of play, so I’m confident when work returns to normal, I can run two games this way.
So what’s the game I’ve got planned?
There are some details to be confirmed, but the bulk of it is ready - It’s a game about a great hero, your employer, Conchubhar the Paladin (pronounced Con-coo-Var - with the c of coo being silent - Con-oo-var). He’s roamed the world and saved countess innocents, earned immortality from the gods, become an icon of the free world and celebrated everywhere he goes. He agreed to travel to The Night Isle, a place of myth and mystery, known only to the Elven Corsairs and the Orcish traders as a half way point between the human and dwarven lands and their own lands far across the sea.
The Orcs, who own it have sold the Southern part of the Island to King Bastian of Mankind, and the good king intends to settle the lands. The early waves of settlers have already crossed, and reports are positive, the lands are plentiful, life is - as far as it can be on the frontier - good!
The Hero, Conchubhar is to cross over and live there, he is to aid the settlers, keep them safe - as their numbers swell, they will attract the attention of dangers.
There is another, true reason the King is sending the Hero away. In his last adventure, to save the King’s son, Prince Kasper, the Hero fought a fell enemy, and was cursed in defeat. The monster had no intention of keeping the Prince, he was just the bait. The true intention was to lay the curse on the hero, and with his demise into ruin, so the humans would squabble and loose the strength of their unity.
Only you and the King know the truth, and you must keep it that way.
You are to cross with Conchubhar, settle him into the Fortress that has been build for him in a secluded spot, well away from prying eyes and do everything in your power to do deeds in his name, all while keeping his secret - that the Paladin has lost his mind, and can barely get himself out of his bed.
What deeds you choose to do - that really depends on who you turn out to be - and in character creation you literally generate your work history, so maybe you are the paladin’s baker. Maybe his apprentice. Maybe your deeds will be to keep the settlers safe with your sword in the wilderness, or maybe with your words in the council chamber. Maybe you will delve into ancient ruins and discover the secrets of the island, maybe mapping the coasts for the next villagers to settle. Or far more likely, a little of all of the above.
This world is not quite a Tolkein high fantasy. You know the Elves to be a dangerous and unpredictable people. They build the finest ships and the best weapons, and they do not use their advantages to keep the peace - they raid coasts and retreat to their hideaways. Legends proliferate of hidden pirate treasures, wealth beyond imagination buried and forgotten to all but those who hold the map to find them.
Yet Elves have a secret, their lives are blighted by grief, sorrow and sadness, against which every elf will one day lose their battle with. They live ageless lives, and can appear disconnected from the world and one day, they will all give up hope for good.
Orcs meanwhile are great merchants and traders. Once they did war endlessly with the elves, far away from human lands on their own continent but that was in the depths of history. It was Orcs who first crossed the Great Ocean, found the human tribes and traded with them. It is Orcs alone whose ships can withstand the corsairs and it is Orcs who founded the great trading cities along the known coasts of the lands.
Orcs too hold a great secret, a darkness in their hearts. There are very few elderly orcs, and they never reveal as to why, despite their mostly peaceful lives.
Dwarfs and Humans are as one people, where you find men, you also find their cousins the dwarfs. At least, that’s what everyone thinks. The truth is that men and dwarfs are as different inside as chalk and cheese. Dwarfs have a seed that grows into a greed, an avarice that means if they don’t get what they desire, they can cut a bloody swath through the land, while humans have seemingly mastered their minds through faith and can perform miracles.
Interested? All you need to do right now is choose a concept - Conchuvhar recruited his household from everyone, everywhere, from every creed and from every level of society.
Example: (I’m The Paladin’s shoe-shine, an ex-elven corsair who now finds happiness in this simple service):
Then tell me, if you are a dwarf, were you born into one of the great city clans who vie with each other, a guild perhaps, into the family of an artificer, or into nobility
Perhaps you are an elf, if so tell me, were you born on the high seas on one of the great ships, in a corsair citadel on a wild island far from anywhere. Perhaps you were born into leadership, a Pirate Prince, or maybe you were one of the wild elves who live on the land, on the forests.
If you are a man, perhaps you were born into a peasant family, or were you a villager - or a city dweller in your childhood. Perhaps you were a noble’s child, a slave from before they were freed by Conchubhar
For your first character, no orcs, they are special!