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Discuss: The Paladin's Secret- PbFG (The Burning Wheel)


Yep, this is a big part of the game, your beliefs, instincts and traits are not only what drives your game - how you decide what your character will do and what your character will be rewarded for, it tells me how to present to you situations that you can earn rewards in! Say we’re playing a murder mystery, and while solving the puzzle might be fun, but your characters will earn little for doing so - now if I have you solving a murder mystery, while bleeding out - you can earn the valuable and rare experience because we are addressing that belief. Even better is when I can put two of your beliefs into conflict with each other. What if Jarek is trying to give you a potion to remove your pain - his newly discovered caring side is coming out - what do you do then - that’s a bit of a contrived example, but that’s the burning wheel!

Traits next

You have the trait:

Call of the Sea

and two more points to spend - tell us some more about Aulexis, and I shall compile a short(ish) list of traits to choose from!


Description and further backstory, tell me if I need to change anything. Sorry if this is too melodramatic. Normally I make characters with little to no trauma in their backstories! Honest!

Aulexis is tall, with very pale skin and dark, piercing eyes. She likes to keep her luxurious raven hair long, and is fond of big flamboyant coats and much jewelry, though she keeps such things to herself, now.

She was raised a cold-blooded killer by her father, but she was always trying to make her own way. He never seeked power, but as soon as she tasted it she was hooked. She bullied and murdered her way to the top, finally becoming captain after staging a mutiny and hanging the previous captain from the yard-arm. She allowed the uninvolved members of the crew to join her, or be dumped into the open sea without ceremony.

She went almost mad during her time as captain. Revelling in the power over life she now had, she treated others as worthless, yet her charisma and fearlessness continued to draw other bloodthirsty corsairs to her service. She became famous in the region for personally torturing captives, and she earned a measure of grudging respect from the other corsairs, despite her backhanded rise to power.

She had a passionate marriage (performed by herself, a subject of secret mockery amongst the crew) with a member of her crew, the former Boatswain. This was short lived. He was captured in a poorly executed night attack on a fort, and was executed on the wall at dawn, just out of reach.

She was devastated, and the feeling of invulnerability finally broke. She blamed herself for his death, but the pain she felt awoke a long dormant conscience with an almost physical blow. How many times had she made others feel this same unbearable pain?

She withdrew to her cabin, screaming and cursing at herself, and didn’t come out until she was dragged out by the crew of a rival ship. The captain she had murdered (and forgotten about) had a brother, who was waiting for just such a moment of weakness. Her crew didn’t even put up a fight - she wasn’t the same person anymore.

She was tortured publicly, and was to be executed in a grand style, but she managed to catch the guard unaware and escape. This surprised her, because she was sure that she deserved to die, but found that she was actually very much determined to live. She decided that she needed to atone for her sins, and that she needed the help of someone very saintly to do so, so she sought out the Paladin.

She’s very much toned down from her days of being a corsair, and though she still has the firmness of command in her voice, she rarely raises it. She’s polite and demure when others are around, but when nobody’s watching she mumbles foul phrases in elvish, sits in indecent poses (for a genteel lady), and hums strange ballads.

Was that helpful?


Absolutely helpful, yes!

OK, you have 2 points to spend:

Character Traits - cost 1 point each

Curses like a sailor
Drop Dead Gorgeous
Woman of few Words
Other Life
Prominent Scar (Cut off Ears or Wedding ring finger, or other of your choice)
Remarkable Flatulence
Seen it all
Strong Willed
Weight of the World

Call-On Traits

Booming Voice - 2 Points - Call-on for Conspicuous, Oratory or Command
Dreadful - 2 points - Call on for Intimidation and Interrogation
Driven - 2 points - Call on for skill of your choice that is related to a goal in your beliefs
Sea Legs - 2 points - Call on for speed aboard a ship. Does not get seasick

Die Traits

Alert - 2 points - Brings benefits to aim or to assess the situation when your hesitation would otherwise leave you unable to do anything
Cold Blooded - 2 Points - Reduces hesitation for death, violence and pain
Cool Headed - 2 points - Reduce hesitation for surprise and fear
Exile - 2 points - +1D to starting Grief 1D infamous reputation among Elves
Tough - 2 Points - May round up when determining Mortal Wound Attribute
World Weary - 1 point - Reduce Hesitation attribute by one, but increase grief by one


I will have to sleep on this one! So much good stuff!!


I think she tries to obscure her level of Corsair-ness as much as possible, so I’ll go with things she can’t put a glove on (and I think will be fun):

Drop Dead Gorgeous


The poor men in the paladin’s household! Between Aulexis and Kasia (The captain, not your West Marches character) they don’t stand a chance!

You also get the following traits for being an elf:

Elven Traits

Born under the Silver Stars (Those who look upon the Elves with clear eyes, there shimmers an unmistakable halo, like white light through a gossamer veil, like stars shimmering at night) Char

Essence of the Earth (Elves do not feel the effects of earthly cold or heat as do Men; they do not fall ill; they are ageless and will only pass on when the Earth ends. Elves do not have to take health tests for illness and they gain +1D to Health and Forte tests for resisting poison and fatigue. Yet they are not deathless, elves may be killed due to violence or may waste away from grief) Dt

Fair and Statuesque (Elves are fair and beautiful to all who look upon them. The elven form inclines toward tall and slender, rounded by graceful curves) Char

First Born (Elves are made from the very fabric of nature - wind, air, wood and water. Thus they know it’s secrets very well: They know to preserve much of it’s power - even when it is taken and shaped into something new. It is this intimate knowledge that allows the Elves to weave their songs. Their unadulterated essence grants them insight into their world unmatched by the other races. Due to this, Elves’ Perception maximum is 9, their other stats cap at 8. Their stride is also 8) Dt

Grief (Years of emotion and strife take their toll, and eventually all elves begin to feel Grief tug at their hearts) Dt

Keen Sight (Like Eagles, Elves can see great distances with perfect clarity. Add +1D to all Perception and Observation based field manoeuvres for range and cover or any perception test involving seeing long distances. Bonus GM kudos points for using “my elf eyes see” without making everyone groan. Elves may also see in starlight as if it were day. They suffer no obstacle penalties for dim light. Smoke and haze and complete darkness still bar their vision) Dt

The following is not a trait, but just a rule that applies to elves:

Care of the Eternal (Elves have time and patience to work more carefully than any other people. Therefore, elven characters may claim the working carefully bonus twice +2D to a test, at the cost of doubling the time spent. Conversely, Elves may never work quickly. This applies to skills, skill songs and spell songs)

I think in your background you’ve answered nearly every question that needs answering to work out your attributes, only outstanding:

Have you ever been severely wounded?
Did your torture continue over time, or was it a single incident? (I’ll leave it up to you to interpret - a single incident may mean an hour of continuous, or it might mean a couple of goes over a week or so - over time is meant to represent months and years - but your might come under that, entirely your choice!)
Have you ever given birth to a child?


Severely wounded: broken ribs when she was dragged out of her cabin and thrown down the stairs. Otherwise she’s avoided what she would consider serious harm - but she’s accumulated a ton of cuts, burns, and bruises.

Her torture took place over 3 days, so not long term, but certainly horrible enough.

No births!


So, your attributes are:

Health: B6
Steel: B7
Grief: B5
Reflexes: B5

Superficial Wound: B3
Light Wound: B5
Midi Wound: B7
Severe Wound: B8
Traumatic Wound: B9
Mortal Wound: B10

explaination of what these stats mean

Health: Health is fairly self explanatory, it’s your resistance to ill health or poison, it helps you recover from your wounds.

Steel:Steel is an attribute that represents your nerves, you will need to test it when startled or shocked by surprise, fear, pain or wonderment

Hesitation: This represents your speed to react.

Reflexes: This is all about how often you can act in a fight

Grief is the emotional attribute of the Elves, from the toll of living ageless lives. Grief works like any other skill in how it “improves” but for an elf, when you reach Grief 10, then you can no longer tolerate this world and will fade and die of a broken heart. Grief manifests itself in many different ways - sadness, bitterness, anger, but very few elves show it willingly to others. After every adventure, we will work through all the things that happened to cause you grief and test against your current level to see if it increases. In some circumstances, you can draw from your grief - at the cost of risking advancing it.

Wounds don’t deduct from a pool of hit points, rather each wound is tracked individually. When you take one, I will tell you the value of that wound - what that means to your character is individual - to Kaelin, a B4 wound is a light wound, but to a different character this might be a superficial wound.

For context, a superficial wound is a deep cut, a hard bump or bruise, a bad scrape.
A light wound is a bad burn or a fracture, a cracking knock, broken toes, a missing ear or a bad gut punch
A midi wound is a broken arm, ribs or leg, yanked muscles, missing digits and massive cuts
A Severe wound is shattered bones, horrible burns, torn limbs, internal bleeding
Traumatic wounds include missing limbs, disembowelment, third degree burns and shattered ribcages.
Mortal well, decapitation, a good knock on the skull, shot in the heart etc.

Resources next, and you have 27 resource points to spend. Resource points are used to “buy” gear, relationships, affiliations and reputation - leftover points are worthless though we can work something out if you have the odd one left.

Nice and simple, pay the resources, get the thing! Don’t forget shoes!


You can spend some of your resources to start with a relationship. Do you know someone, or did you bring someone with you. Conchubhar’s household is limited, because the members of it are where new characters will be drawn from, so it’s kept reasonably vague, but Conchubhar has three Captains, maybe you want to have a relationship with one of them. If so tell us who they are and who they are to you. Conchubhar is off limits himself, you get a free relationship with him, he loves all his people in the way only a paladin can.

Relationships cost:

15 resource points - A character who is considered powerful and who plays a large role in the game setting.

10 - A character who is considered significant or important in the game setting (Conchubhar’s captains are here)

5- A character who plays a minor role in the setting

There are no insignificant relationships, if you’ve spent the points, you have told us all that this relationship is significant!

If you want to reduce the cost of the relationships, you can introduce complications to the nature of the relationship, you can reduce the cost of them to a minimum of 1 resource point.

Immediate family members are -2 rps
Other family (aunts, uncles etc) are -1 rps
Relationships involving bonds of romantic love are -2 rps
Forbidden relationships are -1 rps
relationships that are hateful, rivalries, or extremely unfriendly to the character are -2 rps


If you want power in a group or organisation, then you need to spend resources to have it. I’m going to strongly suggest all players skip over this until we establish some organisations in the world! You get a free, but meaningless in game terms affiliation with the Paladin’s household.


The characters reputation refers to his renown and influence. Reputations are governed by their scope and how broadly you can apply it:

Local or minor - the fastest kid on the street or the village drunk, the neighbourhood thug, the knowledgeable guide - this level of reputation will cost you 7 rps

Regional or notable - an old war hero, a religious figurehead, a well known elven wanderer, a famous army captain, a lord, a notorious bandit, a famous entertainer - this level of reputation will cost you 25rps

National or Major - a munificent baron or duke, a wealthy magnate, an infamous sorcerer, a kingdoms undefeated military leader, the head of a massive public business, the tyrannical leader of the countries religion, the king - these reputations will cost 45 rps.


Elven Arms -15 (spear and dagger?)
Elven Clothes - 2
Elven Shoes - 1
Travelling Gear - 2
Minor Reputation among Corsairs - 7
“A disgraced captain.”


Are we mssing hesitation? I don’t see it listed in my attributes.


Sorry, Hesitation: 5


Also, you can buy Elven Arms for 5 resource points - thanks to your last lifepath being Sea Captain


So 10 left?

She managed to grab some of her Finery before she escaped (which she keeps hidden in her quarters) - 5

And a run of the mill bow - 5



Your Resources stat then is also B0, and your Circles stat is B2

You’ve done your beliefs, so onto instincts next!

Did you have any ideas?


I always have a knife to hand. If someone pulls a weapon on me I stab them.

I always say no at first to pleasures (but I regret it).

I always have problems with other people’s plans, though I’ll rarely say anything.


…How is this going to get you into trouble?



… Aulexis is going to be a handful, I think.


Nice! Those are all pretty solid!

We’re actually done then!

Does any player have any questions at all before I go ahead and open the game? Anything you’re not sure on?

Here’s some useful links for people:

Blank Character Sheets: https://www.dropbox.com/s/lqpqv26zfbxa3yb/2pgs_cs_r7_GOLD.pdf?dl=0

A supposedly editable character sheet, that I have never got to work: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ibt39zapqewz0g1/2pgs_cs_r7_GOLD_editable_sheet.pdf?dl=0

The free copy of the rulebook that goes through a lot of the core of the game: https://www.dropbox.com/s/irvdvsf2despogd/bwg_hub_spokes.pdf?dl=0

And here’s your filled out character sheets, (excuse my writing!) don’t worry about any part of it you don’t understand, we’ll get there - but if there is a part of the game you would really like to learn about before we get started (excluding corruption :wink: ) then just ask!

Aulexis: https://www.dropbox.com/s/6k1khiwr60w63tc/Character%20-%20Aulexis.pdf?dl=0

Jarek: https://www.dropbox.com/s/43wc16o8ganszwo/Character%20-%20Jarek.pdf?dl=0

Kaelin: https://www.dropbox.com/s/6esbnloeeuib5w9/Character%20-%20Kaelin%20Reed.pdf?dl=0

Simon: https://www.dropbox.com/s/fadxotgmv5bgzdb/Character%20-%20Simon%20Tuesday.pdf?dl=0

Warran: https://www.dropbox.com/s/m00b339kjvb1hz4/Character%20-%20Warran.pdf?dl=0



I would just like to say, @Shades is super excited


I have a question.

If Simon has been on ship for many a year, might he have heard of another character?