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


I’m kinda scared… It’s 100 barrels!


True. On one hand… Jarek can’t palm 100 barrels of salt. The five of us can’t transport that on foot. But we could steal a ship? While Jarek is open for a little larceny, that might be a tall order.

On the other hand… We are supposed to be doing good in the Paladin’s name. That is a pretty overt crime and would probably have repercussions later.


@UllinBethalto is already saying “Be your best self Jarek!”


Correction, Warran is internally screaming “FIND YOUR INNER STRENGTH JAREK!”

I already have a good story idea on how Warran lost/thought he lost the note… if it is needed.

I could go with it if everyone else wants to. If we are a bit indecisive about it, we could build a poll. I was going to, but doing so on this phone might be a bit tricky…

  • We have the note
  • We forgot the note
  • Easy either way

0 voters


Delivery is surely part of the contract?


It has to be unanimous, so someone is going to have to be brave and take responsibility for the note!


Aulexis grabbed it! (Though she didn’t make a fuss about it at the time)

She certainly has the confidence to barter…


Am I the only one that read this and instantly thought of a lowlying market like Venice but with more holes in the floor?

Oops, dropped my salt, that’s gone forever.

The children splashing in the water are literally eroding my profits!

Now you’ve brought your salt, would you care to buy insurance it’ll make it to dry land?

Reading on I see that’s unlikely, with large ships but I thought it was amusing enough.


What stat would be used in a ‘Duel of Wit’s’? Or is there normally a specific skill?

Duel of wits rules (Work in Progress!!)

Wit, acumen and elocution are to the world of business, politics and religion what swords, fire and agility are to the world of war. In negotiations, a character might find their only way forward is with the tools of speech.

The Duel of wits is an extended conflict mechanic used to resolve debate and argument in the game (and at the table!!) Characters use verbal attacks and manoeuvres to overpower and destroy their opponents arguments and make themselves appear to all witnesses, correct.

Duel of wits is not mind control. You might convince an audience, you might compel a character agree to something, but you can’t force a change of opinion on another.

Your main duelling skills are Coarse Persuasion, Oratory, Rhetoric, Persuasion, Interrogation, Religious Diatribe and Stentorious Debate.

Etiquette, Falsehood, Ugly Truth, Seduction, Soothing Platitudes, Conspicuous, Command and Intimidation have supporting roles.

  1. Statement of purpose

To begin a duel of wits, there must be two sides willing to defend their disparate positions. Each side must clearly and succinctly state it’s case.

e.g. ‘We saved you on the road, you owe us and paying for a guide is how you will pay us back’ and ‘You may have saved me on the road, but I have given you a great deal of information in return. I owe you nothing.’

  1. Agree to the Terms

Once the statement of purposes are set out, next you agree the terms of victory, e.g.

‘If we win, you will accompany us to the docks, and negotiate a guide for us’
‘If I win, then I will not help you out’

Most duel of wits will result in some form of compromise between the two.

2.5. Walking away

You can’t ever be forced into a duel of wits, you can always choose to walk away. However your opponant then controls the outcome.

  1. Body of Argument

Rather than shed blood or break bones, in a duel of wits we undermine points and damage ego’s. The body of Argument represents the strength of your position at the start of the debate. Once the cases have been made clear, each side of the duel tests their skill from the following list: Course Persuasion, Interrogation, Oratory, Persuasion, Poisonous Platitudes, Rhetoric, or Stentorious Debate. The number of successes rolled is added to your Will to give your Body of Argument total.

If you don’t have one of these skills, instead test against Will, but two successes are needed to make one Body of Argument point. This then is added to your Will.

The goal of the duel is to reduce your opponants body of argument to 0.

3.5 Big Deal? / Not a Big Deal?

If it’s a big deal in the game, the GM can simply add the Will to the Skill to create a longer debate.
If it’s not a big deal, then the GM can only use the Will as the score.

  1. Traits

There are many traits which come into effect during a duel of wits, this is the time to bring them up.

  1. The Duel itself! Choose your Volleys

The duel consists of rounds, called Exchanges.

Each Exchange consists of three Volleys.
After each Exchange, if one side’s body of Argument is 0 or lower, that side has lost.

At the start of each exchange, both sides will, in secret choose their three volleys for that Exchange.

Then, each volley is resolved in turn, with each being roleplayed!

Each volley can choosen from the following actions:

Verbal Attack Actions:

  • Point (Course Pursuasion, Interrogation, Oratory, Persuasion, Poisonous Platitudes, Rhetoric, Stentorious Debate, Suasion) Hammer away using your statement of purpose and related points
  • Dismiss (Course Persuasion, Command, Intimidation, Oratory, Religious Diatribe, Rhetoric, Stentorious Debate, Ugly Truth) Loudly declare that your opponent knows nothing about the topic at hand!

Verbal Defence Options

  • Avoid the Topic (Will) The player must veer off the topic, even to the point of sounding desperate or riddiculous
  • Obfuscate (Falsehood, Oratory, Poisonous Platitudes, Rhetoric, Religious Diatribe, Soothing Platitudes, Stentorious Debate, Suasion, Ugly Truth) _Obfuscate is a verbal block. Present some bizzare unrelated point, or a non sequitur in an attempt to confuse or distract.
  • Rebuttal (Extortion, Interrogation, Oratory, Persuasion, Poisonous Platitudes, Rhetoric, Stentorious Debate, Suasion) Refute your opponent’s attack, while making a fresh point

Special Verbal Actions

  • Feint (Extortion, Falsehood, Interrogation, Persuasion, Poisonous Platitudes, Religious Diatribe, Rhetoric, Soothing Platitudes, Seduction) Lead the opponent into a trap, let him think he is discussing one point until the hidden barb is revealed
  • Incite (Course Persuasion, Command, Extortion, Falsehood, Intimidation, Seduction, Ugly Truth) With an acid tongue or biting wit, attempt to distract or disarray the opponent.

Magic Actions* - We will cover these when they become relevant
Hesitation Actions** - We will cover these when they become relevant too!

  1. Play Volleys

We now have both sides with their three volleys chosen for the current exchange, but in secret. Working through each volley in turn, each action is compared, and resolved.

Point - In a Standard test, subtract your successes from your opponent’s body of argument, in a vs test, subtract the margin if you win from their body of argument. This is the way to win debates!

Dismiss - +2D to the skill. In a Standard test, subtract each success rolled from the body of argument. In a vs test, subtract the winning margin from their Body of Argument. If you do not defeat them in this volley, you must hesitate for the next volley.

Avoid - Avoid Successes are subtracted from your opponent’s Point, Obfuscate or Incite Successes. Never suffers penalty for stat vs skill.

Obfuscate - Tested vs everything. If the Obfuscate wins, the opponent loses their current action. If the Obfuscator exceeds his Ob, then the opponent suffers +1 Ob to his next action. If the Obfuscator loses the vs test, then the opponents action goes off and the opponent gains +1D to his next action.

Rebuttal - When making a rebuttal, you divide your dice between attack and defence. This division happens before the opponent rolls, and you must put at least one die in each pool. Any penalties to the action are applied to both pools. Any bonuses to only one. Successes from the defence pool are subtracted from the opponent’s successes. Successes from the attack pool reduce your opponent’s body of argument

Feint - Bypasses Rebuttal and attacks Feint, Incite and Obfuscate. In a Std Test, each success subtracts from your opponent’s body of argument. In a Vs Test, margin of success is subtracted from your opponent’s body of argument.

Incite - In a Std test, the Ob is equal to the victim’s Will. If the inciting player passes or wins a vs test, the victim must make a steel test or hesitate.

To answer your specific question, Will is a relevant Stat

The Main Skills involved are: Coarse Persuasion, Oratory, Rhetoric, Persuasion, Interrogation, Religious Diatribe and Stentorious Debate

Support Skills are: Etiquette, Falsehood, Ugly Truth, Seduction, Soothing Platitudes, Conspicuous, Command and Intimidation

The only one of you who has any one of the main skills is Aulexis who has command, the rest of you will be relying on beginners luck for all of them (But if you don’t get into debates, you will not get many chances to open those skills, so still something to consider, even if a loss is likely)


It’s a lot more complicated to write than it is to understand. My suggestion is to dive into some without trying to get to grips with the rules, and I’ll ensure that they are all pretty low stakes until you know the rules!


Jarek has conspicuous, so that would help too.


Is one of the Elf traits related to duel of wits? I think I am undoubtedly mis-remembering something…


Only if you are an elf who has taken a lifepath including slaying one of your own kin - then you get the trait ‘Slayer’, are hunted by your own people which grants you +1D to Intimidate.


(Aulexis has killed a couple elves, or by ‘kin’ do you mean direct relatives?)


If it’s not mandatory for a lifepath (all the lifepaths that would have awarded it are in lifepaths that you need to unlock!), then it would have cost 4 points to buy, which I remember you didn’t have quite that many? Elves kill elves, and you’ve taken the consequence for that already in the form of your high grief, but to be marked as a slayer, it has to be something that would distinguish the act as particularly repugnant and ostracise you from the community.


Yeah, I see it as ‘typical pirate business’ more than ‘shocking killings’


I mean, if you really want it, I’m sure killing one of the very few Marsh Elves left would count :wink: Joking! PvP is only ever with consent in my games!


let me edit that post!


Is our note for goods or a monetary amount? If a good guide can save you more than their fee, can we negotiate to give him the difference?