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The Paladin’s Secret - A Play By Forum game of The Burning Wheel


Kaelin exchanges a nod of professional respect at Simon’s quick hands - clearly someone else used to vessels.


Simon looks the boat over, it’s a clinker design, overlapping slats that swell when the water is absorbed into the wood, sealing them together, watertight. The bailer is manual, so if you go fast, you can open it to let out water, too slow and you must remember to close it or the boat will flood. Everything is competently made, but with no care. The slats only line up neatly where they are required to to be waterproof, on the parts of the boat that don’t normally show, they are just thrown together so they will work, but were made as cheaply and easily as possible. There’s nothing wrong with the boat, it’s just, well, there’s nothing that particularly is special about it either.

The thing that stands out to Kaelin the most is that whoever built this cared so little for it’s creation that they left the nameplate blank.


…oh I know where this is going?

Any oars, spars or ropes?


The boat is fully rigged for sailing, a single triangular mainsail, a foresail and a small spinnaker and there are rowlocks and oars in a compartment


(( Still not perfect, but shows the full extent of the Saltmarshes on this map ))


Aulexis stands for a full 5 seconds staring at the blank nameplate, determining her course of action. A ramshackle tub is one thing, but this isn’t acceptable. Who doesn’t name their sodding boat? How unlucky. I’ll be damned if I sail a nameless boat.

Nobody’s said much so far, but she feels that this is important enough to deal with now, and breaks the silence.

“That’s strange, the nameplate’s blank.” She voices, sounding non-chalant. “Perhaps we should give her a name before we’re underway?”


Simon begins unpacking his woodcutters kit. “I can certainly carve a name. What shall it be?”


Rather than engaging in the discussion, Kaelin looks out to sea to judge the wind, tide and currents. Such a poorly constructed craft barely deserves a name, but if the others think it is important, then he will let them be.


She doesn’t take much time to think, just spits out something to cover the nameplate.
“Hopeful.” She states, after writing off ‘Hopeless’ in her head.
“Shall we shove off?”

Not wanting to stand out, she’ll try to do things a little more awkwardly than she normally would, and doesn’t presume to give orders. If absolutely no-one steps up to the plate, she’ll begin to suggest things as subtly as she can, but she hopes that everyone pretty much knows what they’re doing. When they’re well on their way she basks in the feeling of being on the waves again, and looks very comfortable.

So we’re coming from Castle Freystpool and heading across the water to Kings Port, then over land to Inchwick? Or will we take the more direct route and hoof it around the marshlands?


“Hopeful” Simon whips out a pencil, before using a small hand hatchet as a makeshift chisel and a small block as a hammer.

In 5 minutes the work is done.

“If I had more time I could heat the blade to char the wood, give it more definition. Maybe on our return?”


Warran watches as the name ‘Hopeful’ is carved out on the nameplate. He thinks to himself: Well, this will be good for identification purposes if someone tries to claim it for their own while we are with the caravan… “Maybe you should put your mark in the lower right corner Simon? Make it a bit more obvious for identification?” He asks.

He has his gear packed up securely and sets it in the boat along with Kasia’s walking stick. He looks it over and wonders if he would be able to wield it as a weapon if the need arises. He has only very basic weapons skills, but at least his build gives the impression otherwise.

When Simon mentions charring the wood with a heated blade, he pauses and contemplates whether he is willing to try again. I know the spell… But I just don’t think I can do it… I would like to try, but I do not want to embarrass myself in front of them just before pushing off… Perhaps, I can try when we return…

He looks over the boat again and says, “Well, I am no expert on these matters, but it should get across easily enough, with the right person sailing her. Perhaps, we could try to make some improvements to it when we return. Make it a little more… presentable. Who here has some experience sailing. My only experience has been as a passenger.”


Simon nods along, carving his small dwarvish signature next to the name.


Jarek set his face when Kasia pointedly mentioned rations, but when she held his eye contact he looked away. Unfortunately, his eyes landed on the gleaming edge of her ax. He knew from experience that not getting caught was usually down to not giving yourself away, and wetting himself out of fear of what Kasia could certainly do with that ax would definitely give him away.

Jarek grabs his pack which includes his fife and small bundle of possessions. He nervously adjusts the straps on his pack as they approach the boat. This will be Jarek’s second time on a boat (his first was the trip to the Night Isles). Jarek notices Simon and Kaelin looking intently at the boat. Feeling like he was missing something, Jarek follows suit and begins to the study the boat. The mast reminds him of a tree a tree near the barracks that was too small for climbing.


“This will be my second time on a boat. Someone else should probably sail, but I will help in any way I can.” Jarek said as he rolled the cube through his fingers inside his pocket.


(When we are ready…)

Kaelin will point to the centre of the boat. “Sit there. It will be the most stable part. Best to just watch, or admire the scenery. A small boat only needs a couple of hands.”

He’ll wave everyone aboard, and will then unlash the Hopeful and cast off her lines, nimbly jumping aboard as she leaves her berth. Seeing Simon’s earlier familiarity with the boat, he knows that there’s at least another who can be relied on. He’ll let Simon settle into whatever role he prefers, be that at the rudder, or working the sails.

(My vote is Kingsport and then a little overland jaunt. Unless we want to try and grab a marsh barge there to continue by water?)


Simon goes rudder, although he sighs at the roughness underneath his fingers. He’ll have to take some measurements…


With Kaelin and Simon taking control of the boat, Aulexis will actually pretend to have only a cursory knowledge of seamanship, and will help only if directly told to do something. She pretends to be a little shaky, though always pleasant, and takes directions with a smile.

She does watch Simon and Kaelin very carefully. They wouldn’t be anything special in her crew, as sailors, and this satisfies her vanity until she remembers how pointless it is to keep comparing her old life to now.


Simon hums an old sea shanty as you pick up speed.

“Is your instrument very old?” He asks Jarek.


Warren sits near the middle of the boat, making sure to stay out of the way. He has his journal out and is reviewing something he had previously written in it…


“No, it is very new. Two months ago, some instrument makers came through to hear the annual competition and visit the Army musicians. One of the makers said he would custom make an instrument for the best performance he heard at our annual competition. I won and he made me this.” Jarek takes his fife out of his bag. The fife is stained a beautiful red brown color that highlights the natural pattern in the wood and has silver bands at both ends with an ornate scroll pattern engraved in the silver. The cap that closes the top has a thin “J” engraved into it. “The standard fife has six finger holes, mine has eight.” Jarek says with a hint of pride.