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


Jarek’s roll for dockwise

6d6: 2 + 1 + 5 + 1 + 2 + 3 = 14


I’m going to say no to appraisal, that’s really for the value of goods, not the expertise of service providers, but I think you do (once combined with Kaelin’s information) identify a young Orc who seems to know the traders better than most, and his regular touting area.

Jarek, the ebb and flow of the docks is chaotic to your eye, you just can’t make out the passage of any goods at all.

I think everyone has spent a substantial amount of time today on their roles, where do you all meet after open trading ceases? Back at your tavern far across the city in the Wall, where your food and drink are provided (and yes, beer and cider are on tap, and paid for Warran, I see another drunken night coming on!) or maybe you meet somewhere else, plenty of taverns along the docks, a bit rougher than those that cater to Exile visitors, but perhaps more useful?

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

Kaelin is inclined to suggest gathering back at the original tavern so they can approach the young orcish tout they’ve identified with Warran’s earned coin tomorrow morning. Better the place you know than chancing a random tavern in the huge city…

(Added benefit of the group being able to keep an eye on Warran and make sure that the coin doesn’t disappear as quickly as it was earned. If Warran fails to resist the lure of the cider, as seen at the campsite, at least it will be free!)


(Sorry for the delay. Head cold kinda wiped me out this weekend… Not particularly my best work :frowning: )

While the others spoke of going straight to the floating market, Warran realized for him there was a better opportunity to make money elsewhere. He quietly slipped away from the group and walked down the street looking at the places of business. He thought for a moment to perhaps see if there was some work as a clerk or possibly for dictation, but after a while, he recognized the naivety of the notion in having no connections in the city. Instead, he decided to try and let the business come to him.

About halfway between the tavern at the wall, where he separated from his travelling companions, and the floating market; he found a public house across the street from a very nicely ornamented and busy legal firm. The name of the pub was ‘Quills’ and had five writing quills depicted on the sign and appeared to be a rather busy and well-kept establishment. Lucky for Warran, there were a few tables outside near the street which seemed to be ignored by the patrons and the managers of the establishment. He picked the table under the wooden sign; cleared it off; and organized some books, papers, inks, and other writing supplies on the surface. He then looked over an old beaten up menu of food items for ‘Quills’. Interesting dishes… But this design has seen better days he thinks as he regards the menu. He then begins writing on a piece of parchment.

A while after Warran starts to write a man approaches him from across the street. The man is very well dressed and Warran had noticed him staring at him for a while before drawing closer. It was a relatively simple request. The man was wanting to present to woman he was wooing a love poem, but is not very articulate nor has the fine penmanship required to impress the lady. Warran thinks for a moment, opens his journal searching for a particular page, and inquires as to what the man feels are her best qualities. After sorting through the more crass features describe, Warran finds the poem he was looking for in his journal, and swaps in the better information provided from the man. Since he is working from a template, he spends the majority of the time finely scrolling and decorating the text utilizing his calligraphy skills to make the text look richer and towards the end highlights the centers of the larger letters with a silver metallic ink, causing a shimmering effect.

When Warran is done, he presents the work to the man. The man glances at the work, smiles, and brings out a rather full money pouch. He sifts through it for a period of time and finally withdraws four small bright colored stones. Before the man departs, Warran asks him what he thinks of the poem. The man replies, “Oh, I do not care what it says… As long as it looks good, it will be good enough for her. And it does look rather good!” The man walks away satisfied with his purchase. (I imagine this was the 6 die roll :wink:)

Just as the man is walking away, an orc passes by glaring in Warran’s direction, and enters the legal offices across the street. After a few minutes, the orc emerges an marches straight towards him. “Do you do legal dictation?” the orc roughly asks, “They want a small fortune for a simple document. How much do you charge? I do not need anything frilly and decorated, it just cannot be written in my own hand…”

“Well, if you know what is correct, I can transcribe it how you want it… As far as price… whatever you feel is fair after the document is complete…” Warran replies.

The orc seems satisfied with the terms, but requests to see a few examples of Warran’s writing. After looking over some samples, the orc immediately begins to dictate his document to Warran. The orc’s document does seem legal in subject and describes a list of artifacts, perhaps a termination of business agreement. Warran does not remember specific details, but gets a feeling that whatever had happened between the parties, it was an arrangement which had gone rather sour.

Towards the end of the document, however, Warran gets the full picture. It is a ‘Letter of Intention to Separate’ from his mistress. Warran does not ask questions, finishes the document, and hands it over to the orc, who looks over the document with satisfied look and tosses over a small sack of orcish coins. “This has saved me a bit… It is already bad enough she has put me over a barrel… Now I can start the process of being rid of her!”

Warran nods in appreciation of the payment and in understanding of the sensitivity of the matter, does not comment. As far as he is concerned, it is none of his business.

A few more hours pass and as the inside of the pub is slowing down one of the employees finally comes outside to look to the tables. Warran has his head down and is finishing up writing something when the orc yells, “What do you think you are doing! This is for customers!”

Warran looks up meekly and says, “Oh, I am sorry… I saw your menu and I thought it could do with some updating… Here is a sample which I drew up for you…” He hands over the document.

The orc looks at it and sneers, “How long have you been out here? Surely, you are not expecting me to pay for this!”

Warran replies, “Well… Let us consider it payment for my me being able to rest my feet here… I will pack up and move on…”

The orc glares at Warran, “Next time you want to sit here, you come inside and order something first! Got it?” Shaking the parchment at Warran.

Warran packs up his supplies and makes his way back to his companions.


At the end of the trading day, Jarek is frustrated from not being able to tell salt from the other goods being traded and hungry. He heads back the way that they came looking for the others. He has noticed that the street vendors selling food are much more wary of theft than anyone in the barracks. Can’t get close enough to swipe one of those he thinks as he looks at stand with sweet rolls that are clearly visible to passers by but just out of reach. He rolls the cube in his pocket and absently wonders what is for dinner at The Foothold.


Dinner is any number of meats hunted from the forest, mostly served salted or roasted and roots, berries and leaves of many foraged and farmed plants. The inn has obviously made a good effort to lay on hospitality, if these caravans are to be a frequent occurrence, they want to keep your business it seems.

Unless there is anything you wish to do in the evening, then the next day comes without event, fortunately it seems, no-one is offering the cider so no-one over indulges!


After eating every bit of meat, vegetables, bread and berries that crossed his path last night, Jarek fell quickly to sleep. He enjoyed the new flavors in his meal and particularly enjoyed having something other than their traveling rations. Jarek wakes up before dawn and looks out his window to see the earliest quiet movements of what will be another busy trading day. Jarek opens the window and climbs out. He perches carefully atop the dormer and leans back against the slanting roof taking in the cool morning air and the sounds of the city waking up.

Jarek turns the cube over in his hands letting the thoughts run through his mind like water. I never thought I would get to see a place like this… I want to do something more helpful today than wander around the docks looking for salt…I hope there’s more of that venison for dinner tonight.

As he turns the cube over, he notes that four of the six sides are images of horses that are in different states of a gallop. The other two sides are on opposite ends of the cube. One side has a shield and the other has two crossed swords. Jarek traces the blades of the swords with his index finger as he sits listening to the city in the early morning.


Alright then, let’s hear your plan to secure the salt, start to finish - who is involved, who does what and I shall describe the test for that! It will be a Linked test, a series of tests where each success grants the next test +1D, however the outcome is always decided by the final test.

Don’t forget not only to describe what you hope to achieve with each step, but how you intend to achieve it!

I’ll wait until all players have signed off on the plan before putting it into action.


The board plan for comments and details:

  • Use Warran’s coin to hire a guide (do we hold some back?)
  • Aim for the young orc picked out by Aulexis
  • Ask for the berths of salt traders (?)
  • Stake them out for a while before picking one (?)


The rest of Jarek’s early morning adventures…

Jarek rolled the cube in his hands, catching it between two fingers and then rolling it over to the next two fingers similarly to the way that the drummers used to play with their drum sticks. He leans forward watching the detail of the horses. It seems as though every hair on the horses head is represented, and the motion seems so realistic that it is hard to remember that it was a carving.

Suddenly an owl swooped over head, Jarek threw himself back against the roof as feathers grazed his face, slamming his hand hard into the roof to pin the cube which had been balanced between his middle and ring fingers between the back of his hand and the shingles. The owl landed on the next dormer and hooted and ruffled his feathers irritably.

Relief flooded through Jarek as he caught his breath. It’s a good thing that I went back instead of forward. He twisted his hand around to grabe the cube, but felt that something was different. The cube had shifted and the corners of the top half were no longer in line with the corners of the bottom half. I broke it!

As the first morning light broke over the nearby buildings, Jarek examined the cube and discovered that it wasn’t really broken. There were the thinnest of seams running along different parts of the cube. Which out much effort, he twisted the cube back into its original alignment. Jarek marveled at how well hidden the seams were in patterns on the cube. He had heard of the craftsmanship of woodworkers and had seen simple puzzle boxes or trunks with false bottoms. Before he had been taken for musician training, an soldier was dishonorably discharged for using such a trunk to conceal flasks of persephon, a violently purple liqueur that, Jarek had heard, tasted of pomegranates and caused hallucinations.

Jarek continued to marvel at the thinnest of lines that were so carefully disguised until he heard Kaelin calling for him. Jarek slid gently down the dormer, swung back in the open window, and put the cube safely in his pocket. He then hurried to join the others. We need a better plan for today.

((Images of the cube are coming soon!))


(Possible things to consider: Perhaps on the way to the dock we can talk to a merchant who uses large quantities of salt to find out information in regards to trust worthy sources of salt and people who have cheated them in the past. Also, it might be a possible way to try and co-op for better pricing and find a guaranteed source of salt. We could also possibly use this as a possible way to split the cost of the market guide or potentially acquire a better one. Possible types of merchants which use large quantities of salt: Butchers, Charcutier, Leather Tanner, Parchment Maker, Wool Dyer/Bleacher, Cheese Maker, Ceramic Maker, Glass Maker. Those are the ones which come to mind.)


(Any ideas about finding out how much the colored stones that Warran got for the love poem are worth? If those are really valuable, we may want to hold some in case we fail in our first attempt. If they are just bits of colored glass, that’s worth knowing before we try to spend them.)

Jarek trusts Aulexis’s judgement about the young orc, but is afraid of failure because he expected identifying salt barrels at the docks to be easier.


(( Leather Tanners operate far, far from the city!! I grew up in a village with a working tanyard, and the smell! ))


(Yes, but I figured they would have a business office in town if they were really good.)


Then they do!


(I assume they have value, since currency is more fluid. Possibly the guide could sell them for more?)


I’m assuming this last point is where Simons already completed dock observation comes into play?


Kaelin is more pragmatic about yesterday. A barrel looks like any other barrel. Unless you open them, then there’s no easy way of guessing what’s inside them. It’s the same issue with the boats really. There’s so many, a lot loading and unloading goods in barrels, crates and other containers. The size of the task only became clear after experiencing the floating market first hand. Today they have coin and some idea of what to expect, thanks to the time invested yesterday.


So what I’m hearing so far is:

  1. Speak to those who use salt (Kaelin’s Roll?)
  2. Use Warran’s coin to hire the young orc identified to find the best Salt traders (Warran’s Roll)
  3. Cross reference with Simon’s knowledge from yesterday (Simon’s Roll)
  4. Stake out the recommendations (Jarek’s Roll?)
  5. Buy the salt, and arrange it’s delivery (Aulexis’ Roll?)


(That sounds good!)