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


regardless of his successes Simon then returns via the caravan and spends some time fixing some of the rougher edges of their small boat.


The Explorers Guild

The Explorers Guild sit high atop the wall, a large tower and the highest point of the city. At it’s base however, you are deep in the heart of the Wall district, on a well used path which travels along the very top of the wall, but with some of the nicer houses of the district on either side it is not until you reach the gates of the adventurers guild itself that you get a view across the city in one direction to the docks and the forest in the other to the volcano at the heart of Karlifell Island.

Inside the gates, the tower is surrounded by a beautiful formal garden and several dwarfs are making their way around one of the low mazes, clipping it to obsessive neatness.

The door to the tower itself opens into a reception area, plush and smelling of cedar wood oil. All around you hang oil paintings in ornate frames of, presumably, members of the guild in various exciting looking locations. One particularly fine painting shows an elf being lowered into the volcano on a long rope, with some form of contraption over his nose. Another shows a human holding an enormous and rather, to your eyes, plain looking rock as if it were a gold nugget or some fine gemstone.

A receptionist, an elderly human who uses a walking stick shuffles over to you “Greetings young-uns” he rasps “What can we do for you today?”


Kaelin tries to keep a straight face. He’s likely twice the age of the receptionist.

“Greetings to you too. We have recently settled at Fryestpool, and heard about your Guild when travelling here to trade. Being new to the area, we supposed that your Guild sounded like the right place to perhaps learn more of the lands and locales around here. At the very least, understanding more about the organisations that are close to our home is important if Fryestpool is to establish and maintain itself. The Guild seems well worth speaking to at an early opportunity.”


“Ahh… The Paladin wishes to visit us does he? I wondered how long it would take. Very well, tell your Master we shall see him at his earliest convenience, most of the circle are at home and will be thrilled to meet him. I shall send word up”.


Kaelin quickly holds up a hand to politely stall her.

"Sorry, it appears that I have unintentionally misled you. Although my colleague Warran and I are indeed members of the Paladin’s household, we are visiting on our own initiative, not at the request of the Paladin. It is our personal interest that has taken us to your Guild. Although part of that interest does stem from a concern for the future welfare of our community, I am personally intrigued in what your Guild does. Rather than relying on hearsay, it seemed more pertinent to go to the source. There must be some fascinating archives relating to the activities of your members. Are these restricted to Guild members only? How would one join?”


“Oh…” he looks slightly disappointed “Well, applying is easy! I can register you now, all I need is your names and your mark on a paper. I’ll file in in there” He motions to a tall cupboard, almost comically overstuffed with paper such that the doors bulge open and threaten to tip several tonnes of applications onto the floor.

“Or, if you have information of interest to us, a journal of your adventures perhaps, valuable minerals, seedlings of far flung species. Anything to demonstrate that you are worthy of becoming a member and won’t be a liability in the field, I’ll file your application with said supporting evidence on the desks of the members likely to be interested in sponsoring you, where it will still be amid tough competition, but will actually be looked at, and passed between members to consider.”

He cracks a mischievous grin “Don’t go telling all the hopeful parents that their cherubs are in the cupboard though, I’m sensing that you might be rather worthier applicants than most if you are with the Paladin so I do you the respect of honesty about your chances, but I’m not really supposed to word it… quite like that”.

“As for the archives, you can browse our library, through there at your leisure, please don’t remove anything though”.


Kaelin smiles at Warran on hearing the news that the library is open to anyone. "Are making notes and copies of the materials in the archives permitted? I’ll be happy to be registered. Is it easier for me to write some details rather than you recording it, and if so, is Elvish script acceptable?"

Beyond just his name, Kaelin relates some of his experiences for the membership application. 120 years of living in wetlands and fens. Skills in boat handling and maintenance, wild foraging. He’ll happily describe the habits of marsh birds, and the signs and dangers of particular nasty fauna and hazards – marsh adders, fen shamblers, siren vines, wytch lights… although he’ll stop when he realises that the receptionists eyes being to glaze over.


“Absolutely, so long as none of the books are damaged you may do as you please… well within reason. Please do behave yourself, the library takes care of itself rather harshly.”

“For your application, Elven is fine, forgive me, I’ll need it in writing!”


Warran looks around at some of the portraits hanging on the wall and sees among them a rather familiar face. He thinks to himself: Is that Geldard Grey? I did not know he was associated with the Adventuring Guild…

At them mention the library is ‘open season’, Warran a bit too excitedly asks, “If we have an article or document to submit with our application… How long would it be out of my possession? Are well allowed to provide excerpts from it in lieu of leaving it? Can something be brought later to be added to an application once it has been submitted? Is your librarian available to speak to, I have some questions as to how you organize your stacks…”


“It will be out of your possession until you retract your application or join, as I say it will be passed from desk to desk, and members will want to read it as they start planning an expedition.”

The elderly man pauses “Er, the librarian… well it’s hard to explain, it’s not… well, it’s a … sort of magical library, you understand. Well not really magical at all, but that’s the best way to explain it. The library is the librarian. You’ll see.”




As much as I would love to plagiarise everything from the mind of Sir Terry, nope!


This is a perfect opportunity to change one of your beliefs if you wish to refer to joining the Explorers society


(I feel that joining the guild would give him access to knowledge, so I feel it already falls within the first belief of Warran’s… Or is this an example of how a belief can be modified and changed over time?)

Warran looks at the receptionist and smiles, “I see. Well, it seems even finding books here is an adventure in of itself, very fitting.”

“But before we head to the library, I do have a few more questions. In regards to applying to the Guild, do you accept letters of recommendation from members in good standing? Also, is Geldard Grey here at present? I understand if you are not permitted to inform me of the last question as I appreciate the need to not bother those who are trying to work and also issues of one’s personal privacy. In any case, I would wish to leave him a message before leaving if he is expected back in the near future…”


Not so much in this case, I feel like once you have improved your skills, you will remove that from the overall aim of impressing T’Moya, and replace it with perhaps “My classmate the sorceress T’Moya is powerful and accepted to the sorcerers association. I will show off my newly learnt spell to her.”

But maybe you want this to temporarily or permanently replace one of your beliefs - that doesn’t mean you stop believing it, it means you stop getting rewarded for playing it! However Maybe Simon would want to adapt his

“The Island holds great treasures, the first to find them will be honoured. I would put myself at great risk to be so honoured” could be adapted to something like “The Island holds great treasures, the first to find them will be honoured. Joining the Explorers guild seems like a great way to discovering those treasures, so that is what I shall do”

Why would he do this if his belief already adequately covers joing the guild? Because for working towards your beliefs, you get Fate points, and by joining the guild he would definately get a fate point. However for completing a belief you get Persona points - far more powerful and valuable. As it stands Simon will only get a persona point when he gets honoured for being the first to discover the Islands treasures… but if he changes it, he can get several persona points by breaking his ultimate goal down into smaller steps.


Jarek smiles a little nervously at Aulexis as they set off to find the theaters. After their experience with the Orcs and her not laughing at his failure, Jarek definitely trusts her more than the others. He feels torn about whether to show her the cube and explain what he’s really trying to do in the Theatre District, or keep that secret to himself a little longer.

Jarek is glad to be leaving the docks behind at least for now and heading towards something that he is slightly more familiar with.


The theatre district is just as crowded as the docks, but feels different. It is calmer, more relaxed but at the same time there is an energy in the air, the buzz of tens of people awaiting a show with excitement outside each theatre. Tell us the names of the two huge theatres, one at the end of each street, and what is special about them? Instantly eyecatching?


Battlelaugh Theatre is on the north end of the street. The Battlelaugh is known for more mainstream productions of comedies and action packed war epics. Visitors who are unfamiliar with the city or with theatre who want to spend an evening out will generally wind up here. The name Battlelaugh is mistakenly believed to be a nickname given to the theater because of the type of productions that play here. However, Urzog Battlelaugh was one of the first Orc merchants to have real financial success in the city. After he made his fortune and the city was continuing to grow, he began to complain about the lack of decent entertainment.

Frustrated that the other merchants did not share his enthusiasm for arts and entertainment (they were all still trying to amass their own fortunes), Urzog announced in the docks that the first captain to bring back a theater company that was willing to make their home in the city would receive a tremendous sum of money. When the first captain arrived back with a troupe, Urzog cheerfully paid him and began constructing the Battlelaugh Theatre. When the second and the third captains arrived back also carrying theater companies, Urzog smiled at them and said that there was no prize for finishing second. Urzog assumed that no one other than himself would have the nerve to open a playhouse when so few merchants were interested in such a thing.

The Captain Thessania and Captain Voxis were so outraged that they started the second theater on the South side of the street. These Captains applied their cutthroat and competitive natures to the running of the theater. While they were still bickering about whether the theater should be called Thessania and Voxis or Voxis and Thessania, it came to be known to the people as the Mirth and Murder Theatre. Mirth and Murder is well known for taking artistic risks usually running to intense dramas or over the top musical productions. Many generations later, actors, directors and playwrights associated with Mirth and Murder still try to push the artistic envelope as if to prove to the long dead Battlelaugh, that their company was the better choice. While Mirth and Murder has had spectacular successes, there have also been artistic risks that turned in to serious flops. The interior of Mirth and Murder was carefully planned to house slightly more people than Battlelaugh, while appearing to house less.

Both groups employ hawkers who cry the evening’s entertainment and occasionally get into scuffles over turf on the busy street. The exteriors of the theaters are very similar in appearance except that the exterior of Battlelaugh has been painted black and the Mirth and Murder was painted blood red.

What catches Jarek’s eye is the type of person hanging around the outside of each theater. The people who seem to know what questions to ask about the plays are around Mirth and Murder. The people who seem to be finding their way are outside of Battlelaugh.


Theatre People: Where do you go, what do you do?

Explorers guild people: Do any of you use the library?


(Any response to this bit?)