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


“Can you play something? Music goes well with the water.” Aulexis smiles.


It isn’t long before your dinghy draws into Kings Port. Avoiding the main harbour, with it’s massive trading ships, you find a small slipway to take the Hopeful up and out of the water.

Kings Port is a busy town, and a town of both poverty and prosperity. The best and worst of life on a new frontier. The Merchants live here and manage their trade, so the docks are taken up by large warehouses, prosperous businesses and a tavern “The Ornery Menagerie” filled to the brim with sailors drinking their shore leave away.

However, this is a place where the desperate first arrive as well, seeking a new life, away from the Old World. Brave they may be, to come here with nothing, but there is no safety net for them, and more often than not, they find themselves begging for work door to door, and then just begging.

Whether you stay to watch the bustle, or move on quickly though, eventually, you find yourself on the road to Inchwick.

Inchwick is a different place entirely, only an hours walk down the road, it is built to impress. Here the Council of Elders sit and run the colony, and the nobility build graceful structures to overshadow one another. This is a place of power and wealth, and men and women who seem to do no work at all, while hoarding vast quantities of wealth.

Passing on through here, you find the road that the caravan would have taken, a trail really than a road, it leads South through the salt marshes that dominate the region. However, it is not the road or the marshes that has your attention, it is the well dressed man lying on the path, only minutes out of town while three young men and a young woman kick him, punch him and throw rocks at him. He is already hurt, but they show no signs of letting up, and while they shout obscenities at him they are not indicating why they are beating him with their shouts.


Aulexis doesn’t look angry, but she strides towards the group and challenges them. She doesn’t care about the man, but she feels like she’s supposed to. This is a prime opportunity to do some good.

She’ll use her Command skill, trying to intimidate the group to stop attacking the man and answer her questions. Her voice sounds practiced at giving orders, though she remains calm.
“Stay your hands!! Why do four of you strike one man?!”

Did I format that right?
Use command to intimidate to cease the attacks?
What do I roll exactly?


So generally, what you do is tell me what you want to do, and how you intend to achieve it, in this case it sounds like you want to declare:

“I want them to stop beating up the man and pay attention to me, and I will do this by shouting for them to stop”
(or of course, a subtle hint like I will do this by commanding them to stop is always good!)

Then what I do is tell you the difficulty of this task, which skill you will use and I’ll explain why I’ve set it how it is, and why I’ve decided which skill I think you should use, if it is unexpected. I will tell you what will happen if you fail your roll - and you’ve already told me what will happen if you pass.

In this case, I agree, command is an excellent choice - and these are not professional soldiers or experienced fighters, someone yelling is going to unnerve them easily, however where the difficulty comes is in getting them to pay attention to you - so I’m setting this difficulty at Obstacle 4 (Ob 4) - if you fail, they will stop beating up the man and run away!

Now I would ask you to roll your Command - in this case, your command is B6, this means you roll 6 dice, and you want to roll as many 4s, 5s and 6s as you can - these are successes.

Roll 4 or more - because I set the Obstacle to 4 - and you succeed, the men and woman will stop beating the man and pay attention to you. Roll less than 4 and you fail, they will stop beating the man and run away!


(Is there a way to assist or support someone? Sorry, I do not want to make this too complicated right out of the gate?)


There absolutely is! Let’s talk about the ways you can make tests easier for yourself, or your fellows:

What if I have a number of skills or abilities that should help me beyond the one being tested - or FoRK

You might have other skills that apply to the situation beyond the one I’ve asked you to test - maybe if in this situation Aulexis has Thug-wise for example, she might well feel that this skill should be able to give her some edge here, she knows just how to yell at thugs! This game calls this Fields of Related Knowledge or FoRKs. Aulexis can FoRK in Thugwise to give her an extra die to roll (Two if the FoRKed skill is over 7)

What if I take my time doing something, being extra careful

There are three major ways to influence your roll - doing something Carefully, Patiently or Quickly.

If you can do your task carefully, you increase the time taken by half but gain +1D (Elves can take this twice, doubling the time for +2D)

If you can work patiently, then you can allocate successes over and above those needed to succeed to improve the quality of your success, an extra flourish.

If you work quickly, you can complete your task in a shorter time, successes over the obstacle reduce the time taken by 10% overall each.

What if I have help?

If a player accepts help, (you can’t force it on another player) then tell me how you want to help. There are some rules here - skills can help skills ands stats, but stats can only help stats. Circles may only help circles. Resources may only help resources. (Don’t worry if you don’t follow that!!)

If I agree that you are being helpful, then you grant an extra die, or 2 dice if the skill/stat/attribute you are using is 5 or over.

What if none of those apply, but I really think I have the advantage here!

So if you really feel that you have advantage, but not from any of the above mechanisms - say you are trying to shove someone off a roof, and the roof is slippery then you can get 1 extra die. (This is limited to 1 die per test)

However, if I feel that the conditions put you at a disadvantage, then I will increase the obstacle of the test :wink:


Aulexis would certainly accept help, but here’s her initial roll for now!

6d6: 6 + 1 + 3 + 3 + 5 + 3 = 21


Unfortunately, you have to accept the help before you’ve rolled - no rolling then looking for extra dice once you’ve seen the results I’m afraid! Beyond the ease of metagaming, the number of dice being rolled is actually really important to the experience system.

The four humans jump as Aulexis calls, and flee into into the marsh!

The man on the floor had curled up to protect himself, now rolls flat onto his back with a groan. “Thankyou, friends.” He sounds more hopeful than confident!


“Hm.” Aulexis is a little miffed they wouldn’t stand and answer her question, and follows their retreat with a glare. Such cowardice is to be expected on land, I suppose.


Warran was a few too many steps behind to help Aulexis with the ruffians. He approaches the man on the floor, holds out his hand to help him up, and says, “Here, let me help you up. If you do not mind me asking, what provoked such a vicious attack?”


“Gah!” He splutters “I don’t know! No doubt they sought to rob me, probably knew I was late for the caravan North and thought I must be mad enough to go wandering around with money on me or something. Yes, I’m sure of it now, after they jumped me, they searched me first, then started beating me when all they found was empty pockets!”


Jarek looks at Aulexis with a bit of surprise. I have heard Generals that don’t have that good of a command voice.

Jarek looks at the well dressed man. “Has the caravan already left?” But by the time he has finished his question, his eyes have followed the path that the ruffians took through the marsh. Not the way I would have gone. I wonder if they are coming back. Jarek thinks to himself and purses his lips and brings his attention back to the man that Warran is helping up.


(( It’s pretty obvious to everyone except Simon that this man just lied to you when he said he didn’t know why he was attacked! ))


(Is he actually bruised and bleeding, or are his injuries superficial?)


(( In game mechanics terms he has a midi wound - that’s a debilitating injury that while isn’t life threatening but still extremely painful and imposes a 2D penalty on his abilities In this instance, it takes the form of severe pummelling to his face and back, he’s going to bruise really badly, and probably have a lot of swelling by tomorrow ))


Kaelin was standing still at the back of the group as Aulexis approached the group. Seeing them run into the marsh, his face will twitch slightly. A very foolish place to go haring off into if you do not know the ground. He’ll keep his sharp eyes on the runners as a long as he is able.


Aulexis isn’t really interested in the man anymore, since he doesn’t seem honest, and helping dishonest people doesn’t seem good. She gives her companions a knowing look, and looks to see what their reactions are, while pretending to go along with the man’s story.
“How unlucky! It’s a good thing we came when we did!”


Kaelin, the attackers are definitely sticking to the more solid ground closer to the buildings and after a couple of hundred meters, with a few glances over their shoulders, they veer into the town.

Aulexis, he tries his best to dust himself off, but much of the dirt is well engrained. “There must be a way I can thank you!” he declares, “When I return from my trip, come and find me in Kings Port Market, I deal in Orcish medicine! Just ask for Archibald Luscumbe”


Simons mood brightens. “We are heading for the caravan as well! Care to lead the way?”


He looks over you, slightly puzzled, then “Ah, you must be the lot from Fyrestpool, follow me, difficult to get lost, this trail leads only to Traders Rest, and the caravan will be there!”

He sets off down the path a short way before stopping. “We could go by boat, be quicker, and much easier on me, what do you say? Any of you feel like punting?”