Home Videos Games Podcastle

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


This type of ‘medicine’ seems to be another trapping of civilisation that Kaelin doesn’t quite understand. He has lived in a community where herbalists are main suppliers of medicine, be it derived from plant fibre, root, leaf or bark, or from animal parts, and they had a cure for almost any ill. There was some preparation of material into ointments and tonics, or distilling of essential essences, but nothing like the chemistry practiced by alchemists. He has encountered the odd individual in the marshes who were gathering ingredients for such folk in more settled regions, and has on a few occasions helped guide them around the fens and wetlands of his home. They varied from being professional collectors, to those that were both collector and alchemist. Whilst the former seemed driven mainly by coin, the latter included some individuals who showed a greater understanding of what they sought and driven by something more than simple financial need (although tended to be much more hopeless in wilderness skills). They tended to lack the knowledge of his own herbalist kindred, but that was understandable as there is a limit to how more expertise a human can learn within their short life spans. They spoke a lot about how they intended to refine and use the ingredients they catalogued and collected, which mostly either passed over Kaelin’s head, or seemed unnecessary compared to the more simple methods practiced by herbalists.

“You saw Lady Dupont regularly, and she was showing signs that the medicine was helping her overcome her condition? Is there any reason that her condition could have perhaps been cured entirely?”


“Well, you see, on the Old World, we categorise medicines into three types: Those that Cure an illness or those that make us healthier. Opium is a curious thing, it is the only medicine that falls into category three, the so called ‘solacia mortis’ category. It neither cures nor makes one healthy, in fact it rather does the opposite, it increases your risk of dying and it makes you much less healthy.” The Dwarf puffs up as he speaks, you sense he enjoys sharing his knowledge, and has slipped into a well practised routine.

“I’m afraid Lady DuPont’s articulitis is merely a symptom of a quite incurable disease, old age. The tinctures would never cure her, neither would they repair her joints. They make her not feel the pain, but at considerable risk to her health. As I say, I prescribe medicines like this with great care, and a good deal of thought. It is a physicians lot to balance quality of life with quantity of life…” again, the dwarf seems to be slipping into a well worn speech “… and it cannot be underestimated the gravity of the decisions we make. I’m afraid Lady DuPont was no exception, she reported that her condition grew ever worse, she reported that it took away her ability to live independently. An independence the opium gave back. No, it was addiction, and overuse of the medicine that I was impressed that she did not suffer from. The tinctures are addictive, and that addiction can curse any user, most of them in fact. But I looked for signs, both those that are visible on her to see and in her behaviour. Often the addict will return early, claiming an accident has broken several bottles. Lady Dupont never did - indeed, she was more likely to be late and claimed she often made a bottle last two days, a very impressive and healthy sign indeed. I never once caught her itching, nor did she show signs of rufusitus, a reddening of the skin which is indicative of overuse. Her eyes retained their innocence, and she has not asked for any coffee distillation for alertness. I confess, I have not yet checked in with the other doctors in the colony, however, given that she shows no other signs, I am comfortable with that decision.”


“Did you ever visit her at home, or did she always visit you here?”


At home for her first consultation, she had become housebound you see. Then after she started the treatment, she was able to visit me here.


“When was the first consultation? Also, what did you make of her household staff?”


He refers to his notes “Our first consultation was five and a half weeks ago, I can’t say I remember much about the staff, quiet and unobtrusive, as they are supposed to be I suppose. Come to think of it, I believe Lady DuPont’s business partner answered the door and showed me in, so I really don’t think I saw any of the staff at all.”


“Her business partner? Who is that?”

Regardless of the answer, Kaelin will thank the dwarf for his time.

“Well Doctor, you’ve been a great help. Unfortunately it seems like someone has not been entirely truthful. We found just over a month’s supply of your bottles untouched at the Lady’s house. It seems like she had not been taking the medicine at all, yet continued with the pretence that it was required. Can you think of any reason why that may have been the case, or indeed whether the Lady’s manners had changed at all over the last month?”


“Oh, that theatre chap, what’s his name…” The dwarf snaps his fingers as he struggles to remember “Urzog Battlelaugh, of the Battlelaugh theatre”

The Dwarf looks disbelieving, then shocked then devastated, and he stands agog for a moment. Slowly, he starts “I should have known… those theatre folk, they take the stuff recreationally. She must have been selling it on to them. But the pretence, the effort she must have gone too…”

He stops. “Well, thankyou, elf. I hope you have all you came for, I would rather appreciate some time to myself.”


“I understand. If there is anyting else that comes to mind, please drop a note to the watch office. Thank you again for your time.”

Kaelin gives the Doctor a respectful bow, and takes his leave. He’ll head to the station to try and reconveen with his companions, and will relate the doctor’s information to them.

He will focus on the fact that Lady DuPont was supposed to be bed ridden and largely helpless from joint pain, which the medicine was supposed to releave. The lack of evidence of servants, and the fact that the medicine was undertaken means she was goign to some pretence. The name of her business partner will also be shared as a likely next point of enquiry.


When Jarek runs into Simon outside of the police headquarters, his immediate reaction is relief. I didn’t know that any of them would still be around… or where to find them if they weren’t.

Jarek is embarrassed and feels reluctant to tell Simon about his experience of foot rubs and no seemingly relevant information. Jarek knows that he’s going to have to tell them what happened, or at least most of what happened. I’m never telling Aulexis that I actually touched his feet.


Can Simon ask about any galleries nearby? Before going outside?


Art galleries as public buildings dont really exist, they are usually in private houses and can be seen at the owners invitation only.

“I heard Lord Foxbourne is having a showing, there’s always the cathedral and public day at Lochmond House, where the Elders meet”


Simon suggests Jarek takes him to Lord Foxbournes.


“How do we get to Elder Foxbourne’s House?” Jarek is beginning to wonder about what the houses that he visited with Clyde had in common. How did those people know each other? How much did you trust your messenger?


The man gives you directions to the house, its a few minutes walk away from the station.


On the way Simon looks around at the houses. He’s quite excited to see what treasures a Lord owns.


(Because things are happening behind the scenes as time goes on, I think you should know that a piece of evidence has just been destroyed/lost/rendered inert etc)

Who is going to this art display, and when you arrive at the front door without an invitation, how do you plan to gain entry?


Jarek tells Simon about his encounters with the guards. “I’m not sure the same guards will be there or if they would recognize me if they were.”


“Have you been here before?”


Jarek gets a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach as he and Simon approach one of the houses that he had to wait outside while Clyde was delivering or receiving messages.

“Yes, I think I have.”