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General Forge Forums => Actual Play => Topic started by: Robert Bohl on September 16, 2005, 06:21:24 AM



Title: [Burning Wheel] Bangs and NPCs for my first game
Post by: Robert Bohl on September 16, 2005, 06:21:24 AM
MY PLAYERS--PLEASE DO NOT READ.

So here are my notes for the first session of Burning Carnival (http://burningwheel.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1925), The Don and the Dame.  Criticism and critique are welcome.

Situation:

The local knight's son has absconded to his villa with Florinda, the animal trainer's assistant and part-time prostitute.  The Don's son is on the verge of publicly declaring his love for her and the father is fairly conservative and outraged and embarrassed.  He will persecute the carnival, blaming them for his son losing his way, as invading his son's villa will shame him and his son.

NPCs:

Don Sanzio d'Estrada y Julian of the Immaculate Order of Baronial Knights.  His house's sigil is a snake being crushed under a boot-heel.  He is known to be fairly conservative.  He is vassal to Baron Lazaro del Castillo y Ximenes.

Arnal d'Estrada, a spoiled teenage lordling, son to Don d'Estrada.

Excelsius (nee Glabius Linnaes), a middle-aged courtier to Don d'Estrada and his "court magician".

Donna Luisa d'Estrada y Ferrer, Don d'Estrada's mother.  A no-nonsense, blunt and aggressive old broad.

Bangs:

Excelsius delivers news of Don d'Estrada's displeasure as well as his own dark prognostications for the carnival should this not turn out to the Don's pleasure.

The Don's master at arms (Tel the Meatman) is an avid gambler and prefers non-towners for various reasons.  He is also a brutal killing machine of a man who has killed more infidel than the black plague.  But he has money to lose...

Ferran the Albino Boy is caught by a few towner bullies who echo the Don's outrage.

Several men corner Elena and try to take off her veil.

Elena has a Seeing dream wherein she sees the Don digging a grave for a bearded lady and as he finishes, a gigantic freak comes behind him and snaps his neck.  The Don will suffer terribly for crossing the carnival, and this is a true seeing.

At some point when Diego is alone, he will have the opportunity to steal from the Don or his son.

Lorenzo Dural, Diego's apprentice, meets a towner girl (Auria the Washer-Girl) he wants to woo, providing an inverse situation to the one in play, and asks Diego's advice.

When negotiating with one of the NPCs, work in a secret that slips halfway out, which would shame them and make negotiations much harder to carry out if it were revealed in full.

Placia Barbero, Rodrigo's sister, will push for the carnival to move on and abandon Florinda.


Title: Re: [Burning Wheel] Bangs and NPCs for my first game
Post by: Robert Bohl on September 20, 2005, 06:19:38 AM
I have an individual kicker for Gonsalvo:

Uncle Ulf approaches Gonsalvo, complaining that his act isn't bringing in enough money.  He says he has to jack up the take, or he'll be busted back down to roustie and Ulf will employ the crab-clawed girl whose parents approached him yesterday.

And one Bang for him:

Some of the Don's men capture Gonsalvo and another freak, Atasha the Gorilla Girl (a hirsute, morbidly obese 16-year-old orphan).  They try torturing Gonsalvo for information, then turn on Atasha.

(Based on the Belief, "Pain to others is a sin; pain to self is a blessing.")

--

I am having a really hard time Banging his other B&Is.  Can anyone help me out?

Other Beliefs:  You can always push yourself harder.  Pride is the greatest fault of man, leading to the greatest fall.

Instincts: If they watch too closely, give them a show.  Never rest comfortably. Keep track of the nails.


Title: Re: [Burning Wheel] Bangs and NPCs for my first game
Post by: Judd on September 20, 2005, 06:27:56 AM
And one Bang for him:

Some of the Don's men capture Gonsalvo and another freak, Atasha the Gorilla Girl (a hirsute, morbidly obese 16-year-old orphan).  They try torturing Gonsalvo for information, then turn on Atasha.

I don't like this bang.  It hings on your capturing him.  The bang is that they try to capture him and the girl.  If they do not, go with it.  If they do, you can go with this as a kind of follow-up.

Capturing PC's is dicy.  Be careful with it.  What choices does he really have once he is captured and being tortured?


Beliefs: Pain to others is a sin; pain to self is a blessing.You can always push yourself harder.  Pride is the greatest fault of man, leading to the greatest fall.

Instincts: If they watch too closely, give them a show.  Never rest comfortably. Keep track of the nails.

Put him in a situation where he has the choice to either hurt someone else or hurt himself.  Put him in a situation where he has to push himself harder.  He should have some kind of run-in with the Don, showing the noble's excessive pride.

He goes to the local tavern and everyone is starting at him.

A raven flies away with one of his nails (reaching, here, I know).

More on this later.


Title: Re: [Burning Wheel] Bangs and NPCs for my first game
Post by: Robert Bohl on September 20, 2005, 07:30:09 AM
And one Bang for him:

Some of the Don's men capture Gonsalvo and another freak, Atasha the Gorilla Girl (a hirsute, morbidly obese 16-year-old orphan). They try torturing Gonsalvo for information, then turn on Atasha.

I don't like this bang. It hings on your capturing him. The bang is that they try to capture him and the girl. If they do not, go with it. If they do, you can go with this as a kind of follow-up.

Capturing PC's is dicy. Be careful with it. What choices does he really have once he is captured and being tortured?
Well, endure it.  Laugh in the face of it.  That's his specialty.  But then the difficult--the complication--is whether he betrays his friends to save the girl.  But you have a point, his being captured isn't a sure thing.
Quote
Put him in a situation where he has the choice to either hurt someone else or hurt himself. Put him in a situation where he has to push himself harder.
The hard part is coming up with something that challenges those.  I can easily think of ways for him to exemplify them, but the problem is it seems to me he'd let anyone do anything to him without a second thought to protect another person.  He'd always push himself as far as the situation allows.  How do you raise the stakes on it?  I'm stumped!
Quote
He should have some kind of run-in with the Don, showing the noble's excessive pride.
That's a good idea.  But what is his role in a scene where the Don is being pompous?  He obviously thinks that's bad, but what's the temptation for him?  What's the personal struggle?  All I can think is that he might be tempted to point this out to the Don, but there's nothing in his B&Is or his history that suggests that he'd do that, or that that'd be something that's interesting to him as a player.

I think I need to talk to him today about these.  I don't know if it's just my failing, but I am having a hard time thinking of ways to address and challenge these.


Title: Re: [Burning Wheel] Bangs and NPCs for my first game
Post by: Chris Geisel on September 20, 2005, 08:44:29 AM
The capture is really irrelevant. The conflict that you're trying to push is whether Gonsalvo lets the thugs hurt Gorilla Girl. So you put Gonsalvo in a situation where he sees them hurting her (eg tied up with a hot poker in the fire) and has to decide whether to get involved.

However, just seeing Gorilla Girl in harms way doesn't seem Bangy enough. You had the Kicker where Gonsalvo is about to lose his job to Lobster girl. Make Lobster Girl be the one tied up. Now he has to decide whether to act on his Belief or conveniently remove his competition. But that still doesn't seem Bangy enough for me, since walking away--although a choice--is pretty passive.

How's the relationship with his Uncle, the priest? Is it hateful? How about if Gonsalvo is sent for by his Uncle (the one who wants him exorcised and forced out of the Carnival) and Uncle has Lobster Girl on the rack, with a couple of thugs ready to go to work on her. The Don has given him a free hand to get the information. The Uncle takes the opportunity to please the Don and save his newphew, offering Gonsalvo the chance to take her place on the rack.

If Gonsalvo does, Uncle exorcises him. If he doesn't, Uncle gets his information from Lobster Girl: win/win for Uncle. I don't know how to demonstrate this, but Uncle is very Proud.

Or possibly the Uncle's patron is the Don's wife, and what Uncle is doing is not kosher. But the wife figures that if she gets the information the Don will look the other way. Uncle's pride compels him to take the risk, and if Gonsalvo thwarts him, a big come-down for Uncle(?). I'm not sure if that works... that's a tricky Belief to Bang (but could be a fate factory).


Title: Re: [Burning Wheel] Bangs and NPCs for my first game
Post by: Robert Bohl on September 20, 2005, 09:00:19 AM
I really like your bang idea (the exorcism one).  I also like the Gorilla Girl so I'll make her the one he threatens to replace Gonsalvo with.  However, he would probably just choose to have the switch happen.  I mean I can't see him making any other decision.  The exorcism doesn't have any weight to it.  Except perhaps that it would be an admission to the world that he thinks he's possessed, too.

My only other concern is that it's a bit tangental to what the group kicker is about, but that's okay.

Also he and I are going to discuss my concerns about his B&Is before the game starts tonight.


Title: Re: [Burning Wheel] Bangs and NPCs for my first game
Post by: Adam Cerling on September 20, 2005, 09:09:51 AM
If Gonsalvo believes that pain to himself is a blessing, then wouldn't it be more of a threat to deny him pain? Leprosy; sensory deprivation; body-numbing drugs; dismemberment (he will no longer have a hand with which to feel pain); acupuncture; etc.


Title: Re: [Burning Wheel] Bangs and NPCs for my first game
Post by: Robert Bohl on September 20, 2005, 09:13:06 AM
Here's the new Bang I came up with for him:

Father Dominico Pedrosa sends a man to contact his nephew Gonsalvo.  The Father has been given license by the Don to take Atasha into custody--which he's already done--to interrogate her about Satanic rituals at the carnival.  He will put her to the Question, unless Gonsalvo comes to take her place and accept an exorcism.

--

WhiteRat, that's interesting.  I'd probably make it numbness.  However, what can he do about that?  He's getting sick.  It's passive, right?


Title: Re: [Burning Wheel] Bangs and NPCs for my first game
Post by: Chris Geisel on September 20, 2005, 10:43:12 AM
I see what you're saying on both counts: the exorcism lacking weight and the entire Bang (if it is, indeed, Bangy enough) being tangential to the group Kicker. On the exorcism tip:

Uncle offers him the exorcism to spare Gorilla Girl. The exorcism must be predicated on Gonsalvo convincing Uncle that he repents, rejects the Carnival, accepts the Church, etc. I'd run this as a DoW between Gonsalvo and Uncle. The stakes are: if Gonsalvo wins, Uncle leaves the Carnival alone so long as Gonsalvo stays away from it's "temptation". If Uncle wins, Gonsalvo actually changes a Belief to recognize his actual repentance and turning away from the Carnival.

So agreeing to the exorcism is more than just being tied up and splashed with holy water. It's a long, arduous contest of Wills. I'd let Uncle FoRK in or at least get Helping dice from his torturers, not to mention the gaggle of assistants intoning scripture, dousing Gonsalvo with cold water, keeping him awake for days. Run it with interludes of preaching and physical hardship between each exchange in the DoW (as color and Help). (The best part is, he can keep his Instinct about nails either way!) ;)

As for the situation being too tangential, he's acting to spare the Carnival persecution from the Don's agent (the Uncle). That's a pretty major win for the Carnival, not to mention a major complication for Gonsalvo, who suddenly has to worry about being seen associating with his friends, or all bets are off. The church backs off, stops incensing the local population, withdraws it's support for the Don, etc. Now all the Carnies have to deal with are the Don's heavies and the Son.


Title: Re: [Burning Wheel] Bangs and NPCs for my first game
Post by: Robert Bohl on September 20, 2005, 10:49:48 AM
I don't think I want the stakes of the DoW to be that high, because if Gonsalvo loses, then his player needs to make up a new character :).  I think a DoW with the consequences of loss for Gonsalvo being that he's as much as admitted to the world that he's infested with demons.


Title: Re: [Burning Wheel] Bangs and NPCs for my first game
Post by: Chris Geisel on September 20, 2005, 11:28:51 AM
Rewriting a Belief is not exactly making a new character, but it's close. So I can see how you might feel like those stakes are too high. Hey, you wanted to challenge that Belief "pain for others a sin/self a blessing". Let's see how much of a blessing it is to endure an exorcism and risk losing your faith in yourself! Then we'll see how strong that Belief is! ;)

But yeah. I see your point. Actually, the whole DoW thing has nothing to do with a Bang, and everything to do with resolving the conflict, so that conversation about stakes should happen between you and your players at the table. My bad. A cool character like Gonsalvo just makes me want to do evil things.

Okay, so lets say the Uncle says, "admit you're possessed by the Devil or I'll torture Gorilla Girl". That's a good Bang--but only if there are consequences to that admission. If Gonsalvo can just say, "okay, fine, I'm possessed, happy?" and walk away, then it's not a Bang. Admitting that should be opening Gonsalvo up to a world of complications. Then I think you're good to go.

Or maybe not. Hopefully one of the Bang experts will chip in here.


Title: Re: [Burning Wheel] Bangs and NPCs for my first game
Post by: Robert Bohl on September 20, 2005, 11:32:20 AM
Well, I was thinking that by renouncing the carnival, he's no longer part of the group the game is focusing on.  That is, his character doesn't die really, but he goes off and starts raising turnips so why is he a part of this "show" anymore?

I'm thinking that if he does accept the exorcism he might increase his infamous reputation.  Right now it's "beset by demons, 1D."  Maybe it becomes, "consort of demons, 2D".  People start spreading the story and eventually they make a so-so movie about it and say it's based on a true story.


Title: Re: [Burning Wheel] Bangs and NPCs for my first game
Post by: Chris Geisel on September 20, 2005, 11:42:30 AM
Bumping up his Rep is a great idea. That could turn into quite a juicy complication once word gets around.

I hadn't considered that his forsaking the Carnival would remove him from play. I was imagining the consequences of Gonsalvo forsaking the Carnival (whether in fact or as a sly ploy) would be resolved in the course of the game. You know, does he resolve the problems with the Don, so he can risk taking on Uncle without worrying about harm coming to other Carnies. Does he try to "save" the Carnies, if his repentance is real. That sort of thing.

Also, just because he leaves the Carnival suddenly doesn't mean he severs ties with all his old friends, so he'd be getting drawn back into the Carnival, whether he likes it or not.

Not saying "I'm right", just explaining why I wasn't following you. The Reputation consequence is perfect. It's significant, but not character-breaking significant.


Title: Re: [Burning Wheel] Bangs and NPCs for my first game
Post by: Robert Bohl on September 20, 2005, 11:49:30 AM
Not saying "I'm right", just explaining why I wasn't following you.

Understood.  I guess he could falsely repent the carnival, but if it's a true repentance (which I think might be a serious concern, especially with a new player), then at the very least it would be a lot of "your scene", "everyone else", "your scene", "everyone else", etc.  And while I'm not looking for a NEVER SPLIT THE PARTY! dungeon crawl, I would like most scenes to include at least half the group.

And for the record, I'm not saying I'm right either, just explaining myself further, like you were.  I think what might be good to do is to have the Uncle try and set up the terms that way but I'm pretty sure he wouldn't take that bait.  I dunno.  We'll see what happens.

The Reputation consequence is perfect. It's significant, but not character-breaking significant.

Thanks.


Title: Re: [Burning Wheel] Bangs and NPCs for my first game
Post by: Adam Cerling on September 20, 2005, 02:02:40 PM
WhiteRat, that's interesting.  I'd probably make it numbness.  However, what can he do about that?  He's getting sick.  It's passive, right?

Not if it's a Gypsy curse, and the Gypsy is right over there demanding something unspeakable from him!

If the cause and the cure are ultimately other people, I don't think it'd be too passive.


Title: Re: [Burning Wheel] Bangs and NPCs for my first game
Post by: Robert Bohl on September 20, 2005, 02:16:38 PM
Excellent idea.  Thank you.

Bad news:  Tonight's game got cancelled.