Unfortunately we had to skip a week of Burning Wheel. We showed up last week and there was some confusion about where someone’s character sheet was. So, instead of leaving someone out or just making up numbers I ran some InSpectres instead. Went well, but I definitely need some more practice with it.
Anyhow, this week shows the return of Bozkar the gambler. The player’s missed a couple sessions and he was playing catch up. We know from a couple sessions ago that Bozkar’s relationship, Devlin, was being blamed for the theft of valuables from Kilgen’s cart. The theft that Flint actually performed.
Delvin the Orphan
While dicing a bit, Bozkar hears word that Kilgin is accusing Delvin of stealing from him and he intends to make an example. Bozkar excuses himself and tracks down Delvin. He professes his innocence and Bozkar believes him. “People will always look down on you and make you a scape goat. You’ve gotta make your own way and turn everything to your advantage. Just stick with me.”
Bozkar goes searching for Kilgen. Turns out they’ve had a bit of interaction in the past and even diced together from time to time (Successful Circles test). Bozkar hopes to diffuse the situation pretty easily, but Kilgen’s not budging. They argue back in forth in front of a few spectators. Kilgen wants to make an example and make Delvin “pay the price” for theft. Bozkar is trying to convince everyone that it was that coward Urgo that must have done it. They end up coming to a stand-still and eventually they make a deal where Bozkar will find a way to pay Kilgen back. (Tied Duel of Wits).
Bozkar figures it’s best to get out of camp. Out of site out of mind and he doesn’t want anyone else hoping to make an example of his charge. He starts making plans to head out to the ziggurat ruins. Before leaving he starts hearing rumors how High Captain Grahm is getting reports from the ruins, but not allowing any information outside of his camp (Successful rumor-wise) and while dicing with an old friend, he fans the flames a bit by telling the Dwarf that Grahm is making a play for power and working together with the trades-dwarfs and keeping out the artisans (Successful Falsehood)
Outside the Ruins
The same night after Flint & Kardin found the mines and parlayed with the spiders, Bozkar makes it to camp. They all catch up on what’s been going on. When talking about the business with Delvin & Kilgen, Bozkar notices Flint’s reaction seems a little off (successful Persuasion) — he’s not sure what’s going on there, but something seems off.
While they’re chatting a couple Dwarves come up interested because they overheard something about mines (they’re Deep Delvers, a group that hasn’t been totally fleshed out yet. But they’re out to lay stakes on veins of metal and ore). They’re really curious about the ore Kardin find and start asking questions about who they need to talk to about getting their share. The group starts stonewalling them a bit at that point and they eventually leave.
After some more chatting Flint goes to talk with Arak and warns him about some Dwarves that seem to be out to exploit the rest of the survivors. He suggests placing guards around the un-mined area to keep anyone from trying to lay claim to what should be community resources. He also gets Arak to agree to send a couple Dwarves from the host down with them to help take care of the “living statues”.
To the Forge
The next morning they start planning how they’re going to deal with the creatures guarding the forge. They’re numbers are now 5 to 6. A little more even, but those creations seem pretty hardy.
First, Bozkar points out he has no armor and asks to borrow Flint’s old set of armor (now that he’s got the mail). He agrees. In exchange Bozkar will help in putting Arak in power (something he’s already been working toward anyhow).
They start talking about ways to get the drop on the statues and realize that since that area is near the forge, there must be a ventilation system. Maybe they could use that to make their way down below and surprise the creatures. They’re able to find some ventilation hatches, but time has not been kind and they’re all blocked off (failed Hold-wise).
At this point the party resigns themselves to having to do this the hard way. They make their way down to the shaft access (Fergus follows along as he promised to do, although he stays back from any fighting). Before heading into the ruins Bozkar is able to find a hammer that he can use (successful Scavenging).
They start climbing down (using the rope Flint previously anchored) and make their way near the bottom with no problem. When the lowest dwarf is only about 20 feet from the floor, he hears some movement below. He looks down and sees two of the creatures. One of them stands directly beneath the shaft and looks up. This one has the head of a bat and it lets out a loud screech as blast of intense heat starts to rise up the shaft. Everyone starts scrambling up the rope and wall to avoid the blast. Kardin is able to avoid the heat wave (successful Climb test), but Flint & Bozkar get a bit scorched, but are protected from the worst of it by their armor (failed Climb tests followed by successful Armor tests). One of the dwarves from Arak’s squad loses his grip on the rope, but Kardin is able to grab him while Flint & Bozkar secure Kardin and the rope to keep them all from falling (successful Speed test).
At this, the party decides to climb back up and re-assess. The room with access to the shaft is partly filled with rubble from the previous collapse that Kardin fell through to find the room in the first place. The Dwarves start heaving large rocks over the side hoping to catch a couple of the creatures unaware. They’re able to bury one in rubble, but mostly just create a pile of rocks on the floor at the bottom of the shaft (failed Power test).
With nothing left to do, but destroy the remaining statues, the party climbs back down. Luckily the pile of rocks keeps any of the creatures from getting too close too fast and the party is able to get their footing before the fighting begins.
Kardin, Bozkar, Flint, and the 2 dwarves from Arak’s squad stand back-to-back at the top of the rubble. Flint has his arbalest out, but is unable to keep one of the creatures from getting too close (failed Engagement), while Kardin & Bozkar are able to take advantage of their hammers’ longer reach (successful Engagement) — the creatures limbs are fashioned into weapons but don’t have much reach. Kardin & Bozkar trade blows each with a different statue to no real effect while Flint trusts his armor to keep him safe while hoping to get off a shot. Then within just a couple heartbeats of each other Kardin lets loose with a mighty swing felling one creature while Flint releases a bolt at another blasting a huge hole in it. The three dwarves gang up on the creature Kardin was fighting alone and are able to dispatch it with little problem. (Did a full-on fight here, abstracting the two Host dwarves each taking on a colossus leaving 3-on-3 for the PCs. Highlight of the Fight was Flint pulling out 9 successes on an Ob 8 test to hit the colossus he was fighting on 15 dice thanks to some aiming and adding in his Greed dice).
Knowing they don’t have much time before Fergus realizes the fighting is over before coming down and causing who-knows-what sort of trouble, the party quickly starts examining the remains of the creatures and soon find a small hatch one of them that can be opened (successful beginner’s luck Colossus-wise). Inside is a mess of cogs and gears. Bozkar searches around for anything usable to help dismantle parts, but comes up empty-handed (failed Scavenging). Kardin decides to just reach in and see what he can salvage. The cogs and gears are in generally good repair, but buried deep is a very plain, very rough (not cut) dark stone of unknown make (failed beginner’s luck Colossus Artifice — the failure results of which have yet to be fully revealed — also a totally made-up skill on the spot, but having a skill to make the colossi absolutely makes sense in the setting). Kardin holds on to the stone and Bozkar takes a few handfuls of gears and cogs hoping to someone will be willing to trade.
As they hear scrambling from above (Fergus climbing down) the party goes down the passageway previously defended by the statues. They come out on a balcony overlooking a huge, dormant forge. Much like the hearth-forges from back home, but much bigger. Most of the massive chamber is covered in a thin layer of ash (not soot, surprisingly). In fact the back of the archway leading into the forge is noticeably fire-blasted and slightly damaged. Something happened here, but it’s not yet obvious what that was.
They look over the forge — it’s in good condition although dormant, of course. Also, the dwarves notice the forge is slightly warm compared to the rest of the areas they’ve been in down below. There’s no obvious source for the heat. Perhaps from the earth itself? About this time Fergus comes in demanding no one touch anything. As he’s looking at every square inch of the forge, Bozkar keeps an eye on him in case he gets any ideas of destroying anything useful and Flitn & Kardin go to the opposite side of the forge where there’s a balcony identical to the balcony they came in through. They go up and find the entire balcon (and a small semi-circular alcove) covered in some sort of mosaic tile. There’s no specific pattern, but it’s well-made and polished. Remembering a comment Fergus had made about a rune staircase Flint & Kardin start looking for any sort of hidden door. Their search is interrupted as a face appears in the tile at their feet. The face seems to be made of the tile yet almost fluid and liquid like its skin.
“Is Lord Midnor returned?”
“No, we’re claiming this forge for us. What manner of creature are you?”
The figure rises up out of the floor, it’s huge almost humanoid (with wings) body seeming to rise out of the floor made of tile and stone “I am the guardian of the forge. Only I can light the forge.”
“So light it.”
“Not without Lord Midnor. Bring me his head and we’ll talk.” At that the creature disappears down into the rock.
Shaken by what they’ve just seen the dwarves don’t know quite what to do. Fergus keeps going on about how Midnor was a bad dwarf and they shouldn’t be here. “That was ages ago, old man! Midnor’s long dead and turned to dust. We’ll find some way to deal with that thing or find Midnor’s skeletal remains.”
“Do what you like, I’ll be giving my report to Grahm.”
“You do that, we’ll have our own report.”
Pretty long session. A Duel of Wits and the beginning and a Fight towards the end. Most of us are still a bit new to the new BWG Fight rules, but it went pretty well overall. Definitely enjoying the changes from Revised to Gold.
We’d hoped to have a final showdown with Fergus/Grahm probably in the form of a DoW, but the session was already running long. That’s likely what we’ll be starting with next session and then probably fast forward a bit in time. Probably an entire season — let everyone practice/train/Get a Job and maybe a few over-arching montage like scenes as the clan gets settles into the mines down below. Goal #1 for Flint is definitely to get Armor Training so he’s no longer suffering penalties while wearing his sweet, sweet Dwarven Mail.