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[Burning Wheel] The Chill Lands... (Inactive)

Game Master Peanuts

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The History of the Plains of the Ancestors

The characters for this campaign live in or around the Plains of the Ancestors, a broad, flat region surrounded by inhospitable terrain on all sides. To the North-East the terrain rises into a series of chilly plateaus, which since ancient memory has been home to the great evils of the world, Witches, and evil men, Giants, and the Giant-kin; the Trolls and Orcs. It is also however, the source of the Mammoths, their once great herds roaming the icy tundra, now driven south before the might of the Witches forces. To the West of the Witches home the terrain grows ever more rocky, rising up into the crags and peaks of the Garusian Mountains (mostly extinct volcanoes), which split and spread southwards, hemming the Plains in to the West, until they meet the trees of the Savage Jungle. Warmed by hundred of springs the Jungle thrives, yet no sane warrior enters beneath it’s dripping branches; for there live nature’s fiercest, the scaled bodies of the dinosaurs, and the citadels of the Mad Elves.

Completing the border of the Plains of the Ancestor is the wind-tossed waters of the Arcadian Ocean, upon whose shores live the Ulfen, a rough, hearty people prone to boisterous celebrations and a fits of violence and passion (often combining the two during their raids upon the more ‘civilized’ southern nations). Unlike the inhabitants of the Plain of the Ancestors, the Kellids who were forced from the formerly settled Plains centuries ago by the arrival of the Mammoths, the Ulfen live in houses, villages, and kingdoms, complete with ‘noble’ Jarls, and mighty warrior Kings. Whether those homesteads rest on the ocean’s rocky shore, or out amongst the islands of the Arcadian Ocean itself, the Ulfen remain a force to be reckoned with on land and sea.

The Kellids meanwhile, with the arrival of the Mammoths underwent a fairly radical change. Climbing onto the Plateaus of the north and hunting the wild mammoths had always been a right of passage, and some of the greatest heroes of the people left their legacy with the enormous tusks of the mighty beasts they had hunted and slain. After their descent from the plateau, the mammoths were upon the very doorsteps of the Kellid’s people, and they had to change. It took several generations before they managed to properly tame and domesticate the beasts that had wrought so much havoc upon their settlements, and it had split the people. The hunters, the peoples who had been half nomadic to begin with remained upon the plains, walking alongside their new creatures, while those who had felt the lost of their homes most dearly sought to rebuilt to the west, in the tunnels and caves that had long ago belonged to the Dwarves.

The split was never total however, and soon the settled people of the caves re-embraced their nomadic brethren and their mighty mounts, sending their children to learn the ways of the hunt, still held by the nomads, while the nomads traded the meat and bones of the mammoths to the cave people for tools, worked ivory, and lumber taken from the wooded slopes of the mountain, and to the Ulfen for their own spoils.

The relationship would have been quite peaceful and prosperous for both peoples, had it not been for the threat of the Witches, whose presence became ever more apparent with every winter. Allying together the Kellid Tribes, and the Ulfen’s Warriors have kept the Witches at bay for over a century, yet their numbers seem endless, and fewer warriors muster to fight the Giants, Trolls and Orcs back up onto their plateaus. A council was called, the Elders of the most powerful tribes, and the mightiest Jarls gathering together to discuss what must be done.


The Kellid Tribes:

The Bull (Mammoth) Tribe – Embodies the aggression and strength of the mammoths of old. The Bull Tribe are purely nomadic, the hunters, herders and caretakers of the Mammoths that roam upon the Plains of the Ancestors.

Tribe of the Mother (Mammoth) (Tupilek’s tribe) – Embodies the life-giving relationship between the Kellids and the Mammoth, they aid in the birthing and nurturing of the Mammoth young, and are largely responsible for processing the bounty of food, hides, and bones the mammoths provide by their death. They have the closest relationship with the Bull Tribe, who provide the raw materials that the Tribe of the Mother use, in exchange for a portion of the finished goods and the ‘wealth’ (metal tools, weapons, armor, and other equipment) that they obtain through trade with the Ulfen.

The Mole Tribe – A tribe of craftsmen, miners, and engineers. The most educated amongst the Kellids, specifically regarding the nature of the tunnels and caves of the Garusian mountains, but also in several other areas as well (the tribe who sends the fewest of their children to the nomads to hunt, and the only tribe that bothers teaching their children mathematics and who as a whole can competently read and write).

The mole is both the most insular tribe, as they do not have direct contact with most non-kellids, but also for the same reason, the most accepting of differences. The other tribes view the Moles as odd, but if there’s ever a cave-in or if a cave needs to be expanded, or extended, or a new tunnel needs to be dug, the Mole Tribe are the ones who the other settled Kellids turn to.

The Tribe of the Elk – Like the Bull Tribe, the Tribe of the Elk are hunters, but not of the Mammoth themselves. Instead they live in the woods around the base of the Southern Garusian Mountains, hunting for smaller prey, and are the closest to farmers the Kellids have, being a true hunter-gatherer tribe. Even with the woodsmen that they are they do not stray too far south into the Savage Jungle, though a few old trophies bear witness to the might and bravery of their warriors who dared to venture into the dense foliage and returned.

The Guardians – While not a true tribe, the Guardians are made up of members from the other four, primarily the Bull, with contributions in descending order from the Elk, The Mother, and Mole. The guardians are those who watch over the Steppes of the Mammoth—a series of small plateaus that descend from the chilly lands of the Witches to the Plains of the Ancestors on the edge of the Garusian Mountains, and the most common point for the Witches’ forces to descend. A second group of guardians stand side to side with the Ulfen warriors at Blood Castle, constructed before another similar, though more difficult descent.


The Ulfen Settlements

Kalsgard – Capital of the Ulfen lands, and the largest settlement upon the Plains with a population of approximate 35,000. It is situated at the mouth of the Rimeflow River which flows into the Bay of Orbus, and eventually the Arcadian Ocean itself. It is the seat of the High King, a position which can only be held by one who has defeated one of the mighty Linnorms that lay scattered about the isles of the Arcadian Ocean, and the deep, hidden places of the North. Few have the fortitude and competence to slay the mighty beasts, and any who can bring the head of one of the creatures through the gates of Kalsgard is assured a place of power and respect, and the title of King.

Blood Castle – A castle made of a dark, red-speckled stone, Blood Castle was constructed almost a century ago at the order of a previous High King, to provide a bulwark against the forces of the witches. The place has been manned ever since by stout warriors, and to be known as a Veteran of Blood Castle is a mark of honor, and a symbol of a mighty warrior for both peoples.

The Craggs – Situated high in the mountains on the borders of the Witches lands The Craggs was established as a mining town to take advantage of the abundant resources of the small range. After being raided and overrun by the forces of the witches several times it became harder and harder to find people willing to work the profitable mines. Desperate for workers the company that owned the mine put out the call for workers, regardless of origin or reputation; anyone who was physically capable of the toil necessary could find work there. Needless to say there are always people who wish to make some coin, no questions asked, and the place was desperate enough to pay well, as long as the work got done. As such the settlement, though exceptionally prosperous has taken on a rather unpleasant reputation, orcs are not an uncommon sight and anyone looking to collect a criminal bounty would be well served to pay the place a visit, as long as they can hide their identity anyway. The amount of people who’ve gone missing during a visit to The Craggs is troubling to say the least.

Deep Harbor – So named for the large, natural harbor of the small bay Deep Harbor is conveniently situated on the fringes of a plentiful supply of hardwoods, suitable for shipbuilding. Originally founded as a perfect location for the main Ulfen shipyards, the town has also come to serve a secondary purpose, with the construction of Blood Castle to the west the town provides supplies for the castle, and the castle provides a battle-hardened garrison for the valuable city. Since Blood Castle’s creation the city has grown from a town of approx 6,000, to take the place of the second largest upon the Plains, with approximately 22,000 citizens living and working behind it’s stout walls.

Halgrim - Situated upon the Ironbound Archipelago, Halgrim is led by a female king (the term is used for both genders) named White Estrid, a pale warrior with almost white hair and striking blue eyes. Estrid does not possess the traditional linnorm head hanging over her throne, but instead has a live linnorm coiled up behind it. The linnorm, Boiltongue, does not speak, save to confirm that yes, it was defeated fairly by Estrid, and has traded its service for its life.

Overlook – Though now an Ulfen town Overlook is actually one of the only Kellid settlements to survive the initial arrival of the witches and the herds of Mammoths driven before them. The town perches atop a large rise overlooking the Lake of Tears, and it’s people are largely a mix of the two human races who reside in the surrounding area. New arrivals to the town will hear many tales as to how the lake got it’s original name, but whatever the source may be, it is most like lost to history.

Ocean’s Bounty – Built upon the storm lashed shores of the coast, amongst the branches of the river as they drain into the sea, Ocean’s Bounty was discovered by a lucky warrior tossed overboard from his ship during a storm and washed to shore, where he discovered a wealth of pearl-bearing oysters, abundant fish and sea life, and enough driftwood to build himself a shack--which eventually grew into the hearty fishing town it is now.

The tribes have been camped about Kalsgard for over a week when Tupilek arrives at the Ulfen capital city, late one chilly Kuthonan day. Moving slowly between the many tents of his people even one unfamiliar with the city can see how it has swelled to nearly double the size with thousands of Kellid warriors and their mighty steeds. The wear of hosting so many shows on the place, the fields slowly turning to mud beneath the heavy tread of the majestic Mammoths and the many footfalls of the Kellids, helped along by the light covering of snow.

Following the directions given to him by one of his tribesman, Tupilek finally manages to locate the tent of his friend and mentor, Ga-Pilu, the Shaman of The Mother--now Elder--who calmed his rage and taught him wisdom. At your call the tent-flap opens to the face of a young girl of about six or seven who looks up and smiles at you. “Un-cul ‘Pilek!” she greets you happily in a sing-song voice, and a few moments is all it takes to put a name to the face of Fesha, one of Ga-Pilu’s many grandchildren.

You are late in attending this gathering as the anniversary of Nanuc’s death coincided with the start of the talks, and not even something as potentially important to this land’s future as these talks are could stop you from observing your annual meditation.

Of course if you don’t like that then feel free to come up with some other reason why you’re just now arriving :)

Zöoi, Dawn's Gift:
The talks between the Kings and Jarls of the Ulfen and the Elders of the Kellids have been dragging on for days now, while the great hairy beasts--and the mammoths--despoil the lands surround the Ulfen capital. Lured in by promises of adventure and glory, the opportunities for such have been noticeably lacking.

It is the evening of the 8th day of negotiations, and rumor amongst the Ulfen mercenaries hoping for a fat purse is that the opportunity is finally rising on the horizon. The speakers seem to have at last made a decision, and opened up for registrations of interest, and you find yourself in front of one of the new posters. Four groups will be being sent out with emissaries of the combined council, and there will be spots for two guards and guides with each group. Those interested are invited to the city hall to register their interest for one of the missions.

AC 21, T 13, FF 17 / Fort +5, Ref +3, Will +1 (All +1 vs arcane) / Init +5 / Perception +1

Tupilek's broad face breaks into a smile. "Fesha!" He says, scooping up the little girl in his massive arms. "How you've grown little one!" he exclaims, hugging her tight and tickling her. After a second he sets her gently back down and says, "Is your grandfather about? I've come to see him." He musses her hair playfully while he waits for her answer.

Zöoi shoves a particularly odious 'competitor' out of the line, and away from her, "By the Light you reek, HöD! Go dunk yourself in lye water before your stench kills this althing & I have to kill some man-thing as gets pissy over it."
Ugly Truths: 3d6 ⇒ (4, 5, 3) = 12, That's two successes.

"Un-cul Pilek!" Fesha squeals happily as she is picked up, giggling and doing her best to wrap her small arms around your broad chest as she squeezes you back. As you start tickling her she starts to giggle and squirm, looking a little breathless when she is finally set down again.

"Tupilek? Is that you?" you hear your mentor's familiar voice from deeper in the tent, the two of you standing in the small 'mud-room'.

"He's this way Un-cul Pilek." Fesha tells you, grabbing your hand and attempting to lead you to her grandfather. She waits until you remove your boots and then drags you through the inner flap, into a large, open room, the floor laid thick with rugs, a metal brazier in the corner, next to your Mentor, Ga-Pilu. He is reclining on a pile of furs as you enter, a scroll of parchment, a quill and ink beside him. He sets them aside, smiles at you and pushes himself slowly to his feet as you enter however, clasping you in a hug.

"Tupilek! It is good you made it. Please, sit down." he gestures to another large pile of furs as he lowers himself back to his spot, quickly tidying away the quill and corking the ink. "Your journey was a safe one I trust?" Fesha meanwhile, plops herself in your lap once you have settled yourself, beaming up at you happily.

It may be because I just finished a 10 hour graveyard, but I can't figure out what you mean by althing.

Hmm. I need to track down an Adventure Burner, since I'm guessing that'd be where the rules for poisons and such are (aka being drunk). Anyway, not entirely sure what you were trying to accomplish there, but what the hell :p

The obese HöD stumbles out of line, tumbling into the dirt of the street at your shove. As he is grunting his way back to his feet, looking around in drunken confusion, you take the chance to slip into the building before he can spot you. From behind you you hear "H-hey... w-who shaid that? You? I-oughta... Hey, lemme go; I've gotta sign up for the..." the last sentence fading as he is dragged off by two guards.

The foyer is relatively simple, the Ulfen not too concerned about making their public buildings pretty; the building is sturdy and functional however, with a row of counters behind which sit harried looking clerks, currently dealing with the lines of Mercenaries and other Warriors. You suspect the building would normally be locked up by now, but with a decision finally reached the council seems eager to get underway. Besides the clerks and generally scruffy looking mercenaries, there are a number of Ulfen littered around the room wearing the symbol of High King Sveinn Blood-Eagle.

It takes a little while longer before you finally manage to reach one of the clerks, who pulls out a fresh parchment of paper, and dips his quill into the ink. "Name, Date of Birth, and mercenary company if applicable?" he asks without looking up.

A thing (pronounced Ting I believe) was a gathering of related norse people to make decisions. An Althing was a big gathering of all the leaders around to make decisions that affected whole 'nations' of norse. As the Ulfen are basically golarion norsemen, I've been using as much norse terminology as I can recall.
Mostly I'm just showing how Zöoi frequently does things to prove she is the toughest, meanest, Baddest MoFo around. She picks fights if she thinks it will get her recognition, or if someone tries to treat her like 'just a woman'. Plus he was stinky. Technically, I should have made a Brawling check to see if I managed to shove him...

Zöoi looks over the High King's men as she makes her way to the clerk, locking eyes with any that look her way.
Conspicuous: 3d6 ⇒ (6, 5, 6) = 17, Wow, three successes. Basically, this is her trying to get noticed by the people who might be of help in making a name for herself. Peanuts, does Gold still use the 'Let it Ride' Mechanic?
"Zöoi Jasminesdattir, I was born in the spring of High King Blood-Eagle's assumption, My Swords are mine own."

AC 21, T 13, FF 17 / Fort +5, Ref +3, Will +1 (All +1 vs arcane) / Init +5 / Perception +1

"Safe as any can be in these troubled times, old friend. I'm not as young as I used to be, so I made sure to steer clear of the particularly nasty regions on my way. I was delayed by paying my respects to Nanuc and the First Mammoth. How are things here? What news do you hold for hungry ears?" Tupilek says, returning the hug and sitting down crosslegged next to his mentor.

Gold does indeed use Let it Ride Zooi. If you don't mind though, could you hold off on making checks until you're asked for them, at least at the start. It's going to take me a while to get a hang of running this system (especially over PbP as the game assumes you are face to face, which is a very different situation), and before any roll I need to come up with an Obstacle anyway, so you can decide if you want to spend persona before the roll, or fate after.

I know this may slow things down, but it'll be appreciated. So if either of you wish to do something you think will require a roll, then let me know what skill you want to use, what you hope to accomplish (your intent), and any supportive skills you want to FoRK into the roll. Then if anyone wants to offer helping dice they can comment that they wish to do so, and how as well. The character's actions should be portrayed in character, and the characters intent in an ooc tag

Ga-Pilu bursts into laughter as you mention your lack of youth. "If I am still alive in 20 years Tupilek, then you can speak to me of faded youth." he cajoles you, his tone full of companionable mirth. Ga-Pilu certainly moves a lot let swiftly and easily now than when you first met him. He nods, still smiling at mention of Nanuc, his tone approving "You do honor to his memory."

He sighs slightly as the topic turns to the present. "It has been tiresome, but ultimately, profitable I hope. It is clear most everyone accepts what needs to be done, although it bruised some prides to admit it." he chuckles softly before continuing "That took the first few days, and we have spent the days since arguing what actions, how many people to send, where to send them. We finally seem to have come to a consensus; the word has gone out that we are seeking volunteers, and we hope to meet with them and organize the groups tomorrow. With the pace that the rest of the meeting has gone however I suspect it will take at least 2 days, if not longer."

Fasha meanwhile starts to fidget in your lap, apparently growing annoyed at being ignored. She pulls out a bone comb from her pocket and waves it in your face. {b]"Brush my hair pleeease Un-cul 'Pilek?"[/b] she asks, giving you puppy dog eyes.

"Fasha! Leave Tupilek alone, he is tired from his journey." he looks at Tupilek with an apologetic smile for his grand-daughter.

I assume you mean King Blood-Eagle's ascension? Or is that another Norse term I'm unfamiliar with? I've got to admit I don't know much in the way of such language.

Blood-Eagle's men largely simply look bored, though attentive enough, ready to step forward to intervene with their Polearms or Clubs as necessary. As you strut your way across to the Clerk you notice eyes turning in your direction, some with curiosity, some with amusement, and some with lust. After a moment even the Clerk looks up, sensing a slight change in the mood of the room, looking you over for a few moments before returning his attention to the paper, writing--you have to assume--the information you just gave him.

"Uhh... right." he mummbles to himself, apparently a bit thrown off as he sneaks a glance up at you again. "What would you identify as your skillset. That is, what weapons do you use, do you have any wilderness skills, medical, diplo..." the clerk looks up, and then his gaze slides past you, and his words trail off.

The reason for his distraction becomes quickly obvious as you feel a meaty hand clap you on the shoulder. "Zoo-ay!" bellows a familiar voice, a deep, though still recognizably female bellow. "I thot zat vas joo" You follow the hand still resting on your shoulder up to the hulking figure of Berta, a woman you have worked with in the past who took a liking to you despite your 'strange' fighting style. Bigger than most men at 6' 10"--and you wouldn't hazard to guess her weight--Berta forgoes your own grace and agility in favour of the more traditional Ulfen style of getting angry and smashing things until they break. She is dressed in stitched together skins of what was obviously once several bears, and has an enormous mace on her belt, her strong features are quite Majestic, in the a way comparable to a fine ship. "Joo are here for ze deplomtec meesion?"

Forgive the terrible accent, I've not had much practice with them. This is meant to be sort of Swedish.

AC 21, T 13, FF 17 / Fort +5, Ref +3, Will +1 (All +1 vs arcane) / Init +5 / Perception +1

"But not so tired that I can't brush the knot's from my favorite monkey's fur." Tupilek says, taking the comb from her and combing out her hair. Once all the tangles are out, he works it up into a complicated braid across the back of her head. "Well, it's good to hear things are moving in the right direction here." He continues to Ga-Pilu. "What was decided as to where the parties will head?" he asks.

"Ahh, you're going to spoil her..." Ga-Pilu says with an exaggerated sigh as Fesha beams up at Tupilek, before settling down to enjoy his brushing.

"Well, there are four missions planned, each with their own potential dangers. We plan to send an envoy south to seek aid from our neighbors there, that was the easy one. We plan to send a force into the Savage Jungle to seek out the Elves, and similarly another group will be heading down beneath our own homes, into the deep tunnels in search of the dwarves. The last will be heading north into the Witches lands themselves."[b]

[b]"Needless to say that one is not so much about diplomacy as it is about scouting; though if there are elements there that remain opposed to, or that can be turned against the Witches then that would be a great boon to us." he smiles over at Fesha, who seems to be nodding off, lightly falling against your knee before she jerks awake as you finish braiding her hair into a night-time braid. "Enough of such talk for now. Fesha needs to be to bed, and you need rest yourself; we can talk more over breakfast before I must go to the meetings."

Fesha pouts at her grandfather, about to protest before her argument is cut short by a large yawn, and she gives in without a fight. "G'night Un-cul 'Pilek..." she murmurs, climbing to her feet and giving you a peck on the cheek as her grandfather arises to escort her back to her family's tent. "I believe there's an open spot to pitch your tent, one block east, a few rows down, or else you are welcome to sleep here." he offers, scooping up the drowsy Fesha and walking out with you.

AC 21, T 13, FF 17 / Fort +5, Ref +3, Will +1 (All +1 vs arcane) / Init +5 / Perception +1

"I'd welcome a real roof for the night Master. Thank you." Tupilek will lay his meager possessions in a small pile by the fire, and curl up next to them. Using some furs as a pillow. "My own journey was long and I welcome the respite. I'll see you in the morning." he says, his eyes already fluttering closed despite his best efforts. Soon enough he is fast asleep on the floor, snoring quietly.

Actually, I like the accent. makes the differences between the two more noticeable 'in play' without having to constantly describe the physical differences. Plus, now I have a player goal for Zöoi's Character Advancement; I want to develop Berta as another Relationship for her.
I apologize about the checks, excited to be playing & wanted to try things out. I will refrain from preemptively making checks from now on. Thinking about it, your ideas & reasoning make sense regarding adapting the game to PbP.
Yes, that is what I meant effectively. Chalk it up to another difference in upbringing. Ulfen might see it as ascending the throne, Zöoi's mother's people viewed it as assuming the mantle. Effectively the same thing, but a difference in viewpoint as to what it meant. Which can have further affects on character interactions down the line...

Sighing bemusedly, Zöoi turns, smirking with good humor at the woman-mountain now before her. "Alright, who caught a Jotun & laid a weird on it so as to make the ignorant think it was Berta Yron-thews?! I know Berta & you can't be her, most of the inhabitants of the hall are still standing!" At this point, since Zöoi is trying to be nice to Berta while at the same time being in competition with her, I would like to make a Soothing Platitudes check.

Hmmm, yeah assuming a position is a valid use I suppose, it just looked odd to see it written that way... I will try to stop picking holes in your posts like that, but sometimes I may genuinely be confused :p

As to the accent I just hope I can keep it consistent.

Anyway, can't do a full reply now, but Soothing Platitudes is more about calming people down. It sounds like you're after a bragging/insult contest, so roll me an Ob 3, Ugly Truths, and you can FoRK in Falsehood, since it's appropriate. Role anything else you would like to FoRK in separately as well :p (I can see some more of your skills that you could argue for :)

The rest of the post will have to wait for about 36 hours or so. Got my normaly RL game today, and then working tonight :s

Not so much a bragging/insult contest as 'I'm about to do/say something that might anger/offend/hurt you, so I'm going to try & get you in a good mood first so you will take it as a joke instead of an insult'. That is why I was thinking Soothing Platitudes.
No worries about stating when you aren't certain what/why I am trying to say. As you pointed out earlier, Burning Wheel depends a lot on the players (including the GM) being able to interact on a notably more direct level than is possible in PbP.

Well, with what the character said it certainly doesn't feel like soothing platitudes to me :p You don't have to roll every time you want to do something either, it should be roleplay instead of rollplay, especially with Burning Wheel.

The book states the following, and this pretty much how I plan to do tests. It's how I've witnessed the Strand Gamers (the podcast group I linked to in the recruitment thread) doing it, and it works nice and smoothly for them.

Burning Wheel Gold wrote:

The Spokes in Play

Vincent’s Admonition
In his game, Dogs in the Vineyard, Vincent Baker articulates a convention of Burning Wheel so well that I’d rather use his words than my own. He says:
Every moment of play, roll dice or say "yes."
If nothing is at stake, say "yes" [to the player’s request], whatever they’re doing. Just go along with them. If they ask for information, give it to them. If they have their characters go somewhere, they’re there. If they want it, it’s theirs.
Sooner or later—sooner, because [your game’s] pregnant with crisis—they’ll have their characters do something that someone else won’t like. Bang! Something’s at stake. Start the conflict and roll the dice.
Roll dice, or say "yes."

Vincent’s advice is perfect for Burning Wheel. Unless there is something at stake in the story you have created, don’t bother with the dice. Keep moving, keep describing, keep roleplaying. But as soon as a character wants something that he doesn’t have, needs to know something he doesn’t know, covets something that someone else has, roll the dice.

This is obviously a significant difference to how Pathfinder works, where tests are made for everything. I admit I've already had to go against my instinct to say 'no, that's not how I pictured the situation', but out of saying yes emerged Berta, so I'm glad I did so.

In this case, there's nothing particularly at stake. You said you don't want to hurt her feelings, but if you do then whatever comes of that will advance the story. A big thing that the Strand Gamers say often in their game, is that in Burning Wheel, Failure is Interesting; it may not mean you get what you want, but it will make the story more interesting, and perhaps lead things in a direction neither you guys as the player, nor me as the DM(I don't actually know what the proper term is for me in Burning Wheel) could have ever imagined. Failure is not something to be feared, but something to be embraced or overcome.

So. If you want to impress Berta with your scathing wit, which is how I interpreted it, then roll as I suggested above, or else we can just continue to roleplay, and save the dice for when they are needed to resolve some sort of actual conflict. If you're wanting to provoke some particular sort of reaction from Berta, then that's a conflict, but until you say those things, and Berta takes offense to them (if that is indeed what happens), then there's no conflict, and thus no need for pre-emptive soothing platitudes.

I will tell you guys now, running this is kind of scary, I'm not good at improv normally, and to me that's what this system is all about. I have no particular goal of what will happen in this campaign, what happens is up to the decisions you make, and how the dice fall. There are no rails, no big bad waiting at the end that you have to defeat to save the world, just a small setting document and some important characters (as defined by you guys), that will slowly be fleshed out and expanded upon as the story needs it.

I hope I've explained myself a bit better and how I view the role of tests in this campaign. If you haven't read through the free hub and spokes available from RPGnow, I suggest you do so to refresh yourself (and make sure nothing's changed too radically from Revised).

I will wait for your decision before continuing (and probably after I sleep :p)

Well, in the interest of moving things along and continuing the roleplaying (and not leaving Tupilek asleep for too long while we wrap up this scene), I'm going to continue the scene. Just consider what I said above when you want to make a check for something. Is there a conflict here? Does someone have what I want, and do I need to force the issue to get it? If no, then just keep roleplaying. If I think you need to make a test to get what you want then I'll tell you. Okay? :)

At your friendly insult Berta bursts into peals of boisterous laughter. "Haaaaaah! Zis is ze zoo-ay I knooow. Your tongue iz as sharp as evar I zee." she compliments, slapping you heartily on the back, hard enough to send you stumbling into the table with the force of the blow. She doesn't seem to notice as she looks down at the startled looking clerk, who is quickly trying to blot up a splash of ink from the jolted table. As you look back at her you do notice something however, the shiny medalion hanging from her neck, bearing the emblem of Sveinn Blood-Eagle; by the quality of the medallion compared to those of the other warriors arrayed about the area, you would suspect Berta may be more highly placed than those others.

"Eet iz fine, put Zoo-ay through, I vill vouch her." she informs the scribe, who nods quickly, abandoning the mostly mopped up ink, and grabbing his pen in ink-stained fingers. He is careful not to mar the parchment however, as he neatly notes a personal reference from Huscarl Berta Yron-thews. "I-if you could just sign your name here?" he asks, holding the pen out to you, indicating a freshly drawn line along the bottom of the page.

Berta nods approvingly to the relieved looking clerk, and waits until Zooi finishes before wrapping a broad arm around the muscled woman's shoulder. "Come! Ve mast share ze drinks, joo can tell me vot joo have doing zince ve met.". Zooi can see as Berta escorts you from the hall, that the other mercenaries are glaring at her 'special treatment'. The line outside, which before you entered had stretched around the block seems to be being dispersed, as things finally wrap up for the night, and Berta leads you away for some drinks and a late meal. She invites you to accompany her to the steam-hut, but eventually you part ways with her and seek your lodging for the night.

That went about as well as I could expect. Now I know how Berta fared.
Well it seems.

Zöoi makes her way to her lodgings, after a day like today she knows she will sleep soundly & needs to be ready for at least as active a day tomorrow.

The day dawns clear and cold on the 12th of Kuthona, many Ulfen sleeping off the excitement of the previous day's revelry, the announcement of a decision coinciding happily with the Ascension of the Drunken god. Shattering their delicate senses comes the deep beat of the drums as the sun rises into the sky, signalling the convening of the meeting, while heralds sound the call to all warriors, guides and diplomats to assemble themselves before the great hall of the High-King's palace, where the elders of the Kellids and the other Kings and Jarls of the Ulfen have been discussing and resting during the interminable talks.

Tupilek is roused some time before the sounding of the drums by Ga-Pilu. "Good news my spirit-brother. You have been chosen, you will join one of the missions." he smiles proudly at you. "Ready yourself, and then I will take you before the Elders and the Ulfen leaders to learn more." Your mentor seems imbued with a youthful energy, showing none of his stiffness of the night before.

Zooi meanwhile is awakened less gently, the sounding of the drums already pounding through the ground of the city, while much closer at hand comes a heavy hand upon her door. Dawn'sgift! There's a runner 'ere to see ya. From te palace 'e is!" comes the bellow of the innkeeper's wife, before the sounds of muttering accompanies her retreating footsteps. Her headache is surprisingly mild, Berta drank relatively little during her meeting, which encouraged you to do likewise--not that Berta told you to do so of course.

AC 21, T 13, FF 17 / Fort +5, Ref +3, Will +1 (All +1 vs arcane) / Init +5 / Perception +1

"Certainly master." he replies. Tupilek doesn't bother with breakfast, being too anxious to get the meeting underway. He weaves the ceremonial mammoth knuckles into his hair and dons his best pelts along with his mail. After dressing Tupilek quickly gathers his things and follows after Ga-Pilu.

Alright, well I've got today off, so I'm just going to move things along. Zooi, is anything wrong? If you're unable to post then I'd appreciate if you'd let me know in the discussion thread. Otherwise... on with the show!

The enormous structure of the great ringed Castle of Kalsgard is rivalled in the city only by the temple of Torag, the originally dwarven god of the forge. For the past 10 days the palace has been filled with the elders and leaders of the combined peoples of the plains, High-King Bllod-Eagle graciously hosting the talks. Now the gates of the ring palace have been thrown open to the people as well, a dark tunnel leading through the structure of the ring to the large courtyard, which has been cleared, and in the place of training dummies, bird coops and other paraphernalia one would expect to find within the courtyard of such a keep, there has been erected a stage and rows of plain wooden seating, climbing slowly to form an amphitheater. Already the stands are filling with people, bawdy mercenaries, silent and uncomfortable Kellid Warriors, wise, patient elders and gawdy nobles, down to the humblest of shopkeepers and merchants, waiting to find out what is to come of their lands...

Tupilek was left behind by Ga-Pilu to find his own seat amidst the other hopefuls and curious spectators, the elder taking his place amidst the other tribal elders.

Alright, I suggest you two run into each other now, or seat next to each other, but it's up to you guys what you want to do for now. Tell me what your characters are doing, and we'll proceed from there :)

AC 21, T 13, FF 17 / Fort +5, Ref +3, Will +1 (All +1 vs arcane) / Init +5 / Perception +1

Tupilek looks for any empty seat amongst the crowd, and the only one he sees is next to a beautiful yet well armed woman. He shuffles his massive bulk through the people and plomps down beside her. "Excuse me." He says with a smile.

Zöoi glances up at the unusually civil inquiry, "Nah, imaginary figures have to stand." she replies, smirking impishly as she snugs aside to make room for the older Kellid. Looking him over, "Don't expect to see one of you lot wearing that much metal. Thought you had more faith in your, what do call them, Totems?"

By the Light! He looks like he could dance with Berta,
and lead!

AC 21, T 13, FF 17 / Fort +5, Ref +3, Will +1 (All +1 vs arcane) / Init +5 / Perception +1

Tupilek indicates the mammoth knuckles in his hair and says, "Oh, my faith lies with the First Mammoth. But that won't stop blade or claw from piercing my skin while working in its service." He gives her a second, longer look. "My name is Tupilek, what's yours?" he asks offering her a massive hand.

"Zöoi. I answer to Zöoi." Though not dainty by any measure, Zöoi's hand is still all but engulfed within Tupilek's grasp. "I know why I'm here. What brings a son of 'the First Mammoth' to our High King's Hall?"

AC 21, T 13, FF 17 / Fort +5, Ref +3, Will +1 (All +1 vs arcane) / Init +5 / Perception +1

"The fate of both our peoples will likely be determined today. I was summoned here by my old master to do my part." Tupilek answers her. "You are a warrior it seems? Do you serve the High King?"

"Nothing so noble." Zöoi replies, "I serve gold & glory. In approximately that order. Those of us who survive this will likely claim riches enough to name themselves Huskarl, even those who don't survive will have their names lauded by the skalds. I mean to have both." Her tone is matter-of-fact, she seems unconcerned by the possibility her words might offend.

AC 21, T 13, FF 17 / Fort +5, Ref +3, Will +1 (All +1 vs arcane) / Init +5 / Perception +1

"I see. What glorious things have you done before?" There is no sarcasm in his voice, he seems genuinely interested.

Now I suddenly have this urge to go really blue & have Zöoi launch into a description of some truly epic debauchery she was part of while still a prostitute after the mercenary company she 'associated' with survived & won some legendary battle. Not where I was intending to take the character...
On the other hand, while I have no intention of getting graphic, that might be amusing. What do you guys think?

The swordswoman's face contorts in thought, obviously debating her response.

As long as it stays appropriate for these boards I don't mind :p Up to you really, it's your character.

AC 21, T 13, FF 17 / Fort +5, Ref +3, Will +1 (All +1 vs arcane) / Init +5 / Perception +1

You can be as graphic as you want as far as I'm concerned. Pretty much nothing bothers me. Except graphic descriptions of child abuse, and even then as long as it's being clearly depicted as horrible and wrong it could be okay.

Tupilek waits patiently, putting no pressure on her.

Sorry things are taking me so long. The thing I am enjoying the most about this game is that it is firing me up creatively. Unfortunately, writing & refining what I want to post takes a lot longer than most of my d20 game posts. Starting on NaNoWiMo doesn't help matters any. At least not in terms of proving time to write for this, specifically.
I have neither the time, nor the inclination, to get really graphic. That would border on being a chapter in a book. Mostly I was asking how it might affect the character interactions.
On the other hand, while we, the players, know things about each others' characters that likely will affect how we play our characters, our characters don't, unless we bring it up in play.
So, yeah, I suspect Zöoi does make a point to bring up that she used to be a Prostitute. It gives her a yardstick for how others are likely to treat her.
Not to mention there isn't a whole lot of point to having a belief like hers if it doesn't get plenty of mileage...

At the Kellid's obvious interest, Zöoi's expression resolves to one of,

Real post tonight or tomorrow, I promise.

AC 21, T 13, FF 17 / Fort +5, Ref +3, Will +1 (All +1 vs arcane) / Init +5 / Perception +1

I actually haven't even read your character sheet. It helps me stay in character if I only know what my character knows. Since this isn't d20 I'm really trying to focus on the roleplay.

Well, more time I get to twiddle my thumbs rather than actually having to work I suppose :p Post when you can, just not tooo much longer I hope

Finally! Hopefully it proves worth your patience.

"It was, oh, about five years ago. I had been in the train of a company of Southron sell-swords along the Warm Coast. We were caught in an ambush. The company's client's foe had learned of their hire & wanted them removed from the conflict before they could sway matters in their client's favor."
"As I mentioned, I was in the train with the other camp followers. I had not yet taken up arms as a profession, though such had been my aim in following them instead of...
softer beds,
Which I could have lain in."
"The other whores were almost useless. They didn't quite lay down & let the ambushers have them, but it was obvious most of them cared more for their own survival than who they spread their legs for."
No, I'd not got on well with most of them. None were my equal in looks, or wits if it came to it..."
I suppose none of us quite
meant to be whores, but I knew I wouldn't stay one."

"You were asking me what glorious acts I've performed, however."

"The ambush failed, rather spectacularly in fact. I took this," smacking the sword at her left hip possessively, "from one of the idiots who hadn't the sense to wait until after the battle to begin the rapine."
"As it happened, the idiot in question in question was a favorite son of the opposing commander. When Anton, our Captain, saw me dragging the boy's sorry ass to the hostage pen after it was all said & done he laughed so hard he pissed his breaches."
"Of course Anton had always had a weak bladder since he was trampled almost to death in the battle that made him Captain. The previous Captain was trampled to death."
"Anton ransomed the boy to our client, who ransomed him back to his father at a price of the object of the conflict in question. They, the foes, were forced to concede the border between them in a manner more to our client's liking."
"In further payment for my deeds during the fight, Anton had me gauded & dressed, then had me accompany him as his 'companion' to the feast in celebration of victory. As a show of 'Good-Will' the opposing Lord & his commander, and their families were expected to attend as well."
"That was when we learned Haedvig, the boy in question, was still a virgin, I had knocked him unconscious before he'd more than pulled the bird from it's nest."
"Even worse for the poor little lamb, he had been betrothed to his Lord's youngest daughter. Well, that got scotched right quick. Instead, he was now betrothed to his Lordship's twice-widowed, older sister, a notorious wanton."
"Anton & I amused ourselves by enticing the couple to a private bower off the main festhall & 'aiding' in Haedvig's instruction in his 'husbandly duties'."
"I'll tell you, while I certainly was expecting to find the encounter educational, which it was,"
grinning lasciviously in reminiscence, "I was surprised she managed to nearly match me in stamina..."

AC 21, T 13, FF 17 / Fort +5, Ref +3, Will +1 (All +1 vs arcane) / Init +5 / Perception +1

Tuilek's eyebrows slowly climb the mountain of his forehead as the tale goes on, resembling nothing more than two mammoths walking into the snowy sunset. What manner of woman would talk openly about such things? When she finishes, his lips purse slightly and his brow beetles as he thinks for a moment. "It sounds as if you were brave in the face of hardship. I'm sorry you had to go through those things."

Feel free to continue to converse for a bit if you'd like, but when you're ready...

Zooi's rambling tale has a few of her neighbors shifting uncomforatbly in their seats, shooting her disapproving, or scandalised glances. Still others, clearly men and women of 'lesser character' smirk, chuckle appreciatively, or give her more appraising looks.

A softening of the hubub of conversation draws the crowd's attention slowly towards the stage, whereupon are settling the assembled noblemen and respected elders--the latter outnumbered by the assorted persons of importance within the more regimented Ulfens. It is the High-King Sveinn Blood-Eagle himself however, that has drawn the attention of the assembled as he stands at the front of the stage, waiting.

"People of the Plains of the Ancestors, and those of the Lands of the Linnorm Kings!" his voice rings out across the gathered peoples, easily projected to all in the sudden hush by the High-King's powerful frame. "Long have we lived beneath the shadow of the northern Witches, each year their frost pushes deeper into our lands, and their magics and the barbaric weapons of their servants slay our brothers and children. Too long!" his fists punch into the air above him. "Though we have stopped their warriors; held them upon the plateaus it is not enough. We must strike back!" Cheers sound from the crowd, warriors of both peoples jumping to their feet, roaring their support.

Sveinn nods, opening his mouth to speak, the excitement fading quickly away. "But we cannot do it alone. Our warriors are mighty, our blades sharp; hungry for the blood of the witches; but the legions of the trow-blud, and the strength of the giants defy even the greatest amongst us." even the creaking of the stands and the shifting of bodies is silent, a the crowd falling completely still as they hang upon the words of the leader of the Ulfen peoples. When Sveinn continues his tone is subdued. "Few know that one of our most stalwart defenders, one of the great Linnorm Kings, Magnus Deepscar fell in battle less than a month ago against the foul hag Bampfwick."

Though his voice remains soft the fire and strength returns to it once again as he speaks over the anguished groans of the crowd, which reluctantly quiets to hear him once more. "It is thus that this gathering was called, and it is for this purpose that we call for champions of the people, to seek out allies, and secure their aid, to ride against the witches; to once and for all, lay them low!" the cheer this time is subdued, the crowd beginning to talk amongst themselves. The people arrayed behind the High King remain steady and silent, no twitch of features betraying their thoughts as Sveinn allows the crowd a moment to consider his words…

AC 21, T 13, FF 17 / Fort +5, Ref +3, Will +1 (All +1 vs arcane) / Init +5 / Perception +1

"Bampfwick...damn her." Tupilek curses under his breath, grinding his teeth together. This latest news was just another tick on a long litany of evil that demanded he be responsible for the slaying of the hag. He stands up, his massive frame easily visible amongst the smaller men around him. "I Tupilek Mammoth-Son am sworn enemy of Bampfwick. I will ride against her!" he shouts. Only belatedly does he realize this might be a major no-no. However having already stood and shouted, he maintains his position.

Zöoi's lips compress in a rather obvious attempt not to be amused by Tupilek's discomfort at her exploits.

Oh my. I fear I might have done harm to the poor dear...

"Seeing as I might not be here, now, otherwise, I don't know why."

As the High King addressed the assembly & the listeners grew more grim,Zöoi's expression instead showed excitement & anticipation. At Tupilek's impassioned declaration, she stood as well, a comparatively petite figure next to his mountainous bulk.

"What he said,"nodding & pointing to the massive Kellid beside her, "only not so much the sworn-enemy bit." Drawing the blade she had earlier shown Tupilec, Zöoi called out, "My swords against the witch & her minions!"

The hushed conversations quickly fall silent as Tupilek stands, easily drawing the attention of everyone in the gathering. Sveinn himself slowly turns to face the giant of a man, before his gaze slides down to the attractive woman beside him... and then he smiles.

"Good!" he bellows with a satisfied grin. "Come down Tupilek Mammoth-Son, and bring your companion with you." Meanwhile a flurry of activity is occuring behind him now, Tupilek able to spot Ga-Pilu talking quickly to clerk, who hurries forward to speak to Sveinn. The High King nods thoughtfully, as the crowd whispers again but in excitement now, Tupilek and Zooi the focus of attention.

AC 21, T 13, FF 17 / Fort +5, Ref +3, Will +1 (All +1 vs arcane) / Init +5 / Perception +1

"Come little wanton woman. Destiny calls." Tupilek says, striding forward through the crowd boldly.

Zöoi conceals her snort of amusement at Tupilek's description by sheathing her sword unusually forcefully, though her face continues to contort with suppressed glee as she follows in his wake through the assemblage.
"Just so long as her prettier sister calls with her..." She mutters.

People struggle to move out of your path, and it's slow going, but you eventually make it down to the smooth cobbles of the courtyard. Sveinn Blood-Eagle gestures you towards the steps and onto the stage, and once Tupilek reaches him he clasps a hold of his wrist in a powerful grip, looking up at the towering figure as he does so.

When his attention turns to Zooi he gives her an appraising look, noting the sword on her hip, and her warrior's stance, before her more... obvious features. "and what is your name, beautiful swordswoman?" he questions her.

Uhh, hmm. Zooi's sword is a rapier is it not?

No, that one is probably more like a Cinqueda, effectively a shortsword. The other is a classic Norse-style Longsword, of course, here it would be considered Ulfen-style.

"Zöoi, Jasminesdattir."
"Your Majesty".

Zöoi Dawn'sgift wrote:

No, that one is probably more like a Cinqueda, effectively a shortsword. The other is a classic Norse-style Longsword, of course, here it would be considered Ulfen-style.

"Zöoi, Jasminesdattir."
"Your Majesty".

Sveinn's brow furrows and he peers a bit closer at Zooi looking past the armor and swords, grunting after a moment. "From southern lands then... at least partially." he observes, more to himself than directly questioning Zooi. Regardless he turns away before she can answer, addressing the crowd once more.

”Will any others stand beside these warriors? Their brave declaration of enmity against the hags will send them north; this is perhaps the most difficult of those missions we had hoped to make, and a small team such as theirs will be of great value. Will any others stand beside them?” silence reigns, disturbed only by excited whispers and many glances exchanged throughout the crowd. After a quiet minute Sveinn bows his head, for a moment.

[b]"Very well. Tupilek, Zooi, I will send with you one of our best scouts, he will brief you on what you need to know, and he will serve you as you need it. If you wish you may remain for the rest of the discussion, but I suspect you would rather be about your work, is that not true?” he asks with a broad smile.

AC 21, T 13, FF 17 / Fort +5, Ref +3, Will +1 (All +1 vs arcane) / Init +5 / Perception +1

"I suppose there is no need for us to stay any longer Ulfen King. Where is this scout?"

“Maruk Swifthorn!" he calls, turning to the far side of the yard, to a section of seating where sit disciplined Ulfen and Kellid warriors. From the lower rows clambers down a young man, barely out of his teens, but with a grace to his moves and a quickness to his step and eye that suggests a keen sword arm, even if his frame is lighter than most of the other warriors of that section. His ethnicity is obviously Ulfen, and from his name, and the large Hunting Bow he slings across his back, Tupilek would place him amongst one of the Tribes of the Elk. He also looks surprised to have been chosen as he ascends the steps to stand before the high king, bowing deeply when he does.

"Maruk will be your guide in the northern lands, few have been so successful as he atop the plateau. Go now, speak, and collect what you will need." For his part Maruk glows at the praise of the High King, though he does his best to hide it. He looks to the two of you with an excited smile, though not quite the same as Zooi’s. ”Greetings Zooi, Tupilek. I hope that I can be of aid to this mission we find ourselves upon.” he says humbly, unable to banish the smile as he does so.

You meant Maruk is Kellid, right? Or are you saying that Maruk was born Ulfen, but raised Kellid?

Uhh yes, he is Kellid, sorry.

AC 21, T 13, FF 17 / Fort +5, Ref +3, Will +1 (All +1 vs arcane) / Init +5 / Perception +1

"Come Maruk, let us speak." Tupilek says, putting a hand on the younger man's shoulder and leading him off the stage. He assumes Zöoi will follow behind him and wades quickly through the crowd. He heads to the closest inn or tavern. Securing a table for the group, he orders a round of hot mulled wine and says, "So, tell us of yourself." to Maruk.

This one looks...

Zöoi not-quite-sprawls into her place at the table. Flexing, extending & rotating seemingly each & every individual muscle group as she relaxes into place; she smiles lazily at Maruk, "Yes, Tupilek & I have already become...
well acquainted."
"It behooves us to know more about someone who will provide so vital a function for our goal."

The smile seems to become more open as Zöoi's gaze turns appraising.

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