Nathanael Cole / Alliterated Games

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Timiro Nights: Let Me Tell You About My Burning Wheel Game

I know I’ve mentioned this game a few times before, but I’d like to take some time out right now to put some spotlight on one of my small handful of ongoing projects. The campaign I call “Timiro Nights” started as an extended playtest for my now-abandoned KnownWorld Palladium RPG rules hack. After only three sessions, I had grown tired of the cumbersome mentality of the mechanical source material – no matter how you package or rearrange its numbers, the Palladium RPG system is just a sad sack of unbalanced hackneyed crap.

But damn me if I can’t shrug off my love for the core fantasy setting! It’s straight-up old school fantasy excitement, and my love for it is nigh boundless. The lands are rich with adventure, the gods come down and fuck with mortal pawns like it ain’t no thang, social conflict and strife are everywhere, and ancient beings of infinite malignant power lie slumbering beneath the world’s surface. It’s just plain rad, if you ask me. Of course it also helps that this was the setting I first ever “officially” tabletopp’d in, way back in my middle school years.

Anyway, long story short: KnownWorld was getting old, Palladium’s core system blows hobos, and we switched to Burning Wheel. We’ve had a much better time since then. So allow me to introduce our heroes!

Greggor, the dwarven Centurion

Greggor is something of an anachronism, being a dwarf raised as an adopted heir to a noble within the Great Wolfen Empire. He learned to fight through the rigid Roman-like Wolfen tactics, and is tough as adamantium nails. Greggor is currently in the far southern Timiro Kingdom, traveling through human lands on a mission of equal parts diplomacy and espionage. You see, the Wolfen want nothing more than to welcome all civilized lands into the fold of their great Empire, even if they have to do it through direct conquest. Greggor’s mission is to analyze the Timiro Kingdom, and determine if they would make a worthy ally, a voluntary vassal state, or a target for military conquest.

Lanthris, the elven Hunter

In many ways, Lanthris is the classic Tolkienesque elf warrior. Anything you can do, Lanthris can likely do better, and look good while doing it. His specialties are speed and reflexes, and he’s a damn fine shot with a bow. Lanthris hasn’t had much opportunity to truly develop in recent sessions, but then again neither has most of the rest of the party. I look forward to seeing his gung-ho “liberate everyone but kill all the monster people” attitudes and beliefs come into play in the coming sessions.

Currently Lanthris is following in the footsteps of his missing Grandfather, from whom Lanthris learned many of his now-finely-honed foresting skills. Rumor has it that Grandpappy has headed west into the ruins of the Old Kingdom…

Dulin, the Priest from Another World

Well… not technically another world, but having been turned to stone for who knows how many years (five hundred? a thousand? more?) and then reawakened by magic (and God-Destiny!) has definitely displaced him enough from the ways of the modern world that he might as well be from outer space. Dulin is a militant priest of the “old faith” of Dragonwright, a religion now practiced almost in its entirety as a monstrous cult of violence and bloody rituals. Dulin seeks to return the old ways of God-Dragon worship to humanity once more, and will have quite an uphill battle once the other gods find out about it. I see great potential here to insert the other squabbling deities into the game. Dulin is strong of arm and capable with the spells of his magic-based faith, and serves as both warrior, healer, and spellcaster.

Aalric, the Shifty Summoner

As a member of a race that is universally reviled and hunted into near extinction, Aalric the changeling has been lucky to find himself in a group of friends who accept his nature and don’t fear him. Aalric’s the group’s face-man and deal-maker, and also dabbles in the dark arts of Summoning and Warding. Aalric has the emotional attribute of Spite (which I grafted from BW’s Dark Elves supplement), and it fits him well. He is loyal to his friends, but who knows how that will change as his turmoils levy? Aalric is one damn fine liar and smooth-talking scoundrel, but his toothpick constitution and weak prowess keep him from making much of a difference when the action starts.

The Story Thus Far

Back during the KnownWorld sessions, I started the game off using the loose skeleton from a very old web-published Palladium 1st Edition adventure. We’ve kept the same characters and adventure focus since then, and now that the adventure is pretty much complete and the Burning Wheel rules mostly settled in, I’m eager to push it further into more player-driven territory.

Since the game begin, the heroes have avoided vicious forest trolls, negotiated with rugged kobolds, awakened a sleeping dragon, danced and dined with trickster faeries, bargained with water sprites, infiltrated an ancient stronghold, liberated slaves, procured stolen holy relics, and massacred goblins small and ogres large. However, one major enemy has managed to elude them, and thus Rhaznor the changeling mentalist has now been established as a recurring bad guy. I love recurring bad guys.

In their latest session, while meeting with their benefactor to receive final reward for their harrowing adventure at his request, two of their number (and their employer) were ambushed and arrested by the guardsmen of the human frontier town, while the other two camped outside of town and tended to the “lesser species” (read: wolfen) prisoners they had liberated. It seemed pretty obvious that the guards were tipped off by a Changeling, indicating that Rhaznor was just beginning to try and get some revenge.

Guided by the twisted Stypon the Black – Dragonwright god of Treachery and Murder – Dulin and Aalric have escaped in the night, and now stalk the corridors of the fort imprisoning them, seeking to re-acquire the relics stolen from them and pay Styphons tax of blood for setting them free. Meanwhile, Greggor and Lanthris, unaware of their companions’ actions and fate, make plans to try and rescue them from this very same fort. The odds look highly stacked against them both, however: dozens of armed and trained frontier soldiers against a priest, a conman, a woodsman, and a centurion?

The Future

After our last session we talked about where we want to the game go next. All agreed: fuck this crappy bumpkin frontier town, let’s head west, back into proper civilization before heading out to the Old Kingdom. I look forward to it. I have some wicked ideas I’m excited to implement. Adventure, intrigue, honor, warfare, meddling gods and more, the future looks pretty wicked cool.

We only play about once a month, but I hope to have more updates as the game proceeds.

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