I played the third session of Burning Hinterlands last night, the BW-via-Hangouts campaign I’m in with Rachel E.S. Walton, MadJay Brown, and Michael Miller. I had a lot of fun and managed to rack up a lot of tests — for some reason (i.e., Jay) my PC was at the center of a lot of rock-’em, sock-’em action. I also had two really nice tests where I spent artha and was rewarded for it, including one roll where a Fate point managed to get me four successes out of just three dice. Nice!

That said, I felt like I was a bit all over the place as a player. I’ll admit that I was tired; we play from 8pm to 10pm, which as a first-year father are pretty much the wee hours for me. Not to mention, I failed to make time to review the notes form last session. Heck, I even confronted an NPC about something I’d already confronted them about last session!

I also am still getting the hang of really embodying my BITs. I have one directly actionable belief that I tend to drive for pretty hard, to the unfortunate exclusion of the rest of my BITs. I felt like I tended to react to the pressure Jay was putting on me by simply thinking about what was expedient and not what was in my BITs that would drive artha rewards.

Granted, this attitude still resulted in some very juicy scenes, one in which I somehow managed to one-shot an assailant in a versus test — whipping a knife at their head and burying it in their throat. Very cool (I wasn’t even fully aware that was an option when I rolled, though I probably should have been; I’m whipping a knife at someone) but not at all the conception I had for the character at the outset.

But! The cool thing about BW, especially when playing 3 LP characters, is that you do a lot of bumbling around and getting into desperate situations. I wanted so bad to test a skill that wasn’t Beginner’s Luck that, in the above situation, I was pretty all “Fuck it, Throwing is one of my best skills, I’m gonna use it.”

So, now I’m looking to seriously re-think some of my PC’s beliefs. Maybe I mad the choices I did for a reason, and the character is not who I originally thought they were, and/or the events of the last two sessions have had a more profound impact on them than I thought.

I also find myself asking “WWRD?” I.e., “What would Rachel do?” Because, damn, she is a model BW player. Not that everyone in my group isn’t awesome, but I feel like Rachel has a real mastery of the player side of the game. She does such a great job of keeping not only her own PC’s BITs front-of-mind, but those of the other PCs as well. Seriously, in the second session she started doing all of this support work for goals other PCs were pursuing, stuff that hadn’t even crossed my mind.

So, yeah, I need to step up my game! I’m surrounded by heavy hitters! Hopefully I won’t be exhausted next session.

12 thoughts on “I played the third session of Burning Hinterlands last night, the BW-via-Hangouts campaign I’m in with Rachel E.S….

  1. ♥! ♥! ♥!
    This makes but heart burst a little. Thank you. 😀

    I’m having a great time you and Jay and Michael. You are all wonderful to game with and everyone brings something a little different to the table.

    I cannot wait for Goat to find out what Omak did and also to see how Omak changes as a result (or what he reveals about himself if he doesn’t change). It’s certainly getting harder to prove to his lady love that he’s just a regular farmboy. 🙂

    As for WWRD, I came to gaming somewhat backwards – doing a lot of GMing early on and only getting to really revel in the player side of things in the last 3 years or so. So I have some deeply-ingrained GMing habits that influence me. But one of the most important realizations I had was that my favorite sessions of any game were ones where I had a fair bit of character interaction (especially PC-to-PC, but the same can sometimes be true of developing deep or complex relationships with NPCs). And my least favorite sessions were ones where characters were mostly doing their own thing. Those sessions tend to feel less satisfying – like feeling alone even when there’s a crowd.

    I figure if I want to be playing a solo story, I’m better off one-on-one or playing a video game. I’m playing with a group because I love to see what happens when we all throw our shit together. 

    That doesn’t mean all-social all-the-time or not pursuing things that are cool or particular to me, though. In Burning Wheel especially I find I can do a bit of both and end up with something that feels meaningful and gets me excited about what happens too. So 1.) I try to write Beliefs that tie me into the other characters. And 2.), less obviously, I try to slow myself down and shove in moments of character interaction between big or exciting scenes. Sometimes it feels a little unnatural or I feel self-conscious doing so, but if I forget and the scenes go from one crisis to the next, the action starts to lose meaning and excitement. I need to see how the action impacts the characters. I want to be moved. I want to see them fleshed out. I want to see them change or process. One of my favorites aspects of Burning Empires is that it kind of forces this with Color and Interstitial scenes, but I try to carry that into other games as well. 

    Looking forward to next time!!!

  2. < ![CDATA[♥! ♥! ♥! This makes but heart burst a little. Thank you. 😀 I'm having a great time you and Jay and Michael. You are all wonderful to game with and everyone brings something a little different to the table. I cannot wait for Goat to find out what Omak did and also to see how Omak changes as a result (or what he reveals about himself if he doesn’t change). It’s certainly getting harder to prove to his lady love that he’s just a regular farmboy. 🙂
    As for WWRD, I came to gaming somewhat backwards – doing a lot of GMing early on and only getting to really revel in the player side of things in the last 3 years or so. So I have some deeply-ingrained GMing habits that influence me. But one of the most important realizations I had was that my favorite sessions of any game were ones where I had a fair bit of character interaction (especially PC-to-PC, but the same can sometimes be true of developing deep or complex relationships with NPCs). And my least favorite sessions were ones where characters were mostly doing their own thing. Those sessions tend to feel less satisfying – like feeling alone even when there’s a crowd.
    I figure if I want to be playing a solo story, I’m better off one-on-one or playing a video game. I’m playing with a group because I love to see what happens when we all throw our shit together. 
    That doesn’t mean all-social all-the-time or not pursuing things that are cool or particular to me, though. In Burning Wheel especially I find I can do a bit of both and end up with something that feels meaningful and gets me excited about what happens too. So 1.) I try to write Beliefs that tie me into the other characters. And 2.), less obviously, I try to slow myself down and shove in moments of character interaction between big or exciting scenes. Sometimes it feels a little unnatural or I feel self-conscious doing so, but if I forget and the scenes go from one crisis to the next, the action starts to lose meaning and excitement. I need to see how the action impacts the characters. I want to be moved. I want to see them fleshed out. I want to see them change or process. One of my favorites aspects of Burning Empires is that it kind of forces this with Color and Interstitial scenes, but I try to carry that into other games as well. 
    Looking forward to next time!!!]]>

  3. I’m thoroughly enjoying the game, but an not sure that I’m making the transition to campaign-play placing very well. I’ve done only one shot games for many years now, and am working hard to find the balance between “dial back your gaming instincts* and let the story develop” and “sit back and watch your friends game.” I think I’ve been overcompensating the last few sessions and I felt that this last session was the first where I meaningfully contributed in pushing the story forward at all.

    Which is all to say that I’m learning, which is what I wanted out of this game. I don’t have as solid of a sense of my character as I’d like, but I’m confident it will come.

    Also, WWRD is an excellent guideline!

    *-my gaming instincts would have put the last scene of the last session as setup to scene one of the first session.

  4. < ![CDATA[I'm thoroughly enjoying the game, but an not sure that I'm making the transition to campaign-play placing very well. I've done only one shot games for many years now, and am working hard to find the balance between "dial back your gaming instincts* and let the story develop" and "sit back and watch your friends game." I think I've been overcompensating the last few sessions and I felt that this last session was the first where I meaningfully contributed in pushing the story forward at all. Which is all to say that I'm learning, which is what I wanted out of this game. I don't have as solid of a sense of my character as I'd like, but I'm confident it will come. Also, WWRD is an excellent guideline! *-my gaming instincts would have put the last scene of the last session as setup to scene one of the first session.]]>

  5. Interesting that you should say that, Michael. We were just talking about this after our BW game (also with Rachel) last night.

    The previous game had great wolf-riding orcs chasing the players and the orcs kidnapping Rachel’s knight’s love-interest. The players chasing the orcs and their human prisoners. The lead orc being set on fire by the Sorcerer. It was crazy and fun with some life or death rolls hitting the table. The game ended with the sorcerer attempting to summon a demi-god and failing.

    This game was about the consequences of all that. 

    One of the nice parts of campaign play isn’t just sitting back and enjoying our friends make up cool shit with less pressure to be in on every moment but also playing and enjoying more quiet moments.

  6. < ![CDATA[Interesting that you should say that, Michael. We were just talking about this after our BW game (also with Rachel) last night. The previous game had great wolf-riding orcs chasing the players and the orcs kidnapping Rachel's knight's love-interest. The players chasing the orcs and their human prisoners. The lead orc being set on fire by the Sorcerer. It was crazy and fun with some life or death rolls hitting the table. The game ended with the sorcerer attempting to summon a demi-god and failing. This game was about the consequences of all that.  One of the nice parts of campaign play isn't just sitting back and enjoying our friends make up cool shit with less pressure to be in on every moment but also playing and enjoying more quiet moments.]]>

  7. There is an interesting thing about playing with BIT’s too. They can be a good guide on what to do next when you are not sure but you can and should sometimes reach a point where you look down and realize that isn’t true for the character anymore. There is a certain amount of chaffing and friction between the player/character and the beliefs – where sometimes your Serve the Emperor and know true power through the Dark Side no longer becomes true as you throw the old bastard down a Death Star ventilation tube, shocking everyone – often including yourself.

  8. < ![CDATA[There is an interesting thing about playing with BIT's too. They can be a good guide on what to do next when you are not sure but you can and should sometimes reach a point where you look down and realize that isn't true for the character anymore. There is a certain amount of chaffing and friction between the player/character and the beliefs - where sometimes your Serve the Emperor and know true power through the Dark Side no longer becomes true as you throw the old bastard down a Death Star ventilation tube, shocking everyone – often including yourself.]]>

  9. For two hours a session – you folks bring the Awesome! 
    If it helps, when I’m prepping I’m looking at your beliefs, from hardest to easiest.  I believe it takes a couple sessions for beliefs to click.
    I think our last session certainly forces some beliefs to change especially for our new killa! 😉

    Mark Delsing I neglected to get your explicit intent when you threw that knife. I didn’t want to discount it after the fact, so I threw the Die of Fate.
    I think Rachel E.S. Walton is on to something about Omak, our favorite farmboy…

    Michael Miller you’re doing great, I love,love,love Khenbish’s complete trust of the order and Bollorma, and her acts of defiance toward her parents. Snapping that string on Marat’s Qeychak is the BEST!

    I cannot wait to see how Goat handles that hostage situation. Goat’s:  well I’m gonna take a piss — priceless!

    Thanks to you all for making this game happen. BW is my jam and you’re making it possible for me to explore new and old parts of it.

  10. < ![CDATA[For two hours a session - you folks bring the Awesome!  If it helps, when I'm prepping I'm looking at your beliefs, from hardest to easiest.  I believe it takes a couple sessions for beliefs to click.
    I think our last session certainly forces some beliefs to change especially for our new killa! 😉
    Mark Delsing I neglected to get your explicit intent when you threw that knife. I didn’t want to discount it after the fact, so I threw the Die of Fate.
    I think Rachel E.S. Walton is on to something about Omak, our favorite farmboy…
    Michael Miller you’re doing great, I love,love,love Khenbish’s complete trust of the order and Bollorma, and her acts of defiance toward her parents. Snapping that string on Marat’s Qeychak is the BEST!
    I cannot wait to see how Goat handles that hostage situation. Goat’s:  well I’m gonna take a piss — priceless!
    Thanks to you all for making this game happen. BW is my jam and you’re making it possible for me to explore new and old parts of it.]]>