Chapter One OOC


Seth, I think we’re jumping the gun by going to all these details about your contact. I’m looking for intent (probably to find someone friendly who knows about the relic and who would want it) and task (possibly just trying to think of a relevant contact, or ask around among the Virtuous Company to find someone). That sounds like a Circles test to me.
Please clarify whether you are looking for information on the type of person who would want it, or a short list of suspects, or to figure out exactly who has hired you. You are entitled to exactly what you ask for if you succeed, but more detailed and rare knowledge will increase the obstacle.

The baselines obstacle is 1, and increases if you want to place requirements on the occupation, station, disposition, or knowledge of the contact, or the time/place you meet them. I think the occupation is just color, and the special knowledge they have is the only relevant modifier.
It seems like you are after both information about the relic, and who might want to acquire it. For the latter, a Temple Priest is pretty close to what you asked for, and would have Church Politics-wise, so they could tell you about why someone would want to steal a relic and point you in the right direction of who to look for. Because they would be of a much higher social status, +2Ob for a total of 3. For information on the relic, a Custodian would be ideal, but they are in the Religious setting, and you don’t have any lifepaths in that setting so you wouldn’t have run into them. A Pilgrim would know about Shrines, +1Ob for a pligrim who had visited / was knowledgable about this particular shrine. A Student would know the history of the king. A Temple Acolyte would know about Temples, +1Ob for one who works at that temple or is otherwise particularly knowledgable about it.

Now you only have circles 2, so how can you get more dice?
Affiliations: You can get a bonus die if you are looking for a member of the Virtuous Company-possibly this could be stretched to include someone they have business with, if that is established first.
Reputation: You can get a bonus die if your they would know who you are (with a local reputation that’s probably just a certain rough part of the city, like the docks) and your reputation would help (what was your reputation again?)
Help: If someone else with a lifepath in the same setting can explain how they help you that’s worth a die.
Advantage: If the circumstances are particularly favorable to you, that could be worth a die.
Working Carefully: You can take 50% longer for a bonus die, but I also get to a second time complication if you fail the test.
FoRKs: Not applicable for circles tests, just wanted to mention them as a common way to get bonus dice.
Linked Tests: You brought up the possibility that your contact had some unsavory interests you could exploit. We could link the Circles test to an Extortion-wise test to establish that he has these habits, on a failed roll it makes the Circles test harder, if you pass exactly it doesn’t modify the circles test but the fact is established and you can use that for leverage when you interact with him, if you pass it with extra successes you get an extra die to the circles test.
Persona: You can always spend a persona point for a bonus die before rolling. (This doesn’t count towards the number of dice rolled for purposes of advancement.)

Let me know if you want to do the linked Extortion-wise test, and whether you want to work carefully. Let me know what your reputation is so we can decide if it’s applicable. Also, I’m not currently seeing your affiliation as relevant, but feel free to revise your description if you can see a natural way to make use of it.


Thanks for laying out a really clear intent. By “stake out” I’m assuming your task is to hang out in the street for a while trying not to attract attention, and keeping your eyes open. Correct me if I’m wrong on that.
I think it makes sense to treat this as a linked test using Inconspicuous followed by Observation and Tactics. What this means mechanically is that if you fail to remain inconspicuous it will be harder to observe what’s going on, and if you pass with extra successes it will be easier, in addition to the normal success/failure consequences to the first roll.
I’m going to use a versus test for inconspicuous, which means your obstacle is set by the nearby city guard’s roll. He doesn’t have observation so he’ll be using beginner’s luck, which means he’ll roll perception (4) and halve the successes. But I’m also increasing the final obstacle by 1 to reflect that this is a high class area and you don’t really fit in. I rolled 3,2,5,6 for two successes, halved to one, +1 for a final obstacle of 2.
The failure consequence is that the guard will notice you inspecting the house, and based on your apparent class will assume you are a criminal casing the place and will confront you. You’ll have to deal with that and it will also make observing the place harder. If you hit two successes exactly you’ll stay unnoticed. If you get more than two successes, you find it so easy to maintain cover that you can inspect the place at leisure and take snoop more aggressively, giving a bonus die to the next roll.

You are rolling Inconspicuous, since it is Grey shaded 3’s count as successes on your dice in addition to the usual 4+. There are some ways you could get some bonus dice.

Help: Someone helping with an appropriate skill is worth a bonus die, two dice if they have 5+ in that skill. For example someone with the Conspicuous skill making a distraction.

Advantage: If the circumstances are particularly favorable to you, that could be worth a die. I think that’s applicable here since the big harvest festival is tonight, so there is a lot of activity going on in the street and everyone is distracted. Take an extra die.

Working Carefully: You can take 50% longer for a bonus die, but I also get to a second time complication if you fail the test.

FoRKs: If you have a relevant skill that would help in this situation it’s worth a bonus die, two dice if the skill is 7+. The book suggests Acting would be relevant here but you can make the case for something else. If you do use a FoRK I request you include it in your description of your action in the fiction.

Persona: You can always spend a persona point for a bonus die before rolling. (This doesn’t count towards the number of dice rolled for purposes of advancement.)

When you roll keep track of the individual dice rolls since sometimes it matters that a success was a 6 or a failure was a 1.

Your roll: 4,2,4,4,4,5 -5 successes.

You easily blend in with the crowd, and can observe at your leisure.

Next let’s resolve whether or not you notice the other people watching Errico. That’ll be another versus test, your Observation vs their Inconspicuous. You get bonus die because you got more successes than you needed on your Inconspicuous test. They get a bonus die for the same reason you did on your last roll, the street is very busy and noisy.
I roll 3,6,3,1,1 so your obstacle is only 1.
As before, this could be further modified by help, advantage, working carefully, forks, persona…
The failure consequence is that you only spot the most obvious enemy and miss the more well hidden one.

Your roll: 4,3,5,6,1,2 -4 succeses.

You observe silently for a while, and notice an street urchin in the crowd who seems a little out of place in this part of the city. As you watch him, you notice he doesn’t seem particularly focused on begging, and is mostly watching the estate and the people in the street. About mid-day, a pair of men come out of the building and speak to him for a moment. They return to the building, and as the doors close you see that they have a chairs set up at a table near the entrance and appear to be in the middle of a game of cards. There are a pair of cudgels propped up against the wall.
You also notice a man hanging around the window of the third story of the building across the street. He also appears to be keeping an eye on the entrance to the estate. You notice he is covering up something with a blanket, based on the contours you’d guess a crossbow.

Finally, let’s resolve your gathering of information about exits and entrances, and potential ambush sites. Tactics seems like the appropriate skill. Since you don’t have it, you can use Beginner’s Luck, you’ll roll the stat it is rooted in (the average of Perception and Will, so 4) and halve your successes. Since you aren’t looking for a specific piece of information I’ll treat it as a graduated test- the more successes the more information you’ll get.
As a failure consequence, you will have the completely wrong idea about where they are likely to strike from, and will react more slowly if they spring an ambush.
You are choosing to work carefully. My additional time complication is that if you fail the roll, you lose track of time and won’ t be able to make it back in time report back to Hemrow before he arrives in the carriage.
You roll: 4,1,4,3,5,6 – four successes, halved to two.
This also counts as your first test towards learning the tactics skill.

The obvious approaches are from either direction down the street and through the front door. If the city guard arrests Errico it will probably be by that path. There are also side entrances for servants to come in through, that they might use if they send an assassin. To get access you’d either need to come from the street, or have complicity from one of the two neighboring estates to use their home as a staging area. You would guess that the two thugs have vision of the room where Errico is currently and are stationed so that they can make sure he doesn’t leave but also deal with anyone trying to enter through the front door. The positioning of the urchin and the crossbowman suggests they are most watchful of the front entrance and are less concerned about someone coming in or out any other way. Probably because they know Errico couldn’t get out without passing by the thugs, and they don’t expect trouble from anyone else except by the front door. You didn’t see anyone watching the entrance to the building the crossbowman is in, so if you could pass through the building without being stopped by whoever owns it, he wouldn’t see you coming until you entered the room he is in.


Hey Collin, I edited my original post.

I assume the first thing is a circles action. Let me know how big an obs it is to find someone I can extort. I’m guessing I can use my rep (I assume I can say whatever I want so I’m calling myself a “brutal enforcer”). If this is someone the company has extorted before I’ll also take my affiliation as a bonus. If the check is obs 1 that’s probably enough, if it’s obs 2 I might work carefully.

If I find someone I’ll extort them with probably a bunch of forks. I would guess intimidation and extortion-wise are no brainers (maybe knives or maybe observation, who knows). Again if this is a hard check maybe I’ll try to find a way to get advantage, like busting down the door or some other element of surprise.

The temple thing would probably be a circles check like the first one, but I don’t really expect to get there before some complication happening.

For the person you want to circle up, did you have in mind someone you have blackmail on, or someone who is paying protection money, or do you not care which?
Adding an additional qualification such as them being someone you can extort adds +1-3 to the base Ob 1. I’m thinking it wouldn’t be too uncommon for a shopkeeper in your area to be behind on his protection money, so if that’s fine let’s call it Ob 2. Having a reputation as a brutal enforcer would definitely help. As for the affiliation, by the book I think it only applies to members of the virtuous company, but I like the idea of extending it to also include people they commonly have dealing with. That does imply that this is company business, though.
For the failure consequence, I’m thinking your target has started paying protection money to another gang and will try to stand up to you i’m thinking your target has been approached by the new head of the city guard and convinced that he will be protected if he stands up to you. If you are working carefully and fail, your early investigations in to who is behind tip him off that you will be coming, and he has time to alert his new gang the guard, so someone will be with him waiting for you.
Just a heads up for the extortion roll- the rules make convincing someone to do something very hard, both to protect players from having it done to them and to make it hard to short circuit conflict by talking your way out of it. It gets easier if you can stake something that your target wants- then instead of a hard obstacle you have a versus test, which usually will be much easier to win. But if you lose, now you have been convinced to do something.
Another heads up, I’ve noticed many people find the resources system counter-intuitive. If you want to shake this guy down for cash for a bribe later, we may want to make sure we’re on the same page about how that works before you get too far.

You rolled: 3,2,2,6 for one success, which is a failure. So the guards have convinced this guy to stand up to you. You’ll be at +2Ob for social tests against him.

You are able to blend in with the servants going in and out of the other building, and make your way up to the hallway outside the room. You mentioned using your bow, do you have any way to conceal it?
I’m going to treat sneaking up on the guy as another series of linked tests, starting with stealthy to sneak up on him unawares, followed up by bow and maybe knife. We’ll return to the subject of blocking the door and making an escape rope after we’ve resolved this.
He’s untrained in observation, so he’s rolling Perception (4) and halving his successes.
He gets 5,6,2,6 for three successes, halved and rounded down to one. You need to beat him with two successes to get the drop on him, and beating him with a margin will give you an extra die to your bow test since you have a moment to aim.

Alan, how deadly a poison do you want to make? Looking at the suggested obstacles in the book, a deadly blade poison would be Ob 5, while I poison that was sickening (Ob 3) or debilitating (Ob 4) would be a bit easier.
Your knowledge of Apothecary would be useful as a Field of Related Knowledge (FoRK) and worth a bonus die. If you can think of a way to modify your description to mention how you use his information, that is a nice touch to add when using a FoRK, but not strictly necessary.
If your brother would be staying with you, he could help you prepare the poison, for a bonus die since as a court chef he would know Herbalism, at the cost of exposing him to risk.
You can spend Persona points for bonus dice as well. You could work more carefully for a bonus die, at the cost of an additional time related complication, which could be bad since this is somewhat time sensitive.

Chapter One OOC

Burning Swords and Sorcery ctrail ctrail