Blood & Ink: Highlights pt. 1

October 20, 2009

Highlights from the Blood & Ink game I’ve been running. I realize that part of what makes roleplaying hard to share is that write ups after the fact, a) only make context rules-wise if you’re familiar with the rules, or b) require that you do heavy editing just to format the fiction of play to share with others.

“Everyone has ghosts”

The child held his head at an odd angle. “I can’t see anyone.” Hape couldn’t remember where he had been, and though he heard the sound of the priestess and his friend, Toroa, his sight was dim, somehow.

Years ago, Hape and Toroa played together in the woods, and Hape fell down a ravine, slamming his head against a rock, never to rise again. Toroa had come at dusk to Lady Hina, begging the priestess to help him put his friend to rest, for the secret he had carried, of his cowardice, all these years.

Toroa and Lady Hina sat in the protective circle, while the ghost-child declared it’s Price, it’s demand for rest. “I can’t find my head. A stone head must be made. Toroa must bear it for a year and a day. So I can rest.”

A heavy burden, but much lighter than the soul of a child, crying in the woods.

“What is offered, what is asked…”

“You call me too early. I gave spring rains, and no floods this summer. Ngaio, you know this is too much!” The river god’s form shifted and twisted, the lanky old man-thing, agitated like water under hard wind.

The Elder Priestess did not falter. “Evil sits at our borders. Let no evil spirit cross.”

“You ask much every time we speak. Well, then, give me a soul that is due to me. Give me a body who will bear my mark to the last of their days. And, no evil spirits shall cross the water. …nor will anything else.”

A younger disciple almost started to say something before one of the elders pulled him back, head shaking. The deal was to be done, the Price paid, irregardless.

Lady Moana stepped forward. The River God placed his hand on her head, and the color ran from her hair down, down, like water pouring off her body. And all that was left was rapid-foam-white locks.

“…what is given, and what is taken”

Nunuku and Moana carefully picked their way amongst the brush and small houses that made up the waterfront of the river. Many night time encounters had given them that sort of comfort of knowing each other’s footsteps and coordinating secret movements- this nearly abandoned area was simple enough to scout along- just across the river the Hapuku campfires burned. The troops were ready. Eager.

A strange man had some soldiers carry a box to the river front. He had it opened and a person-thing shambled forth, listening to commands as the man pointed across the river. It slid and stepped into the water.

Far away, the river rumbled an ominous laugh.

Angry snatching fists poured down the flooding deluge, grabbing any who stood within stone’s throw of the water. Horses, mules, men.

Even from behind the brush, Moana and Nunuku ran for their lives. Nunuku screamed as the water clutched his legs, and Moana’s grip held his arm for but a second before he was snatched down river as the river laughed again.

The water cascaded forth, worse than any of the summer floods any could remember. This was magic, this was anger, this was the god reminding everyone he was free and they, who came to sip at his edges every day, they were at his mercy.



  1. Quite the tense setup with a nice dark fantasy tone to it (can you tell that’s how I like it? =p). I’m guessing the highlights were over the course of at least two or three sessions, because it seem like the story progressed quite a ways and fast for one sitting.

    • This was the state of things at the end of the second session. Mind you, we’re doing 2 hour sessions and I’m the only person who has played Burning Wheel before.

      In Burning Wheel, the GM doesn’t have a prepped story or a clue trail for the players to follow- the players have motivations and basically as hard/fast they can push them, the story advances.

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