A little help with my beliefs

Ok I’m thinking the captain of the kings Warband the game has the young heir at risk of being deposed by rebels or even his own uncertain followers. His mother the queen currently holds the reigns of power.

As a starting belief I was thinking something like ‘the young prince is young and untested, I will be his sword and shield and see him to the throne at any cost.’

‘The queen is a remarkable woman, I will gain her favour and affection cementing my families future!’

My last belief I want to tie to a relationship or another players character

Any good?

Those seem pretty solid to me, but they may be very “long-term.” Like, in particular, that first one, that’s basically a goal that covers a lot of the campaign’s duration, right?

As you talk more with the GM about the setup, try adding another sentence that talks about what you’re gonna do about it right now: find out who tried to have him murdered last week, teach him some basic Oratory so he can impress the barons, get rid of the bastard half-brother who is raising foreign adventurers to try to claim the throne, &c.

“The young prince is young and untested” seems unrelated to “I will be his sword and shield” as you are setting yourself up for some serious conflict with your prince since your character now have to treat him as if he constantly makes bad choices (think Daenerys and Lord Mormont in Game of Thrones) and the GM is obligated to make the prince rash and headstrong, that seems pretty awesome!

“The young prince is young and untested, I will convince him that…X is in his best interest”

It doesn’t necessarily seem like the “I will be his sword and shield” is connected to this. “The prince wishes to be king against the wishes of his uncle, I will…be his sword and shield against his uncles assassins.”

I"m new, but “at any costs” seems like a red flag of not being specific enough and both this and “sword and shield” are cliche in the “George Orwell politics and the English language” sense. Stay away from pre-made terms.

"The prince wishes to be king, I will shield his honor in court and root out any assassins with my sword.

What Alex said, regarding adding a component of immediacy.

For belief #2, what’s your plan to gain her affection? Presenting yourself at court? Purchasing a valuable gift and presenting it to the queen? You decide that first step and add it to the belief:

“The queen is a remarkable woman. I will gain her favour and affection cementing my family’s future. I will start buy procuring a valuable book of poetry and presenting it to her as a gift at court.” or something like that. Keep the overarching belief, but break it down to manageable steps that you can accomplish in a session or 2

It’s been said that your beliefs are the guides for how to play your character. If at any point, you don’t know how to proceed, the beliefs aren’t well written. If at any point you find yourself with nothing to do, looking at your Beliefs should tell you exactly what you need to do next.

Plan, plot, scheme… and write it up as a belief before a session. If it doesn’t work because circumstances invalidate some of those, change them ASAP.

You can change beliefs as you see fit too (with the GM’s approval). So go into the session with what you’ve got and if you feel like you aren’t getting to the scenes you want by chasing those beliefs, temper them or change them entirely until you do.

I agree with Eloy and Alex. Make some immediately actionable goals that you can earn persona off to fuel the inevitable bevy of scenes required to chase that first long-term belief.

Great input, thanks guys! How about

The prince is young and untested, I shall show him how to rule and protect him as his father would have.

The queen is a remarkable woman, I will gain her favour and affection by supporting her rule and with tokens of affection for her and her son…cementing my families future!’

I think those work. Bear in mind that you can change just the “second half” of a belief later, or take one off for a few sessions and then put it back on (e.g. if I have a belief about a friend’s character and my friend goes away for two months while the rest of us keep playing, I could totally just remove it for a while and then put it back; essentially the beliefs on the sheet are the things that are most immediate/in-the-spotlight, and they may not be the totality of what matters to your character).

If you’d like additional advice on what to do with beliefs, from both a player and GM perspective, this sample chapter from Adventure Burner is a good resource. I think BW Gold has a bit more of this distilled into the main book itself than BW Revised did, but sometimes it’s still handy to read the long-form version.

I’ll keep that in mind, thanks for the help :slight_smile:

I’ve been finding these podcasts invaluable. http://www.burningwheel.org/forum/showthread.php?13437-New-BW-Broadcast-Podcast/page2 Especially with regards to beliefs, episode 3.

Thanks spotted this but only managed to listen to the 1st one so far.

“The prince is young and untested, I shall show him how to rule and protect him as his father would have.”

You get a fate point for pursuing this belief in game. So, It’s clear you can get lots of fate points each session for this belief, however you only get a persona point for completing a belief. How do you see yourself completing this? In the podcasts they would call this belief a “fate mine” as in you can mine this belief over and over for fate, but you’ll be hard pressed to get a persona point from it.

session 1: The prince is young and untested, I will do X
session 2: pursues X
session 3: pursues X
session 4: completes X
session 5: The prince is young and untested, I will do a new X…
session 20: The prince is ready, I will lead an army to put him on the throne.

“I shall show him how to rule” how? The prince is young and untested, I will personally quell the nascent uprising of the peasants as my prince is not yet capable. Be specific on “showing him how to rule”. The prince is young and untested, I shall win a certain noble over to his side. The prince is young and untested, I will remove him from the capital to keep him safe. In BW it seems the players through their characters determine the plot, not the GM’s pre-made adventure module. You need a specific plot.

I was thinking that this belief would be completed if I shepherded the prince through a difficult trial or crisis of command. Essentially creating the king I want him to be…someone who acts as I would have him without being ruled by me.

Additionally depending on how the relationship develops if he were to acknowledge me as a father figure that would complete it.

I think thats how it should work.

Totally, I just think you should name these trials and crisis.

The prince is young and untested, I will show him how to calm the peasant community through calm words instead of violence.

Help the GM come up with ideas. The above also has the potential to force you to suffer for your belief, or abandon it (you eventually realize that violence is perhaps the best choice of action…)

FWIW, I do think it’s sometimes alright to write a broad-brush belief and then have that “actionable bit” be something you latch onto later, like 2-3 sessions in. You just don’t want all or most beliefs to be like that.

@opcero ah I see what you mean. I’ll refine that before play.

@Alex_P probably a necessity lol

Thanks both for all the help

Exactly. Sometimes a broad-strokes belief is a hook for the GM saying, “Hey, I think this is cool, give me a meaty conflict or challenge based on it.” When the GM obliges, you focus your belief on that. And when it’s resolved, you rewrite the belief either back to the original generic form or focusing on the next obstacle.

I largely disagree. The original belief seems fine to me!

The prince is young and untested is a world-building belief element. It’s not really something to be challenged; it’s just a setup for the rest of the belief. And it tells the GM that you want a young and untested prince who needs a champion. Nothing in there says the prince is arrogant, an idiot, or incompetent. Just young. The GM could have him be wise beyond his years and worthy of the support, or the GM could make him a callow youth and see whether the disappointed champion abandons him (Moldbreaker!), but there’s no absolute direction in there. For what it’s worth, I’d be inclined as the player to discuss what kind of prince I want/expect with the GM. If you want a game about nurturing a budding ruler and get a Joffrey, well, it’ll be a disappointment. The new belief, too, although to me it strongly signals unshaped prince with potential to live up to rather than little tyrant in the making.

I will be his sword and shield is flowery language but gets the point across. The prince needs a champion, a right-hand man, protection, everything. But the new version is more directed. Still no specifics, but now you’re asking the GM to throw difficult stuff at the prince and make it a struggle for the character to protect him, nurture him, and guide him to becoming a good ruler.

The last part, now missing, is also good stuff. “See him to the throne at any cost” doesn’t need the at any cost (it’s fine for emphasis, but all beliefs are about finding out the cost), but it’s another plot-flag element. You’re saying that you want the GM to put the prince’s path to the throne in jeopardy and give the character chances to make sure he gets there. That could be a campaign-spanning belief, but putting the prince on the throne could just as easily be a single session in service to a larger goal. (That’s not the case based on these beliefs, but the size of a belief/goal is by campaign scope and speed, not by the words written. And that’s also a reason to hash out the situation and beliefs as a group, together, while setting up the game rather than running into very different expectations in play.

Small changes based on Wayfarers great feedback

The prince is young and untested, I shall show him how to rule and protect him as his father would have on his path to the throne. No matter the price!

I will show him how to rule
I will protect him
I will put him on the throne by force if necessary

Those are three separate beliefs. I think we’re probably not going to convince each other, I’d be interested to see when the persona point for this belief gets awarded! Keep us up to date!

Not everything that can be separate beliefs should be. In fact, when the beliefs are about the same object, I think they shouldn’t be; you want your beliefs to have different focuses so you have more than a one-track character. And these are all intertwined; you can’t put him on the throne if he’s not protected, you don’t want to if he doesn’t know how to rule, there’s no point in teaching him if he’s either dead or not ruling. It’s one big, multi-step belief, but it has a single core idea: making the untried prince into a good ruler.

You can say “No matter the price!” if you want, but it still doesn’t mean anything. What would make it really good is if you named the specific price. Even if it brings my family to ruin, even if it costs my good name, even if it leaves the kingdom in ashes, even if it costs me the queen mother’s respect, whatever. But that’s not necessary. I’m not of the Luke Crane school of pushing characters until they scream and weep blood. Sometimes you want a happy and heroic game. Sometimes it can be about seeing the extraordinary effort characters will put in rather than how much you can hurt them.

Take everything I say with a grain of salt, I’ve never yet played a session, but lets just do a hypothetical: Session ends and we need to decide if the player earns a fate point…not even persona, just a fate point. He has to have perused his belief, so unless he defends the prince, teaches the prince and makes a move to get him closer to the thone, he doesn’t get a fate point for the belief–so a run on sentence belief requires a player to have to cram in all of those things just for one fate point and that doesn’t even begin to account for his other beliefs that he may want to be making headway with.

Great session teaching the young prince a valuable lesson? Doesn’t matter, no fate point because he did not actively persue his belief which involves more than just teaching the prince how to rule. How’s he suppose to have time to woo the queen in addition to all that?

If a player put, “at any cost” “pay any price” for a belief, the first thing I would do is test it like Stannis Baratheon and present him with the opportunity to use black magic to kill his own family member…