I know I’ve beaten using the Clan Burner for an A Game of Thrones game long after it died, but I keep coming back to the Clan Burner as the best way I’ve seen to tie characters tightly into a setting. I still think Luke was right when he called Blossoms “the latest technology”. I think it could be made to work in most games with just a little tweaking. Some of it overlaps with the “20 Questions” approach, but particularly those parts of the Clan Burner that force characters to make mechanical decisions could be useful:
Family/Group: are you part of an organization? A loose, unofficial group? This may be anything from “The court of King Richard” to “The Elf-King’s Muster” to “street rats from the Lower East Side”. Take an affiliation with the group to reflect this.
Allies: who is likely to help you, or people like you, or your group? Take a relationship with an ally to reflect this.
Enemies: who opposes you? Who is a likely antagonist? Take a relationship with someone who opposes you.
Members: who are some of the interesting or notable people in your group? Take a relationship with one of them.
Resources: is there some resource that you or your group has easy or prominent access to? This can be anything from high-quality weapons from the court’s weaponsmith to having access to shoes because your street gang knows of a loose board on the back side of a warehouse of a trade merchant. Buy a resource to reflect this.
Needs: what are you lacking? Don’t buy a resource of this type.
Deeds: name a deed attributed to you or your group that you’re either proud or ashamed of. Write an Instinct about it.
Events: What’s kicking off the campaign? Write a Belief about it.
This is just a thumbnail sketch, but I like the fact that it ties everyone tightly into the situation. It’s more demanding of Resource point use than a typical BW game, however. I’d suggest allowing each character to take a free Affiliation with a group (loose or formal) related to their Born LP, similar to the traits that are often attached to noble Born LP’s. This would replace the one that some LP’s get. I would also give each player a free Relationship, the way that BE does.
I’ve done an extensive redress of the Clan Burner for a game loosely set in the Anarchy/Nineteen Winter period of England’s History. I am unsure about posting it, because of I liberally borrow a lot from the Clan Burner. In my opinion, it is the best way to setup any Burning Wheel game, it gets people plugged in and invested in the setting.
I’d pay money for a big book of burners. hint hint, nudge nudge
I know. I thought about not posting this–I’ve thought about it many times. As it is, I left a lot of the questions unwritten, but it’s still a pretty close approximation. If Luke wants me to take it down I’ll definitely do so. It’s just the best tool I’ve ever seen for campaign burning.
Question: what do you all do about Resource points? The Clan Burner requires at least one Affiliation and several Relationships, but most characters don’t have the points for them. Blossoms grant most of this through required LP traits.
Spend as usual, and if they are a few down just give them some for specific items. Usually, spending RPs is saying “hey I’m responsible for this”, so why not give the GM more tools to play with? evil laugh
I agree with that approach–that was what I argued with my GM. I went through the Clan Burner for an upcoming 1-on-1 game and came up with some awesome stuff. However, after buying shoes, clothes, traveling gear, and run-of-the-mill arms and run-of-the-mill bow, I was down to 10rp–enough for the affiliation, but not enough for the relationships. My GM relented when I pointed out that a) these aren’t people under my control, merely easy to contact and well-disposed to me (they can still say no or ask a price), and b) are obvious targets for any failed rolls.
Giving free relationships and affiliations seems potentially game-breaking, but I’m tempted to do the same, or perhaps simply give basic equipment for free, so they have more to spend on property, affiliations, and relationships. What sort of campaign you’re in determines whether that would be appropriate, but I feel like in a one-on-one campaign there can be more leeway because the GM is definitely keeping an eye on and will remember exactly how you’re using your relationships and affiliations.
That’s how we’re playing it in the one-on-one game I’m playing, although I did buy the affiliation with my RP’s, since I could afford it along with basic gear (though those points were the difference between a run-of-the-mill bow and an Elven bow). It never occurred to me to ask for the Resources bump. You can almost see the relationships and affiliations as a “‘Say Yes’ because they make the game more interesting” sort of thing.
One way to go about it sticking to RAW is that these be suggestions for spending RPs. You could also name NPCs in Beliefs w/o actually taking relationships with them (but they’re now in the story; in fact, they are the story). Anything else that is missing can be fleshed out during play (w/ Circles tests, etc.).
Do you get the resources bonus for Affiliations and Relationships you got for free? I’ve never given characters a resources boost for Affiliations they got through Traits. Doesn’t the Character Burner say something like “the number of resource points spent on Affiliations, Relationships and Property”? Spending zero resource points means no bonus Resources.