Alternative Combat Systems?

Hey, BW forums. I’ve gotten some great advice here before, and I’m back for some more.

My campaign is really gaining some steam now and I think everyone in the group. However, we’re running into a bit of an issue–Combat is a rare thing in the setting, and that’s how I like it. However, conflict does sometimes happen and as it stands we’re having trouble.

You see, my group isn’t a big fan of the Fight! rules; we think they involve a LOT of crunch, and not a fun kind of crunch. We could argue about that, I think, but that’s not what I’m here for.

Bloody Versus is more our pace, it seems, but then we run into a separate problem when it comes to fighting multiple opponents using BV. It just… Doesn’t work. Do NPC’s and PC’s roll their defensive dice multiple times if attacked multiple times, for example? And how about positioning? It’s just not deep enough for a big fight.

So basically, here’s what I’m asking: Does anyone here have some good suggestions on alternative fighting systems for Burning Wheel? Bloody Versus is too simple, and Fight! is too complex, crunchy, and takes a while, as well as not being a good option for the occasional non-boss fight.


BV is supposed to be 2 rolls, regardless of the number of combatants - one person takes lead, everyone else contributes helping dice, and everyone suffers the same injury, regardless of individual weapons.

For alternatives, you could try hacking in the Mouse Guard/Torchbearer conflict system, or just run a series of versus rolls between opponents. If you do either of those, you’ll probably want to keep in mind the Series of Tests rule for advancement.

The BV rules, as is, are pretty boring and oversimplified–That’s the issue here. It’s good to know how it finally works, though.

Interested in hacking in the conflict system from that, though. How does it work, or do you have somewhere I could read up?

What are you looking for in a system more crunchy than bloody versus plus help? What’s missing?

What have your rare fights been like in the past?

Do your players think Duel of Wits is too crunchy?

The Mouse Guard or Torchbearer RPGs? Both of them are available on the store here, I believe.

I’ve tried various “house rules” to get around the initial “clunkiness” of Fight!
What I eventually discovered is that the more you use the Fight! rules as written, the less “clunky” they seem to be.
I would suggest that your group do a few practice Fights, maybe check out some of the old threads on the forum like the arena or some of the campaign write ups.

Reading the examples of others may help you gain a better understanding of the mechanics of Fight!

Interesting, BV is simplified, but I don’t find it boring. I always find the potential for my character to be lying in a puddle of blood after one BV roll pretty exciting.

I would agree with the above suggestions - if BV is too light and Fight! is too cumbersome, I think using the Mouse Guard/Torchbearer rules would be your best bet.

However, before you give up on the Fight rules (it may truly be your group is just not down with that part of the system), I stumbled upon this video series Adam Koebel did demonstrating the Fight rules and it really did wonders for my understanding of how the system works. The Burning Wheel - FIGHT! Special (Part One) | Roll20 Games Master Series

The other suggestion that I would have is, depending on how your playgroup is set-up in regards to if it’s IRL or online, if you happen to be using Roll20 somebody put together card decks for all the different systems that tends to make things a lot easier:

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Not the OP, but thank you so much MyNamesArt. I was unaware of those cards. They will be so helpful for my Roll20 group. The video helps too.