Alternative Root Stats for Weapon Skills.

Speed, rather than Agility, should be the basis of all weapon skills in the Burning Wheel. Agility represents our aptitude for fine motor skills (writing, sewing, painting, sleight of hand, ect), where as Speed is our aptitude for gross motor skills (walking, balancing, dancing, acrobatics, ect).
I propose the following weapon skill categories for your consideration.

Light Melee Weapons (Spd/Agl) Lighter weaponry can benefit from the finesse of fine manipulation.

Standard Melee Weapons (Spd): The standard cut and thrust, hack and slash every day sword or club.

Heavy Melee Weapons (Spd/Pow): Large, unbalanced weaponry require strength and coordination to control them properly.

Light Throwing Weapons (Per/Spd): It takes timing and coordination to hit your target.

Heavy Throwing Weapons (Per/Pow): Heavier weapons require strength to throw them.

Slings, Bows, Crossbows, and Firearms (Per/Agl): Perception to aim, Agility to fire.

Notice that these are only categories to model the individual weapon skills from. I do not intend to make a one size fits all weapon skill.

Brawling (Pow/Spd), Boxing & Martial Arts (Spd/Fort).

If I were going to do this, I’d make Speed require successful tests for advancement, for much the same reasons that Perception does.

That said, I don’t see the problem this hack is fixing. You’re just narrowing the interpretation of Agility and broadening the interpretation of Speed for no real gain.

Yes, the speed tests would have to mirror the perception tests in that regard.
My entire thinking on this rests with the premise that Agility is the Fine Motor Stat and Weapon Skills have very little to do with fine motor skills. Gripping a pen, palming a coin, picking a lock, or playing a flute require fine motor skills. Using a hammer, swinging a sword, walking, or climbing require coordination of major muscle groups and are therefore gross motor skills.
Even if my understanding of burning wheel stats is wrong and Agility is supposed to represent the gross motor skills, the majority of wespon skills shouldn’t depend on only one stat. You don’t use a pincher moition to aim a dart, and you don’t swing a sword by moving your fingertips. That’s not how weapons are used.

I guess my point is, is this solving a problem that’s occurring at your table? Weapon skills being rooted in Agility is an abstraction, yeah. BW isn’t really big on simulation.

As a martial artist it is a little annoying, as a gamer it’s problematic that so many skills depend upon so few stats, (especially the ones that don’t make sense to begin with) as a parent who has watched and participated in his childs physical therapy, it’s disconcerting (things like motor skills get ingrained after awhile) and as a G.M. I don’t like wonder stats.

I think that you will find this hack has very little impact on skills scores in the majority of cases, while adding complication to character burning.

Having said all that. I probably do not have enough of a grip on all of the core concepts and there many nuances to see the method to their madness so to speak. I don’t see how agility and perception get the lions share of the skills as the design “trade-offs” are not apparent to me. I could just be over complicating things (it’s a g.m. trait). As with all things in my game, I’ll leave it up to a group vote unless someone has a solid reason why it shouldn’t be done this way.

Speed is less about gross motor control than it is about movement. You’ll see that there aren’t many Speed-rooted skills (Stealthy comes to mind, but I don’t have the book at hand to look up others), but Speed gets rolled by itself fairly often. Engage tests, positioning tests, avoids, and a great deal of versus tests. Same with Power and Forte. On the other hand, Agility and Will are comparatively rarely rolled on their own, and instead are usually rolled in Beginner’s Luck tests in place of a social or weapon skill, so most tests for advancement come from that. Perception’s the oddball in that it gets rolled both for BL tests and on it’s own, which is why you need successful tests for advancement - otherwise it goes up way faster than everything else.

Frankly, I’m sure a lot of people have specific areas of expertise that we could use to justify skills being rooted in different stats. Frex, I’m a magician, so I can tell you that sleights are more about deception and psychology than they are about deft fingers, placing that skill in the realm of Per/Will. But, it works for the game as-is. If it ain’t broke, right?

A lot of BW seems completely obtuse on analysis but works much better in practice than altering things. There are lots of non-obvious interconnections and the system breaks easily. I have the sense that you haven’t played a lot of BW. My very strong recommendation is to play it as written, without modification. Play it a lot. Then, later, you can decide what you want to modify. But “it doesn’t seem realistic” or “it doesn’t seem right” or “it looks unbalanced” is likely to lead you into disaster. If you’re seeing wonder stats in BW I think it’s from lack of BW experience. I’ve found all stats to be very important in play. You’ll shine with high ones and suffer with low ones. There aren’t dump stats.

Here, at least, I think I can explain a little bit of the reasoning. I’m not an expert, but here are my best guesses.

Firstly, your descriptions are at odds with the BWG descriptions of stats. Agility isn’t fine motor skill, it’s hand-eye coordination. It’s the root for performing discrete tasks. Speed is for full-body motion, propelling yourself through space. Is this a weird distinction? Yes. And of course in the real world tasks don’t neatly break down between the two (and you need Power, too, for that matter). But everything from your fingertips to

Is the latter important for combat? Of course; it’s rolled a lot in combat situations. But not for swinging a sword, or swinging a hammer at the forge for that matter. That’s part of the balance: Agility is tested relatively rarely, and one of its primary functions is to be the root of stats, whereas Speed is used independently. Power isn’t a root for much because where it’s most applicable, combat, it already determines damage. Giving it more makes it too important. Forte similarly has few skills, but it’s what determines Health and MW and endurance. It’s not what you can do, it’s how long you can keep doing it.

Combatants require Agility for the roots of their skills, Speed for positioning, Power for damage, and Forte for their physical tolerances and Health. Change roots from Agility and there’s actually relatively little reason to have it over Speed.

Perception and Will, I just don’t see the discrepancy. They’re both roots for a ton of skills. Perception is rolled more often on its own; Will is more often going to be an Ob to someone else. Will is the root of those critical social skills. Perception is the root of critical Wises. And also not that counting skills doesn’t really give a good impression of total skill value. If Will were just the root of social and magical skills, well, that’s a huge and important chunk of stuff. You can make the other intellectual stuff Perception-rooted and not have problems.

I’ll reiterate: play first, tinker later if there are actual problems.

Burning Wheel has a lot of critical infrastructure and it’s not always obvious where it is. However, I think a lot of the game is very easy to tweak, and quite resilient to hacking. That’s the reason you can do stuff like set obstacles for arbitrary actions, make up opponents on the spot, cobble together stats for weird monsters in a few minutes, or swap in one of, like, a dozen alternative magic systems. A lot of BW, particular “The Rim,” is VERY flexible.

(I think your analysis of what the stats do is pretty spot on, though.)

I don’t mean BW is completely inflexible. There are plenty of dials to turn and you can make some pretty intricate modifications if you really want to. Like, oh, Burning Empires. But the Hub and Spokes are more tightly woven than the central rules for many games. It may look like you can tweak artha, but doing so is also a tweak to beliefs, advancement, and obstacles. The changes ripple out farther than you might expect.

So what I’m getting from this is that Agility is both fine and gross motor and speed is the ability to move.
I should stop trying to understand everything and just enjoy the game. Let understanding come through more experiences.
Ignore my G.M. trait (When all else fails, Complicate things!).

That’s why I started following these threads, looking for advice and a sounding board.

This logic is hard to argue with! :wink:

The justification given in the Monster Burner for why so many skills are rooted in Perception, Will and Agility is that “this is the kind of creatures human beings are. We apply our insight, empathy and manual dexterity to solve problems.”

Plus The other stats are not dump stats by any means, not even close.

True. But then again, I never used the term “dump stats”.