Any interest in a Spark for BW in modern times?

If enough people would be interested, along with Luke’s permission, I would be willing to write up a new set of Lifepaths, weapons, skills, resource lists and traits to represent BW in a modern setting.

The reason I am asking first is that while I certainly have the time to complete such a project, I don’t know if enough people would actually be willing to play with these rules or if people feel they would even be able to carry across the “point” of BW.

Some other things people could say Yay or Nay to;

Rules for Modern Magic Spells and such applicable to a modern setting, like metalworking, hacking, and matrix dodging “spells”. It is completely up to the player to imagine the availability and setting in which magic exists in their world, if at all.

Technology/Weapon burner: Choose a weapon/tool, from generic options like “Binoculars” or “Bolt action Rifle”.
Spend RPs based on its craftsmanship; this dictates a weapon/tool trait point limit.
Choose weapon/tool traits such as “gyrojet” “Telescopic sight” or “Belt Fed” and build a rocket firing, long range, belt fed Assault Rifle. That would probobly have to be a ridiculously well made weapon. There are also a few bad traits that will give you more trait points to work with, such as “Unreliable”. Each one of these things modify the tool/weapons base stats and functions. Unlike other people, people don’t make guns and binoculars poorly on purpose. Will cover everything from the simple, like headsets, to things with more customization like combat armor and cars.

Modern Elves/Dwarves/Orcs Mostly life-paths and setting descriptions, all optional of course to your modern setting.

Feel free to suggest other additions or changes to the current ones on the table.

Also, if enough people say no, or if Luke says no, I will go and be sad and never embark on this project.

Sounds interesting. Making a recentish set BWG would be really fun.

Modern magic is… It depends. I’d like to see something, but I’d neither want to handwave the Masquerade nor have magic as just another science. Which makes me shy away from it unless it’s either small or really arcane.

Weapon burner: anything much more complex than the current rules is out. If there are more than 3 types of pistol (concealable, normal and machine) then give a really really good reason. Because they exist in the real world doesn’t count.

Modernised races: go for it if you think you can work it.

Thanks why, that prompts me to add a little description of these.

Burning Empires has already done most of the heavy lifting for you. Just limit lifepath settings to Anvil, Merchant League, Commune, Freeman, Servitude and Serfdom, and Outcast and Criminal. And the Technology Burner is already there for you as well.


Never have read Burning Empires, but isn’t it a futuristic setting?

It’s a SF game, but you can build worlds ranging from primitive to super-advanced tech and everything in between. The Technology Burner is scaled to the tech index of the world in question. Modern-day Earth would be somewhere between Sub-Index and Zero Index. The lifepath settings I didn’t mention (Nobility, Stewardship and Court, Hammer, Theocracy, Psychologist Foundations and Spacefarer) wouldn’t fit in a modern day game, but you can simply disallow them.

BE does not address magic (other than psychology/psionics) or elves/dwarves/orcs. (though there is an Alien Life Form Burner)

Well, sweg then.

The lifepath system is probably not great for representing modern life. Birth and childhood run mostly on socioeconomic status. Then there’s college, trade, or not. And then there’s a bewildering explosion of careers with relatively little barrier to movement among them. I think you’d really be better off with a point buy, which loses a lot of BW.

BE can do modern life, but it makes it very feudal and hierarchical in a way that fits the BE setting and doesn’t fit life as most of us have lived it.

I don’t think that’s the case with the settings I pulled out. The Merchant League setting together with Freeman describes the modern US rather well, I think.

Thanks Thor. As it stands, I’ll probobly make a Tech burner as described above, just because I like that system, races, traits, and skills. I’ll have to track down BE so I can read the lifepaths and stuff, but until then, this looks like a project for later when I have more experience with BE. Even then, it may not even be needed.

A printed book will be difficult to find these days but the PDF is available.


Don’t let him snow you like that Moxie! :smiley:

There is still a huge missing piece in detailed combat (Firefight! is the sux for individual focus games like BW, ICHASHITF is Ok-ish but not really “detailed” and is somewhat overkill a lot of the time, I use a special sub-system and a linked Test for “mexican standoffs” for the very real threat of violence, ability to back out, and also milking out a bit more tension). Plus Circles work/don’t work all weird if you try to use them straight up. LP in BE have a lot of different tensions going on, plus you need to use different wording/interpretation on the Circles (since BE and BW are different there, for a couple of very good reasons).

I’m dusting off Reservoir Dogs Redux and running it. If the players are interested in pursuing a multi-session modern day campaign after that I’ll have some proper testing ground for a seriously reworked modern firearms combat. FYI for those characters I sort of reverse engineered them for contemporary setting. I’ve got some proto-LPs but there is a LOT of work for an effectively from scratch LP tree to work.

Magic Burner magic by itself works just fine in modern settings. I’ve run Shadowrun fairly successfully. The Magic Burner provides more Shadowrunzish magic than Shadowrun once you craft a Cyberware “Emotional Attribute”. I don’t need that for Reservoir Dogs Redux but, again, if the players are good with it I’ll pull it out and meld together the working prototype (discussion of which is on these forums somewhere) and my notes about changes required from last campaign.

One “magic” thing I haven’t attempted to handle from Shadowrun is technomancers, which are roughly speaking Internet mages. Haven’t given much thought to them, really. EDIT: Handled metahumans via LP/LP Traits, although the full tree wasn’t laid out, because they largely aren’t separate societies/families from stock humans in the setting.

One thing I’ve been mulling around–is there a way to make a modern-ish Burning Wheel that plays stuff like Naoki Urasawa’s Monster, The Wire, or Breaking Bad? What would the skills be? Does the artha model work? (…maybe?)

I think artha works as long as you have BITs, and those are a pretty fundamental piece of how characters work in literature, games, whatever. The core mechanics are sound and generic. What makes it hard is lifepaths (and skills) and conflicts. DoW is universal, but I’m not sure what conflict systems would work best. You could probably modify RaC slightly for modern firearms and then I think you’d be good to go? I’d need to look at Burning Sands again.

Again, if you just turn it into some kind of point-buy and make up your own skills I think it’d work out okay. The skills for The Wire aren’t the same as for Breaking Bad, exactly, for example.

At the very least, I’d probably want a mental twist on the DoW, especially if it’s a crime show. Cat-and-Mouse, for instance.

You can still use lifepaths, its just that the requirements would be more strictly based on what lifepaths you’ve taken rather than setting;
Rural (Growing up in a Rural Setting)
Suburbia (Growing up in a Suburban setting)
Urban (Growing up in a city setting)
Military (Armed Forces)
College (Higher Education and Teacher lifepaths)
Blue Collar (Skilled and Unskilled manual labor)
White Collar (Office and Administration)
Pink Collar (Services, including actors and small business)
Criminal/Outcast (Like in BW)

Skills wouldn’t be that hard. In fact, most of them would be the same as BW.

Games like “Champions” and “D.C. Heroes” had extensive lists of modern day skills. Both were basically point buy systems set in comic book heroics. I remember the 4th. Edition of Champions had a way to group common skills, advantages, and disadvantages together to represent standards for different groups or factions (like police officers) called “Package Deals”
Could be easy to model such packages into various modern lifepaths.