Hello All. New to the Burning Wheel system. As I read through BWG, I notice there are often suggestions for different colored dice (say for Helping a skill) or for sets of dice to set aside for things like Armor damage or sustaining a spell. I’d like to hear from people who have played the game quite a bit: what is a good selection of dice in terms of number of different colors, number of dice per player, and so forth.
Also, I love that the rules don’t seem to require any visual aids (minis, map tiles and such). Does this bear out in actual play?
Finally, on a slightly related note, I have decided on physical tokens to represent the 3 types of Artha: mah-jong tiles for Fate, loteria cards (Mexican bingo) for Persona, and Tarot cards for Deeds. Is that just silly, or do you think that’s the sort of thing players would appreciate?
All of my experience has been in playing on Skype, with no visual aids whatsoever (occasionally someone will post a map or something) and it works just fine. That said, I’ve heard that props for Artha, etc. can be helpful.
As far as dice go, I just have a box of assorted dice. I’ve never needed more than one or two differently-colored dice.
The different dice colors are more of a luxury than a necessity. If you have the Astrology skill and use it as a FoRK, you need to roll that die separately from the other dice because you need to know if that particular die rolled a 1 or a 6. It’s generally easiest to have a different colored die for that one. Some people like to use one color of dice as the dice for the skill used in a roll and another color or colors to represent FoRKs and Artha. Not really necessary, but sometimes people find descriptive inspiration based on which skills pushed them over the top or dragged them down.
We also like to make sure that every player at the table uses different colors or styles of dice so we know whose helping dice actually helped on a roll. Again, it’s not necessary, but we tend to play with that in our descriptions. It also helps people sort out the helping dice after a roll.
I’m not a fan of using tokens to represent Artha. I prefer to just mark it on my character sheet. Especially since our tables tend to be crowded enough with dice, glasses, character sheets, scripting sheets and snacks. But I think it just really comes down to personal preference.
Question: is there a reason why you need to know whether the helping die was successful or not (apart from narrative flair)? Does it affect whether the helping player gets to mark a test for his skill/stat?
I prefer to know whether a helping die was successful or not - it’s an additional creative constraint on the narration of success and failure, and makes tests with a bunch of help dice more inclusive narratively than mechanically. It’s certainly not a requirement, but it enriches the fiction, and helps make sure that the spotlight is being shared.
To answer with numbers, each player should have a couple handfuls of dice, with at least two distinct from any other player (for helping) and a couple distinct from the others (for Astrology or artha or whatever else). If your players are friendly they could also just borrow dice from each other for those cases. I personally carry three cubes of d6s, but that’s to cover the inevitable plater who forgot his dice.