BE <=> BW Crosscompatibility

How compatible will the two games be? Say if I want to drop the BW magic system into a BE game, or use Firefight to run something like Spelljammer with fantasy chaarcters cruising the crystal spheres in sleek, heavily armed battlecruisers?

Any significant hurdles that’d need to be overcome to do that?

This shouldn’t be a big problem. You’d have to exchange some of the “future” skills used in Firefight mechanics with appropitate ones available in BRW (BW Spelljammer).

contrary to what my lovely assistant thinks, I don’t think it’ll work.

BE is a bit more tightly wound than BWR. The skills and LPs tie directly into the Infection, Duel of Wits and Firefight mechanics.

I know one group used FF for Serpent Sun, and they weren’t happy at all.

Oddly enough, you could port magic back and forth without any trouble. Sorcery is rather independent of the other systems. And there are still Forte and Will stats, so no big changes there.

So I suppose you could tack Sorcery on to BE and call it Spelljammer. But you can’t really tack FF and Infection on to BWR.


Would you not then still have Infection driving the story in a very ‘worm taking over’ sort of way? It doesn’t sound like Infection is that general a story engine, but instead designed very specifically to have these two sides so that it can naturally lead you to play a game that is in the same flavour as the Chris’ books.

If so that leads to the question; is the system easily playable if you pull out/ignore Infection and use your own story management structure to link the scenes/conflicts together?

That was my question too… i want the best of both worlds (universes, whatever). Burning Wheel’s portability has ruined us Luke!

Give the man a prize!

And what have they won?! A non-expense paid journey to Shadowrun!

Seriously, I love gamers. You hand them a beautifully wrapped chocolate bar and the conversation goes something like this:

Gamer: This is a chocolate bar?

Game Maker: Yes. I’m very proud of it. The ingredients are all carefully measured. It’s specially cooked. And the wrapped was specialy comissioned.

Gamer: Cool. Now suppose I peeled off the wrapper and scraped away all of the chocolate – I like chocolate, but I’d rather have vanilla – would it be the same chocolate bar?

Game Maker: Um…

If you “pull out/ignore” the Infection mechanics you might as well be playing Shadowrun or GURPs.

We have plans for expanding the Infection to represent all sorts of galactic/interstellar conflicts, but they are the core structure and pacing mechanic of the game. Without them, it’s not the same thing.


Upon short reflection, i guess that unlike many of the play testers and of course the Grand-Pooh-Bah himself, many of us have no personal experience with the Iron Empires that lies at the Core of Burning Empires.

As such all we can do is bring our previous expectations to the Forums. I am excited about Burning Empires as Written, but as I have not (yet) read the comics I find it somewhat difficult to ask good quesitons or ponder what a game would be like.

I believe that after reading the settting this will change 180 degrees. One of the most amazing things in BW (for me) is how the implict is worked into the life paths, a rich world without any setting material.

You (Luke) and others (Thor etc) have promised (nay Guaranteed) us that this willbe the case with Burning Empires as well, even more so as there is a focus thoughout the book concernign the Infection and various infighting of the Empires while under the danger of a undetectable (?) enemy.

On a seperate note, dicking aroudn with rule systems is my favorate way to understand how a system works. 1st I make a character and 2nd I try to make the game “better”, mostly fail, but I come to understand the rules, and setting in detail that way. Like a DOW that I will inevitablly lose, but get some consessions (understanding of the rules) that make it all worthwhile.

EDIT: Plus I have to kill the time til the pre-orders are up on monday!

Well, Luke, you and I have already had this debate, but in the interests of bringing it to the masses at large:

I don’t think your chocolate bar is a useful analogy. I think it’s more like:

Manufacturer: “Look, I’ve built you this luxury car! It’s got corinthian leather seats and marbled paneling and an in-dash CD-changer and massage attendants and a sauna! And it will take you anywhere in New Jersey.”

Gamer: “But what if I want to go to Pennsylvania?”

Manufacturer: “Buy a Hyundai, you ungrateful puke!”

If by New Jersey you mean “an entire science fiction genre’s worth of material approximating perhaps ten years of actual play with this game” then I buy your analogy.


On the surface, it seems you can drop the Infection mechanic, but then you’d realize that some lifepaths are geared towards Infection skills. Then you’d realize you don’t have githyanki lifepaths, so you’d have to make a lot of settings in order to make characters. But once you do that, it should work nicely once you’ve imported the Sorcery rules!

Well, I’d say that the space opera alien invasion story is probably more of a sub-genre than a full-fledged genre unto itself, but now we’re just talking semantics.

I don’t want to scrape the chocolate away. I’m just trying to figure if it’s not only good for eating but also works well if you strip naked and slather it on your body. 8)

I think the question is pretty much answered though. Yes, but it’s going to take some extra effort and creative work. Primarily lifepaths as i expected, although that’s not too bad if they are just burned up on an as needed basis.

P.S. I’m looking for something more like a stand-in for D20 Modern since, in spite of the obvious strengths in the system overall, i’m uncomfortable with BW handling modern firearms. A expenses unpaid trip to SR would definately be cool, but i want a ticket to the whole neighborhood not just the one locale. Plus a pass to get me to the adjacent general guts and guns space/sci-fi subdivision.

You want to talk about modern firearms? I can talk about modern firearms. But I don’t think we should limit our discussion just to weapons. Weapons are an adjunct (and determinant) of tactics.

BE’s rules are about small unit tactics using high-powered, man-portable weaponry. They focus on the tactics. They do not focus on “i use my gun to shoot that guy in the face.” Most of our firefights end without any aimed shots being fired on either side. Lots of rounds/energy expended, lots of maneuver taken, but directed fire is difficult to pull off.


Sweet. So it is about pushing your opponent around with your gun at a distance. I’m liking the sound of this better and better.

“I Corner Him and Stab Him in the Face!” is then the direct fire part, right?

No, I Corner Him and Stab Him in the Face is for, um, stabbing someone in the face. You know, with a knife or a piece of glass.

The Direct Fire action is for, you know, shooting at someone.

Just sit tight. You’ll see soon enough.


Nah. The Direct Fire action is the direct fire part. But you need to successfully Observe your enemy before you can pull that off. I Corner Him and Stab Him in the Face! is the close combat stuff, including small arms like pistols and SCrEWs.

Let’s not forget the allmighty shiv! “I corner him and Shiv Him in the Face”

I Corner Him and Stab Him in the Face!

This needs to be on a T-shirt

There are two types of gamers, those that create something from nothing, and those that build on others work. Neither is better than the other just different. A lot of gamers just see something and have to tinker with it I guess.

So I have been watching these posts fly on by and it occurred to me… Can the infection mechanics be a metaphor like demons are in Ron Edwards Sorcerer? You simply adapt them to what you want. Instead of infection it could be… I don’t know… A computer virus (Traveler the New Era).

I haven’t quite got my head wrapped around this entire concept of Infection and how the setting and sessions work yet. I think I would rather wait and read the whole book before diving in to discussions about changing the rules, but idea of Infection as a metaphor pop in to my head while reading the early posts about BE<==>BWR and thought I would throw in my two cents…

And there is. :smiley: