Becoming a Lord – Thinking about resources


I am having a hard time wrapping my head around how resources work.

I recently tried to make a character who is a Viscount. He has the Noble Born, Scout, Squire, Knight and Lord lifepaths. This grants him 124 resource points. For 75 resource points I bought “A castle with attendant town”, which should be the appropriate for a county. I also bought a 2D affiliation, to symbolize his power in the county. This leaves me 24 resource points. This means that I cannot buy a 2D reputation, I must settle with the 1D reputation which is equivalent of “the fastest kid on the street”, which I don’t think is appropriate for a lord. Buying an army for the count is out of the question and I will probably have to choose between having a family and having weapons and armour.

Am I doing anything wrong here or is the system just not supporting anything other than impoverished, unknown, lords?

Point of order: Viscount is an actual lifepath, and comes with an extra 15 RPs over Lord.

Also: A character with a B7 Resources exponent (107/15∼7.1) in no way qualifies as “impoverished”.

Yes, viscount is a separate lifepath. I misread.

Resource exponent 7 does not qualify as impoverished, no. But I cannot afford to begin the game with reputation, soldiers, servants and equipment appropriate to a lord. I would have to hire/buy them in-game.

You mean you’ll have to make Resources tests? You seem well equipped for that. Making a character is always about hard choices.

However, as it says on page 205: “The property purchase comes with appropriate staff, buildings and accoutrements.” So, I would think a castle and town has soldiers and servants and equipment.

Fair enough, but do I need to buy a separate affiliation and reputation to hold power and be well-known in my county?

You hold power by virtue of your position and your trait “mark of priviledge.” Your reputation though, you need to buy or earn.

Edit: and you probably want to buy an affiliation with your dudes, along with the required relationship NPC.

I kinda see a Castle coming with staff and bodyguards. Your 2D affiliation would take care of that, just you don’t seem to have a chamberlain who is organising everything for you, so not having that 10pt lackey contact means you have to circle everyone up until you’ve built personal report with everyone. Maybe the reason you don’t have family is that they were all slain in a court intrigue/war/assassination, this would give you good motive to track everyone down. Also, as an unmarried guy, you want a bride quick to secure your line.

Are other PC 's in your retinue? They could fill crucial roles, like Chamberlain/Steward, Captain, and such, and you don’t have to circle them up. They could be your go-to boys.

Yes, I could of course come up with a reason why I don’t have a family. I could also spend the first gaming session recruiting people and buying equipment with my 7D resource stat. However, this seems very out of character and weird.

I just want to be a regular viscount; with power and a reputation within his county; with horse and arms; with a family and a squire. This seem to be impossible, however.

Am I misinterpreting the rules or do they just not allow players to play a regular viscount?

Which scout LP are you using? Depending, that means your family likely fell from grace early in your childhood, and you’re still paying for it.

Also, 10rps for a 1D affiliation, which you improve with you MoP, 25 for Reputation, 75 for castle.

No weapons, but enough.

This is what I am talking about, I don’t want to rationalize part of my characters background just because I don’t have any resource points. The scout lifepath represent a few of his childhood years he spent hunting with his father.

What does MoP mean?

MoP = Mark of Privilege

Everything in Burning Wheel, including character burning, is about tough decisions. It’s not about having this perfectly fleshed-out backstory. You have to make decisions on what’s important to start with and it’s extremely rare to start with everything you want. The rest you’ll have to get in play – that’s when the interesting stuff happens.

Wouldn’t that be 15rp to improve the Rep from 1D to 2D. My understanding is you pay the difference to the upgrade. MoP also is a Rep with Nobles, not common folk, is that what you want?

Maybe your Rep took a hit when you had that Robin fellow put to death last year, that popular lad that kept hitting the tax wagons. Still, the folk were grateful for the tax cuts that came after.

This is where you’re struggling. There is no such thing as a “regular viscount.” There never was.

To wit: I doubt most Viscounts were scouts. A rather low position for one so high-born.

You said that you can afford a castle, a town, a 2D affiliation and a 1D reputation.
You claim you can’t afford a family, but I could produce an entire family for 5 RPS.

Arms and armor are of small concern. They can be purchased at need.

It’s also been several years of Lordly life since he last rode out as a Knight, that old armour is a little too tight now anyway. Must remember to commission a new set.

Also, isn’t it worth noting that just because you don’t buy relationships doesn’t mean you don’t have family.

It just means you have to circle them up like any other character.

Your brother is in the army. Your sister is a nun in a convent. Your uncle is lord of a small border fort. Use your circles and wises to create and flesh out your family during play.

And yes, make resources checks to purchase important equipment. Or be a less well connected lord who has decent equipment.


Why would anyone want to be regular?

Why not be a superlative viscout? Or a distinctive viscount? Or an ambitious viscount?[FONT=arial]


[FONT=arial]but it won’t be a regular family[/FONT]

You could also buy a smaller castle. A keep, which is entirely appropriate for a wealthy baron, is only 45. A knight’s fee, by comparison, is only, I think 15.

To put what other people are saying above another way:

There are lots of ways to build a Viscount with 5 lifepaths. The one you have chosen is entirely valid, but it isn’t the really the way to build a super-rich noble character. You have someone who was brought up in the countryside, trained as a knight, and inherited a title, but never had much contact with the really influential nobles at court. As a result, he’s probably not as rich as he wants to be and has had to make some choices about what he cares about most–and this is represented by the tough choices you’re making in character generation. This is great because you’re going to make someone who doesn’t have what he wants and has immediate goals to head after, which is the point of BW character generation.

Here’s some options you might take:

  • Good armour and equipment, but a smaller estate : you’ve spent time training yourself but little time taking care of your people.

  • A larger castle and town, but no warhorse or armour : you have neglected your martial training recently to concentrate on the estate and the people.

  • Low reputations and affiliations to buy an estate and equipment : you have been reclusive and focused on your own people and it means you don’t have contacts.

Alternatively, if you really want it all (warning: you can’t have it all), you could go with a more politically focused set of life paths to give yourself more power: eg the abusive Born Noble -> Lord -> Captain -> Constable.

Thank you everyone for the good advice. And especially thanks to Piers for summing it all up.

Of course I don’t want to be a regular Viscount, I have a lot of cool twists and characterful details to him. What I meant was that I want him to have the traditional attributes of a Viscount.

The scout lifepath doesn’t mean, in this case, that he was a lowly scout for an army. It represents him being trained in hunting, and outdoors survival by his father.

I guess I will have to revise his backstory and cut away some of the stuff.

Stuff like this is exactly what general points are for. Taking the Scout LP means he would have actually been a scout in the military for a few years.

There’s also a Huntsman LP in Court, but I don’t recall the prereqs offhand.