Black, Grey, White injuries

On page 485 under Anatomy of Injury it says that a B17, is equal to a G1. Huh? So, if a player has a grey weapon sword. Upon a hit success (grey hits on 3s and above) how do you calculate the damage and injury upon successes? Where do you write down physical tolerances for grey hits? Really confusing, swimming with sharks. arggh.

If the character has a weapon that does Grey image, calculate the IMS as Grey.

So if the weapon has Power 2 and the player has Power B6, and a Grey weapon, it would have a G4 incidental, G8 Mark, and G12 Superb.

The default character sheet doesn’t have all three PGTSes written down, but you’d write to the right of the B16 mortal wound.

If you’re dealing with Grey wounds, I recommend figuring out a convention or using one of the larger campaign sheets with all three scales - but honestly, it comes up rarely.

If a player has G5 Sword skill, they don’t deal Grey damage, to be clear, the Heroic and Supernatural chapter on page 544 should explain a little more.

Also - damage isn’t really rolled in Burning Wheel, your weapons will have IMS, and the damage is dealt directly (see the Weapons chapter).

The explanation that B17 is equivalent to G1 is because most characters don’t have tolerances for Grey hits, if someone manages to hit the average PC with a G1 hit, that’s mortal. I know that most of my PCs have Mortal Wounds in the range B9 to B12.


The reason for it, is that im creating a weapon a player stumbles across that gives grey shade. However its cursed and if the player doesn’t deal a killing blow to a character, monster or beast predator every 12 days, he goes crazy. Fantastic killing machine, but has to kill something every
time he uses it and kill or goes crazy. It will set up a whole storyline as being the best swordsman in the land, but trying to get rid of the curse and this blasted sword, before I die. With being said, was trying to figure how to calculate the damage from the weapon. Thanks.


The weapon kills anything it so much as nicks, unless they gave grey shaded mortal wound. If it lands a blow on a human, the human will die. Unless they have the Will To Live, in which case it will only lay them low for a year or four. It ignores any armour short of the very best dwarven stuff and Dragonhide (IE, gray-shaded).

The story will be about the sword, in some way, as it is legendarily powerful. A single strike will kill almost any troll, wyvern or vampire. It severs the life of the greatest knight of the realm, full clad in resplendent plate, as easily as it would slice a candle in two.

I ran a one-shot where a PC had a demon-slaying (grey shaded) sword. The session hung with the threat that any escalation to violence would end in death and despair. It ended up getting drawn only once, to take the owner’s father out of his illness and grant him a final ending, after the PC lost a duel of wits about giving up demon slaying and taking over the running of the family.

Basically, you just increase all the wielder’s damage on the sheet from BX to GX; only beings with both grey forte and grey power will care about the exponent though, everyone else should just mark down whatever a mortal is for them as it’s much of a muchness.


I may be misremembering, but I believe there’s a difference between gray-shade skill and gray-shade weapon. IIRC, gray-shading the skill is what causes the successes to occur on 3+, while gray-shading the weapon is what causes the damage to move so far up the PTGS as to be nigh-universally Mortal.

If you’re concerned about the killing power of a gray-shade weapon itself being too high, you could instead keep it a “normal” black-shade weapon and have it confer a gray-shade to the skill while wielded. That would make it hit on 3+ instead of 4+ (and I think increase the IMS due to mixing shades?) without devolving into the “anything the sword cuts dies” problem. Though if that’s the story you’re shooting for, go for it!

This is correct.

That is incorrect. IMS is about Power. A Gray Power would add +2 when determining IMS (EDIT: Pg. 545 BWGR). Skill shade does not touch IMS (as far as I know).