Burning Monster PC's

Hey all,

I’ve done a few Burning Wheel campaigns, but this particular game most of my players want stuff that’s outside the “standard” lifepaths. One of my players wants a half-demon human, and the other wants to play a young dragon. The overall situation is that dragons have taken over the world and are using their little humans as miners and crafters of pretty things. While I’m aware that it’s possible to burn up monsters as player characters (I own the revised Monster Burner), I’ve long ago discerned that knowledge about Burning Wheel is not the same as wisdom.

So I have come here to ask: what’s the best way to get these players what they want so they can be even more excited about this game? How do I mechanically help someone make a half demon and a dragon (the dragon must be a younger one, of course, only a few decades old).

For our Planescape game, we have a character that is an anthropomorphic bird samurai. We burned him using the Mannish lifepaths, then just threw traits at it until it was a bird instead of a human. You could go that route with the half demon.

For the dragon, you’d probably want to take the one from the MoBu, then tone down the traits and stats. It’ll still probably be powerful, but that doesn’t really matter that much if you’re challenging their Beliefs well.

OK, that makes sense. Balance is something to not worry about, correct? I’ve still got my 4e DnD bad habits.

One of BWHQ’s most beloved characters was a half-demon. He didn’t know it, though, and his abilities developed during play.

Burn a regular PC using the Burner. Have the player use Trait points to buy Tainted Legacy trait. (Don’t give anything away for free. BW really encourages these hard decisions and sacrifices.) With this, you don’t even break a single rule! It’s all in the book as written. Then, the character’s Beliefs should be about developing more powers that will be earned in play.

As for the Dragon, yeesh! Yes, you could take the MonBu version, reduce all shades to Black and all Stats below 6. Reduce the crazy traits, arguing that they won’t develop until maturity. Or, for better results, use the 100 Questions method to burn one fresh. I still wouldn’t allow it to have all the Traits a full-grown dragon would have.

There’s also the tainted legacy trait, it allows an otherwise human character to take one trait from (IIRC) Dragon, Daemon, Giant, Ophidia, Raksha, Red Cap, or Satyr. In my opinion, the wiser choice is to give the demon player a few cosmetic traits for free, and let then use Tainted Legacy to buy one die trait from the Daemon.

As for the dragon; that’s more difficult, as the player wants to play a full dragon. I think Shaun’s suggestion is really the only way to do it, but note that they will probably be much more powerful than the half-demon player (especially if you use my suggested method), even with reduced stats. If you want to try something interesting, I’d also try giving the Dragon Greed.

Yes, give the Dragon Greed for sure!

(It’s somewhat assumed in BWHQ that, if a Dwarf’s Greed reaches 10, he turns into a Dragon.)

Balance is a consideration, but it’s a bit different. If one character can “nuke” any conflict, it’ll be a drag. There’s ways you can mitigate this, but be prepared for players to call foul when nerfed.

As to the dwarves-into-dragons thing, that’s straight ripped off of Fáfnir: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fafnir