Burning Wheel sequence of play

Hi all,

I’ve create a one-sheet Sequence of Play checklist to use in my BW games. I’ve put it up as a PDF here - https://dl.dropbox.com/u/737926/Burning%20Wheel%20–%20Sequence%20of%20Play%20v3.pdf Edit: updated version

Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated, particularly for anything important that I’ve missed.

(the BW wiki has a page called “Session Checklist” at http://www.burningwheel.org/wiki/index.php?title=Session_Checklist, but it actually only covers the last session of a scenario or arc. I used it as a basis for my “scenario/arc/story” section)


I put together something similar a while back; it looks very similar to yours:


Thanks Wrathbone - I’ve included passage of time and training/practice time in my working draft of this.

I’m a little confused by one thing in that thread - having “Revise situation and introduce new twist if necessary” as an explicit step at the start of the session. How aggressively do you (or anyone else) do that? When I GM it’s not uncommon for me to frame the first scene, but quite often I let a player do it.

I do this and I think (in my opinion, ect.) most people do this naturally as well. For example in-game the GM revises the situation constantly because the player characters are mixing things up, reshaping the situation, and the NPCs are reacting to that. You know like it’s supposed to be. Or the GM sees a lull in the game and has “two guys with guns break into the room” (or ninjas or dinosaurs or inquisition or whatever), or frames a scene that hits upon a BIT or fast forwards time or…

This is just a more formal way (one could call it daydreaming if one wished) because the GM has the time between sessions to look at the big picture and ask questions about the situation and what has changed. The players just took down the baron, which means that the duke and the cardinal are both going to react by doing… but on a grander Big Picture level and adding in additional complications/twists in response.

Maybe a new NPC was brought into the picture by the players and now the GM really has the time to look at how this new character fits into the overall situation. Maybe the character is actually allied to another NPC. Maybe the NPC has goals and motivations that need to be worked on. These are all way a GM would “revise the situation”.

If you’ve played Fiasco this would be “The Tilt”. If you’ve played Apocalypse World this would be the clocks advancing or new clocks being made or whatever.

When I GM it’s not uncommon for me to frame the first scene, but quite often I let a player do it.

Players sometimes, kinda, infer a scene, but ultimately I believe the GM is the arbiter of scenes in BW. The reason is becuase the GM is responsible for bringing in opposition, consequences, and generally poking at the player’s BITs. So I think this is just your personal preference and there probably isn’t anything wrong with that.

Ok, I see the point now. My sequence doesn’t currently cover the time between sessions, although I may add a line that says “GM frames the first scene, or invites a player to do so” at the start of each session. Not sure yet - this list isn’t really meant as a learning tool, it’s meant as a reminder for things that I often forget!

I’d also be interested in an expansion of “play the session”.

I think this is mainly sorting out a sequence of obstacles. So if you’ve given your players a number of options for dealing with the current situation (in the form of a number of tests) and they want to pursue their own agendas as well, just put them in a logical sequence and start rolling the dice. I think the key thing here is having good results for success and failure. If you’ve got a situation with no real good story spinning from the test, just roleplay and move on to the next test.

Thanks all - I’ve updated my checklist and edited the OP to link to it.