Burning Wheel with irregular player schedules

Hey all,

I’m starting a BWG game soon with my gaming group (played some OD&D and Torchbearer before). We’ll be going for pretty standard human feudal medieval warring city-state setting with not very high profile characters (3LPs).

A challenge or trait our group has is that we’re all pretty busy and I’ve been wanting to keep the group pretty much “drop in” style in the way that many players miss up to third of sessions. So the game runs every week but most often not everyone is around. It is a way of gaming which has worked very well for us in other games, which have been mostly “one mission per night” kind of stuff. Also the games have been better suited to character composition changing.

Have any of you advice for running this kind of game? What to take into account? At least for sure the practice rules will get heavy use and even if not always possible I should probably aim to run contained chunks of story so that each session ends in a lull even if not end of small arc.

They key is, as always, writing interesting Beliefs. For pick-up games like you are aiming for, review the situation before each session, then have the players write at least one goal oriented Belief concerning the situation at hand. Mouse Guard runs excellently with just such a framework.

Earning skill and ability tests is a long term investment. Unless your players, and yourself, are very systems-savvy, and can spare time to administer the practice rules, I would not worry about it-- unless the gap between players becomes too large.


We have a sporadic gaming schedule at best and are down for an entire season in summer.
What works for long term characters is to keep long term goals in mind so if some have missed out a few games it’s easy to say what they were working on and allow skill progress through study. For the same reason we all have secondary characters to use if, in the interim, our main party can not assemble the back ups can do something.
(Note that this may be easier as we rotate g.m.'s)

Maybe not so much with 3LP characters, though. My 3LP character has increased two skills after two sessions.
Granted, that’s a one-on-one game, so he gets to hog the spotlight - and I’ve been systems-savvy enough to push for it.

Thanks for advice all. I read Mouse Guard and the premise sounds like a perfect one for irregular RPG, with the power structure and status of the Guard (just in, new orders and everyone asking them for help).

I’ll try the trick of keeping one Belief very flexible for each session, a bit like Goal in TB.