I’m quite new to these forums, and have a question concerning Gold vs. Classic.
I recently dug out my old burning wheel books (serial number 001375) and started reading through them due to a fall out with the Pathfinder system (she’s not always resonable that one ;)).
So far I really like the Duel of Wits and character creation systems, but I’ve reached the combat chapter and it’s … well, I find it … Never mind, suffice to say that I find it cumbersome and rather topheavy, especially to new players and GMs.
So my question is: Has major modifications been made between my raggy old version and the shiny new Gold edition?
First, do your players have a good grasp of FORKs, Helping Dice, and describing what they’re doing for Advantage dice? If not, I’d stay with Versus & Bloodied Versus.
If so, then I generally go like this:
Is this that “end of the movie” brutal duel between only 2 or 3 characters where it’s personal, it’s ugly, and it’s going to be mean? If so, full on Fight!
Is this more a running fight (capture/get away/rescue/get through the gate/hold the gate/etc)? Versus or Bloody Versus, depending on how serious I feel like it is.
The last thing you want to do is have a giant melee with tons of enemies and do a full on Fight! when really the Intent isn’t MURDER THIS BASTARD over the 35 guys running int the room as much as “Stay alive and get up to the tower”.
My experience re: Versus tests vs. Bloody Versus has been that it depends on the stakes:
Use a Bloody Versus if there’s a chance that both get injured (a swordfight, etc.). If there’s really only one party who’s likely to get injured (even if that’s “whomever loses the test”), use a Versus test. We had a situation last night where an Orc Whisperer was trying to escape before I could spear him (we tested Speed versus Spear, and I pinned his foot to the ground).
In the case of a mook battle, I’d definitely go with a Bloody Versus. It’s often not a question of who is going to win, but whether/how much damage the heroes will take in the process.
To sum up: Bloody Versus admits the possibility that both parties may get injured; Versus tests generally end with only one injured. Versus tests are generally all-or-nothing: you get your intent or you don’t. Bloody Versus can often be inconclusive, as even the loser may only be injured. Neither is difficult or time-consuming at the table, so don’t think of them that way–just choose the one that best fits the fiction.