Cost of traits

Hello everybody!

I obtained my copy of Burning Wheel gold like a year a go, but I have not had the chance to try the game before. Now I have, so I started to get familiar with the system. I am starting with the character burning process.

There are some dice traits like Blind, missing limb or missing eye which are very detrimental for the player character, yet, they cost trait points to obtain. Why is so?


Well, when you pick a trait you are saying this is an important part of my character. This is vital to who and what my character is. I’m going to play this to the hilt. That kind of story mojo shouldn’t be free and unlimited, even if it has negative consequences.

Negative traits are also an easy source of Artha. So, there’s a mechanical reward for taking them. Check out page 64.

Ah, I will check that. I read the book once, it is a bit overwhelming :slight_smile:

I’ll be the broken record: go with the hub and spokes to start. I guess Circles is part of the rim and that’s fine, too. Just focus on that and neither reading the book, nor playing the game should be overwhelming. You seriously don’t even need to read any of the rim subsystems until you’ve been playing the game for several sessions or even a couple campaigns.

There is no mechanical reward for taking detrimental traits. You take detrimental traits because you want to play a character with those traits. They cost points because traits that affect your numbers cost points.

Agreed. I didn’t mean to say that a negative trait functions differently than a positive trait in this regard. My point was only that all traits can earn you artha if playing them complicates the character’s life. So all traits can provide a reward, but it’s also really easy to make being blind or missing a limb something that complicates things.

However, there are tons of sources of Fate artha and the character is not likely going to be starved for Fate. So, I concede the point that looking at a trait in terms of this benefit kinda misses the point.

Traits are definitely not priced according to how much of an advantage or disadvantage they are.

Okay. We cool.

You’ll note that BW makes you pay for just about anything.

Are you the king’s lover? You pay points. You’ve got a powerful friend for 13 RP. Are you instead the king’s despised enemy? Now you don’t get a benefit, exactly, you get a huge danger and obstacle for exactly the same number of points. Obviously one is much more helpful for accomplishing anything, but both are very important in the game’s fiction, so you pay your RPs.

There are a lot of traits that you may not want to purchase that could, and should be voted on if play has dictated it (I wouldn’t want my swordsmans hand chopped off, but if that was the punishment decreed by the king, that’s what would happen!)

Punitive amputation isn’t really a trait vote thing, though. It’s GM-imposed. As such, I’d impose it very, very sparingly unless it was at the player’s explicit behest or in a setup where it was fixable. Maybe not easily, but having to go do hard things because things went wrong is all part of the game.

There are also a few negative traits you pick up inevitably from certain LPs, but they’re also the LPs you’re probably not going to take unless you want a particularly benighted character.