Creating my first character problem

I’m trying to make a character that has the following lifepaths:

City Born

I end up being 27 years old, right?

Now my real question is: on my Character sheet there is a column in lifepaths named “Gen”. What is Gen? I’m almost sure I got the sheet off here today for free. Is my book outdated? It’s not the Gold ed.

Also, I’m having some trouble understanding just how the stats really work, with the Black, Grey, and White proficiency stuff.
I know Black is the worst, then Grey, then White, and I want big numbers in the Prof. parts. I’m unsure as to what they actually relate to. Is Agility like my ranged stat, and Speed my reaction time, with Perception being my spot check or something? I’ve played D&D 2.0 to 4.0 and some of this stuff doesn’t make sense to me.

Hi there,

So first off, I don’t have my copy of Revised with me so I can’t cite page numbers but much of that should be explained in the Brown book.

Ok, here goes:

  1. add up the years column, add one for each time you switch setting. That’s your age.

  2. Gen is for General skill points, mostly from your Born Lifepath. I’m assuming that you’re referring to the character worksheet here, as I can’t think of anyplace on the actual sheet that says Gen.

  3. don’t worry about shade too much, black shade is just fine. Black is what 90% of all BW will ever see. Again, there is a heading in the brown book about this.

  4. there should be descriptions in the red book (I think it’s in the red book) about what all the stats and attributes are.

May I suggest you pick up BWG, it’s the current version and has some notable improvements over Revised.

Thanks, I’ll check it out, and yes, I’m using the worksheet. I assume that’s different from the character sheet, which is weird. Where do I find a character sheet at? I can type out my backstory and staple it if I need to (It’s a little long because I described in detail the 3/4 things that happened to him).

BW Revised (BWR) sheets can be found here:

The descriptions of the main stats are in the brown book, second chapter.

BW Gold (BWG) sheets can be found here, along with the first 70-odd pages of the book, which includes the same chapter mentioned above:

Ok, that’s the Character sheet I downloaded (the Gold one), and I now have the Wheels and Spokes pdf. How much has changed in Gold exactly and is it worth making the extra purchase for it? Sounds like they made character creation easier to follow/understand.

A number of small things and a few big things have changed. You can find info about some of it here. It’s definitely worth the purchase…especially at $25 bucks (or even less online). I bought 2!

Ok, after reading the Gold edition, I am thinking I might get it, but I’d like to get this character made before it arrives and whatnot, so I have a couple more question to finish my character.

  1. What is Weapon Power exponent? The skill for that weapon I would think? Or a better way of phrasing is would be, How do I find the Mark for a Sword, Bow, and Dagger?

  2. What’s the different on the sheet between Skills and ‘Skills being Learned’? I just put all mine in the Skills section…is that wrong?

Thanks for all the help everyone! It’s helping this seem much less daunting that I thought it would be.

  1. Add a weapon power’s to your own to get your Mark result. Incidental is half that rounded up. Superb is 1.5 that rounded down.

  2. Skills being learned are for tracking Beginner’s Luck rolls until you actually learn the skill.

  1. Ok, so the weapons power is the Skill I have in it?

  2. OHHHHH! That makes so much more sense!

No, your Power stat exponent modified by the weapons power bonus. This is covered in the Damage and Injury section.

Are you playing in a game, or just making a character to see how it works?

The latter. I’m trying to read through my book to find the answers to some quests, but I’m starting to think I might as well forget the old book and just focus on the Gold ed.

I do plan on playing this character though, soon

I still have the Revised version and while the Gold has some very cool things worth getting, you can still have a great time with Revised.

Things worth remembering in BW Character Creation:

  1. Start with your concept! I like to poke at least coming up with Beliefs at this point, and check them again at the end of it and adjusting them a bit to fit the situation and the character I’ve created. (I wrote this on Beliefs: )

  2. Realize the Lifepath system is designed to give you a character who will have flaws of some type- bad Traits, most people start with very little Resources, some with little Skills, or the years chew up some of your Physical points. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in trying to get a “perfect” character, but the system is designed such taht you never will.

  3. Don’t underestimate the value of FORKs. If you have a skill at exponent 4, odds are that you can easily get yourself rolling 6-7 dice if you have a good set of related FORK skills to call in. Sometimes players make really unbalanced characters trying to get the 5 or 6 Exponent skill when they could do solid with more rounding-out skills that can FORK a few ways.

These also let you take relatively new or weak skills (Exponent 2-3) into decent rolls - 4-5 dice.

  1. If you don’t have a social skill (Persuasion, Ugly Truth, Falsehood, Haggling, Intimidation, Soothing Platitudes, Etiquette), you probably should at least open ONE of them. You’ll also NEVER be sorry to have invested a point into Reading if you don’t get it through lifepaths.


I’m having trouble following your lifepath selection in my book. Where did you find Thief and Ranger?

Oh, I believe they changed where the Ranger is in the Gold book. Now I think I’ve switched to being City Born, Pickpocket, Hunter. I believe it was 22 or 23 for my age.

Are you thinking “Strider” in the Outcast section? It’s pretty chock full of skills and goodness.


It is normal that you want to have all the facts of you character in your mind at character creation. It is a creative process that is needed to create colorful an multidimensional characters.

however, to start play, it is wise not to have to much back-story laid down. You want your back-story to come in to play when you need it. so unless your background story is reflected in believes, instincts, relationships, reputation’s or the like, You will probably not see it in play unless brought in with wises. I short, nice background. But what are you going to do with it?

Here is something that works well for me and my players.

  1. if you have a background larger than 1 page, try to make a summery that is only 1 page long. Make sure that you have your most important believes reflected and your relationships in there with short descriptions.
  2. If there are persons, affiliations, reputations or that are not reflected on your charactersheet, either leave them out or have them reflected on your character sheet.
  3. Now take your one page description and reduce the essence of your your description to a maximum of 5-8 sentences.

This short description will probably be the core of you your character without fluff that will probably never come in to play.

Not having an elaborate description of you character works better in burning wheel. Having a good concept will make you focus your character to the story at hand. You will write aspects of your character in the game when you will need it in the story.