(Deliberate) Power Creep

Interesting. Had you seen that Fate behavior with Persona before (spending it like woah in the high-ob tests) or was that new? Also, do you guys do Artha at the end of sessions or Artha during? I could see getting lots of Fate per session if you do Artha during play (which would help explain the glut of fate points).

Reading this I wonder if you’ve over-shadowed the Divine Inspiration portion of Deeds with Persona (+3S is roughly the same as doubling a B6 value). Most likely not, especially if you cap it at 2 instead of 3, but it does perform more reliably than Deeds at reasonable (read: not B8) dice pool sizes.

The biggest wonder I have is how this will affect play in the long term. Usually an Ob 6 test with (say) four initial dice involves getting help, FoRKs, Artha, and maybe taking a long time. With these changes your players can safely drop one or two of those and still feel like you’ve got a good chance of nailing the test. It’s not a big deal but it will be interesting to see how it plays out since the rules as written force people to help each other for most large-scale tasks. It also probably means big Resources and Perception gains (and maybe big Faith, I can’t remember if Faith is limited to successful rolls for advancement) because it’s easier to get successful tests. Again, one of those things that’s not game breaking and will only appear after a bunch of sessions.

One other question that may have already been answered while I’m out beating this horse, are you guys getting into a lot of scripted conflicts (DoW, R&C, Fight)? Those tend to eat up Artha (even Fate, hell especially Fate) a lot faster than normal play because you’re A) making lots of die rolls and B) getting more successes over/less failures under the Obstacle often times matters so you see Artha getting spent on rolls that would be stupid to spend it on normally (2S Block with a six vs. a 4S Strike for instance, 50/50 chance of only taking a Incidental hit).

Deeds may have lost some of its spark—but consider the effect of doubling dice and rerolling traitors on something that’s already at reduced Ob. We’ll see. The players don’t tend to accumulate much Persona anyway—they’ve always spent it about as fast as they earned it. Not in giant gobs, but steadily over the many rolls they get. The Fate poured out fast at first because they had reserves and felt like they could be reckless. At their new, low stable totals they were much more conservative.

Yes, I award artha on the fly, at least for Fate.

Ob 6 still involves help and ForKs aplenty, but it’s not quite as grueling. Once someone turned down help to keep the test difficult. I can see this leading to slightly faster advancement, but not much faster. And if it does, I think I’m okay with it.

As I think I said, we have about one conflict per session. Some sessions don’t have one, but some of the climactic ones have two (and once three). They haven’t done a great job of soaking Fate, in part because of lousy dice luck. If there are no sixes you can’t reroll, and my players just do not roll sixes somehow. Conflicts have been where most of the Fate comes out, but still not as much as went in.

There’s your problem.

Please explain with a bit more detail! How is this the cause of the problem? (Why didn’t this cause problems in previous games with different players?)

The possible issue is that if people are really good at hitting their Fate generators and the GM isn’t really good at making sure any given Fate source only gets awarded once per session, that someone can get 2 or 3 Fate per belief every session by playing towards that belief in different ways. Coupled with the other Fate sources you can end up with a lot of extra Fate getting awarded if your players are proactive and engaged. The other possibility is that someone could play towards a belief (earning Fate), and then later complete that belief for Persona. While I don’t think the game ever explicitly states this, I don’t think it’s considered kosher to get Fate and Persona for the same belief in the same session.

As for why it didn’t cause issues before, the most likely one is experience. People who know Burning Wheel well are much more likely to drive play via their beliefs. It also means that they know the power of a detrimental instinct and know how to get into situations where that instinct will get them into trouble. Yes doing Artha at the end involves a bit more bookkeeping during play, but it does cut down on the amount of “accidental” Artha that gets awarded by concentrating the reward period at the end of each session instead of interspersing it throughout the game.

Another issue I have had awarding Artha mid-session is that I find it harder to call it in the moment. Holding off till the end gives me the benefit of perspective. Did hitting that BIT really drive things somewhere interesting? I can hold the Artha award to that higher standard without shorting changing someone because the delay between the BIT hit and the point at which confirmation happened made the awarding of the Artha sort of out of place in the moment. Also, means I do not have to busy my head mulling “now?…now?”

Holding to that higher standard is very important IMO. It gets to the point of the benefit of the Artha system; Encouraging things that make the game session a better experience.

Then again I am a simple man, struggling to chew gum and breath at the same time. So who knows? :stuck_out_tongue: There are those that do award during the session.

Cathexis, I agree about the potential for over-milking specific BITs, but I’ve already said that they were getting 2-3 fate per session each, total. Too much given out has not been the problem. It’s the way it has built steadily without spending—which might also be fixed by experience, but if 15 sessions didn’t do it I wasn’t going to keep holding my breath.

To clarify a bit, I don’t actually give out artha immediately. At the natural breaks in the story, the ends of scenes, I handle artha, give reminders to log tests, update my notes on BITs, and set the next scene. I know this isn’t by the book, but we have some marathon sessions and I think it’s helpful to take breaks, split the action, and treat them as several mini-sessions. It also emphasizes that a lot of the artha comes from making good scenes. If the beliefs are engaged the roleplaying’s good, and it all gets rewarded with artha. It keeps things quick and Pavlovian, and it also helps me check to make sure I’m hitting on BITs for all the characters at the table (I can tunnel-vision and focus in too much on one character to the exclusion of others if I’m hammering away at beliefs and making that one doubt everything he holds dear) and that I won’t forget important things for the trait vote.

Also I just got emailed this gem by the Elf’s player: “Belief: The GM is a monster who loves nothing so much as to feast upon our tears. I must placate him with agony and abject fear so that he will turn his gaze upon the others.” I’ve got a sweet-talker, but that’s no way to get artha!

Oh, that’s different. Breaking for artha awards in the middle of a marathon session seems fine.

How many players do you have, again?

Four, although one’s somewhat intermittent. I think three is my ideal BW number. Four works. Five has never gone well and tends to implode fast. I can’t keep that many BITs in my head at once.

One day I really want to give The Gift a whirl, though. BW for eight! Beautiful madness!