Disposition, Hit Points & Regrouping

I know I might be missing something obvious, but I’m combing through the SC with my players and we can’t find a definite answer.

So, we get how Disposition is generated, what it represents, and understand that each time someone’s Hit Points are reduced, Disposition should be adjusted accordingly (SC p. 59) - most of us have played Mouse Guard and Burning Wheel before at least for a couple of sessions.

However, we did not find explicit confirmation, whether regrouping as part of the Defend action actually restores Disposition in addition to Hit Points. On one hand HP can’t be restored past the initial maximum, which is based on the Disposition distribution (SC p. 68), but under Fog of War of the Too Much To Handle section (SC p. 81) it does say that at the end of a conflict Might should be compared between participants still standing, suggesting that despite Disposition reaching zero a loosing side could still have non-knocked out members.

On a related note, it would also suggest that if all enemies are knocked out it would be possible to reach original intent despite differences in Might? So if for some lucky reason the party manages to knock out a dragon before it performs a successful Defend & regroup, it would then not be included in the Fog of War calculation… on the other hand the detailed descriptions on the same page above are clearly stating that is not the case, so I’m assuming Fog of War to be only player-centric and used in case of varied Might levels on the players’ side, not the opposition since minions can always soak up boss’s hits?

Disposition is the sum of the party’s hit points, so in that loose sense Disposition and Hit Points are really one and the same for the purpose of compromise.

Here are the important pieces:

  • Disposition is a pool of hit points (SG p58).
  • The conflict captain assigns hit points from the total disposition to each character (SG p.59).
  • Defend restores hit points (SG p.67).
  • Regrouping allows a team to regain hit points (SG p.68)

So, if you start with 9 Disposition and 3 characters, each character would have three hit points. During the course of the conflict, one character is knocked out: you now have 6 total Disposition. The party loses the conflict if the Disposition = 0. Another way of saying that is that each character loses all the hit points and gets knocked out. For the purpose of determining compromise, compare the dispositions–which is the tally of the hit points still on the table.

There is nothing a ragged band of outcasts can do with their puny sticks to kill an ancient dragon without magic or some level benefit that increases Might. There is no lucky roll or crit that can change the utter imbalance. Dragons lay waste to entire villages, so the best our intrepid adventures could hope for is to run away with their lives. Now, all that said, maybe in your campaign, dragons have a different Might scale. As the GM, you can create your own Might and Precedence schemes that fit your world. Or, perhaps, there is some weapon that provides a Might increase that would even the tables (e.g. Scorpion from GoT). So, yes, it could be possible but not without increasing Might somehow.


Thank you very much for your response! This is exactly how we assumed it would work (since it does work like that in Mouse Guard sans Hit Point allocation). However, p. 58 of the SG was not so clear for us to mean that - good to know what the intention was.

What is therefore the meaning of the “Fog of War” (SG p. 81) procedure of reassessing Might post-conflict (emphasis mine):

At the end of a conflict, before processing the compromise,
compare the highest Might participant on each side who is still
standing. Use those relative Might ratings to determine if the
original intent of the conflict is still possible to achieve.

If Disposition always equals the sum of HP and conflict ends only when Disposition of one side is reduced to zero, then how could someone be determined to be “still standing” on the losing side? I understand that one could not kill a Might 5 beast if our only Might 4 character fell before we reduce them to zero, but the paragraph explicitly mentions to check for Might “on each side”, before compromises are made.

Right, one side would always be knocked out with no one still standing. I think the still standing part mostly applies to the party winning a Too Much to Handle conflict with compromise.

The point of Fog of War is that if you have one character with the Might/Precedence increase, they need to still be standing at the end. So, if you only have one character with Finery, but they are knocked out when the conflict ends, then you don’t get that Precedence increase if you win. If you lose, it doesn’t really matter because you look at the suggested compromise outcomes for the current conflict type and you don’t get your intent anyway.

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Excellent! Thank you for the clarification and apologies for hair-splitting. Knowing other BWHQ games I try to avoid the pitfall of assuming some things work the same in all of them just because of a common pedigree, which is why I’m probably more cautious about mu possible misreading of the rules than reasonable.

It’s such a treat to have official answers so quickly and easily acceptable, I really appreciate it and I’ve been singing praise of you to my group :slight_smile:

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