Dwarf Game and new Trait/Mechcanic - Feedback sought

We are working on starting a Dwarf Game, setting is a Nordic setting, with a Saxon like invasion of Lowlanders (humans), with Orcs being corrupted Dwarves rather than Elves, as of yet no Elves in the setting, but the human invaders have tales of them.

We are following the trope of the long slow decline of the Dwarven Nation, all their Mansions have fallen, and only the Homes are left. Most of the Mansions have fallen due to Greed and Runic weapons (a la Paladium, sorry).

We have a recent Mansion falling, and its survivors coming into a Home. Now the place is cramped, old Grudges are raising their ugly heads, and secrets about what destroyed the Mansion is being whispered.

We played with some different ideas for the Grist of the game, what characters would be, where from, and the general goals of play. We decided on a theme of Grudgebearers for Clans. Any given Mansion or Home would have a few Clans, they may be splinters of other clans, or descended unchanged from one of the Fathers. Clans hold grudges for ages, and the ties of Clan are stronger than the ties of politics or occupation.

To represent this we have been throwing some ideas around.

I liked the Idea of a new Common Trait for Dwarves in this setting: Clannish. This would give them a +0D Affiliation with a specific clan, and a choice of 1 of 2-4 Char Traits (a la Burning Empires human stock). Using Affiliation LP bonuses, or RPs for Affiliations would grant you not only higher Affiliation, but access to additional Traits representing the nature, reputations, and trainings offered by your clan.

Other players put forth having Born of XXXX Clan LPs that lead to every setting, rather than having a new mechanic.

Any thoughts on these two schools of thought?

Examples of both we have been bouncing around…

Clan Background:

Clan Sverkost
A Military focused Clan hailing from Karnklast. Small, focused, and insular. The Sverkost branched from the Fengselarbeider Clan over the inheritance of the fabled Rune Axe Sverkost. The Clan took the name from the Axe; and though wining the small war in the depths of Karnklast, lost access to their workshops, fields, and status within Karnklast. Removed themselves to Flintfall and make up a sizable portion of the Host. The fate of Sverkost is unknown as it has not been seen on a battlefield for over 250 years. The Sverkost Clan is small, they are not the majority of the Host, but they hold positions of power there, also they almost all carry Axes as part of the symbol of their house.

Clan Grudges
Fengselarbeider Clan +2D - They are always looking to Steel what is rightfully ours.
Drester Clan +1D - Failure ot hold the Left Flank against the Snaga Orc Clan at the Battle of Red Cliff.


Clan Affiliation Bonuses
+0D: Choose 1 Character Trait: Swarthy, Taciturn, Quick to Anger
+1D: Access to: Not One Step Back (CO Trait): Hesitation when out numbered or facing a larger than life opponent.
+2D: Access to Either: (A) Sverkost Stroke (CO): When wielding an Axe and using a Great Strike. or (B) War Stocks (CO) when making resource Tests to purchase Armor, Weapons, or getting the same repaired.
+3D: No Nonsense (Char) AND Either: (A) Reputation: +1D Bloody-Handed or (B) Oil Quenched (CO) for War Art when making Axes (Requires Opened War Art Skill).
+4D: Reputation: Wielder of Sverkost +1D (Currently no one has this reputation…)


Born Sverkost, 21 years, 5 RPs
Skills: 4pts: General, 2 pts: Axe, Dwarven Rune Script
Traits: 2 pts: Swarthy, Taciturn, Quick to Anger

Again, these are both in discussion, and are looking both for thoughts on the power levels, complexity, and issues we might run into later.

Orcs (being Dwarves driven into Hate from their either repressed or more likely frustrated Greed (plus God like Runic Magic) would have simular rules for their Tribes…



Do orcs and dwarves coexist, or are they at war also?

War. One of the Mansions closed itself off for a few hundred years, when they opened again they had been corrupted.

Since then, the orcs have spread through the north and been at war with the Dwarven homes.

Is this a better or worse fate than the Mansion that turned into volcano?

It’s going to be just as problematic. :slight_smile: The only problem that I can recognize immediately is keeping all that organized, but some people can do that better than others. Otherwise I really like the setting, your dwarves are in for a free-for-all.

The Clannish trait is going the right direction. The more a dwarf invests in his Clan, the more influence and power he’s going to weld in dwarfdom in general. This will lend itself naturally to some cool Beliefs regarding more influential members in the dwarf’s own clan, other dwarves in rival clans, etc.

The Born option doesn’t focus on the Clans enough for me. Sure, I could emulate the Clannish trait option to a degree, but without its focus, I could also wander off and create character that is more of a regular BW dwarf.

I like the BE mechanics. In your setting/situation, I might allow the players to create FoN.

I initially read that as FUN, been playing some dwarf fortress recently…

FYI- in DF Fun = everyone dies

I have learned I don’t do well running FoN. Not what it is, but they don’t work out the way i expect. We are hashing out the scenery, while closing in on the situation. Eventually we will have the hear And now of the problem.

The Clannish Trait:
My main concern here is adapting the rules to give out a pile of free Call On traits. For me, the advantage of an affiliation is that it gives you +1D to Circles tests. Giving everyone a single trait that gives a free +1D affiliation when working with their own clan is great and feeds the desired clannish feel (you are incentivized to circle up members of your own clan). Dwarves have very few trait points, as a whole. Does giving every character three to five additional call-on traits (about 10-15 trait-points worth) add to the theme?

Clan Grudges

These are awesome, but there are legitimate questions for this forum board (as a group of experts) to help with. A grudge normally replaces an Oath, and thus needs to fill one of the four Dwarven belief slots. If we add clan grudges, does it become a fifth belief slot? Does it replace one of the other four? If so, can the players choose to adopt the Clan’s grudge(s) as their own or is it required? What are the incentives for adopting the clan’s belief? (If we adopt a tiered Clannish trait, does it have requirements that more of the clan’s grudges be adopted as you rise?)

There are trade-offs here between the character’s individuality and his representation of a clan. This becomes more important as we look at multiple-PCs being members of the same clan as well, and thus ending up all having the same required call-ons, traits, and beliefs throughout the party.

Easiest approach seems to be this: you only get the affiliation as long as you take the clan’s Grudge as one of your (three regular) beliefs. Otherwise you’re being a selfish and disloyal little sod so your kinfolk aren’t going to go out of their way to help you.

(Some of the Elf LP traits do something similar – you only get a particular perk if you devote a belief or relationship to it.)

Has anyone considered adapting Blossoms’ Clan Burner? Seems like it would be a perfect fit for dwarven clan politics.

Hirram - We have, there is this post here: http://www.burningwheel.org/forum/showthread.php?11218-Adapting-Blossoms-Clan-Burner-to-Non-Blossoms-Games

Marullas: I was not going to require that they take the Grudge directly, though they may. However, I was more inclined to offer Fate Points for allowing the Grudge to determine their reactions to these other clans in a way that may be detrimental to the dwarf in questions. They also factor into Circles roles as Ob or Dice penalties like Infamous Reputations when dealing with those other clans. Also would tie into DoW and Enmity Clause events.

I am always more inclined to grant more artha than not, I know it is not kosher, but played enough John Wick games, that more is better, and also spent too much time arguing about if this or that action counts for Artha and what kind of Artha.