Fight! - Dice pools advancement


Last session we tried the complete Fight! rules, with acceptable results (maybe too much downtime between actions with lots of book referencing).

The thing is, during the Block&Strike and Counterstrike, where the player split his dice in two pools, we didn’t know how to resolve Test Difficulty for advancement purposes. Do we have to check all the player dice against his opponent or calculate it for each pool?

If the second option is correct (Block dice vs. Sword dice and viceversa), any player could put his almost entire dice pool into the block part and then, the remaining one would be tested against the oponent successes, probably granting a difficult or challenging test for the Sword skill. How is it resolved?

Kind regards

I used to run it as full dice pool vs success defences, but an old forum post seems like it indicates that block and strike is a series test, and you would mark the hardest test between attack vs defense or defense vs attack. I think that that’s a bad approach, because like you said, you can just put very little in attack and get a safe free challenging test. So generally, I rule it that the Ob is the Ob to hit, and the dice pool is the full dice pool before dividing.


My margin note from when this question came up and was answered some time ago reminds me that split pools from Block & Strike and such come under the “Series of Rolls = One Test” rule.

So, trusting my past self, I’d treat both pools like separate tests and log only the one with the highest obstacle (unless you need just one specific test to advance, then you get to choose). And yes, you can manipulate the pool size, if you think it’s worth the risk.

I’d be lost without margin notes, I tell you.

PS. Helstadt was quicker.
PPS. Seriously, lost.


Though I would actually love to hear @luke’s opinion on the matter?

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You use treat them as separate Tests. If you put one die in attack, and roll against Ob 1, you can get a Difficult Test. If you log a Challenging Test, it’s because you either failed or used Artha to make up the difference; good for you!

Making a game of Advancement is a perfectly sporting thing to do in Burning Wheel. I expect part of the reason for this set-up is to facilitate that gaming.

If you want to hinder yourself for Test in Fight, that’s great! And risky! Even if you’re shorting yourself on the attack, leaving your opponent unharmed to hurt you next Action is a risk.

One of my favorite ways to game advancement is in Duel of Wits (usually against another PC). If they’re using Beginner’s Luck, I’ll script a Beginner’s Luck Rebuttal with Rhetoric. Then either short Attack to one die, but pump in Persona to succeed on a Difficult, or short Defense to one die, but pump in Persona to try to succeed on a Challenging!


Oh that’s a trick I will be stealing. And that’s a fair point, a lot of the fun for me as a player is using systems and mechanical knowledge to my benefit. The number of “bad” Charges I’ve made has earned me enough power tests to not mind the beating I take for them. Though really, getting injured enough to get whatever you’re trying to advance down to b4 is the goal of every fight


Right now I’m playing a Bondsman. That Lucky trait for per-story call-on can be aces to snag some of those Difficult or Challenging Perceptions tests.

Yeah, it’s basically a free deeds per arc, which is really nice. What’s the lifepath you snagged your skills from? I once burned a captain’s bondsman, his thing was that he was an illiterate accountant with the eidetic memory trait. He was mostly useless (but lovable), but having a friend with a call-on for anything is really nice when nobody in the group has the right skill.

Baron. My character was an enemy combatant that patched him up in a war; when he got captured, he was given a sort of special status as the Baron’s bondsman. I picked up Estate Management from that; he kind of operated as the Baron’s head servant and enforcer.

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