This is a bit longer than I thought it would be.
TLDR & high level is that I’m a new GM and am looking for wisdom on helping new players find their feet in the rich domain of the Burning Wheel. Especially bookish characters who could very easily die in a dangerous fight.
This is my first post on the forms. I love the the Burning Wheel and have finally had the opportunity to run a game with 5 (new) players.
We’re running through Trouble In Hochen right now. I’m fairly new to GMing and am learning lessons as we go. I’m enjoying the process but I have a problem that I’ve been chewing on. Namely, how do I challenge the wizard and priest when the group gets into unexpected fights that they’re unprepared for?
The Trapper, Dwarf, Knight can handle themselves in a fight, and the latter two are generally fairly bloodthirsty. I think that they’re actions are going to open up some interesting social dynamics in future sessions but so far, in the two sessions we’ve run, I feel that both the wizard and priest are feeling a bit left out.
I suspect the fix for this is to team the brains folk with the brawn & encourage them to Help.
More (optional) details below but generally the question is. What do y’all do to challenge your bookish characters in big, unexpected, Fight!s.
Last session three demon was encountered and successfully run off.
The priest is (rightly so) scared of conflict after an encounter with the cultests when he was outmaneuvered and smacked down by a woman wielding a rolling-pin. He spent the entire first encounter with the bear (which only lasted one exchange) hiding in the village longhouse and praying.
The wizard spent the entire exchange casting a spell and hoping the bear didn’t target her.
Generally, I feel that this behavior is appropriate for the characters that they are playing, but it’s a shame to get together for 3 hours only to cower in the shadows. I know Everyone Can Fight!, but it’s a hard sell when you just got smacked down by a few peasants, and now there’s a huge bear what just bowled through your armed & armored folk like they were made of paper.
Does anyone have any recommendations for helping these (fresh off the boat) two players feel more in-the-action? Next session they’re going to need to track down the bear and that’s going to give everyone a bit of time to prep. At the moment the bear is nursing a -2D wound (bleeding treated by pinesap) somewhere in the forest.
I’m planning to start the next session highlighting the priest’s potential for speeches and the wizard’s rhetorical ability and then presenting them with an outraged mob in the morning (~1/3 of the cultists, including the blacksmith, have been killed by the players in cold blood).
I’m curious how the players will approach the final confrontation with the demon. Maybe the Bookish folk will find their footing on their own. But just in case I’m giving mind to how to best encourage & challenge, hopefully with a bit of borrowed GM wisdom. I’ll be sure to pass along any player-focused suggestions from this thread.