Getting the book in Covid 19 land. Yet another PDF thread

So I started a new game online due to the Covid-19 crisis but two of my player’s cannot get the book due to the Covid-19 crisis.

Is it time for a PDF at this point? I have never asked for a PDF before and have always been on board with Burning Wheel being a book and I’ve seen Let it Ride apply to countless requests because the situation hadn’t changed from one to another.

We should have this discussion again because the situation has now changed and whole world needs to change in response.

Please refrain from posting old arguments here because it’s all been said before and it doesn’t carry any weight.


I am in the same position at present.

I would be grateful and buy a PDF copy, but if Luke declines I have to say I’d support him. :’(


I guess there is the Hub and Spokes as a free download, even. You could use Charred and GM assistance to talk through character burning… I think Roll 20 has conflict system cards, which… Might be all you need, really.

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The pandemic is hard for everyone, but I’m not sure why that somehow makes the choices of a copyright holder invalid, or less relevant. I’d certainly be very happy if Luke and company decided to release BW as a PDF, but I don’t think a medical emergency is really relevant to that choice. I also wouldn’t hold it against BWHQ if they decided to stick with their “No PDFs” decision, and I’d be really uncomfortable with reflecting that decision onto the current medical crisis. Saying they are somehow not acting appropriately because their RPG isn’t available in PDF form during a worldwide medical crisis seems like a somewhat exploitative reading of the current situation.

Also, what would be the difference between not being able to get the book for a year due to the COVID-19 crisis (god forbid this lasts that long), and the book being out of print for a year? Both cases would prevent you from getting a copy for new players in immediate timelines, but I’d certainly not say any company (especially a smaller one like BWHQ) would be at fault for not reprinting something if circumstances or interest weren’t permitting them to do so. If the latter case is acceptable, why not the former?

There’s also a metric ton of RPGs available right now in PDF, so it’s not like you don’t have other options. I probably can’t stream every movie I could possibly want to watch right now, but I wouldn’t hold it against any studios if they didn’t want to use streaming and I couldn’t get a copy of their films during a worldwide emergency.

(Im not sure what “old arguments” you were disallowing, so apologies if this included some of them.)

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I think you’re being unfair to Totally Guy. You’re implying that he’s attacking BWHQ’s position and its validity. He’s not; he’s saying that the context has changed enough due to the outbreak that the question should be raised again.

You seem to think that the context hasn’t changed enough, but you’re making an impersonal, ethical argument. And your points regarding that argument are good ones: Of course BWHQ is under no obligation to provide their product in a certain way, and of course the retain their copyright.

However, this is a more personal question for BWHQ. They have Beliefs about providing an accessible product and providing a physical product. Well, now the crafty GM has introduced a Situation that makes physical products inaccessible (or threatens to at least make them less accessible for some people). You yourself posited such a case if Covid 19 lasts for a year; I don’t think stopping the presses for a year is desirable for Luke and the gang. So… They may be looking at a Moldbreaker moment.

That all said, I don’t really know how big a deal this is whole thing is going to be. Maybe it’s something the BWHQ folks have to address now; maybe they’ll never have to address it.

I would be interested to hear what they have to say, though.

Edited for grammar.


Don’t you think this would have been better as an open question in the BWHQ section? I don’t know what you’re expecting to hear from us players; it sounds like you want to hear how Luke and the gang are planning to cope with this logistics issue.

That’s fair, and sorry if I misunderstood your position Totally Guy. The part about old arguments not applying seemed to be saying that the previous reasons that BWHQ had stated were not relevant. That struck me as dismissive to their choices as creators. If I misrepresented your point, or if my post came off as abrasive, that wasn’t my intent, and I’m sorry.

Also, because I neglected to say so in my previous post, my sympathies are with everyone who is under lockdown. I’m very fortunate to not be that affected by it so far (working IT has some benefits), but it’s been a hard run for a lot of people I know. Good luck to all in navigating it.

Ah! I got the impression he was saying that people who want a PDF of the book shouldn’t dust off their old arguments for the sake of trying to dog-pile on subject.

Sorry all, I was trying to not start a repitition of old whinging on the subject but instead just started a whole new whinging instead. It’s BWHQ’s choice and they have every right to their decision and the right not to have to continually defend their position. Atomic Reaction is right and the virus is not a reason for compromise. We have to