How do you play Wises (beside FoRKings other skills)

How do you create interesting conflicts involving wises? How do you put these skills into play? I want to hear from your playing experiences… thanks!

There are two common uses. One is to query the GM about what the character might know. “I have Noble Families-Wise. Do I know anything helpful about the the House of Foriers?”

The GM’s job is to get an intent out of it. Why do you want to know something? Oh, so you can blackmail the Duchess. Or know what a good bribe is. Or because you want to understand the undercurrents at court. Whatever it is, there’s an intent. That can set the Ob, exactly what you get for success, and what the penalty for failure is. Wrong information that you believe to be true (always tell the player it’s wrong, though!) works, but it’s not always the most interesting. When you can think of something, knowing something to be true that is the opposite of what would be helpful can be interesting. You want to bribe or blackmail the duchess into supporting Rochon’s bid to be the next constable? Too bad; the Foriers are known for their rigid honor. Don’t do it if it’s just a blockade, but it’s fine if you’re saying, “Nope, underhanded stuff is impossible. Find different leverage.” That’s how failures should go. Or you’re trying to use Shipping-Wise to come up with the best place to buy the exotic spices you need? Failure means you know the best importer is that merchant you Circled up with the enmity close, so there’s a new hurdle.

The second use for Wises is to make statements. “I have Elf-Wise, and I know that I can impress them by offering the traditional greeting gift of oak and elm.” Players use Wises to add true knowledge to the world. Again, saying, “Nope, on failure it’s not true,” is boring. But failure can easily mean you get crucial details wrong. For example, oak and elm are traditional… to great enemies. Now the friendly Elven delegation is wondering what the hostility is all about. Or oak and elm are correct, but only when shaped with woodcraft; they find Mannish sawing and sanding to be a brutal offense against the spirits within the wood and your gift as a deliberate gesture of disrespect.

On Monday, we needed to find an entrance into a tunnel network that had been lost for millennia (recently discovered by us (and our enemies)).
I tested B6 Lost Places-wise against Ob 6 to find an entrance.

I passed and we were in.

Wises are one of the most powerful kinds of skills in the game precisely for the world building effects that Wayfarer and Luke posted about above. I highly recommend all players spend at least 1 of their General points on a wise related to the situation so that they can mold and shape their world.

Thanks ton, this is (as always with this community!) more than inspiring!

So just make things clear, here is the way I understand things so far : Wises are a little different from other abilities in Burning Wheel. With wises, the player can ask, even “force” the GM to use this particular skill (this wise) to create an obstacle, and thus, for can be used “world-building” during play (to create lore in the setting like we do with, say, circles). This way differs a little from the traditional the Intent/task which come from the player and the specified skill to be rolled is, in the end, decided by the GM.

or can it be used in a more traditional fashion :

GM : “So there is there is this legend about a secret passage that reach the fortress”.
Player : My intent is to know where this passage is, and my task lies within the knowledge of my character.

This seems like a pretty legit way the play the thing… Am I correct?

… and if I am correct, is it possible to use Beginner’s Luck to roll an unopened Wise?

Thanks again!

That sounds right. My own little bit of pedantry is that the GM sets the task based on the player’s description of the character’s action.

Also, yes, BL Wises are super common!

Ok, so if they are super-common, I suppose they use the same rule as Perception advancement : wises being learned are only advancing if the Perception test is successful?

I’ve always played that, since only Routine test count for beginner’s luck, they don’t need to be successful to count. But that may be a drift.

Only Perception uses the rules for Perception advancement. Beginner’s Luck for Wises works with the usual Beginner’s Luck rules. No need to succeed.

Alright, thanks everyone! We never really played Wises beside Forking then since the we begin playing the game… Things shall change!

So, how would you handle a failing Beginner’s Luck -Wise test against an Ob that would count as a difficult Perception test? Test logged for Perception (since it’s a BL test), no test logged for Perception (since it’s rooted in Perception), or a test logged for Beginner’s Luck (because the test has to go somewhere). I’m really curious because the test is changing it’s failure condition handling based on the difficulty.

I’ve always played option #2 across the board for failed BL Wise tests (no test logged if you fail, regardless of the Ob) because of a particularly strict reading of what a Beginner’s Luck test is (specifically the part where Beginner’s Luck tests are stat tests until opening the skill). That said, there’s a very real chance that I’m being overly strict and thus wrong.

I would say option #2 when the test is Difficult, but option #3 if it’s routine (per the normal BL rules). Failing a Wise can have disastrous consequences and it doesn’t seem right that you wouldn’t be able to log a test either.

The way we play at BWHQ:

Routine: test marked off against aptitude
Difficult or Challenging: test logged only if successful

Note the use of BL for Wises is one of the key reasons Perception tests must be successful for advancement.

I used Loot-wise to establish a fact that there was human-sized mithril armor to be found within a defeated dragon’s hoard. I also used Loot-wise to establish the fact that there was a cache of coins within a dungeon room.

I used Rumor-wise to establish the rumor that a super-awesome sword was to be found at the bottom of an ancient and cursed castle.

Wises allow the PC to establish facts that don’t contravene what already exists or what the GM knows to be true. It’s the most powerful mechanic in the game.

So failed routine perception tests for beginners luck -Wises still count for purposes of learning? Cool, thanks.

Another question regarding the wises : how does it work with graduate (graduals? Don’t have the books with me…) tests? The way I see things, it goes as such : the player says : “Alright GM, I want you to play Old-School RPG for a second, so feed my character with your imagination. I want to know what are the customs of this particular tribe of elves, so I roll B4 Elf-Wise. Got 3 successes, so school me for 3 successes”. Are you guys playing like this in BW? If not, what is the use of graduated (??) test?

I don’t use graduated tests much, but yes, that’s how it works.

and I suppose they never count for advancement?

They are Ob1, Routine tests.

I am a little bit puzzled… how can you “fail” a graduated test? with 0 successes?