How Much Artha?

Hi, Im currently playing in a solo campaign. Is 9 artha; 6 fate + 3 persona too much for an intense 5 hours session? Any recomandation?

Thanks for your support!

It’s hard to know for sure without breaking down how you go it. My own experience is that our most intense sessions tend to with 2-3 Fate, 2-3 Persona, and sometimes a Deeds point; there’s room to be a bit stingier or a bit more generous without totally wrecking the game, though.

Intuitively, I think you’re probably double-counting beliefs: you get a Persona point for fulfilling a belief OR a Fate point for pursuing it, not both.

We didnt double them but we changed 2 beliefs and pretty much achieve all criteria in the list.

I suppose it’s possible to earn 9 fate and 3 persona for a single player in a single session, but it sounds altogether too generous. Most folks earn 2-4 fate and 1-2 persona if they’re playing hard.


Cool Thanks!

But I suppose it’s “easier” to earn more artha during a 1 on 1 game, since the GM must not find a way to challenge every player’s beliefs, and can concentrate on player, and thus, it’s really plausible to reach that amount of Artha (6 fate and 3 persona in this example?)

Even in a one-on-one game, it would be hard to earn that amount of artha.

You can’t double-dip on awards. You either gain fate for playing a belief or persona for accomplishing it. You don’t get both. Also, the fate award for playing a belief is about driving the game hard in a particular direction because of that belief. Your character’s actions must change the game in such a way that it is different than it would have been if you didn’t have that belief.

Technically, you can’t get Embodiment in a one-on-one game since it can’t be awarded to everyone. I can see bending that rule though. The bar for Embodiment should get increasingly higher though. It’s meant as an award for players that go above and beyond. On average, I see embodiment awarded every three sessions or so.

MVP and Workhorse are mutually incompatible. You should get one or the other, not both.

The bar for earning fate from playing a character trait should be high. For instance, I have a character with the Hotblooded trait. If he shoots off his mouth and tries to provoke a fight when he’s surrounded by well-armed friends who are formidable fighters, then I’m playing the trait but I shouldn’t earn fate for it. I’m doing something that’s relatively safe. If, on the other hand, my character shoots of his mouth and tries to provoke a fight when he’s alone near the docks, it’s dark out and he’s surrounded by three sailors ready to rumble? Then I’ve earned that fate point if my character survives.

alright, thanks, I understand more now.

I think 3-4 points for both Fate and Persona is the upper limit for most games I’ve played/run. It is very difficult to get more than that. Out of curiosity, how did you get that much Fate?

I’m going to be the voice of dissent here. If it’s a really intense 5 hour one-on-one session, and if this isn’t the usual artha payout, I don’t see any problem.

5 hours is long enough that Beliefs could potentially be changed, and I could see using them more than once. Or I could see counting it as multiple sessions because of amount of stuff that happens. If a player is on fire I’d rather keep rewarding than say, “Sorry buddy. It’s all good stuff, but your artha is maxed out. Might as well pack it in and wait 'til next week.”

If you don’t make a habit of it’s not going to break anything.

I’ll answer this one for I am the one playing with sameoldj… He might of course correct me if my memories are not accurate :

1 persona for achieving a belief (To become a Human I must be a Citizen of Généva)
1 persona for moldbreaking another one (I am independant, no one can help me)
1 persona for embodiement (we decided that it will be the default one - this one will always be given, reason bellow)

there was one double-counted Fate for the achieved first belief - well, actually, the Belief is not achieved (he’s not citizen) but more changed, or more refined…
there was one fate for the third belief (Human Culure is superior to Orc Culture)
2 fates for instincts that got the PC into trouble (about stealing and curiosity) (but maybe not much - we might have been a little too generous here)
1 fate for a trait that drove the story in a very complicated fashion (Breeder - best scene with a hooker NPC ever!)

which makes 6 (and should have been 5 - for we gave the PC 1 Fate and 1 Persona for the same belief). So if Embodiement is a scarce reward and we over-did a little with instincts, the PC would have received 2 Persona and 3-4 fate for a 5 hours, one on one session…

… the reason we decided to give Embodiement for “free” is because 1) sameoldj is a really intense player, taking a lot of agency, self-creating opportunities to set-up interesting conflicts, plot-twist and just amazing in-character narratives, and 2) well, we’re both new to the game, and he wanted a young orc character, so during the Character Burning, he choose only… 3 LP. So the PC’s pretty limited when it comes to number of Skills… So the large amount of Artha helps the game… I think…

I would personally never give out any award automatically as Artha is kind of a mirror for your game. If a session ends and you don’t pull many rewards, you should see why. Likewise, if you pull a huge amount of artha, you should very clearly see how your character has changed, how the character has changed the story.

Alright. I suppose this cannot really happen in a 1 on 1 Burning Wheel game session, where the first and foremost objective of the GM is to challenge the different beliefs of the PC. It’s really difficult not to do that… but then again, everything’s possible with rpgs, is it not?

Those two criteria are great to evaluate the amount of artha to be awarded at the en of the session…

thanks guys! This Burning Wheel community is really something!

Sounds like you two are on the right track in general. Better to give out too much than too little at the start. As the campaign proceeds, you’ll be more discerning about what gets artha and what doesn’t.

Your job now is to challenge him and get him to spend those points. Fight/RnC/DoW work great for that! Lots of crucial rolls.


I’ve been reading trough the forum and I’ve seen this advice a couple times…Does it means that Fight/RnC/DoW comes often in play? Any sessions? Many times a session or simply when needed? They look pretty dramatic.

They’re great for burning artha. Most people use one of those about once per session, on average, or that’s the impression I get. I tend to use one of them in most sessions, none in quite a few, and I’ve only used two or more a handful of times or in really long sessions.

I’d say 0-2 is the average. They tend to be the “big moment” that the whole session builds to.

We played this morning an almost-3 hours long session, and at the end, the Player got 2 fate and 1 persona… I suppose it’s more “normal”… so that vast amount of Artha was mostly based on the length time of our game session…