This is going to be a bit of a rant. And somewhat negative. But Trying to burn a first character has been an exercise in frustration. First off My meta gripe is that the enter life path system makes the claim that we don’t have a definite setting a lie. Its Really a case of we do have a setting but we can’t say so because if we do the Estate of a somewhat well known fantasy writer will sue us. Honestly the settings and Life paths all but scream this is Middle Earth. Starting at the point of the four races that live in essentially parallel worlds.
As an exercise consider trying to do a discworld game with BW. Well that doesn’t work because in Disk World Elves are driven by Hatred not Grief. And Dwarves are not greedy., Pride would be their emotion. In any case the main races are Human, Dwarf and Troll, And The City Dweller setting is open to any race, not just Humans. Heck at least one prominent character is of Human Stock but grew up in a Dwarf setting, and is considered a Dwarf by other Dwarves (despite been 6 foot something).
PS I know that the fore mention author called would have used “the race of Men”, but you are writing in a different time period, just Call them Humans. As it is there is the entire section has a mysogenistic feel to it, I don’t think this is intended, but its there regardless.
So Anyway I thought I trying to work though to the Weather Witch Life path. Once I found it. Great only the description for the Summoning Skill is “Buy the magic burner”, a refreshing change form the more common “Buy the monster Burner” that seems to permeate the Character Burner section of this book. And the Spirit-Binding skill is not listed outside of the Life path entry at all.
So I can get here for this list of other Life paths, only where do I find them. I know I’ll look in the index, sorry life paths are not in the index, and for your convenience they are listed in random order, sometimes more than once with different details but the same name. The thematic arrangement of Life Paths is crying out for an index, and even a cross reference which gives you a list of which life paths offer particular traits / skills that you happen to need for your character concept. Any one of these would have been more useful then the Separate indexes of Traits and Skills, which are already arranged in Alphabetical order, really we would have been better off with Dictionary Style headers in the Lists chapter.
And what is a Subsetting anyway. Does moving from a setting to one of its subsettings require an extra year of age?
Anyway eventually I find Augur in the Peasent setting. (exactly why an ancient religious roll is in the Peasent Setting I don’t know, Probably because faith really means Christianity, even if it dosn’t quite come out and say so). Must be female, Why ? Also some interesting Traits here I wonder what Cassandra is … oops not listed in the traits chapter, oh well, proably wouldn’t have had a useful definition, so my choices are to ignore it go to Wikipedia and find read up on my Greek mythology.
Eventually I settled on Son of a Gun (whatever that means, really in a medival setting it makes little sense to have a born Sea fairer life path and no born path under outcast) But hey I wanted to head towards another Sea Fairer path so why not. Only I can’t get there from here without moving into another setting anyway. I can go from here to Urchin under the outcast setting, sort of makes sense. Except that Urchin in that setting really means Drug Addict (why not just call it that?) So I’ll use Beggar instead that works.
So I have my life paths and a story of sorts except that it turns out I can’t use sorcery. With only 6 trait points and 2 required traits I can’t buy Gifted. Damn. So Is there any way to make a young magic using character… Hmm I wonder what life paths have gifted as a life path trait (cross references from Trait to Life path would sure be useful here). Guess I’ll have to scan the entire list … OK so you can do it providing you start out noble born. OK that’s just annoying. I don’t want a fallen Rich girl here.
One who was raised in secret on-board ship (possibly passed off as a boy) and eventually got abandoned because of her emerging magic, sound much more interesting. Only it seems that it can’t be done.
Looks like I’ll have to build some alternate life paths. Fortunately there are guidelines on making life paths. Of course this is one of the dozen times that the Character burner tells me to buy the Monster burner, if I want more information.
Really the number of references to things that are not in the book is just sloppy editing. Along the way I found references to skills that aren’t defined, and Traits that aren’t defined and even character stock that isn’t defined. Apparently the Sorcery skill can be taken during character burning by Men and Roden. What is a Roden. Some rat derived race that appears in the Monster burner perhaps.
What all this tells me is that large swaths of Burning Wheel Gold where copied and pasted from one of the previous editions with no further editing. You can also see this at the start of “The Rim” which reads as if the Character Burner had not been spliced into the middle of the book, like it has been. Frankly considering how much I paid for this book I expected it to have been professionally edited.