I Loved this book untill I tried to actually burn a character

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.

Thanks for your feedback!

Yes there is a lot of implied setting in the lifepaths. I don’t think that BWHQ has ever denied that there is. However the is not a lot of hard and fast setting in it. There’s no map with locations. No plot. No overarching big bad. If that implied setting doesn’t work for the story you want to tell then yes you do have a bunch of work to change it. Just like if the implied setting of AD&D doesn’t work for you you have some work to change. Remove halflings, gnomes any mention of them in spells, magic items. Who is the Bigby guy he doesn’t exist in my world. Now I have to go rename a bunch of spells. It is very difficult to make a game and remove all implied setting.

Yes the entire mannish lp’s do have some misogny in them. A lot of female only lp’s. If I recall though a lot of the LP’s were also decided and defined by modelling specific time periods in history when there was a lot of misogny. It’s not hard to change a few requirements and LP names.

Yes, it would be great to have an index of traits and skills and which lp provides them. There’s a lot of great ideas that could be added. At some point though you end up with a 1000 page book though instead of a 600ish page book and then the price goes from an amazing $25 to $35 or $50 or more. All publishers at some point or another end up having to decide what to cut. With those decisions to cut indeed I bet several references to the other burners got left in that BWHQ would rather have changed. Also lets face it they’re a business they want to continue to sell their other products. I can’t blame them. The game without those other products is very playable as is though. So you can’t make a spirit binder or summoner. Oh well you can have Sorcerors.

About the editing. Yes, it’s bad at times. It’s never been great with any of their products in my opinion.

Now to answe your one question in the middle. Yes going from a setting to a subsetting does take a year. Subsettings are just settings that have no born lp and therefore you can’t start in them.

10 pages are used repearting alpabetical lists of things that are already in alphabetical order. They would have been better used on an alphabetical list of lifepaths. If all you are going to say for character traits is it’s a character trait, then come up with a naming convention, like was done for wises and you save a good few more pages. And then Life Paths can be fully indexed and you have room for a list of suggested lifepaths on Traits, especially Important ones like Gifted.

My other questions where:

why is Augur female only?

Is there any way of getting a 3 life path character (with Gifted and Sorcery) without starting as Nobel born?

No clue why Augur is female only.

Born Peasant, Augur, Recluse Wizard or Crazy Witch. (Must be female)

Born City, Neophyte Sorcerer, Sorcerer or Rogue Wizard

Son of a Gun, Augur, Crazy Witch. Captures the raised onboard part.

And those alphabetical lists are a lifesaver during play. One of the most useful parts of the book. But if you made a cross-referenced index of traits and life paths I’m sure it would find it’s place on the wiki.

Except Son of a Gun has no lead to peasant.

If I had to guess the reason that Augur has to be female. I would point to the literary reference of Cassandra as perhaps being the most famous augur?

Son of a Gun, lead to city, Neophyte Sorceror, lead to sea faring, Weather Witch and grab sorcery with your general skill points. I know not quite what you asked for.

A bit of laborious data entry, but not too hard to create such a list. Luke, if you are still following this thread, what would be your feeling about the publication of Lifepath listings in alphabetical order and / or the forementioned cross reference from Trait to Lifepath ?

I’m putting together an alphabetical lp list and have talked to Luke about it. Probably done and available tomorrow.

Yes! That’s was the idea.

BW is not a Disc World game.

If you want a Summoner, yes, you need the Magic Burner. In BW you have Sorcery. That’s the magic system of the game. Summoning is in the CB only for convenience.

And yes, if you want to burn a roden you will need the Monster Burner. That’s why roden is an extra stock, a gift from the creators of the game.

The LPs are not in random order. It takes time to get used to it, as everything in every new game you don’t know. And a index would have been useful, but it’s not necessary at all.

Yes. Make characters is not a necessary evil, a mandatory step before playing, as in other games. It’s part of the game, and this game is about make hard decisions, make sacrifices. Like the CB Revised (I don’t know Gold) says: ‘Making a character is not a free-form “this is what I want and this is what I get” process.’ If you want to have another setting Lifepath you must to pay for it. If you don’t want to, maybe this it’s not the game for you. But do not take a decision yet. At this point you are just learning a new system.

That’s for you to decide. But wait!

Don’t must to be. I don’t have Gold yet (I just bought it last Thursday) but in Revised if you want to be a Augur you must to be a woman, or a Neophyte or a Devotee. You can choose.

Unfortunately, you have to buy the Magic Burner. That sounds as Grifted Child to me, who has the Misunderstood Character Trait (really apropiate) and replaces the Seafaring Born Lifepath if you want. (It’s in the rules. You are not changing anything.)

Fortunately, as you can see the Monster Burner is really useful, and not a useless supplement with no relevant information. But you don’t need it, unless you really want to do extraordinary things, like create your own Lifepaths. Few games give you such tools.

I find these references very useful by the way.

Even without the Magic Burner, yes.

City Burn, leads to Noble, Arcane Devotee

Two LPs, 19 years old.

City Burn, leads to Noble, Student, Arcane Devotee

Three LPs, 23 years old.

But, why not Noble Born? Born noble don’t mean anything, only you are from a family with a name. A poor and miserable family if you want. Two LPs, 14 years old.

Now, why you should make these decisions? Because this is The Burning Wheel, and in BW you must make hard decisions, and every decision you make has consequences. Do you want to be a sorcerer? All right. But, what are you willing to pay for be one? Are you willing to make sacrifices for it? Maybe you think you are just making a character, but you are not. You are burning one. You are playing the game. Maybe this is not the game for you, I don’t know. But for some of us it’s work very well. Is it perfect? Well, what the hell is that? It’s a fun game for some people, that’s all. A very fun game. In fact, one of my three favorite games if not my favorite. Give it time. No game this complex is learned in one day.

Alas, in BWG Augur must be Midwife, Country Wife or female and no more then 3 lps total.

In BWG Arcane Devotee does not have Sorcery. It does have the gifted trait though.


I said nothing then. xD

PS: I guess KonZill would have loved Revised Edition. ;D

You can buy Sorcery with a general point though, no?

So, Son of a Gun, Ratcatcher, leads to City, Neophyte Sorcerer.

Yep all kinds of different paths if you buy your sorcery with general points open up. Then you just have to get gifted in an LP and have at least 1 LP with 2 trait points or 1 trait point and no required trait.

I’ve seen a few coments agreeing that yes theire is an implied Setting and ME is it. The reason I raised it was that essentially all ot the reviews I read ran with the Burning Wheel has no predefined setting line. And I liked that, only to find it didn’t seem to be true (in my opinion).

In browsing the forum I have to agree with this post:


I think I like it. Diseased is a little unsavory, but hay it gives the charcter a clear goal … to find a cure for said disease, Sorcerous or otherwise.

Boy leads to City as well and shaves 2 years off the age. You did say she passed as a boy.