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

Unfortunately, that’s a reviews mistake -or misconception-, not a BWHQ mistake, IMO. But no, BW has no setting in the traditional way. Some people enjoy that the setting is implicit in the rules. That’s one of the things that makes BW be what it is.

Wouldn’t ripping out the Emotional Attributes do much to de-“Tolkien” the races?

Anyways, nothing stopping you from eliminating or redefining the emotional attributes, or from allowing a different race to take lifepaths from the human selections if your Elves are just men with pointy ears and a few nifty genetic abilities. Also nothing stopping you from allowing men to be Augurs or from moving it to a different setting entirely. You obviously(?) seem to like the core mechanics, but dislike the implied setting BWHQ crafted using the lifepaths and emotional attributes. This is a shame, but nothing is stopping you from removing the components you disagree with and substituting them with ones you prefer. You just have to be willing to make that effort. Rule 0, modify to suit. The BW core mechanics start to break down when overly tweaked, but I don’t think its so easy to break character burning by tweaking lifepaths to suit a different setting.

I mean heck, Implied setting or no, I could see myself using Burning Wheel for a late 12th century Crusades era game by simply cutting out all the fantasy and anachonistic elements (Humans only, no magic, certain lifepaths restricted, disallow full plate, etc). Thats hardly Tolkienish.

Here is a link to an Alphabetized Index of all of the Burning Wheel LP’s in Burning Wheel Gold, Monster Burner and Magic Burner. If you see any errors please let me know. https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0Bw-eK4S2A9CaOTE5YWUxMDMtMzU3Yy00YzhiLTk2MjktOWM0NTk0ODI0NGVj&hl=en_US

Indeed, have a look at the wiki entries for other life-path ideas people have beaten out.
With a bit of tweaking and a little work there is a great deal that can be changed about BW character burning to tailor a campaign.

If you don’t like Emo-Elfs. Look at Paths of Spite for hateful Elfs.

We tooled around doing or own life-paths a while back, trying to make special crappola for a BW game set in the Midnight D20 world. We ended up just using stock BW with no changes until we figured things we wanted to change a bit more.
My recommendation is to burn some basic characters and leap into play. Once you get to playing you will really get to understand the game, hopefully enjoy the play, and then be able to tailor yourself a really nice BW setting.

I’m not particularly familiar with Diskworld, but it sounds like character stocks there would differ greatly from standard fantasy norms (which were pretty much invented by Tolkien, by the way). I’m concerned that there would a great deal of work to do with any system that wasn’t specific to Diskworld. I’m sorry that reviews led you to think that BW was without any sort of setting, but Luke Crane (the creator) has said many times that the lifepaths are in fact the main tool for creating setting. If the reviews stated otherwise you should take it up with the reviewers.

Honestly, I think the changes to the races themselves would be pretty easy. What would take more work would be coming up with lifepaths that replicate the sorts of things that races find themselves doing in that setting.

Anybody with Diskworld experience want to try their hand at burning up some LP’s? Could be a fun project. Heck, I’ll do it if someone will point me toward some Diskworld material.

As for the “buy this supplement” text–yes, there’s a lot contained in other books. But if you’re planning to make heavy use of magic, wouldn’t you expect to buy the Magic Burner? The core book is only $25–in most systems that won’t buy you a splatbook. The game will run fine without the Magic Burner or Monster Burner–but if you want the resources they contain, yes, you have to buy them. You can run a great campaign without any of them, even one that’s magic-heavy. Sorcery for Men is fully explained in the core books, as is Emotional Magic for Dwarves, Elves, and Orcs. Heck, the MagBu (what we tend to call the Magic Burner) is a recent addition. I’d venture to say most campaigns have been run without it.

You should also check out the wiki. There’s a ton of fan-created material there. The creator encourages this sort of thing (which is why it’s hosted on the game’s site instead of somewhere else). Ask nicely and you’ll probably be inundated with support for whatever you want to create.

I’d definitely disagree with the thread starter on that the implied setting all but screams “this is Middle-Earth”.

The main reason is that the world of Men is not very similar at all. The foremost point is the significant focus on religion, which is a strongly intended omission by Tolkien in his works. Just by introducing that you leave Tolkien behind thematically. The society of Men overall in Tolkien’s works doesn’t resemble the fantasy version of medieval France that is the impression I get from Burning Wheel’s society of Men.

And you can’t introduce other races than humans if you don’t spend pages writing about them. Burning Wheel actually present Elves, Dwarves and Orcs in the most fundamental way. The only reason why it might not seem that way is that most games have never managed to capture the essence of the source where they came from, which is Tolkien (when we look at modern fantasy versions of those races). So writing the races like they are in Burning Wheel is not really best viewed as introducing a Middle-Earth RPG, it’s just giving us those races in their original incarnations. If Luke wrote them differently, then it would be a stronger argument to say that he’s using the races to present a definitive setting because he wouldn’t be using the originals.

I think the concept of a character raised in another culture can be represented by a cultural trait. Team Covenant have a section of their website devoted to cultural traits.

The Adventure Burner talks about implied setting. The commentary there says the lifepaths of man tie into europe or china. I found that interesting to think about but I’m away from my adventure burner right now.

One of my brothers read my Character Burner from revised when we went on vacation a couple of years back. He told me that RPing was not for him but he liked the way the setting was presented and that he finally understood the appeal of elves. I never understood elves before BW either.

I feel it’s necessary to point out a few things:

One, the lifepaths of Man are very adaptable to any setting that is truly, actually medieval (not King Arthur-style fantasy-medieval, but actually medieval). If you’re looking for high-fantasy humans, no, these aren’t them. But if any reviews didn’t mention that Burning Wheel is a gritty game, they did both you and it a disservice. That’s one of the things I like about it.

Two, anything that even includes different fantasy races has an implied setting. The only game I know of that could really pass as setting-neutral is GURPS - and it’s setting-neutral because there’s no setting whatsoever, unless you buy the separate sourcebooks. I have no personal experience with it, so I couldn’t tell you if you’d have an easier time trying to play Discworld with it.

Third is something that Etsu Riot touched on: If you really wanted to hack into the Monster Burner, come up with extra lifepaths, devise different emotional attributes with the Magic Burner, provide your own implied setting, you can. No other game I know of gives you the tools to customize and create new systems following the methods the designers used for under a hundred dollars. Is it a lot of work? Yes. But you can really take things in a different direction if you’re willing to make the effort.

As evidence for points one and three, I submit for your consideration Burning Sands: Jihad, which strips everything down to the lifepaths of Man, removes magic, adds space opera lifepaths and two additional emotional attributes, and bam. A whole different game, albeit one that taps how very medieval the human lifepaths are.

The complaint that the setting isn’t what you want it to be rings a little hollow when it’s probably the only game system on the market that, for $75, you can develop what amount to new classes/races/traits/cultures that will still function with all the game’s basic rules and advanced subsystems.

The humans don’t. They’re much more historical-medieval, down to some quirks that have intruded because of all-too-direct reference to A Distant Mirror, combined with magical lifepaths inspired by books like Earthsea (the Magic Burner makes this pretty explicit). And that’s how I’ve always played 'em, eschewing the other species entirely to make an actually-kinda-medieval fantasy-medieval game.

I think what’s driving you to distraction is that Burning Wheel has this “indie” sensibility to it, where the mechanics are loaded with some rather hard-to-ignore implications that actually push play in a certain direction. So, yes, the stocks aren’t a blank slate. Seeing “Tolkienesque” fantasy actually communicate some of the essence of Tolkien is kinda jarring at first. Once you understand how stuff works, it’s rather easy to retrofit. Like, okay, based on your descriptions of what you’d want in Discworld…
Elves: have all elves use Spite from the free Dark Elves mini-supplement.
Dwarves: keep the structure of Greed but rewrite the triggers and actions in terms of Pride (if I’m reading that wrong it may be better to lift Honor/Shame from Blossoms).

This is the same reason The Shadow of Yesterday is still my favorite light “generic” fantasy game: the game itself isn’t generic, but it’s often easier and more productive to look at something focused and shift its focus than it is to just take an amorphous mash and make it do something.

The Character Burner’s not the easiest thing in the world to use, and I have lots of tiny gripes with individual lifepaths, but, in my experience, just reading a stock’s lifepaths once straight through was enough to give me a feel for what can be found where.

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Just come to say that if you DO have an ordered lifepaths, though perhaps not to the liking of Konzill.
If you look good in the beginning of each sub setting LPs are “younger” and by the end the most “elderly.”

I do not really need an index of LPs.

For the rest, it’s been said by the others.

Konsill, What do you think the rest of the game mechanics?

See also Blossoms Are Falling for another example of how the core rules can be adapted to a completely different setting (in this case, Heian era Japan).

In theory, GURPS and Discworld should be a great match: http://sjgames.com/discworld/ NOTE:second edition is under playtest at this time: http://sjgames.com/ill/a/2011-08-06

I found GURPS too mechanical for my tastes: crunchy but flavorless. Also, for me, no easy way to have religious magic with the same versatility as sorcerous magic and no also be just a plain relabeling. One of the things I liked about BW was how Faith and Sorcery were equally potent but very different in planning and execution.

But this is something Luke said as well. I can’t give you an exact page reference but It is in the BWG book somewhere in the first chapter I think. That is the part that I was able to download and read befor buying the book.

I also might add that Tolkin didn’t pull his ideas out of nowhere, the basic ideas of what Elves and Dwarves are can be traced to medieval Folklore. Yes his work has defined what Fantasy is, but there has been some advancement beyond that. IN contrast Pratchet has questioned made a few interesting changes. One being challenging the traditional assumptions of who are the good guys. IN his work Trolls are just another race, containing both criminal elements and positive elements. Meanwhile Elves return more to being something alien, not a part of the world but something apart from it, and hence somwhat hostile, and indeed parasitic on reality. Their world does not have its own form but rather copies the forms of whatever world(s) it comes in contact with.

I think you’re referring to the first two paragraphs of the book, where Luke talks about heavy influences and then setting, which explained for me the medieval Mannish settings, and ME-like Dwarves, Elves and Orcs. Yes, there’s some setting baked into the assumptions in the lifepaths, but it’s more structural than anything else. This ends up meaning that you have a huge variety available to you in your setting, but some things just won’t work without a lot of hacking, much as you could play a Doctor Who game with Smallville rules, but it would be a pain in the 'nads to try (full disclosure: I don’t know Smallville RPG, I’m guessing; no derailing!). With particular reference to the apparent misogyny, the Mannish LPs make an attempt to reflect the lives of women in medieval Europe, in terms of social restraints, but they’re also some of the most powerful LPs out there, in play.

I get what you’re saying about the Discworld; I’m a huge fan of Terry Pratchett, and can’t wait to read Snuff, but it would be the devil’s own labour to represent Ankh-Morpork citizens in BWG, and it would be challenging to run the game, but not impossible. I think that’s because Discworld (more and more transparently) a biting social commentary and satire, expertly masquerading as cheap fantasy. For example, Carrot and Angua’s stories are often much more about race and prejudice than anything else. Vimes is all about class and privilege. The trappings of fantasy allow Pratchett to be very funny while he’s making serious points about humans and how ghastly we often are. In other words, almost all the races of the Disc are human, with the possible exception of the Elves. From my perspective, Pratchett’s work falls outside the canonical tropes of the fantasy worlds that BWG draws inspiration from, so it’s going to be inherently challenging to make it work.

However, to attempt to play an Ankh-Morpork game with Burning Wheel, it would take a while, but I’d start with the following:

  • Allow all races to take leads into the Mannish Lifepaths to represent immigrants.
  • Burn a small ‘Ankh-Morpork’ setting for each non-Mannish race with at least a ‘City Born’ lifepath.
  • Pick and choose which common traits work for the races you’re going with.
  • Create new traits to reflect the signature features of Pratchett’s non-humans. e.g., you would want a trait to reflect what happens to trolls at different temperatures.
  • Sorcery isn’t going to work for you; his Octarine and natural magical effects are unlike any of BW’s sources I can think of; Art Magic might work better.
  • I would ignore Elves entirely, until I’d re-read some of the Elf books, and even then I’m pretty sure they’re not playable except as NPC opposition.
  • For GMing, look for consequences of failure that are more humorously dangerous than brutally wounding, make copious use of “Say Yes,” the Gift of Kindness, and the Enmity Clause (for NPCs that are being difficult and bloody-minded, rather than necessarily overtly hostile).

This would mean you would need the manual on customising the core game, the Monster Burner, yes, but before you invest in it, bear in mind that it hasn’t been updated to the newer rule set yet. You’re also going to want the manual on customizing magic systems, the Magic Burner, too, if you want to create Pratchett-like magical effects. I’m not exactly impartial, but I think they’re excellent looks under the hood of BW (and RPGs in general), and worth their price standalone, but you are going to need them in order to customize BW to the extent you’ll want.

Because it’s such a departure from BW’s sources, it’s going to involve more work looking stuff up here on the forums, on the wiki, and asking questions we’d all be happy to help answer, I’m sure. I know I would.

On the other hand, if you and all your players are intimately familiar with the Discworld and its denizens, converting Jared Sorensen’s Inspectres to have fun in Pratchett’s playground is likely to be a quicker adaptation, with the right level of humour. As I’ve written this reply, I think that’s where I’d start.

I was aware of the thematic and roughtly life cronological ordering. The problem with it though is that it is sometimes hard to navigate and really relies on you remembering which paths are in which setting, etc.

As to the rest of the system:

This is based on a read through of Burning Wheel Gold, Burning Empires and a little play expirence with Mouse Guard (with my Kids and a couple of their firends).

The basic mechanic works well, The kids found the instinct to add up the dice a little ingraned at first but they got over it eventually. And the idea of resolving disagreements bettween players with a persuade test gol the game moving again several times. So I like it. Dito for the basic philosophy on table chatter, and mechanical rewards for playing traits (which are common to all three systems).

The extended mechanic of Scripted combat (under its various names) is also very good, and I think interesting. That said the disposition roll feels a little synthetic, so I was pleased to see that they don’t feature in Burning Wheel combat. On paper my favorit encarnation of the system is the Firefight rules from Burning Epmires. I espeically liked the explicit rules on gainging positions (these seem to still be in BWG but there have been backgrounded quite heavily. One of the video reviews seems to suggest that this was a deliberate change in this edition, as people found the position rules confusing. It was a little amusing to have BE talking about how the rules can be adapted to conflicts of any size and then read in BWG how they can’t be.

I was also a little overwelemed with the size of the interaction table in BWG. On the face of it they seem to give too many (often very similer) options. Also why should an action play out differently for Players and NPC’s? And what about if there are players on both sides, who gets rows and who gets columns?

Shade is something I’m still undecided on. My initial reaction is that it might add more complexity than value to the system. But I havn’t seen it in play yet.

KonZill, you sound like someone who actually achieved a great mastery over the rules, I’m surprised by your comments on the LPs.
Seriously, I do not see how something as complex and worthy of such criticism on your part.

I do not see how this becomes a problem.
The characters I created have been with a great concept in mind and then browsing LPs, never seemed tedious, but highly enjoyable. Sure, it’s a matter of taste.

But the same book in PDF you read says this:

The Burning Wheel is a roleplaying game. Its mood and feel are reminiscent of the lands created by Ursula K. Le Guin, Stephen R. Donaldson and JRR Tolkien in their works of fantasy fiction. It is also heavily influenced by the brilliant medieval historical accounts of Barbara Tuchman and Desmond Seward; a dirty, complicated world full of uncertainty, but not without hope or opportunity for change.

Unlike many other roleplaying games, there is no set world in which you play. Burning Wheel is an heir to a long legacy of fantasy roleplaying games, most of which contain far better worlds and settings than could be provided here.

Tolkien, Le Guin … their jobs have nothing to do with Discworld.
Do not see how you imagined it was possible to play Discworld with BWG as is and without modification.

If I’m honest, I have to think you’re Luke Crane that passed by someone else to test ourselves on our perception of its products. Your remarks are very specific and detailed. :rolleyes:

Just to clarify, and to put this thread to bed somwhat I was only using Discworld as an example, not specifically because I was trying to make the rules fit that setting but because I am sufficently familiar with it to give one.

And no I’m not trolling this forum, but rather expressing what I found frustrating when I first sat down with the system. If I was able to give some spcific comments it comes from having play expirence that streches back to the Original D&D. I’ve also read the core rules and built characters in a lot of systems, not to mention trying to write my own, though these never lasted more then one play test. Picking a mechanic and sticking to it, turns out to take more disipline then I have.



Sorry, I don’t get it…

Okay, Konzill is done here so we’re done here.
Thank you to you all for your thoughts.