Introduction Demo for Hub & Spokes


I’m looking forward to start roleplaying again after a hiatus of a few years with some friends, and we’re going to start playing using BWG. I know that The Sword exists as an intro demo but it seems more meant for some mechanics in the Rim than it is for Hub & Spokes. Is it recommended to just make up some conflict, write characters with interesting beliefs (eg ‘I think this about the world. I want to achieve this change based on that view, and my first goal is to do this’) and start playing from a scene that just starts off with a belief being challenged and the players reacting and trying things to move towards their goals?

This seems to be the hearth of the “BW” experience (challenging beliefs and characters developing) so is that what we should focus on when we start playing? Resolve most conflicts that need dice rolls with tests or versus ( if needed, bloody versus)? I listened to the Fire in the Garden podcast and it was really interesting, so I think I’ve understood the philosophy behind the mechanics. I’m just looking for a way to not have to worry about too many details and just get some intrigue going and the players hooked, with the holidays only permitting so much time for roleplaying. We’re pretty excited though!

Sounds like a plan to me.
It’s just like great drama, start small and build :slight_smile:

What is a good way to burn up characters really fast for a session? Just stick to 3 Beliefs and make skills out of the things that the character is supposed to be proficient at and roll with it? Is it worth spending 45-60 min to burn up characters?

Start with The Sword. It’s a good Rim demo, sure, but it’s first and foremost a Hub and Spokes demo. Go with it. I’d also recommend giving Duel of Wits or Fight a shot in the game just because it’s low-risk with single-use characters, but give it a try.

If you’re running a new game I’d suggest taking the full time to burn characters, painful as it may be at first. It’s an important part of learning how BW works. You can also carefully pregen characters for the group, including Beliefs or not, but learning to burn and how you make hard choices even in the very beginning is part of picking up the game.

The problem with that I think is that it just takes a lot of time to do. Learning Duel of Wits and Fight! without me first getting to try out the hub and spokes isn’t going to happen, as well as time constraints sort of prohibits how much we can just sit down and riffle back and forth in the book! I’m all down for doing it proper once we get to play a “light” session or two, but I’m not diving in the deep end without first getting to just try out the basics!

You could always just take the characters from the sword, change their BIT’s, basically model new characters from them.
Upside: Save time burning characters
Downside: Stock characters aren’t as much fun to play, and may not have the skills you need or want.

As far as a scenario is concerned, you could just model after one of your favorite books, movies, or video games.

Judd’s BW game with his dad was a simple intro, using the setting / situation derived from Game of thrones. Pretty awesome stuff.

I gave this advice once, seemed to go over well.

That being said, I think Trouble in Hochen is just a better introduction to the game as long as you’re willing to take it slow. But no one ever believes me about that, so probably you shouldn’t, either.

I have to agree about hochen being a great roll playing introduction game.
But if you just want a quick one-off to springboard your adventures from, Thelon’s Rift fits the bill nicely as it is a standard “dungeon crawl” and can really give you a good feel for what the game can be.
My group had a rough go of it with only three characters (3 LP Elf and two 4 LP Humans) but one of them made it out with the prize (after turning on his fellows).
It wasn’t our first BW game, but I wish it had been. (We also limited ourselves to the Spokes plus magic on this one).

Thanks for all the advice! I’m fairly confident we at the table will be able to come up with a compelling story now :slight_smile:
As a tool for making sure we’re actually trying out the system, I’d like to make a sort of check-list as a guide to aid us in playing.
I want to get some beliefs chased and/or challenged, so that is a simple priority one. Other things though would be like making sure the players try out the different ways of aiding themselves and others with forks and helping dice, and trying out the skill-advancing system. Handling out artha is another thing.

Is there a “These are the things you should try out” list somewhere? I’ve read and linked the players to some of the rules summaries so they are kind of in the know of the general philosophy of let it ride and say yes or roll. Hopefully getting a game down this weekend!

Sounds like you’ve got the basics covered. Let us know how it turns out. Good Luck!

Not exactly, but I can give a brief one: basically you’re trying to get them used to the dice pool mechanics and to all the ways they can manipulate it. Help, FORKs, Artha, Linked Tests, etc. Speaking of Artha, dole it out immediately - you want to hammer home the rewards for pain. For those not playing Robard, you’ll want them to try out the special stuff and see what it means to have Greed or Grief or Elven Spellsongs and such. Finally, you’ll want to expose them to either Fight! or Duel of Wits and probably not both. Both of those in one session can realllllly make it drag the first time (just because it is kinda fiddly) and then all players remember is the draggy bit where things were confusing. Instead just say hey, there’s another system like this for fights and ranged battles.

Should I allow the players to start out with a faith point or deed point, should I just aim to steer the game immediately into a place where they can earn one just to try it out?

Start them with a persona and a couple of fate. They’ll pay more attention to the earning part after they’ve seen what they’re good for from spending them.

I suggest two Fate and one Persona point for each character.
That’s the way it was setup in both The Sword and Trouble in Hochen scenarios and it seems to work just fine. I wouldn’t give out any freebie Deeds points though, but that’s just my preference.

Not to beat a dead horse, but why not just use the Sword without using any of the Rim? It’s quick to set up. Beliefs will be challenged, link tests and FoRKs are easy, Artha at the end, done.

Its just very crunchy and focused on demoing that section of the rim rules, and I’m not really interested in that. I’m comfortable in just making up an interesting story based on freshly burned characters and their beliefs, and focus on trying out the core principles in the spokes!

I’m not trying to be a downer, but trying to grok BW with a custom setup in a group with no prior BW experience is almost guaranteed to fail. To be clear, I’m not making any value judgement on your ability as a GM or your group’s collective experience. BW requires a different mindset on both the part of the player and the GM and The Sword is really tailored to teach the philosophy in a quick 1-2 hour session.

I know you’ve resisted the recommendation thus far, but run The Sword. Don’t use any of the advanced subsystems. Resolve physical conflicts with Versus or Bloody Versus rolls. Resolve disagreements (when there is something appropriate at stake) with a versus test. Put all of the emphasis on embodying and acting on the Beliefs of the characters. Learn to make the consequences of those actions dramatic and interesting.

If the group has fun and wants to dive deeper, end the session by burning characters. Read over their Beliefs. Come to the table next time with a good starting point and (almost) nothing else.

Why is it guaranteed to fail though?

The Sword: Pits pre-generated player characters against each other to determine who gets the sword.
Trouble in Hochen: Pits pre-generated player characters against cultists in an attempt to free the village from an evil creature/curse.
Theolins Rift: Pits player characters against a classic dungeon delve/crawl. No pre-generated characters are provided (use your own or borrow from the ones listed in the Adventure Burner)
If I were choosing to run one of these, I would base my choice on what my players would most likely enjoy (working together/working against/save the village/explore the cave/ect). The rules can be taken in hub form and expaned upon if need be by adding in the rim one spoke at a time, this is true no matter what scenario you choose.