Is there a Party Burner?

Hi, I’m new here, I just got my BW Gold and hopefully will have my copies of Burning Monster, Magic and Adventure soon (shipped already).

My question is pretty simple. I found the lifepath system absolutely amazing in design. The idea is just awesome, perfect for my games.
But the way I see it, is as if the PCs just met after living full, completely different lifes. Since we have so much detail of their backgrounds, it isn’t as simple to hook’em up as in D&D (or at least, it isn’t as satisfying - it’s not BW-ish).

In Warhammer, for instance, you have the party sheet, where you have the kind of party the group is (mercenaries, knights of justice, rogues) and the group faces internal conflict, losses, victories and friendship (ok, not really), they are rewarded (or punished) accordingly.

I’m sure most of you (I myself included, if there isn’t a solution) that thinks “c’mon, don’t worry, just ask the players how they are together, or just take a look at their Beliefs and fix yourself something”. Yeah. But isn’t there a neat, awesome mechanic to “Burn” the PCs’ Party? A small lifepath-ish stuff that could be used to explain why their party is a party and what are the party goals (much like Beliefs?). Are they Mercenaries turned Slavers turned Bounty Hunters? Are they a group united by faith or an oath? How does it matter in a mechanic-wise way? Maybe even party Artha in order to reward teamwork? Ok, that would be too much of a dream.

Well, actually, I just want a Party-lifepath-ish-something. Players chose the kind of group they want to have, if the group actually did something before the game, something to get them tied together and ready to go, but having the same “wow, neat!” felling we all have after burned our characters you know?

Is there anything like that out there?


(and sorry about the bad english, not my native language)

If I’m understanding the question right, you can just limit the lifepaths available.

In the game I just started I wanted the character to be somewhat boring people thrust into adventure. The ol’ Bilbo Baggins story line. So I limited the Players to mostly Villager and Peasant lifepaths and specified that all lifepaths they took must be “mundane.” Ended up with three farm boys who will (hopefully) save the world.

You could do the same by limiting people to Soldier sub-setting, or Noble Court. Or, say, take two lifepaths from where ever, but your final two lifepaths must be from Noble Court.


Read up on the commentary in the Adventure Burner.

This is a central question, definitely not something that the GM should invent himself. If everyone really, truly buys into attacking the situation with gusto, perhaps it’s less important, but I find that players sometimes just tie themselves in loosely. Particularly those new to BW, who might not realize the extent that their own choices influence this.

Teamwork at a player level is important, but at a character level you can have a mix of teamwork and intra-party conflict. Squabbling and bickering can be really awesome. PC-to-PC Duel of Wits will bring them back together, even if there’s in-character resentment simmering. In fact, so much the better - as long as it doesn’t boil over and split the party apart, which is something the players are in control of. (Don’t buy the, “My guy would never agree,” BS, that’s a player decision.)

The rewards from this are tests for advancement, plus artha that flows from beliefs aimed at other PCs. (The larger the party, the more of its beliefs should be aimed at other PCs, otherwise beliefs get starved for air time.) PC-aimed beliefs can be simple and supportive (I’ll help PC #3 accomplish his first belief); competitive (PC #3 is not fit to lead), manipulative, etc.

The characters should have inter-party Beliefs and Instints. Do you want a party reward? Ask every player to write a Belief about a same goal.

But… you don’t need a party. You can have characters that never meet to each other, or who are enemies, or whatever. I think the party thing is a typical cliche of D&D style of play, or maybe you are running a game about apocalypse zombie survivors. (For more information, see The Shotgun Diaries.)

But remember: You don’t begin with the characters. Usually you begin with a situation. Then you all make characters that fit that situation.

What I did for my pirate game is to simply tell the players that their final lifepath had to somehow get them onto a pirate ship. I was pretty lenient on the lifepaths I allowed – one player took a mercenary-type lifepath, for example, and described it as having been hired onto the ship as a fighter. The intent was just to get them to think in a common setting without restricting their creativity or character design. It seems to have worked out pretty well.

I have no problem enforcing LP requirements in order to establish the story. For instance, in a samurai game (pre-Blossoms), out of 5 LPs, I made everyone take the same first 4 LPs then left the 5th optional. But it required buy-in from the players. If they don’t all agree, then it doesn’t work.

I think the first time we played I wanted an urban adventure game so I asked everybody to take their final lifepath in the city setting.

If I were doing it again I’d probably request they end with a city setting lifepath or one that leads to city.