Just started a game of BWG, a few questions!

Hey guys! 3 friends and I just started a game of burning wheel gold. The first session went absolutely amazingly:

The guy who was meant to be GMing forgot to prepare anything beyond a small indication of setting (a crime caper theme with low magic set in an infinitely large city), so at first we were all a bit put out. But after character generation, which got everybody fired back up, everything began to go like a dream. The GM barely had to talk except to tell us about the rules as we basically narrated an entire plot out of thin air, which ended up a few hours later with airship to airship piracy in the dead of night to fund gambling debts. It was pretty amazing to see how involved everybody got.

However, there were quite a few questions.

  1. Which supplements are applicable to burning wheel gold? Are they all relevant, all relevant with modifications, or are there new issues? A quick perusal of the burning wheel store on burningwheel.org seems to indicate that only burning wheel gold itself and some settings are available!
  2. Our GM is playing a character - we found that in general the communal nature of decision making made it ok, but are there any obvious pitfalls to look out for? In fights we just picked one of us to play his opponent, which worked surprisingly well.
  3. The rules for steel tests in combat seem… well, incredibly dominant. In almost every fight a single failed steel test on the part of the person fighting spelled inevitable incapacitation or death. Is there something I am missing, or do all wounds harsher than superficial really prompt steel tests at severe penalties?
  4. How would we employ the rules to simulate a knife user stabbing an armoured person in gaps in his armour, a la misericorde?

One of my favourite parts of our game was a duel of wits where a character publicly humiliated a mob boss, winning a duel of wits but making everything worse. This game is fantastic :slight_smile:

Welcome to the forums! It is common practice around here to number questions for ease of partial replies.

  1. They’re all relevant to varying degrees. The Monster Burner requires trivial modifications, the Abstraction system in the Magic Burner doesn’t quite work (though Thor’s done some work on fixing it), the Adventure Burner contains a mountain of great stuff that will serve you well, and some advice that you won’t need anymore because it’s been superceded by changes in BWG, etc.
  2. Who is challenging his Beliefs? There’s nothing about this setup that’s going to break your fun, but I can’t see what he’s getting out of it… It looks a bit like playing chess against yourself, to me.
  3. Yes. Steel is, generally, how fights end. (And in the game!) That said, there are some ways around it. Hesitation-reducing traits are a major big deal if you’re planning to be a hard fellow. Stand and Drool is a terrible choice in many cases. You’re very often better off running away for a few actions while your buddies hold them off, then coming back to the fight. Also, consider surrendering.
  4. That’s an action in the fiction that falls in between several mechanics. Depending on how deliberate and skilled you are, either just make the attack and figure that after a dozen stabs a couple will get through (after all, if it were really that easy to stab someone in the armpit, no one would bother to wear armor), or else Lock them first until they’re incapacitated, then just lift the visor and stab them in the eye. You could also do something like Lock your opponent, then script Physical Action followed by Strike, in order to lift their arm and stab their armpit. You could model that as a versus test, giving you a point or two of VA if you win, or subtracting dice from your Lock if they do.

I think the GM just likes having a horse in the race - makes it more personal and fun to him. The nice thing about burning wheel is that there is such an incentive to roleplay at a non-metagame level that I think he should be able to play the character decently, even with insider GM knowledge weighing him down!

It sounds like the adventure burner is a good idea - I shall suggest it!

The problem with the steel thing for me is not so much that it’s unrealistic, as much as it feels a bit like the beautiful simultaneous resolution of the combat script ends up playing second fiddle. I suppose we should keep playing with default rules for now and see how it pans out.

With locking - if I have somebody lightly wounded and I have them double locked, and they have base speed 3, does that make them incapacitated as if I had reduced the stat to zero via wounding? And when I finish the lock is that as if they had been suddenly healed, or do they still have to roll the 4 action get up check, or?

Thanks for the reply, btw!

Ugh. Yes. It will break the game. GMing BW is fun! Playing BW is fun! But they are very different jobs.

Also, while I agree with zabieru, above, don’t forget that if you choose to run when you fail a Steel test, you drop whatever you’re holding.


On another note - the various weapon skills note FoRKs such as brawling and other weapon skills.

Is the expected use here that if I’m an axe user hitting somebody who is using a sword I can FoRK in sword on my axe attack representing my familiarity with how sword users defend themselves? I’m not really sure under what situations it is permissible to FoRK things in during combat, as I imagine it has to be fairly tightly controlled to prevent obvious abuse.

“The problem with the steel thing for me is not so much that it’s unrealistic, as much as it feels a bit like the beautiful simultaneous resolution of the combat script ends up playing second fiddle. I suppose we should keep playing with default rules for now and see how it pans out.”

I see what you’re thinking, but I have to say I find it’s exactly the opposite. Steel checks (after the first couple of fights, at least) will have the players so damn afraid of getting hit that they will start thinking about scripting and about defense. This leads to tense, exciting fights where the participants actually circle each other looking for an opening, not the usual RPG barroom brawl with heads and arms flying everywhere.

Maybe storapan! At the moment only one character out of four has heavier armour than gambeson, and the other 3 are rolling around with mortal wound 8 and 9 so I suspect they would be fairly screwed steel tests or not!

I suppose that is actually a good point though - makes combat more deadly for tougher characters! I think we will definitely play the vanilla game as intended before trying to dick around, I imagine a lot of this stuff will make more sense after a few sessions.

Yes, if you’ve got the points invested in both the weapon you’re using and the weapon your opponent is using, it’s kosher to FoRK… sometimes. First of all, though, remember that any skill use and especially any FoRK requires you to say how you’re doing it, and it has to be something new each time you use a particular FoRK. For the Brawling FoRK, you can’t just kick your opponent in the balls over and over again, tempting as that is. And, for the “opponent’s weapon” FoRK, I’d say you can only do it on an action where they’re using the weapon to oppose you. So if you’re Striking with your sword and your opponent is Avoiding, no Axe FoRK for you on that action.


That makes a lot of sense. So I’m thinking in our example earlier of trying to stab somebody in gaps in their armour, a sensible way to go about it might be to say “you can do it if they’re full locked, stat incapped, stand and drooling”. Maybe increase the obs of the attack to represent the increased precision required, and let people FoRK in armour knowledge?

We have one guy who is dual wielding a pistol and a sabre (I know, so dreamy :wink: ). Is it intended that he can block and strike, as it seems to indicate in the two-fisted-fighting training rules? And if he is engaging somebody at optimal sabre range, is he counted as being at a disadvantage for weapon length reasons if he tries to then pistol somebody to get a VA 4 hit, or is that only if it’s your primary weapon? Sorry for all these niggling little questions, I’m just trying to get a grip on the edge cases as quickly as possible before our next session!

During the engagement or maneuver phase of the fight he can choose to maneuver for advantage with his pistol or for advantage with his sword. If he wins, that weapon has advantage and he suffers no penalties to use it. If he uses the other weapon (the one he didn’t maneuver with) to attack, he cedes advantage to his opponent, so whichever weapon the opponent has determines the disadvantage penalty suffered by your dreamy swashbuckler until he wins advantage again.

Block and strike sounds dubious, since Shoot is a 2-action thing. I suppose he could block with the sword and wallop someone with the pistol butt. Personally I’d also allow a block-and-strike with the snapshot rules (so the shot is at base Ob 4, not Ob 2), but it’s not explicitly in the rules.

Hmm, ok. So if he wants to do a point blank shot on somebody with lots of armour for that insane VA4 bonus it will be at a pretty brutal obs?

His best bet is to maneuver with his pistol, fire the shot, and then use the sword. This will work especially well for enemies with melee weapons, since (assuming he wins the engagement) they’ll have a tough time hitting him before he fires, and after he fires he’ll have a weapon length similar to theirs and won’t suffer too heavy a penalty. No penalty, if the enemy has a sword. It strikes me that that’s how I’d fight if I had a pistol and sword anyway.

That’s pretty sneaky. I like it.

That is the best way to do it. Even better, the pistol now counts as a short weapon so he’s got two weapon lengths covered in melee.

So wait, if he were in combat with somebody using a short sword and he had just a pistol there would be no advantage/disadvantage? Or you mean that if he’s brawling with an empty pistol it would count like a short, shitty club, or?

There would be no penalty as long as he was just using the pistol to club the man. If he tried to shoot he’d suffer, what, a +4 Ob? Don’t have the chart with me.


Yes, that’s what I meant. An unloaded pistol is like a club. You can even wield it using Brawling.

I think this question got missed. Who is challenging the GMPC’s beliefs? And if he’s got time to play his own character, is he finding the time to challenge your beliefs?

I’ll bring it up with him. I suppose that element is pretty tricky to do to yourself!