Mixing BW & Torchbearer 2e

so have been playing with the idea of running BW but with TB’s Conflict system because I really fell in love with TB’s systems and love the character system in BW because of the broad options it has for development this would all be set in the Middarmark campaign would love to hear opinions’ and suggestions from the community

I’ve used TB’s conflict rules for off-piste scenes in BWG (A flute duel with a devil and a flute duel with an angel are my most memorable). It went really well.

The main downsides are that the more finely-sliced parts of BWG’s system are put out of kilter if you use Conflict in place of Fight! and RnC, (and to a lesser extent DoW).

Injuries, IMS, WS, VA, WL, Armour and Stride are all meaningless in TB, which swallows up pretty much all of them in Health and your Weapon Choice. If you can’t be hit mid-battle and take a Light Wound, then Steel is also somewhat obsoleted. Weapon range, etc etc.

For DoW, TB has four social skills, and BWG has way more; you might run into some issues (by being overly permissive or authoritarian) by trying to mix the two.


Coming at it from the opposite side from @Why: Torchbearer conflict could offer an option for something a little more complex than Bloody vs (or a social equivalent) when you don’t want full on Fight/RnC/DoW.

The climactic scene of @Mark_Watson’s last BW campaign had two Duels of Wits and a Fight but that only really worked because we’d spent a long time setting it up and were end-of-campaign level competent; and even then without some lucky rolls it could have ballooned into a trudge.

So, I could see TB conflict being fun where you have lots of important but unconnected disputes: for example, a trade meet where each of the deals is important enough you don’t want a single roll but there are too many of them with too many different parties/wants to do them as DoW in a session.


I’ve been experimenting with hacking TB conflicts into BW in a way that incorporates Steel, I/M/S, armor, various weapon mechanics, and an expansive skill list as a tentative replacement for Range & Cover and group melees. The basic idea is a TB conflict, but injuries are dealt real-time whenever a character is reduced to zero disposition hitpoints via Attack or Feint: when you reach 0hp, that’s when the other team gets to take a shot at you. We tried it out for the first time last week.

…and the rules need a lot more work, which I haven’t put in yet. My conclusion was that cramming in the more simulationist aspects of BW into TB didn’t add very much except hyperlethality.

With that said, so long as you know what stats and skills will be used for actions and disposition generation (which isn’t much work to figure out), I think any simple group martial encounter can be easily handled with TB conflicts. It won’t be perfectly elegant, but it should be functional. If you also want to ditch Fight!, which I don’t advise because Fight! is awesome, it would probably be trivial to write stats for BW weapons and armor that would correlate almost 1:1 with TB. Just forget about VA, WL, and WS. Working in things like Stride advantage as an additional +1D bonus seems easy enough as well.

I’m reticent to do that because I’ll always use Fight! for 1v1 or 2v2 melees. But a lot of people don’t, so what does it matter what the book says about VA and WL? You’ll probably never encounter those rules anyway.

I think the way to include Steel would be having it as a stat for generating disposition in Drive Off conflicts, probably as the base to replace Will. The other thing I’m hung up on with my new rules is how to determine what skills to use when there are only four available actions–designating them a la TB feels clunky in BW to me–but that’s honestly a whole different discussion.


100%; when you don’t have rules already, there’s no conflict with the TB conflicts. That example, or even a War if you don’t want to use the whole Factions and War rules, and many more lend themselves really well to being a bit more fleshed out. I’d probably be a little careful with them: I don’t think a Travel Conflict works well in Burning Wheel (assigning weather a ‘Nature’), but a pursue conflict could well work at least as well as the published rules.

I read my first post and I may have come across a bit more negative than I meant to be: I think it’s a workable option, I just think you soon realise, as @chalk seems to be saying, that a lot of Burning Wheel’s other elements are going to be put a little out of kilter by changing one part.

The other area of the game that wasn’t as obviously different at first but might be an issue for Conflict Structure is FoRKs: in TB you have a slightly more limited dicepool (somewhat offset by Channeling Nature, but only partially) whereas truly ginormous dicepools can be garnered in Burning Wheel between higher maximum skill numbers, better Help (2D at B5) and FoRKs. Something else it’d be interesting to try and balance.

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What stood out to me is the lack of tiebreaking mechanics in BW. TB has L2/3 traits and Might and plenty of other +s options, but there’s nothing analogous to that in BW except maybe Call Ons. For that reason I think constructing huge dice pools probably is okay, since ties are made less likely when rolling 20D v. 18D instead of 4D v 3D–especially when you throw in skilled vs. unskilled or stat vs. skill.


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