Multiple voices in DOW?

Hello burning wheel community!

I’ve been reading this forum for some time and learnt a lot from the discussions found here. I’m meaning to introduce my group to BW by playing the The Sword demo and I had some doubts about a hypothethic scenario: how would you deal with a situation where ALL 4 players want to engage in a DOW?
In The Sword says that only 2 players may DOW with each other at a time and they may attemp to gain helping die from the other characters who are not participating in the duel, but what if those characters are not willing to do so and instead intend to argue their way into getting the sword? Should I do two separate DOWs and then face the winners in another duel (in which case, how should I handle commitments?) or is there a way to have all players in the same DOW trying to convince each other?

I apologize if a similiar thread has been posted before, but if it is out there I coudn’t find it…

Thank you in advance.

I had an idea for this: do a 4-way versus test (social skills) to see what 2 characters have the strongest case. The 2 losers can help in the following DoW. Maybe the big winner in the first test can get a linked test helping die in the ensuing Duel. See this post:

Seconded. Pick the two primary members of the duel, have the other two people help. They can help whoever they want. Remember that all parties are equally bound to the result and compromise.

Yeah, by agreeing to participate in the first test (and possibly winning), you’re binding yourself to the result of the ensuing Duel of Wits if you lose, just as if you’d been a protagonist in the Duel.

Most people seem to agree that in regular play, 2-way Duels of Wits are the usual way it goes down and spring up organically in play. The Sword just happens to be a scenario where 4 characters have a belief written about the exact same thing.

The Sword text is somewhat misleading, if I recall its wording correctly. Burning Wheel DoW is limited to 2 sides for a DoW but more players can be involved via Helping the head player of either side. The Helping players can even change which side they Help from action to action. I generally just let it shake out till it is clear who the 2 main parties are, as they will have horse traded to get others on their side.

P.S. Burning Empires DoW has an extra rule that allows it to handle 3-sided but that is going outside Burning Wheel rules set.

Related question: when a helper adds to both sides during a DoW, how is that particular character bound to the results? Obviously, they can’t both win and lose. Are they simply helping out at at arm’s length, so to speak, and thus free of consequences, positive or negative?

when doing a DoW more often than not it ends in some kind of comprimise so they would be bound to the results of the DoW and when following the “Let it Ride” rules they are rules bound to follow until a major change occurs to change the situation. or they could just disagree completely and take it to sword blows and kill the other player. that works out as well.

Whatever the outcome is, they are bound to that. Positive or negative is really a subjective matter of opinion and irrelevant.

We had a scene in a game where PC helpers changed sides in the DoW to force compromise, hoping they’d be able to control the outcome and the compromises that were inevitably offered.

I think Dwight and jlbeeh are misunderstanding me. There is a winner and a loser in a DoW. If a person helps both sides, that person cannot simply be held to the outcome of the DoW, since there are two outcomes – one more positive than the other, the degree of which is dependent on the significance of the compromise.

So, which side’s outcome is that character bound to? I’d say neither; they don’t have a stake in it beyond the occasional quip or additional point. They contributed on both sides, and to force them to take the lesser of the outcomes would stop players from having that fun and sometimes-relevant “double-dip” option, and to give them the better of the two outcomes would encourage them to always toss their weight behind both sides just to come out on top.

  1. I think you misunderstand the rules. :wink: Participation implies they have agreed to abide by the outcomes. Both of them.
  2. Which is more ‘positive’ is something that is entirely subjective. At some point, if they have helped both sides, they must have thought well of both the outcomes. The consequences might not be something they want (or maybe that is exactly why they were switching sides, as given as an example above). But if not then they should not have picked up the stick, by getting involved, because the other end was coming with it.

So, which side’s outcome is that character bound to?

Like all players involved, both of them. Usually, because each of the 2 player has a stated goal involved and one of them wins this tends to be moot. But still it is true, even then.

I’d say neither; they don’t have a stake in it beyond the occasional quip or additional point.

If they do not care why are they getting involved at all then?

Burning Wheel is all about NOT being able to influence outcome without risk.

EDIT: Incidentally I tend to make sure that everyone at the time agrees to abide by a DoW outcome before it starts. Not just the two sides involved. No forcing someone to have to fight two separate duel of wits. Technically it could happen but lying in the weeds, avoiding conflict and then later surprising the winner by undermining the victory? Boooo. If you care, get it out there and get it over with.

You can’t be bound to both outcomes, and a DoW outcome being positive is relative, not subjective. There is always a winner and a loser – one gets what he wants, if with a compromise. The other does not get what he wants, though gets a bit of something. A character can’t be bound to both outcomes… unless the character’s name is Schrödinger’s Cat. :slight_smile:

I agree there has to be something done. Risk/reward is the key driver for BW. The question is which side of a DoW a dual-participant lands on. Maybe the side helped the most often?

Sure you can.

…one gets what he wants,

… and they are bound by that. Heaven help them if they chose poorly. :slight_smile:

Two outcomes (sometimes 4 in the case of a tie win? not certain of Gold wording on that, need to look that up). The winning Statement of Purpose and the compromise, everyone involved is bound by both.

Maybe what you have in mind is which characters gets named in the consequence? Or if a character can have their name added to Statement of Purpose? I do not think there is any changing of the Statement of Purpose that happens but consequences are post-action so they get informed by whatever was said during the DoW, thus anyone involved could have their name added in there for whatever reason seemed appropriate.

I think there’s a terminology issue here, more than an essential point of disagreement.

It seems to me that Rafe is implying a DoW of this sort:

Statement of Purpose A: You must concede the sword to us!
Statement of Purpose B: No, you must concede the sword to us!

In this case, someone who helps both sides is (to a degree) members of both teams, so it’s not clear whether he/she gets the sword, or has to concede it. There are two courses of action*, and by helping both sides, the omni helper is a member of both ‘us’ teams.

As Dwight points out, these are poorly worded statements of purpose. If you spell out who is affected by the intents, then it doesn’t matter if you help both sides. For example:

Statement of Purpose A: The elf and the dwarf must concede the sword to the Roden.
Statement of Purpose B: The Roden must concede the sword to the elf & dwarf.

If the human now helps both sides, he (like everyone else) is bound to the full outcome (in this case, he’s not getting any sword no matter what).

  • …which Rafe has been referring to as ‘outcomes’, while Dwight has been using ‘outcome’ to describe the entire result of the DoW

A good point about making sure Statement of Purpose accurately and clearly reflects your intentions, as it is the literal guarantee you have upon your win, and it does not change. Although keeping in mind that grasping too tightly can convince others not to Help you. :wink: It can also scorch the earth for the Compromise if you make the statement overbearing which is why it needs to stay short, to the point on one thing.

Yeah, we’re talking different semantics, so I’m dropping this. However, I’m not talking about a recognition of the results of a DoW, as per Michael’s example. I’m talking about being torn in two utterly different directions by virtue of being held to both the winning side and losing side results.

Which makes no sense because the compromise is drafted after the DoW, after everyones involvement is clear. The obvious solution is “do not draw up the compromise that way” in the same way as you do not draw up the compromise so that anyone else is in a logically impossible position.

Do you have an example of this, because I’m having a hard time seeing what you’re talking about. I’ve always seen the end of a DoW as just a single result. The winner gets what they want, probably with a compromise (them winning prevents the losers from getting what they wanted). I don’t see that as being torn in different directions at all.

I have one that would be a modified version of a DoW from 10-10-10, but honestly, I can’t be assed. Let’s just say we’re arguing the same thing and it’s just semantics/nit-picking on my end that’s causing a simple idea to balloon to stupid-huge proportions. :slight_smile:

My apologies for the derailment!