Questions after first reading

So I went thru rules, our party created characters, I will DM, we are preparing to play. We are playing for last 10 years with several systems, but we decided that trying something new again (BW - we have Gold edition, Codex and Anthalogy, but currently only using Base-Gold book). My questions (i didnt find answer in forum, or anywhere else) if anybody can help are those:

  1. Lifestyle fail - What happens when players fail lifestyle test? My player is playing knight, but he can not really afford more than 1 property for 15rps so his Resource Exp is 1. As poor knight (as example in book on 372 says) we did set up his Ob to lifestyle to 2. What happens after our maintenance cycle if he fails his test (Resources 1 against Ob 2)?

  2. Lifestyle setup - How do players set up their lifestyle first time? Should we work together and say “Okey, you are right, you should have lifestyle with Ob 2, you Timmy should have Ob 4 right? Yeah. Good”) or something else?

  3. Lifestyle change - can players decide to change lifestyle each cycle? For how many steps up and down they want?

  4. Property - Player did get some properties, which based on page 374 are form of funds. He spends 15rps on some property. How much funds he starts with?

  5. Traits - I understood that after character burning only way to get traits for player is via Vote. Is that true even for traits like Nimble (which is C-O)? Should we go together and say “You know, he is playing really agile and speedy character, we should give him Fleet of Foot … or Nimble, or something”? This part seems to work great for Char traits, does not work at all for Dt and C-O traits

  6. Advancing skills - Text does not match table on page 42. Text clearly states “For skill exponents 5 and higher, a character needs difficult tests equal to half of the skill exponent and challenging tests equal to one third of the exponent rounded up.”. But for exp 7 we have need for 2 challenging tests in table. 7/3 = 2,33 rounded up is 3. What is right? Table or text. Does not work on lower exponents either

  7. Subsetting - Lifepaths, what is subsetting (like Noble Court)? Is it same as setting? Or are there differences?

  8. FoRK - How many FoRK should I usually allow for roll? Players are really creative

  9. Disadvantage - How many disadvantages are you usually dealing in test, where you are dealing any? 1? 2 top? Also, when you say why character will suffer with disadvantage, do you allow character to change narative of his action so he can go around that disadvantage?

  10. Is there any way to use Bloody Versus with multiple oponents? For example, 1 player ambushed by 2 thiefs

  11. Practiced precision - one of my players have Trait Practiced Precision. He want to use it on fight actions. Does it mean that he is able to do for example: Great strike for one action, 2x Block and Strike for 1 action, Strike and Avoid for one action, etc? Also, what if he chooses Strike and Avoid and enemy choose Strike? Is my player still avoiding, or is this somehow divided into “strike action vs strike action” and then “no action vs avoid action”, or just “strike action vs strike and avoid action”? Really dont understand how pair would work for this one in fight

  12. Lock and Strike - it needs special trait Crushing Jaws. Where do i find that?

  13. Loan - what are mechanical differences between dept-free loan and loan with interest (on lifestyle Ob presumably)?

That would be all now I suppose. Anyway, thanks for all help, I would really like to run BW, but some of my questions are currently blocker, before we can play :frowning:

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If you fail and your Resources are B1 or better, you get taxed. See Failed Resources Tests: Tax on page 369. If your Resources are B0 when it’s time to test (and you can’t get by on cash or funds), you automatically fail and something else bad happens – you get sick, your armor rusts, your animals die, your reputation fades, etc. Get creative, GM.

You, the GM, look at how they’ve been living during the time leading up to the maintenance test and set an obstacle based on how extravagant/financially demanding it’s been.

See above. And the players can describe themselves living real cheap and grimy in play between maintenance tests, but they throw themselves on your mercy.

Funds are acquired in play. In character burning, buying property improves your Resources. He starts with no Funds, but 15 points spent on property will up his Resources exponent by 1.


You should assess his performance, actions, and results in play, as well as his Artha expenditures – And, especially, so should he! Remember, he can nominate and vote for traits for himself. If there’s a trait I want, I try to write my Beliefs to be conducive to gaining that trait – Write a Belief about accomplishing a goal with your fleet feet and burn Artha on Speed tests, then lobby for that trait in the vote.

Use the chart.

Subsettings don’t have born Lifepaths in them. I don’t know much concrete difference otherwise.

My recommendation is that you be strict but fair. Only allow FoRKs that were legitimately roleplayed/described in the task, and that you feel like make for a richer game.

It depends. Usually I’ll do +1. If it’s a real harsh penalty or a few little ones, I’ll do +2. +3 and up are pretty rare for me.

It depends on the situation. Without a light source, there’s just not a lot you can do to out-narrate darkness. If it’s a rhetorical tack they’ve taken, I usually don’t let them “take it back” – Words hurt, you know! They can try to wait out the weather, I guess, if the situation isn’t time sensitive. Most of the time, they’re trying to narrate a way of overcoming penalties; usually that means advantage dice, not reduced penalties.

One thief gives the other a helping die; the second thief makes the test. Both thieves lose (and are injured) or win together.

He can choose one (ONE!) action for to have Practiced Precision for. He cannot choose “Fight actions”. He can choose ONE action – Like drawing a sword or taking off his cloak or getting up to his feet. It’s a “trademark” action. Some folks don’t like letting players take Great Strike as a Practiced Precision action; if you do, that is the ONLY action that has its cost reduced.

In the Codex with the monster stuff.

A debt-free loan is like a gift; it doesn’t apply the debt rules. Regular rules impose a debt and apply the debt rules. The way debt works is your Maintenance test has its obstacle increased by one for a number of cycles equal to the obstacle of the test to create the money given (1D of cash is Ob2, so, so such a debt would require two cycles to pay off). If the person in debt exceeds their Maintenance Ob, the person who granted to loan gets 1D to their own Maintenance test.


I believe this just counts as a failed resource role and the player is taxed (pg. 369 gold revised).

In my games we tend to discuss how the characters have been living since the last lifestyle test. I’d definitely look at property for this (and if the PC owns any enterprises), and compare to pg. 372 gold revised.

In principle yes, by adopting that kind of lifestyle. If the knight gives up all his worldly possessions (including his armour) then his lifestyle becomes Ob1. If he acquires lands, a court, and a title, then I’d increase it some.

Players don’t tend to start with funds, funds are normally generated in game with a resources roll, not at character burning. The knights first task might be to secure the cash or help required to roll up a fund (possibly creating a fund linked to some industry at one of his properties).

Yep, you can get any kind of trait at a trait vote.

This is very confusing, I also only just realised this. We’ve been playing according to the table though.

I am not 100%, but it seems a subsetting is one you can’t be born into? But this seems like the only mechanical difference?

It really depends on the skill and forks, sometimes a character is good at something not by the base skill but by their forks. I’d think about whether the FORK’ing skill is capable of directly helping the rolled skill. There’s a lot down to DM interpretation, and how tough you want to be on your players. I’d say 2-4 FORKs, but there’s no hard and fast rule.

Usually 1-2, but again it’s down to DM discretion. Disadvantage is helpful for players to understand the difficulty of a role, and also in beginners luck because the disadvantage +Ob isn’t doubled.

No, but maybe, normally when I’ve incorrectly interpreted his intent/task. I’d say this is why intent and task is so key, the player describes their intended outcome, then the task is more of a negotiation. Often if I’m gunna add Ob I’ll mention the cause in the task (before saying I’m adding Ob for it). But if it’s something like the player starting a fight in the snow, then they know it’s snowing, it’s going to be +Ob, they’re committed.

One of the thieves helps the other one, or if you want to be really nasty also +Ob for the player.

I think RAW yes, but I don’t really like this / it would need to be limited to a specific type of great strike (with a specific weapon etc).

It reduces something by 1 action, to a minimum of 1 action. So no double actions.

I think this is either in the codex, or possible an older book. Mechanically, if you want to put a big animal or monster in, let them do the lock and strike action.

I think debt free you don’t raise lifestyle, and non debt free you do.

Well I hope you get the help you need. When in doubt you can always choose whatever feels reasonable to you, or even discuss what is reasonable with your players.

Also welcome to the forums :slight_smile:


Dam beat me to it!

I should have really stressed this, one specific action, one fluid motion endlessly repeated.



You got me on the minimum 1 action cost point, though! And on the welcome!



As others have said, you gain Call-on or Die Traits just like Character Traits; however, you don’t have to go straight from no Trait to Die Trait if that feels too extreme a jump; you could vote on a Character Trait that represents consistent development in a particular direction, then grant a C-O or DT on the next trait vote.

For example, in the game we wrapped at the end of last year because of certain events, I decided my character thought a god might have a purpose for him, so I started playing him clearly and consistently demonstrating strong religious beliefs; in the next trait vote, we agreed it was definitely trait-worthy and could become Faith, but jumping straight to Faith was too abrupt, so we gave him a Character Trait “On the Path”; next trait vote, we agreed he’d still been a true believer, so we upgraded the trait to a Die Trait that had a mix of benefit and penalty to represent the experience of living with strong faith; then we upgraded it to Faith

In addition to avoiding the OOC disjunction of going straight from no mechanic to potentially significant mechanic, this staged approach can better capture that the story is in the journey not the destination.

Of course, how well it works depends on how often your table has a trait vote and how extreme the progress you want is: if you only have trait votes one per OOC year, then it would be a little cruel to require a character to advance in stages; if you have trait votes once a month, then not advancing in stages is likely to result in the characters becoming radically different quite quickly if you don’t advance in stages.

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Thank you a lot guys, that was fast reply … and precise

I suppose i misread Practiced precision. It says “This character has a trademark act that he has repeated so frequently that it has become a single action (…) Normally this would cost at least three “actions” in game (…)” so I thought that you can “create” new signature move from several (in combat actions several = two) actions into one. So from combat action I pick one and made that my signature move, right?

So, speaking in game mechanics, Practiced Precision does not affect fight in any way, other than RP, right? (If we choose not to let players take it for Great Strike)

Also, again thanks everybody for answering, feels great to have place to ask around :slight_smile:


You can Practice Precision a sword draw to require only one action to draw a sword ready than two. You can Practice Precision a kip-up to get to your feet in one acton instead of two. You can practice Practice Precision tearing off an opponent’s helmet to do so in one action instead of two. You can Practice Precision an arrow drawing technique to shave an action off of the Knock and Draw stuff.

I’m not even all that opposed to leaving Great Strike options available – But the action has to live in the fiction! Great Strike is a (mostly) game mechanical term; your characters aren’t talking about “using a Great Strike”; you can’t tell someone to perform a Great Strike and expect to visualize what they’ll do. And Practiced Precision should have that level of specificity: A Great Strike might be a rearing back followed by a hard cut from on high, or it might be a coiling of the body followed by a surging, lunging thrust, or it might be a transition into a halfsword grip followed by a precise jab. This is the level of detail I think Practiced Precision should live in – now it’s something we can all visualize, and it’s something that has its own (vulnerable) logic. You won’t be launching any thrusts with an axeblade; you won’t be throwing mighty cuts with a spear (mostly); you can’t halfsword a dagger.


Perfect, now I trully get it. We try to RP … well everything, so every practice precision will have to stay in lines of RP (as you said in great strike). Usually more than that, as we have some people in group who train with swords as hobby :slight_smile:

Last … i hope last, not sure if I should for every question raise a new Thread … question. Its about training. For training i have to train for some time daily for some cycle. Lets say Agility training for Difficult test. Thats 4 hours daily for 3 months (page 48).

What if they practice for 2 hours per day? Does it counts as “half of the day” for our 3 month timeline (so hours in table would be more like … Maximum hours per day for this stat i suppose)?
Or it does not count at all?

Also why are there (in the table) Routine tests for Stats, if for Stat upgrade you need Difficult and Challenging only? I understood that Routine tests for Stats are pretty much useless?

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Me: I’d like to pick over this battlefield to replenish my arrows.
GM: Yeah, yeah, you get your arrows back.
Me: Ah, Can I log it as practice time for scavenging?
GM: It only took, like, ten minutes.
Me: Ten minutes of practice time logged!
GM: Are you serious?
Me, looking straight into your eyes from across time: Absolutely.

I’m of the mind that every little bit adds up. Some groups, I think, have less crazy (AND LESS FUN!) ideas. Regardless of the rules, I think the bigger question is procedure. A particularly grubby, greedy (canny!) player can drag things down by trying to cram minutes of practice in at every quiet moment at the table. More passive procedures (Like, the GM handing out practice in the rare moments when they remember it exists) can make the rules dry and anemic. My advice is to stick to description first. Describe your character doing things, then, if no test is called for, think about practice – That’s basically my procedure as a player: I describe my character doing stuff (and why), and when I expect to have to (or get to) make a test but the GM Says Yes, I confirm the time it took and say that I wanna log it as practice. I don’t think I’ve pissed people off too much doing that. When there are long passages of time – days, months, years – then I pull practice more to the front of my attention.

But always, always, you gotta describe your character doing something to log practice, even if it’s just dedicated training. (And it’s gotta make sense; you’re not practicing Read in an Oubliette.)

I dunno. My best research turned out a puzzled Luke suggesting it might have been in there for Training skills. Best I can tell, that’s incorrect, in the current version of the game at least. Training skills have a category to them, like Martial or Military, so it seems like you would use the times for those categories.

I reckon it’s an error. I haven’t had any trouble ignoring them. But you might have to wait for Luke to chime in if you want a better answer. Or, if you want the best answer… For Thor to. (THAT’S RIGHT! I SAID IT! :stuck_out_tongue: :smiling_imp:)


Even I don’t have a great answer. It’s been like that since Burning Wheel Classic 20 years ago. If I had to guess, I suspect those values were used as a baseline for the creation of practice times for skills rooted in those stats, with some adjustments afterward.


I very much run the game as practise has to be intentionally practise, experience doesn’t count. So I’d say you have to commit the amounts of time in the book to practise for it to count. Though as a group we’re fairly good at giving out practise time while other events are happening.

We also do this a lot, we have a trait vote every 6 or so sessions, so often players get a character trait, unless they have a character trait which can develop into call-on or die. Though sometimes it’ll be more like 10 sessions, then giving out a die or call-on each time feels more reasonable.

We disagree! Which is fine. Would you elaborate a bit more on your position? Mine partly comes from reading the Using Practice in the Game heading on page 48. Which I feel my approach jives with in a healthy way.

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So I think there’s probably two sides to it. Firstly there’s the mechanical one, say a routine test is 2 hours a day, and a difficult is 4 hours a day (I think this is RAW, pg 48). To me two days of 2 hours, doesn’t count as one day of 4 hours. E.g. difficult and challenging tests require a more extreme focus on practise. Then secondly it could slow the game down to note small increments of time towards tests, though this might be me being a coward and not wanting to think about how long different actions take.

Though if the action is long then I’ll let it count towards practise. Maybe this is something I should consider, taking a long action which doesn’t require a test, but leads to some mechanical benefit (eg making something simple but time consuming), and can also count as practise.

Yeah I can definitely see a world where your approach runs smoothly, and as a player I’m always looking for that sweet advancement. I think that’s probably why I’m such a fan of BW, there’s so much room to run it different ways (and to some extent it pushes you to).


It’s scary!

As a player, I tend to play that way, I think, asking for Difficult and Challenging tests only when my character is pushing (or maybe doing something particularly long-term, like hauling heavy kit on a march).

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