Removing shaded dmg/ptgs & resources. Possible complications/problems?

For our group, we find that the statistical advantage of shade shifting is extraordinarily desirable. Adding in that special extra, where if you have, for instance, grey-shade armor, it’s quite literally impossible to destroy with mundane weapons, or if you have a grey shaded PTGS, you’re immortal to all but shaded damage, strikes our whole group as excessive.

So we wished to simply remove that aspect of the mechanics. White shade Will, for instance, will do damage according to the number, not the shade, for Sorcery spells (maybe with a +2/3 for grey/white).

Do you guys think that this will prove to be a problem? Is there a reason it’s implemented that way, that we’re failing to realize?

Additionally, we strongly favour the penny-counting method of finances, not the Resources mechanic. Any problems, likewise, with the removal of that mechanic?

I appreciate any insights.

Changing how Will works wrt Sorcery damage won’t change too much, it will make the extremely powerful sorcerers who have spent their entire lives studying magery dangerous for slightly different reasons.

If you remove all shade-shifting, however, you are removing one of the incentives to spend Artha. The problems you have hit upon are quite specific: damage, armour and resistance. I’d probably limit the changes to those, removing PTGS and damage over B16. If that’s what you are suggesting, then fine.

It will still change some of the feel. Dwarven Armour is so special because it is heroically powerful. Ancient trolls are not felled in one blow, they fall unconscious under the collective nicks and scratches of many blows (Grey shade Mortal Wound still leaves a Black shade Light Wound). Grey-shade stuff is extremely rare, in four games of Burning Wheel I have run, I have seen Grey-shade Steel, Persuasion, Spear and Grief, total. Each of those really quite defined the character (except Steel, because they had G5 and the other party member B8).
In conclusion, I would recommend playing as-is, but restricting ,not necessarily removing, access to grey-shaded armour and weapons; potentially limiting the power of sorcery (the only house-rule); and making sure if there is an adversary with Grey-shaded PTGS it is the centre of the story (which it should be anyway).

Edit: D&D-related alterations. I remembered the other thread you’re involved in. If the transfer is making Grey-shaded armour the norm for your PCs, then you would have to get rid of that to fulfill standardBurning Wheel expectations. The main thing you will preserve in the change suggested, however, which you may well decide is what you want, is the feeling that ordinary mortals may be able to stand against the forces of hell and perhaps even the dark gods. On the other hand, the thing you will lose is that you mere mortals will be able to fell Gods and Behemoths.

As for Resources, Penny-Counting really harms some aspects of the game whilst helping others. The evolution to Resources, discussed on a thread here, had some really vehement feedback from people within BWHQ, who changed their mind soon after trying. Resources seems to bring two big problems: spending money without losing it, and gaining money by spending it. That’s because Resources isn’t just what you own, it’s who owes you, what you can own quite soon, etcetera.

Penny-Counting has some other issues: need for being specific in spend; less integration with other mechanics; having to price everything; a way to give the PCs, who are often supposed to also have a bit of a dayjob, the money they have; factoring starting money; explaining buying your way up an affiliation. T explain the mechanics part? If you have decided that “MacGuffin juice” is Ob 4, you can decide that a Circles test will act as a linked test to find a buyer, that Haggling and Shady Substances-wise can do the same. In most penny-counting games, either this would be impossible, or would lead to some rough rule which seems rather weak (eg, -5% per success).

With Resources, I really would use the system exactly as described. Make good use of the Gift of Kindness and people will often feel poor because they bought stuff anyway.

I’d like to see that Resources thread you mentioned - looks like the link didn’t make it in. It really rubs me the wrong way, as well as the rest of our group… we’re used to having money fairly front and center. Pushing it behind the scenes with a bizarre “spend money to make money” mechanic just doesn’t make sense. So I look forward to that link.

As far as the shading thing - part of the reason we want the change is that we want “mere mortals” to have the ability to face down anything, given numbers and motivation. We want our powerful characters to be threatened by a massive army of mundane men. (Okay… mildly threatened, what with the airship and long range magic ability, but still! :P) Up close and personal, even the toughest man is still mortal. Everyone is fundamentally mortal - some are just better at showing it than others.

We want to keep shading, absolutely, we just want the shade shift to reflect in the statistics of it - 3 or better for grey, 2 or better for white. That’s huge. I always felt that adding in that whole extra realm of insane power to the shade shifting, on TOP of the already amazing statistical change, was way over the top.

My concern was whether the change would result in unexpected changes down the line.

Sorry for lack of link previously: last week was finals for my degree so I’ve been scatterbrained.

As for knock-on effects. In standard rules, Grey beings can be taken down. Daemons are knocked unconscious by 4 B10 wounds. If you changed grey shades to add 2 each to the cumulative (and hence all greys gives +2 MW) they would die to one B13. As in, anyone with a heavy crossbow.

Heavy crossbows in a world of only Black shaded PTGS will have a high chance of dropping deities. I’d probably keep the current rules, because currently even all grey things are droppable with concerted effort, not just one lucky bolt. Lucky bolts are a feature of human level play, but they’d feel like a bug in daemon slaying.

I think that your concerns over shade are unnecessary. But I’d like to hear more about your conversion.

Are you converting your characters and ending up with grey stats and skills and lost the fear of death?

Or are you worried that your characters will never be able to take down grey- or white-shaded baddies?

I experienced both in our campaigns and can honestly promise you that there’s always a way. My priest has a Faith of W9 and is still regularly taken out of action by a single crossbow bolt. A dragon with all double-digit Grey stats was taken down by mere mortals using smart tactics and incredible luck.

As mentioned before, by taking away shading, you take out any reward for long-term, focused Artha use. And that’s gone, the motivation to accumulate Artha is gone, which severely undermines the BITs mechanic. It’s a thread that, if pulled, will destroy your sweater. I really recommend not removing that one.

Resources is another matter. It’s not so heavily entangled as shading, so removing it won’t break the game.

I’m not a big fan of the Resource attribute either (knee jerk reaction from my Marvel Super Heroes days) but it does allow you to simulate things like lifestyle upkeep (if you fail to maintain your lifestyle, your finery is less fine, your faithful steed is under fed, your usual sources of income run low, ect.)

I prefer to run both a Resource and Gold society, where your initial gold comes from starting resource test or purchased in burning.
I count a 1D bag of coins as 10 silver, using the old D&D scale and price lists as a guide.

Resources, like everything else on your character sheet, can and should be used to give greater depth to the storyline, a hook to entice or threaten the character with.

Regarding the P.T.G.S. and Shades.
I would be hesitant to change anything so basic to the combat system.
Everything seems to dovetail into each other quite smoothly, I would be hesitant to shuffle the deck least I find myself holding a deck of D&D cards again.

I think you’re misunderstanding a couple of things about shade.

Gray shade armor can’t be damaged by most weapons. That’s true, and it’s handy. But superior black shade armor is also very hard to damage. Gray/white armor is just as vulnerable to attacks with VA. Gray shade plate is really scary, but so is black superior plate. Or regular ol’ plate.

There’s nothing quite like a “gray shaded PTSG” in the rules. You can have a gray/white Mortal Wound if you have gray/white Power and Forte. (As an aside, that’s very hard to do, usually. Forte tests are rare, and even spending artha on all of them will be very slow. And who can spend all artha on Power and Forte alone?) A gray Mortal Wound doesn’t just change all your tolerances to gray, however. Read p546. It gives you a Superficial threshold equal to your Forte and a Light threshold equal to twice your Forte. In practice that means that landing Midis may be impossible but you can still take out these more than mortal enemies with ordinary gear. White shade is much harder, but at that point you’re really fighting gods. I’ve never heard of a character reaching white MW in play. Or gray either, although it wouldn’t surprise me if it happened at BWHQ. (In chargen, sure. You can burn up some crazy things. But not in play.)

Going by recommended artha gains, costs to reach epiphanies, and the number of things you really want to shade-shift, I think this is just much less of a problem than you think. I’d also note that shade-shifted armor just isn’t available, except for a few specific Dwarven items, unless the GM makes it so, and this is pretty much the major benefit of (somehow) getting Forte epiphanies given how little most characters roll Forte.

Anyone with the proper grey shade skills can, in theory, produce grey shade items, the obstacles refer to the type of item as well as its quality (inferior/run of the mill/superior). The shade of the skill used to create it becomes the shade of the item itself. (In Theory)

In practice, there are resource tests to afford the materials, circle tests to find someone with the materials (unlikely to find a Dwarf selling mitheral on the street corner). Let us not forget a quest to obtain the materials, let alone the battle to keep the materials once you’ve fought off the impossible odds to obtain them only to find yourself confronted on the road home by bandits who seem to be waiting just for you.

But it can be done, you know, in theory.

It’s interesting to me that you don’t like the resource mechanic. It was one of the things I read in BWG that made me go, “yeah! Finally!” It’s such a rich system, pardon the pun.

We’re getting a few grey stats, but for my character, she’s just as mortal as ever. I gave her a Forte of B3. She’s a very fragile glass cannon. She’s definitely not concerned about that! Nor am I concerned about taking down big bad guys - it may take some ingenuity, but one way or another, I’m confident that solutions can be found.

That said…

One of the things that bugs me is that her Will should be at least grey shaded - it’s big for her. And it’s big story-wise. (As she puts it, “I’m the only one passionate enough to step forward, powerful enough to succeed, and insane enough to never run.”)

… buuuut that would mean her sorcery suddenly is grey damage.

Unless… reads it again

Is it just going to do the +2 to the exponent thing (say, if her Will is G7, it would be equivalent to a power of 9?), and not do grey damage, unless she has a special trait for it? It doesn’t look explicit, but it does say it’s treated like a weapon.

That’s the part that really bothers me. If magic is a big deal, then bringing in grey-shade (or white shade) damage is just going to insta-kill virtually any mortal it hits. I can understand certain powerful magic pulling that off, but it bothers me to think a single, tiny magic attack, just boom, instant death, no real chance to avoid it.

I’m definitely not wanting to remove shading - I really enjoy it as a mechanic. But I can’t help but feel that the statistical difference is significant enough. But maybe I’m not really understanding it well enough.

I’m thinking maybe you’re right. The fact that superficials and lights are still within reach of mortal attack is an important part for me.

Well, on the bright side, we’re continuing to playtest for quite a while before we play this main campaign again. We’ll fiddle with this aspect. Sounds like there’s no issue with getting rid of Resources - we just prefer these connections explicit, rather than behind the scenes.

Thank you all for your help. This has been very informative.

This makes me think that maybe you don’t need to have grey Will, but rather some Traits to represent her being both exceptionally badass and still firmly in the realm of mortals. Bravery (or at least, the wherewithal to not soil your armor and curl into a fetal position when a Dragon is bearing down on you) is covered by Steel, not Will. Raw power in terms of magic comes from Will, but you could have a Die Trait that lets you treat your a Will as higher than normal under certain circumstances. Passion is easily covered by Character Traits, Beliefs, and Instincts.

I’m certainly no authority on how gold pieces vs. resources will impact a game, but I know how it can impact the tone. one post from the link to Luke’s discussion leapt out at me as being a good representation of the difference. gold pieces encourage a type of play one sees in Skyrim, where players “loot” everything not nailed down and run back to town to sell it. When people call D&D characters murder-hoboes, it’s easy to imagine gold pieces being equivalent to soda cans and water bottles with homeless characters digging through trash cans and barrels hauling their gains to the recycling center for cash. It also puts a heavy onus on the GM–again, typical of D&D, to come up with prices for everything (why is a ship 10,000gp? An arbitrary number really), whereas in BW the majority of the game’s mechanics are in the hands of players with the GM setting Ob. Perhaps some players think that if they aren’t pulling 5-10gp out the pockets of each goblin they kill, they might not have a reason to go around killing goblins anymore?

You said you’ve made up your mind, so I won’t harp any more, but I think the concept of gold being “explicit” vs. resource “in the background” is not how I would characterize the dichotomy.

Shaun is right. She doesn’t need Grey Will to represent her willpower, rather some juicy, juicy traits: Driven, Ambitious, Fearless, Aura of Determination, etc. And make the exponent high, like 7 or 8.

There’s a HUGE red flag in your response, too. With a Forte of 3, she’s going to die from casting her own spells. Tax will shred her to pieces. In our campaign with wizards, Forte is usually their 2nd-highest Stat, often equal to Will. I really recommend boosting it up!

Part of the difficulty of translating to BW is going from one-dimensional stats to two-dimensional stats.

Is someone with really high willpowers going to be B6? B8? G4? Which is even more willful, G4 or B8? You can think of it as more potential and more will, respectively, but that’s not quite right. There’s no easy correspondence. And given that Will combines Charisma and part of Wisdom, just getting high Will suddenly means a character is also oddly likable and insightful. It’s a hard shift.

My advice for transferring characters is to start with everything black. If you need crazy willpower, B8. Or B9! You lose the ability to really advance it, but you’ve got tons of will. To get more you gun for your epiphany, and along the way you’ll get a better feel for what shades mean. As Shaun says, use die traits, both bonuses and penalties, to try to make up the difference.

If this is for your bas ass dancer type of character I would think she would be in better physical condition than a B3 Fort.
B3 is nominally practiced, which would have her sucking wind after one dance, regardless of how skillfully she performed.
B4 is the average stat for the average person, a dancer is an athlete and should either be above average or have a trait to call on to allow her to be above average, but never below average.
A low Fort also affects your ability to recover from injury (Health) as well as your mortal wounds and the entire P.T.G.S. (or is this why your group wanted to change it?).

If I were transferring D20 to BWG stats, I would start by dividing the D20 stats by 3 to see where they line up on the BWG stat charts.
This would change the standard stat range of 3-18 to B1-B6.
I would use those stats as the roots for my BWG Skills, choosing those skills that captures the essence of the transferring character, and where such skills do not exist (such as acrobatics) I would choose a trait to represent it.
I wouldn’t try to make my background fit specific lifepaths, but instead, I would note what BWG settings would fit for the purpose of circle tests. I would also assign those traits common or required for such settings such as Mark of Privilege for any of noble background.
Financially speaking, I would check what kind of lifestyle the character has, put it into BWG terms and set his Resources to give him a 50/50 chance of maintaining it.
Regarding Magical and Masterwork items I would first ask if they are central to the storyline. If not, lose them.
If so, ask why and how. And then find the BWG equivalent to fill in the gap (Gauntlets of Ogre Power grant increased strength, so in BWG they become a +2D Power device similar to the spell Strength of the Ox), Masterwork arms and armor become superior quality ones.
Regarding Magic itself, I would take the closest equivalent spells from BWG to replace those that would be lost.
If there were some that could not be replaced, I would look at each one in terms of time to cast, damage potential, area, range, and spell effect and make my conversions (a six die fireball has a potential to do 36 hit points of damage, divide by three gives you a maximum of 18; That’s your Superb Damage ( B18 ) 2/3 = B12 (Mark) while 1/3 = B6 (Incidental).
The Range of the spell would probably be Double Presence while the Area of Effect is Presence and since the mage could be affected the spell is also a Natural Effect Spell.
I would assign a basic spell obstacle equal to twice the spell level, setting obstacle range from two to eighteen.

See, the challenge here is that we don’t want anyone to have insta-kill magic, for even their most paltry spells. In this campaign, even “gods” (not “real” gods, in either the BW or D&D sense) are simply masters of “mortal” magic. They’ve just got access to significantly more raw power than most mortals possibly could. They still need to pour that power in, though.

If we make Will (equivalently) apply to damage the same way that Power applies to damage, for the shading rules, I think that would work.

Eh, we’re not murder hobos in any of our games. I don’t mind the idea of abstracting resources, but the way it works just doesn’t work for me. And I’m the most okay with it of the group - one member is outright hostile to the idea. The resources link was an interesting read, but not at all convincing. (We tend to abstract the resources for the most part anyway, we just handle it loosely. Especially in this campaign! We don’t bother with wealth, it’s a waste of time. We know people who can acquire things. If we need things, we get them. Period.)

Squeak, you caught me in a slipup! :stuck_out_tongue: We’re in the (very long and involved) process of forging our own magic system - Sorcery is a stat that represents raw power, and we have skills that represent the ability to manipulate the elements. It’s Sorcery that gets taxed, not Forte. We like the idea of squishy casters.

Okay, I’m an anti-powergamer. A B4 Forte honestly makes the most sense (or possibly B5, with the amount of sheer ridiculousness she’s gone through…), but that’d put her lowest stat at a 4.

She’s not supposed to be a Mary Sue. Okay, yeah, she probably sounds a little over the top, but she’s been developing as a character, as a person, for 6-7 years IRL, with a campaign that started with mostly annoying teachers at her magic academy, where she was a much-despised apprentice (attitude problems aplenty), and is now on a world-changing scale.

She’s mortal. Absolutely and entirely fragile in some ways. Yes, she’s healthy, she exercises regularly (dancing is how she de-stresses), she’s got oodles of magic from all sorts of sources flooding her veins, etc etc. But, an ill-timed blade, a spot of poison at the wrong time… she’s just as mortal as anyone else.

The Forte was trying to catch that feel :confused: I think you’re right, though.

All of this is very excellent and great advice… if we were sticking more to Pathfinder and BW RAW.

One of my favourite things about the transition is we’re only keeping the core, critical stuff for our characters. The items, the spells, the feats/class features/etc, and translating them into what best fits the character, not just the entry on the class chart in Pathfinder. It’s great fun. I’ve already gleefully ditched a whole bunch of stuff - I’m trimming her down to her core.

This post in general has been amazingly helpful, and I really, really, really appreciate it.

Oh, I see. You’re really guttin’ the game in many places. Do me a favor, then? If this campaign falls short, please make sure your players don’t blame BW? Really make it clear that you’re not playing the game as written? I’ve seen homebrews go south and heard players complain about it, thinking it was the game itself that was broken. And when I hear the reasons, I’m all, like, “That wasn’t BW you were playing.”

But all that said, I really hope your game to be fun for you and your players. It’s yours, after all! And I like hearing how other people have tweaked the game because sometimes good and lasting things come from it.

Get rid of the high concept sim. mindset before trying to play BW :rolleyes:

I’m going to repeat myself from a year ago: keep playing your game with whatever system you’ve got going now. Try out BW as written with a new campaign.

At this point you’ve found fault with (from memory):

  • grey shaded abilities
  • grey shaded PTGS
  • grey shaded armor
  • Resources
  • Required traits and skills from lifepaths
  • Wound penalties
  • Magic system
  • vagaries of the advancement system
  • conflict systems

You’re not going to find a lot of support out there for playing BW with significant changes to any of those. I honestly don’t think BW is a good fit for what you’re looking for in a system. Unfortunately, I don’t have any alternatives to suggest, as I don’t play enough other games to say, and tend to prefer those with rules you are required to engage.

We’ve been playing Burning Wheel, mostly RAW (we ditched Resources from the beginning, since one of the players despised the very concept), in order to try mastering the system. So far, everyone’s loving it. We’ve gone from a medieval, no magic setting, to a crossing universes game. We’re presently running 3 Burning Wheel games (I GM two of them, my husband GMs the other), each of them once a week (three games a week! It’s awesome :D). We completed two other mini-campaigns.

We’re not touching our “main” campaign, with the character I mentioned here, until we’re 100% confident that we’ve got this figured out. If the system fails, we’ll know it’s because of one (or more) of our tweaks - like I said, we’re really loving the game.

It is a great fit! The first 74 pages, the Hub and Spokes, are absolutely perfect. From reading BWG, it sounds designed to keep the Hub and Spokes, and tweak the Rim as needed.

As for your list… ai, I’ve been followed! :stuck_out_tongue:

Seriously, though, the only parts we’ve found fault with are the Lifepaths and Resources. (And Lifepaths we think are great if you’re not sure what to play, or you want to play a “normal person” to whatever extent.)

The magic system, actually, is awesome. So are the races. They’re just not a match for us. It’s a neat setting that Luke built, we’re just playing in a different one.

Some of your list was just me trying to understand things. Wound penalties, the advancement system statistics, how conflict gets resolved - I’ve pestered the forums for understanding, and achieved it! I like how they work, now that I’ve got it figured out.

Sounds like the shading stuff was just part of that section, too - I understand it better now. My only hesitation was with the being completely immune to damage on one side, and completely capable of insta-kill on the other. I thought I could remove just that - but I don’t need to :smiley: Now that that’s sorted out, I’ve got no problems with it.

Burning Wheel feels very adjustable. One of our games is running in 1930’s Boston, with my character “accidentally” teleported into the world from a high fantasy realm. We’ve had to make skills, wises, etc, to match the setting, and it’s gone flawlessly. It’s been tremendously versatile.

The system we had been using isn’t working. It’s straining the credibility, and half the time we have to arbitrarily ditch the rules in order to free form run with it, which strains things even more. Pretty much the only thing holding the game together is our collective determination to see the story through to the end - any complications or problems that arise, we’ll find a way, no matter how much of a failure the system is for running it. The game will have been on hold for probably close to a year just for the sake of making sure the new system is ready, and we’re running through lots of other games to push the new system to its limits. Burning Wheel has been amazing so far, and it’s what the main campaign needs.