Taking the first 74 pages for a spin

I just finished the first 74 pages and Gold suggests that I get some others together to try out what i have learned so far. It says to make a character. Does it mean walk through the character burner (next chapter) with some friends? I can’t imagine a character would be relevant for what I’ve read in the first 74 pages.

Is having another person or people really important at this stage? Will i be hurting myself if i go through the paces by myself?

i would feel free to practice making characters. unless you’re friends have read the first 74 pages as well, it’ll be hard for you all to walk yourselves through character burning with only one book. once you’ve made a few characters, you’ll be more comfortable with what all the stuff means and will be better equipped to walk your friends through character burning. character burning is great for player buy-in, so if you can make that go smoothly, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to convince other people to give the game a spin, too. of course, gaming is a collaborative storytelling practice, so just keep that in mind when you go through the motions of character burning.

It is quite a lot of fun just going through the character burner to see how things work, what characters you come up with. It can be an interesting exercise.

If you intend to play a game with other folks, it’s better if you all sit down together and burn your campaign & characters. The goal is to build a game together so characters will combine beliefs to make interesting play. Burning characters in a vacuum isn’t the best way to do this.

Making characters with the lifepaths system is a lot of fun and helps to give you a sense of how the stats/skills work together. It can also be interesting to try out making characters with different numbers of lifepaths so you can see the difference there can be between them. Certain 5 lp characters will work fine with players using 4 or 3, but others will have TONS more skills and other tools at their disposal.

Having a small stable of characters with different skills is also a good way to test out some of the mechanics before you try to run it for a group. You’ll learn a lot running your first rounds of Fight or Duel of Wits. Not to mention back pocket characters are always helpful for when you haven’t gotten much prepped for a session or for when the party takes things in a weird direction.

On page 74 it talks specifically about giving the rules a spin. I am just curious what this is referring to. Does it mean just the first 74 pages or is it talking about the upcoming character burner chapter (page 75)?

I think it means go through the character burner making characters and then start playing.

Mulsiphix, what it’s saying there is to try playing the game using only the core rules in the front and ignoring all of the extended rules that appear after the Character Burner. I believe that exact phrasing is a relic of earlier designs when the Character Burner was its own book but I can’t be sure as both my copies of BWR are on loan to people and there never was a two-book version of BWG.

Definitely either burn up characters or take sample characters (the four from the Sword for instance) and play some uncomplicated Burning Wheel.

Alright lets say I use the sample characters. Based on what I have read so far I’m not quite sure what to do with the rules. Given this is a test I don’t want to spend too much time on a mini-setting that doesn’t allow for physical or social combat. What kind of stuff should I be doing with these characters? I feel I have a pretty decent grasp on the game but realize my wife, my one and only player, may not. At the same time I don’t know how much she will really learn.

I guess it makes more sense to me – note my experience with playing PnP RPG’s is so miniscule it isn’t even worth mentioning – to just go forward in the book and reference back to the rules once play starts. I understand there are a lot of extra options I won’t need to use right away before I start playing but without physical and social conflict, not having read about and gone through chargen, and without burning a world/setting, the purpose of this little exercise feels lost on me.

It seems like there are a lot of things left that are important to learn before I give the system a spin. If I had covered chargen, world burning, and physical/social conflict, I would feel better about it. I’ve read enough about BW in reviews to know there are a lot of things missing. I worry that if I go through these now just to simulate their usage, I’ll still end up coming back to them for heavy reference when it is time to play.

Do you guys feel it is pretty important to grab some sample characters and run through these rules at this point in my reading? Do you agree I may still need to come back and heavily reference this starting material anyway? If it is important that I give these mechanics a spin, what kinds of exercises would be ideal? How much time should I spend running them? I’d love some input. Feeling a tad out of my league.

What you can do is start playing your campaign with just those basic rules in the first 74 pages, then introduce Fight and Duel of Wits in later sessions, once you and your players have gotten the hang of the core stuff. Until then, just use versus tests for physical and social combat when it comes up.
I don’t think it hurts to read the rest of the book or anything. I think the point is just that you don’t need that other stuff until you’re ready for it.

Just one quick pointer - don’t mistake the more complicated rulesets such as Fight! or Duel of Wits for requirements for physical/social conflict. You will most likely use the rules found in the book’s first 74 pages to resolve most conflicts of any type, even when you’ve started using the more complicated rulesets.

You don’t have to think of this as “training exercises” at all, if it doesn’t fit your bill. Just start playing. The basic rules are the core of the game, and really everything you need to run an entire campaign.

Example of a social conflict (haggling) on page 26. Example of a combat on page 30.

Due to the recommendations here I have just put in an order at Amazon for a second copy of the BW Gold book.

I’m curious. For the two of us, would you recommend we read the book cover to cover and then run a simple (first 74 pages) couple of sessions? Or would you recommend that as soon as we get our characters burned up that we try to start a campaign and then move onto the contents of “The Rim” (pg 357-547), adding in new mechanics as we go? We’re both willing to put in the work. We’re just hoping to avoid having to read the core rulebook twice in order to cement everything into place. At least not reading it twice back to back.

Read the first 74 pages. Use those rules to play out “The Sword” scenario. Come back here, tell us about your experience, and we will provide you with further instructions.

Do you really think The Sword will work with only one PC? :confused:


I think he may have missed that [important] part of your post. :slight_smile:

Actually, I do. I’ve run or played in the scenario with only two characters. Game master should take on the role of the roden or the elf. Throw the characters at one another; they’re ultimately disposable. It’s just for getting a hang of the rules.

The Sword is a great way to learn the mechanics of the game, but that’s not the most important point. We recommend you to try the rules out because otherwise you might be overwhelmed by world burning and taking everything in at once. I know I was the first time around, after ignoring a lot of sage advice found on here…

No matter where you start, make it a temporary thing - try a couple of scenarios that will not have ramifications on your planned long-term campaign world. It will make your big campaign SO much better once you are ready to get it going.

I’m back. I decided to pick up a second copy of BWG so the wife and I can read through everything together. I figure this way we have a better chance of remembering the material and not making as many mistakes while mastering the system mechanics. The wife and I are sitting down today and Sunday to read through the first 74 pages together and play The Sword as recommended above. I now see that this adventure is straight out of the Adventure Burner. Will it need any updating or modification to be 100% compatible with BWG?

I figure once we finish the adventure we will move onto the Character Burner section of the book. I’m looking at the table of contents and I don’t see anything about World Burning. Is that part of the CB or does that come later in the mechanics? I’m trying to figure out what world burning entails. Will it leave me with a working mini setting for us to start playing in or will I still need to do a lot of work to get something up and running?

I was flipping through the book today and came across NPC stat cards. These look pretty stat heavy. Is creating NPC’s for BW a difficult task? You don’t have to use the CB to create every enemy in the world do you? I’m trying to wrap my head around a framework of what I need to do at this point, preparing for when we finish the book, in order to get up and gaming as soon as possible. I really appreciate all of the feedback! Thank you all so much :wink:

When it comes to NPCs, you’ll find you don’t have to prepare much at all. Have a quick look at the section called “Burning Rogues” beginning at page 562 of the BWG rulebook (I know this sounds contrary to just using the first 74 pages, but in this case I think it’s a good idea). You’ll find some great guidelines for creating NPCs on the fly.

The key is that you very rarely need all stats for an NPC; if they are combat opponents, you probably only need their relevant weapon skill and perhaps one more stat or skill at worst. With a quick decision about who they are and how skilled they are, you’re done. You can always give an NPC a “full burn” and create them like a player character, but I’ve been playing a year and I’ve only done this twice so far…

The AdBu sword is mostly compatible, and the few places where it isn’t you aren’t going to notice (there was some re-balancing done to the characters). If you want the BWG version of the game, head over to the store (http://www.burningwheel.org/store) and grab The Sword Demo Adventure from the free PDF section.