This game is neither Burning Wheel nor D&D.
Unlike D&D, it has a robust skill system that we can use to create diverse challenges. And it has a mitigation system that all but guarantees success.
Unlike Burning Wheel, you have fewer options in character creation, fewer subsystems to toy with and, most important, you’re given your entire allotment of mitigation (artha) at the start of the game. So the game isn’t about earning, it’s about spending wisely or desperately.
What I’ve found is that you can challenge most 3rd level characters with dangerous or seemingly impossible tasks right out of the gate. As the GM, you want to build mood with some atmospherics and roleplay, but once the action starts you cannot shy away from difficulty and danger. Throw the players into the fire and see what happens!
The very first roll of our current playtest involved three bravos firing a fusillade of lead at three of the player characters. No exploration, no initiative rolls, no investigatory skill checks, just three muskets spitting death! If this were a Burning Wheel or D&D campaign, at least one of those characters would have been dead in the first moment of play. Can you imagine? But the stakes are different in Miseries. Avoid danger now, pay the price later.
Honestly, I’m still learning how to play. The systems we designed are still teaching me what they want to say. I’ll hopefully have more insight when I publish the next book, 1648.