Using wises to make declarations

Can anyone tell me where in BWG I can find the rules on how to use wises to make declarations?


I don’t have BWG in front of me, but I do have BE, and I think the entry is basically the same. It’s in the skill description for wises, in the skills chapter.

The skill description lists the obstacles necessary to make declarations.

All I see is:

Which reads to me that it’s about knowing things “How many uncles does the duke have?” rather than declaring things “The duke has 2 uncles”. I would never have extrapolated the declaration thing from that skill entry, the only reason I know about it is from reading posts on this forum and it sounds cool so I’d like to read more about it and how it works.

If it’s not been established in the setting, whether the player asks the GM this question or just says it as fact ends with the same result after the dice have been rolled. The skill is flexible enough to handle either interpretation.

I see obstacles but the skill entry says they are the obstacles to “call upon” the knowledge, not “declare” them as fact.

While I don’t dispute that it is the intent of wises to be used to make declarations there has to be another entry somewhere that says players uses wises to declare and not just ask the gm for knowledge right? I find it really hard to imagine that entry being interpreted by the entire board/community as giving players the ability to make declarations without something else supporting that line of thought.

Sure, I understand that as the accepted (and intended) interpretation of wises, but that’s purely from reading the forum. I am just wondering if there is any text or examples specifically addressing “declarations”.

“Call upon the knowledge…” It’s just a phrase. Don’t get caught on semantics. It’s a fancy way of saying “the player may make it up” because there is no character, right? And BW rarely cares if that source is a GM or a Player.

Is that seriously the only indication that a player can declare in game facts with a roll of their character’s wises?

It seems to me that such an important thing and so different from mainstream RPGs that it merits being spelled out a little more explicitly.

If I was running a game from reading the book without having done extensive research on this forum and some player tried to make a declaration using a wise pointing to the wise skill entry as support I’d have told him he was insane. As it is now I have to assume that’s the intended way to use wises because I haven’t seen Luke come into threads discussing wises setting people straight.

Adventure Burner p303 has 2 pages about establishing setting as a player under the Wises chapter.

Ok cool, but it seems Adventure Burner was the one BW book I couldn’t get from my distributor and it seems other than a preview of the table of contents and the chapter on beliefs it isn’t available directly from BWHQ (as either a physical or pdf copy).

Were Declarations something that wasn’t originally included in the BWR book and came about as part of the Adventure Burner?

What’s going on with the Adventure Burner, why can’t I buy it?

Are there any rules/guidance for using wises like this in a product I can actually obtain?

Yes, the AdBu is just discussing something we’ve been doing for a long time though. I don’t believe it was ever explicitly stated in Revised and I’m not sure if it was added to Gold.

@Kaptain, basically the ability to test a wise to add a fact is just an extension of the GM’s generally ability to determine if a task and intent is valid, paired with the spirit of the Say Yes rule, which suggests the GM shouldn’t be over precious with the Setting. Essentially, the GM needs a reason not to allow the TEst, rather than the other way round.

Out of print, unfortunately.

Yeah, I kinda gathered that =\

What’s going on with it though? They still have the contents page available as a free download so is it getting reprinted? Even if it’s not as a regular book how about a Print on Demand or even a pdf since it apparently contains things I need to play/run the game as intended (such as rules for declaring with wises).

The short answer is: Much of the commentary in the Adventure Burner was a distilation of best practices and coverage for vague writing in Burning Wheel Revised. The valid commentary in the AdBu was used to help shape the rules changes and writing in BWG. As such, BWG for the most part has the AdBu stuff baked into it. As for PoD or PDF stuff, Luke’s answer (I’m guessing) will be (in order): “most likely not” and “NO WAY NEVER!” The ToC is still up because things are rarely removed from the wiki download section or the store unless Luke is trying to bury something and make the world think it was never written.

On the topic of Wises, I was pretty sure that the book noted that a player can use them to make declarative statements about the world and as long as the intent is valid and you succeed. I can’t check for sure right now (I’m at work, my copies of BWG are not) but I’m pretty sure it’s explicit. As others have said however, you may need to cobble together that understanding from three or four places (task/intent, the -Wise heading, Fields of Related Knowledge, and The Spokes in Play section). I’m also pretty sure that somewhere in the book (maybe under the -Wise heading in the skills section) there’s an example of someone making a fairly outlandish declaration via a Wise and being given a really high Ob (Ob 5 if I remember right). Roughly, Wises and CIrcles are the same with Circles handling being effectively a generic “knowing a guy in a place-wise.”

This is a good discussion of the topic as well as the fact that this use of wises is explicit in the rules of Burning Empires.

And the wiki article on the topic: This is last-edit date stamped from 2008, so well before the Adventure Burner (but after Burning Empires).

Kaptain O: If you’re looking for validation that, no, that use of wises is in fact not well-defined in the RAW and is best extrapolated from forum discussions and out-of-print books, you’ve got it. You’re absolutely right.

It’s weird and frustrating and IMO a BW blind spot, but getting that rule/use/perspective into your head really helps unlock the rest of the game’s values and mindset. Once the GM is stripped of sole authority to make shit up, you realize that anyone can make shit up (assuming the GM doesn’t already have something in mind).

Anyway, you’re not crazy. It’s a thing.

I don’t have a problem with wises being used that way, in fact I think it’s cool and I’m really interested in playing a game with them being used that way. I’m just very new to that concept, along with many of the other concepts BW introduces, and I’d love to have had some guidance and structure for it in the rules helping me to learn to use it in my games as a constructive tool.

It kinda sucks that there is info on it out there but that I can’t get that anymore.

If it makes things easier for you, as was stated above: there’s virtually nothing in the Adventure Burner that isn’t on the forums–it’s essentially a “best practices” doc taken from various forum discussions. Luke has historically been extremely active on the forums, and a number of the names you see on the forum have a semi-official status. If you’re interested in how Wises work, just do a search for them.