Why doesn't Let it Ride take effect in this The Sword actual play?

Hello everyone!

I may be soon to GMing Burning Wheel for the first time, and figured that the best way to introduce my group (and myself, who am I kidding…) to the rules was to run The Sword.

So to prepare myself, I was watching a couple of videos on youtube where Luke runs the scenario, and something is bugging me.

In one game the Roden, with help from the Elf’s Ballad of History skill, failed the roll to apprise the Sword, arriving to the conclusion that it is a forgery, or at least not the actual Sword that the Elf was looking for. Link to the video.

Later in the session, the Elf takes the Sword in his hands and uses his Elven Artifact skill to once again inquire about the Sword’s authenticity (link to the video), even though they acknowledge that they tested for this subject a couple of minutes ago.

So my question is: why doesn’t Let it Ride take effect? Is it considered that the situation changed that much? After all, the only difference that I see is that now he is holding the Sword instead of standing next to it, and that he uses a different skill for his roll. Is using a different Skill enough, even though the intent is basically the same?

My guess is that in a normal game this would not be permitted, but since this is a demo scenario they went for it. Specially because the point of the whole scene is to fight to the Sword, and having everyone convinced of the worthlessness of the artifact makes playing the Scenario quite harder.

I want to be sure though, since Let it Ride seems to be one of the most important rules for the flow of the game, and I want to get it right.

Thank you so much for reading this, and for any insights you may provide.

Simple human error? Luke did say he wrote a lot of these rules with himself as a GM in mind.

Although this doesn’t fully resolve the issue, I’d like to note that they are cognizant of the rule and they do try to frame the intent in a different way. Take a look at the conversation here, shortly before rolling for the second time: Link to video As they frame it, the first roll was about whether the sword was genuine, the second is to see whether the elf’s father’s mark is on it.

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My read on LiR has always been that it only applies to tasks, not intents. Or said another way, LiT is there to make sure that you don’t just get stopped in your tracks the second you fail at a test. In the case of this video example, I think you might be reading too much into it. I haven’t watched the whole video, but my take is this: The first test was to check the authenticity with the failure result that it’s a forgery. The second test was a Wises test (which are sometimes handled a little differently, tbf, they’re kinda special skills) to determine whether the elven character’s father was involved in the sword’s construction. First one failed, so both the roden and the elf think it’s a forgery, but the second test was a success so it’s a forgery but the elf’s dad helped make it. The plot thickens!

Let it Ride is mostly there just to stop players from spamming the same request over and over, like you occasionally see allowed in other TTRPGs. And a big part of it—and this is something that Luke himself is pretty bad at doing, but it’s integral to the whole process in my opinion; especially when you’re new—is stating the consequences of success and failure before the dice are rolled. Combined with the “say ‘yes’ or roll” ethos, it’s one of my favourite things about the whole game. So all those rules are in place to reduce ‘test-mongering’ because almost every test in the game has the potential to contribute to advancement.

The point is that just because two characters think the sword is a forgery doesn’t mean that it actually is, and so the follow-up wise test seems to me to be that elf character wanting to find some sign that it might not be. Something of authenticity, something that might make him doubt the previous conclusion. I think that’s a valid intent; though I agree that a 3 minute gap is a little short. (Bare in mind that the video is edited though, so it might have been a longer gap at the table).

Finally, typically, LiR only lasts for a single session or for the duration of an intent (or “until the situation changes” but that can be a bit vague). So re-checking the craftsmanship next session, or once the scene had moved on to a different topic, would be fine I’d say. I said at the start that I think LiR only applies to tasks, not intents. What I mean by that is probably best demonstrated with an example:

Say you want to get into a castle. That’s your intent. You first try scaling the walls with a Climbing test. That’s your task. You fail. LiR means you can’t try climbing the walls again this session or for as long as you care about trying to get into the castle, but you’re not prohibited from trying other things. You could try sneaking in, with Inconspicuous or Disguise or Stealth. You could try to bribe the gaurds to let you in, or Circle one up and say they owe you, or seduce one. Or you could go off and raise an army and lay siege to the castle! You can try all of these things, and more, one after another; and fail all of them. But you still won’t technically be prohibited from entering the castle by Let it Ride. The only thing stopping you is your own creativity and your character’s ineptitude, and time. But at least you’ll get some challenging tests.


Thank you so much for your answers!

My main intent when I asked this was to be sure that I wasn’t vastly misinterpreting the Let it Ride mechanic. Since all 3 answers acknowledged my concern and tried to explain what happened, instead of going “no, this is obviously how it’s supposed to go”, I guess that my take on the rule is okay enough to go and play :slight_smile:

Yes, thinking about it, I guess that I would interpret the infiltrating the castle example in the same way. I actually thought about something analogous before posting. What bugged me about the video was that both intents and tasks where so similar. It felt like I want to convince the Duchess of pardoning my brother’s crimes by given an impassioned speech with Oratory. You fail. Ok, then I want to convince the Duchess of pardoning my brother’s crimes by telling her of my brother’s worth with Persuasion. I don’t know, feels too similar. Of course, one would have to consider the consequences of the first roll’s failure, so maybe the situation changes and second test would not be even possible…
And in any case you are probably right and I’m reading too much into it xD

As I said, I think my main concern has been addressed, and you have been very helpful. Thanks again!

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