Where Can I Buy Cafergot

October 10, 2012 4 Comments

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Burning Wheel
4 Comments to “Where Can I Buy Cafergot”
  1. Katrina says:

    Having recently done just that, I recommend downloading the pre-generated characters from the BW wiki and running the Sword, also available to download for free. Yes, just use the Hub & Spokes, ignoring the rim for the time being. Make notes of questions you have as you run it, and I’d suggest keeping the summary pages flagged as well as printing out the GM screen to reference Ob’s, advancement, etc. The next step would be character creation (which took our group a solid eight hours, sorry to say–we only had one book between the four of us which helped none). It’s pretty similar to the career system in Warhammer Fantasy RP 2nd ed. Then try to add in the rim rules as they come up.

    It really is intimidating at first. I’m not so sure I prefer BW to Lady Blackbird, which is a much simpler and more elegant version. If you can try to play in a veteran’s game first, I highly recommend it. The learning curve is steep when you’re simultaneously trying to teach yourself and the rest of the group. For now BW Gold will sit on my shelf until I can get down to Manhattan to play it with the Nerd NYC group and see how it’s done.

  2. woodelf says:

    So, for years, I didn’t play Burning Wheel for very much your reasons: I was intimidated, it would take too much effort, we’d have to devote a lot of time to it, and so on. We made some characters, and that was as far as it got. Then, we finally played it. It’s everything I thought it would be–unlike, say, D&D3E, what I experienced was exactly what it said on the tin (with one minor nitpick–I’ll get to that later.

    There are 3 tricks, IMHO, to playing Burning Wheel that aren’t explicitly in the rulebook. (Well, they might be in Gold–we last played before Gold was released.)

    1: There’s an implied setting the same way that there is in D&D. To get an *actual* setting, you’re gonna have to build one. You can do that however you want, including “discovering” it through play. But you’ll do better if you sit down together and bounce some character and setting ideas around all at once, figuring them both out together.

    Frex, we ended up with a world where human magic was a new thing, developed to overthrow the elves in a recently-ended war. We decided up front that orcs were off-screen (if they ever showed up), and there was no such thing as dwarves. There was more to it, but the point is that we needed some context. We didn’t get into a *whole* lot more detail than that prior to the first session, except for some details that came out of the character creation. One example: based on the lifepaths people took, we determined how long ago the war had ended.

    1a: Do *not* try to define every last detail of the setting before you start. You’ll undermine the game play by doing that. Things like Wises and Circles work best if there is wide latitude to create the setting in response to the rolls.

    2: Beliefs drive the characters, and the characters drive the game. You might not know it from the handful of pages devoted to them, but solid, interesting, action-driving beliefs are the real core of the game. Make your characters with interesting beliefs that everyone cares about. Beliefs need to drive change and action. When crafting a belief, you should be able to envision how it could be “completed”, and thus changed. “All dwarves should die” is ok, but “I will kill every last stinking dwarf!” is better. And don’t make your beliefs static–your character grows and advances by accomplishing belief-driven goals, so they should have an end state.

    One trick we picked up is to create one very-short-term belief–something your character might accomplish in a session or 2–one medium-term, and one epic one. You should expect your beliefs to be regularly updated as the character’s situation changes–they accomplish them, or make them impossible, or make them moot. These are all good things. And be careful that you don’t pick beliefs that tear the characters apart. Putting them at odds is good, even putting them at constant loggerheads is fine. But unless you want someone to feel left out, or the characters to go their separate ways and not be a group, watch out for beliefs that draw the characters in opposite directions, thus eliminating their interactions.

    But always state your beliefs as a goal or an action, not just an opinion.

    3: Don’t try to use all the rules at once. Of course, this one *is* in the rulebook, but it seems like nobody actually believes Luke when he says it, so that’s why it’s here. Our first two sessions, we didn’t even use all the spokes. I (and one other person in the group) was familiar enough with teh rules to know what things there were rules for, and when an appropriate situation came up I or we decided whether or not to bust out that rule. Steel, frex, we used the very first time it came up. Combat, however, we didn’t. I don’t even think we used Bloody Vs. for our very first combat, instead just relying on basic skill rolls, just like everything else. And then we used a combo of Bloody Vs. and Range & Cover for the next few sessions, not bothering to bust out Fight! until a very momentous (in terms of the story in the game) situation came up.

    The only part of the Rim we used right from the start was spellcasting. And even then, we fudged a little at first. Just make sure everyone knows that, for anything you don’t use Spokes or Rim for at first, it may change a little once you do. So if you do basic skill rolls for spellcasting, the wizard may end up more or less capable once you pull in the full magic rules (probably both–more because of adding another stat into the die rolls, less because of fatigue and spells going awry).

    Also, there’s absolutely nothing that says you have to use all of the Rim, or even all the Spokes, to have a good solid game. Personally, I haven’t met a rule in Burning Wheel yet that wasn’t awesome. But tastes vary. And the game works just fine if you use the subsystems only some of the time. So, we continued to use Fight! and Range & Cover for important combats, and Bloody Vs. for minor ones. Likewise, some social conflicts were just a skill roll, but if people thought it would be fun we’d bust out Duel of Wits. You can go back and forth from scene to scene on any of the Rim, and mots of the Spoke, rules, and the game will work just fine. Might even be better than using all the detail all the time. I’m pretty sure the game would also work just fine if you *never* used the Rim. (Though, honestly, at that point I’d recommend something with less crunch overall, like The Shadow of Yesterday, which focuses even more heavily on its equivalent of Beliefs.)

    A couple minor suggestions on actually using the rules:

    First of all, I think we defined Wises too narrowly, following the example of the book. I think it would’ve been better to go just a smidge wider in their scope, to prevent characters having (or needing) a bazillion Wises. The good news is, since skills are gained from use, not spending points, if you use more skills, you’ll have more–unlike some games, where you’d simply run out of skill points. The bad news is, it can get frustrating to only raerly have an applicable Wise.

    Secondly, if you want bringing in NPCs to be a significant part of the game, make sure people start with high Circles scores. I don’t have the book in front of me, but you should be able to figure out that a low Circles means you can never find anybody. Most skills (and stats) in the game are just fine with a 3 or 4–not awesome, but competent. With Circles, I think we figured out that you really need more like a 5 or 6 before you start feeling competent when you use it. The main reason is that, at least for people I’ve RPed with, the typical sorts of things the players wanted to do (and are used to using contact checks for in RPGs of all sorts, IME) would generate obstacles of around 6–and the obstacle 2 or 3 checks that they had a realistic shot at felt really disappointing. Somehow that one caught us off guard when creating characters.

    Anyway, we played Burning Wheel for well over a year of weekly sessions, and it was awesome! I loved the characters, I loved the stories we created, I loved the setting we created, I loved how the mechanics work, and I would love to play it again. Which makes it the only crunchy RPG I think I’ve ever enjoyed running. Normally, I go for things more like The Shadow of Yesterday or Primetime Adventures.

  3. woodelf says:

    “I’m not so sure I prefer BW to Lady Blackbird, which is a much simpler and more elegant version.”

    Lady Blackbird really has nothing to do with Burning Wheel, mechanically. It’s basically The Shadow of Yesterday with pregen characters, and cumulative traits instead of number-rated skills.

  4. Smiorgan says:

    Like you I own BWG but haven’t run it. I probably never will run the complete system. I find it to be a bit of a curate’s egg–the BIT system is genius, the careers are great but don’t add much over WFRP, and rest of it falls between so-so and just not for me. The game’s impressively modular though, so you can pick and choose the bits you like.

    Regardless of how you approach the game, engaging with your players first will make the task easier–if you choose players who are as enthusiastic as you are, they’ll support you if you come unstuck about the rules.

    If I were forced to run BW straight it would be hub and spokes only (at least to start), per the advice in this thread:

    http://rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/5540/how-do-i-teach-people-the-combat-system-from-burning-wheel

    FWIW I don’t get being intimidated by a game system. Being anxious about putting out a good game for my players, sure. But if a game is too complicated or obtuse then it clearly hasn’t met my standards, not the other way around. And if that means I’m just too stupid to see the Emperor’s New Game, I wouldn’t lose sleep over it.

    Anyway, if the game gives you that certain itch, you should scratch. Good luck!

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