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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 76 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: First Time Character Burning  (Read 4533 times)
Michael S. Miller
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« on: May 09, 2005, 12:56:10 PM »

We had our character burning session for our BW game on Friday. We started with a quick game/setting brainstorming session. The players said they wanted to play pirates. I tried to steer things toward "good-guy pirates." They said that was what they meant by "pirates."

Anyway, the brief set-up is that there's a seafaring kingdom. The old king was killed. His brother is the new king and blames the old king's murder on the crown prince. The crown prince has fled to the islands and has set himself up as a Pirate King until he can avenge his father and reclaim his rightful throne. Thus, good-guy pirates.

The Pirate King is an NPC. The players wanted to play his pirate/privateer raiders who seize ships for him, go on missions, etc. Kat & Bruce each want to play a captain of a different pirate ship. Michele wants to play a Sorceress that works with one or the other as the mission requires. All good concepts, so we went with them. I said they'd all be of Mannish stock, with all Black Stats (I ended up allowing Gray skills).

The Bad:
* It took a REALLY long time. We had three players, each burning one character a piece. We only had two Character Burners, so that was part of the hold-up. We started working with the numbers around 8pm. At 11:30 we had finished Lifepaths, Stats, Attributes, and Skills for everybody and two of them had finished Traits. We called it a night.

Much of the delay was due to plain & simple unfamiliarity with the system. Each Lifepath, each skill, each Trait had to be looked up. Was it on the General list, or the Man-specific list? A great deal of time was spent looking for descriptions of character traits listed on the lifepaths because nobody knew they were only character traits. I haven't burned many characters myself, so I couldn't do much to speed things along. Kinda frustrating for a guy who likes games with 15 minute character creation systems. 8^)

Plus, since both Kat & Bruce wanted to be Captains, they ended up making 6 lifepath characters. You can't really be a captain with less. More options means more time.

The Good:
* Rich backgrounds Characters really do have a past. Kat generated all kinds of story as to why her character took this lead to that setting and so forth. Plus, since you've spent 4+hrs of your life creating these characters, you know you're committed for a long game. Precisely why I chose BW.

* The Health and Steel questions. Once everyone was done with Stats, some had moved onto Skils & Traits, so I brought them all back to do Attributes together. I read through the Health and Steel questions and there was a lot of good-natured joking about stuff--like the "Does your character live in filth?" and The Sound of Music bit.

And then I come to Steel and say "Has your character ever killed someone?" and you could hear a pin drop. Everybody just looked at each other. I love[/i] game bits that provoke spontaneous emotional response. It thrills me to no end!

That question and the next: "Has your character ever given birth?" demand that story-stuff be generated! Who did you kill? When and why? Who's the father? Where's the child now? This is very, very good.

We just touched on BITs at the end. In the next two weeks I'll be shuttling books to Michele and Bruce to finish their characters, so things will be all set to explode in the first session.
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Thor Olavsrud
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« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2005, 01:39:13 PM »

Hey Michael,

Sounds good overall. The character burning stuff sounds like it took a really long time, but only having two books to deal with does make things difficult. We should be posting an Excel-based character burning worksheet to the site very soon, which speeds things up a great deal. An experienced burner should be able to create a character in 20 to 30 minutes with no problems.

Also, note that each character stock (or 'race') has a page in its chapter that lists ALL of the character traits used. For instance, all the human character traits are listed on page 150 of the Character Burner. It's generally a good idea to scan that list.

Also, there's nothing wrong with a 6 LP character, although you should easily be able to burn a Ship's Captain with only 4 LPs.

Born Peasant, Village Born, and Born Noble all lead directly to the Seafaring Setting. And Son of a Gun starts there.

Son of a Gun, Boy, First Mate, Ship's Captain

5 LPs is even easier:
City Born, Sailor, Privateer (lead to Seafaring), First Mate, Ship's Captain
City Born, Sailor, Privateer, Privateer (lead to Seafaring), Ship's Captain
Born Noble (lead to Soldier), Sailor (lead to Seafaring), Navigator, First Mate, Ship's Captain

There are more!

Speedy burning tip no. 1: Pick the lifepath where you'd like to end up. Work your way backward through the requirements until you find a path you like.
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Thor Olavsrud
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« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2005, 01:49:14 PM »

Oh! Another point if it wasn't clear. To have a crew: Buy an Affiliation with the ship, buy a Relationship with your first mate, buy a reputation on the ship. That should take care of it. Technically, I suppose, you should probably buy the ship as well, but it might be more interesting if the ship were owned by investors that have an interest in the haul from your Letter of Marque.
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Luke
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« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2005, 02:57:48 PM »

Yeah, character burning is tough when not every player has a CB. Perhaps I should post $5 pdfs of the various CB LPs? Hm...

One thing about The Bad: While I'll admit that long and slow character burning sessions suck, Burning Wheel is a game that just requires an evening dedicated to character creation. Not because it takes a long time, but because there are so many options and choices to make. The group needs to make those choices together so that the game can be focused.

-L
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Michael S. Miller
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« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2005, 02:55:30 AM »

Quote from: Thor Olavsrud
Speedy burning tip no. 1: Pick the lifepath where you'd like to end up. Work your way backward through the requirements until you find a path you like.


Well, yes and no. For you, who probably ripped out that post in all of five minutes, finding different combinations is fun and easy. Both Kat & Bruce (the pirate captains) *did* start at the end and work backward, but there was a lot of wavering back and forth before they settled on the progression that they liked.

One tip I will use for next time is for everyone to decide on just lifepaths on scrap paper, first. Then, they can copy all the specific years and skill points and such onto the worksheet. Less erasing that way.

Quote from: abzu
Burning Wheel is a game that just requires an evening dedicated to character creation. Not because it takes a long time, but because there are so many options and choices to make. The group needs to make those choices together so that the game can be focused.


Couldn't agree more. If everyone were doing this in isolation, it would be chaos. It would be the old "why can't I play a Drow assassin in the party of paladins?" bit about AD&D that still gives me horrific flashbacks. ::shudder::
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