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Author Topic: First Fully Burned character, some questions  (Read 3303 times)
Valamir
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« on: May 15, 2005, 01:14:30 PM »

Ok so I sat down and Burned up my first BW character from scratch and wanted to run it it by some folks for tips and comments.  I didn't do any of the BITs because, without a campaign to actually play in there isn't much point to that.  If I ever do get a chance to play I reckon I'd want to tie those into the setting rather than invent them in a vaccume.

For my concept I envisioned a fairly grizzled forest ranger...not the lame Aragorn Ranger sillyness, rather an actual Game Warden rousting dead beat poachers out of the king's lands type.

For Life Paths I went Peasant Born and Hunter.  Then I figured his hunting skills got him "recruited" as a Scout for a campaign in the area so I followed the Lead to the Solder setting.  From there I picked Cavalryman and Bannerman representing a successful career in the army and then followed the Lead to Noble Court where I picked up Huntsman and Forester to get him to his current occupation.

This seemed to make alot of sense to me from a life progression standpoint...I could easily visualize this guy's career resume.  However, this was a 7 Life Path character.  Granted I wound up being 37 years old (actually not as old as my original concept), but 7 Life Paths seems like more than typical for a BW starting character.

So my first question is...how common is a 7 Life Path starting character.  If I brought such a character to the table would it be rejected more often than not?

Also I wound up with 22 Skills in order to fill up my concept and I could have taken a few more without stretching my concept any, but 22 already seemed like an awful lot of skills.  So my second question is how common is it to wind up with that many skills.  The sheer number of them means that I only have a few 5 and 6s and a good number of 3s and 4s with a couple of 2s...with no gray shades.  So even with 7 Life Paths he isn't really very tweaked out.  Is it "foolish" from a character effectiveness standpoint to spread skill points out so thin?

My third question is a little more philosophical.  Being the first time I really went through character creation in detail I realized for the first time just how narrowly Skills in BW are sliced and diced.

My forester concept winds up having Hunting, Trapping, Tracking, Foraging, Forest-Wise, and Survival all as seperate skills.  Philosophically, if BW were my design...that would all be 1 skill...two tops.  So I'm having trouble envisioning when and why these different skills would be used in play.  I tried to read through the skill descriptions, but if I were GMing, I'd be hard put to know when to call for a Forest-Wise vs. Foraging vs. Survival (temperate) Test.  All of those skills seem virtually synonomous to me, and if they're primary purpose is to be forked off of each other...wouldn't it simply be easier mechanically to simply have Forest-wise cover all of that and wind up with a higher level in a single skill?

I mean if I were a GM and the party was traveling through a forested region where they had to camp, and find clean water, and root around for berries and such and one character happened to have Forest-Wise, I'd probably let him roll that to do any of those things...which would really render the other skills completely pointless.  

I guess I'm looking for a thoughts from experienced GMs on how this myriad of seperate but similiar skills winds up playing out in an actual game...because it sure makes my character sheet look pretty cluttered.


Lastly I had a question about Resources.  Overall I find the Resource system pretty tremendous (I already mentioned to Luke how similiar it is to the system I came up with for Robots & Rapiers).  But it seems very very difficult to get any kind of Resource level greater than 1 or maybe 2.

I took 7 life paths...none of which were extraordinarily lucrative, granted...but there were a couple of double diget life paths in there, and after taking a modest amount of gear and some medium armor and giving myself a cottage and a local affiliation I wound up with a Resources level of 1 (and that was with giving myself a couple of free points using the generous rule).  Is that typical?  Dividing by 15 seems to make it almost impossible to get Resources much higher.  I guess I was envisioning Resources working on the same scale as skills with 10 being King Midas, 6-9 being wealthy noble types and poor peasant serfs being down around 1-2.  I had kind of figured my non noble, but professional-in-the-service-of-the-king type to come in around 3 maybe 4.  Barely qualifying for 1 through me a bit.  What do starting character resources, typically look like?


I rounded this guy out by taking some Life Path traits from Bannerman (surprisingly the only path that provided any particular Traits) and bought Nose of the Blood Hound and Alert to round out my forester / scout concept

All in all character creation in BW is hella fun and the book is right when it refers to it as a game in and of itself.  Made me immediately curious to see what kind of character I could get in 7 Life Paths using the Black Barbarian setting on the web site...
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Thor Olavsrud
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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2005, 04:05:21 PM »

Hey Ralph,

Sounds like a pretty cool character!

1. We generally pick a lifepath limit ahead of time. Four or five lifepaths is he norm, but I've played in a campaign where six was the limit. Really, it comes down to what your group is comfortable with.

2. 22 different skills is an awful lot. Did you take every skill available to you? Or did you pick and choose? Also a "handful" of 5s and 6s is actually tremendous.  Generally our characters have one to three 5s (one being the most common), with a handful of 4s and the rest 3s and 2s. An exponent of 6 is actually intended to represent someone who is incredibly skilled -- likely the best in his nation. Exponent 3 is someone who is trained: a skilled apprentice. Exponent 4 is competent: a journeyman. Exponent 5 is expert: a master of his craft. We also very rarely see Gray skills in our games.

3. Luke is in the best position to give you a proper answer to this question.

On the upside, you can FoRK many of those skills together to make your character really good at food gathering. I wouldn't allow someone to actually find food with Forest-wise. He knows about the forest and how to navigate it. He can certainly FoRK it into the other skills though. I would call for Forest-wise if you're trying to identify whether a sound is native to the forest or if you're trying to find your way through it. I would call for Foraging if you're trying to find enough food to feed yourself or your mount. I would call for Survival if it's important to find water or find/create shelter in order to mitigate environmental penalties.
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Angaros
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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2005, 04:08:03 PM »

Quote from: Valamir
So my first question is...how common is a 7 Life Path starting character.  If I brought such a character to the table would it be rejected more often than not?

I'd guess that starting with 7 LPs isn't especially common. Most campaigns seem to start with 4-6 LP characters from what I've heard. Whether or not the character would be approved is difficult to say. If the character and concept fits with the campaign and the other players all give a thumbs up -- why not?

Quote from: Valamir
Also I wound up with 22 Skills in order to fill up my concept and I could have taken a few more without stretching my concept any, but 22 already seemed like an awful lot of skills.  So my second question is how common is it to wind up with that many skills.  The sheer number of them means that I only have a few 5 and 6s and a good number of 3s and 4s with a couple of 2s...with no gray shades.  So even with 7 Life Paths he isn't really very tweaked out.  Is it "foolish" from a character effectiveness standpoint to spread skill points out so thin?

First I'd like to say that an exponent of 6 is described as "near mastery". This is the skill level of people known for their expertise and few mundane people pass beyond this level without being called "genious" a few times. Looking at the training tables (I'm still using Classic so the numbers might have changed a bit), advancing a Forester skill from nothing to B6 would require about 12-13 years of constant practice. Sure you would be practicing other stuff as well during the time, but think about it. Few people are that challenged during their professional life. On the other hand, if the character's story describes his career as tough then why not let it pass. An exponent of 4 is what most people living off their skills have so I'd say it sounds like your character is very skilled. But then again, with 7 LPs he should be. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it doesn't sound like your characters skill points are spread thin at all. They seem to have been spent wisely. I've found that BW rewards characters with a broad skill base more than "digital" characters that are super skilled in one area but incompetent in all others.

Quote from: Valamir
My third question is a little more philosophical.  Being the first time I really went through character creation in detail I realized for the first time just how narrowly Skills in BW are sliced and diced.

My forester concept winds up having Hunting, Trapping, Tracking, Foraging, Forest-Wise, and Survival all as seperate skills.  Philosophically, if BW were my design...that would all be 1 skill...two tops.  So I'm having trouble envisioning when and why these different skills would be used in play.  I tried to read through the skill descriptions, but if I were GMing, I'd be hard put to know when to call for a Forest-Wise vs. Foraging vs. Survival (temperate) Test.  All of those skills seem virtually synonomous to me, and if they're primary purpose is to be forked off of each other...wouldn't it simply be easier mechanically to simply have Forest-wise cover all of that and wind up with a higher level in a single skill?

I mean if I were a GM and the party was traveling through a forested region where they had to camp, and find clean water, and root around for berries and such and one character happened to have Forest-Wise, I'd probably let him roll that to do any of those things...which would really render the other skills completely pointless.  

I guess I'm looking for a thoughts from experienced GMs on how this myriad of seperate but similiar skills winds up playing out in an actual game...because it sure makes my character sheet look pretty cluttered.

I reacted to this as well but since you can FoRK similar skills into each other, it really works pretty well. This is the rewarding thing I talked about. Twinked characters might seem skilled but what they really have are isolated islands of knowledge with nothing to connect them. Soundly built characters on the other hand, can make use of what they've learned over the years in several ways and link their knowledge. It's easy to get scared of low exponents but remember to FoRK and it all works out. FoRKs are especially important since die rolls usually really count for a lot (using the Letting 'em ride rule).

As Luke, Thor, Kublai and others have pointed out for me (and others) numerous times the FoRK system also promotes narrating skill use instead of just rolling dice. Forcing players to describe how their skills tie into each other in a specific situation in order to gain FoRK dice makes scenes more living and it also engages the players more than what I'm used to. Which is good.

Quote from: Valamir
Lastly I had a question about Resources.  Overall I find the Resource system pretty tremendous (I already mentioned to Luke how similiar it is to the system I came up with for Robots & Rapiers).  But it seems very very difficult to get any kind of Resource level greater than 1 or maybe 2.

I took 7 life paths...none of which were extraordinarily lucrative, granted...but there were a couple of double diget life paths in there, and after taking a modest amount of gear and some medium armor and giving myself a cottage and a local affiliation I wound up with a Resources level of 1 (and that was with giving myself a couple of free points using the generous rule).  Is that typical?  Dividing by 15 seems to make it almost impossible to get Resources much higher.  I guess I was envisioning Resources working on the same scale as skills with 10 being King Midas, 6-9 being wealthy noble types and poor peasant serfs being down around 1-2.  I had kind of figured my non noble, but professional-in-the-service-of-the-king type to come in around 3 maybe 4.  Barely qualifying for 1 through me a bit.  What do starting character resources, typically look like?

I'll let the BWHQ guys sort this one out since I've not played with Resources at all myself. Yet.
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Valamir
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« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2005, 06:03:06 PM »

Quote from: Thor Olavsrud
Hey Ralph,

2. 22 different skills is an awful lot. Did you take every skill available to you? Or did you pick and choose?


Well I tried to pick and choose, but they all seemed pretty much in line with my concept.  I wanted a scout / tracker / wilderness survival type with a mounted combat background.  As I noted there are a TON of very similiar and largely overlapping "woodsy" type skills to take.

That was part of my philosophical question.  The way I see it there could be two reasons for this.

1) In order to do ALL of the woodsy type things you need all of the woodsy type skills and not taking any one of them will leave you will a hole in your expertise...or...

2) You aren't intended to take ALL of the woodsy type skills because any 2 or 3 will cover pretty much all of the woodsy tasks...there are just different flavors of skill available depending on the color you want to give your character.  For instance Hunter, Tracker, Survival allows you to do 100% everything that Trapper, Forest-Wise, and Forage allows (and vice-versa) the difference between the two sets is mostly just background color...adding flavor to the character by which skills you take.  

I assumed #1 was correct when I designed the character, but I'm actually kind of hoping #2 is correct, because that would allow me to pick and choose much more without leaving any holes.


Quote
Also a "handful" of 5s and 6s is actually tremendous.  Generally our characters have one to three 5s (one being the most common), with a handful of 4s and the rest 3s and 2s. An exponent of 6 is actually intended to represent someone who is incredibly skilled -- likely the best in his nation. Exponent 3 is someone who is trained: a skilled apprentice. Exponent 4 is competent: a journeyman. Exponent 5 is expert: a master of his craft. We also very rarely see Gray skills in our games.


Ok, well I was going from the descriptions on page 15 of the BW book which indicates Exp 6 is "near mastery" and Exp 8 is "total mastery".

For clarity the character worked out to having two 6s in Observation and Tracking (thanks to taking Perception at 6 for the good root) and four 5s in Forest-wise, bow, sword, and spear.  I thought of tweaking the character a bit more and giving him a 6 in Ag which would have given me about 5 more Skill Points due to the higher root, but that would have meant taking a score at 3 which didn't fit my concept at all.

I was going to make the character just 6 Life Paths and skip the initial Hunter path from the Peasant Setting (which is probably what I'd due if a GM insisted on cutting back a path), but I felt I needed it to keep the concept sound, since it was his hunting abilities that got him recruited as a scout in my background.  Alternatively I could drop Bannerman, but that one I like as being the most "out of archetype"...a kind of past experience that wasn't all centered on being a woodsman...made him less of a stereotype.


Quote

On the upside, you can FoRK many of those skills together to make your character really good at food gathering. I wouldn't allow someone to actually find food with Forest-wise. He knows about the forest and how to navigate it. He can certainly FoRK it into the other skills though. I would call for Forest-wise if you're trying to identify whether a sound is native to the forest or if you're trying to find your way through it. I would call for Foraging if you're trying to find enough food to feed yourself or your mount. I would call for Survival if it's important to find water or find/create shelter in order to mitigate environmental penalties.


Yeah...that would be in keeping with interpretation #1 above and my comment about slicing and dicing the skills pretty narrowly.  

Its very interesting to me that the non combat skills are sliced and diced very narrowly, while the combat skills are very broad.  Quite the opposite of how most games are.

If I can adjust to thinking in terms of such narrowly defined skills I think I'll like it better that way than then normal way of having a billion weapon "proficiencies" and only a handful on non-weapon "proficiencies".

It allows people to be competant in a fight without requiring them to spend all their skill points on martial skills and it also means (I suspect) that one can get alot more dice for non combat activity due to the plentiful options for Forking, whereas (I suspect) there are fewer such options with combat skills.

Still, defining the difference between survival, forest-wise, and forageing seems like splitting the hair pretty fine.
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Thor Olavsrud
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« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2005, 06:11:26 PM »

Quote from: Angaros
Quote from: Valamir
Lastly I had a question about Resources.  Overall I find the Resource system pretty tremendous (I already mentioned to Luke how similiar it is to the system I came up with for Robots & Rapiers).  But it seems very very difficult to get any kind of Resource level greater than 1 or maybe 2.

I took 7 life paths...none of which were extraordinarily lucrative, granted...but there were a couple of double diget life paths in there, and after taking a modest amount of gear and some medium armor and giving myself a cottage and a local affiliation I wound up with a Resources level of 1 (and that was with giving myself a couple of free points using the generous rule).  Is that typical?  Dividing by 15 seems to make it almost impossible to get Resources much higher.  I guess I was envisioning Resources working on the same scale as skills with 10 being King Midas, 6-9 being wealthy noble types and poor peasant serfs being down around 1-2.  I had kind of figured my non noble, but professional-in-the-service-of-the-king type to come in around 3 maybe 4.  Barely qualifying for 1 through me a bit.  What do starting character resources, typically look like?

I'll let the BWHQ guys sort this one out since I've not played with Resources at all myself. Yet.


Ah, sorry. I forgot about this part when posting my initial response. I would say characters that start off in Peasant or Village, and spend most of their time there with some forays into Soldier, are just not going to garner lots of Resources. I'm seeing a lot of characters with Resources in the B0 to B2 range.

If you start with B0 Resources, you better hope someone can give you a loan to help you open the ability. Generally, peasants have nothing, villagers have next to nothing, city folk have a little bit -- aside from merchants who have an ungodly amount -- and the nobility has a lot.

It all comes down to what sort of character you want to play. If you focus on making a character that's going to exist in the financial realm, it's easy enough to do. I helped a friend make a 6 LP Dwarven Prince that came out with a G10 Resources. He had lots of Resource points and spent them on Reputations, Affiliations and Property, passing up the Dwarven Mail and so forth.
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Luke
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« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2005, 10:52:29 PM »

Hi Ralph,

Cool character. I've let players take characters like that for a spin in my games. In BW, those numbers give you something very comfortable and easy to play. Like you said, you've got all your bases covered, lacking in no area within your concept. That's how it's supposed to be. He's not going to advance very quickly, and there wouldn't be any sense in having another woodsman type character in the game since he's got everything under control in that department.

However, your instincts are right, you could probably get by without having all of those bits and pieces.

But in my own defense, I feel like I should offer some explanation:
Hunting would be used when you want to impress the lord and land some game or hoof for his table.

Tracking would be used when you're actually tailing a gang of poachers -- when the character is literally following sign. Blame my research, but from what I've read it is a very different skill from Hunting.

Survival is for getting by in bad conditions or bad weather. I make players test it when they are out in the winter, or when they've lost all their gear and living off the land is crucial to the game.

Foraging is used to feed mr Forester in the absence of game. We use this skill a lot to feed armies on the march -- to negate pesky obstacle penalties. A skilled tracker/hunter like your character might not need this skill (but I think it's required somewhere, isn't it?).

And Forest-wise, lovely Forest-wise... Wises are pure nichey knowledge skills. Forest-wise really isn't meant to be a skill representing all forests everywhere. It's meant to represent how well you know the bits and pieces of your forest. "Are there any hill nearby where I could get a vantage point of the river?" Roll Forest-wise. It also acts as a great FoRK: "You get up to the hill notice that some other folks have been up here recently."
"Really? I'd like to Track them, can I use my Forest-wise as a FoRK? I know all the likely trails around here, right?"

Philosophically, BW does love granular skills. But I also made sure that, using FoRKs and Wises, there were ways to overlap them and blend the edges of the granularity together.

As far as Resources goes, I'll admit that I was pretty unforgiving. People were fucking poor in the middle ages. And the gap between rich and poor must have been even worse than it is now (especially in the absence of a middle class). So yeah, this guy lives on the scraps from his noble betters.

But look at your choices. First, if you were really concerned with Resources, you wouldn't have wasted your time with poor professions like Bannerman or Cavalryman. Perhaps Master of Hounds would be more to you're liking? It nets more rps than Cavalryman and Bannerman combined. (But I confess, I like your path progression and choices).

You also decided to buy weapons and armor over increasing your material state. You automatically envisioned this character for wilderness adventureeeerringgggg. Sure, he might have had that stuff from the war, but what use is it now? If he's about to quit this place and head off on his own, then some personal protection is prolly more valuable in game than a die of Resources. But if you're planning on playing out the drama surrounding the Duke's forest, a hunting bow, clothes, shoes and travelling gear would probably be plenty. Everything else goes into the good stuff, reputations, affiliations and property.

does that help?
-L
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Valamir
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« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2005, 07:03:58 AM »

Quote
And Forest-wise, lovely Forest-wise... Wises are pure nichey knowledge skills. Forest-wise really isn't meant to be a skill representing all forests everywhere. It's meant to represent how well you know the bits and pieces of your forest.


Ahh, so more like "area knowledge: Western Blackhills" type of skill.  That's good to know.


Quote
As far as Resources goes, I'll admit that I was pretty unforgiving. People were fucking poor in the middle ages. And the gap between rich and poor must have been even worse than it is now (especially in the absence of a middle class). So yeah, this guy lives on the scraps from his noble betters.


So that's something easily tweakable for more fantasy settings which plays pretty fast and loose with the feudal system.  I can buy that.  If one were to play in Greyhawk or the Forgotten Realms, would devide by 10 (or even lower) be more appropriate.

Quote
But look at your choices. First, if you were really concerned with Resources, you wouldn't have wasted your time with poor professions like Bannerman or Cavalryman. Perhaps Master of Hounds would be more to you're liking? It nets more rps than Cavalryman and Bannerman combined. (But I confess, I like your path progression and choices).


Yeah, I thought about M. of Hounds or Horses, but those seemed a little too...courtly for the guy I was going for.  I definitely wanted a poor just-getting-by type.  I'd just equated "poor just-getting-by" with a Resource level of 2-3 and "destitute and poverty stricken" would be more like 0-1.

Quote
You also decided to buy weapons and armor over increasing your material state. You automatically envisioned this character for wilderness adventureeeerringgggg.


That's true.  I could easily wind up with 2 and maybe Res 3 if I ditched the mail and the warhorse.  

That's actually one aspect that I did a little differently in R&R.  In BW you determine your Resource Level after buying your gear.  In R&R you get your "Wealth Level" up front and that determines the level of gear you get.  So I wasn't thinking about having to choose between gear and resource in an either or mind set.  Dumping the warhorse at least would be perfectly sensible, since he hasn't been a cavalry man for so long...the horse would be dead by now any way.  

Good call.
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Luke
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« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2005, 07:14:17 AM »

chainmail and a warhorse!

Uh, yeah. I think you went a little gear heavy.

Though I must admit, I really wrestled with the idea that the warhorse is property. but I wanted to encourage players to look at the other aspects of resources, rather than the: "My warhorse gives me a B3 Res and I'm off to battle in my superior quality plated mail!" type. So expendadbles weren't allowed to count toward Resources.

Ditching the warhorse and downgrading the armor gets you at least enough points of another 1D of Resources if you want it.

-L
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2005, 10:23:00 AM »

I have to say, good answers all around, Luke.

With regards to resources - do they represent income? Or property? If they simply represent wealth on hand, then it completely makes sense. If, OTOH, resources are supposed to also represent disposable income, well, it's hard to imagine how previous expenditures really reduce the income of a current job.

But, yeah, having to buy a warhorse from your cavalry outfit should cost you enough to leave you a pauper over time, unless you started very rich. That's quite an investment. It's just that there's a difference between being broke, but having prospects or a good job, and having a few bucks, but no source of income.

Mike
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Angaros
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« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2005, 01:10:02 PM »

They way I've interpreted Resources is that they represent a character's potential liquidity. With this I don't necessarily mean the immediate assets a character has avaliable for a transaction but rather the sum of everything and everyone he can use as credit or safety when aquiring something. I see Resources as a medieval equivalent of a modern day credit rating. Having a large house, a spotless credit history and dependable associates that can be used as creditors is what counts. An income will of course boost the rating. Buying stuff in a medieval economy probably involves favors, credit based on your reputation as a dependable customer and connections more than it does pouches of silver. If you buy stuff you use your reputation and call in favors to get what you want.

A test for Resources involves more than opening your pouch and handing over some silver coins -- there is bound to be negotiations, persuasion and favors involved. Being taxed means you might have pushed your luck too far when trying to scrounge up money for payment or when calling in favors. I see reputation (not necessarily Reputation) as being vital in a medieval economy where payments might have to wait to be settled until harvest or slaughter when avaliable assets are at their max. If you're not trusted or haven't got anyone that is trusted to vouch for you, why would anyone sell stuff to you now since you probably won't be able to pay for them later, or offer anything reliable in return?
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2005, 01:13:56 PM »

Well, I thought maybe as much, too. Luke?

But then I share Ralph's concern. How does having purchased a warhorse fifteen years ago impact the character's current credit rating? In fact, isn't the horse a source of credit? Or is it that the horse would have had to be repurchased during that time given that it would die from old age?

Or is it just metagame? That is, you can choose to have stuff, or a good liquidity at the time of start? I may just be looking at it in too simmy a way.

Mike
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Luke
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« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2005, 01:39:41 PM »

yeah, whoa there tiger.

The warhorse you bought fifteen years ago isn't part of the resource points process. The decisions that you the player are making right now about how you want your character to behave in play are what's important.

I've noticed this disconnect coming up in some of the more insightful minds round these parts. Resource points are PLAYER purchasing power: If I make these choices, I get X. If I make these other choices, I get Y. The Resources ability -- which devolves somewhat from those choices -- is conflict resolution situated around the character's financial and material capabilities. Driven, of course, by player choice.

And please note that Resources is not a task resolution system. It functions very badly as such! You'll note that the more you spend, the more buying potential you gain! Where in a coin-counting task resolution system, the more you spent, the less money you'd have.

But those advancements tie into ye olde warhorse condundrum. In character burning, starting with a warhorse is a significant decision that quite likely will dramatically affect play. Though it reduces your starting buying potential. However, buying a warhorse in play (via the Intent/risk/task system) actually does contribute to the character's overall wealth -- you get a test toward advancement.

I hope that's clear; hope I haven't stuck my foot in my mouth here.
Mmm, shoe leather.
-L

edited because I don't know my rules
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Valamir
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« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2005, 02:31:58 PM »

Quote
But those advancements tie into ye olde warhorse condundrum. In character burning, starting with a warhorse is a significant decision that quite likely will dramatically affect play. Though it reduces your starting buying potential. However, buying a warhorse in play (via the Intent/risk/task system) actually does contribute to the character's overall wealth -- you get a test toward advancement.


Neat.  Other than a quick skim of some intrigueing sections I haven't gotten past (on my thorough read) the part in the BW book where it says "stop reading and go burn up a character".  So now I have, so I now I shall go back to reading the rest.

Start with Warhorse...reduce Resources.
Buy Warhorse later...get a check towards increasing Resources.

That's kind of bitchin'.


A player who wanted to be wealthy (high Resource) but also wanted to acquire some actual gear, could burn his character with little gear and a high Resource.  Would it then be kosher to request a kind of prelude scene where the purchasing and acquiring of the gear is played out....and the warhorse I won in a bet with the Count DuBois back in '37...

That way the player gets the Resources and has the Gear at the official "start of play", but all of the nice chewy goodness that the resource system brings to acquiring that gear actually gets built into the character.
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Luke
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« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2005, 03:54:30 PM »

Quote from: Valamir

That way the player gets the Resources and has the Gear at the official "start of play", but all of the nice chewy goodness that the resource system brings to acquiring that gear actually gets built into the character.


Well, we kind of ask that players take the gear and possessions that they would absolutely want to have with them in the first scene of their characters' life. The prelude scene, while cool and even permissable, does defeat a little of the purpose of the resolution mechanic. You see, nothing's at stake yet. There's no conflict. BW can do a lot of things great, but one thing it doesn't do is simulate 'the real world" very well. Without some "artificial" narrative/protagonism/antagonism going on, it's just rolling dice until the odds come  up in your favor.

Little known fact: The Monster Burner gives you the keys to the kingdom -- I slyly admit in there that if something is important to your character concept, just take it, but also let your group check it out first. In other words, if you're just going to sit there and roll dice until you get what you want, just take the damn thing and save us all some grief.

But if you're prepared to create a little conflict surrounding your character concept, then we have game!

In the case of your example, that sounds like a cool scene to me -- winning the horse in a bet from the Count. I'd ask you if we could include it in the game. Perhaps he never paid up, the bastard! And we open with you having to borrow some finery so you can go collect your debts. Suddenly we have questions and story happening.

So, in short, no prelude scene unless something's actually at risk and we are going to build from that scene in some way. (Failing to collect your debts, you turn an old friend to an enemy, for example.)

-L
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Thor Olavsrud
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« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2005, 04:43:42 PM »

Quote from: abzu
So, in short, no prelude scene unless something's actually at risk and we are going to build from that scene in some way. (Failing to collect your debts, you turn an old friend to an enemy, for example.)



A total Jean de Carrouges moment.

Anyway, that's totally the trick to Burning Wheel and Character Burning. There is a TON of story right there if you look for it. Often it is little things like this that make a character suddenly pop into being, complete with conflict that flows from his life.

This is also why we tend to be wary of Burning characters in a vacuum (though we forgive you because you're obviously just following the recommendation in the book right now). Without a bit of grounding and direction -- an idea of why you are burning this character and how he fits into what the rest of the group is doing -- you can miss these moments.

Even with the exact same lifepaths, you will burn a very different character if the emphasis of the game will be on martial conflict or social conflict, or a conflict where wealth or the lack of it will be a large factor, or a conflict where reputations, alliances and social pull have a lot of weight.

Burning a knight and don't have enough RPs to buy a warhorse? Maybe the character is sick of war and sold his horse to retire to his country manor...only now THIS has happened. Or maybe you've just had your last horse cut out from under you on campaign. Sure, there are replacements available for purchase, but your whole reason for being here was to gain some wealth. Now you're faced with the possibility of losing everything. Or maybe you've invested in the breeding of warhorses and now a disease has killed off your entire herd. You invested almost everything in that venture! Now how are you going to rebuild your fortune?

No huge, sprawling, play-before-you-play backstory. Just a few lifepaths and some BITs and you're good to go.
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