30 Days of The Burning Wheel: once again into the breach…

Some “issues” sorta interrupted my 30 Days of Burning Wheel series I started way back in February.

But, I’ve been playing pretty regularly then (if not blogging), and I’ve got some things I’d like to write about. I hope to have one up later tonight and maybe another in a day or two with at least a couple more to follow.

See you soon…

30 Days of The Burning Wheel: It's the Beliefs, Stupid! (with apologies to James Carville)

So, a week ago Friday we finally got to have our character burning session. After a sluggish start, we finally got a world and some characters burned up — more or less. It was an odd session, and I learned a lot about starting a BW game from it.

From the outset, I wanted to put a few artificial limits on the game. The most important of those is that I wanted to plan for a short game, only 4-5 sessions. Part of it is that I wanted to approach this game as a sort of training run for GMing BW since I’m new to GMing it. Also, we have one player in the group who’s a total BW newbie and doesn’t have much experience playing any games outside of D&D and other d20 games. Also, I have RPG ADD something fierce, and I didn’t want to set my sights on a longer game that would fizzle like my recently-ended D&D campaign.

We were also coming off two weeks starting Tim’s Riddle of Steel game — a “world/character burning” session, then the first session of play — which we’ve been having a blast with. So, the bar for a more narrativist and more player-driven style of play was set high.

Continue reading 30 Days of The Burning Wheel: It's the Beliefs, Stupid! (with apologies to James Carville)

30 Days of The Burning Wheel: pre character burning

After two weekends of a kickass Riddle of Steel game, the Burning Wheel game I’m GMing will kick off next Friday (2006.01.27) with a character burning session. We talked a tiny bit after last week’s great TRoS session, and the only things that were discussed were:

  1. One player expressed a desire to play it “stock” (elves, dwarves, orcs, etc. in a Tolkien-esque gritty fantasy setting) and the others (including myself) were totally down with that. After the TRoS game’s sorta wacky setting (think “Arabian Nights”-ish with Gothic/Roman Sorceror King fascist/racist overloads — but totally kickass!), I think I’ll be happy with something more “usual,” anyway, but who knows until we get at the table and start letting the ideas fly. We’ll see how it goes Friday night; and
  2. I said I’d like to come up with an idea that has a pretty set end-game and that we can get through in 4-5 sessions. Short, sweet, hit it and get out. In my experience, knowing that things don’t really have the option of lasting for that mythical open-ended “campaign” frees the players — especially those conditioned by years of D&D and its careful resource management — to do some BIG, powerful stuff from the get go. That’s the theory, anyway.

With the game kicking off this coming weekend, I’ll be spending a lot more time thinking about BW and therefore a lot more time post about it here. I’ll have the “usual” sort of posts coming as well as Actual Play posts from the game itself. I may do those over at The Burning Wheel forums but I’ll link to them from here and probably expound a little on them as well. I should have at least one BW post up before Friday’s session.

a brief intermission

My wife and two-year-old son were carjacked today. They weren’t harmed, just terrorized. The police caught the guy, but we still don’t know exactly what happened and may not for a while. It could have been MUCH MUCH worse. Everyone’s okay, though.

So, needless to say, I’ve got other priorities right this second other than blogging. I know some people are waiting on the edge of their seats for the next installment of 30 Days of Burning Wheel, but it might be a few days before I finish any of the several pieces I’ve started. [EDIT: I meant that last sentence to be at least mildly amusing (since I’m sure NO ONE is actually waiting on the edge of his seat!), but I can see how that got buried under the otherwise grave tone of the post. Sorry about that.] I’ll get back to it as soon as I can, though. Thanks. And remember to lock your car doors at all times, people.

30 Days of The Burning Wheel: characters vs. players

Historically, in discussing roleplaying games, we tend to talk in depth about our characters and not so much about the players. There’s a certain roleplaying creative agenda that emphasizes in-character roleplaying as the be-all and end-all of a great roleplayer or a great roleplaying session. The legendary: “we played for twelve hours and NEVER ONCE ROLLED THE DICE!” (and its variations) elicits hush and wide-eyed awe amongst a great number of roleplayers. But very few roleplaying groups ever manage that sort of play, and I’d wager that there are more of us that really have no desire for that sort of play, especially since it often contains (in my experience) lots of in-character interaction with NPCs that contains little or no interesting conflict, such as haggling at the store, telling stories in the tavern, etc. I’m not saying that intense in-character roleplaying and simulationism isn’t sometimes rewarding or that it doesn’t have its place, even at our table, but, for me, it’s not the shortest path to fun in roleplaying.

Continue reading 30 Days of The Burning Wheel: characters vs. players