View Full Version : Burning Wheel First Impressions

10-28-2008, 02:07 PM
Just got finished with my first introduction to the Burning Wheel rpg last night and I have to say that I was quite impressed.

Character creation is very smooth and intuitive. The game uses the 'lifepath' system where you plan out your character's life, adding a significant element of background into the character creation process. By the time you're done creating your character you've already got the framework for a solid background, knowing where your character came from and a rough idea of where they're headed.

The game itself plays very smoothly, though there are a lot of rules to pick up in the beginning. Our GM wisely eased us into combat, using a 'combat lite' version for the first game. The core mechanic is simple and very unique. Combat and skill use is quite easy, though the former is where the game gives players lots of options and rules that can be a little overwhelming when you're first learning. The game plays rather realistically for a fantasy system, which is a nice switch from some of the less-realistic games out there.

One thing I instantly loved was the advancement system for the game. The rpg takes an 'advance what you use' approach, forgoing any experience points system and instead rewarding your characters for using skills throughout the game. The more you use a skill, the quicker it advances. Skills you don't begin play with can be learned by attempting them 'untrained', eventually giving you those key skills you couldn't/didn't pick up in character creation. You find yourself advancing quickly in the skills you use most, which is a great mechanic.

Overall, after one session I really enjoyed the game. The core mechanic is easy and fun. Combat is both gritty, realistic and deadly with lots of options such as special maneuvers and hit locations but still maintains the system's basic level of complexity. Character creation and advancement are handled in new and interesting ways that proved fun. I would highly recommend this little-known game to anyone interested in a new fantasy system.

10-28-2008, 02:49 PM
I have thought Burning Wheel is pretty awesome for awhile, however its not for everyone. Its crunchy and lite at the same time, roleplay heavy and combat heavy at the same time. The writing is also inline with my sense of humor and the author states a lot of things I agree with as far as style.

10-29-2008, 10:01 AM

10-29-2008, 10:43 AM

Official Site: http://www.burningwheel.org/

Wikipedia entry w/ links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burning_Wheel

I've had the chance to read over some kind of preview document of the game several years ago. It seemed very unique. I've never played it or attempted to read all the way through so I couldn't say if its uniqueness was more of a strength or weakness for my game preferences and philosophies. In all probability, it's just different, which is fine.

10-29-2008, 05:03 PM
Thanks for the links. I'll have to dig in later! :)

10-31-2008, 11:48 PM
I know people that have tried all kinds of fantasy systems but end up going back to Burning Wheel. I read through the books and agree that the system provides a huge amount of flexibility but can be very daunting to bring to a new group that is used to d20.
The one thing that really intrigued me about the system was the collaborative storytelling where the player says that something happens and then the GM sets a difficulty for that to happen. If the roll succeeds then it happens as the player described, if the roll doesn't succeed then what the player described still happens but the GM twists it. e.g. player states that he turns around the corner and finds Glamdring (Gandolf's sword) lying on the ground. Now that is highly unlikely so the roll would be really high, most likely resulting in a fail - but the sword is still there because the player said it was there. As a result the sword is there but perhaps a balrog is standing on it, or it is on an anvil and someone is about to destroy it, etc.
Always thought that giving players control (if they can handle it) is an awesome way to play.

04-29-2009, 10:00 PM
Now that you have been playing it for awhile what do you think?

04-30-2009, 05:28 PM
I love it! Everything flows so smoothly and it lends itself very well to character development. Combat is a breeze with TONS of options and a great balance between being cinematic and realistic. Really, a great game.

05-01-2009, 02:22 PM
I'm pretty pleased with it. The only consistent problem I have is remembering to hand out Artha as I go during the story. It's definitely a rules heavy system, but I think that's pretty well advertised going in. I'm having a good time with it for sure.

05-05-2009, 06:59 PM
I have the sick idea to run the old DL series using Burning Wheel... That or of course Middle Earth.

I'm a sick sick man :D