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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13299 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 68 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Trouble I had running The Sword  (Read 4364 times)
JB Mannon
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« on: November 06, 2008, 10:35:10 AM »

I just want to preface this by saying that this is in no way a bad reflection on the Sword scenario things happened while we were playing that made things difficult.

Over the summer I ran "The Sword" at a get together for the Richmond Roleplaying Group and at the time I thought things went really well but since then I have been thinking over it and I have some things that I learned that I think I should share. 

We started with four players and during the middle of the game one of the players (the host) gave up his seat for another person who had been watching and asking questions about the system.  The problem wasn't that this person left the game or that the other person joined, I was prepared for some chaos as there were a lot of other things going on and this being a one shot character ownership really means very little.  Unfortunately the character that got swapped was the Guide and the story had already moved beyond the point where that character really has a lot to do.  I tried to bring him in as much as I could making offers to him of things that his character could do but he never seemed to engage.  I don't quite know what I could have done at that point to involve that character but it is something I have given a lot of thought recently.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2008, 11:13:44 AM »

Hi JB,

What is "The Sword?" Is it a published game? No big deal if it's not, but I need to know. I didn't find it referred to in any of your previous posts.

What does the Guide do during play, and why is his or her role less significant later in play?

Best, Ron
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The Dragon Master
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« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2008, 01:23:30 PM »

Ron: The Sword is a one shot scenario for Burning Wheel. Available from their wiki. "The Guide" is a roden (think ratman) whose instincts and beliefs,,, need to be reworked because they don't really sit well. One instinct is to get all payment up front, but the main belief tying him to the events present is to get his payment from them (the one his instinct says he'd already have gotten before being willing to take them to the dungeon in question).

JB: I ran the sword this past spring (posted an actual play in the burning wheel forums) and had the same problem, though I only had the three characters. The beliefs/instincts of The Guide could stand to be reworked. I'd probably replace the money belief with one about the party being the only safe trip home, but I've only ran the scenario once with players who weren't very proactive in their play style. I'd recomend you head to the burning wheel forums and ask there since that's the official forum and there will be plenty of people there who've run this specific scenario.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2008, 03:52:51 PM »

Ooohhhh! A Roden scenario - consider me 100% oriented. In case you guys didn't know, I've been very BW-oriented since early 2003. No need to 'explain' anything in it to me, and the Roden are my favorites in the whole Monster Burner.

That character concept does seem a little funky. One issue I have with playing Burning Wheel in demos and one-shots is that it lends itself to depicting the Beliefs and Instincts as if you were an actor following a script. Whereas playing it in a more dynamic, responsive way, over sessions, especially after Artha has been gained and used a few times, opens play up to the (rather easy) rules for changing Beliefs and Instincts.

In a more open-ended game, typically I'd expect whoever was playing that character simply to come up with different BITs through the course of changing events.

JB, hindsight may not be helpful, but if you find yourself in a similar situation again, one option is simply to write in new Beliefs and Instincts onto the sheet, tuned to issues in play at that moment. Whether I would have thought fast enough on my feet to do that right there in the moment, though ... well hell, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have.

Best, Ron
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JB Mannon
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« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2008, 09:11:56 AM »

Thanks guys I decided a while ago that I was unhappy with how that game ran for me and I wouldn't be running it again until I had some idea what I realy wanted to fix with it.  I like the BW rules and I am running the Gift this weekend and I hope it will work out better.  I am also in the process of getting a full group together for a campaign so I will let you know how that goes.
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Luke
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« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2008, 09:51:18 PM »

Sorry I found this so late. Thor and I were just talking about this.

In a more open-ended game, typically I'd expect whoever was playing that character simply to come up with different BITs through the course of changing events.

JB, hindsight may not be helpful, but if you find yourself in a similar situation again, one option is simply to write in new Beliefs and Instincts onto the sheet, tuned to issues in play at that moment. Whether I would have thought fast enough on my feet to do that right there in the moment, though ... well hell, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have.

As always, Ron as intuited a great solution. Having a situation change whether it's in fiction or in meat space is a perfect opportunity to change Beliefs. Next time something like this happens in your game, stop the action and showcase the process. Put the player writing this new Belief into the spotlight. When the action starts up again, it will be readily apparent how powerful a tool Beliefs are.

Thanks for your questions and thanks to Ron for the assist.
-L
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