I am committed to running the Bloodstone adventure series, and today I have settled on using the Burning Wheel rules system. Below are some of the elements that went into my decision.
The initial candidates were Burning Wheel, Advanced Dungeons and Dragons: First Edition (1E 📖), and possibly Legends of Anglerre. As I was deliberating, Rob Donoghue posted a timely article on returning to 1E after having played Dungeons and Dragons: Fourth Edition (4E).
What struck me about the article, and something that I had forgotten about, is that Dungeons and Dragons (D&D 📖) 1E combat strongly encouraged pre-combat preparation. Whereas 4E combat only happens after initiative is rolled.
In addition, I still maintain that the system you use will strongly influence, and all to likely mandate the game that you will play. And I want to be a part of a memorable game where the story takes front stage.
Bloodstone makes use of the D&D 1E Battlesystem for resolving the many mass combats. I have trepidations about spending an entire evening of a role-playing session focusing on mass combat. While I have fond memories of the mass combat, I want to see if we can possibly get those battles done in about half a session.
While Battlesystem might work, I think there are better options available. Legends of Anglerre and it’s cousin Diaspora, have wonderful mass combat systems. Burning Wheel’s sibling, Burning Empires has Firefight, and with a bit of grunt work, would work well for a fantasy setting. It turns out a few intrepid souls already did the conversion.
Devil in the Details
Another factor that went into the decision, is that my 11 year old loves playing clerics. So the system we play should easily accomodate her. She’s not a strong reader, so I’m hesitant about having her process lots of spells. She is, however, very strong with numbers.
Burning Wheel’s Faith magic has a simple set of rules to follow, and allow for creative prayers…something an 11 year old is quite adept at.
I do have concerns about her ability to track tests, but I’ll take those concerns over her deliberating over a massive list of prayers. She’ll have several adults playing to help her. And I plan on creating a sheet for her to track her tests. In fact, I think this is going to be something that’d be helpful for everyone.
Cold Hard Reality
And lastly, the cold hard reality is that I’m running the game, and as such I can choose the system I want to run, and the players can choose if they want to play. So with Burning Wheel as the chosen system, I need to layout what will go into play.
Onto the Rules
The available races are Man, Elf, and Dwarf. I’m capping Men at 7 lifepaths and Elves and Dwarves at 6 lifepaths; Everyone will have an 7 exponent cap.
I’m going to make potions available to assist in recovery Health tests. The obstacle to create a potion is double the bonus dice granted to the Health test. So a potion of Lesser Healing that grants +2D to a Health test will require an Ob4 Alchemy or Herbalism test to create.