Running and Playing Bloodstone in Burning Wheel

Note: This post has content disclaimers.

I’ve been spending a lot of time reading the Bloodstone adventure. Not because I plan to run it by the book, instead looking to see what the core essence of the story is about. As it is based on Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, it is fitting that we’ll have 7 players.

Group Composition

I believe the following skills or character concepts will be extremely helpful:

  • Command, Strategy, and Tactics - This skill is very vital in the Battle! sub-system.
  • Ditch Digging, Soldiering, Masonry - Skills that allow you to build defensive positions will prove helpful for the larger set pieces.
  • Surgery - If you don’t want to die, someone will need this skill. I have it on good authority that someone will be playing a Faithful surgeon.
  • Field Dressing, Bloodletting, and Herbalism - On their own, these will prove useful, however, helping the surgeon would be a good idea.
  • Sorcery, Summoning, and/or Spirit Binding - Access to magic will be helpful. I believe Summoning and Spirit Binding could prove helpful for the creation of defenses.
  • Instruction - If the players are interested in training each other, or training the villagers, then Instruction will be a golden skill.

Starting Resources

You may not start with property that is tied to a location (i.e. manor, vineyards, mines, etc). Each of you have likely fled the Night of the Long Knives with what meager possessions you have.

You may consider burning up a henchman, though that may be a lot of work.

Scene Economy

With 7 players, I’m concerned about keeping things moving. I have a multipart plan.

Rely heavily on the Bloody Vs. mechanic. After all, why should we focus 1 hour of real time to resolve what would be 6 seconds of game time.

Encourage players who are not in the active scene to jump in as an Non-Player Character (NPC 📖). If they have an idea, why not let them run with it. Obviously, there might be some veto power.

Actively manage the scene economy. I’m working this one out, but I want to make sure that everyone gets a fair share of the spotlight.

Give bonuses for Character traits. I understand that there may not be as much of a chance to highlight your character traits, so I’m going to give everyone a bonus for their character traits. Once per session, per character trait, you may FoRK that trait into a single test. This rule is drawn from Mouse Guard’s rather awesome and concise Trait system.