I'm working with a first time Burning Wheel player. He sent me a rather lengthy email about his character for our upcoming Burning Sanctuary.
I think some of this might be helpful for those considering Burning Wheel. With the player's permission, I am reposting these questions.
As expected, he provided a rather lengthy section on beliefs as well as some reasons behind those beliefs.
- I need to retrieve this <artifact, promissory note, message, military intelligence, etc?>that was confiscated by the Abbey and deliver it Ranulf de Gernon
- Serve Ranulf until it becomes clear that he can't advance my status or finances any further or you catch the eye of a superior lord.
I love the specifics of the 1st belief. To strengthen it, it needs to incoprorate a reason. Why is he delivering the McGuffin to the Earl of Chester? What does he hope to gain?
With that in place, the player can remove the next belief “Serve Ranulf until it becomes clear that he can't advance my status” and focus on something else; perhaps an ethos belief.
There is more discussion about other beliefs as well as guiding-light discussion. All told an excellent bit of work from the player.
I loved the “Character Problems” section. At this point, he is the first player to share the nature of his beliefs, instincts, and traits. In doing so, he begins to give shape to the campaign.
Is it inappropriate or gamey to start with a relationship with a major player when you're just a reputable village tradesman? Should the relationship be with some courtier or middle rank instead?
I love the relationship with Ranulf de Gernon, 4th Earl of Chester. You spent your resource points (as per the rules). For 15 resource points, you could have a relationship with King Stephen or Empress Matilda.
In spending the resources you are telling me and the table that you want Ranulf de Gernon to play a role in the upcoming campaign; And you want to have guaranteed access to him (and starting with an amicable disposition).
Why not just go from merchant to magnate for the fourth lifepath instead of smuggler?
- It would make more sense for Ranulf to work with a respected merchant magnate, likely with court experience, then to work with a lowly merchant smuggler.
- However, it seems more interesting to me to start small-time with B2 resources and work up instead of just having a huge B6 resources immediately. The smuggler can do more things outside of social and financial situations. Seems more flavorful as well.
I agree that it will be more interesting to start with a small-time B2 resources and claw your way up. It also adds complications to Ranulf de Gernon, Earl of Chester. He has a relationship with someone ill-reputable.
It creates an asymmetric and unstable relationship - a relationship in motion.