Revisiting the Dragonmarks for a Possible Burning Wheel Campaign

Writing Down Just Enough of an Idea to Proceed

Note: This post has content disclaimers.

I wrote . I never did playtest that. This afternoon while the household napped, I revisited that post and spent a bit of time penciling in some ideas for an Burning Wheel Gold 📖 set in Eberron 📖.

I have had a very busy and , and things won’t calm down until . So all of this public musing is me positioning myself for when the dust settles.

In this post, I go over another take on the concept of Dragonmarks from the Eberron Campaign Setting 📖 and Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron 📖.

For now, I’m going to ignore the cost of this trait, though I’m guessing it would be something less than Gifted.

Dragonmarked Emotional Attribute

Your Dragonmarked emotional attribute opens at B3. Pick your idiom from the list below, noting that you may only ever have one idiom:

Detection
investigation and insight
Finding
perception, observation, scavenging, and hunting
Handling
interacting with animals
Healing
tending to wounds
Hospitality
charm and generosity
Making
repairs and crafting
Passage
driving and piloting
Scribing
writing and translating
Sentinel
guarding something
Shadow
legerdemain and misdirection
Storm
acting in inclement weather or operating maritime vehicles
Warding
working with physical security measures

You may spend a Fate to receive help from your Dragonmark. Your Dragonmark will only help on tasks that are congruent with it’s idiom. Note, when your Dragonmark helps, record the test for it’s advancement.

You may also invoke your Dragonmark to perform idiomatic magic and miracles. Describe your task and intent using your Dragonmark. The Game Master (GM 📖) will determine the Obstacle (Ob 📖) . Test your Dragonmark attribute; this is an open-ended roll.

On a failure temporarily tax the Dragonmark exponent by the degree of failure. For each point their Dragonmark would drop below zero, they take physical damage equal to the obstacle of the miracle multiplied by the number of points below zero in “pips” on the Grayscale. The character recovers from this tax at a rate of one point per two hours.

When your Dragonmark exponent reaches 10, at the end of the session your character merges into the Draconic Prophecy and leaves play.

Design Discussion

In Ebberon, those with Dragonmarks are better at their idiom. In my original musing, the character could FoRK 📖 their Dragonmark into a test. In this version, I went with help. I like the idea that doing idiomatic things advances your Dragonmark. I drew inspiration from the Corruption emotional attribute found in the Burning Wheel Codex 📖.

There’s also an implication that to continue to make full use of your Dragonmark you need to be working towards a belief. This alone has an interesting tangential design consideration. Namely, when you make an Non-Player Character (NPC 📖) and choose for them to have a Dragonmark, they’re going to want Fate. Which also implies that you should write up their beliefs so you can award them Fate accordingly. Which is a mechanical way of saying, “Someone with a Dragonmark has an agenda within this campaign world.”

Now, I haven’t playtested any of this, but I think it provides some solid guiderails. I leave the idiomatic magic and miracles up to further playtesting.

One thought I had was to use the Dungeons and Dragons: Fifth Edition (5E 📖) spells for each idiom to help calibrate the Ob; let’s say an Ob of 1 plus the spell level.

I also thought about triangulating against the Divine Intervention tasks in the Faith chapter of Burning Wheel Gold.

And last, I had even considered picking bits and pieces from the Art Magic and Spirit Binding chapters of Burning Wheel Codex.

Next Steps

For now this is enough of a place holder for Dragonmarks, because, if I’m interested running an Eberron campaign in Burning Wheel Gold, I may need to consider other things. I’m definitely not going to make lifepaths for the various stock. Like I scratched out in .

Instead, if I run an Eberron game in Burning Wheel Gold I’m going to work with the players on their character concepts. Then we’ll perhaps skip the Character Burner and create characters based on their concept. One of the functions of the lifepaths in the Character Burner is to create “setting.” That is not something as vital when re-purposing an existing setting.

I also think that I will limit the game to two or three players. First, I would be running the game online, and I’ve found that four players and a GM is the absolute limit. And in the case of Burning Wheel Gold my experience leads me to seek a smaller group.