Monday, January 10, 2011

Burning Wheel forum is an interesting read

Whoa, I'm getting some rather harsh (somewhat unfair?) criticism from The Burning Wheel forum. I must truly be a moron because the captcha keeps blocking my registration. Therefore...
"He thinks the DoW is too complicated and doesn't understand it at all, nor can he see how anyone else might understand it."
I believe I understand duel of wits and say nothing about other peoples' understanding. The reason I like Fight! compared with DoW is probably due to history. I expect combat in RPGs to be complicated. I like how old style games don't prescribe rule systems for non-combat. It leaves the players to determine all that. I enjoy the dichotomy of freedom and roleplay for social stuff, complex and strict for combat.

I think, if I were to design an RPG, I would do the exact opposite of The Burning Wheel. Instead of bringing systems into non-combat, I'd take the system out of combat. In fact, I'd probably design something that is almost no system at all. The players/GM would be responsible for providing all the continuity and determining the results of events. Dice, probably just a d10, would be used when you want chance to assist in determining outcomes. Anyways...
"Well, I like d100 in theory... but it's boils down to the tens die. Once you roll that, it doesn't matter about the other die in 9/10s of the cases."
Quite correct, except if you use critical success and fumble. Then it's 7/10. Or opposed test, 6/10. Still annoying, however. If only physical d100s weren't so crap...
"The dice pool thing is some personal problem he has..."

"I'm amused that he gets the complex ideas (BITs and Let It Ride) but doesn't get dice pools."
Personal problem? Well, yes, you can call it that, if you want. It sort of belittles things like alcoholism and depression, but whatever. Another way of putting it is "I don't like dice pools for reasons x, y, and z." I do understand them, however. Why do people often conclude that just because you don't like something you don't understand it?
"he wants straight ExP awards in place of Arthas. So he hasn't gone through the rewards cycle, advancing skills/stats, shade shifting to get a feel for it."
Not true. I want something simple. If ExP (I assume you mean D&D XP) is simple, I want it. I like RuneQuest's reward system. It's immediate and you can apply it to things like improving skills/stats, learning new skills and learning new magic. It blows away stupid stuff like going up levels in D&D, for example.

None of these generally absurd comments improve my disposition towards The Burning Wheel. It doesn't turn me off in any way either. One day I'd like to discover a forum that wasn't 75% tools, but it'll probably never happen.


  1. I differ. I like BW approach to non-combat. The combat is deadly and there's a lot of non-combat player options so players may not want to enter combat all the time. So non-combat gameplay is supported by the rule system. Players get rewarded and can use skills more efficiently outside of combat in BW than the could in most other systems.

    Yeah I know all systems have non-combat support but they feel like an after thought and non-combat players seem jipped or left in the dust. BW makes diplomacy just as critical and awesome as brute force.

  2. I think you're getting negative feedback because you're criticizing BW for it isn't rather than what it is. It's a great rpg with a crunchy system and uses dice pools. The blurb on the back of the book or online item description before you even crack it open tells you that it's a dice pool system. If you're so against dice pools why did you even bother getting it because that fact was never hidden?

    Anybody will tell you that it's not a system where you make up mechanical things along the way. If you don't like games with rules crunch than BW isn't for you. However if you like games with more crunch than BW is great because the system is pretty much flawless. There's several rules lite games out there and BW never claimed to be one.

  3. I don't feel like I've been mislead. I knew I was getting a game with dice pools. Truthfully, I already knew that they add nothing. Four dice, ten dice, one die, it makes no difference. It's the meaning you give to the result(s) that matters.

    Sure, if one likes throwing a bunch of dice, maybe use dice pools. However, uniform vs. normal distribution, one die vs. dice pools, percentile vs. step dice, it doesn't make any useful difference to the outcomes. I was, therefore, honestly quite surprised that anyone would make something so complex.

    Don't get me wrong, supporting non-combat is fantastic. That's great that BW does that. In fact, combat should get no special treatment whatsoever. I was mistaken to side with Fight! over DoW. Doing so is nonsense, as they're basically the same thing.

  4. I think they used dice pools to better implement things like FoRKs and helping dice. Also it makes the "Let it Ride" rule more useful. So a bunch of dice aren't being rolled for every little thing.