Be there here monsters?

Sorry for the tortured English, but I just like the sound of it better than “be there monsters here?” and “there be monsters here?” and “here there be monsters?” are too-subtly questions.

The question is, does our Burning Wheel game need monsters?

I can think of at least two ways to tie orcs in to the setting thematically—neither of which i’ll mention here, because i’m pretty sure my players want to be able to discover some things along with their characters. So maybe they’re all the monsters we need? But they’re not really monsters—they’re still very much “people”. And they risk becoming caricatures, and letting humans off the hook by providing a convenient “other” to fixate on: “It’s unreasonable to refer to us as ‘cruel’. You need to look at an orc to see what ‘cruelty’ really is.” Continue reading

With friends like these…

You know, I gotta wonder if the folks making “pro-bicycle” decisions in this city ever actually ride a bike.

Actually, maybe they do—maybe they’re the people I see cycling all the time. The ones who scare the hell out of me, and/or piss me off, with their combination of blatant disregard for their own safety, obliviousness to traffic laws and rules of the road, and poor bike-handling skills. In fairness, the average cyclist is probably no worse than the average motorist, once you factor in differences in vehicular capabilities. And I’ve never been able to observe a motor vehicle for more than a block, and not see them do something dangerous/illegal/stupid (and i’ve been behind the wheel for most of my employment history, so I’ve seen a lot of motor vehicles). But the sheer stupidity of some regular cycling behaviors just boggles the mind: passing a stopped bus between the bus and the curb? Heck, passing any vehicle on the right, if you’re anywhere near any sort of intersection, driveway, or open parking spot. There’s plenty of room on the left side, where people expect to get passed. And yet, just because somebody painted a stripe on the pavement, cyclists think it’s ok. Continue reading

Grokking Burning Wheel

It’s fascinating to me how Burning Wheel—a game that i could barely wrap my brain around the first 2 or 3 times i read it—is starting to click reasonably well. The writing style is still occasionally annoying, but not nearly as excessive as i remembered—I was obviously conflating the original and revised editions. It still could use a little clarity—I love some of the work done on Beliefs since it was published, frex.

Anyway, this is about those few things that still haven’t fallen into place for me, yet. I’m not sure if it’s me or the rules, and i’ll comment or edit this as I figure it out or get answers. Continue reading

A list of names

Names matter a lot to me–nothing pulls me out of the fiction faster than a jarring name, especially a deliberately-humorous name in a serious setting. Well, ok, some other things do–but once a joke or comment is made, it’s done; names tend to stick around. At the same time, it needs to be possible for everyone to contribute to creating the setting for Burning Wheel–such as by creating proper nouns via Beliefs, Traits, and Wise rolls. So for our game,Ii hit a couple of name generator sites, and then combined, culled, and sorted, so I can produce the following lists from which people can select for place names. And as inspiration to start from for people names. Continue reading

OK, we killed our parents. Now what?

Here’s a preliminary summary of the setup for our Burning Wheel game. This is subject to revision/contradiction, and i encourage comments (both from the players and any other readers).

What we know so far: The elves are the old, sophisticated civilization. They’re the vorlons. They brought man up from savagery (maybe even from pre-sentience?), teaching him fire and agriculture and tool making and medicine and law and, well, everything.  Very much the benevolent parental figures. They truly loved man and wanted humans to prosper and grow and be happy and all that. However, at some point in the rememberable past, humans started wanting to know things that elves didn’t think they should know. Continue reading