Role-playing Games Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for gamemasters and players of tabletop, paper-and-pencil role-playing games. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

As part of an ongoing "Uncampaign" (organized group play of many different systems, to get a feel for new and current trends), I'll be running a Burning Wheel game this weekend.

Having only run mouseguard in the past, this question is soliciting tips for running burning wheel in general and running mysteries in burning wheel specifically. The Genre is set in something like the "Powers" universe, where the PCs will be mundane cops investigating crimes by supers.

What tips should I keep in mind when running Burning Wheel for the first time?

share|improve this question
To be quite frank, running Burning Wheel as a) a one-shot, b) a modern game, c) mystery-centric, d) plot-centric will probably be an epic disaster. Its strengths are a) very, very long-term play, b) gritty fantasy, c) drama, d) character/player-driven unfolding story. If you want to try BW as a one-shot, my suggestion is to run one of the existing demos, which have all been playtested into the ground over several years and come with quality advice for highlighting the system. The Sword is a good default choice. – SevenSidedDie Jan 6 '11 at 0:15
Hrmm, this is a good comment, make it an answer, please :) – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Jan 6 '11 at 0:17
up vote 4 down vote accepted

My advice would be to do exactly the opposite of everything you intend to do. You are really bending Burning Wheel past the point of structural failure.

It is optimized for long-term play and, beyond bloody versus tests, is pretty complex

The existing lifepaths are the game's setting; making your own set is nontrivial

"Mysteries" aren't what it is about, BITs are

I'd suggest Mouse Guard would be a better fit for a one-shot, and it pretty effortlessly handles mysteries too. Or, if it must be Burning Wheel, run the demo The Sword, which is awesome.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.