About

The Burning Wheel is a fantasy role-playing game independently written and published by Luke Crane. The game uses a d6 dice pool mechanic for task resolution and a "Life Path" character creation system that tracks the history and experiences of new characters from birth to the point they begin adventuring.

The Burning Wheel does not include a dedicated setting. The rules, mechanics and backstory elements used in character generation imply a fantasy world by default, but can be easily modified, and the game includes mechanics for players to improvise setting content during play in the form of Wises and Circles tests.

Burning Wheel play revolves around the players generating a detailed background history for their characters, along with core motivations and ethics (Beliefs and Instincts) that connect them to the storyline and to the other PCs. Story is intended to develop organically rather than being pre-scripted, as a number of the game mechanics (e.g, pre-negotiated roll or scene outcomes, the 'Let it Ride' rule, absence of hidden information) exist to prevent GM railroading and help promote co-operation and trust between the players. (This is quite distinct from agreement among the PCs, who may argue and even fight within the context of the rules.)

The GM is encouraged to create problems and challenges that specifically probe and test the Beliefs and Instincts of the PCs, and as a consequence characters frequently undergo significant change in their goals and attitudes over time. The game also includes a variety of quite complex, but technically optional, sub-systems for dealing with combat, chases, negotiation and spellcasting.

There are three editions of Burning Wheel:

  • Burning Wheel Classic (2002)

    Limited print run of 1000 copies.

  • Burning Wheel Revised (2005)

    Introduced the Duel of Wits, Resources, and Circles mechanics.

  • Burning Wheel Gold (2011)

    Differences between Revised and Gold.

    The first 74 pages of Gold, the Hub and Spokes, are a free download from the Burning Store.

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