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In Burning Wheel, artha is rewarded at the end of a session. I am running a four-hour convention game, and hence a one-shot, where this is less meaningful than in campaign play.

Furthermore, the game is a blood opera - there are many characters, some of whom will certainly come to conflict (direct or indirect).

Should we:

  • Give artha as per written rules, when we end playing?
  • Hold a mid-session pause, give artha then, and at the end of play?
  • Give artha after every scene, if any was earned?

These would only apply to end-of-session artha, not to "workhorse" and other end-of-scenario rewards.

I am looking for experiences of people who have ran Burning Wheel as a one-shot in a convention setting or similar location, where most of the players are unknown and there is little reason to believe they will ever come to play these characters again.

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In the current Burning Wheel Gold example scenarios, Twilight in the Duchy Verdorben, characters in the first scenario are pre-loaded with 2 Fate and 1 Persona each but 1 Fate and 1 Persona in the followup scenarios. It also includes this reminder at the end of each scenario:

Be sure to review Beliefs and award artha after concluding the action of the scenario.

Burning Wheel Revised's The Gift scenario—which has blood opera tendencies—has this advice:

All of the characters are pre-loaded with three points of fate, two points of persona and a deeds point. In a smaller game, you might award artha in play. In a bigger game, don’t worry about it. Just play and burn the artha as a finite commodity.

In my experience, characters are usually more involved in the situation than wanting explicit rules instruction. I usually only bring up artha when they're making a roll where it would make a significant difference. I'll wait for someone to ask about how to get more artha before explaining it, or I'll add an offhand comment about artha rewards when they mention a Belief or Trait in their play.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Any experience on how well this has worked in play? \$\endgroup\$ – Thanuir Jul 13 '18 at 15:43
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Artha is for more than spending.

This is what I've seen running BW and its derivatives in con slots: It helps to provide some artha, and asking the artha questions at end of session helps with wrapping up.

It works well to preload characters with some artha so you can demonstrate the "spending artha" part of the game. However, you should still award artha at end of session, even if there's no possible way the players could spend it.

Why?

Awarding artha encourages people to reflect on the session. Every question requires you to think back on play to answer it, so wrapping up a con session by awarding artha will get people to think about the game in the way it wants to be thought about.

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