Before play started

We are playing young members of a traveling troupe of mummers/etc., who were attacked by the local inquisition. Before play we visited a certain town, but it has not been established if we performed there or simply passed through.

Current situation

My character's lifepaths are born peasant - apt pupil - augur (no affiliations or reputations) and I'd like to test circles to find some local healer whom I could help for a meal and place to stay for night. By the rules, is this a legit use of circles? If yes, are there obstacle penalties compared to finding such a person in some location where my character actually lived in for longer?

More generally

Can circles be tested to find people who (for example) share a profession, even if there is scant reason to believe they have had any significant interaction before the roll?

The game is played using the Gold edition, but supposing the circles rules have not changed much, revised edition responses are likely to also be useful.


Circles I go and find my boss is a thread from the Burning Wheel official forums that describes using a Circles role to find someone who you have no relationship with.

Also from The Line Between Wises and Circles

Any time a character is being invented to help the players, you should test Circles.

Any time a player is trying to find information, test a wise.

and The Line Between Wises and Circles Pg 2

Circles brings in a character that is potentially on your side. Wise introduce facts.

Finally in Circles vs Streetwise we get

Seems fine to me to use Circles as a blanket ability to find people, there's no need to be strict about it being people you already know.


Streetwise is for finding neighborhoods or locations in an urban environment, and for intuiting the proper behavior in said neighborhoods.

So you could either go with a straight Circles test with standard obstacle modifiers to create that person to help you in the area or, use a Wise to establish that someone like you are looking for exists in general and then the Circles test if you want them to be linked.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Circles vs. streetwise thread settles the matter. Thanks. \$\endgroup\$ – Tommi Apr 3 '12 at 19:13

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