While there are a fair number of demos here for burning wheel, the wiki is quite light on details.

I would like feedback on useful demo scenarios to run for Burning Wheel and why they are useful. What elements of the system do they showcase well and what kind of players are they designed to appeal to?


(Direct link to the demo and adventures section)

The Sword is the #1 most popular and reliably fun introductory Burning Wheel adventure/demo. It is built to showcase the system - fight, duel of wits, simple contests, the whole shebang - in a manageable format. All the characters have strong built-in loyalties and conflicts with one another, the BITs are strong, it's a really solid demo of the system.

The Gift is less a demo than a full-on adventure suited for convention play and is also very good.

I'd start with those two. They are going to appeal to the same sorts of folks who are drawn to Burning Wheel in general - people who like intense, character-driven play with lots of interesting crunch.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Okay, I just ran The Sword, and failed HORRIBLY it was an abysmal game and no-one had fun. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Jan 8 '11 at 7:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Brian: did you warn the players it is PVP? \$\endgroup\$ – aramis Jan 8 '11 at 7:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's too bad. If you want to figure out what went wrong, I recommend the Burning Wheel forums. \$\endgroup\$ – Jmstar Jan 8 '11 at 14:36

The Sword

useful: it introduces beliefs, beliefs as goals, and can be run with nothing but versus and bloody versus. It can also be used to introduce fight and duel of wits.

drawbacks: includes Monster Burner character. Includes dwarf and elf magical abilities. 4 pregens only. pregen characters not built to standard. Extensive PVP; almost exclusively PVP.

Fidhean - Elf Bard
Robard - Human Criminal (thief)
Ssizz - Roden Scavenger (guide)
Brechtanz - Dwarf Adventurer (fighter)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The MB character is only there as a "If you really want to stretch this to five players" feature. The dwarf and elf stuff does complicate matters somewhat though. \$\endgroup\$ – Quentin Jan 7 '11 at 21:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ There are only 4 characters presented: Ratling Scout, Human Rogue, Elf and Dwarf. The Ratling CGen and special rules are in MoBu, not core; Core races are Human, Elf, Dwarf and Orc. \$\endgroup\$ – aramis Jan 8 '11 at 2:04

The Gift

Useful: Supports up to 8 players. Pretty much should be non-combat. Core Book Only. Explicitly excludes resources rolls and limits circles rolls.

Drawbacks: Elves and Dwarves only. Intended for 6-8 players. Specifically PVP, side vs side. The setup (it's a tense and unstable situation with a big hook). Lack of an actual plot. GM has little to do. Explicitly excludes resources rolls and limits circles rolls.

Prince Vost - Dwarven Prince
Seneschal Kol - Dwarven Noble
Warden Ferun - Dwarven Guilder
Uncle Oxen - Dwarven Noble (Optional)
Captain Eonwë son of Âonwir - Elven Etharch
Loremaster Riil the Sagacious - Elven Loremaster
Ranger Alitanür - Wilder Elf Ranger
Prince Finrir son of Fanrir - Elven Etharch

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    \$\begingroup\$ Unclear why the things you list as drawbacks would be considered drawbacks. \$\endgroup\$ – Jmstar Jan 8 '11 at 17:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Elves and dwarves only: several special rules each. 6-8 player range: does't work well under 6 from what I've read. Lack of an actual plot: There is no set goal for players to latch onto, and that can leave it flat if no one leaps to the lead. The setup is a tense and unstable hook, that, if the rolls are right, might be over with in 5 minutes and may or may not lead to something else. GM having little to do: Only true if the players are good self-starters, but many GM's don't like being that out of the control loop. Excluding resources and circles cuts 2 major important chunks of basic rules. \$\endgroup\$ – aramis Jan 9 '11 at 8:28

I just ran the Hochen game from the Adventure Burner with just skills, helping dice, artha, and bloody versus. This was a one-shot intended to show-case the system. I wanted to run them through writing beliefs. The pregens all come with one belief and players need to write two more with some guidance provided. That worked well. Bloody Versus and Let It Ride also went very well for a three hour one-shot. Players understood the importance of artha without worrying about advancement tests and all that. They saw how instincts worked.

No Duel of Wits and no Fight rules were used. Traits did not come up.

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