The Burning Wheel supplement introducing Death Art features the ritual "Death of the Spirit" for creating undead servants. The final step of the ritual is the Evocation in which

[...] the victim must be tormented and then ritually murdered.

The victim is then transformed into an undead and his

[...] stats are equal to his stats in life, minus any dice from injuries sustained at the time of this death.

If a victim is evoked while suffering from a Traumatic Wound, all of his stats are reduced by four when he transforms from life to unlife.


How can I complete this ritual with the least possible amount (preferably no) wounded dice on the victim?


2 Answers 2


For the Living Death rules, you don't hack apart your victim. The evocation test itself is the murder, failure means you killed them too good and now they're just a garden variety corpse.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah. So the note about a Traumatic wound is to cover pre-existing wounds before Death of the Spirit is invoked. Yes? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 13, 2017 at 16:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yep. So patch up your revenant friends before you ritually murder them. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 13, 2017 at 19:06

According to my understanding of the rules there are three options:

Kill the victim with a single mortal wound

The Mortal Wound doesn't impose a die penalty. It just incapacitates the character. A mortal wound wouldn't lead to a stat reduction the same way one or two Superficial wounds (+1 Ob penalty in life) wouldn't.

Have a single severe (or worse) wound bleed all the way to mortal

When a wound bleeds it is converted to the next higher category. The original wound isn't retained and we are back to method one. (BWG p. 490)

If a wound bleeds from severe to mortal, the character is considered to have taken a mortal wound.

Kill the victim without inflicting wounds

It is not mandatory to use the wound system especially when dealing with damage other than cuts and broken bones. The victim could be killed with some poison which just kills the victim if left untreated and bypasses the wound system.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I am not sure that my understanding of the wound mechanics is completely correct. Please correct me if I'm wrong. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zalktis
    Jan 6, 2017 at 19:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @okeefe Do you have a rules passage supporting the fact, that when a wound bleeds into the next category it leaves the previous wound there? The example I quoted from the rulebook seems to indicate that a severe wound bleeding through traumatic to mortal leaves the victim with only a mortal wound. I am not sure either way and would very much like to know, how it is supposed to work. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zalktis
    Jan 6, 2017 at 22:13

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