King Arthur Pendragon

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Burning Wheel - A New Beginning

In a rapid turn of events, but not completely out of my control, our Friday night Skype game was changed from AD&D to Burning Wheel. Yes, I know. It was not supposed to be but I came to the conclusion our group, as a whole, is more into games where they have a larger degree of narrative control and where story trumps random events.

This was barely noticeable in our first sessions, but as  time went by, I become more and more aware that they enjoyed the game while they were at the Keep on the Borderlands than when they were fighting monsters and looking for treasure. This is not to blame the game itself, but the group subconsciously gravitated towards situations they wanted to see in-game. Now, we all know AD&D has lots of interaction with NPCs, but at the same time, the exploration element, the mapping of the dungeon, the loot and all the little quirky rules contribute significantly to one's enjoyment of AD&D 1E.

However, the players tended to stay in the fort, talking to NPCs, finding more about the realm's religions and trying to weave their little tales of intrigue around the place. I dangled a few carrots in front of their noses, and for the most part went along, but there's a significant diffence between a highly motivated player and one that, while still enjoying the game, is merely following the gamemaster's hooks. So, after inquiring around, we came to realize that the players really wanted to weave their own tales, in their own setting, while still retaining a sense of fantastic adventure. For all that AD&D does well, it does not do what we really want out of a story. Some elements do not mesh well with our creative sensibility (alignments being one and the rigid classes being another). It's not a bad game, in fact I still enjoy it immensely, but it's not for my group.

Therefore, we decided to turn our attention to Burning Wheel, a game where the players and characters fight for their beliefs. What does this mean to this blog? Nothing much. I still continue reading the Dragon magazine, I still read retro-clones and AD&D 1E so I'll keep writing about that and whatever strikes my fancy. After all, The Paladin in the Bag isn't just about AD&D but also about roleplaying games in all forms.

1 comment:

Aaron Day said...

If you do, try to find the first edition, it is much more flexible. 

But seriously, I never enjoyed the glacial pace of combat or the experience system that forces you to record every single attack roll you make. Plus, combat has a guessing game element to it which makes it feel like you are fighting the GM and not the monster.