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Abbreviations and Terms

  • BW - Burning Wheel (both BWC and BWR). Jihad, Blossoms are Falling, and Under a Serpent Sun are supplements for BW
  • BE - Burning Empires
  • MG - Mouse Guard
  • BWR - Burning Wheel, specifically the revised edition.
  • BWC - Burning Wheel, specifically the classic edition

Character Generation
Lifepath? Lifepath with pool points Lifepath with pool points A single, assumed 'lifepath', differentiation achieved through choices made from predefined lists.
Skill range 1-10 1-10 1-6 (with a few exceptions)
Total number of skills allowed/character No limit No limit 24
Number of skills, total 200+, not including wises 121, not including wises 34, not including wises
Number of Traits/character No limit No limit 5
Number of Beliefs/character 3 3 1
Number of Instincts/character 3 3 1, which has a lesser effect that BW or BE instincts
Number of Goals/character None, use Beliefs None, use Beliefs 1

Skill Rolls
Using Other Related Skills to assist BW doesn't set a formal limit, and each 'augmenting' skill may add 1D or 2D, depending on level BE allows one wise and one non-wise skill to "FoRK" to a skill roll MG allows just one Wise to augment, providing a 1D bonus
Number of Goals/character BW may use 4+, 3+ or 2+ for successes, depending on the skill A roll of 4+ is a success A roll of 4+ is a success
Rewards ("Artha" in BW & BE) BW/BE "Artha" comes in three flavors(Fate, Persona, and Deeds). BW/BE have more uses for Artha than MG does, and more ways to earn them. Rewards come in 2 flavors (Fate and Persona);
"Artha"/Reward types: Differences only Deeds points double the non-artha dice roll. Avoid dying from a mortal wound with 1 persona. Deeds points double the non-artha dice roll. Avoid dying from a mortal wound with 1 persona. May add nature dice to a skill roll for 1 persona

Each Trait has a defined specific mechanical effect, depending on whether they're character traits, die traits, or call-on traits. Each Trait has a defined specific mechanical effect, depending on whether they're character traits, die traits, or call-on traits. Same as BW. MG traits have levels from 1 to 3: Level 1 = once per session bonus die, Level 2 = a "whenever applicable" bonus die, Level 3 - reroll failed dice. All traits can break ties, but not in the player's favor. All traits are combined advantage and disadvantage. (Disadvantage use by the player earns "checks".)

Conditions and Wounding
BW has 6 different levels of wound, each of which can be taken multiple times, and each time incurs a penalty to further actions. Mortal Wounds require spending artha to survive them. BE has 4 levels of wound, again, each can be taken multiple times. Mortal Wounds require spending artha to survive them. MG has a 5 conditions, each of which is Boolean (true/false).

"Emotional Attributes" and Nature
BW has one per major race, plus two in Jihad, plus (IIRC) 2 in Blossoms are Falling, and 2 in Under a Serpent Sun, and several in Magic Burner. Each is some form of price/thematic fight against one's baser instincts... Like MG's "nature", when they get too high, the character is out of play. BE does not have any! Mouse guard has one: Nature.

Paranormal abilities:
BW has several in core (Dwarven & Elven Craft Skills, Elven Songs, Human Sorcery, Orc Sorcery), and 8 more in Magic Burner; Several more in Jihad (Ancestry, Fanaticism, Simhanada, Analyst) of far more narrow construction. BE "Psychology" is a telepathy type ability if the bright mark is possessed. MG none explicit. Nature has some paranormal function in that it can be substituted for any skill, and with a persona point spent, can add to a skill roll. Weather Watcher also has some far reaching affect on the game world, and Scientist allows a Mouse to affect very large animals.

BW/BE skill level advancement is count number of tasks by difficulty - Challenging (Ob > dice before adding artha) Difficult (Ob > dice -3 and Ob > 1/2 dice), or routine. Only a few abilities require that you succeed to count the test; it's not about success, as facing challenges. BW "Shade Shifting" (permanent lowering of the target number for successes) is by tracking artha spent on a particular skill and is very expensive. BW/BE advancement for skills gets much harder once you hit level 5. MG advances a skill when that skill has been used successfully and failed a set number of times. The number of pass/fails needed to advance increases as the skill level increases.

Extended Resolution Systems
The Systems in Each Game BW: 3. Duel of Wits, Range & Cover, and Fight! Jihad: adds a 4th to BW: Propaganda War
  • Duel of Wits - Driven by reduction of Body of Argument (disposition), 7 action choices, script 3 actions. a few resolution differences between BW/BE, but in really minor ways due to different skill lists. Pretty much only for Arguments and convincing.
  • Fight!: No disposition. 12 options for actions; Script (speed stat, typically 2-8) actions total over 3 volleys. Ends when one side flees, can't fight any more, or both sides agree to stop.
  • Range and Cover: No disposition. script 3 actions, 3 choices. End by damage or movement out of range.
  • Propaganda War: Driven by reduction of your opponent's Disposition. Not Scripted per se; you script one action, then play out the action, then resolve the propaganda war meta-action. Drives Jihad as a metaplot.
BE: 4. Duel of Wits, Firefight, I corner him and stab him with my knife, and Infection
  • Firefight: Disposition driven. Scale is intended for units, not individuals, but includes ability to use individuals as units. Uses a map generated during resolution. Script 3 actions from 9 choices. Subsystem for individuals in close combat. Ends when all remaining units agree to do so, units can be killed or injured out, or can be "broken" by losing all disposition.
  • I Corner Him and Stab Him With My Knife - Mini Firefight. Only 3 action choices, but otherwise, it's a subset of Firefight.
  • Infection: Disposition driven. script 1 action from 8 choices; play half a session of other stuff, then resolve. Some of that other stuff may enable modifiers to the infection action. Drives BE as a metaplot.
MG: 1, used for any type of 'important' conflict. Driven by reduction of your opponent's Disposition. You script 3 actions per exchange, selecting from 4 choices (attack, defend, maneuver, feint). The book gives examples of each of these four options as they apply to many different kinds of conflicts (fighting, arguments, chase scenes, big battles, et cetera).

Narrative Frameworks
BW has no framework built in BE has a scene budget; each player (and the GM) get a limited number of scenes after scripting the infection action but before resolving it. Players have to move to the "authorial" stance routinely. MG has missions broken into GM turn and Player turn

General Notes
BW is an open toolkit with a few assumptions of player skill and knowledge built in. BE is less focused mechanically than MG, having several options, but fairly structured in play. Not really a game for novices, as it requires everyone to narrate scenes, or at least set them. MG is very focused; more streamlined mechanics and has fewer mechanical options, but still maintains the core concepts of "Burning" games. Simple enough for literate children to play effectively, but not written as a child's game. Aimed at adults, but an excellent introductory game.
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Page last modified on January 18, 2010, at 11:41 AM by DoyceTesterman

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