Two Saturdays ago, our usual group was broken up by a business trip that two of our members had to embark on. The remaining four of us gathered together, made some Burning Wheel characters, and ran a combat against a Medusa.
I ended up making a Dwarven artifcer who turned into an adventurer with his final lifepath choice. I ended up with more resources than anyone else, but I spent most of my resources on a place to live and a business to own. Had we been playing a campaign, I think it would have been a wise choice because I ended up with three dice on my resource check. That’s pretty good for a starting character from what I’ve read about that game. However, since we were running a one-shot combat to see how things would flow, I should have gone with my original plan of Dwarven Mail, Dwarven Axe and a shield. I think I would have been better served by those items than a store and hovel that I would never use. Ah well, such is life.
The first few rounds of combat went really slowly as we looked up rules, figured out the system and moved through the fight. By the end of the night, things were moving much more smoothly. Of course, my character was knocked out by the Medusa, so I, as the player, had tons of free time to look up rules and peruse the books on hand. This helped speed things up quite a bit.
I think in the end, the Burning Wheel system is usable, and we may play a campaign using the system some time in the future. I have to say that I’ll probably never play an archer, unless I can find a way to max out my Speed attribute. The actions for nocking an arrow, drawing the bow and (optionally) aiming a shot before releasing the arrow seem a little harsh to me. Then again, each action is a second long. Most people are used to the 6 or 10 second-long rounds (or 3.2 if you’re playing Cyberpunk) which makes for a different mind-set of combat.
I don’t like 1 second action increments (even in GURPS, which is one of my favorite games!) because of the play impact it has. If someone has a “extraordinarily long” action that takes 3-4 seconds, the player is sitting for 3-4 go-arounds the table while everyone else takes an action. I suppose that if everyone had long actions, then it would even out, but that never happens. There’s always that guy that manages to take an action every round. If rounds are done in 10 second increments (my favorite method) then “long” actions that take 3-4 seconds can actually be done twice a round. This allows for a player to do 2 things per go-around the table, which is much more player friendly.