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Beliefs and Instincts from Burning Wheel

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raggedhalo

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« on: (04:39:09/02-11-11) »
Hi folks, Semerkhet said something back in December (post quoted below for props) that really made me think.  I'm just in the set-up phases for my new campaign (Seattle 2071, planning to run Ghost Cartels and homebrew and go from there) and decided to put together a house rule stolen from a game I've never played, called Burning Wheel.  I did my research online and I really liked the idea, so I thought I'd share it with you guys in case you like it too.

Beliefs
•   Take the form of a call to action: not just something you believe, but something you're going to do about something you believe
     o   NOT "The Yakuza got me put in prison"
     o   BUT "The Yakuza got me put in prison.  I will make their oyabun pay for what he did to me."
•   You start with one Belief per permanent Edge you have
•   In each scene where you act towards a Belief, you refresh 1 Edge
•   If you wish to act against a Belief, you must either spend 1 Edge or make a Composure (2) Test or else be unable to do so
•   If and when you fulfil a belief, you gain 1 Karma and may choose a new Belief

Instincts
•   Things your character will do automatically, without having to tell the GM.
•   You get to allocate as many Instincts as you have permanent Edge
•   Each Instinct should be something specific, and be either an "always" statement, a "never" statement, or an "if...then" statement
     o   I always have my assault rifle set to Burst Fire mode
     o   I never go through a door first or last
     o   If I see a spirit, then I activate my Power Focus
•   Assumed always to be active, unless you say otherwise
•   You may change an Instinct in the course of play by spending 1 Edge
•   Saves you a Free or Simple Action because you've automatically done it
•   Surprise may supersede "if...then" Instincts

I'll let you know how it actually goes, but I'm hopeful it'll work as a way of using the mechanics to reinforce characterisation, which is really important from my perspective.



One way my group has handled little details like focus activation is through the use of a house rule imported from the Burning Wheel RPG.  Every character picks three "Instincts" at chargen.  The Instincts are "if,then", "always" and "never" statements that describe their characters primary instinctual behaviors. 

For a Shadowrun magician you could have ones like:
I always use Counterspelling on teammates in line-of-sight.
If I think there's going to be trouble, then I activate all my foci.


The idea is that when the "if" condition happens, the "then" portion of the statement is held to have been done, whether or not the player mentions it to the GM.  Note that the second example still doesn't protect the character from total surprises but even several seconds of warning would have been enough time to activate foci.  This protects players from the (hopefully rare) GM that would say things like, "but you didn't *say* you had activated your foci."
Joe Rooney
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FastJack

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« Reply #1 on: (08:13:36/02-11-11) »
I like this.

And, since I like it, I think I'll be bringing it up with my group when we sit down to start the campaign.

Charybdis

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« Reply #2 on: (22:33:16/02-13-11) »
I do indeed like the instinct rule. It formalises a system we've used at the gaming table for a while.

I'm not so hot on the beliefs, though.
I mean, does this demonstrate that a PC with high edge suffers from having more beliefs to break? SO has to tip on a few more eggshells and avoid more situations?

Seems a bit harsh....
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Rockopolis

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« Reply #3 on: (22:39:44/02-13-11) »
I suppose I can see that, in that they have more to lose, since there's no penalty once all your Edge points are drained.  On the other hand, having no Edge points is a pretty bad penalty.

I got a copy of Burning Wheel as a present a couple years back, seems really cool, but I've never gotten around to playing it.
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raggedhalo

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« Reply #4 on: (04:59:26/02-14-11) »
I'm not so hot on the beliefs, though.
I mean, does this demonstrate that a PC with high edge suffers from having more beliefs to break? SO has to tip on a few more eggshells and avoid more situations?

Hmm, I tend to see Beliefs as an advantage.  In my initial write-up, there was no penalty for acting against a Belief, but my players wanted to add that stuff in.  I think using high-Edge characters to drive conflict has something going for it, but I do recognise it won't be something that suits every table!

Beliefs are also, in my head, somewhere between Intimacies and Motivations from Exalted.  There's no Compassion-type stat in Shadowrun, so Edge seemed the best hook to hang them off.  I guess you could give a fixed number to people or just drop the negative side of it.  I just quite like PCs having their own agendas, and I've noticed that some players sometimes need "permission" to pursue that sort of thing, especially in a mission-focused game like SR.
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Wesley Street

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« Reply #5 on: (12:28:39/02-17-11) »
I like this. One of my players brought this aspect of the Burning Wheel system up before a SR campaign but we never got around to implementing it. This seems like a great motivator to keep my power gamers, who typically have less of an interest in the role-playing aspect, in line with their stated character goals.

Mason

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« Reply #6 on: (13:41:48/11-23-11) »
This is a great system, but I propose a slight alteration of it. Rather than each character HAS Beliefs equal to Edge, each character has at least 1 Belief and MAY HAVE up to [Edge] total (or maybe additional) Beliefs.

Alternatively, Base the Beliefs off of Willpower, as part of Belief is determination and drive to succeed.

BTW, according to the site, this is thread necro, but I got to this thread from the recently unread topics link wtf?

JustADude

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« Reply #7 on: (00:07:41/11-24-11) »
This is a great system, but I propose a slight alteration of it. Rather than each character HAS Beliefs equal to Edge, each character has at least 1 Belief and MAY HAVE up to [Edge] total (or maybe additional) Beliefs.

Alternatively, Base the Beliefs off of Willpower, as part of Belief is determination and drive to succeed.

BTW, according to the site, this is thread necro, but I got to this thread from the recently unread topics link wtf?

Huh, weird...

And yes, I really like the idea of basing Beliefs off of willpower.
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raggedhalo

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« Reply #8 on: (04:48:10/11-24-11) »
This is a great system, but I propose a slight alteration of it. Rather than each character HAS Beliefs equal to Edge, each character has at least 1 Belief and MAY HAVE up to [Edge] total (or maybe additional) Beliefs.

Alternatively, Base the Beliefs off of Willpower, as part of Belief is determination and drive to succeed.

Glad you like it!  How it's worked out it pretty much as you suggest, actually; everyone has at least one Belief, but not everyone has filled out their full quota, as it were.  Actually the same with Instincts, weirdly.

Which Attribute you base it off largely comes down to what you're after, I think; my experience is that my players rarely value Edge as much as I do, no matter how often I tell them that they really should consider buying it as high as possible.  Thus, I wanted to incentivise it a bit more.  But the Willpower argument is solid; I guess you could even link Instincts to Intuition if you were so inclined.
Joe Rooney
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