Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12

Thread: Circles vs Streetwise

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Posts
    674
    Rep Power
    192

    Default Circles vs Streetwise

    In true Burning Wheel newbie fashion, the first time I read through the brown book I read up until page 70 and then put off the rest until it came up in the game. The flakiness of our group makes our games a little fewer and farther between than I would've liked. So I occasionally get bored and read through sections in "The Rim." And then I think too hard. And then you get to deal with it.

    On to the question: We run a sort of smugglers in the Caribbean campaign, often going from port to port and place to place. So far, when we need to find someone in whatever strange new town we happen to be in, we make a Circles test - i.e. "I need a dagger. ... but I don't have any money. Can I circle up a scoundrel?"

    I know that "the scope of Circles is deliberately left open and loose in definition," but it seems like the intent of Circles is sort of like networking, allowing a character to use their past connections and opportunities to ferret out a connection, much like someone would use Linked In to try to score a job interview.

    Is it ok to use a +1 Ob Circles test like we have been? Or should we be making Streetwise tests? Or maybe even City-wise?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    2,383
    Rep Power
    1112

    Default

    Seems fine to me to use Circles as a blanket ability to find people, there's no need to be strict about it being people you already know. You can be introduced via an intermediary. (If it's a big deal, you could Circle up the intermediary and then have that person Help you with the actual Circles roll.)

    Adding +1 Ob seems fine when the players are wholly out of geographic boundaries of their social sphere, and they're trying to strike up conversations or cold call on people. (Something similar is discussed in Resources - it's harder to get a letter of credit from your uncle if you're adventuring in Volkland.) Their lifepath 'circles' are still relevant, I suppose - a doctor is more likely to take a visit from a foreign doctor than a foreign mercenary.

    If you want to involve skills to make it easier, do it as a linked test - Streetwise, Port-wise, etc. could all help you find the local scoundrel hangouts.
    Michael Prescott - I'm making free adventures!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    5
    Rep Power
    11

    Default

    The great thing about circles, I feel, is that they allow for a little bit of meta play. When the smugglers blow into a new port, are they trying to create a new network of contacts, or building off of contacts they already have?

    Say a character makes a circles test to, as per your example, find a scoundrel to provide a dagger. Is the character hoping to find a friend of an old contact (or perhaps someone who would know the reputation of the character or the old contact?) or is the character trying to find any scoundrel predisposed to see a kindred soul and provide the dagger? If it is the former, I think what you have been doing is fine. Michael's comment about a +1 ob being appropriate for distance applies. If you are going for the latter, however, and want to get at a feel of port-to-port isolation, then streetwise or city-wise might be appropriate. In this instance it might be the characters using their knowledge of what port towns are like to find an area filled with (hopefully!) amiable scoundrels.

    As a final question: are you running or playing in this game? Your post seemed to indicate you were running, but I am unsure.
    -Nick Moore

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Posts
    674
    Rep Power
    192

    Default

    @Fuseboy

    The +1 Ob actually refers to the geographic specificity of the test. In my scoundrel example, I want to find someone in THIS town. Not any town. Ergo, local, and a +1 Ob.

    @n_o_moore

    I'm a player. And we've mostly been doing the latter: "Ok. We're here. Let's see if we can find some dude that does xxx." So I'm thinking we need to use Streetwise or City-wise (and what's the damn difference there, anyway?) in the future.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Melbourne Australia
    Posts
    379
    Rep Power
    92

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Zelbinian View Post
    Streetwise or City-wise (and what's the damn difference there, anyway?)
    Streetwise is covered on page 263 of the redbook. It covers the etiquette of the city streets. It also lets you find places in the city that only a native would know. With your dagger example, you could probably find "Smith Street" with Streetwise. Or if daggers were restricted in the city, you could use it to find out where they were sold on the black market. Equally you could use it to navigate through a city without ending up in places where you would get robbed. Or you could use it to behave properly in such a place so that you fitted in like a local.

    As near as I understand it, Streetwise is not a "-wise". City-wise is. It is covered by Wises on page 267 of the same book. Wises are mainly about facts and trivia about their topic. They are pretty open and useful skills. Under particular circumstances, -wises can be used by the players to insert facts into the game. There is a detailed commentary on this and other things in the Adventure Burner. You can also find similar material through searches on the forum.
    Inspired by Bobo's Sig
    Rule 6 of Kurt Vonnegut's Rules on Short Stories
    Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
    from Bagombo Snuff Box.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    2,383
    Rep Power
    1112

    Default

    @Zelbanian - gotcha, that makes sense.

    Knowledge skills will tend to overlap somewhat - there's text on this somewhere. The more applicable wise gets lower Obs (compare Anatomy to Human-wise, for example). You might be very streetwise (gritty street smarts) but have no idea of the population, when the city was founded, the sorts of things the merchants sell, etc.

    As far as Streetwise being a wise or not, there's something going on about this over in knowledge skills and wises.
    Michael Prescott - I'm making free adventures!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Kansas City Misery.
    Posts
    712
    Rep Power
    1477

    Default

    Zelbinian, if you haven't read the Adventure Burner, there's a section in there that discusses Circles and the modifiers in the brown book. In summary, it says to be careful only to apply them when they're important. I'm not saying you have it wrong, but just be aware that "+1 Ob for local/this city" doesn't apply unless it actually matters that the person you're circling must be found in this city. Since scoundrels can be found in practically any port city, if I were the GM, I don't think I would apply +1 Ob for local in this instance. (I might apply +1 Ob for time, if you were weighing anchor soon and wanted to get it before you left.)

    -B

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Posts
    2,201
    Rep Power
    772

    Default

    According to the red book, Streetwise is essentially Orienteering or Navigation for urban areas. It's a bit more flexible in terms of applicable intents than Orienteering or Navigation, but it's basically the same.
    -- Patrick

    Realm Guard: Rangers of the North (v1.6), a MG hack for Lord of the Rings (hack concept by Saint&Sinner).

    "Main thing the game needs? More balrogs. Could be balroggier." -- Chris Gardiner

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    NYC, Woodside, Queens
    Posts
    4,161
    Rep Power
    1210

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Odie View Post
    Zelbinian, if you haven't read the Adventure Burner, there's a section in there that discusses Circles and the modifiers in the brown book. In summary, it says to be careful only to apply them when they're important. I'm not saying you have it wrong, but just be aware that "+1 Ob for local/this city" doesn't apply unless it actually matters that the person you're circling must be found in this city. Since scoundrels can be found in practically any port city, if I were the GM, I don't think I would apply +1 Ob for local in this instance. (I might apply +1 Ob for time, if you were weighing anchor soon and wanted to get it before you left.)

    -B
    You don't even need toe AdBu for this - it's right there in the Circles chapter of the brown book.

    I use that modifier for things like finding the local Abbot in the red light district.
    Also: ninjas.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    N Y C
    Posts
    14,482
    Rep Power
    3690

    Default

    Streetwise is for finding neighborhoods or locations in an urban environment, and for intuiting the proper behavior in said neighborhoods.
    "Athos—Porthos, farewell till we meet again! Aramis, adieu forever!"
    --D'Artagnan

    Check out my latest project:

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •