The Terrible Price



The Terrible Price

Torchbearer’s second birthday approaches. By this time, some of you have managed to raise your characters to level 5 or even higher. And some of you have met an untimely end in bad circumstances. After playtesting this a bit on our end, we wanted to give you a view into how we view death at Burning Wheel HQ. Behold:

Playtest rules for meeting death in Torchbearer.

Good luck. And remember, death is often a mercy.

Bits and Mortar


Torchbearer is now a part of the Bits and Mortar initiative. Pester your favorite local game store to snag you a PDF when you buy the book from them.

In Mourning

Burning Wheel Headquarters is in mourning.

We lost one of our own on 4/5/14.

He’s credited in all of our Burning Wheel books and Burning Empires. And while he never wrote or designed for us, many of the designs and concepts were at his suggestion, not least of all the entire concept for the Elves and their Grief in Burning Wheel.

It is strangely fitting that he himself died of grief, for otherwise he was immortal.

Please be kind to another. No need to post a condolences or offer apologies.

Thank you.


Hello friends,

BWHQ is exhibiting at PAX East this weekend. You can find us at booth C701 in tabletop. More of an encampment than a booth, really.

You can also find us with Adam and Sage of Dungeon World on Saturday at 1:30 for our “Playing Between the Lines” panel.

(You can find me on the Tabletop Deathmatch panel on Friday at 12:30.)

Too Weak Are the Spells of Old


Fearless occultists, wild elves and warrior priests all summon their powers from forces distant. We’ve collected more prayers and spells for you here. Use them to plumb the depths of ancient forgotten mysteries and return cloaked in glory and gold. Download the PDFs here:



Extrasolar Colonization Administration Handbook

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“Let’s go over the bonus situation. We haven’t- Can we just talk about the bonus situation?”

I see you’ve secured your ICC license and that you’re rated as a warrant officer for star freighters. Excellent. We’re in need of officers for our current run. Just sign here and we’re happy to have you aboard. I’m sure you’ve read the handbook, but here’s another copy for you to keep in your bunk. We’ll talk about the bonus situation later.

Download here: CM Civilian rules_r2


USCMC Field Operations Manual

Jared Sorensen and I have a present for you all.

All right, sweethearts, what are you waiting for? Breakfast in bed? Another glorious day in the Corps! A day in the Marine Corps is like a day on the farm. Every meal’s a banquet! Every paycheck a fortune! Every formation a parade! I LOVE the Corps!

Colonial Marines (v13)

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Any questions?

Torchbearer Classes Levels 1-10


Hello my brothers and sisters,
We all know that in the life, we’re not expected to live that long. Nonetheless, it is an incandescent hope that keeps us alive—and some of us do indeed make it out in one piece.

So without further ado, I give you the level benefits for all eight Torchbearer classes (the six from the book, plus the bonus Paladin and Thief classes).



Please note that this document is in beta and will change going forward, that it is also now canon. The reward requirements to level up have changed slightly and some of the level benefits have been tweaked to adjust their language and rules.

Where We Stand

This post likely isn’t directed at you. I believe that fans of BWHQ are aligned in vision and values. So this message is pointed farther out, at the faceless, writhing mass that’s poisoning my world and the world of my friends right now.

Last month, I was the guest of a conference called XOXO at which I had the pleasure to see Anita Sarkeesian speak. I also had the chance to meet her in person and have a short discussion with her. She’s a smart critic of games and culture. Any of you who know me know that I live for conversations with smart people who think deeply about matters close to my heart. And my brief conversation with Anita was enough to leave me impressed and excited for her future work.

In fact, I was so enthusiastic, I tweeted out my fannish glee. In my circles, this is a normal thing to do.

Within an hour, I received a dozen prank phone calls on my cellphone, in addition to a few ominous tweets. They even sent (inedible) pizza to my house.

At the time, it was an annoyance. These tools were running down my phone battery. I was not—and I am not—scared of them. More important, it was insignificant compared to the bile Anita received from them for speaking at that same conference.

But as the behavior has continued to spiral out of control over the past few weeks, I felt it was important for myself and BWHQ to say something publicly.

We stand with Anita and every other person who is being harassed online and off.

We stand against harassment, silencing, threatening and abuse.

And if you are someone who has tweeted hurtful things, angry things, offensive things at anyone because of the games they play or make, because of the way they express their thoughts…

We stand against you.

Burning Wheel HQ is made up entirely of men. We will never suffer the abuse and harassment that any woman in the gaming industry suffers in her lifetime—whether a part of this controversy or not. We are privileged to be able to absent ourselves from these discussions.

But not this time. This time we step forward to stand shoulder to shoulder with our friends and colleagues and say to you: If you hate them, then you hate us. Our mission and values are inextricably linked to theirs and diametrically opposed to yours.

If you number among those to whom this post is addressed, I urge you to stop and think. Dig deep. Reflect on yourself. Let go of your anger because it poisons you.

Stand with us instead.

Luke and all of BWHQ

Faith Conquers and Sheva’s War

I am republishing Chris Moeller’s Iron Empires graphic novels, Faith Conquers and Sheva’s War. If you are a fan of any of our games, you should support this project.

Without these stories, there would be no Burning Wheel.