Burning wheel skill house rules

I tend to use these when running the game, unless otherwise mentioned.


It is a separate skill available to fishermen, sailor, marines, pirates and such. Rooted in speed.

Speak language

I use the rules in Burning wheel revised, more or less: Each language is a specific skill. Characters start with their native language equal to their perception.

Using languages

Language skills are not typically rolled when the character is simply trying to communicate. They might be tested to see if the character can communicate a particularly abstract concept or understand such.

Further, in some situations the character might want to use their greater language competence as an edge in a debate or similar situation. This might call for a versus language test, with the winner gaining a bonus die on the skill test. If the audience has limited language skills, they should also against the obstacle, and anyone going over theirs might instead get a penalty for using too fancy words.

Starting skills

All characters have an extra skill point per lifepath, but with very restricted applicability. These skill points can not increase a skill above the character’s perception. The points can only be used on:

  • Speak language for some language commonly spoken in the region by the members of the lifepath. For some languages in my campaign, see https://ropeblogi.wordpress.com/2019/06/02/languages-of-mernua/
  • A particular location -wise. The location has to be a concrete one (the village of Melford, not villages in general) and one that the character knew to know well during the lifepath. An large city is probably too big for a character to know well enough, but a particular quarter might be fine, or a particular ship, or the palace.
  • A particular person -wise. As above, a concrete, named person, not a general class of people. Some other concrete thing may be fine along the same lines.


  1. Almost all human and fantasy non-human cultures are multilingual. This interests me and is not well-supported by Burning wheel.
  2. Having very particular and concrete wises gives the characters a edge at home and ties them to particular places and people. More grounded characters are good.
Burning wheel skill house rules

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