Character Creation

Some notes about making a citizen of Indigo.

This is a work in progress, and I’d love feedback.

Background Info for Characters

You are all employed by Steambeard and Sons Dwarven Ironworks. More specifically, you have all been assigned to work under Hurd Gamgorm, an elemental stoneshaper. His division is rumored to be the last stop for dying careers and go-nowhere rookies. Underpaid and appreciated less, you are the half-section, the sewer crew, and the kinderstein.

You are all that makes up Project Sky Golem.

The Steambeard Ironworks is one of the few large development companies in Indigo. While the Eladrin who live topside focus on the arcane arts, Steambeard employees split their time between making sure the cities amenities stay in operating order and engaging in large-scale construction projects ranging from ironside ships to the (now abandoned) Sky Golem airship project.

How long you’ve worked under Gamgorm is entirely up to you. Are you new to Indigo and hard-pressed for work? An ironworks employee that said the wrong thing too many times before they were demoted?

In any case. Let me know how you came to be employed at the ironworks and what you do there.

Themes vs Backgrounds

You are free to take one or the other, but not both.

Clearly, you’ll all probably choose to take a theme.


Characters from Indigo do not have Dragonmarks.

This does not mean that you can’t have a Dragonmark! It only means that you cannot be both native to Indigo and have a Dragonmark.

If someone wants in on the Dragonmarkedness, let me know, and we’ll figure out where you’re from. It’ll be exciting.


Characters whose families are from Indigo are spellscarred.

“From Indigo” in this case means “Your family survived the cataclysm.”

Also, this doesn’t mean that you have to take spellscarred feats, only that you have to click the “spellscarred” box.

Beliefs, Traits, & Instincts

Before we move on with this part, I think this is some excellent advice from The Seven-Sided Die:

The emphasis on making Beliefs for what the player cares about rather than what the character “should” care about is really good, since it gets at a core element of what makes the Burning Wheel work: The characters are there to do what the players are interested in seeing happen in the story, not to be a faithfully-simulated person in an alternate reality. The character should be created to best serve the player’s story goals.

Story-centric games seem to suffer from a creeping simulationism, especially with new players and GMs (hi!), who get it in their heads that the point is to create a realistic person and play out the logical steps of their life. There are games where that is the point (such as Hârnmaster), but it’s not the point of the Burning Wheel. As Paul B says in his Workshop linked above:

“When you’re setting up Beliefs, think like your character’s author and not your character himself. Your character probably wants to live a quiet, long, safe life. Tales of quiet, long safe lives are booooooring. Dream up ways to put your own character into hot water, and make sure the GM knows what kinds of hot water interest you.”

Hi, Burning Wheel.

So, I’m going to implement the card-reward system for now, and we’ll just see how it goes.

After reading through some Burning Wheel snippets and the Burning Empires forums, I decided that the belief + trait + instinct system would be a good way to implement the awards. Come up with one of each!

The standardized way of doing this will go as such: every time you accomplish the goal of your belief and every time you use a trait or instinct in a plot-forwarding or awesome way, you get to draw a card.

We’ll go over the whole card deal elsewhere, I just wanted to put the stakes on the table. Not make sense yet? I shouldn’t think so. See below.


This is the biggy as far as complexity goes.

I’d suggest looking at this to get the best idea of how beliefs break down.

Whenever you achieve the goal related to your belief in the way dictated by your belief, you get to draw.


Some example traits from BW:

  • Base Humility
  • Compulsive Liar
  • Haunted
  • Clumsy
  • Tidy Aspect
  • Bastard
  • Mark of Privilege
  • Gifted
  • Cynical
  • Extremely Respectful of One’s Betters

Whenever you play to your trait in a way that forwards the narrative in an interesting way, you draw.


These represent your characters’ inherent attitudes. Examples:

  • Holds grudges against people for any slight.
  • Never make or eat a hastilly prepared or low quality meal.
  • When in a group or with anyone else, always be the last person to go to sleep.
  • Always identify possible exits.
  • Never go anywhere without my satchel.
  • Never let a slight go unpunished.

Awarding draws works the same way as it does for Traits.

Character Creation

Indigo edbury edbury