The concept of Instincts as I am using them is lifted shamelessly and wholecloth from Luke Crane’s excellent Burning Wheel system.

Instincts are like beliefs, but slightly different. They are three minor things that your character always does that define him or her as outside the norm by giving the character’s response to certain situations. For example, an instinct could be “Always clean my weapons after a fight.” Just as easily, it could be “While in the wastes, I ready a weapon when strangers approach” or “Always give food to hungry children.”

Instincts follow a format of:
“When X happens, I do Y” (Stimulus and response, or vice versa)
and happen every time unless your character fights his instinctive response.

Instincts act as a sort of a mirror into what you’re looking for from the game. Having an instinct like “Always secure a source of water when traveling” says “I want a scenario where our survival is endangered by the environment.”

There is a nice write up on creating Instincts out at the Burning Wheel wiki, located here.


Raam is Burning. ivo_shandor