A microcampaign

I convinced my PbtA group to give BE a chance. We are playing with heavily reduced ‘lite’ rules. I am the GM.

World Burning
The campaign is set at a city sized space station on the Casiguran frontier where Urfan merchants try to trade with the Matriarchy. It also functions as a mining facility as it orbits a gas giant with a ring system. The society is hierarchical, laws are formally strict but corruption flourishes.

We changed the Casiguran society a bit. It is still a Matriarchy but the players wanted weird social science fiction shit so we implemented a complicated gender system with 5 different social roles (influence was Avery Alder’s Rookvale).

Figures of Note

Human side

Cassiopeia (PC!): chief official commander of the station. A romantic aristocrat who married below her stature and thus was cast to this hellhole at the edge of the world.

Mallow Urci: chief security executive. A rival and ally to Cassiopeia as this low born but talented bureocrat tries to climb the ladder of power in stewardship.

Medea: introvert researcher, leader of the lab. The daughter of Cassiopeia but she abadoned and hides her noble heritage to pursue academic carrier.

Vaylen side

Nestor Harambios: noble born chief customs officier who is also a smuggling overlord. Secret lover of Cassiopeia.

Daifur Mossadegh: a very old urfan merchant representing urfan trading syndicates.

Gaius Hollbock: a misoginic noble born engineer who is the architect of the original station. Hates that a tail shaped dock for trading was added to his ‘D’ shaped masterwork thus forming now a ‘P’. Because of women! :smiley:

Top Secret: None of them are Vaylen at the start, only their subordinates/significant other/etc.

Other PCs

Athene: Casiguran diplomat who managed to make a pact between the Urfan trade syndicates and some Casiguran Queen. An idealist who believes in human confederacy.

Diomedes: Leader of the Guard. This young and fierce soldier is quite frustrated as the space station has huge Hammer forces but his Guard is the only Iron using squad in the Anvil.

Fun fact: we are playing in an Ikea :slight_smile:

Infection

We decided to play a quick Usurpation phase with low starting Dispositions.

History: The gigs of the smuggling overlord Nestor Harambios enabled Vaylen to infiltrate the station. Mallow Urci failed to recognize the danger due to the high level of corruption among low status stewards. As the Vaylen already won this Infiltration phase, noone really knows their presence.

Retconned main conflict: Casiguran forces tried to overawe an Urfan embassy. As Hammer overshadows Anvil forces at the station, the frustrated Guard Captain tried to show off with a daredevil stunt which resulted in a casulty among his troops. The players dont know but the Vaylen failed to plant a Naiven into the convalescent guard member NPC, Gabriel.

This was our 1st session. If you are interested in following our story or have questions or suggestions, please respond :slight_smile:

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Sounds cool! How much impact the gender roles get in play?
Can you sum up the ‘lite’ rules?

Gender

I think our 5 ‘gender’ (Monast, Mug, Lady, Jack, Tinder) has an importance similar to ‘races’ in fantasy RPGs. They include social expectations (ladies are perfect for reigning and having a baby) and also has some biological significance (your hormones and your body starts to shift when you change gender).

The main difference is that these genders form a continuum: you can easily connect with your neighbours (they function as an +1D trait) but have difficulties with the others ‘on the pentagram’.

Players (including me) are still adopting to this concept but everyone seems determined learning it. Its also definitely not the most important thing for everyone.

Lite rules

I kept the main structure (manouvers, scene economy, circles, rolling D against Ob) but we completely dropped the character build part and some of the hub (artha, instincts).

You might recognize its DNA but its definitely not a Burning* game any more. Hot Circle, a funnily named BW hack was a huge influence.

People can gather 1-5D from ‘internal’ sources (life experiences, traits) and 0-5D from external ones (environmental advantage, helping, previous successes).

A PC/FoN looks like this:
Name
Concept
Age, Heritage, Background
Goal & Frustration (blocks your goal)
Traits: Gender, Physical, Mental, Weakness
1-3 piece of general life experiences (2-4D) with some details.
Connections
Drama points
Health boxes

And thats all… An example:

Nestor Harambios
Officier & smuggler
Adult Casiguran noble from the outer worlds
Goal: having an easy life full of pleasures
Frustration: working

Traits
Gender: jack
Physical: charming
Mental: calculating
Weakness: luxuries

Life experiences
Aristocrat: 2D (Fame: had a Queen as a lover when he was younger)
Burocrat: 2D (Rank: Chief Customs Officier)
Criminal: 3D (Rank: secret overlord of smugglers, Wealth: cash from smuggling)

Connections
Secret lover of the Chief Commander Cassiopeia

Health boxes
Bruised: 2
Injured: 2
Maimed: 1

In our first session my Go to Ground maneouver defeated their Assess attempt. They tried to find medical evidence about the Vaylen presence but their main antagonist managed to stay clean. Burn after reading!

I also won a few downtime actions which I used to prepare for my next maneouver. In the second session I successfully hulled one of their FoN from the human side. It figures I love antagonistic GMing :slight_smile:

Their Flak couldnt stop my successful Assess maneouver but they nonetheless lowered my Disposition.

In fiction that meant that they successfully forced the Chief Medical Officier to step down (they rightfully guessed that she is a Vaylen) but they ignorantly elected the freshly hulled FoN in the same position :smiley: In Hungarian we call this type of pyrrhic victory an ‘Irony of Fate’

At the 3rd session they will be still locked in the standard maneouver zone but I could try to destroy them with a Gambit or Inundate action. If they really enjoy the gameplay we can still opt to continue our minicampaign with the Invasion phase.

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Hi! In our 3rd session I failed my greatest conflict scene ever. The PCs nailed my arguments to the ground without loosing any Disposition in the argument. The session was a mess. They had a successful coupe and killed the daughter of the CEO PC.

At the end I tried to Gambit them and they still tried to Assess my ass. Thats an independent roll. They rolled 1 success with 8 dice so they still could not assess the true nature of the Vaylen :smiley: I also rolled only 2 success with 6 dice so I could not finish them off (they still had 2 Disposition at the end).

Unfortunately we wont finnish our minicampagin as one of my players said that this antagonistic playstyle is very against her nature and also, the death of her daughter NPC (a Valyen) made her alienated from the game. Which we understood and accepted.

So, all in all, end of our little attempt at playing BE as truthful as PbtA hippy mumbojumbos can :slight_smile: It was great!

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