Advice for beliefs needed

New member and first time poster. After some fanboyish rants, I have managed to get my regular group of players to start playing BE. We have done World Burning and Characer Burning (7-8 LP), and will probaly start playing next week.
However, beliefs are important and tricky, so I come to you for help. Hope you can advice!

First, a quick background:

The planet Gehara:
Galactic Location: Karsan League Outword
Atmosphere: Non-Life-Supporting
Hydrology: Predominantly Liquid
Topography: Artificially Created Env.
Tech Index: Low
Government: Military Dictatorship
Factions: Yes
Predom. Military: Prof. Vol. Force
Planetary Attitude: Paranoid
Primary Industry: Refined Goods
Level of Quarantine: Advanced
Level of Regulation: Tight

Civilian Commune, Merchant League, Organized Crime, Psychologists Foundation (aka secret police), Royalists.

Short history:
The old Lord died, leaving an heir to young to rule (Prins Leontes). In his place, Lord Jerome Fortinbras was appointed regent. He ruled wisely but the regime was plagued with problems from before his time. The harsh feudal system was unpopular among a large part of the polulation, while the nobility guarded their ancient rights viciously. This resulted in a coup to install Prince Leontes before he had achieved his maturity and finished his studies, and Lord Fortinbras was more or less exiled to his estates. The prince’s immaturity and his advisors short-sightedness resulted in another coup a few years later, where the non-gentry among the military took over the reins of government. Now things are set for a power struggle between the surviving Royalists (including old Lord Fortinbras) and the Junta.
The perhaps most important fraction on Gehara isn’t located on the planet as such. The Merchant League has a large orbiting base, where most of the legal trade passes. Scandals concerning illegal trade activities, bribes etc. have occured in the past, and a large part of the organized crime and smuggling on Gehara is controlled by ex-leaguers.
The psychologists foundation on the planet is more or less a secret police. It is controlled by Pijter Fortinbras, the estranged brother of Lord Fortinbras. He has turned his back on his heritage and secretly hates the nobility.

(Campaign wiki can be found here:, with characters here: Be warned however, it’s mostly in Swedish…)

The Characters:

PC FoN 1. Gino Tanaka – Merchant league boss

  1. League chairman Leonardo Yoshinaka is a senile old goat, who must step aside and let me take over, before losses mount.
  2. I must reconcile with Lorenzo Takahashi, so that he stops messing with me. I still like him and want our relationship to work.
  3. Everyone can be bought. I use bribes freely to buy myself success.

PC FoN 2. Franz Von Goldstern – Off-world First speaker. Officially hired by Tanaka as diplomatic liaison with the planetside factions & government, but in reality has his own agenda.

  1. The psychohistory analysis shows that Gehara is a key planet, if it falls the whole Karsan League is threatened. I must scan the planets leaders and make sure the Vaylen have not achieved any influence over them.
  2. Impose a rational, representative government (“democracy”). The first step is convincing secret police chief Pijter Fortinbras about this.
  3. I must build a psychohistory and pschology lab here.

PC FoN 3. Jerome Fortinbras – Lord Fortinbras. Nobleman, idealist and aristocrat. Has managed to retain (some) power and office during two coups. Brother to Pijter Fortinbras, below.

  1. To ensure the survival of the monarchy and the nobility, I must find the best and the brightest among the young nobility, and make sure they recieve good schooling and morals.
  2. I shall found a top-of-the-line hospital as a start towards civilizing this planet. It will be in my first wifes memory, and serve as an example for the rest of the nobility.
  3. Blood is thicker than water. I must have reconciliation with my brother.

PC. Colonel Glenn Schwartz – Anvil elite leader & hatchet-man for the Junta leader Castranegra.

  1. Sergei Castranegra is the father I never had. I will protect him with my life and make him proud (“Orphan” trait).
  2. Find an alternative coke supply, so that I wont have to be Lorenzo Takahashis bitch (“Addicted” trait).
  3. One for all, and all for one. I take good care for my men, and expect the same from them. One big family, with total loyalty.

NPC FoN 1. Lorenzo Takahashi – Ex Merchant league bigshot. Thrown out because of some shady dealings, with Tanaka partialy to blame… Nowadays big crime/smuggling leader, but still has a lot of old contacts among in the Merchant League.

  1. The madman Tanaka has gone to far! Hireing a first speaker as a diplomatic assistant, how does he think he will be able to control him? I must isolate and discredit Goldstern, and make Tanaka answer for his folly in front of Yoshinaka and the Counsil.
  2. I must secure my position by making myself indispensable to the junta.
  3. I must make Schwartz my permanent bitch, by getting him in deep dept to me.

NPC FoN 2. Pijter Fortinbras – Leader of Psych foundation (i.e. secret police). Brother to Jerome. Nobility-hating powerplayer and meritocrat.

  1. The fool Jerome wants reconciliation, but my highest wish is to see him fall. To achieve my goal, I must make him believe he has achieved his.
  2. The Merchant League is central for the future development. I will widen my influence by getting Yoshinaka to accept a connection.
  3. Keeping the psychology monopoly on Gehara is critical. I will react strongly and immediately to any threat against this.

NPC FoN 3. Sergei Castranegra – Junta leader and convinced egalitarian.

  1. It’s time to start step two of the revolution. Step one was to eliminate Prins Leontes and get his cronies under control. Step two will be to successively eliminate the elite among the young nobility without implicating the Junta directly. Schwartz it the right man for the job.
  2. The nobilitys monopoly on Corvus & Crucis is a security risk, but to openly breake the taboo could lead to civil war. I need a secret clinic that can performe the operation to install C&C on my most trusted men. Step one is finding an appropriate agent for this, with the right connections in surgery and cybernetics.
  3. The royalists and the Merchants are both elitists. To ensure the Juntas survival I must convince the civilian leadership (Commune) that the Junta is their best guarantee for an egalitarian government.

I’ll take a shot! --Addressing the PCs one at a time. Thank your players for giving us the chance to look at and comment on their characters! The general philosophy that I think works pretty well for Beliefs, and is my interpretation of what’s written in the book, is that a Belief should indicate what a character thinks about something, and what that character is going to do. And, the best beliefs are the ones the player understands and can act on. Revisions from outsiders like me may miss the point.

But, with that, on to Gino Tanaka (revised beliefs):

  1. League chairman Leonardo Yoshinaka is a senile old goat who is losing the League’s money. I will engineer his retirement and take over the organization.
  2. I like Lorenzo Takahashi and want our relationship to work. I will accept certain sacrifices in profit or influence in order to reconcile with him. [I love the idea of this belief. When Lorenzo refuses to reconcile, Gino can have some cool scenes struggling with his belief. “That blasted Lorenzo! I bend and bend and still he demands more! Together we can dominate the planet, why can’t he see that? I can bend only so far before breaking–or snapping back!” Artha aplenty!
  3. Everyone can be bought. I will find Lord Jerome Fortinbras’ price [or insert other NPC] in order to gain a monopoly for my House on planetary imports [or whatever makes sense].
    For this part “I use bribes freely to buy myself success,” use it as an Instinct: ‘Always have a bribe available,’ or ‘Tip generously’ (sort of a bribe in advance).
    Edit: In 3rd Belief, Change “Trait” to “Instinct” Thanks, Paul!

That’s a really good point, Mel. I need to keep that in my head.

Here’s one more that’s been bouncing around in my noggin for a few weeks: When you look at Beliefs, recognize that some of them will be better served as character traits. But if you don’t get 'em in the LPs then they have to be nominated, right? So take an example like this one:

Statement of principle, and possibly a good Instinct (i.e. always bribe someone when I need something done – you’ll get a free Resources check when it triggers, too!). Anyway, to my ears it’s also a statement of the character’s core personalty, and could make an excellent CT.

Have the player figure out what the conflict at the heart of the Belief is. Who does Gino need to bribe? What’s on Gino’s to-do list that’ll require that someone be bought? Make that the last part of the Belief! Example:

When he actually does this and succeeds (probably a DOW modified by a bribe), not only will he get a Fate for pursuing and a Persona for completing, the Beliefs can also be nominated to become a character trait (and therefore continue earning him Fate…as long as being a briber drives the story/gets him in trouble).

Just a strategic thought.


I think these are pretty good. I think I could play this character if I picked him up. For beliefs 2 and 3, I’d want some ideas of how to accomplish the goals. How will I make myself indispensable to the Junta? By hurting the Royalists somehow… How will I indebt
Schwartz? By becoming his coke supplier? Although here I am a little confused. Lorenzo wants to make Schwartz his ‘bitch’; Schwartz’s Belief #2 seems to indicate that he already fills that role.
Let’s take a closer look at Schwartz.
"PC. Colonel Glenn Schwartz – Anvil elite leader & hatchet-man for the Junta leader Castranegra.

  1. Sergei Castranegra is the father I never had. I will protect him with my life and make him proud (“Orphan” trait).
  2. Find an alternative coke supply, so that I wont have to be Lorenzo Takahashis bitch (“Addicted” trait).
  3. One for all, and all for one. I take good care for my men, and expect the same from them. One big family, with total loyalty."

Belief 2 makes me think that Lorenzo is Schwartz’s drug supplier. So, rather than just trying to find a new supplier, why not suggest that Schwartz wants to cut the drug habit completely?
B2: I’ve lost my life, my pride, and my identity because of my addiction to ‘coke’. I will get help to end this addiction, and I don’t care who knows. [This implies that there has to be some social stigma of being an addict. If drug use is simply recreational and accepted, then it’s less dramatic. Shaking the addiction should impose some kind of temporary mechanical penalty in the game–or some kind of short scene at the ‘clinic’, which might be tied to Goldstern’s psych clinic or Castranegra’s secret C&C clinic.]
B3: This could be a little stronger. To what point will Schwartz go to protect his men? What if his men commit a war crime? Or what if his men are royalists? On the flip side, what would he do if his men betrayed him?
Revised, the belief could be: “The success, morale and welfare of the 3rd Anvil Legion relies on total loyalty and obedience. I will discipline those soldiers who are disloyal, and reward those who prove their worth…”