Bloodstained Stars More Character-Driven Than BE?

I own Burning Empires because I purchased it after picking up the base set of BW books and loving what I was reading.

After flipping through BE, I quickly found that it wasn’t the character-driven material that had drawn me to BW, but that instead it seemed to be more like a turn-based RISK game set in space (or something similar, anyhow).

I had hoped that BE was just the space version of BE, but it was not to be.

Does Bloodstained Stars steer BE into the character-driven world of BW, or is it an expansion of BE, with a similar focus to the main BE book?

That being said, I may still pick up Bloodstained Stars simply to continue to support the BW system. My theory is that, if I financially support BW by purchasing all related products, I might get a non-fantasy version of BW someday. That, and I don’t mind throwing some cash at a good idea (BW generally).


From what I understand Bloodstained Stars is completely story fiction (and completely awesome) - I don’t own it though, so I could be misinformed.

If you want a non-medieval setting for Burning Wheel have you checked out Burning Sands: Jihad yet? (Basically BW Dune). You can also buy it from the store if you want a printed copy.

EDIT: here is the link for more information on Bloodstained Stars.

BSS is as advertised. It contains no game material. It goes next to the comics, not next to the game books.

It’s a great product, but it’s very far from what you seem to be hoping for (and I’m not sure where you could possibly have gotten that impression of it, since Luke’s very first announcement and all subsequent discussions have all said “no game material.”) It doesn’t steer or expand the game in any direction at all.

Settle down, Internet genius.

I just logged into the product page instead of directly to the forums, saw the product, and asked a question here in GQ.

No harm no foul, and I got my answer.

Thank you to those who responded–and I’ll definitely take a look at Jihad. Thanks!!


It’s a shame that you don’t see Burning Empires for what it is. It’s a giant space tragedy, with the characters at the focus of the action. I’d venture that the macro mechanics make the game even more character driven than my other games.

However, to each is own.

Luke, I’ll take another look at it, but my original page-by-page flip through gave me the impression that I’d be moving large groups of folks around on a macro-basis, and that thrills me less than the in-depth “one player per character” idea that brings me to RPGs in the first place.

Dwight moved down here a few weeks ago, and maybe he can convince me on the merits of BE over sushi this Saturday…! :wink:

Tell Dwight that we miss him. And definitely give Burning Empires another look.

“Internet genius?” That’s a little harsh, mate. The product page in the store does say “no mechanics.” It is in rather smaller type than on the forum thread, and without any of the explanations of what exactly the book IS that you’d find in the thread, so it would be easy to miss or to take that as meaning it was a book of advice, so I see where you’re coming from.

Anyway, there’s two parts of BE that potentially involve moving a bunch of dudes. The first is Firefight. That’s about skirmishes and battles, and if you’re moving a bunch of dudes it’s because you’re a military commander and they’re your dudes. We can assume that if that’s the case, you care about those dudes. More often, Firefights are about a few dudes (you, your fellow PCs, maybe some GM characters or a PC’s crew) and then they’re personal.

The second is the Infection, which is probably what you were meaning. The breakthrough for me in understanding the Infection was that it’s NOT like a bigger game around the scene mechanics. It’s NOT like the strategic map part of a Total War game. It’s a pacing mechanic, not a minigame (or maybe “macrogame” in this case). It’s not so much about who wins as it is about knowing who is winning right now and how close the end of the game is.

I’m not trying to argue you into a particular position on BE, but I do think that if you go into your re-read with the idea that Infection is pacing, not macrogame, you’ll have a better go of it. Still might not be your thing, of course.

Okay, questions answered. Issues settled. Thread closed.

Adding to what Devin and Luke said, you may not ultimately like BE, but in my own experience, it’s one of the most grabbing, character-driven games I’ve played. And one step further, some of the most starkly-real characters I’ve played or interacted with have come from BE. A large part of that is due to the fact that each main character has an assortment of scene types to bring to the game (color, building or conflict, and interstitial) which push the player to develop the character in greater depth.

Sometimes it’s easy in other games to jump from one conflict to another, following the narrative, and only realizing too late that you didn’t really have a chance to highlight all of these other interesting things about your character. BE encourages lots of action, but it also requires conversations, more reflective moments, etc.

My current character is a fallen noble and criminal leader bent on revenge and counter-revolution. But thanks to interstitial and color scenes, he’s also a frustrated brother, a tender and imperfect lover, a hedonist, a manipulative businessman, and a champion of his world’s downtrodden among other things. All facets that would be easy to gloss over if I got too caught up in planning the counter-revolution. And you know what? These facets are largely what our game is about (not just those of my character but the others as well. The best scene in our last session was a DoW marital spat - it was brutal and moving). The world-level stuff is interesting, but the heart of the game is in stories that happen from playing these characters and the choices they make in such a world. That’s not unique to our game, that’s what BE does.

EDIT: Opps - sorry Luke - cross-posted.