Ok, a lot of questions before my first time GMing this beast. I need to check if this is kosher, because from here it looks awful/awesome depending on whose side you’re on…
My Invasion GM FoN is a Slave Insurrectionist with a penchant for blowing nobles up.
First case: let’s say I want to blow up an unexisting, non-PC noble; as a way to help precipitate a war between the Forged Lord (my Infiltration GM FoN) and the Rebel Line’s head, a PC FoN.
In game terms, I see it as:
Circle up a Slave Servant willing to blow up his master for the cause -> My FoN’s Explosives to prepare his rig -> Roll the bomber’s Inconspicuous to play it cool -> BOOM.
The Noble here is just necessary color, he’s implied in who the Servant works/is from; he’s just a means to an Intent. Correct?
Do I need to roll Inconspicuous? I feel like I should; since if it fails it would create awesome fiction too… but against what Ob and/or who opposes?
Do I really need to create the Servant? Again, it feels like I should; since his existence is definitely important to the story… Maybe instead of what’s up there, I need to Circle him, roll to convince him, and then rig him (saying “yes” to the Inconspicuous roll…)
Case two: further along the story, things get real. My Insurrectionist wants to blow up an actual PC.
It would seem I need to:
a) find him and more specifically, his car/plane/whatever (With what? It doesn’t look like a Circles roll…)
b) Rig the bombs (Explosives roll)
c) Roll Inconspicuous or Infiltration vs. his Observation, Security, etc. to see if they spot me in the act.
How does a Born Slave Criminal “knows” a PC Noble? Do I go again on the “find a Servant who works for him” route?
Let say instead of going the social way, one goes the “hunter” way, and picks up clues and rumours… would that be an Investigative Logic roll to find this tip out? (“his sled is parked at the Temple side… go now!”)
And last but not least: assuming I succeed at all steps… is that all it takes to blow a PC up? It would seem harsh that they only get one defensive roll in the process to avoid a potentially lethal damage… Am I missing something?
PS: Oh, and also… What would this FoN have at character creation? Just “explosives” as tools; a Tech Burned homemade bombs supply; or one of the options on p. 518?
Case One: Color scene with your FoN talking to the servant, then a follow-on (probably could be part of the same scene). Don’t blow your building scene on that. Instead, use your building scene to take advantage of the opening your color scene created.
Case Two: Munitions to build the bomb, Circles to find out where he leaves his ride, Infiltration with a fork from Explosives (or the other way around, it depends on which you consider to be more interesting) to plant the bomb .
If you don’t have a lifepath setting overlap (maybe a run through the military?) you’ll need to circle up someone to bridge that gap. The hunter method will either be Investigative Logic (if a fully lone operator), or Circles again to build a spy network.
That’s all it takes to blow up a PC that doesn’t have any Persona points. You can’t use a color-tech bomb to assassinate their character because they can simply narrate their character getting out of harms way (their color-tech grav sled on the other hand is hosed), but if you build the explosives using the mechanics you’re good to go.
The FoN should have tools for skills that need them (Munitions at the least), maybe a gun, and color tech for all their trappings. Tech burned explosives are only needed if you want to start with stuff ready to go, otherwise you’ll need to spend a building scene creating them. Supplies are covered in the expense for the munitions workshop.
Oh, unless your Insurrectionist has some serious Invasion-type skills, might I suggest you flip your FoN phases around? Suicide bombers and martyrs to the cause are pretty solid Infiltration characters, and work regardless of their connection to the Vaylen threat. Those same characters tend not to have the skills to really work as the centerpiece of the conflict when Hammer and Anvil forces are in force. Regardless of how you do it, check the skill list on page 404 and 405 to make sure you’re covered for the Prequel Disposition boost.
Thanks! A lot of it starts to glue together by reading your replies. On them:
I was thinking in terms of Luke’s advice here at the forums somewhere (darn, can’t find it right now…) about not “saying Yes” to yourself as GM too often, since it deprives the players of opportunities to jump on your failures. Anyway, I guess if it matters to nobody, then it’s just color bombers colorfuly blowing color nobles up and doesn’t deserve to be set as hard facts. Wouldn’t that open it to be trumped by color, though? Like players saying “oh, but that noble was known to have debts with the mob, they were obviously settling a score” thus nullifying my intent?
I guess it is a matter of choice of focus, in the end…
Great. He absolutely doesn’t have the skills to do all that by himself, but that provides with awesome dramatic opportunities for the game… I did circumvent the Munitions making with paying 1 RP to get “explosives” at character creation; although I’m not sure if the grenades in the weapons list are good or do I get some “generic” exploding stuff that works as described in the Explosives skill, as if it were regular Tools. I’m under the assumption that nothing in Burning Empires is expendable by itself, unless it’s made that way through another player’s intent or a failure… Is that right?
(Although as a double-insurance, maybe opening up Munitions with General points would be fine. I’m not sure if I need to pay 1RP or 2 for its requirements, since it says “tools and a workshop”. Is that one thing or two?).
Circling the “tipper” up is going to be trouble, though. My guy was Born Slave; then he went Outcast & Criminal all the way through… I was planning to use the “servant who works at a specific house” excuse often; but I’m not sure how much that would fly… If that’s too much of a reach, how does one go when lifepaths do not overlap at all? Can you Circle someone to roll Circles?
In hindsight; I guess I’m starting to feel the hardness of the “GM plays by the same rules as PCs” design philosophy here…
And since we’re on the topic: how hard would it be for them to find my secret hideout in return? How would that play instead? I want my guy to be very secretive and paranoid (through Instincts and Tech Traits in my hideout): after all, he’s an Outlaw Kidnapper Insurrectionist; it doesn’t make sense that a simple Circles test would allow them to find him so easy…
I did, and tried to make him as least capable of holding his own both on the Phase Dispo roll and in some maneuvers by pumping him up as a Propaganda machine (which make sense for a rabid Insurrectionist… though I’ve just checked it also requires Tools…); for Strategy and Logistics I was planning to rely on the previous FoNs (the planet’s Forged Lord and the ArchCotare). By that point they’ll probably be hulled, so they will simply act as straight-forward generals to the vaylen.
In the fiction the focus will still be on the insurrectionist because, when the time comes for the worm to invade; his hatred for the nobility and his desire for freeing the serfs will ally him (even willingly) with the aliens and give them an edge.
(In fact, it’s an echo of the Infection-level fact that the beginning dispo is heavy on the vaylen side for the first two phases; but favors the humans in the Invasion. It looks like the Vaylen need more than military might to win this planet; hence, the focus is on the fifth column, waging the propaganda war ground-side…).
From the skills-only perspective, they sure looks better inverted (Terrorist bomber now, Forged Lord at the end), but our fiction kinda dictated this the other way; and it’s such a cool fiction that I’ll happily ride with the disadvantage.
Tools vs. Workship requriements: it depend on what you’re trying to do. A workshop can do everything on the munitions list, I wouldn’t let someone build an Anti-Hammer space mine with tools, nor probably a SCaRE grenade. An Ob 2 firearm repair roll using munitions and a gun cleaning kit (tools)? Absolutely. While it’s not expressly allowed, I let people scrounge up a toolkit out of their workshop when in the field, so someone who has the gear and supplies needed to build an IED in their garage (munitions workshop) can be assumed to also have the stuff needed to rewire their explosives in the field (munitions toolkit).
Totally don’t say yes to yourself all the time. Super good advice from Luke. What I’m advocating here is not saying yes to what would otherwise be a roll, I’m saying to use a color scene to bypass something that is necessary to set up your goals, but not actually interesting. If you’re creating a noble simply to off them as part of a media blitz, we don’t actually care about the fate of the noble. What we do care about is how well it works out for you. In my mind the scene is you narrating a scene where you have a quiet back-alley conversation with a servent and give him a package, cutting to the servent planting a packet of explosives on the fuel line of a car, cutting to the car blowing up with the noble inside. The players can say what they want, but we all know that it was your FoN’s plan. The follow-on is a building scene where your dude shows up on a pirate TV broadcast making demands and threatening more chaos. As for color trumping color, generally speaking that’s color used within the confines of a mechanics scene (Builder or Conflict) such as in the color-tech sidearm example. In the general case, if we care about the outcome of the scene it should be a mechanics scene, if we either don’t care about the outcome or this is a prelude to something a lot more meaty - make it color.
Circling up a dude to circle up a dude:
See if you can do what you want via the chart on page 348. If I was finding a spotter within these constraints, I’d try to find a mechanic with a serious gambling issue or something else that takes a trip through Servitude or Criminal. Circles factors: Scumbag Mechanic (Uncommon occupation +2), station doesn’t matter (+0), Wishes ill of the PC (Predisposed or Opposed +1), knowledge doesn’t matter (you’re finding someone to give you a phone call when a car comes in, not someone to brace, +0), skill doesn’t mater (same reason, +0), In a building scene (+0). Plus the initial one for circles and you’re looking at an Ob 4 circles test to find a generally unimportant person who will call you when the PCs grav sled is in for maintanence and who will look the other way.
As for the FoN distribution, makes sense. Good luck!