Burning Empires and Missing Man Play?

Our group is pondering running Burning Empires, but we (well, I) have a concern:

There is a fair-to-middling chance that one or two folks (in a four- to six-person group) might occasionally miss a weekly session. From my admittedly incomplete reading of the rules, it seems like BE characters are very integral to play, being such movers and shakers on the galactic stage. As such, I worry that it will be hard-to-impossible to play a session when there’s a missing (wo)man.

Is this the case?
Is this partially the case, and folks know some techniques to manage it?
Is this pointless fretting, as an individual PC can painless come or go from scene-to-scene, let alone session-to-session?


Hi David,

It’s not the worst thing in the world if someone is missing.

It WILL hurt when you do the Infection rolls though, as the missing person might have an integral skill for the planned maneuver, but obviously won’t be able to roll it. Alternately, they won’t be available to give helping dice for the Infection roll, which is a disadvantage but not too bad.

All in all, I wouldn’t let this issue sink a chance at playing the game. However, you should make sure that everyone is able to make it to the World Burning and Character Burning session. It’s important that everyone be part of that process.

It’s workable and doable.

BE plays out more like a comic book/movie, you can cut back and forth as you mention…so having everyone at the table every time isn’t as critical as in some other games.

PS Yeah, and what Thor said about character creation / world burning. That’s really critical to get everyone to buy-in and up to speed on what’s going on.

We started a game with 2 people, burned stuff up, first session of play we added one person, than we added another on the next session.

We spent waaay too much time each session getting everyone “caught up” on what was happening…and then they didn’t have the investment. It was like, “Oh, I’m your Uncle? OK…”

We should have started completely over again.

So yeah, no skipping out on char / world burning

This is not the case. I have one or two people absent from Prometheus Chained almost every session. It works fine, so long as the players have a varied list of skills for the maneuver roll. The scene structure makes it easy to cut those characters out of the narrative.

What we’ve also done in our game is get permission from the absent player to play his character if he’s needed for scenes. This is a dicey proposition, some people can be very protective of “their guy”. But we found that with beliefs, instincts, and traits, any player can run the character appropriately should one of the other characters need something from him.

That wouldn’t work with everybody, but it worked quite well for us.