Burning Orysia

So some friends and I decided to give the World Burner a go, and have come up with the following. The idea was inspired by the movie Red Dawn. Set shortly after the events in Shiva’s War, we envisioned an agrarian world on the edge of Karsan space. We wanted to keep the Tech Index low as it fit the movie-source better. We also planned to play in the Invasion phase: the Vaylen, flush with their victory over other Outworlds, try to keep their momentum going, and see Orysia as an easy target for direct conquest.

During the Federation days, Orysia was terraformed with the heights of Federation technology from a lifeless world into a fertile breadbasket. Early tarraforming efforts included dropping carbonaceous asteroids onto the word’s surface; the results of which show up as eroded circular craters that form the gentle sloping valleys and lakes that cover most of the world. Beyond these ancient-craters lie the outback.

The collony is controlled by a combination noble fief and corporate conglomerate. To maximise its agrarian capacity, little or no industry exists on Orysia; all technological manufacture was either in the hands of very skilled local craftsmen, or was imported with trade. Orysian culture is based on japanese feudal fiefs: all ‘citizens’ of Orysia are vassal to one of the noble houses. This tight control over economics has also led to a strong black-market presense on the world (the organized crime faction). There is also a sizable Kerrn Diazpherah on Orysia; they live wild and free in the ‘outback’ beyond the populated and cultivated areas. They hunt and herd their animal stock and occasionally trade with the human inhabitants. We thought they’d make terrific shamanistic and tribal potential allies. The current Ghetto Sheef (and FON) left home long ago to “Sssee de starrz.” Having served as a soldier and merc for many years, he returned home to lead his people.

Several cult groups also make their home on Orysia, often living in the outback or in the smaller crater-valleys.

News of the recent Vaylen incursions at Dotashi and Taramai have riled the local peoples into near panic. Before the incursion Orysia was not on the frontier, but with the fall of Dotashi, Orysia is now in the direct path of the Vaylen rampage. Little known to the locals, a Vaylen sleeper agent infiltrated Orysia long ago, and has taken the opportuny to hull the Diamyo.

Now in orbit over Orysia is one of the FON’s, a Forged Lord who fled with what little of their command they could save from Dotashi (the Junta faction). They are currently negotiating with the Diamyo of Orysia for supplies and permission to build a new home base.

Well. That’s as far as we’ve gotten so far. Hopefully we’ll flesh it out a bit more and begin character creation in the next session.

Section: Choice
Galactic Location: Karsan League Outworld
Attmospheric Conditions: Human-life supporting
Hydrology: PredomLand
Topography: Tamed and habitable world
Tech Index: Zero Index
Predom Dominant Government: Noble Fief
Predom Military: Prof Volunteer
Planetary Attitude: Paranoid
Primary Industry: Agriculture
Level of Quarantine: Basic Quarantine
Level of Regulation: Moderate Regulation
Organized Crime
Kerrn Diazpherah
Slaves and Serfs
Indig. Life Forms
Merchant Houses
Cult Churches
Military Junta
Figures of Note:
Leader of the Junta (Human side)
Kerrn Ghetto Sheef (Human side)
Clan Leader (Vaylen side)
Baron of the world (Vaylen side)

Dang dude, that is a LOT of factions! Sounds like a great setup, though – I’m strongly considering starting my next game in a phase other than Infiltration as well. I’m just not feeling the cloak-and-dagger vibe well enough to know what to do with it (i.e. all cloak, no dagger).

Are you going to be posting your turns?


(best phase to start in for new players is Usurpation. Just sayin’.)

When my group starts playing, yes. We may also tweak the details of the world a bit. Sometime soon I plan to post Orysia to the wiki…

I’ll consider that! Thanks!

These guys will be utterly new to the game engine (as will I as the GM). So I was trying to come up with a setting/Phase that would be easiest to grasp and get into. Userpation you say…

Huh. That was my guess, too, based on the principle that Invasion was too balls-to-the-walls to start with and Infiltration would be too subtle; but obviously you have slightly more than wild-ass-guessing going on. I’d love to know more about your experience on this.

It’s the phase that cuts closest to the setting – it’s about hulling individuals, it’s about raids, and politics. It’s almost the exemplar phase. You can’t really understand what you need in Infil or Inv until you Usurp!

Strange, I know. And perhaps a failing of the game design, since it’s the second phase.

Fucking RPGs.

Right. As soon as you say “parasitic brain worms” the players will start thinking of Invasion of the Body Snatchers or The Puppet Masters, or even The Manchurian Candidate. And all that stuff relates most closely to the Usurpation.

I disagree. I think of the Phase sequence much like a Maneuver script: Assess, Build, Take Action.

In many ways, the aspect of the Burning Empires setting that fascinates me most is the divisions between the humans. If you wanted to really emphasize that aspect, then starting slow in the Infiltration, when the protagonists’ main problem is simply getting everyone else to stop pursuing their petty (or not so petty!) agendas and realize that the Vaylen is the real problem, is probably the way to go.

Awesome observation.

Me, too!

In our game, the players and I ALL were treating the Infiltration phase more like a Usurpation phase. Also, none of the Infiltration-oriented skills were very strong in anyone’s character build, so we couldn’t even let our play be guided that way. Maybe a longer discussion on the right stuff for GMs to present during each phase would be in order?


Since I’m (with any damn luck) starting a game soon with a bunch of people who think seven sessions is a long time, I’d second Paul’s call for a “GM advice on phases” topic.