Does this make any sense?

A couple of paragraphs I posted on the whole “winning” thing.

I think I might have another one or two on me under a heading entitled “Playing to Lose, or How To Have More Fun By Screwing Your Own Character”. They’ll have to wait a bit, though.

Yes, that does make sense. I posted a somewhat rambly (ok, really rambly) reply that might not actually make any sense in the talk page

Sure, very sensible stuff. I liked what you had to say about how BE doesn’t really address the “sense of wonder” stuff many players go looking for in the RPing experience.


I think you achieve a variation on the “sense of wonder” by creating a rich and engaging world together and seeing it come to life through play.

But yeah, I guess that’s a different sense of wonder than having the world come to life through the GM’s characterizations, descriptions, and handouts (possibly taken from a sourcebook) – closing your eyes and thinking “yeah, I’m totally there man”. That can be awesome too, but yeah, very different.

I see your point, Mike. I think what I was trying to get at, though, was less about the different ways the sense of wonder can be achieved, and more that the the sense of wonder is secondary to another goal, if you see what I mean.

Ah yes, definitely makes sense Rob – so much so, in fact, that my post just seems like noise now. Oh well!

No worries, Mike. Anyway, I just posted that bit about “Losing to Win”. Having not yet played BE, do my comments about advancement and artha marry with actual play?

Kind of, kind of not. I think everything you talked about w/r/t Artha and BITs is true in both BE and BW – that’s one part of both games that’s about the same.

We found advancement wasn’t really a factor in BE once we started playing. Given the few number of rolls you’re allotted in a Maneuver, it’s hard to come up with enough tests (yes, even helping). Also, if you take six LPs, you already start out pretty darned buffed out – and it’s really hard to come up with all those Difficult/Challenging tests.


In our game, advancement is a BIG player priority (less mine… as GM I’ve got too many other things to worry about). The guys will often put together tests just to get the advancement roll, which seems lame and gamey on the face of it, but we all force them to make it work in role-playing terms, which often leads to some cool linked tests and plot twists.


Some time ago I read something about how authors are occasionally surprised by the actions they find themselves writing for their characters. Suddenly, an unexpected course of action occurs to them which is truer to the character than what they’d planned.

As I play more Burning games, I’m starting to feel that this is one of the sources of wonder and discovery.

Your analogy with authorship is right on the money, Mike. I’ve had that experience also, as a writer and as a Burning Empires GM… I’m often really surprised by where the characters go as they interact with one another and their beliefs. One of my guys, scheming businessman Ko Masetai, a guy who I didn’t really have a clear sense of at the outset, has totally come into his own recently. He’s cutting deals with the players at the expense of one of my other characters, murdering his own employees in desperation, inadvertently hiring Vaylen infiltrators. Not “immersive” in the classical sense of the word, but absolutely engaging, like watching a movie that I’m also participating in. I want to see what happens next! When are his multitude of chickens going to come home to roost? He’s hands down my favorite character.