Double Checking My GMing

One of my players was really bothered by something I did while GMing my Burning Empires game and I want to double check my reasoning.

Here’s the sequence of events.

While I was burning up my GM FON’s I noticed that one of my players had a couple of Beliefs specifically about supporting the Gongazin Empire’s claim to the throne. The planet we are playing on is located in the Darikahn Empire. None of my FONs really have any stake in the Gongazin/Darikahn feud and thus I really didn’t have a good tool for challenging those Beliefs.

However, my Vaylen General FON is trying to heat up tensions on the planet to push the Planetary Attitude from Personal Experience to Ignorant. Basically the Vaylen are pushing the world tol become so involved in its own problems that it completely forgets about the Vaylen. So what I did was I spent two Circle points for the Vaylen General to have a relationship with an off-world Imperial Steward. I then gave the Vaylen General a Belief about slipping information to this Lord Steward to provoke him into action against this planet which is controlled by the Humanitas Mundas.

I have another FON who is a High Inquisitor. He had a belief about finding a noble to champion the return of The Church to the Darikahn Empire. One the PCs was the High Inqiuisitor’s wife (he isn’t a Cotar). She (note: the player is male) was forced into this marriage by government decree. Near the end of the Maneuver she came to the High Inquisitor and gave him the choice of taking Cotar vows (thus annulling their marriage or going through the embarrassment of magistrate litigated divorce). In attempt to provoke a Duel of Wits I acted on the High Inquisitor belief and demanded that she use her standing with the Darikahn Empire (as Forge Lord of the planet) to petition for the legal return of The Church. To my surprise she agreed and the scene became simply an interstitial. The player ended the maneuver with a Color scene where he described her sending a letter off to the Lord Steward suggesting that The Church be allowed to practice freely.

I figured this is not going to look good to the Lord Steward. So I figured I needed him to show and I figured it was worth burning him up in full. It turns out it takes quite a lot to be Lord Steward and he’s amazingly well equipped. Anyway, while I was burning him up I remembered my Vaylen General’s Belief and my over all Phase intent. So I decided my next Maneuver would be a Take Action described as “Provoke hostilities between the Lord Steward and The Church.”

I opened the Maneuver with Building Scene in which I made several rolls to setup that my Vaylen General (remember the Lord Steward is an allied relationship) creates a set of documents that imply that The Church is establishing a trap in order to launch a wider Gongazin attack. This mainly involved Forgery, Cryptography and Signals.

Now during the Maneuver the players succeeded in rooting out, capturing and killing my Vaylen General, so I’m down a FON. :frowning: However, I succeeded in the Maneuver roll which in the Sequel we described the Lord Steward arriving, and attacking church facilities. So the Lord Steward is now obviously a REALLY BIG PROBLEM on the planet.

As I said one particular player was really bothered by this. After all the work they put it in capture and kill my FON it didn’t sit quite well that I was able to effectively bring in a way more powerful NPC via a simple 2 point relationship.

Now the way I see it.

  1. This NPC is not a FON. He can’t make Maneuver rolls.

  2. Also because he is not a FON his loyalties are up for grabs. He was tricked into making a pre-emptive strike and there’s room for negotiation.

  3. Because the FON he was attached to is dead he won’t ever be able to contribute to the Maneuver rolls.

My point is that as far as I can tell I legitimately brought him into the fiction as a present and active force and that while he’s a BIG DEAL from a Scene perspective he doesn’t really impact the Big Picture much.

But I want to honor the feelings of my player and make sure that I’m understanding everything correctly. I’m just vetting my decisions and making sure I didn’t misunderstand something.


Did the players know about the Lord Steward before the decision was made to bring the Church in and that letter was sent? If so, well played, sir!

Sounds like a nice turn of fate. Unexpected twists like this were common in our BE games.

What maneuver are you on?


I can see how both you feel. He’s worried about getting robbed of a victory and you’ve legit put in a new enemy. I’d side with you on this one. I’d especially point out that he can’t make Maneuver rolls.

I told the players both about the relationship and about the Vaylen’s Belief.

We are heading into our fourth Maneuver. We are too slow and unfamiliar with the rules to manage two Maneuvers a session.


Everything looks totally groovy to me.

I’d note that even a FON’s loyalties are up for grabs! You just have to be smart about setting your intent in a Duel of Wits…or bring a Psychologist into the mix, of course, and have her dick up the FON’s Beliefs.

I’d also clarify to your players that color trumps color. The Imperial Steward coming in and kicking ass is just kicking color ass. And so therefore the players can also use color scenes to kick his ass right back! None of which matters much 'til someone engages with the system to solidify the fiction.

I’d also start pushing for shorter, snappier Maneuvers. This will make the “OMG he’s invading!” bit seem less momentous (IMO).