First Play - One Maneuver

We actually got rolling today. Finished up the PC’s and most of the FoN’s. (2.5 of 4 FoNs…) But we wanted to jump in, and one of the FoN’s is a Faction leader.

  1. No offense to Chris intended, but NONE of us know anything about the Iron Empires save what we gleaned from the rulebook. B&N is out up here. SO if the names and themes are bad, Oh *ing well.
  2. I wanted to run BWR, but they wanted non-Dune sci-fi.
  3. They were all skeptical. We are all now impressed.
  4. I was leery of scene budgets; I’m not now.

Player Characters:
Her Grace Arianwen of Morpheus, 27 yo daughter & third child of Duke Angelus of Morpheus. 4LP*
Hano, Butler and personal bondsman of Duke Angelus. Mid 30’s, 6 LP.
Meriadeth Anne deTour, Lover/Confidant of Dominic of Morpheus.

Figures of Note:
His Grace Angelus of Morpheus, Duke of Nod
His Grace Benedictus of Morpheus, Heir to Duchy of Nod. 1st born of Angelus
His Grace Dominic of Morpheus, Rebel Faction Leader. 2nd born of Angelus
Her Eminence Lenae of Highlanding, Royal Inquisitor, Valen.

Important notes:
Arianwen knows Bendictus is compromised but can’t prove it.
Hano doesn’t know, and doesn’t WANT to know about benedictus. “I serve the house, and he who leads it.”
Benedictus has been disavowed, but is also the Rebel leader. Not yet written up save for beliefs.
Angelus lusts for Lenae.
Lenae is looking for a way to infiltrate better.
Angelus thinks there are no vaylen present. He’s also loyal to Benedictus.
Benedictus has been a host for about 15 years… while he was sick as a youth. Only now, while above suspicion, has the rather old worm decided to make a move to bring in more. He personally prevented Lenae’s being searched inbound upon her return home. (She’s originally from a minor holding on world.)
Meriadeth is hoping to become a duchess by her own right.
Arianwen wants to be Duchess Nod, but won’t kill her brothers to get it.
Hano is hoping to serve a Royal House… and is working to make the House of Morpheus material for House of Kings…
Angelus has instinct: Always takes Lenae’s side unless convinced otherwise.

Minor Recurring characters after session 1:
Marie: senior household maid, busybody.
Scotty: Doorman (of about age 17) of the Morpheus household serfs.
His Eminence Chris of Hilanding, son of Lenae. Not valen. Arm-piece of Meriadeth… since Dominic is under threat of death for being a rebel. (Dad’s mad!)

Great lines:
Jerry (Hano) gave us “Hey! I’m a Lackey with a Lackey!” and “I missed with the name… should have been Mercedes.”
Steph (Arianwen): Upon finding out Dad hired a marriage broker to secure a contract with Lenae, and not for her, but is sending Hano to find her the #2 best broker on world, storms out, storms back, and says “And I don’t liker HER, either!” then storms out again.

Maneuver: Both sides assessed; the vaylen to get ready to attack the humans, and the Humans to secure ties to the Rebels.
(1) Still a versus test, right?

Plot twists. Steph (Arianwen) used Court-Wise (FoRK: Lord-Wise) to find out who dad was going to marry her off to…
S: She finds out which well palced suitor dad is going for.
F: No suitor, but you think there is one anyway
Result: massive failure (0s)…

Same fancy court scene, Meriadeth wants to get introduced to Lenae. Sets high success stakes:
S: Gets to talk to Lenae privately and pump her.
F: Makes a major faux pas and decries her as Vaylen.
Ob3, but she’s only got two dice.
She choses to back down…

(2) Was I Evil-GMing to set the fail harsh enough to back her down, or is that normal BW/BE type play?

then, regrouping, Meriadeth seeks influential boy-toy to pump for information using seduction.
Called for a circles roll. FoRKs: Seduction and Court-Wise. Ob3
S: She finds a suitable guy who she can later brush off safely
T: She finds a guy she can use, but he is thinking it is more
F: She finds a guy she can use, but he’ll stalk her later.
5s on 5d… gets Lenae’s son.
Same scene, Hano gets Lenae into conversation, and she burns him with a command to report all Vaylen rumors to her. (SHe used him for damage control!)

(3) Should this have been three scenes? or are we allowed to have a large “building scene” where everyone is doing something different in the same place and time (Much like a Glbert and Sullivan musical often does…)?

Arianwen gets dad alone by Hano’s help, and presses him about his feelings. Big obnoxious building/interstitial scene. (She wanted to have Hano have a chance to listen in, and wanted to make certain Benedictus couldn’t…) Storms off in a huff when he refuses to consider that Ben might be Vaylen.

Meriadeth decides to get Hano to help plan the Bridal Shower for Arianwen. Hano checks with Angelus, who, courtesy of the failed roll, is confused.

Some procedural questions:

(4)We chose, due to three players and a GM, to use 3 scenes each in this maneuver. Are we now “stuck” on 3 per, or can we do 2 per when we want a shorter maneuver?

(5) Are we supposed to go around in order, or just make certain everyone gets their scenes?

(6) I seem to recall seeing something somewhere, but my google-fu and memory failed me: When rolling opposed, do you count the opponent’s successes or dice for determining difficulty type (for experience: Rout., Diff., or Compl.)?

this was the most intense session I’ve run in years, and one of the easiest, too. Plot just flowed out. I am quite pleasantly surprised. We all laughed, cried (from laughter, to be honest), and found the humor flowing quite naturally from the dichotomies of struggle in the characters imposed by Let it Ride and Must-Roll-to-Affect-Others. And yet, this was also quite dramatic… We found our cross-purposes driving the story, and the characters being driven by the story as well. We got more done in a third of a session (ours normally run 8 hours, FYI) than we normally get done in a full one. ANd we were slower than normal due to lots of look-ups, generally having a great time.

We used the hub, and a few spokes (Artha, Resources, Circles), but no combat nor DoW… And 'm not typing up the whole thing.


  1. Yes.

  2. You generally want to goad a player into risking action, but that situation/obstacle seems fine to me.

  3. Looks fine to me.

  4. I don’t understand. Each player is allotted one color, one interstitial and one builder (consisting of up to three tests) or one conflict scene instead of the builder. There can only be one conflict scene per side.

  5. Just make sure every gets their scenes. People should jump in where appropriate.

  6. Difficulty for advancement is determined by the number of dice rolled compared to the obstacle of the test. Successes on a versus test (plus any modifiers) are the obstacle.

I believe that there is no lower bound to how many scenes you use. Simply because everyone is alloted 1 color, 1 interstitial, and one 3-test builder (or extended conflict, one per side) doesn’t mean they have to take all of their scenes. Extra scenes aren’t banked or anything, but people shouldn’t feel forced to do stuff simply because they have scene budget left over that maneuver. People should be taking their mechanics scenes (conflict or builder) every maneuver in order to maximize their skill advancement potential but forgoing an interstitial, especially if they have been a part of everyone else’s scenes and have gotten everything finished that’s on their agenda, is totally fine.

This actually brings me to a question that I’ve had for Luke, do bloody vs. tests (ICHaSHiTF) consume your conflict scene, or can they be incorporated as one of the three roles in a building scene. From a mechanics and advancement standpoint I’d say one could be part of a building scene but my gut feeling is that since they still involve two characters at odds with each other that a bloody vs. test is still a conflict scene…

… and then I answer my own question while double checking exactly what the constraints on those tests are. Building scene roll it is!

Technically, versus tests and the like don’t count as conflict scenes.

Yup, found that but decided to leave my question in with an answer attached in case someone else had the same brain fart and happened to go searching the forums for the answer.

Good… Cause I’d have gone the other way with it. Informative.


Thanks for the answers.

Another setting question:

(7) Noble Feif inheritence: Male-line, female-line, Male-line then female-line, birth-order, same-gender, nominated heir, other?

Also, Luke, Cathexis got to the heart of my question 4.

(8) so, based upon your response to question 3, a building scene has a 3-test limit?

(9) Can the player doing the rolling in a building scene be other than the PC of the player whose scene it is? (I think so, but I’m not clear, based upon your response to q. 3)

(10) Does participating in someone else’s building scene count as your building scene?

Day after opinions…
mine: Wow, what a rush! Now to finish up Dominic (who is, at the moment, still just beliefs, instincts, and physical looks) and Lenae (Who has skills, but not figured fully, and needs traits, resources, contacts, and stats).

(11) When should an NPC switch from just a circled-up personality to a full-fledged contact?

Steph’s: “Totally different than what I’m used to. Not bad, just different.”

7 That’s up to you.

8 Yeah. Top of page 289.

9 Only if their interleaving their building scenes. Also on page 289.

10 See above.

11 Bottom of page 355.

[Moved into new thread]

Start a new thread, please.