Help me help my friend getting BE character burning

OK, one of my best gaming buddies doesn’t get BE, which seems odd because we align on much else when it comes to gaming.

We started a game from scratch (after my suggestion to play Omac as a taster was rejected) and it died during character burning due to its crunchyness.

What it boils down to after prodding him a a little is this:
“I still don’t understand or really appreciate why the character generation system in Burning Empires will give me a better character than one I’d just made up myself, without lifepaths and such.”

I have a feeling that his quibbles go deeper than just this, but let me start by pretending this is actually his only problem with the game, and that he will play with me if I can give him a satisfactory answer.


The setting is embedded in the lifepaths. You won’t get a “better” character than just making something up, but you’ll get a character with the limitations and advantages appropriate to his place in the IE universe.

Plus, better is a funny word to use. We’ve rebooteed our BE campaign here in Pittsburgh, and one of the things we realized was that we hadn’t pasted enough “kick me” signs on our characters backs. We’d burned essentially traditional characters: all advantages and as few flaws as we could winkle out of the book. Boring. And ultimately self-defeating, since it’s easy for the GM to hit evocative traits that screw your character (the GM will be champing at the bit to do that), much harder for him to engage on traits like “I’m a Genius”.

I’d also suggest maybe trying to sell him on Omac again… our group fought running it and we ended up wishing we had.

Good luck, Per!


That’s an easy one. If you follow the advice in the book and make a commander or leader character and start from your last lifepath and work your way backwards down the choices, you’ll have a much more effective character than if you just pick and choose what seems cool. The advice and lifepaths are designed to create a character tied into the Duel of Wits, Fight and/or Infection mechanics.

Also, the lifepaths are the setting. They show us how life in the Iron Empires affected your character. They present hard choices and thus a help make a cool story for the character.


pfischer -

I just made my character… (the Kerrn Ghetto Sheef), While burning him and trying a few combinations I "discovered that he had been a medic, and that changed everything. Now he runs a black market medical clinic for the serfs… so cool.

I have had many other characters that had similar experiences… start with an idea, but have a great revelation about half way through.

I your friend makes a character just in the position then he will be without background, even if he writes it in himself. While I think that the LP section can be frustrating (we sometimes allow jumps and pre-reqs to be skipped if our setting gives a good reason for it) I think they add allot to what your character is at the end.

Thanks, guys, appreciate it. I posted the link to this thread to Joe, maybe he drops by.

I remember he told me “I don’t trust the character burner” or something similar, which I’ve been mulling over since.

Oh, he’s right about that. The character burner may seem like your friend now, but it serves only Bat-Kraken. It will one day betray you to his tentacular wing-maws.

But if you were to cut a deal with Bat-Kraken, say… Did you guys try burning back from the last LP? I like forwards-burning too but it sounds like your man there starts with an idea of what he wants, and backwards-burning really, really works well with that. I was very surprised the first time I tried doing it backwards. In spite of all the advice about starting with the last LP I’d always just gone from Born forward, but when I tried it the other way it was a really different experience.