Help me Pimp BE to my group!

Hey all, I’ve been lurking here for a while and unfortunately timed my attempted registration with some forum mailserver problems. Anyways, this coming monday I’m going to try to pimp BE to my group (2 players and myself - we normally have 3 but he’ll be in CO shooting elk) and maybe jump into world burning. I’d like your opinions on my current tactic:

I’ve already mentioned the game, and they seem interested in the world burning idea, so:

Step 1: World Burner! I ran through this with my brother and it worked well even with just two of us. It makes me sad that our little test planet won’t actually get gamed because it’s not the group’s planet. :slight_smile:

Step 2 deviates from the norm here. My group is coming off a real rules-lite homebrew system, and I am afraid I’m going to lose them in the sea of lifepaths and skills and traits, moreso because of my noobitude in explaining things than their ability to grasp the process. I don’t want to unsell them because I’m not explaining things correctly, so:

Step 2: Paint the FoN in broad strokes, and then I’ll handle the fiddly parts of burning them between sessions when I do my GM FoN. I’d leave Beliefs and Instincts to my players.

Of course, it could turn out that they are cool with the fiddly bits and patient with my fumbling, in which case we shall rock the fuck on.

Step 3: Look at the FoN (we’ll likely do two FoN per side rather than 3) and decide which Phase suits us best. We’ve got 2-3 sessions before my brother gets back from Colorado, so it should be enough time to figure out if we want to keep going.

My last issue is really more of a pacing issue. Tell me if I’ve got this right:

WRONG Intent? A Cult Leader FoN wants to find someone in the mercenary company (junta faction) he can bribe and thus start getting weapons for his cultists and maybe even get his cultists infiltrated into the junta. You gotta think of the END result, right? Not the first step.

RIGHT Intent? The Cult Leader wants to get weapons for his cultists, so he … does what? Is that a Circles/Bribe-wise test to find a quartermaster down on his luck and susceptible to bribery? Or is it a Bureaucracy/Bribe-wise to actually do the bribing? Or does one lead to the other in a single building scene? Do you NEED both tests? If the Circles test is successful, then the quartermaster is automatically cool with the bribery and will supply weaponry? And if you fail, then he’s not cool with it and calls down the thunder/sells you out while giving you crap equipment?

As far as the “infiltrate cultists into junta”, I guess that’s a means to and end - simply color for a Take Action manuever to activate the Junta, right?

It seems to me that most non-Conflict scenes flow fast and are relatively small-scale compared to the Phase as a whole - even the maneuvers are best thought of as baby steps on your way to planetary liberation/dominance, right?

Thanks for bearing with me!

I really suggest you buy the graphic novels. I didn’t have a good handle on the setting until I got my copies of Faith Conquers and Sheva’s War. They’re fucking works of art, and really suck you in.

Not only is it an awesome read, it’s an awesome reference, and a great way to hook the players into investing themselves to the game.

The steps you’re suggesting are fine, but I’d totally go with burning characters from scratch. Making characters is hard, don’t get me wrong. But it is just so much damn fun it’s practically a hate crime to deny your players a chance to try it.

What really worked for me is an ally. Get together with one person from the game, sell them on it, and then the two of you burn a character each to get a feel for how it works. Then sell the rest of the group. A wingman helps a whole lot.

I’m not sure I’d put it in those terms (I don’t find it more or less fun than with many other systems, and I do find some sections maddening to plow through), but it’s the only way for the players to get a good enough handle on the character to play at the level needed.

Here’s my counter-suggestion: tell the players, after you’ve all decided on the “broad strokes”, to design their own character as far as step no. 7 (Traits). If it will resonate with your players, you can tell them it’s actually, up to that point, very much like creating a mid-level d20 character! Traits = feats, and lifepaths = levels. (I’m not a fan of d20 myself, but it reassures some players to compare to something they know.) Then do the equipstuff, circles, and other doodads as a group, as well as a general “does this make sense?” check.

But no matter what, you’d better be clear with your rules-light players that they will need to do a LOT of reading and that this game is not light at all. You play it because you want to get at some cool stuff in it, not because it’s the path of least resistance!

If you’re this worried about your players taking to the game, play a one-shot. I can provide you with the scenario and the characters.


You know, I think I’m just gonna jump into it with my players. Screw the pussyfooting around doing their work for them. :slight_smile: Better to find out if they like BE or not by doing it the right way.

I love a man who goes against his gut instinct.


So ya going to award him his Fate point?

Only if it gets him in trouble.

So Admiral, if your group hates, you get a fate point!


No fate point for me. :slight_smile: We all expected complexity from the World/Character burning session, and it wasn’t that tricksy. The biggest problem was running out of time, so I let the one player (Caleb) borrow my Brick to finish up his instincts/resources/circles and myself and the remaining player (Todd) made do with the PDF copy. Telling them Thor worked on the game sold it immediately - I should’ve tried that before and saved myself some needless worry. :slight_smile:

I’m bundling together all the notes so I can post on the Wiki. Our planet is Kharpara, an ocean-covered archipelago Outworld of dense jungles and forests where the native peoples (who have fallen into tribal-level technology since Kharpara was cut off from the Days of Yore) have been reconquered by the Nobility in a New World scenario. Pirates ply the trade lanes looking for slaves and the Mundus Humanitas missionaries bring enlightenment to the natives - by force if necessary.

Caleb took immediately to the idea of the Lords-Pilot and feudal militaries pimping their power armor, while Todd needed to play Space Moses for some odd reason, but he went off researching Sanskrit and fleshing out the native religion, AND he was on board with playing a psychologist, so more power to him! Revolution and slavery and the fate of the native peoples will be a big theme between Caleb’s more-civic-minded-than-usual Hammer Lord (although he might swap to a Lord-Pilot Hussar, he wasn’t sure yet) and Todd’s bloody-minded Doomsinger.

I have a question about one of my GM FoN, and will post in a separate thread.

Hello again - my post is little unactually, but one thing above made me crazy (and dark side of the forge is a powerful ally ;)).

I will never compare BE to d20-system. Traits=feats and LP=levels (or classes, anyway) - so when i told that to player who played much in D&D, you think that work with him will be better & easier? You kiddinme, dont you?

Thinking about Character Creation that way is the best way to kill all fun. Player will be read book for hours and chose best option instead follow the rules. System does matter - when we are playing in d20 i ll say "yes, you can read all book and choose the best stuff, weve got few hours on pickinup feats, classes and other toys". But when we are playing in BE im going to say - “Stop! If you were sit with book for 6 hours, youll kill all session. This is not a game about optimalizing Your character <In that moment ill show him chapter about optimalization in book>, but ABOUT characters!”.

Thats all what i want to say. I will hope that my 'siberian-english" dont waste Your time and eyes :slight_smile:

Yea, our group is just starting a BE game, and one of my players tryied to camp on the book. Unfortunately we had to end early, and did not get characters done.

This was a problem before too when we first tried Buring Wheel, some players want to read all of the lifepaths and pick and choose from them. I have discouraged this by asking questions about the character concept, till I can give them help and show them cool ideas.

One thing I plan on doing when my group gets back together is, have each player talk out loud about the life paths they are looking at. I think that each player is used to character creation being a individual activity, and are not used to discussing and sharing with the group as they go about burning their character up.

In general, I think it’s essential to have strong character concepts before getting into character generation: otherwise, for complex systems, like BW/BE, you drown in details, and for simple systems, like Prime Time Adventures, you flail in the void.

The tricky part of this with Burning Empires is that it’s NOT a bog-standard setting of a familiar type (e.g. Star Wars, cyberpunk, high fantasy). I found myself pitching to my group – a work in progress so far – in terms of the setting archetypes: the grim noble in Iron or Anvil armor, the telepathic Psychologist, the elegantly devious courtier, the fervent faithful of the Mundas Humanitas church – and then you can combine them, so Trevor Faith for example is Lord-Pilot plus Church, an Inquisitor is Psychologist plus Church, d’Artois is Psychologist plus courtier plus noble, Lady Sheva is Noble plus Psychologist.