Heres what I want to do

First, I dont own a copy of BE, actually I havnt ever read it, but Ive played Burning Wheel a couple of times and Im very fond of the system and what it does. So I want to do it in space. :slight_smile:

My thoughts are that we first burn a world, and put some cool factions in it, of whom some will represent the Enemy (the veylen equivalent that is). We have som ideas based on a swedish sci-fi games that we want to put in our burnt world.

We want the the game to be slow paced, getting to know, and explore, the characters before any big scale conflicts take place.

So, my question is, will this be possible or do we have to play out the invasion as suggested in BE, or is there room for all sorts of story driven roleplaying, as in Burning Wheel?

Thanks for your time, all answers are appreciated.



It’s easily doable – it’s built right into the game. Start with the Infilitration phase. That’s phase focuses on the world and how it works. No big scale conflicts should take place – it should all be subtle, behind the scenes stuff.


Thanks Luke, that sounds great.

Another, sort of related question, how closly attatched isd the inavsion rules and all that to the Wheel-system? I understand the phases of the war have some influence over scenes and what tha main characters can do, but apart from that, is BE a game in its own? Can you play a campaign where all you do is classic Firefly stuff - smuggling, brawling, getting into trouble and generally just being a no good space pirate?

You could do this. If you ignore the Vaylen invasion and therefore not use the Infection rules (which track the overall state of the Vaylen-humanity conflict on the planet), BE could play much like a Burning Wheel game set in space. Without the Infection mechanics you wouldn’t need to do Maneuver rolls or even use the ‘scene economy’, since those are tied to the Infection pacing. With this option, you might not technically be playing Burning Empires, though!

You could also still play a Firefly-esque campaign even with the underlying storyline of the Vaylen Invasion–and use the Infection mechanics to track the ‘big picture’. The key for your group, I think, would be to be in agreement about how the characters’ actions relates to the big picture. At the end of each Maneuver, one player character will make a skill test that will determine humanity’s success or failure in that Maneuver. The question is, are the character’s actions directly related to the Invasion in some way? Or is the character’s success or failure simply representative of the overall battle?

One thing to keep in mind though is that Burning Empires is set on a single planet. There is not a lot of interstellar travel. This shouldn’t be too much of a problem for a Firefly type game since many of the Firefly stories take place on a single planet. So, for a Firefly game that uses the Infection mechanics, you’d either need to have an extended story arc on a single planet, handwave space travel so that the player characters can come and go to the main planet quickly, or modify the nature of the conflict so that the Infection mechanics track not just the state of the conflict on a single
planet, but track the human-Vaylen conflict throughout human space.

In ‘Burning Nautilus’ one of the players just wanted to be a space pilot of no importance to the overall conflict (he did not want the character to be a Figure of Note.) I think the player was looking for a ‘space opera’ game of the kind you are contemplating. But he enjoyed the game because the scenes in play are just like any other game. The player did what he thought would be cool, without worrying too much about the overall conflict.


Great answer, thanks!

I think I get it. I am, however, planning a conflict between two major factions at one time or the other, I just dont want it to be the story until the war breaks out, sort of. I want the characters own issues to be what the story is about, and the coming war being all the cool stuff that happens in the background, and from time to time (more so as the game move forward) jumps in to steal the show.

The world will be a single planet with a couple of space stations, mining colonies, asteroid belts and the like. I think that will be big enough, even with your own spaceship. :slight_smile:

My main concern though is the space ship. Isnt there a Ship Burner somewhere? Id love that.

Hi Mans,
Mel’s right, but I’m going to be a bit more firm. If you try to hack the game and play it as pirate romance, you, like many before you, will not be happy. It’s a very tightly built game. Much better to bend your concept to the game and play in the phases than to try to bend the game to your concept.

And, honestly, your concept sounds like it would fit seamlessly with the game. Smuggling, Streetwise, Forgery, and even Ship Management are all very important skills in the Infiltration phase.


Luke, as youve noticed, my aim isnt to play BE as a Firefly episode. We will try to play BE “as written” but with another setting, slow paced and with a focus on characters.

I will of course tell you all how things are going as soon as we get our world and character burning done.


Cool, man!

I’m tellin’ ya, it’ll work!


oh some how it got missed…

  1. You can buy a ship (with the correct backgrounds) at character creation.

  2. You can build a ship piecemeal using the Technology Burner.

Short Short Short version:

You describe your technology (this could be the ship or could be the Stellar Gravitational Assessment System (SGAS) which detects far away ships hidden in space. or it could be the Maeson Cannon.

You then (when it matters, or just before you think you need to use it). “Burn It” making it real (this is based on buying it, stealing it, and building it).

This lets you create technology as you go, and without a shopping list.

The Tech Burner has many many diffeent categories of technology, but it is up to the players to think up what is important and design it.

Also, when you get the book, read it! read the comics too if you have a chance… the setting is very cool. And really it is not every day you get to be the only chance of saving a planet from slavery.

Just ordered the game. Ill be waiting by my mailbox every morning…:slight_smile:

I really like the concept of the tech burner. A lot. This will be cool. Ill keep you posted.