OK, some questions about who does what with NPCs and Circles tests.

  1. Now, players can play both NPCs and PCs correct? Or are NPCs only the domain of the GM? And if not, what’s the limits on players playing different NPCs?

My intentions are that players are mini-GMs for their scenes, and therefore can play their PC, and relationships they have other than Vaylen FoNs, and anyone they brought in with Circles tests. I see my role during their scenes as, “No, if you want that you need to roll.”

  1. What about Figures of Note on the players’ side? Since the GM is involved in utilizing his own FoNs, is it totally up to the players to bring in their FoN?

  2. A situation arose last week, where someone had to use both a Circles test and a Resources test to bring in a bodyguard. He said, “Well, if it requires both a Circles test and a Resources test to bring in a hireling, no one is going to do it.” Is there a mechanical benefit to getting services? I’m thinking about stating that it becomes part of your tech, and doesn’t need to be re-rolled. But that seems wonky considering how that might circumvent some Circles tests.

I think that’s about it for now. Sorry if this seems to be restating things in the corebook, but the game is really different then how we play. I’m just really trying to understand it.


I don’t have my book in front of me, so I can’t quote page number, but here goes:

  1. Players play their PCs and their lieutenant/bodyguard/assistant type characters, that’s it.

  2. The players’ characters should be the figures of note, if they are not, they foolishly remand control of the FoNs to the GM because of “1” above.

  3. Circles tests bring in the bodyguard, period. Resources can be used for payment and that stuff, but you only need to use Circles to bring a character into a scene. Resources can also be used as a linked test toward a Circles roll – bribes, gifts, etcs.

If you want a permanent person attached to your hip, though, then that’s going to have to be a Resources obstacle straight up – and that character is completely under the jurisdiction of the GM (all his loyalties, ties etc. The player gets no input on those matters unless he uses Circles.)

Alrightie then. Sounds good.

Quick follow-up question.

What if a player’s lieutenant/body guard/assitant type is on the other side of the conflict? GM or PC responsibility? Because somebody is in that boat in my game.

GM by default plays the other side of the conflict. For your first game, I recommend keeping it simple like that.

Also, why did you make up a dozen NPCs?!


Also, I might not use the rules for “lieutenants” if this is a conflicted or traitorous henchman. Trevor Faith bought Urci Fox (assuming he wasn’t a PC) as a lieutenant, but those other officers were Relationships at most. So let them buy just a regular conflicted relationship for those guys.

Aw, man. Is that the sound of the designer banging his head against the wall?

Because there was a dozen NPCs? Everyone has two or three relationships, and as I kept going they add two or three more relationships and on and on. The whole thing, with five players, resulted in a exceedingly convoluted relationship map.

Granted, the major reason why is that none (and I mean none) of the PCs are in league with one another. For PCs, I’ve got a Mundus Humanitas Inquisitor, a Cotar Fomas Cyrean Heretic, a secular politician whose an athiest who hates religions, a “Mother Theresa”-like rebel priest who is estranged from the Mundus Humanitas Church, and an offworld psychologist whose involved with examining the Indigenous life-forms. Everyone has their own agenda, and there’s very little overlap between them and many of them are actively working against one another. You could have a game just with that crew.

And now, we add onto this the Vaylen threat! None of the Figures of Note (created by the same schizophrenic group) are actually Vaylen. So, I’ve got to do six degrees of separation just to squeeze the Vaylen in somewhere. The only Vaylen is the servant of the rebel priest.

Really, there’s a definite lesson here about relationship webs, and that is they need to really be focused to be useful, otherwise, it can become a clustered and unworkable mess. I don’t think we purposely did this, as looking back on other group “relationship webs” were also equally chaotic. The fact that we continue to do this hadn’t dawned on me until I wrote this post.

Granted, I think for our first time through, I believe we made a lot of mistakes. We’re definitely going through a learning curve. I’m still not sold on the Beliefs for some of the PCs or NPCs.

If your morbidly curious, my campaign is on the wiki. Just click on my name under the GM heading, and you can see the current cast of characters. All the characters I’ve burned are on there so far too.

Thanks for all the help!

Keep it simple. Each player should have no more than 2 relationships and where possible these should coincide with other player relationships. Use Circles to deal with incidental relationships.

Also besides figures of note and their sidekicks, don’t stat out NPCs. Players create their own PC and sidekicks. I imagine that a five player game should have no more than 6 NPCs, and you should aim for 4 or 5.

The simplicity is important. Again, there is little time in BE so focus will help keep the story on track and cross overs will help bring the group together.

This is an issue. The PCs should all know each other at least in some way and this is explictly stated in the book. There is very little time in BE to have introductions and build new relationships so create PCs that don’t need this.

Again keep it simple. I imagine that I will go for just 3 Figures of Note, 2 opposing and 1 ally when I set up a game, with maybe 1 sidekick. This helps keep things manageable for me and allows the players to understand where the threat is coming from.

You only need to burn FoNs and lieutenants. Everyone else can exist as simple characters (basically one number) as described in NPCs chapter.

Not banging, just trying to save you some work!

For my Otos Prime game, I burned 5 characters total. Three FoN and two lieutenants. Everyone else is just a number and a personality generated on the fly.


This is all really helpful. Thanks for the insight.

No probs. I have recently learnt all these hard lessons playing With Great Power. My brain melted at one point where I was trying to track 30+ different narrative arcs in WGP. I just stopped playing and had to break for an hour :slight_smile:

I think BE will be easier as it doesn’t directly dictate the narrative the way WGP did and has a lot of traditional RPG elements, but a lot of the lessons are the same.