Just wondering…

Could anyone suggest some films that contain the general atmosphere and mood which prevails in Burning Empires? I know every game is a little different, and the TPB’s would be the ultimate source, I was just wondering what kind of things everyone would suggest…


Here are a few films that made me think of the Iron Empires (an eclectic list, I know, but there it is)

Kagemusha, Shadow Warrior - All of Kurosawa’s films have the blend of personal and political that I’m drawn to (and the Iron Empires aspire to).

Alien/Aliens - The first two films were very influential.

Dune- The Lynch version. A flawed film, but with bits of visual genius. And the political stuff.

Pitch Black/Chronicles of Riddick- The second movie’s a lot better than it’s gotten credit for. It has a strong “end of the world” feel to it.

The Last Valley- anyone seen this? It’s set in the 30 Years War, with Michael Caine and Omar Sharif… Imagine the valley as a planet, and it all clicks into place.

Ghost in the Shell- If you like Anime, this is amazing. Also liked Blue Submarine #6.

I’m sure there are more that I’m not thinking of: Fifth Element, Underworld…


Awesome list,

Thanks Chris

–> If I may stray from topic slightly, I noticed the qualification of lynch’s version…is that a distinct preference for that version or a feeling that Iron Empires is closer in feel to that cinema? (I only ask because my new players so quickly associate futuristic nobility with Dune)

Also…If I could abuse this incredible access to the original world burner… I really enjoy the futuristic hegemony setting of the empires, but I was wondering how you see the merchant leagues…Were vast corporate conglomerates wiped out by guilded traders with Imperial Sanction, or do some still exist, archaic leftovers of a time long forgotten…

Our concept of the Merchant League was strongly based on the Trader era of Asimov’s Terminus (i.e., Foundation). Check out the story The Merchant Princes from Foundation.

Hober Mallow is the quintessential hero of a Merchant League.

Thanks Thor, that helps a lot!


I see the mercant guilds as primarily local associations… the bulk limited to a planet, some larger, spanning several worlds, a very few empire-wide. Think of them as structurally similar to the political realm… small “baronies”, in which succesful merchant houses rise to the top, allying themselves with other merchant houses to drive under their competitors. These small confederations would join other such entities on neighboring worlds, forming trade alliances, waging trade wars. You can use your imagination as to how this web of alliances would interact with the political world… a powerful Merchant Prince dictating policy to a vulnerable Baron, strong-arming him into doing the guild’s bidding (or vice versa).

In each empire, there are a number of large guilds that carry royal approval. Some of these carry ancient names from the days of the giant corporations. Think of them as the Dukes of the merchant world, their fingers stretching everywhere. But the Iron Empires, even in their diminished state, are vast places with even the most powerful guilds only able to reach so far. There is plenty of room for the local guilds to flourish. And, as always, there’s the Void. Who knows what’s out there, beyond the frontier? A giant corporate empire that survived the collapse? There are swarms of outraider merchants in the near Void, visiting the frontier worlds with odd items for sale, culled from the limitless wreck of the ancient federation… and they have stories to tell.