Question: How many Forged, Anvil, & Hammer Lords?

Couple Questions:

1->Generally speaking, how many Forged Lords are on a given planet?

2->In the same vein, how many Anvil & Hammer Lords?

I’d imagine that there may be some variation in number from planet to planet but I’m looking for an approximation that I can work with. I’m not sure how you would break this down per planet type but right now were on a very high tech capital core world in the Karsan League that produces military equipment so I guess we might be on the high end of the spectrum. Obviously, really low tech worlds don’t have a space fleet so a Hammer Lord probably wouldn’t be present.


Chris may have a more definitive answer, but here’s my view.

Forged Lords: one or none. Forged Lords are the definition of power in the Iron Empires. They don’t control worlds, they control systems. A weak Forged Lord might control the planets around a single sun. A strong Forged Lord will control many such systems. A very strong Forged Lord, like the Darikahn Emperor, has multiple Forged Lords under his command.

A world may have one or a handful of Anvil Lords who all owe allegiance to a particular Forged Lord. Each probably has several Anvil Captains under his command. Some worlds may have Anvil Lords that do not owe allegiance to a Forged Lord. I think Baron Sheva is such an Anvil Lord. Such Anvil Lords can obviously only hold one planetary fief.

Hammer Lords: none to a handful. As you noted many worlds probably have no resident Hammer Lords. Some worlds, particularly ones close to the seat of power for aggressive Forged Lords, maybe have several, each with a number of Hammer Captains under their command.

Thor’s interpretation is correct.

Hail Thor!


Thanks men! o7

Now we can go forth and conquer appropriately!! :slight_smile:

Howzabout Anvil Lords on planets ruled by a Lord Steward? That’s the setup in our current game. I think we’re going on the assumption that the Anvil Lords owe their allegiance to the Lord Steward (as a figurehead of the Empire itself), but since he’s a simpering bureaucrat it probably wouldn’t take much of a crisis to toss that allegiance on the bonfires of civil war. However, I’d be curious to hear if there’s a “canon” answer to this setup.


Depends on whether the Lord Steward is an Anvil Lord or a Court Lord, really.

I read that he was a bureaucrat, actually. I guess if I had to choose, he’d be a Court Lord.


If he’s a “simpering bureaucrat,” no, I don’t expect anyone will stay loyal to him for long when the crunch comes. But Court Lords can be formidable intriguers – just look at that skill list: “Persuasion, Falsehood …Lord-wise, Scheme-wise.” And then Court Lord can lead to or from some potent lifepaths like Chamberlain, Treasurer, and Constable. A Court Lord may not be a military commander, but he may have a Resources exponent to reckon with, or the ability to Circles up, say, a sleeper agent on your flagship who’ll drill you a new skull opening if you get out of line.

My favorite Burning Empires character, Lord Omei al-Mutawakkil, was both a simpering bureaucrat and a badass Anvil Lord.

Huh. Maybe I need more information on what exactly an Imperial Stewardship is comprised of. The writeup in the book makes it sound like it’s all bureaucrats, all the time – appointed by an Empire, but no mention of actual nobility running anything. Are there some good examples (historic? fictional?) to set me straight? This is doing weird stuff to my conceptualization of my game world.

EDIT: Ah, okay. I’ve just re-read the “Stewardship and Court” explanation grafs and that does help clarify things for me. Slightly complicating things in my head, I think, is the fact that the Imperial Steward is also a Vaylen sleeper. :open_mouth:


Just for fun, I wrote up a seven-lifepath Lord Steward without using Lord-Pilot or any other path with any kind of combat skills. He’s a bit scary.

WHO YOU ARE: Biographical basics

Cunning Court Lord

Human Age: 45
A Court Lord turned Lord Steward with no martial background at all.
Born to Rule Court Coeptir Courtier Mandarin Constable
Court Lord Lord Steward

WHAT DRIVES YOU: Beliefs, Instincts, and Traits

Violence is the last resort of the incompetent.
Revenge is a dish best served cold, but in generous helpings.
The truth is so precious that it must be protected at all times by a bodyguard of lies.

Never go anywhere without my loyal bodyguard.
Always take time to listen, even to your enemies – you never know what you might learn.
When in doubt, delay.

Mark of Privilege,
Emperor’s Steward
Nose for Trouble
Under Pressure,
Your Eminence,


Affiliations & Reputations:
Reputation: Emperor’s Steward 2
Affiliation: Stewardship 2
Affiliation: Nobility 1

Relationships & Contacts:
Loyal Bodyguard
Political Rival

WHAT YOU CAN DO, part 1: Stats, Abilities and Tolerances

Will 5
Perception 4
Agility 4
Speed 3
Power 3
Forte 3

Resources 13
Circles 4
Steel 5
Hesitation 5

Superficial 2
Injury 3
Maimed 7
Mortal 9

WHAT YOU CAN DO, part 2: Skills & Tolerances

Bureaucracy (Wil/Per), 6
Court-wise (Per), 6
Ugly truth (Wil), 2
Imperial Law (Per), 4
Persuasion (Wil), 5
Imperial Edict-wise (Per), 2
Etiquette (Wil/Per), 6
Falsehood (Wil), 6
Seduction (Wil), 5
Inconspicuous (Wil), 2
Conspicuous (Wil), 2
Noble-wise (Per) 2
Outlaw-wise (Per), 2
Province-wise (Per), 2
Spaceport-wise (Per), 2
Tax-wise (Per) 2
Lord-wise (Per), 2
Scheme-wise (Per) 2
Imperial Official-wise (Per), 2

Sydney: nice writeup. The skills are about where I’d expect them to be. On reading this I finally figured out why I had such a smelly brain fart on the function of an Imperial Stewardship: It’s because I burned up my FoN as a Vaylen, not as a human. So I had all these wacky Vaylen lifepaths based on how the Vaylen guess human civilization works, and I was never exposed to what was involved in making a “real” Court Lord that would be operating as a Lord Steward.

Which, interestingly enough, is creating in my head the same kind of disconnect that my Vaylen FoN is probably experiencing in his gig as Steward. What am I supposed to be doing? Why are all these bureaucrats acting like nobles? Why are all these nobles acting like bureaucrats?


(special p.s. tip for Sydney: these kinds of beliefs may not work well in actual play! Players who wrote beliefs up like this in our first couple sessions had two problems: they struggled with the Artha economy, and lacked character motivation. IMO “belief” is a bad descriptor for something that in practice is more akin to a “principled to-do list”. In our game, our broad statements of principle quickly got replaced with the more functional – and well described in the book – “principle, action toward principle, reward for action” model.)

Yeah, goal-oriented beliefs are very hard to write in the abstract; one of the cool, not-like-a-traditional-RPG, feature-not-a-bug aspects of Burning Empires is that it is impossible to make a complete character by yourself: You have to have a world fleshed out, which means other real human beings playing with you!

And all that said, this 7-path simpering bureaucrat is a badass, and I wouldn’t want to have any of my characters caught alone in a room with him. He’s just asking to get stabbed in the face.


Yeah, hence the instinct about the bodyguard…