Questions on some Traits and more.

Hi there, first post (be gentle).I’ve read through BE a couple of times and burnt up some sample characters and it’s raised some questions.

Q1. At one poin you are reminded to tak your free trait based on the attitude of the world towardsa Vaylen, yet I couldn’t find any more info on the traits, where are they listed? I thought it might simply mean that you could take a trait called “indifferent” for example - however in the traits listing there was no entry for indifferent. Can anyone help me out?

Q2. One of the characters I tried to burn was a Vaylen in the body of a Dregus, butI was a bit stumped about how to do this. Do you need to burn up the Dregus, then burn up the Vaylen, then follow the rules for taking over bodies (this seems like a lot of work).

Q3. [This isn’t about burning characters] at one point in the rules an example is given about a character trying to avoid being tossed in his cell by physically resisting, the example seemed to sugest this would be handled without a firefight or even an “I corner him…” however it does use his close combat skill. Can anyone give me more info on how this would play out? [or was the example just short hand for saying - “this is actually going to be an “I corner him””.

Q4. [Again not about burning] another example is of a Kern I think who introduces fortifications and the example then goes on to stae that another character will be making a demolitions test to take them down. However since the fortifications were only colour and not paid for and burned up should the example instead be of colour trumping colour and the demolition of the fortifications only needing to be a description rather than a test?

I had a few more but I forgot to write them down DOH!

  1. page 54.

  2. Vihbuuten Naiven, Cultist, Cultist, Cult Leader, High Official.

  3. page 296, versus tests. This is a standard versus test as part of a building scene.

  4. Don’t dig too deep there. It’s just an example of how to run a versus test.

Thanks for the quick reply just to get a little more clarity:

  1. page 54.
    Q. So does this mean I was right in thinking that you’d get a trait called ‘indifferent’ (or hysterical fear etc.) and the fact it’s missing from the master traits list in the book is just a minor error?

  2. Vihbuuten Naiven, Cultist, Cultist, Cult Leader, High Official.
    Q. So is it fair to say that you should only use the Vaylen jumping bodies rule in actual play never beforehand?


Use the Vaylen setting for building infiltrators, plants, sleepers, and bodysnatchers; use the Human setting for building those privileged naiven who benefit from human hosts in the clan’s freakish inadvertant parody of human society.

(I always assumed it was inadvertant; their society is mimicry of ours, distilled down to stereotypes so much that it is extremely creepy; one of the players in our group says they are like “RealDolls”).

  1. Correct. That’s what page 54 says. No minor error needed.

  2. Correct. Jump bodies in play.

Thanks Trimethius, that makes more sense to me to burn the guy up as a human Dregutai or what have you and just say he’s Vaylen.

Mind you both techniques have their limitations, burning him as a human will mean he has no Vaylen traits, burninghim as a Vaylen will mean he won’t have the traits and skills that the human he inhabits would have (it would be pretty easy to spot Vaylen who suddenly don’t have skills they need for the role they are in or skills they had last week etc.)

I’m guessing it’s a matter of time and convenience, to get a true Vaylen now inhabiting a Dregutai, you’d have to burn both up then use the body jumping rules, but for ease of play and speed of generation I guess I’ll stick to him being either burned as Vaylen (Human caste) or Human (even though we know there’s a worm driving!)

And not to belabour the point but as for the matter of the minor error about traits, the reason I say that is the traits list starting on page 246 states “this is a list of all the available traits in the game…” but it isn’t because it is missing the traits for homeworlds (e.g. Baroque) and for homeworld attitude (e…g Indifferent). No big deal but it did send me running here to ask the question, if it had been in the list I wouldn’t have needed to. If there everis another edition I’d consider putting themissing traits into the master list - that’s all.

One new question about character burning from a quick skim of the lifepaths I noticed that a couple of lifepaths get Nose for Trouble (a call on IIRC for Trouble-wise) but the actual Trouble-wise skill is only available in the kid lifepath. Is this an ommission should any lifepaths with the Nose for Trouble trait also have the Trouble-wise skill added to the end of their skill list?


Trith’s referring to the HUMAN setting in the Vaylen chapter.

As for the minor error issue, let’s play semantics! You can’t buy those traits, they’re assigned. They are not available to all characters. Thanks for the suggestion!

Nose for Trouble: It’s also not a minor error. If you want the eminently useful Trouble-wise skill, spend a general point or two.

burn up both, then introduce them with the takeover…

Assigned and unbuyable traits like Baroque and Hysterical Fear do appear in the index, in the trait font, with page references to the World Burner and as appropriate rather than the trait list.

BE has a great index, that’s the best place to look for this stuff.

Burning a character using the Iron Empires settings and lifepaths gives you a human character. You can say that he is Vaylen, but either a) you are using that as shorthand for “100% pure-blooded worm-free traitorous human quisling scum” or b) you are cheating. As Aramis says, though, you can also hull him first thing if you want to (it’s very dramatic!). But if you want him to have a worm in the skull before the game starts, you need to use the Vaylen chapter to burn him.

By using the Vaylen (infiltrator) setting in the Vaylen chapter, you can indeed make a real Dregus. Notice that Cult Leader has access to the “Dregutai” trait and certainly should have trait points available for it. That would make your man a real Dregus, as real as any.

One other thought: It is quite possible to make that initial hulling scene a flashback.

Ok, thanks everyone I think I’ve finally got it!

I’m hoping to start a play by web game. I’m hoping that the scene ‘currency’ will work really well for some e-gaming.

Very cool!

Please tell us how it goes.


My “Vaylen at the start of the game” mastermind was and remains the Imperial Steward’s Chancellor. I represent this with the Diplomat and High Official LPs from the Vaylen ‘Vaylen’ setting; this character also has some Vaylen ‘Human’ setting LPs to represent her existence prior to the failed clan intrigues that saw her sent out to infiltrate the Iron Empires like a lower-caste unfortunate.

I did the same for the Archcotare of the planet too, just giving him the appropriate traits from the Cult Leader and High Official LPs.

I had an unhulled, but unwitting Vaylen-supporting, noble warlord as well. At the end of the Usurpation phase his allies in the Imperial Court took him aside to “celebrate” and had him surreptitiously hulled. I used the Hulling rules in the Vaylen section of the book for this (since it was a new naiven it was fairly straight forward…).

(See also Burning Empires, 198 for some extra rules on trait purchasing if the position being impersonated has something you absolutely must have - most of the good stuff is available through the Vaylen ‘Vaylen’ setting LPs though.)