Scaling Upward

(SirBertran) #1

Do you think the firefight rules could be used to represent an interstellar conflict? Positions could represent star systems, Direct Fire or Suppressive Fire could represent spoiling raids by enemy fleets, etc. I just started toying with the idea a few minutes ago. Think it could work?

(Colin Booth) #2

It could. Firefight does fleet scale engagements pretty well so I’d imagine it would scale up without too much work. I’d suggest using Infection though, the maneuvers are similar and are designed for larger-scale engagements.

(SirBertran) #3

What’s the largest fleet battle you’ve ever run/played in?

(Colin Booth) #4

Pair of Hammer Cruisers vs. a Hammer Cruiser and a pair of Hammer Patrol Craft. The battlescape was the planet, an orbital transfer station, two moons, a low-orbit ship graveyard, and “the high frontier” which represented the edge of the gravity well.

It could easily have gone bigger, but the individual ships, and more importantly the crews on said ships, would have started to matter less. From a wargaming perspective however, I would imagine that Firefight could scale infinitely large, as long as your priorities were still on: position, morale/ability to fight (disposition), and firepower.

(SirBertran) #5

Once I understand the system, I’d like to run a game set on a fleet of ships assembled by the Darikahn Empire to explore the Phaesian Arm. Do you think the Infection mechanics (which I haven’t wrapped my head around yet) could be adapted to that setting?

(Colin Booth) #6

As long as you’re playing the core game of Burning Empires, I’m pretty sure an Imperial Fleet is doable as a “world” within the World Burner.

My suggestion however would be to focus on the “liberation” of a single planet. First it allows for more interesting options in the world burner (a few people have figured out reasoanble world burning options for fleets, but there’s only about three variations), but more importantly it gives both sides (human and vaylen) something to fight for, some interesting moral decisions focused around liberation/extermination/humanity/etc, and something that fits a bit closer to the primary expectations of the BE system. You’ll still be able to get your fleet battles as defense fleets are scrambled, courier ships are dispatched for reinforcements, and as enemy fleets drop out of HEx.

If you instead want to play a space exploration game, it might not work within BE. Burning Empires is a game that really needs a larger conflict to frame the characters actions and to add a tension between resolving personal goals and helping the war effort.

Also, I’m going to move this thread out of Firefight and into General Questions since it’s covering a lot more than just firefight.

(SirBertran) #7

That’s fine by me.

So if I tried to run a space exploration game the system would fall apart? That’s too bad. I still think BE’s an amazing game, but I was hoping to run a space ex./conquest game that would allow for the players being movers and shakers. You can’t easily do that with Star Wars, or even RPGs designed around that concept (FSG’s Rogue Trader is cumbersome and shoddy).

(Colin Booth) #8

In classic Luke form once you start poking into the underpinnings of the game you start getting unforseen consequences in other places. For example, without a scene economy there’s no way to tell when a maneuver ends, which then breaks the recovery mechanics (which are all tied to “end of maneuver” events). Similarly, without a distinct opposition force (with GMFoNs and all that), there’s less to organize the players away from in-fighting (since high-power BW/BE characters are bound to be at odds at each other, doubly so when they have assault detatchments, medium chunks of the priesthood, etc… on their side). Another oddness is in the handling of Artha for contravening Instincts - one thing Instincts do in BE is help keep your character functional within the scene economy. The reason you get rewarded for ignoring your instinct is because you’re making a deliberate choice to have trouble happen instead of your goals, which can be huge in a game with limited scenes. In Burning Wheel it’s the opposite, you get rewarded for following instincts that get you in trouble, which encourages players to have more unexpected thigns happen.

I’m not saying it’s impossible or is guaranteed to collapse, but it’s going to be wonky. Instead, I’d leave BE as BE (and run it, it’s a huge ride), and run a space exploration game in a highly modified Burning Wheel with many of the parts ported in from Burning Empires. They are (mostly) rules compatible, but the core design of Burning Wheel is to run an open ended, character focused game, whereas Burning Empires has rules tweeks to be a pressure cooker with an explicit end state.

(SirBertran) #9

Fascinating! I just picked up a copy of Burning Wheel the other day, so I’ll look into that. Thanks for the info.

(StanTheMan) #10

Don’t quite agree about the scene economy/Infection parts. I just used Infection to represent the war in my just finished yesterday Burning Rome game, and instead of scenes, we just measured when to do a maneuver roll in the real time, i.e., we wanted two rolls for the session, so we did them both at the halfway and end point of the session). That made it about 2 1/2 hours between each roll, and whatever happened, happened in that time. Mind, it was a game set in a war in ancient times, so there were large swathes of time traveling around and such, which gave plenty of room for downtime and the like.

Of course, I personally don’t see why you can’t just use the lifepaths and base rules as is for a far future game, and dump the Infection and other mechanicss. I’ve got an eye on doing this now for a Honor Harrington-esque game actually.

(Wayfarer) #11
  1. I know this is not what you meant, but a Roman time travel game could be pretty awesome.

  2. I had my eye on it first! Some people weighed in helpfully. I still haven’t had a chance to do a test run, though.