"Smithers, release the hounds!"

I am just about to start a running BE game. I am trying to get my head around what to “do” during the player’s colour and interstitial scenes.

As a GM do I “do” anything? Do I “interfere”, sorry, challenge their beliefs? Or do I simply hand them the “talking stick” and let them do whatever they want?

For example, they walk into an area which has been agreed through previous play/world burning is a rough place seething with violent criminals. They have initiated this scene. They are meeting another player to talk where they expect none of their enemies to have agents. If they are set upon while chatting in this bar, is this fair?

Whose account does this scene get clocked on to?

Is it more fair if I spend some of the GM circle’s pool to create agents of the enemies here?

I want to play hard with the players. Cruel but fair.

Am I misunderstanding the scene economy/mechanics? How does all this differ from the trad GM prerogative of setting more or less all the scenes?

  1. You focus on being a good listener. It’s their turn in the spotlight.

  2. You intefere after their scene is over. Or you do a “meanwhile…”

  3. A scene is deducted from the allotment of the player who initiates it.

  4. You should absolutely riff off of the players’ color and interstitial scenes, but do not stomp on them or interfere with them.


Or, if the interstitial is a conversation between the player and a GM character, you simply roleplay the character… but if you start the dice rolls, it’s YOUR builder/conflict that gets used.

They get their time, and it’s THEIR time, unless you are invited.

Great. Thanks heaps.

Those are exactly the kind of answers I was looking for.

Scene mechanics mean we all get an opportunity to drive the bus.

If the guys in the bar get jumped, it is after they have done all they want to do. So if some bug burly guy blocks their way to the exit, that is a new scene. A GM initiated scene that comes off of the GM tally.

It also does not begin until after they have said and done what they want. Their scene, they get the talking stick. Their beliefs get challenged only if they do this themselves.

As an aside, I am really looking forward to this.

Imagine your BE game like a comic book or a movie. The characters have moments of internal dialogue. Even though we know the bad guys are going to jump the character, the character, however improbably, gets a moment to convey some information to the reader. THEN the bad guys mess up his day.

Also, Aramis’ notes are very important. I’m sorry to have omitted them from my break down. Heed them well!


Our group uses poker chips to help keep track of scene allotment. Everyone gets five chips to start the maneuver (GM gets 5 x 3) – 3 red (building scene rolls), 1 green (colour) and 1 blue (interstitial). It costs all 3 red to initiate a conflict scene.

Sometimes there is a struggle between players to get their chips into the bucket first! In fact, the frequency of that happening is probably a good gauge of how well the game is going…