The Real Deal

I just received the actual, physical, non-pdf Burning Empires in the mail today. I don’t know what to say. I pulled “the brick” out if its envelope and just felt my knees go weak. Every artist wants to see his work beautifully reproduced and presented to the world in a lovingly designed package. As an artist I’m thrilled. As the papa of the Iron Empires…

Put it this way, back when I was a hardcore Traveller player (20 years ago? Is that possible?), I decided I wanted to create my own “universe”, with its own distinctive flavor and history. I thought, maybe, someday, I would see it come to life. A good rpg can do that… give people the opportunity to interact with a universe, instead of passively having it fed to them.

Luke and his crew have brought the Iron Empires to life. They totally understand it’s quirkiness, it’s dark undertones, it’s sense of heroic fatalism, and I can’t wait to see how it grows once it’s out in the wider gaming community. Thank you, Luke. And a huge thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make this game so damn good.


Aha! After all these years, it is nice to have confirmation. I too, was (am) a hardcore Traveller fanatic. When I picked up the first issue of Shadow Empires yay these many years ago, the first thing I saw was the sector map, and my hindbrain said “Traveller!”. That got you a sale :wink:

It’s also why love Pitch Black as the best (and only) Traveller movie ever made.

Hey Chris,

I wanted to publicly thank you for taking a gamble on this project. It’s been fantastic. No matter what happens – success or failure or whatever – I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve done.

There is only one real path,

I’d like to add that it’s a real thrill for me that you’re so happy with what we made together! It was very important to us to stay true to the spirit of what you had created, so it’s very special to be able to get confirmation that we succeeded.

I’d wait with passing the judgement untill You actually play the game. I’ll ask You about Your feelings on BE next thursday at Gencon :wink:

That explains a lot! :slight_smile: (In a good way I might add)

Can’t wait until the book hits the shores of the UK. Until then, I’ll concole myself with the pdf.

Congrats, guys - awesome job!
Keep the hits a comin’!

I’d wait with passing the judgement untill You actually play the game. I’ll ask You about Your feelings on BE next thursday at Gencon ;)[/quote]

Ignore Dro. Chernobyl irradiated the glands that produce optimism and good cheer in him.


chris - glad you liked the book.

hope the GenCon experience goes well.

i look forward to hearing about your struggle to save Omac.


I’ve only recently discovered the Iron/Burning Empires, and have devoured both trade paperbacks in anticipation of the RPG.

(Sadly, I only learned of the RPG after the preorder window closed, drat it! Though I won’t be at Gen Con this year, hopefully my friend there will be able to score me a copy.)

I did notice the advertisement for the Avalanche Games adaptation of Iron Empires in one of the trade paperbacks.

I’m relieved to see that the game has gone to a less sketchy publisher (no bikini-clad warriormaidens on the cover), but am curious if the burning cross image came about before you linked up with Luke, or if it was just fearfully cool symmetry?

My apologies if this has been asked before.

Ask and you shall receive

When I first read Iron Empires, I remember seeing the reference to the “Burning Wheel” when Jumping in the first few pages of Faith Conquers. I remember thinking that it should be a sign as to which RPG should be used :slight_smile:

just because Lady Kate is sensibly dressed doesn’t mean she isn’t a warrior maiden!

I’ve been researching this quite a bit…I believe the burning wheel is actually an ancient Ugaritic symbol used by storytellers in the western Mesopotamian regions…it is a symbol also found in the runic impressions of the Central American Mayan culture…often used to represent ritual sacrifices to the gods of the Chupacabra…the beast-man vampire guardian of unique creations and goat eating…

such strange cultural cross-pollination suggests that it is a universal symbol which occurs periodically through out history in the greatest storytellers of an era…and once in a long while, two such men are born in a generation…their unified creations are monoliths of dramatic entertainment…


my research also shows that it could be just the product of a pyromanical wheel fetish…


That’s interesting, Adam. My inspiration for the Wheel was the medieval “Wheel of Fortune” which raises men up and then casts them down in an inevitable cycle. The fire refers to the soul, which the Mundus Humanitas symbolizes as a flame. Each individual, when born, is imbued with a bit of the great, universal flame which he or she is charged with tending (ie: living a holy life). It’s possible, by living a pure life, to “give back” to the universal flame more light than you began with. It’s also possible to let a portion of your soul bleed off into nothingness, so that the great light is diminshed by your life. In ancient times, men were better, greater, with souls that burned higher than they do now. That’s part of the fatalistic cast of the times… “we are not the men we once were.”

In the grand scheme of things, humanity rides the wheel of fire over cycles that measure in thousands of years. In the great days, humanity was at the top of the cycle (Apex), and was vital and holy. In the time of the Iron Empires, humanity is at or approaching the bottom of the cycle (Nadir), and is corrupt and weak. If left to its own devices, humanity would eventually return to greatness, but the Vaylen are an outside force, more vital than humanity, and may snuff us out before we can rise again.

That’s the idea in an extended nutshell.