Unearthing secrets past

Last week we burned the World for our first BE game. Xi-Borbon used to be a very High Index World that thrived on it’s rich coltane deposits, but many generations ago a civil war the world aflame and it’s whole surface became toxic. A power merchant league obtained permission from the emperor to exploit whatever’s left and now there are many domed flying cities from where the League runs a highly profitable coltane business.

My character is a prince, a member of the royal faction that only nominally runs the world. The thing is, all that high index technology that used to be in the surface is probably still there, hard to reach, but very useful to someone who’s looking to make the nobles run the planet again.

The thing is, how should I go about this in-game? What sort of skills and specialists do I need for my grail-quest?

Also, if making this high index technolgy available again should make a big impact on the world, what could be a suitable Phase Objective?

Proper format, please.

  • terrain
  • factions
  • etc. pp.
  • who runs what
  • restrictions&regilations, etc.


Heretic, I fail to see how “proper format” might help answering my questions. Could you clarify?

I don’t see it either, in this context.

However, a few questions:

  1. Is the current tech Low Index, with some relic high index tech available?

I’d suggest writing it up as a “faction” even tho it’s not of people: probably 0/3/6 or so, by phase. Bringing it on-line is thus requiring a successful Assess and then Take Action.

Hey, Heretic, we don’t have a “proper format” around here. Even if we did, it would be more of a World Burner or Actual Play thread thing, and this is a quite legit post in General Questions asking about a specific scenario for tech burning. Knowing the terrain or factions for this world wouldn’t help answer the question.

You didn’t actually say how you burned the world. It sounds like you went low-index, but I think that’s a mistake. If there is substantial high-index infrastructure present and available on-planet you should burn as high-index.

You could do that and just say “Okay, only folks with appropriate access can use it.” If all the players agree to that, it’s fine. But I think the slick, cool way to do this is by making all high-index tech a Regulated good. That means it’s present, but it requires elevated Resources obstacles and narrative justification for getting ahold of it. This might seem a little odd, but really all you’re doing is replacing the Customs Service with a kind of Customs Chemical.

A faction is an option, but a) that requires more hacking to work right, and b) that does a better job of replicating just one cache of stuff than it does a sparse layer of tech-junk spread over the surface ready for reclamation, since it comes online instantly but only for one side.

We went with High Index, exactly for the reasons that Zabieru presents.

Both the factions and the regulation ideas sound good in the big picture, but I’m more concerned about the smaller picture. Right now, it’s an unexploited resource, so the faction idea sounds better for the macromechanic, but as Zabieru points out, deciding on the disposition might be more complicated than it’s worth.

I’m guessing I would need someone with Ancient History first, then Investigative Logic or something else to locate an actual site, then some Back-Breaking Labor to do the hard work, then Repair or other techincal skills to get the technology working. (With Circles and Resources along the way).

But… what does the Technlogy do? How do I make this scheme work with the Tech Burner? Using it merely as a linked test to the Resources test is a way to go, but it doesn’t sound quite right.

I’m sure the answers are staring at my face, but I’m unable to see them.

Perhaps it’s not that the tech is hot… it’s just bringing more factories on-line again. Treat it as a group of low-value factions, each up for grabs or destruction. Say 4-5 factories, each with Dispo of 1/1/1 or so… and each one providing a bonus of +1D on resources for a specific type of of tech item. One’s a ground vehicle plant (1/1/2), one is a small arms plant (0/1/2), another is a sensors manufactury (2/1/1), and one is a computer plant (2/2/1).

It provides plenty to fight over that way, and provides a bonus to various tech goodies

Except that now you’re looking at eight to ten maneuvers to get your tech online, each phase.

If you’re gonna do factions, you should just make a Surface Reclamation Guild faction or something.

It really sounds like you should probably just say “The world’s high-index, but until the figures of note (from both sides, I’d imagine) can set up a reclamation process, no one gets anything above low-index.” You don’t need to pre-plan exactly what that entails, but the scope of the action should be well-understood (is it a phase goal, a maneuver goal for one side or the other, or is it just a building scene or two?)

Investigative Logic is not particularly appropriate for this task. If the information is deeply buried, some kind of history or archaeology is indicated. If it’s two generations old, though, bureaucracy or research might get it. Investigative Logic is more about crime scenes and motives, so unless the point of leverage is figuring out exactly who triggered the catastrophe and how, that’s probably not the skill.

I’d also comment that the process you gave will consume two full building scenes (Ancient History, Investigative Logic, Back-Breaking Labor, Repair, Circles, Resources). If that’s a process to recover one specific piece of tech, that’s excessive (in comparison, it’s perfectly possible to score even very heavyweight tech in one builder: Circles to find a fabricator, Fabrication, Resources, or maybe a linked test for resources, some other test as a quid-pro-quo to another player for resources help, and then resources).

If that’s across the board, do that once to set up extraction and then do maybe Repair as a linked test to Resources from then on, I’d drop Back-Breaking Labor. Just use Circles, Resources, or Affiliations to get someone else to dig. If you want to be nasty, require a Fusion Dynamics or Iron Artifice (was that the name?) or similar roll to allow tech dependent on those skills to be reclaimed.

Thanks for the answers so far. Zabieru clearly shows that I was overthinking the issue. I was test-mongering with myself! The factions idea sounds generally neat to add some interesting tweaks for the game.

(BTW, the game crashed hard on the first session. Really hard. But we’re going to give another try next week.)

I’ve not played BE, but in the 2 years I’ve been lurking here, that seems to happen somewhat often. Causes can vary. If you’d like help looking it over, post it as a thread to the “Playing BE and BW” list in “Game+Life” (and if you already have, I apologize; I posted this before reading over there).