What's are my next two moves?

So, we’re finally getting back to our BE game after the holidays and some busyness on the part of my players. We’re going to hit session 4 next weekend, and we’re at an interesting place narratively and mechanically.

I’ll outline the situation shortly, and then I’d like you all, more expert than me, to tell me what I ought to do next Infection Maneuver-wise so that I beat them up.

First off, it’s an infiltration game. Long and short of it is a world where the PCs (Forged Imperial Steward, Hammer Lord and Armed Forces Commander, and a Psychologist turned Chamberlain) are struggling to handle planetary economic collapse while they are opposed in both how best to fix their worries, and change society to fit their new economic paradigm. Specifically their enemies are: Head of the World Cult (enemy of the Steward, his former lover, and mother of his bastard son), The Imperial Treasurer (and Hammer Lord’s brother), and an Anvil Captain turned Cotar Fomas for the Cult (and avowed enemy of the Chamberlain for that turn of events).

Factions are: Kerrn, Cult Church, Circle of 10000, Slaves and Serfs.

We’ve played three Maneuvers so far (one in the first session, as we went through rules, and two more in the next session - I’m shooting for two maneuvers per session). Starting Dispositions are Vaylen 29, Human 19. So, I’ve got an obvious advantage and I’ve pushed it. Assume all sort of neat roleplaying and discussion and such:

1st Maneuver: Vaylen Flak vs. Human Assess: Enemy Dispo. Human side loses two disposition.
2nd Maneuver: Vaylen Assess: Enemy Dispo vs. Human Take Action against Enemy. Vaylen lose two disposition.
3rd Maneuver: Vaylen Assess Factions vs. Human Take Action against Enemy. Vaylen lose one disposition.

So, heading into the next session we have Vaylen Disposition at 26 and Human Disposition at 17. I’ve still got a clear advantage, and have assessed both the enemy and the factions, so I can go to town. Question is, what are good tactics here? My goal is to hit their disposition now that I’ve done my assessments and can strike in any direction. My FoNs cover the skills necessary for all the Maneuver actions, to various degrees for this Phase.

Advice? I’m open to any strategy. The players know they’re behind but they MIGHT figure I’ll be out to it them next session. On the other hand, for story reasons, there’s good profit to be made from, say, formally bringing the Cult Church into the fold (Take Action, but nets no dispo advantage) or hitting the Kerrn (who have an unofficial pact with the PCs - not official until a Take Action, as I told the group, which MIGHT be their next move).

Nobody is hurt so no need to generate downtime yet.

So, any idea what I ought to do for my two Maneuvers next session?

Sweet! They seem to be TA crazy. So you can whack them with your own TA to put them on the defensive or whittle them away with more Flaks.

I’d put them on the defensive before gunning for the factions.

Okay! So the humans have taken action twice. I’d love to get a read on your players and current game-state. Like, taking action to take narrative control of the cult church could be righteous if you have at least one FON with Relationships in the Cult Church. The GMFON is already the head of it so you already sort-of control the Cult. What about the others? If not, then your GMFON might be enough of a toe-hold.

How many Circles points do you have banked? That’s another consideration when looking at taking a faction.

Where is the GM’s artha? Can you scrape together a big hit?

You guys planning on playing past the Infiltrate? If not, then you don’t have to worry about a compromise. :slight_smile:

Given they’ve taken action twice, and without reading your players, they might be of the unimaginative sort that thinks point-point-point is the only “good” DOW play. You know what I mean? So I might assume they want to take action again. Based on that, some thoughts:

Conserve/Go to Ground: Not feeling either of these, not with a lead. That’s what you do to shore up when you’re behind (or you want a big chunk of training to push several skills that are on the bubble…again I need to see your current game state).

Gambit: This really depends on your current artha load. If the guy with the weird Infection skills (psych, tactics, smuggling, food service) is the one with the artha, this is a pretty awesome surprise attack. Given you’ve already got a lead, you can take the -3 dispo it.

Flak: Even after you’ve assessed, this is pretty great when you’ve got a dispo lead. It pulls in different skills than Take Action, and if you have a big honking pool of dice you can make progress AND slow the other guy down. I love Flak when I’ve got a distinct artha advantage and it’s not time to deliver the pin/inundate final punch.

Take Action: I find this very hard for the humans in Infiltration. The skills are weird and specific; given your PC lineup I’m surprised they’re going this direction. Who’s making the rolls? And what about the Vaylen side?

  • If you have an artha lead and dudes with the right skills, I’d Flak-Flak. It’s all talky-talky stuff though; how are the GMFONs on that front? Depends, again, on artha load and the fictional state.

  • If you have the right skills, Take Action-Take Action is probably dumb, obvious and fine.

I’ll answer everything I can here, and then comment where needed:

The GMFON and, now, another one, though that was through story type stuff (the Captain - he was already an enemy of the Chamberlain, and in-game events and a smashing DoW led him out of the military and into the Cult). The PCs don’t really have any relationships with the cult, other than the obvious Steward-Cult Leader thing (since she was the mother of his son).

My High Priestess has a Circles of 4 and blobs of Affiliations and Reps (she’s Archcotare, for MH reference). The other two GMFoNs have 3 and 2 each, but both also have some reps and affs naturally. In general, expect either guy to be able to gather 5-6 Dice for stuff in their area, and my High Priestess can easily muster 7-9).

I haven’t touched it except for one fate point for each of them. So I’ve got at least 2 Fate and 2 Persona per GMFoN.

Yes, we’re planning to go to the next Phase after this. Consequently, I’m hoping to walk away with at least 10 Dispo left. If I can, and combined with the Phase goal to change the regulations, I’ll close the gap on the Dispo for the next Phase (where the Human side will have a just as clear advantage).

Hmm…for the Flak, my Priestess has almost all of the skills, and what she doesn’t have the Treasurer does. For the Gambit my Captain covers it fine. So those are easy. Hmm. Gambit seems enticing, and I’ve got some Artha to burn. If I do it right (with you all’s help) I can hit them this coming session hard, and then wipe them out at the end of next session. Make it exactly six sessions (including 1st session world creation).

Thanks Paul. Excellent advice and food for thought. Perhaps what I said above gives you ideas?

Nothing new, really, other than I agree with Luke that gunning for the factions can probably wait 'til later, or when you’re playing a “bigger” game.

I like that play a lot when we’re doing a lazy, 1-maneuver-per-session game. Lots of time to let the story unspool, lots of time to invest in getting a character’s hooks into a faction (or waiting for your opponents to get their hooks in!) and then scoop them out from under. Or take away your own guy’s faction! If I were Humans, I’d seriously consider taking control of the Cult as a way to isolate your GMFON. Start circling up spies and informers among your ranks, color-narrating internal strife and general collapse. Good times!

Gambit is pretty sweet given your current setup. Sounds like you did a good job building your dudes with a nice spread of Infection skills.

Yeah, I was thinking on the 1-maneuver session, but the guys seemed to want to “see where it goes!” in the way that they wanted to hit it and get rolling. So that’s what I’ll try for.

Your circling up spies comment did give me food for thought, as I realize there’s something I did wrong. Specifically, I let them roll their underlings to set up some surveillance on the GMFoNs. I realized this was a mistake but I wasn’t sure how or why. Still…yes, it seems that it would have been wiser to do it as a Circle thing (as I did for other stuff, just not this one).

Gotta start reading through all the threads here for BE I think…

Little update:

We ran the session and it was a total blast, naturally. All is well. They did something crazy and did an Inundate, hitting me with 7 Dispo loss. That set’s my dispo at 16 and theirs at 8. Interesting, no?

So, question is, what next? We’ve obviously got one more session of two maneuvers. They can’t react next maneuver, thanks to the Inundate they did. However, if I do an Inundate next maneuver, I don’t think I’ll be able to muster enough successes to whip them totally, even with the extra dice (I figure, I can gather 8 dice for skills and help, plus 3D for the Inundate, which is 11 dice - and I’d need 8 successes from that). I’ve got exactly one persona and one fate point left for the GMFoN who would do the job. So really, should I go for it? Or conservatively script, say, a Take Action (I can only muster 6 dice), and then script the second maneuver as Inundate (or even Flak, where I can get 9 dice). Or what?

Thoughts? Advice? It’s been an interesting game so far!

Do not inundate! Be patient and hit them with a TA.

Yeah…TA and a defense-heavy Flak to wrap it up is probably a fine play.

I’ll bet the humans felt great about hitting so hard with the Inundate. Too bad it’ll cost them the game.

Thanks for that guys! Yeah, it’s the first full phase we’ve finished, and frankly, Burning has grown on them quite a lot, especially after they saw Firefight and how fast it could be. Good fun all around.