World Buring was damned interesting!

So, last weekend my group and I did our world burning/character generation session. The short of it is, we had an absolute blast making up the world and discussing what it was like, and how the worm fit into all of this. I will note here what was decided, and the FoNs for both sides. We have three players, so, three FoNs on each side. Everything came mostly from the players, with tiny game-rule hints from me.

What was interesting here is that the players were very happy to choose options that either felt like “better roleplaying” or “make it more even” in terms of Infection. So, in short, they were very happy to screw themselves over if it seemed fun.

Our World

  1. Galactic Location: Karsan League, but an Outworld.
  2. Atmosphere: Partial-Life Supporting. Specifically, the world has deep valleys where there is breathable atmosphere, but above this level, the atmosphere is full of toxins and nuclear particles. The reason? Heavy industry on the planet, and a nuclear war some time ago. A later artificial bacteria used to clean up the oceans results in an even bigger catastrophe, which is…
  3. Hydrology: Predominately Liquid, so like Earth. Except this liquid is water and ammonia, which, thanks to the artificial bacteria used to clean the oceans, precipitates as liquid ammonia, and, combined with the Nuclear Winter on the world, has created ammonia snow on the world, and the world is now permanently locked in winter.
  4. Topography: Broad Range of Conditions. So, a lot like Earth again, with forests, lakes, and plains, except most of these “good” areas are in the valleys and crevasses of the world; all above is covered in acidic snow. (we discussed Broken, but they wanted jungles and whatnot).
  5. Tech Index: Low.
  6. Government: Imperial Stewardship.
  7. Factions: On our world are: Circle of 10000 (militant Psychologists), Cult Churches (I’m thinking about this - I sort of want to smash Buddhism and Zoroastrianism together, like a self-awareness dual-world theology. I’ll have a think, but the important part is, they are NOT friendly to the Mundas Humanitas Church, and they are native to this world, in direct competition with the Church), Kerrn Diazspherah, Slaves and Serfs.
  8. Predominant Military: Lords-Pilot. (this seemed a no-brainer since they wanted an Imperial Sci-Fi feel and it matched the odea of an Imperial government).
  9. Planetary Attitude: Educated about the Vaylen. (it’s an outworld, after all)
  10. Primary Export or Industry: Raw Materials - Ammonia snow. We sell the stuff that falls out of the sky for use in fertilizer and other industrial processes (as an acid wash, for example).
  11. Level of Quarantine: Advanced. So, pretty much everything is quarantined EXCEPT foods and ores. (I specifically pointed out that not restricting food made a vector for the Navien worms. They loved the thought of navien being smuggled in with the off world caviar)
  12. Level of Economic Regulation: Loosely Regulated. (mostly because they didn’t want organized crime as an issue, which is why it’s also not a faction)

Figures of Note
Human Side (the players):

  1. Mattias Turtlestone as the Imperial Steward, Forged Lord and Anvil Lord in his own right, addressed as Duke; he’s also got a bastard son at court, but no knows who the mother is (also, I’m thinking to make him a cultist, because it’s funny and smells a little like Oblivion).
  2. Luther Hawktown as the Minister of War (?) and Fleet Admiral, a Forged Lord and Hammer Lord as well, and is actually addressed as Prince and (as he was part of the old ruling family on the world, before the Tirkhan took charge); he’s seconded by a former pirate captain that owes him her life and her freedom.
  3. No Name Yet as the Chamberlain, Lord-Pilot Anvil and addressed as Sir. Former member of the Circle of 10000, and former Anvil Propaganda/Public Relations Corps. Also the spymaster, but no one is supposed to know that. And a Psychologist, but some people DO know that. Shh! He is aided by another former member of the 10000; she followed him then and does so now.

Vaylen Side (though they won’t necessarily KNOW that!):

  1. Leader of the Circle of 10000 and Adviser to the Court (No Name Yet), mother of the Lord Steward’s bastard son (but, as I said, no one knows this). Hates Mattias for many reasons, but especially for taking away her son from her (and not marrying her?).
  2. Lord Treasurer (No Name Yet). Younger brother of Luther, always competed with his older brother and simply didn’t do as well. Never joined the military, but stayed in the court, and has served in many lower positions thanks to his royal name, finally being elevated to Treasurer some years ago. Also a Count. Handles the world’s finances and hates his brother passionately; thinks HE ought to be a Forged Lord as well.
  3. Captain Someone (No Name Yet). Commoner who rose up through the ranks and made Anvil Captain some years ago. He was recently made Commander of the Palace Guard; well-liked and admired by most soldiers, and is seen as a soldier’s soldier. Also the former training sergeant for a certain Psychologist, and decided said Psychologist was an elitist piece of crap. Doesn’t trust OR like him, thinks he’s weak, and wants badly to see him fall.

So, really, losts of fun. As I said, the players really went to town on each other for screwing themselves over. Really good. Character generation went slowly however, and because we only had one book, it was a little frustrating at times. Still, it wasn’t as horrible as I’d thought it would be with them.

They survived and are still interested in playing, so that’s good. We’ll be trying it in a few weeks! (you’ll notice that I didn’t list Beliefs and Instincts - this is because they want to perfect them first and then discuss them at the start next time. Might post them later when I get a chance).

“10. Primary Export or Industry: Raw Materials - Ammonia snow. We sell the stuff that falls out of the sky for use in fertilizer and other industrial processes (as an acid wash, for example).”

Wait, you’re an outworld but you export bulk chemicals? Sounds like there’s a story to be told there…

Also, in canon, the Co10k are all Psychologists, and being knights-errant tend to use it a lot and scar themselves heavily in the process. Is your Chamberlain’s former Circle membership secret too? And did he get major cosmetic surgery to conceal the Bright Mark after leaving? Otherwise saying that he’s ex-Co10k and a secret Psychologist is kinda like saying “He’s a Jesuit, and some people think he might be Catholic too.”

No, it’s exactly what he wants. He’s “ex” in that he isn’t “active” in the organization anymore (my players imagined it more like a thing one could be a part of and then not be - it’s how we narrated the fact that Bright Mark gives you a 1D for Psychologists, and Warrior Code gives you 1D for the Circle. So, we figured, one can be a Psychologist, but not the Circle, since one can have an affiliation with both).

And the snow thing? Yeah, we’re an outworld that transports ammonia in bulk to other worlds. Players wanted it so that they could have “visitors.” Which, as the evil GM, mean Vaylen to me. Hehe.

Sure, of course you can leave the Circle. They might not consider you to have actually left, they might just consider you an inactive member (it’s a bit like knighthood: you don’t get un-knighted short of serious disgrace, but you can quit fighting…) but it’s the same thing really.

And yes, you can absolutely be a psychologist but not Co10K. For one thing, non-Karsan psychologists automatically are. For another, I think the Foundations are active in the League, and in general non-martial Psychologists are unlikely to be of the Circle.

But I don’t think you can be of the Circle without being a Psychologist (not by the lifepaths, at least). So anyone who knows he’s ex-Circle will know he’s a Psychologist.

Also, re-read the description of the Bright Mark trait. It’s really hard to conceal the fact that you’re a Psychologist, your powers quite literally brand you as you use them.

But no one is trying to conceal it? (I noted that people knows he’s a Psychologist and former Circle member). What windmill are you tilting at, exactly, if I might ask? Of course you must be a Psychologist to be in the Circle - where did I say he wasn’t? Our interpretation is that the Circle is an organization of militant Psychologists in the League, and that one may or may not work for them as a separate political/military entity. You CAN bring them in as a faction, which implies hierarchy and the like, at least for them.

So, what’s your problem? We haven’t done anything against anything that is spelled out in the book. No one is hiding his Psychologist-ness. No one is saying he has hidden super-powers or something. He simply doesn’t fight in the Circle’s name anymore, because of his position. Didn’t say he was hidden or anything.

And a Psychologist, but some people DO know that. Shh!

Apparently that was not meant to indicate that other people didn’t know? Sorry, I misread.

Actually, to me, it doesn’t. It also isn’t established how much someone must use his Psychology before the Bright Mark is fully noticeable when not using powers. However, from the writeup, we assume the Psychologist has passed this mark, no? So, cant hide anything? Rules say he’s got a +1D to Inconspicuous, then he does, yeah?

So, no worries, the point is. And it’s hard to parse tongue-in-cheekery in posts, yeah? I was being slightly ironic in the American sense (making a bad joke, you see). And harder to write it, apparently. No harm, no foul. :slight_smile:

Sorry, that was a bit of a rushed reply. I read that statement as playing-cute-but-not-facetious. Now that I know what you meant, I totally get what you were meaning by it. We’re cool.

By my reading, and also by Lt. Vienne’s scar in the comics, it doesn’t take a whole lot to get a noticable scar. Training, plus a couple years in the reserves (presumably not lighting up all that often), gave him quite a distinct mark. It can of course be hidden (a mask, a hood, a trendy hairstyle, even a fairly serious bit of makeup would do the trick). I rather suspect that the first ten or twenty or forty times, it stings pretty good and you scar up quick. Past that the scar gets bigger rather slowly.

And yeah, I think the Circle as a faction is looser than some factions. Honestly, I don’t see active Circle members as necessarily fighting for the Circle. It’s more like having jump wings: that doesn’t mean you’re in an Airborne unit, and you don’t stop being a paratrooper just because you’re assigned to like a recon unit in an armored division… I think the Circle existing as a faction on a world is actually kind of unusual: in my vision it’s more common for them to be a brotherhood fighting almost entirely on detached duty. Faction status maybe represents an academy or some other much more serious presence. I played one of the Ten Thousand, and it was a code that he followed and something he was proud of but absolutely not a source of orders to follow.

Problem is, that means there are people “in charge” of it, because someone’s gotta be hanging around to train the youngins, so to speak. So, I figure, they must be a “real” faction, with an HQ and training cadres and the like (after all, Circle folks are trained with weapons and armor too, right?). Logically, this implies an organization with resources and the ability to have enough people to train others, who then do carry this loose affiliation, as you say. Perhaps I’ll re-write the thing, but all the guy wants is that he isn’t active with the 10000; he’s at court now. Does that make sense?

Oh yeah, absolutely it makes sense, no need to rewrite! I think he’s actually doing more than he maybe needs to do, to get what he wants. But that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t do it, of course…

The Circle is all about military apprenticeships. (That’s the noble way, in the Iron Empires.) Notice that Novitiate looks very much like the Coeptir lifepaths, and not much like any of the LPs that probably went through boot camp (unlike Anvil Soldier or Volunteer Soldier, for instance, Novitiates never learn Soldiering). There could totally be a war college, to teach Strategy. There could also be an associated Foundation School to teach Psychology. But those things aren’t necessary: they could be learned via apprenticeship and in the field. I strongly suspect that the Circle does not teach Command or Tactics in the classroom, even if they do operate classrooms.

Sheva’s War tells us that the noble folk who are blessed with the Bright Mark can join the Circle - Ahmi Sheva did, but she was an important official’s favourite daughter. Lieutenant Vienne had to train under an old dude with garlic breath. Vienne lightly mocks Ahmi (“I didn’t attend the university” or something like that) which supports the idea that it is more like a military college - although you do have the option in the C10K LP to pick up Anvil-Trained which suggests that the regime is fairly intensive. I vaguely imagine it as part Jedi Temple, part Sandhurst (or West Point?), and part special forces training.

Nothing is said about non-martial Psychologists in the League but it must be a popular place to set up a foundation given the tolerance and respect that those with the Bright Mark enjoy - given this there are bound to be non-Circle schools around the League. I dare say that some lords probably would find non-Circle psychologist assistants to be extremely useful indeed!

It is interesting that the Circle doesn’t have the upper echelon LPs like Foundations do (Speaker, First Speaker). I presume this is because the Circle is more like a chivalric prep school than anything else and that, because the trainees are nobles, they have some work ahead of them (i.e. fighting!). [I do note that the Hammer sub-setting Lord-Pilot Hammer has C10K as a requirement fulfiller, but that the Court sub-setting Lord-Pilot Anvil does not - I have pondered switching that for a while! I got a real impression Philippe de Artois was an Anvil Lord!]

I suspect that the Circle could even provide the military for an Imperial world if the faction represented a training centre and fortress. Perhaps it is a depot for forays against the Worm? A great fortress of the order - if you take them a bit like Templars or something?

Woo, rambling…

The upper echelon of the Circle in the Karsan League is the upper echelons of the nobility. The distinction I’m drawing here is that they aren’t like the Templars, they’re more like crusaders: some have gone to Outremer and returned, some stayed, and some have only promised to make the journey. There isn’t a command structure, just a shared bond of purpose among troops operating under a different command structure.

Philippe almost certainly is an Anvil Lord. A minimal* burn would be Born to Rule, Novitiate, Co10k, Anvil XO, Court LP-Anvil, Anvil Lord. That only makes him 43, though, and he looks and acts older… Given his military experience, I’m thinking XO, LP-Anvil, Anvil Captain, Anvil Lord is more likely, and there might easily be another LP in there somewhere.

*Okay, the real minimal burn is Born to Rule+Your Grace, Novitiate, Co10k, Forged Lord. But that ain’t our man.

I suppose it might be more similar to Islamic chivalric brotherhoods - and that would probably make a lot of sense given the cultural context of the Karsan League.

Wouldn’t Born to Rule, Novitiate, C10K, Lieutenant, Anvil Captain, Court LP-A, Anvil Lord work too? Then get can pick up Clean Cut and Intimidation! (I imagine a clean-cut Philippe winning his accolade at Kokoni…). You could chuck in Stormtrooper there too since he’s obviously got some brutal going on.

Sure, that burn works fine. I went for XO over Lieutenant because it has more new skills (Co10k already gets Intimidation).

Such a good LP!

Thinking more on it the C10K is more structured than the lords of Outremer, and less (depending on your reading I guess?) than the Templars. I do like the idea that it could remain loose and unstructured in some places, but crystallise around a charismatic member in other places.

I wonder if psychologists of other Empires travel to join their ranks? Or are these people snaffled up by the inquisition, etc?

Just noticed something: X-O is not a valid requirement for court L-P A. The Executive Official mentioned is the chief official of the Commune setting, and not the X-O or ‘Executive Officer’.

Well, Lieutenant, Captain it is then.