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Author Topic: [Burning Empires] Figure of Note Relationships  (Read 4076 times)
Kicker
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Posts: 7


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« on: September 04, 2006, 05:06:36 AM »

This coming Saturday, God willing and the creek don't rise, I'll be running the first of two sessions of Burning Empires.  Let me first say to those responsible that I agree with what others have told them: To my sight and touch and consideration, it is little short of miraculous.  In any case, me and four players.  I've read the book, burned characters, rolled dice, scripted firefights and duels of wits, abused my school's printer to the breaking point printing out the lifepath, trait and skill list sections, to say nothing of worksheets.  Despite which, I fear that I haven't looked at the situation closely enough, because I only have one question! 

Let's make it theoretical, for clarity:  There are three players.  Each plays a Human figure of note.  So, as far as their relationships, on the one hand,

Quote
pg 116: Each character must have a relationship with a figure of note on the current world.

...but on the other hand,

Quote
pg 118: Player Characters do not count as relationships under these rules.  Assume the player characters are all associated or related in one way or another.

So what do I do?  My instinct is to say they need to each have a relationship with a Vaylen Figure of Note, to satisfy both Mandatory Relationship requirements, but this isn't very clear from the text afais.  Which is strange, since the language on figures of note seems to imply that only when you have a lot of players will some be playing non-figures of note.  So why not mention what happens in the apparently common case of all of the figures of note being players?  Or, at least, let me know the answer, now that I've asked.
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Iskander
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Posts: 226

Alexander Newman


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« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2006, 05:40:00 AM »

Yes, each player character must have a relationship with a Vaylen-side FoN. Such a relationship does satisfy both mandatory requirements. Reading further on p.116, the last paragraph says:

Quote from: Burning Empires, (p.116, last para.)
These two conditions can be combined in one character -- a Figure of Note for the other side -- or divided among two separate characters.


In the Agra playtest, for example, Lady Kate had a relationship with the Forged Lord, Aziz, who was an unwitting tool of the Worm. I deposed that fool, in the end.
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Winning gives birth to hostility.
Losing, one lies down in pain.
The calmed lie down with ease,
having set winning & losing aside.

- Samyutta Nikaya III, 14
Kicker
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Posts: 7


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« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2006, 11:55:33 AM »

Asked and answered!  Thanks plenty!

Fortunately, another one came to me.

Again, a theoretical.  Let's say a group is planning on only playing one phase, win or lose, and so each side, Human and Vaylen, has but the one figure of note.  There are N players, where N is more than one.  One player controls the Human figure of note.

I understand that in this situation, each player has to have a relationship with that same Vaylen figure of note.  Popular guy.

What I'm concerned about is actually the infection mechanics.  That is, in each maneuver, scenes are allocated per player, such that the players combined are allowed a total of

1x Conflict AND
(N-1)x Building Scenes

While the GM, with scenes allocated by Figure of Note, has

1x Conflict OR
1x Building Scene

I fear a certain loss of tension in this kind of situation.  Should I not be worried?  I see that the conflicts stay balanced, and those are certainly the story's big guns, but building scenes can add up.  Basically, I'm wondering if I should take pre-emptive steps to avoid this level of unbalance.
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Mayuran
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Posts: 75


« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2006, 12:49:46 PM »

Again, a theoretical.  Let's say a group is planning on only playing one phase, win or lose, and so each side, Human and Vaylen, has but the one figure of note.  There are N players, where N is more than one.  One player controls the Human figure of note.

I understand that in this situation, each player has to have a relationship with that same Vaylen figure of note.  Popular guy.

You can have three FoN for both sides, even though you're not planning on playing out all phases of the Infection. I would encourage doing this. We've had 3 FoN per side in all of the games at BWHQ. In play, it can involve the players attempting to remove a future FoN from the scene before his phase - or even bring the enemy FoN to their side.

While the GM, with scenes allocated by Figure of Note, has

1x Conflict OR
1x Building Scene

I fear a certain loss of tension in this kind of situation.  Should I not be worried?  I see that the conflicts stay balanced, and those are certainly the story's big guns, but building scenes can add up.  Basically, I'm wondering if I should take pre-emptive steps to avoid this level of unbalance.

I don't think there is reason to worry at all. Just make the FoN building scene about something that the players care about.

For example, in one of our games, the players made a propaganda test to flood the enemy lines with misinformation. The GM in his building scene made a counter-propaganda test, using our success as an obstacle, to spin what we had done in his favor.

The GM also has certain things like a resources and circles pool that allows him to avoid making the same types of building scenes that the players need.
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Kicker
Member

Posts: 7


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« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2006, 08:21:30 PM »

Clever!  Asked and answered.  Thanks again!

I guess the bit about having any number of FoN up to three confused me.  We'll see how it turns out in play.

I find myself wanting to change the subject and ask if there's anything that I should be asking instead, any considerations of fun that might be easily overlooked by someone who has read a great deal about fancy New School games but has played few?

Basically, what advice do you have for someone trying to see as much of what Burning Empires has to offer in a very brief time?
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eruditus
Member

Posts: 69


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« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2006, 09:34:53 AM »

My first three suggestions would be...

1.  Use the tools given you in the book and downloads (worksheets, etc). They really help you sort things out.

2.  Take the advice of the book, particularly p. 286 - Pick and Choose.  Don't get bogged down with every aspect of the heady mechanics.  Work into them and you and your players will pick them up in no time.

3.  Focus on beliefs!  On know it says it over and over in the book but this cannot be stressed enough.  The game should be about the conflict between character's beliefs (GM and players alike).  Keep the beliefs related and focused and then use them to completely drive your game. 

I played a game of Mortal Coil a few months back and this really got driven home for me.  MC used Passions which are basically the same concept.  The players first made Passions that were pretty broad with little to no real connections.  The first game was fun but it was missing something.  I reread the rules and had the players rework their beliefs and POW! the game exploded the second game.  Don't be afraid to push each other and really think about the game experience (ie beliefs) critically.

Let me know if this was at all helpful,
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Don Corcoran, Game Whore
Current projects include The Burning Wheel, Artesia and Mortal Coil
"All Hail The Wheel!"
Kicker
Member

Posts: 7


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« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2006, 05:41:14 PM »

Well, if you like, I'll tell you that it certainly was helpful. 

1. Besides all the worksheets, I've also printed out a copy of the human lifepaths, the trait list, and the skill list.  I'm hoping we'll see the relationship web posted before too long, because I really like the tiny picture I saw in the book.  Plus, it was promised me!  I'll sue!

3. That's a good call.  I noticed today that in Burning Wheel character creation, beliefs come last.  I immediately realized why that was changed.  It's what most defines the character in the Lit 101 sense of "Character," maybe followed by relationships.

2. Good call x2!
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