Actual Play – Burning Proxeria (2/5/2010)

GM: Shaun Hayworth
Players: Sean, Travis, Eric, Kristin, and Omar
System: Burning Empires

This s a little late as DundraCon just happened, but luckily I took notes so most of the scenes (at least the core components) will be preserved.

Looking over the notes I’ve got to say something awesome happened. The first scene of the game was Locke and Kesling having a very civil discussion about Kesling’s allocation of power, essentially Locke trying to put more of it in the hands of the nobles. Later in the game Misha (the Kerrn and good friend of Kessling) got into a heated argument over the same topic. Well, the same topic from a different angle. It’s pretty awesome to see how those two scenes look juxtaposed with each other.

Also, Omar showed up and pulled out some of his psychological wizardry on us. I think Locke is going to HATE Fox before very long.

Maneuver 2:

Human goal: Trace Giaus’s money trail to pin something criminal on him.
Vaylen goal: Set up cryogenics lab to house Naiven on Proxeria

Scenes:

Scene format: (H/V) – indicates Human or Vaylen scene, followed by who “bought” the scene and what kind of scene it is (Color, Interstitial, Building or Conflict)

(H) Locke (Interstitial): Lock and Kesling discussing the commanders Kesling had assigned? A Blue sympathizer as the Anvil Lord? A Kerrn constable? That despicable fuel baron Gorrey having power? While Kesling made it very clear that Locke should NOT question his command, he did consent to have the Hammer Captain Edwards (of the noble family though with no rank) act as an aid to the Constable.

(H) Gorrey (Building): Hike (the engineer that developed the mining laser) had gone into hiding. Gorrey followed a paper trail for a while but came to a dead end when he saw that Hike hand gone underground. So he tossed around some money to hunt him down and sent Neil to fish him out of hiding. The scene ended with Hike in captivity. Torture, er interrogation, scene to come…

(V) Gaius (Interstitial): Gaius and Countess Octavia had a meeting in private. Octavia was gruff and largely unconcerned with the politics of court but Gaius gained her attention when he told her he wanted to move the Kerrn off world, freeing up jobs for the blues. Given that the constable was a Kerrn, and if might be a conflict of interests, if the Kerrn start rioting when they lost their jobs. Octavia agreed to provide Anvil support to quell and violence before it starts.

(H) Misha (Building): Yay, bad cop time. Misha busted in to one of her informants place of business and started wrecking the place. He had illegal alien cock fighting and having her officers blast the little buggers into smithereens one by one was all Misha needed to pry information about Gaius from his greedy little fingers. But Luscious had a price… he always does. Before he could part with his information he needed Misha to dispense a little justice on the illegal gambling going on in the Coallight district. Martial force was applied and Hammer Master Edwards showed up to lend a hand and earn the Constable’s respect in the process.

(H) Gorrey (Color): In a fabrication plant, Gorrey’s workers are seen building light weight, cheep laser rifles. In another area of the plant the “Audo Seggurity” surveillance equipment is being sealed with the treasurer’s mark.

(V) Gaius (Building): With command of the Duke’s coin, Gaius judiciously spent the lord’s money on buying a facility and constructing a cryogenics lab within it. The mules, however, carrying the goods Roderic’s confiscated, caught sight of the Squad 113 and dumped the cargo before getting caught, leaving behind a giant container of flatworms in whereabouts unknown.

(H) Locke (Conflict): The scene opened with Locke’s old friend Roderick being “invited” to his estate where Locke asked him what the hell was going on with his so called privateering? Roderick defended that he was operating with Duke Kesling’s letter of mark, but after offering it for inspection, Locke saw that it had been signed by the Lord Treasurer Giaus. Rather than berate his friend for taking such a commission Locke burst into Giaus’s chambers accusing the treasurer of usurping his rightful power over the skies. The two argued at length and eventually the treasure surrendered that it was Locke’s privilege and duty to police the Proxian Space, but he didn’t do so lightly. Gaius made some cutting remarks about the company that Locke keeps and the rumor took hold that Locke may be allied with the Darikahn… or worse.
During the DoW Fox offer’s Locke psychic aid, which he accepts, unsure what it means.

(V) Octavia (Color): Octavia receives the order to enter Gorrey’s plant and inform his Kerrn workers that they were no longer employed. She armed her anvil forces with non-lethal riot control gear.

(H) Gorrey (Interstitial): Gorrey and Ambassaror Raj met in Gorrey’s plant and struck a deal. Raj would find a Darikahn buyer for Gorrey’s Hyper Iron Bolts and Gorrey would offer Raj sanctuary on Proxeria should his protection as ambassador be forfeit.

(V) Gaius (Color): Giaus gave the order for Octavia do to riot control as the message was delivered that the Kerrn must return to their homes, their jobs would be given to other more affordable workers. Misha stood by in agony watching the Anvil Lord corral his people like animals.

Gorrey told his workers that so long as they continued to work he would pay them, but most of them protested the discrimination and were hauled off by the Anvil’s forces.

In this scene we also saw Octcavia’s Iron, made of pale gold with ornate blue spirals moving from the fingertips up her arms.

(H) Roderick (Building): After the layoffs, Roderick seized upon the opportunity of unemployed Kerrn and rounded himself up a crew to do move cargo.

(H) Fox (Color): Fox gives a report to Kesling and tells him he took care of the situation between Locke and Giaus.
(H) Misha (Conflict): This scene started as an interstitial scene but it quickly became clear that Misha wanted something the Duke wouldn’t give easily, justice. As tension grew we opted for a second conflict, one that would put both Misha and Octavia’s jobs on the line. Kesling argued that the Kerrn charge too much for their labor and in these hard times, cheaper labor was needed. Misha was furious at how things went down, stating that Octavia didn’t quell violence, she started it. Misha’s strength of character and conviction won over the Duke (if begrudgingly). He ordered her out of his office but the next day Octavia was given a two week leave of absence to reflect on her actions.

(H) Roderick (Interstitial): As if Kesling couldn’t be more irritated Roderick showed up in his court and demanded that the Duke of all people admin that he needed Roderick. “You need me and I want to hear you say it.” “You will address me as your grace, pirate!” Good times.

(H) Fox (Interstitial): Fox wanted to size Locke up, get under his skin now that she had gotten into his mind. The results were bad. They both agreed that the Vaylen were a great threat but Locke doesn’t trust Fox in the least.

(V) Octavia (Building): In a seedy bar Octavia met with a representative from the Blues and offered to arm them with Anvil munitions if they would act up against the Duke. She made them into terrorists.

(H) Misha (Color): Misha feels crappy and turns to a seedy bar of his own to drown his sorrows but the barkeep looks at him in disgust and refuses to serve him.

(H) Locke (Color): Locke makes arrangements to for Fox and Raj to meet. “I don’t trust the psychologist but she may open up to you. Ingratiate yourself with her and you will have another friend in the Duke’s court.”

(H) Fox (Building): Fox and Raj meet and both prey upon each other’s desires. Raj however proved to be sincere in his desire for peace and a charming (not to mention handsome) man.

Maneuver Results:

Humans floored the Vaylen. Both sides scripted Flak and Locked rolled against Gaius. I had A LOT of support. We weren’t touched and Vaylen at some disposition. Cryogenics labs on ice and incriminating evidence found.

What rocked

I loved the conflicts. In part because DoW is fun but also because they were really about something characters cared about. Locke is miles away from suspecting the treasurer has been hulled, and in fact is suspicious of Misha spying on him, but he’s got a bone to pick with anyone stepping on his Hammer. Misha’s was even more earnest and heartfelt. His good friend, the duke, totally stabbed him in the back and he wanted an apology and for things to be made right.

Fox was, as I expected Omar to player her, creepy and weird. She definitely pulled of the “I a psychologist you hate but need” role well. My character is going to go to great lengths to get her under his thumb, something I doubt he can do.

The pairing off of different motivations was great. Fox sent by Kesling to spy on Raj. Raj sent by Locke to spy on Fox. Both of them playing their games together. Octavia manipulated by Gaius and then losing her post. Misha wanting to protect the Kerrn but refusing to stand against the Anvil. Some beautiful clashing of desires in there.
The characters are rich and dynamic. We don’t have any one dimensional cardboard cut outs in the group, each of them feel like a living (and in most cases breathing) individual.

What could have been improved

The scene where Octavia fired the Kerrn was really awkward. One in part because of who wanted to be involved. Gorrey wasn’t going to stand for it, nobody would fire his employees. Misha didn’t want to take it either but Shaun wasn’t going to let him have a Duel of Wits with Octavia. If he stood in the way it was going to be a firefight. Kristin looked at Misha’s beliefs and just couldn’t imagine him actually raising up arms against the Anvil. So the scene kind of morphed from a building scene, into a conflict and finally into a color as Shaun narrated the Kerrn being dragged away as they protested. It just felt awkward, like everyone’s intent wasn’t out on the table until we were thirty minutes into the scene. Not sure what to do about that, I don’t really foresee it happening again.

Shaun didn’t get his conflict scene. By the end of the night he was tired as were we all and didn’t have a conflict in mind. I think he was really gunning for a firefight but the opportunity didn’t present itself. As much as I loathe having Locke actually in a fight (I really want him to be all talk for a good long time) I think I might need to having a scene with the rebels in space that could prompt a nice little space battle.

Omar showed up late to the game (and had missed the last one) so I it took a little while for us to settle in with Fox. I’m sure this will get easier as his attendance is more regular.

Scene economy can lead to players being out of scenes for a long time. Travis took most of Gorrey’s scenes at the beginning. He felt like the game was lagging some and so jumped in to move things along, but this meant that later couldn’t have a scene as his were all spent. While others like Fattig held out so he didn’t have any scenes in the first half of the game. The ebb and flow of buying scenes is defiantly something we need to get used to.