Actual Play – Burning Proxeria (3/12/2010)

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

Maneuver 4

The play by play for this maneuver is a little lost to me. A few things happening in this game, some expected, some not. I’d rather focus on the changes than the individual scenes.

One of them was that after reading the comics and in general feeling like our character didn’t share anything besides all being on the same planet, both Travis and I talked about how our characters should find reasons to ally. We also talked about the direction the game should go in and where the focus would be. The reason for this is that it felt like Travis and I were play a very different game than Omar and Kristin. We had been purposefully ignoring any worm presence in favor of focusing on our personal agendas and the latter had been hunting the Vaylen with a mad fervor. The upshot is that we agreed to bring our characters together more and to give them some more common ground. We mixed the Vaylen threat with the dangers of perfectly human politics and made a delicious sauce to marinate our characters stories in. I call it Awesomesauce.

What this amounted to in game was a lot more scenes where we came to each other’s aid. We had a firefight were all of us came together to fend off Octavia’s troops, and a building scene or two where we all pitched in. The end result was as it should be. When it came time to make the maneuver roll, we had lots of helping dice to use.

Also what we saw was that the character that had been pushing the hardest against the Vaylen (Misha) had now made powerful enemies that were gunning for her. Both Gaius and Octavia took scenes to mess with her Christmas.

All of those things made sense and flowed pretty well from the story we were telling. What surprised me, and ultimately felt like a kick in the crotch was my building scene. It was late (probably after midnight) and Shaun reminded me after my scene was partially done, that we hadn’t perused our maneuver objective at all. The idea is that even though the maneuver action isn’t played out, our actions during the game are setting the stage for it to happen. Our maneuver action had been “Take Action – Activate the Rebel Line”, whereas what we had really been doing was messing with our opposition and trying to fortify ourselves (much closer to a “Flack” in hindsight). It was also late in the game, with most of our scenes used up so Shaun was trying to help get us back on track. The problem for me was that I had started the scene with completely different intentions and it took a lot of mental torque to get my head around moving it into a scene about (or at least involving) the Rebel line…

And then I got proper fucked. I don’t usually swear on my LJ but this is a good occasion to do so. I decided to move my Scene to Gorrey’s shop where I would talk to him and then hopefully the two of us would talk to the Rebels. At least that is how I envisioned it. Instead, everyone jumped into the scene and it because a discussion of the Naven, identifying them, determining who we should show and then Omar and Travis debating if Fox could enter the scene in Iron and eventually Fox did enter and started demanding to know what was going on with the worm. In short, my building scene got clusterfucked, and it left me with a crappy taste in my mouth. Next time I’m going to demand a more narrowly defined entrance. You want into my scene? Cool. Burn a fate point and come into it. But you’ve got to remember what the scene is about. In this case it was rallying support for my court martial (which then morphed into rallying support from the rebel lines).

The game ran REALLY late (like 2:30 late) which I think nobody wanted. We were really struggling to finish it up in the end, but I think for the most part (my building scene and the fast that we forgot our maneuver not withstanding) we gelled together much better as a group, and won’t have as many delays in the future.

You want to know another thing that didn’t happen in the game? My court martial is what didn’t happen. The thing I was preparing for two weeks for. The thing I was totally jazzed about. Got too late and Fox’s conflict scene turned into a building scene instead. I get it, we were VERY tired, but I was disappointed.

What Rocked

As players and characters I think we started working together in a way that not only improved our odds but also made each other scenes more interactive. I don’t mind round robin play but I like to at least be invested in the other characters scenes (even if I’m not there). Now I am.

What could have been improved

No more scene hijacking

Remembering our maneuver.

Starting earlier. Part of what always makes us run late is how long it takes us to get the game started. My thought on this is maybe we should move the game to Saturday afternoon so we’ve got more time to hang out.

I wanted my court martial!

Shaun’s Vaylen are at their best when the are viciously beating at our beliefs (and theirs). I’d like to see more pressure from them in the Vaylen scenes.

The game is VERY gamey, and that means the players do a lot of dice mongering, Shaun needs to do the same. In the last maneuver he rolled 6 dice and I rolled 11. This was entirely due to the fact that we felt comfortable describing actions to justify helping and FORK dice, where as Shaun looked at his action and then determined which skill, FORKs and helping dice were appropriate. We should all be on the same page about this. This probably needs some more table discussion.