Actual Play – Carom Phase 1, Maneuver 2 (11/26/2012)

GM: Sean Nittner
Players: Shaun Hayworth, Kristin Hayworth, Eric Fattig, and Scott White
System: Burning Empires
Planet: Carom

Peeps wondered why I was like “Pick a maneuver. Describe the action. Go. Go. Go!” last night. It was in part, because I knew I was going to have a Firefight (which has so far has always been a pretty long process) and because I wanted to get in bed on time.  I successfully did one of those.  Actually, I lost the Firefight. Crap.

Phase Objective

Human: Remove Darius (Vaylen FoN) from play.
Starting Disposition: 25
Ending Disposition: 23

Vaylen: Remove the Merchant League faction from play.
Starting Disposition: 33
Ending Disposition: 31

Maneuver Objective

The humans wanted to end the war started by Archcotare Brendan. The Vaylen wanted interstellar attention brought to the planet while continuing the violence. Take Action vs. Flak.

Both sides reduced the other’s disposition by 2.

Personal scenes

We didn’t have many.  I pushed pretty hard to get out several scenes, and matched the players one for one. Each side got one conflict, but otherwise we had only a few interstitial and color scenes.

Vaylen

Darius came to Draven in his cell, hoping his containment would give them a chance to review the excesses of the military. Darius wasn’t pretty transparent that his desire, more than pinching pennies, was to de-escalate the violence. Pull soldiers off the streets and the Cyreans won’t have a target to fight. They couldn’t reach an agreement however, so Darius conceded that if Draven wouldn’t work with him willingly, Darius would cut the military budget himself. Note: still trying to figure out how to actually “do” this. See “thoughts” below.

Duke Brendan appeared soon after, using and army of Dregutai to bully his way into cell block. He promised Draven that he would get him out soon. He has a war to lead and a son to father.

Interrupting a meeting between Heiser and Artemus, some of Korak’s followers, led by Freida, stormed the Imperial Headquarters trying to get access to the communications array. Artemus and his officers with some help from Heiser and later Draven (released from his cell) managed to push back the invasion and capture the leader (Freida) but not without taking several casualties, many injuries, a ton of collateral damage, and allowing these words to be broadcast off planet “MH. Martial law. Killing our citizens.”

Three scenes, one from each Vaylen FoN and one of most types (interstitial, color, and conflict). I was pretty happy with that.

Human

Each of the players got at least one scene as well, which seems reasonable enough on paper, but I felt bad that there was so much time where someone had to sit out, more on this below.

Artemus had a color scene of overhearing citizens speak in fear to each other about the Soldais. “I heard he Martins were raided last night”. Later, he saw the brutality for himself. Soldiers kicking in doors and breaking in without warning. We see a very angry Artemus.

Draven bullied a guard into calling Artemus on the comm. The constable visited his prisoner but was clearly distracted. The got into a heated debate about who was responsible for the Archcotare’s actions. Draven demands to be let out so he can reign in his the duke, but it falls on deaf ears. Artemus wants Korak turned over to the imperial authorities. Eventually they settle, and Artemus orders a prison transfer.

Heiser finds Artemus in his office and tells him more about information he’s found out about the EVA-6 and his suspicions about Rostov. Artemus agrees to look into it, using Psychology if necessary. The conversation is interrupted by the a firefight (see above).

After the fight Draven leads everyone right into the heart of the church to confront the Duke. The have a verbal spar, but even with the full assistance of both Psychologies, Brendan cannot be swayed from his military edict. Draven falls in line, as the leader of the war, but says he’ll only kill people if he knows they are guilty. Brenden ensures to add the clarifying point that Cyrean = guilty.

Kristoff meets with Artemus later and ask him in light of the diplomatic option failing, if he’ll aid in “Changing” the Archocatre’s mind… with Psychology.

Five scenes. Not to bad.

Maneuver roll

Flak vs. Take Action – Resulted with each side loosing two (2) disposition. Outcome:

Because the duel of wits was broadcast publicly, the people could all see that the more even tempered Draven was now in charge of the war efforts. Some of them were relieved, some of them were enraged, but they all saw that the war would be taking a very different turn.

Simultaneously two Merchant League pilots were coming out Distortion and picked up the repeating signal “MH. Martial law. Killing our citizens.” Not knowing what else to do they brodcast it out to nearby ships and created a ripple in the pond of sub-light communication. The camera cut in indeterminate distance to another ship picking up that signal, one filled with containers of Naiven <cue dramatic music>.

Thoughts on this game

Regarding Darius and Draven’s fight over spending. Mechanically still trying to figure this out. What I want is an Obstacle penalty to Draven when he tries to make Resources and/or Circles rolls to requisition troops or military hardware. I’m sure Darius should use a building scene for it, but not sure how I should handle it. Maybe his accounting or bureaucracy Ob is double the penalty he’s trying to impose?

We played for four hours. We did 8 scenes. That ratio is kind of crap. Most of the time of course was eaten up by the Firefight. Compared to the last one it went pretty quickly, and it moved around a lot. The “Human” Forces occupied first the cells (to set the prisoners free) then the Headquarters, and spent a whole lot of time in no mans land. The “Vaylen” side first occupied one building outside, then the communications array, then the other building outside, and also spent some time in no mans land.

I had some questions about what happens to a position when the temporary disposition it provides is reduced. I believe that was answered here: http://www.burningwheel.org/forum/showthread.php?4794-Positions-and-Disposition-Value. That said, as all the buildings were purely color (nobody paid resource/tech points for them) I’m calling the entire block trashed. They had a fuckin’ laser canon!

We had the most lopsided Duel of Wits ever. Starting disposition 16 vs. 4. We all knew the Cotar Fomas couldn’t argue the Archcotare out of going to war, but I was surprised (and impressed) at how well they did (dropping his disposition to 9 before he took them out). It feels a little unfair as the GM to smack someone down that way, which is odd because as a player, I wouldn’t have an issue with it (and I know the Archcotare is going to get spanked in a Psychic dual next session, which I’m fine with as well) but the GM has so much power over the world that then having a steep mechanical advantage on top of it it rough. Feh, I’m sure I’ll get mine.

Need a scene with Carson (Draven’s son). That is definitely happening. It’s going to be evil.