Actual Play – Down with the Rebel Line (3/27)

GM: Shaun Hayworth
Players: Sean, Travis, Eric, and Kristin. Omar was off doing something silly like having a baby.
System: Burning Empires

YES! This game is starting to really hit the sweet spot. We’ve started having scenes that flow from each other rather than feel like cuts between different stories. Tensions were high in conflicts, regardless of scale. I think my argument with Gorrey about how to address the nobles was just as intense as my argument with the Rebel Leader to give up his claim. Cool.

Alas… four pages of notes that I’ll feel remiss if I don’t include, even though they can be summed in a few highlights. I’ll try to do it justice.

Locke’s Beliefs

Some beliefs from last game that changed:

  • I will get an edge over Fox. My pet Psychologist will forge a link to me (Completed/Persona)
  • Gaius is crippling our efforts with his misappropriation of funds. I will blackmail him to get support in my court martial (Tried and gave up/Fate)
  • We cannot defeat the Vaylen if we are at war with the Darikahn. I’ll ensure Gorrey can trade with them (Completed Persona)

Beliefs as of this Maneuver:

  • I can’t be court marshaled if Kesling needs me. I’ll deliver him the rebel’s on a silver platter.
  • Gorrey is a loose cannon. I’ll convince him to play ball with the nobles.
  • We cannot defeat the Vaylen if we are at war with the Darikahn. I’ll see that Kesling calls his dogs off Ambassador Raj.

Maneuver Action

Vaylen: Disrupt the Imperial Stewardship with a Munity, meanwhile find a base of operations to house the hulling facilities. (Flak)

Human: Activate the Rebel Line (Take Action)

Maneuver 5

(V) Gaius (Conflict): Boom! A sleeper agent sent to kidnap Misha instead ended with the day with a missing throat.

(H) Gorrey (Building): Finally built his mining laser with some help from Locke.

(H) Locke (Conflict): Locke demands that Gorrey stop turning his nose up at the nobles. He’s afraid its going to get both of them killed. Gorrey refuses to bow down to them. He would lose support from the Blues… and the blues are everywhere. Gorrey wins handily with a minor concession to at least call nobles by their title (“your eminence, etc”). Locke’s mind is broken as he suddenly notices that blues are in fact… everywhere (Challenging the instinct that “Blues are beneath my notice”).

(V) Kesling (Interstitial with Locke): Kesling chews Locke out because Locke’s friend (Raj, the Darikahn ambassador) is sleeping with Kesling’s concubine. “You are on very thin ice cousin.”

(H) Misha (Building): Misha tries to make peaceful contact with the rebels but is challenged at every turn. First Kesling forbids anything but an assault, then Locke refuses to go without 15 gunships in tow. Finally Misha gets a break when it finds out the rebel leader is an old friend from its Wyrm hunting days.

(H) Roderick (Building): Works on establishing the favor of Tyson. Tries diplomacy at first. Scene to be continued…

(H) Locke (Interstitial with Misha): The two commanders argue over how to deal with rebels. Misha refuses violence against them, Locke insist he needs to speak from a position of strength.

(V) Gaius (Interstitial with Roderick): Gaius communicates over a com link to Roderick asking for him to get evidence proving that Locke is a traitor, he’ll be handsomely rewarded.

(H) Gorrey (Interstitial with rebel quartermaster): Gorrey tells them that all he wants is to trade them for their focusing crystals that they aren’t using. He offers military supplies in exchange.

(H) Roderick (Interstitial with Locke): Roderick asks Locke why he’s so beside himself and Locke confesses that this deal with the rebels is his ass on the line. Either they swear fealty to the Imperial line or Kesling is going to have his head.

(H) Roderick (Building, Continued ): Roderick returns to the Rebel Leader (Lord Tyson) and has changed his demeanor completely. “See those ships in the sky. Sign this or we’ll destroy you.”

(H) Locke (Color): Locke looks imploringly at Misha, begging him with a glare to stay unified with him and not rescind Roderick’s threats.

(V) Octavia (Color): With her second in command. He uses a blow torch to burn off the marks of rank on her arms. Brutal!

(H) Locke (Conflict, again): Locke prepares a treaty for the rebels and tells them they must swear fealty. The debate is brutal and short (Meta: I can’t believe I scripted feint vs. a rebuttal, I destroyed Shaun). Against his every belief Tyson trades in his claim to the throne for a title.

(V) Kesling (Color): One of Octavia’s still loyal men hacked the Broadcom and sent out a vid of her denouncing the Imperial Stewardship’s sovereignty of Proxeria. “Proxeria runs on the backs of blues, it’s time we took what is ours!” Kesling cuts off the Broadcom and send out and order to arrest the traitor.

(H) Roderick (Color): Roderick returns to his ship alone and pulls out a recorder from his boot where he samples through bits of Locke’s argument that taken out of context (or possibly even in context) sound traitorous to the throne. He considers how valuable it would be to Gaius and then, with sudden determination, smashes the recorder to bits.

(V) Gaius (Color): He sits in a nearly dark office watching Octavia’s vid cast. He smiles and tells the invisible people behind him how proud he is of Octavia and that it was time to send her a gift. The camera angle changes and we can see the cylindrical container on his desk, holding a floating Naven inside.

(H) Misha (Interstitial with Kesling): Misha brings the treaty to Kesling. He’s extremely disappointed with Misha for disobeying him but cannot refute the advantage he’s gained by having the rebel, nor does he have the resources to replace Misha. Instead, the Kerrn is ordered to stop this witch hunt against the Vaylen and focus on her duty: Arresting the traitor Octavia.

(H) Misha (Color): In its office taking all the evidence it has rounded up on Gaius and sealing it in a locker, untouched.

Maneuver Close

(V) Kesling makes a proclamation to all of Proxeria against Octavia, meanwhile Gaius is now able to return to smuggling worms on planet.
(H) Nerves are raw as the ink is still wet on the signatures of the treaty. Roderick delivers a shipment labeled “scrap metal” but inside are all the wonders that the rebels haven’t seen in years: toys, fresh fruit, medical supplies, etc.

What rocked

My favorite DoW happen this game and it wasn’t with the rebels. The integrity of Locke and Gorrey’s dispute was real. We see things very differently, enough so that our world has not place for the other’s view. Having those beliefs come head to head was great. I ended up very happy that I lost that DoW. It was an awesome moment for my character.

As mentioned in the intro the scenes gelled really well this game. In the past we’ve had many that were totally disconnected but this game really stuck to the maneuver, which was awesome.

The no-win situation between Kesling-Locke-Misha is great. We’re aligned together but we can’t fulfill one loyalty without breaking another. Misha in particular is in the meat grinder. It’s great.

Roderick’s color scene was fricken awesome. I think Eric wants a character torn between what he knows is right and what he wants… and this was a great display of that.

Gorrey made a pretty cool juxtaposition to the players in the peace treaty. While we were all very concerned about the terms of rebel and imperial relations he didn’t give a rat’s ass. All he wanted to do was be able to trade for their focusing crystals.

What could have improved

The scene economy jacked Kristin a bit. She just wasn’t able to get enough done in her building scene before both Eric and I jumped in with our scenes. They all made sense in the narrative, but it felt like Misha wasn’t able to really stay active through its whole mission.

Since Omar wasn’t there we didn’t do a court martial. I’m thinking we’re not going to do it at all. This is both fine by me and it’s something that would drive me CRAZY if I was watching a show or reading a book and this major thing came up but never got resolved. One way or other I think we need to address this.

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