Setting Saturday: Burning Empires

Burning Empires is an RPG based on Christopher Moeller's Iron Empires comics (published by Dark Horse Comics). It takes the Burning Wheel system and translates it into a world-spanning space opera type game. What drives the game is conflict, like any good story. But Burning Empires (as well as Burning Wheel) makes this consideration an explicit part of gameplay. I mean more than just fighting: social, political, and economic conflict is taken into consideration as well. The player characters are the important people; the movers and shakers.

But the most intriguing set of mechanics, and the reason this is going into Setting Saturday, is that the entire play group is responsible for generating the world their characters exist in, before they even generate characters. That's right: the first character generated before beginning a Burning Empires campaign is the planet itself. I'm talking about where it is on the map, which galactic empire it belongs to, the climate, the native life, the resources it has, the technology level, and even the society that lives on it. The mechanical aspects determine what the characters can use and activate during the struggle to protect it from the alien invaders as well as how vulnerable it is to the insidious nature of the alien invasion. These same mechanical aspects also determine what life path options are open to the characters.

The net result of the Burning Empires planet generation is that the system puts the setting explicitly in the front row where it belongs. At some point I will share the planet I generated in Burning Empires.
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