Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Multitudinous Seas Incarnadine, Session 1

“Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather
The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
Making the green one red.”

--Lady MacBeth (MacBeth, Act II, Scene ii)

It’s been a long time coming, but we finally started our Burning Empires game. As usual, I’ve give it a pretentious name. Given that the planet is an ocean world called Celadon, it seemed appropriate. (You can read more about the world here and here.)

Dramatis Personae

Figures of Note
  • Jael, Kerrn Head of Lord Miriam’s Secret Police (Roy)
  • Lord Miriam Celadon, the Forged Lord (Christina)
  • Cotar Fomas Michael of the Wheel, ex-husband of the Forged Lord (Ted)
  • Hagar, the Pirate Queen, a Merchant League agent gone rogue
  • Archcotare Daniel of the Wheel, a former High Inquisitor and Michael’s younger brother
  • Anvil Lord Omri, a Vaylen sleeper agent and usurper
  • Elisha, a Kerrn Piilosihver
  • Uriel of the Wheel, Michael’s second-in-command
  • Tay Celadon, Michael’s eldest son
  • Pitr, one of Lord Miriam’s husbands and Jael’s second-in-command
  • Dregus Levi, the Archcotare’s chief administrator
  • Ahab, the Pirate Queen’s trusted lieutenant and pilot
  • Goliath, the Pirate Queen’s Mukhadish bodyguard and dogsbody
  • Esau, Commander of Lord Omri’s Anvil forces
  • Nimrod, Omri’s personal bodyguard

Session Summary

Beginning of Infiltration Phase: Roy rolls Security getting 3s on 6d, and Paul rolls Signals getting 5s on 7d with one point of Fate spent [Open roll]. Starting disposition is 26 (Vaylen) to 24 (Human).

Prequel: Jael’s strike teams raid a pirate base and take Hagar’s lover prisoner. After finishing up the interrogation, Jael shoots him in the head and burns the body, leaving only the Pirate Ring. Hagar later recovers the ring and swears vengeance on Jael. Jael’s teams raid several warehouses based on misinformation as Hagar taunts them.

Phase objectives: The Humans choose “Eliminate the pirates as a faction.” The Vaylen choose “Change the planet’s quarantine level to None.”

First Maneuver: Humans choose Assess the Factions.

Roy’s Interstitial: Jael reports to Lord Miriam in a secure room in the palace. They discuss recently pirate activities. Jael requests permission to raid the data stores of several powerful Merchant League families, which Lord Miriam grants.

Ted’s Color: Cotar Fomas Michael’s forces put on a military demonstration on the cathedral grounds, hoping to drum up recruits. Michael also meets via video conference with other factional leaders. A common screen between this and the previous scene is of an empty red room with a single chair.

Paul’s Color (Hagar): Ahab, manning the spy equipment aboard his assault sled, notes that Elisha is the Head Brothel Inspector.

Christina’s Interstitial: During the demonstration, Lord Miriam and Archcotare Daniel discuss the Church’s current position. (“I would expect the view from your own balcony to be better. Ours was not always so low.”) Lord Miriam makes clear the Church’s dependence on the people (and, by extension, her).

Paul’s Conflict (Hagar): During the festival, Elisha is ambushed by Goliath. He is injured and taken captive. [ICHASHITF, Close Combat: Elisha’s 0s on 2d vs. Goliath’s 3s on 6d]

Ted’s Interstitial: Before the party that evening, Michael asks Jael about the unusual craft that flew through the demonstration. Jael is distracted by his upcoming mission, which he obliquely tells Michael about.

Roy’s Color: Jael leads an infiltration team off through the forest toward the data store.

Christina’s Building: At the party, Lord Miriam (with help from Michael) discovers that one of her husbands, Avram, knows something he isn’t telling her about a conspiracy within the League regarding the black market. His level of involvement is uncertain, but his knowledge is specific. [Circles: 4s on 8s vs. Ob4]

Ted’s Building: As Jael’s team approaches the base, Michael’s air support takes out the League’s forward observers. [Strategy: 3s on 6d vs. Ob3]

Paul’s Color (Daniel): Daniel’s senior Dregus, Levi, shows him recently received pictures of Elisha after his capture.

Roy’s Building: Arriving at the data store, Jael’s team breaches the perimeter [Infiltration: 3s on 6d vs. Security: 1s on 3d] but fails to get access to the necessary files. [Security Rigging: 2s on 4d vs. Security: 4s on 4d]

Paul’s Building: At the party, the Archcotare keeps an eye on Lord Miriam and Michael, and figures out that Michael and Jael were somehow involved in the day’s events. [Observation: 3s on 6d vs. untrained Inconspicuous: 3s (1s) on 4d]

Christina’s Color: Miriam wakes up the next morning next to Avram.

End of Manuever: The Vaylen chose Assess the Opposition, so it’s versus test. Roy rolls Jael’s Investigative Logic 5, FoRKs in Observation, and takes a helping die from Michael to piece together the lay of the land. Paul rolls Daniel’s Observation 6, FoRKs in Investigative Logic, and takes a helping die from Levi to determine where the government’s real power lies. The Vaylen get five successes to the Humans’ two, the Vaylen successfully Assess. [Investigative Logic: 2s on 7d vs. Observation: 5s on 8d]

Epilogue: While Daniel and Levi fly back the Temple, they talk with a representative of one of the merchant families. He confirms that there was an attempt on their data store and thanks them for their help.

Artha Awards: Jael, 1 Fate; Miriam, 1 Fate; Goliath, 1 Fate

Vaylen: 26, Humans: 24

Things we learned (fiction)
  • The Merchant League is not a unified front; rather, it’s made of up many squabbling families.
  • The Cathedral in the capital city is impressively large and sufficiently away from things that military demonstrations don’t cause too much collateral damage.
  • The Archcotare is a bitter, conniving opportunist. He makes no attempt to disguise his displeasure at the Church’s current position.
  • Avram is involved with people who are actively working against Lord Miriam's interests, and knows a fair bit about their scheming. How instrumental he is to those plots in unknown. He or they may or may not also be trying to unseat the Forged Lord, but the treachery she knows about is basically mercantile.
Things we learned (meta)
  • Thinking too much about the Infection mechanics means you neglect your Beliefs.
  • Don’t mess with a Mukhadish bare-handed.
  • Smacking people around doesn’t get you tests for advancement.